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08.22.20

No, Hundreds of Viewers Don’t Make It ‘Most Popular’

Posted in Deception, Marketing at 6:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Overselling oneself to sell bias and openwashing (typically proprietary software companies trying to pass themselves off as “open”)

TFIR lies
“TFiR” is just a rebranded “Muktware” (same site), a.k.a. “The Mukt” albeit optimised for marketing instead of journalism

Summary: Except when Linux.com is misused to pump traffic into paid-for marketing of TFiR the site is actually not what the “extremely well-connected” “journalist” (marketer) and “filmmaker” claims it to be; this is actually an insult to everything Linux.com used to stand for (the Linux Foundation turned it into an utter ‘dumpster fire’)

Techrights is International

Posted in Site News at 6:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Exposing abuse of power, which is almost inevitable, wherever it exists

Royal Guard

Summary: The Techrights team has grown in recent years and it is not limited to any particular nation (unlike the FSFE for example); we try to deal with universal issues, especially technical ideas, rather than particular nations and their politics

THE idea that Techrights is British or European is mostly misguided. As the history of the site shows, we have people everywhere, the hosting is done from outside Europe, and monitoring happens/focuses on multiple continents. I am merely the primary editor and yes, I’m based in Manchester (for over two decades), but it’s wrong to assume that we somehow limit ourselves to any single country or continent. We never did. Before focusing on the EPO we wrote a great deal about American patents and USPTO affairs, especially those connected to frivolous lawsuits.

“During weekends we take advantage of India’s English-speaking press still being active (especially Sundays). In many ways it is a lot more objective than Western media, which grew increasingly divisive in recent years (clickbait and agenda/marketing rather than accuracy).”The site is composed with English as the main language (translations aside), so it is expected that English-speaking reports and affairs (or people) will be covered more often than something about China or Russia. India has a lot going on, especially when it comes to software. Many of our readers come from there, but rarely do we get translations from those dialects. During weekends we take advantage of India’s English-speaking press still being active (especially Sundays). In many ways it is a lot more objective than Western media, which grew increasingly divisive in recent years (clickbait and agenda/marketing rather than accuracy).

Why DebConf Spent So Much Money on Travel Expenses Last Year

Posted in Debian at 5:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Agents Of Change

Summary: One reader of ours, who has inside/deeper knowledge, suggests that political endeavours rather than technical endeavours are partly to blame for massive increase in travel-related spendings

THIS morning we published a reader's concern about DebConf spendings. She worried that the Debian Project was overspending and not disclosing the reasons. She also suspects that a corporate-led coup is in motion, but her efforts to understand it fell short.

It did not take long for another reader to clarify things to us, calling it “bribes for bribes?”

“Debian in turn uses the money to bribe participants…”
      –Anonymous
“Saw your post about DebConf sponsors bribing Debian,” said the reader. “Why would anybody in Debian worry about that though? Debian in turn uses the money to bribe participants…”

Maybe “bribe” is too strong a term, but this is what we call it every time Microsoft pays Debian (whilst also attacking Debian).

“After all the work some Debian volunteers did in the Balkans,” our reader explained, “they decided to fly all the women from Kosovo and Albania to Brazil for DebConf19. You can find them in the published photo albums.

“Many of these women hadn’t actually made any contributions as developers, it has been suggested they were brought to DebConf for political reasons.”
      –Anonymous
“Some had been to DebConf18 too but they really took this to extremes with DebConf19.

“That could be one reason why the travel spending was more than double in the last report. Many of these women hadn’t actually made any contributions as developers, it has been suggested they were brought to DebConf for political reasons.

“Maybe “bribe” is too strong a term, but this is what we call it every time Microsoft pays Debian (whilst also attacking Debian).”“Some or all of these women were taken aside one-by-one and encouraged to betray the volunteers who helped them get started in free software. The only thing is, there was nothing bad for them to say.

“The message going out to these young women is very clear: these holidays have strings attached.”
      –Anonymous
“Not long after that, one of the women was given an Outreachy internship too. Some of them feel very uncomfortable about being used like this.

“The message going out to these young women is very clear: these holidays have strings attached. Fortunately women from the Balkans are not stupid.”

Leak: FSF/FSFE Trademark Dispute (FSF Demanding That FSFE Should Change the Organisation’s Name)

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, FSF, Law at 4:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Using or misusing the FSF’s good name as a ‘cash machine’

Change

Summary: The FSF made demands for FSFE to change the name, the FSFE discussed the matter internally and Jonas Oberg, the FSFE’s Executive Director, wrote the leaked message (below) where he states: “So the framework agreement, as it stands, is not being honored from any side.”

SEVERAL months ago Richard Stallman told me that the FSFE’s relationship with the FSF was largely amicable. It was around this time that we also published FSF-Relationship-Framework.txt and explained why the FSFE taking money from Microsoft was potentially mean-spirited a move.

“…the FSFE taking money from Microsoft was potentially mean-spirited a move.”As it turns out, Stallman left out something that had happened 3 years earlier (and 2 years before he was pushed out, with the FSFE’s support for the coup).

Here is a letter from May 2017:

Subject: Re: FSF asking us to change our name II
From: Jonas Oberg <jonas@fsfe.org>
Date: 30/05/2017, 15:31
To: Bernhard Reiter <bernhard@intevation.de>
CC: ga@fsfeurope.org

Hi Bernhard,

I largely agree with you, but I would like to ask for a clarification on this part:

I don’t see why. We should ask them to establish the agreed cooperation.

If I take an honest look at the framework agreement, I believe it’s phrased rather favourable towards the FSF, and a lot of what we would like to see — such as joint decision making on important issues related to Free Software — isn’t actually in the agreement aside from an intent to develop such a way in some hypothetical future.

And I can truly see why the FSF believes we are in violation of the agreement, at least on parts. Our work on the Radio Directive and other policy work I believe is an example of work that according to the agreement should be carried out by the FSF, and not the FSFE.

Our work on standards for cloud services is close to what’s reserved for the FSF. On the other part, there are a number of activities envisioned from the FSFE which we don’t do, or never did: operate the GNU Business Network, develop new free software, translate FSF position papers, recruit more volunteers for the GNU project, resell FSF merchandise, and so on.

So the framework agreement, as it stands, is not being honored from any side. What I understand from you is that you think we can push more on this:

We intend, in the future, after we have gained experience working together, to develop a system wherein these decisions are approved jointly by a specific list of several major FSFs.

Essentially, our message could be that now, after 15 years, we have the experience of working together. It’s not been a pleasurable experience, but we now know what the current tensions and activities are, which makes this a good time to now negotiate what such a system for join decision making would look like.

Is that close to what you intend?

Sincerely,


Jonas Öberg, Executive Director
Free Software Foundation Europe | jonas@fsfe.org
Your support enables our work (fsfe.org/join)

A few days later the following message was sent from the FSF:

Subject: FSFE
From: John Sullivan <johns@fsf.org>
Date: 02/06/2017, 15:50
To: Daniel Pocock <daniel@pocock.pro>

Hi Daniel,

Congratulations on your election to FSFE’s general assembly!

I’m wondering, if as part of your new position, you have been briefed on the current issues between FSF and FSFE.

I have been trying to discuss them with Jonas and Matthias for the last several years, but have gotten nowhere, and in fact things are now much worse than they were before. They made it clear at our last in-person meeting in April that they do not intend to change anything.

In your post at <https://danielpocock.com/risks-of-using-proprietary-software>, you expressed some of the same concerns FSF has. So I’m reaching out to you in the hopes that we might be able to figure out a solution, and also to hear anything you can share about plans you have for trying to address
your concerns from your new position. We could arrange a call, or we could discuss by email, if you are open to talking. Will you be at Debconf in Montreal?

I am also attaching a copy of the agreement FSFE made with us in order to use the FSF name, in case you have not seen it.

-john



John Sullivan | Executive Director, Free Software Foundation
GPG Key: A462 6CBA FF37 6039 D2D7 5544 97BA 9CE7 61A0 963B
http://status.fsf.org/johns | http://fsf.org/blogs/RSS
Do you use free software? Donate to join the FSF and support freedom at <http://my.fsf.org/join>.

According to this, the FSF granted FSFE permission to use the name, based on the FSF-Relationship-Framework which we reproduced here a few months ago. In 2017, John Sullivan, the FSF’s Executive Director, sent an email to a newly-elected person from the FSFE’s general assembly describing how difficult it is to deal with people in FSFE. “It is clear from these emails that FSFE does not have the blessing of FSF to use the name,” the leak’s source tells us. Quite a few people seem to be familiar with this problem, which is somewhat of an ‘open secret’. The “FSFE has collected over 1 million euro of donations from Free Software supporters,” the source told us. “Using a name borrowed from FSF helped them get this money.”

“In 2017, John Sullivan, the FSF’s Executive Director, sent an email to a newly-elected person from the FSFE’s general assembly describing how difficult it is to deal with people in FSFE.”And it meanwhile looks like in Wikipedia FSFE’s self-promotional page has become a candidate for deletion, with the following anonymously stated reason: “Page replicates the organization’s own view of itself, almost transplanted verbatim from its own web site. Staff and members of the organization have been actively editing the page (see Reinhard Müller, Mxmehl). Name of the organization is in dispute, as they borrowed the name from FSF. The organization has less than 30 members, as listed on their own People page. Demographic data released by the last elected Fellowship Representative shows that interest in the organization is very limited outside Germany. Much of the organization’s work appears to be ambush marketing, for example, a city converts their computers to Free Software and the FSFE makes a lot of publicity trying to associate the decision with one of their campaigns, even if they were never involved. It is not clear what original work they have done themselves and therefore, without being either very big or having done some outstanding work of their own initiative, they are not particularly notable. If the page remains, it needs substantial work to include the history of the organization, how it has interacted with other organizations, volunteers and sponsors (Google) but there are not many Reliable Sources, as required by Wikipedia, to document those facts objectively.”

In recent years the FSFE has had a number of scandals for positions it took and decided to broadcast out in the open. Seeing that even the FSF is not happy with the FSFE’s stance, with hard evidence to prove it, seems reasonably newsworthy.

Links 22/8/2020: KylinOS (GNU/Linux Distro in China), Istio 1.7, Armbian 20.08, GStreamer 1.17.90, Serpent OS

Posted in News Roundup at 3:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Nuritzi Sanchez and Lydia Pintscher

      Nuritzi Sanchez is the Senior Open Source Project Manager at GitLab Inc. Previously, Nuritzi has worked at Endless and was the President and Chairperson at GNOME. KDE is excited to have Nuritzi as a keynote speaker at this year’s Akademy to talk about Collaborative Communication in the Open Source community.

      Lydia Pintscher is KDE e.V.’s current Vice President and Wikimedia Deutschland e.V.’s Product Manager for Wikidata. Lydia is a free software and free culture enthusiast who was the President of the e.V. in years past. As the current Vice President of KDE e.V. you will see her talking about updates on KDE’s goals during Akademy.

      Today we are lucky to have both of these well accomplished women sit down to take a moment to talk about their lives, accomplishments, visions for the future, and how we can continue to uplift young women in the technology and open source sector.

    • 3 reasons small businesses choose open source tools for remote employees

      The last decade or so has seen some significant changes in how businesses operate. The expansion of accessible, affordable, connected technology has removed barriers to many resources, enabling collaboration and execution of work by nearly anyone, from nearly anywhere. Though COVID-19 has made remote operations a necessity for a lot of industries, many businesses had already begun to embrace it as a more cost-effective, agile way of working.

      That said, not every business has the budget to subscribe to premium software as a service (SaaS) to keep their remote employees productive. The good news is that open source software can be every bit as robust and intuitive as the premium options that are only available to those with plenty of capital. The key is clearly identifying what you need from those tools in order to focus your search.

      The open source community can offer some smart solutions to the challenges of remote working, and we’re going to look at a few key areas of need for businesses exploring how they can operate more effectively.

    • I Teach Online with Jitsi

      I teach GNU/Linux. I make a computer school online for Indonesian people by using Free Software and GNU operating systems for living purposes. Among the skills students learn are writing documents with LibreOffice and mastering Ubuntu. I have used Jitsi video call technology for about six month since early 2020 and I found it perfect for my online teaching as I open classes in my country Indonesia for people from Sumatra to Papua islands. Of course I also use Telegram as it is the easiest FLOSS communication tool for me and my students. I am happy to share with you my teaching experiences.

    • Contributing to Open Source Projects without Coding Knowledge

      There’s lots of ways of contributing to open source projects.

      A common misconception about contributing to open source is that you need to write code. In fact, it’s often the other parts of a project that are in urgent need of assistance. Other ways of helping an open source project include writing documentation, identifying bugs, testing code changes, answering queries from users, planning events, suggesting design improvements, perform user experience testing, making a monetary donation, and more.

      I want to share a few of my recent experiences of contributing to open source projects.

    • Web Browsers

      • Metamask tightens license in response to crypto browser boom

        Another week, another major change for the popular Ethereum wallet MetaMask. After last week’s announcement of a potential dapp-breaking code change on the horizon, the company announced this week that it will move away from its open-source approach.

        Instead, MetaMask has adopted what it calls a “tiered proprietary license,” leaving behind its previous permissive MIT license. MetaMask will remain fully free to users, so there’s no need to worry there. Nothing is changing on that front.

        However, this license states that organizations using MetaMask code—which is now owned by ConsenSys—to commercially serve 10,000 or more monthly users must enter a licensing agreement. (Disclosure: ConsenSys funds an editorially-independent Decrypt.)

    • CMS

    • FSF

      • Submit your session for LibrePlanet 2021 before Oct. 28

        The thirteenth edition of the Free Software Foundation’s (FSF) conference on technology and social justice will be held in spring 2021. The Call for Sessions is now open, and will close on October 28th. Potential talks should examine free software through the lens of this year’s theme: Empowering Users.

      • LibrePlanet 2021 Call for Sessions

        Every year, LibrePlanet brings together developers, policy experts, activists, hackers and end users. It’s a place to learn new skills, share accomplishments, and face challenges to computer user freedom together as a community. LibrePlanet will be held in the spring of 2021 (date TBA). If you’re new to the community, check out session descriptions and recordings from the previous LibrePlanet conference.

        [...]

        While the goal is to hold the LibrePlanet 2021: Empowering Users in person in the Boston area, the coronavirus pandemic may still prohibit large-scale gatherings, so our conference planning will incorporate the possibility of an online conference like the one we held in 2020. As such, we will consider applications for remote only sessions, like all others, with the intent of integrating quality sessions into the schedule.

      • FSFE

        • Poll experiment: when Google calls, does FSFE jump? A corporate influence learning experiment.

          According to the full budget spreadsheet shared by the Fellowship, Google is contributing approximately twenty percent of the FSFE budget (please also see this analysis from the executive director, Jonas Oberg). People periodically make arguments that this is not something to worry about while at the other extreme, people suggest that FSFE is nothing more than a Google puppet.

    • Programming/Development

  • Leftovers

    • Two Great Writers Meet: Chekhov and Tolstoy

      They belonged to two different social classes and two different generations. However, there was great mutual respect and admiration between Russian writers: Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) and Anton Chekhov (1860-1904). According to Maxim Gorky, another notable Russian writer, Tolstoy had an almost fatherly affection for Chekhov.

    • [Attackers] eye students returning to virtual classes as easy targets

      Erik Decker, the chief security and privacy officer at University of Chicago Medicine, said during the Proofpoint event that individuals at his institution had been targeted by “weaponized” coronavirus-themed phishing emails, particularly those aimed at stealing credentials or installing malware.

    • An Open Letter to Strobe Talbott
    • A Virtual Cinema Potpurri

      AMC has announced that its theaters will be opening soon with Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet”, a typical summer blockbuster. Social distancing will be followed with no more than 30 percent of the seats filled and the staff wearing masks. I suppose that Nolan will be a magnet for fans of his movies, an experience roughly equivalent to playing a video game while on methamphetamine. Every one that I have seen has left me cold, especially “Interstellar” that inspired this faux trailer.

    • Rite of Passage
    • Steve Bannon is Arrested for Nonprofit Fraud After Using an Octopus of Nonprofits to Help Elect Trump

      One of the key right-wing architects of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Stephen K. (Steve) Bannon, was arrested early yesterday morning while cruising in the Long Island Sound on a 150-foot yacht owned by the fugitive Chinese billionaire, Guo Wengui, according to law enforcement officials. Bannon had served as CEO of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and as senior counselor and chief strategist to the president for the first seven months of his term.

    • Pure Bannonfreude
    • The Beatles are No More, Long Live the Beatles

      There are a lot of years in between the breakup of the Beatles in 1970 and today. People have had plenty of time to disparage and discredit them. The criticisms of their occasionally crass commercialism not only hold true, but remain an industry standard for popular music promotion. The lessons they teach about the hazards of fame are a warning to every Johnny B. Goode. Still, the Beatles persevere. A young man I occasionally work with was recently telling me about his work creating electronic dance music and a YouTube band called Death Grip. After he finished his five-minute exhortation, he looked at his phone and said “but nothing can beat the Beatles. They were the best.” The song “Something” had just popped up on his phone’s music app.

    • The Conformists Have Their Daze

      Forty- eight years after its making I’m yet convinced that Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist is not only among the greatest films of the director’s career, but one of the greatest films period.

    • Marquee Moon – LUNA
    • Giant Sidewalk Chalk

      Start by removing the duct tape from the middle and then tear away the Pringles tubes from the plaster! The cardboard was still a bit damp and made it easy to tear off along the seam of the mega can. The chalk will also still be slightly damp and need another 24 hours or so to fully dry.

    • QAnon looms behind nationwide rallies and viral #SavetheChildren hashtags

      These signs, similar to those found at many such rallies now taking place around the U.S., are references to QAnon, the conspiracy theory that has surged in popularity in recent months. It turned out that the rally had nothing to do with the century-old humanitarian charitable group Save the Children.

    • [Old] Hello, this is Lenny!

      We’ve talked quite a bit about telephone fraud on our blog — those fake Microsoft tech support guys who try to scare you with malware into paying for their service, or the fake cops who say your kid is in trouble. Everybody hates them, regardless of whether they ever fell for the scam. At the 35C3 hacker congress, I happened to be at a talk that mentioned an amazing solution to all those phone scam problems. That solution has a name: Meet Lenny.

      Lenny is a rather unsophisticated voice chatbot that simply reads its lines one by one when the caller pauses for a while. Lenny has several minutes of those lines recorded by a talented elderly voice actor. After it reads the last line, it just starts over. But it sounds so realistic that telemarketers continue talking to Lenny for dozens and dozens of minutes.

    • [Old] The Story of Lenny, the Internet’s Favorite Telemarketing Troll

      In 2009, the anonymous IT worker began using an interactive automated message to handle telemarketing calls to the company where he worked. He called the chatbot “Lenny” in homage to his elderly neighbor who used to collect plastic shopping bags in a “giant man-height stockpile” in his backyard.

    • Nope, President Trump Can’t Send Troops or Law Enforcement to Your Polling Place

      For federal law enforcement, there’s a very clear federal law that bars the President (or any other person in the United States government) from sending “any troops or armed men” to any polling place in the country. Thus, this law prohibits, for instance, the troops that were sent to Portland (or any other military troops) from being deployed on election day at the polls. It also prohibits the President from sending non-military law enforcement, such as United States marshals, FBI agents, or U.S. attorneys to election sites if they are armed, which marshals and FBI agents usually are.

    • Education

      • Will Public Schools Survive Covid-19?

        Seventeen years ago, against the advice of my parents, I decided to become a public school teacher. Once I did, both my mother and father, educators themselves, warned me that choosing to teach was to invite attacks from those who viewed the profession with derision and contempt. They advised me to stay strong and push through when budgets were cut, my intellect was questioned, or my dedication to my students was exploited. Nobody, however, warned me that someday I might have to defend myself against those who asked me to step back into my classroom and risk my own life, the lives of my students and their families, of my friends, my husband, and my child in the middle of a global health crisis. And nobody told me that I’d be worrying about whether or not our nation’s public schools, already under siege, would survive the chaos of Covid-19.

      • The “Great” Reopening: Setting America’s Public Schools Up to Fail

        Seventeen years ago, against the advice of my parents, I decided to become a public school teacher. Once I did, both my mother and father, educators themselves, warned me that choosing to teach was to invite attacks from those who viewed the profession with derision and contempt. They advised me to stay strong and push through when budgets were cut, my intellect questioned, or my dedication to my students exploited. Nobody, however, warned me that someday I might have to defend myself against those who asked me to step back into my classroom and risk my own life, the lives of my students and their families, of my friends, my husband, and my child in the middle of a global pandemic. And nobody told me that I’d be worrying about whether or not our nation’s public schools, already under siege, would survive the chaos of Covid-19.

      • Colleges Remain Unchartered Territories

        In a few weeks, I begin my semester as a teaching assistant in an undergraduate sociology class. I am not sure what to expect.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Plandemic 2: Electric Boogaloo, or: How Mikki Willis doubled down on COVID-19 conspiracy theories

        About a third of the way through Plandemic: Indoctornation(or, as I like to call it, Plandemic 2: Electric Boogaloo or just Plandemic 2), the sequel to the conspiracyfest of a video called Plandemic that went viral in May featuring disgraced scientists Judy Mikovits that peddled virtually every conspiracy about the COVID-19 pandemic, the narrator attacks John Oliver for a segment that he did last month on coronavirus conspiracy theories. It’s a brilliant segment, and, in fact, you should watch it right now, before reading my discussion of Plandemic 2, because it will definitely put you in the proper mindset.

      • After Spending Months Denying Need for Testing, Trump Moves to Gut FDA’s Oversight Process for Coronavirus Tests

        A former FDA official compared the move to “letting the Wild West be the Wild West.”

      • Only Medicare For All Can Beat Covid

        The U.S. has coped with Covid-19 far worse than any other country on the globe. Though much, much of this catastrophe of over 170,000 dead can be laid at Trump’s door, some of it has to do with the uniquely awful American system of for-profit health care. Those words, “for profit,” mean that the U.S. public health infrastructure, always stunted, had completely shriveled by the time the plague struck. Other countries dealt better with covid because they have different health care systems – single payer or Medicare for All systems, in other words, ones that are, to varying degrees, socialized.

      • Electionland 2020: DeJoy Under Fire, Election Administrators, Pandemic Voting and More

        What the Post Office Needs to Survive a Pandemic Election

        Fueled by the president’s unfounded claims about rampant mail-in voter fraud, and reports of sorting equipment being removed, the plight of the United States Postal Service has captured America’s attention. Will it collapse? Here’s what you need to know.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Experian breach affects over 24 million customers and businesses in South Africa

          Consumer credit reporting agency Experian has suffered a data breach at their South African branch. The Experian data breach didn’t expose consumer credit or financial information, but other personal information which could be used in phishing attempts were definitely exposed. Experian noted in a statement that they fell victim to a social engineering attack where the attacker claimed to be a client and successfully received the information with a simple request. The statement detailed:

        • Apple says Epic is ‘putting the entire App Store model at risk’

          In a declaration to the court, Apple executive Phil Schiller wrote that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney asked for a “special deal with only Epic” that would “fundamentally change the way in which Epic offers apps on Apple’s iOS platform.” When Apple declined, Epic changed its policies to cut Apple out of in-app purchases. Now, the company argues that Epic’s ban is its own responsibility.

        • Xcode becomes vector for new Mac malware attack

          We’ve seen a similar attack before. The so-called “XCode Ghost” was a malware-infested version of Apple’s developer environment that was distributed outside of Apple’s channels. Apps built using the software were preinstalled with malware.

          While security researchers were rightly concerned about XCode Ghost, the problem was quickly curtailed as Apple used the moment to stress the need to download critical files only from bona fide App Stores. It is much easier to subvert systems via poorly secured third-party app stores, and security is part of what we pay for when we purchase an app.

        • Software Firms Gear Up to Reveal Books Ahead of Busy IPO Season

          Software listings remain a sweet spot within the technology sector, which has fared better than any other through the coronavirus pandemic this year. The 18 companies in the space that have gone public on U.S. exchanges this year have climbed about 91% since their debut on a weighted-average basis, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Overall, newly listed companies excluding blank-check firms and real estate investment trusts have risen only 52% since their IPOs, the data show.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Facebook Asks FTC How to Avoid Another Cambridge Analytica

              Regulators in Europe and California have ruled that consumers have the right to collect and move their personal information to new websites — “data portability” laws that are meant to empower people to choose different products, increasing competition for giants like Facebook. But on Facebook, every user’s data is intertwined with that of their friends and family, through tags on photos, posts and locations. Facebook on Friday filed official comments with the FTC, asking the regulator to explain how the company should make data portability work without violating privacy rules that could lead to a penalty. The request came ahead of an FTC workshop on the topic scheduled in September.

            • Alphabet Weighed Buying Small TikTok Stake as Part of Group Bid

              Google parent Alphabet Inc. considered participating in a group bid for TikTok, but the effort fizzled in recent days, according to people familiar with the matter.

              Several firms discussed forming a consortium to invest in the popular video-sharing app, with Alphabet weighing a minority, non-voting stake through one of its investment arms, said one of the people.

              Alphabet didn’t lead the initiative. It isn’t clear which U.S. company did, or why the effort ended. Alphabet has not ruled out participating in future bids, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter.

            • Palantir still relies heavily on government contracts despite push for more corporate customers

              Palantir confidentially filed for an IPO last month, but has yet to announce when it will go public. The S-1 filing shows Palantir had revenue of $742.5 million in 2019, a 25 percent increase from the same period a year earlier. But that wasn’t enough to cover expenses; the company had a net loss of $580 million, according to the Times. It has a private market valuation of $20 billion, and has raised more than $3 billion in funding. That net loss is partly explained by how much money Palantir is burning on marketing — the company spent $450 million on marketing in two years.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Can Joe Biden Unrig the Economy?

        The Democrats’ 2020 presidential primary race was obsessed with taxes. There was the public debate over how to pay for Medicare for All. There was also the insider dispute among experts, no less contentious, over the feasibility and desirability of a wealth tax. Yet, as was often the case during the primaries, these discussions rarely included the person who was leading in the polls for almost the entire race: Joe Biden, whose tax plan is a serious proposal to reduce the power and income of the 1 percent. The former vice president’s bold scheme provides a useful reference for where the tax discourse among progressives should go next.

      • Anything to Salvage From the Trump Nightmare?

        Our two party system which has operated as a duopoly on economic issues, especially in regard to letting Wall Street and business leaders shape what globalization is, can’t cover the complexity of forces now surging in the U.S. President Trump is an outlier in that duopoly and as such he’s been the nemesis of the Democrats and probably the death blow to Republicans.

      • Five Ways Coronavirus Is Deepening Global Inequality

        Whether the pandemic’s effect on inequality will be felt for many years to come will depend on whether government action.

      • Trump Boasts About Economy But New Unemployment Claims Surpassed a Million

        Despite President Donald Trump’s boasts about the America’s economy, a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that initial unemployment claims rose to more than 1.1 million last week — suggesting the economy is still far from healthy.

      • Make Corporate Landlords Pay the Bills During the Pandemic

        The Covid-19 crisis has both exposed and exacerbated racial and wealth inequality in the United States. As unemployment skyrockets and tens of millions of Americans struggle with a sudden loss of income, many are unable to pay rents or mortgages and are facing eviction, foreclosure, and possible homelessness.

      • The Burden of the Debt: Lessons for Team Biden

        Top Biden adviser, and long-time personal friend, Ted Kaufman was seen in the Wall Street Journal warning that the debt run up by the Trump administration will seriously limit what Biden will be able to do as president. This is wrong big time, and it is the sort of silly thing that no one in a Biden administration should ever be saying.

      • Why Payroll Taxes Are the Achilles Heel of Social Security

        On August 8th, Donald Trump took four executive actions on coronavirus relief. One was a memorandum deferring, to the end of the year, payment of the employee portion of the payroll tax for employees making less than $4000 biweekly. (Employer payments had already been deferred in the CARES act.)

      • Why 70 Percent of Digital Transformations Fail

        “Companies either transform or die in industrial revolutions,” writes former P&G executive Tony Saldanha in his recently published book Why Digital Transformations Fail. “Digital transformation is our current generation’s attempt to transform in the face of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, the sad truth is that 70 percent of all digital transformations still fail today… a shocking number, given the extremely high stakes,” he adds.

        What accounts for such a high failure rate? An inadequate strategy; competitive pressures; technology; talent; culture? While all these factors are important, “The surprising answer to why digital transformations fail is a lack of discipline in defining and executing the right steps for digital transformations to take off and stay ahead,” notes Saldanha, adding that “It is possible to apply the proven checklist methodology from the airline and medical fields to improve the 70 percent failure rate.”

        In a 2015 article, Klaus Schwab, – founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, – positioned the Fourth Industrial Revolution within the historical context of three previous industrial revolutions. The First, – starting in the late 18th century, – was driven by new innovations like the steam engine and marked the evolution from an agrarian to an industrial economy. The Second, – a century later, – was driven by steel, electricity, the internal combustion engine and mass production techniques. The Third, – starting in the 1960s, – saw the advent of digital computers, IT, the Internet, and the automation of process in just about all industries. The Fourth, – driven by increasingly pervasive and inexpensive digital technologies, – is now blurring the lines between the digital, physical, and biological worlds, leading to widespread economic and social disruption.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Manchurian Candidate in 2020

        The Manchurian Candidate is a fascinating backdrop for current political theater best evidenced by the Democratic National Convention right now. Many liberals became very worked up about Russiagate—the obsession over Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Similarly, The Manchurian Candidate captures a fear about interference from a menacing communist force propping up the right-wing in a horseshoe theory coalition against centrist liberal patriotic democracy.

      • Torch Songs for Joe

        Politically packaged, extended-play infomercials (i.e., conventions) make abundant use of music. Partly this has to do with the necessity of cleansing the palate and the ear of the monotone of presidential promotion and the same-old pitches (i.e., speeches).

      • DNC Featured Most Native Speakers Ever, But Native Issues Remain Under-Addressed

        This year’s Democratic National Convention (DNC) has had more Native representation than any other in the party’s history.

      • Whatever Happened to the Green New Deal?

        The Green New Deal was the signature issue of the Green Party in the 2010s. Howie Hawkins was the first US candidate to campaign for a Green New Deal in 2010 running for New York governor. The Green Party’s presidential candidate in 2012 and 2016, Jill Stein, made “A Green New Deal for America” the theme of her two campaigns.

      • The People Who Help Run Our Elections Are Regularly Receiving Death Threats

        Jared Dearing, the director of Kentucky’s Board of Elections, had little to do with Louisville, the state’s largest city, having only one polling place for the June 28 primary. It was a county decision, and it made sense. In-person turnout was expected to be low during the pandemic. The polling place, a convention center, offered multiple locations to cast ballots, and transportation by bus there was free.

      • ‘We Can and Will Overcome This Season of Darkness in America’: Joe Biden Accepts Democratic Presidential Nomination

        “American history tells us that it’s been in our darkest moments that we’ve made our greatest progress, that we’ve found the light. In this dark moment, I believe we’re poised to make great progress again, that we can find the light once more.”

      • Biden Vows to Fight COVID, Climate, Racism and Economic Meltdown

        We air highlights from Joe Biden’s highly anticipated speech on the final night of the Democratic National Convention, in which he formally accepted the Democratic presidential nomination, focused on the dangers of President Trump’s reelection and pledged to address the four simultaneous crises of systemic racism, the pandemic, the economic downturn and the climate crisis. “United, we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America,” Biden said. The 25-minute speech was delivered from his home state of Delaware.

      • The DNC Was Virtual, but the Protests Were Real as Hell

        In the early months of 2020, this year’s Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Milwaukee seemed primed for a showdown between the moderate and progressive wings of the party. Organizers with the Coalition to March on the DNC, an alliance of over 70 groups from around the country, initially planned for a huge turnout, and hoped to use the occasion to advance left policy demands.

      • Biden Isn’t a Progressive. The Question Is How Far He Can Be Pushed.

        By now, teeming bacteria on the volcanic floor of the Mariana Trench have heard that last night was the speech of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s life. It was, and he exceeded expectations.

      • War, Peace and the Democrats

        “There’s something happening here/What it is ain’t exactly clear . . .”

      • Trump Isn’t the Worst President, But He is the Most American

        Donald Trump is the worst president in American History! That seems to be the downright unanimous opinion of every left wing wonk from here to Noam Chomsky, and I might have a bit more respect for the view if these throngs of progressive intellectuals weren’t so goddamn smug about it. After all I’ve never been particularly tame in my criticisms of the son of a bitch myself. His penchant for pure evil is pretty well documented. Any human being who fucks with children the way he has at the borders deserves things I can’t publicly advocate without being shipped off to Gitmo. As if that weren’t enough, his role in the ongoing genocide in Yemen, the ethnic cleansing in the West Bank, and the downright apocalyptic baiting of Iran and China should make it crystal clear to anyone with half a working soul that Donald Trump is a world class bastard in the first degree. But the worst president in American history? I don’t know, the Donald has some pretty stiff competition there.

      • I Participated in the DNC Rules Committee. I Don’t Believe the Party Is United.

        The Democrats’ pandemic convention has been an uncanny spectacle to behold. Centrally coordinated from Milwaukee but technically distributed across the country through a combination of live and pre-recorded speeches and performances, the Democratic National Convention (DNC) has sought to portray a Democratic Party whose members have united around the shared goal of defeating Donald Trump. But beneath the canned TV relays, there is an ominous edge to the DNC’s unity: The technical setup of the convention has foreclosed most avenues for dissent, and the DNC’s management of key decisions is palpably out of step with the goals behind which the party claims to be unified.

      • When It Comes to Climate Change, It’s Joe Biden Versus the DNC

        The Democratic National Convention this week played against the backdrop of compound crises: Covid-19 and climate change, economic instability and racial injustice. Our country is dying, literally, for change, and the current president cannot deliver. So it’s up to the Democratic Party and its nominees, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, to tackle this mess—and they’re off to a good start.

      • ‘I hope common sense will prevail’ Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s first press conference since fleeing Belarus, in brief

        On Friday, August 21, Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya) gave her first press conference since fleeing Belarus for Lithuania. Here’s a quick rundown of what she had to say (direct quotes are in quotation marks). You can watch the full press conference here.

      • Trump’s Child’s Glossary of Insults

        All of us can remember the days of our youth when we would seek out words and expressions to express annoyance at those who had given offense. In many cases the parties needing remonstrance were siblings, and in some cases, one or both parents by whom we had been admonished or otherwise dealt with in a manner that we, as the child in the event, felt needed to be harshly addressed.

      • Joe and Kamala’s Big Ideah: A Children’s Illustrated

        As this old babyboomer gets older, inexplicably, I feel hipper, more in tune with the cosmos than ever before, and yet friskier than ever with the activist thing, the need to save the planet from the oil of dinosaur’s revenge and the slick dinosaurs in DC intent on taking us down with them — like Lost Weekend alcoholics rushing toward the bottom of the bottle.

      • Trump 2.0: The Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

        Has the world gone mad, or have I? Each night I have to pinch myself to make sure that the day’s events weren’t some feverish nightmare.

      • Lesser Evil is Still Evil

        Every four years America is presented with a false choice, each one essentially a continuation of the status quo by different means, politically and economically related, but optically opposed. Biden had already said that nothing will fundamentally change if he is elected president, so why should any American bother to vote for this specific lesser of two evils? A lesser evil is still an evil. One way to understand the moral panic circling the election is precisely in understanding the Democratic platform, which is essentially ‘we are not Trump,’ though in every other way they are the same, touting strange notions like bipartisanship. What seems to bother most Democrat-leaning Americans is that Donald Trump acts like a mirror for what the entire electorate engages in, namely American exceptionalism. Both parties are guilty of this, though the Democrats pretend that their ‘fight’ is of a higher purpose, a nebulous and abstract identity politics that serves up corrupt authoritarian corporate-backed politicians and attempts to whitewash them in identitarian rhetorical navel gazing. The Trumpian ‘opposition’ consists of directly associating itself and engaging in American exceptionalism, no lip service, no shadow acting, just pure raw cynical absolutism. And this is the crux of the problem. The fight isn’t over policy (the Democratic platform is a clear indication of this) but over image. Americans don’t want to ‘look like’ Donald Trump, but they’ll vote for many of his policies. They’ll happily engage in all the tropism, suicidal foreign policy, corporate propaganda, and patriotic rah rah shopping sprees, just as long as Trump isn’t the one facing them on their smartphone screens.

      • Massachusetts Progressive Candidates Outraise Centrist Opponents in Last Days of Primary Campaign

        Both Sen. Ed Markey and Alex Morse outraised their opponents in recent days, even after an endorsement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for Markey’s challenger and a smear campaign directed at Morse.

      • On Fox, The Grayzone’s Anya Parampil rips ‘criminal neocons’ in Biden & Trump camps
      • Are Postal Service Cuts Motivated by Voter Suppression or Privatization—or Both?

        The Postmaster General’s actions are advancing two of President Trump’s goals: undermining confidence in vote by mail and laying a foundation for postal privatization. 

      • Nearly 700 Protests Planned for Saturday at Post Offices Across Country as DeJoy Slammed for Defense of Mail Sabotage

        “From the most remote village in the Alaskan tundra to the tiniest island in the Everglades, there’s one connection we’ve always depended on: the mail.”

      • DeJoy Has “No Intention” to Reinstall Sorting Machines, Mailboxes

        Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday that he has no plans to reinstate mail sorting machines in U.S. Postal Service (USPS) facilities, nor to replace public mailboxes that have been removed across the country.

      • “They’re Not Needed, Sir”: DeJoy Tells Senate He Has No Intention of Returning Mail Sorting Machines

        “DeJoy himself confirmed that there have been significant service slowdowns. It makes no sense at all for him to say USPS sorting machine ‘are not needed.’ Put them back.”

      • “Light Is More Powerful Than Dark”: Biden Vows to Fight COVID, Climate, Racism & Economic Meltdown

        We air highlights from Joe Biden’s highly anticipated speech on the final night of the Democratic National Convention, in which he formally accepted the Democratic presidential nomination, focused on the dangers of President Trump’s reelection and pledged to address the four simultaneous crises of systemic racism, the pandemic, the economic downturn and the climate crisis. “United, we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America,” Biden said. The 25-minute speech was delivered from his home state of Delaware.

      • Still Triangulating After All These Years

        While it’s stunning to watch the DNC repeat the losing strategy of 2016, we should know this is part of a decades-long history of moving toward the right: aka Triangulation.

      • The Specter of a Fascist Coup by Trump Haunts the US, But There’s Worse to Worry About

        Spreading faster than COVID-19 among those on the portside, warnings of a fascist-style coup by Trump are rampant this presidential campaign season. Should Trump fail to carry the Electoral College, Noam Chomsky admonishes, “he could send Blackshirts out in the streets… preparation for a plan to try to bring the military in to carry out something which would amount to a military coup.”

      • The Fox is Still in the Henhouse at the Post Office

        Skyleigh Heinen, a U.S. Army veteran who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and anxiety, relies on the Postal Service for timely delivery of her meds to be able to function. She was one of thousands of Americans from all walks of life who spoke out recently to demand an end to a forced slowdown in mail delivery.

      • Virtual 2020 DNC Wraps with Calls for Empathy, Unity & a Broad Coalition to Rally Around Joe Biden

        The 2020 Democratic National Convention has wrapped up, with speakers on the final night including California Governor Gavin Newsom, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and 13-year-old Brayden Harrington, who talked about how Joe Biden had personally helped him with his stutter. We air highlights from the evening’s addresses.

      • Which Side Are You On?

        In November, we will not be offered a choice between a greater evil and a lesser evil, nor a choice between capitalism and socialism, and certainly not a choice between living in an empire and living in a republic. We will be offered a choice between a common-variety American politician and a dictator. Wake up, folks, we are living in a 21st-century American version of 1933 Germany.

      • Infomercial Over: Not Good, But It Could Have Been A Lot Worse

        Before long, this year’s Democratic Party convention, its infomercial, will be a distant memory. The production values were good. For the most part, I found it watchable, even when the focus was on Biden rather than Trump. In view of what the Democrats are selling, it could have been a lot worse.

      • How to Rig an Election: an Interview With Greg Palast

        Greg Palast does not mince words about the 2020 elections.

      • The Day After Election Day

        The view passed down from on high in the U.S. is that elections are the effective and legitimate means of collective decision-making in the realm of the political. Conversely, on matters of war and peace, economic distribution, environmental wellbeing, healthcare, education, housing, and social welfare— the areas where collective outcomes matter, these are either considered ‘economic’ in nature, or elected representatives defer to markets, grant decision-making power to corporate pleaders, or act with unanimity across alleged ideological differences. In other words, the liberal conception of politics has remarkably little to do with collective decision-making.

      • Cornel West & Ben Jealous on the DNC and Whether Progressives Can Push Joe Biden Leftward

        Harvard professor Cornel West and Ben Jealous, president of People for the American Way and former president of the NAACP, discuss the 2020 DNC, Joe Biden’s vow to fight systemic racism and “overcome this season of darkness in America,” the historic nomination of Kamala Harris as his partner on the ticket, and how the convention was a showcase for a broad anti-Trump coalition, including prominent Republican figures given plum speaking slots, but few voices from the party’s insurgent left wing. “At this moment, with the decline and fall of the American empire, it looks as if the system is unable to generate enough energy to seriously reform itself. It remains sanitized, superficial,” says Dr. West. “I want fundamental change.” Jealous says Biden is someone progressives can work with and pressure. “The theme of this convention was really one of unity,” he notes. “This is a time when we have to come together to defeat a president who is the most evil, the most corrupt that any of us have seen.”

      • Roaming Charges: Conventional Weapons at the DNC
      • TikTok removes 380,000 videos in U.S. for violating hate speech policy

        TikTok, which has been under scrutiny over its content moderation practices, in March named the initial members of a content advisory council, to give advice on its policies and evaluate the company’s actions.

      • [Old] Extremists are Using a Range of Techniques to Exploit TikTok

        ADL has alerted TikTok to the range of examples of hate speech on their platform, including the examples that follow, and in recent weeks ADL’s Center on Technology and Society and Center on Extremism have been working closely with TikTok’s Trust and Safety team to help them identify and address the hate on their platform. TikTok has committed to working closely with ADL to address these issues going forward.

      • Citing “violence,” Facebook officially has banned anarchist and anti-fascist content, alongside QAnon

        Popular anarchist news sites CrimethInc and It’s Going Down have released a joint statement on the situation, claiming that it’s Facebook cowtowing to bad faith “both side-ism” to appease Donald Trump for his demonstrably-false claims about “antifa violence.” From both sites:

        [...]

        This new Facebook ban affects 790 groups, 100 pages, 1500 ads, and 300 hashtags relating to QAnon; by comparison, they’ve banned 980 groups, 520 Pages, 160 ads, and over 1400 hashtags allegedly relating to “antifa.” Another 1950 groups, 440 pages, and 10,000 accounts are facing additional restrictions while remaining on the platform.

      • A rift in democratic attitudes is opening up around the world

        Looking across the globe, however, academics generally agree that democracy is in a slump. One much-watched barometer is the World Values Survey (WVS), a poll published twice a decade. We combined its data with those from the European Values Survey to study trends in 98 countries from 1995 to 2020. Our analysis found that support for autocrats has indeed grown in most parts of the world, but this effect is weakest in healthy democracies, despite their recent flirtations with populism.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Content Moderation Knowledge Sharing Shouldn’t Be A Backdoor To Cross-Platform Censorship

        Ten thousand moderators at YouTube. Fifteen thousand moderators at Facebook. Billions of users, millions of decisions a day. These are the kinds of numbers that dominate most discussions of content moderation today. But we should also be talking about 10, 5, or even 1: the numbers of moderators at sites like Automattic (WordPress), Pinterest, Medium, and JustPasteIt—sites that host millions of user-generated posts but have far fewer resources than the social media giants.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Nextdoor Faces Criticism From Volunteer Moderators Over Its Support Of Black Lives Matter (June 2020)

        Summary: Nextdoor is the local “neighborhood-focused” social network, which allows for hyper-local communication within a neighborhood. The system works by having volunteer moderators from each neighborhood, known as “leads.” For many years, Nextdoor has faced accusations of perpetuating racial stereotyping from people using the platform to report sightings of black men and women in their neighborhood as somehow “suspicious.”

      • Washington Court Says First Amendment Protects Teen’s Emoji-Laden Rant About Her Mother

        Via the wonderfully entertaining law blog Lowering the Bar comes this interesting First Amendment case involving teens, texting, true threat discussions, and a judicial examination of emojis.

      • EFF Sues Texas A&M University Once Again to End Censorship Against PETA on Facebook and YouTube

        This week, EFF filed suit to stop Texas A&M University from censoring comments by PETA on the university’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

        In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas A&M held its spring commencement ceremonies online, with broadcasts over Facebook and YouTube. Both the Facebook and YouTube pages had comment sections open to any member of the public—but administrators deleted comments that were associated with PETA’s high-profile campaign against the university’s muscular dystrophy experiments on golden retrievers and other dogs.

      • Facebook Has Begun Purging Accounts Tied to Anti-Fascist Groups

        On Wednesday a number of anarchist Facebook accounts, some of which were associated with the antifascist movement, were removed without warning. These included It’s Going Down — a widely followed news and media platform publishing original content and reprinted analyses about “anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements” — and the longstanding anarchist group CrimethInc, which describes itself as “a decentralized network pledged to anonymous collective action.” The removal of these anarchist accounts was part of a general purge, which also included many far right accounts, including those associated with paramilitaries and conspiracy theories that have inspired violence.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Civil Rights Group Condemns Trump Threat to Put Law Enforcement at Polls as a Tactic ‘Right From the Jim Crow Playbook’

        “This voter suppression scheme is intended to intimidate voters and cause a chilling effect on the electorate.”

      • Conscientious Objection

        On a cool late-summer morning with a seacoast feel here in the landlocked Mohawk Valley, the air’s so sweet and fresh, it feels like I’m breathing health and well-being. But it won’t last. As the sun rises higher, the noxious, hot, humid, locked-in valley air takes over, a descending pall like depressing awareness of the pandemic. Odors – such as those that emanate from the sewer drain in front of our house, linger suggestively, sulfurishly. No wonder the fortunate flock to the shore, to their summer homes in Cape Cod or Kennebunkport in these months! I remember that salt-laden sea air of coastal Maine well, having spent several luxuriously long summers there in my childhood, and in my early adult years lived there working domestic service jobs. Though I long for it still, fortunes being what they are, mine, as far as seacoast summers go, went “south.” Whatever it might have taken to have a means to afford a month on the Maine coast in summer, I took the other road.

      • The Supreme Court’s Failure To Protect The Right To Assemble Has Led Directly To Violence Against Protesters

        It appears the Supreme Court is unwilling to address a another problem it created.

      • Ending the School to Prison Pipeline

        This school year will be unlike any other.

      • Missing Persons
      • How to Dismantle White Supremacy

        A few days after police lynched George Floyd, I, filled with grief, began writing what became the op-ed “The Problem Is White Supremacy.” I wrote because I needed to do something with my rage and pain. I wrote because I was frustrated with public discussions about race that rarely mentioned—let alone examined—the root cause of this atrocity: white supremacy.

      • About My “Facilitation of, and Collaboration with, Fascism”

        A Response to the Lying Slanderers of the RCP

      • How “Defund the Police” was Blocked in Minneapolis

        In mid-July, CounterPunch published, “Minneapolis Ballot Measure to Dismantle the Police Will Test the Strength of Our Movement,” authored by Robin Wonsley & Ty Moore. Intrigued by this article, I contacted Robin, and less than a month later, I interviewed her for my podcast. But already the proposal—which had attracted so much national attention—was dead, killed by the city’s undemocratic and bureaucratic process. Robin and I talked in depth about how this happened, including how the activist community sabotaged itself by giving away its power to the City Council.

      • At Washington Post, Defunding Police Is a Step Too Radical

        Instead of offering a critical analysis of this product of radical imagination, the Washington Post’s reporting upholds the status quo.

      • At Washington Post, Defunding Police Is a Step Too Radical

        Since the May 25 murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, calls across the US  to defund police departments—shifting resources from law enforcement to social services—have grown louder. In June, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio shifted $1 billion from the NYPD—at least on paper (Gothamist, 6/29/20)—and Minneapolis city council members vowed to dismantle the police department and build a new model of public safety (though the city’s charter commission kept an initiative to eliminate a requirement to maintain a minimum number of police officers off the November ballot—Washington Post, 8/5/20).

      • Omsk doctors agree to send Navalny to Germany for treatment

        Doctors at the Omsk hospital treating opposition politician Alexey Navalny have decided to send him to Germany for treatment, reports the local news outlet Gorod55.

      • Chief physician at Omsk hospital says Navalny’s working diagnosis is a metabolic disease

        The head doctor at the Omsk hospital treating Alexey Navalny says that the main working diagnosis for his condition is a metabolic disease caused by low blood sugar. 

      • German doctors have deemed Navalny fit for transport abroad for treatment, his spokeswoman says

        After examining Alexey Navalny, a team of intensive care doctors from Germany have concluded that he can be transported, the opposition politician’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, wrote on Twitter. 

      • Sources say that Navalny’s blood work didn’t reveal any traces of poison

        Alexey Navalny, who is currently hospitalized in the Siberian city of Omsk after showing signs of severe poisoning, didn’t have any toxic substances in his bloodstream, a source familiar with the results of his medical examinations told Meduza. 

      • Poisoned in Russia: Alexey Navalny fights for his life as a deadly trend catches up to the country’s top oppositionist

        Opposition politician and Anti-Corruption Foundation creator Alexey Navalny was hospitalized early on Thursday, August 20, in critical condition. At the time this podcast was recorded, he was in a coma and breathing through a ventilator in Omsk, where his flight home to Moscow was forced to make an emergency landing when he became violently ill.

      • ‘Navalny’s in critical condition’ An interview with Jaka Bizilj, founder of the German non-profit evacuating Alexey Navalny to Berlin

        On the evening of Friday, August 21, doctors in the Siberian city of Omsk finally agreed to evacuate opposition politician Alexey Navalny to Germany. The Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) founder is still in a coma and his exact diagnosis remains unknown. His associates believe that he was poisoned. Navalny is set to leave Omsk on Saturday morning. That said, throughout the day on Friday, local doctors insisted that he couldn’t be transported — and (according to Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh) they lied to the press at least once, claiming that the German doctors who had come to medevac Navalny agreed that he shouldn’t be moved. The plane that will fly Navalny to Berlin was arranged by the Cinema for Peace Foundation — the same organization that medevaced Mediazona publisher and “Pussy Riot” member Pyotr Verzilov to Germany when he was mysteriously poisoned in 2018. Meduza’s special correspondent Svetlana Reiter called Berlin and spoke to the Cinema for Peace Foundation’s founder, Jaka Bizilj, about Navalny’s planned evacuation.

      • Doctors in Omsk claim that Navalny has a ‘metabolic disease.’ What does that mean? And is it even probable?
      • Navalny’s wife appeals to Putin for permission to take him to Germany for treatment

        Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of prominent opposition politician Alexey Navalny, has written an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin seeking permission to transport her husband to Germany for medical treatment. 

      • Doctors say they’re entertaining ‘five provisional diagnoses’ to explain Alexey Navalny’s mysterious coma, but they’re all a secret

        Alexander Murakhovsky, the chief physician at the hospital in Omsk where Alexey Navalny is now fighting for his life, announced on Friday that doctors are reviewing five provisional diagnoses to explain the opposition politician’s apparent poisoning. 

      • ‘They Have Nowhere To Run’: Inmate Families, Advocates Push for Prisoner Release as California Wildfires Engulf State

        “I’m furious at the incompetence and severe inhumanity of this,” one advocate said.

      • The Black Led “Defund the Police” Movement Wins Great Breakthrough in Los Angeles: An Organizer’s Interpretation

        At 11 PM on Tuesday June 30—after 13 hours of public testimony and board deliberations and yes, years of organizing—the Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police movement in Los Angeles and nationally took a great leap forward. The Los Angeles School Board, led by Board Member Monica Garcia, with the support of board members Nick Melvoin, Kelly Gonez, and Jackie Goldberg, voted 4 to 3 to cut the $70 million a year budget of the Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) by $25 million—35%—and move those funds to programs focused on the needs of Black students. This reduction in the department’s funds will potentially lay off 65 armed officers and cut the department’s overtime budget. We know of no other Defund the Police campaign in a major U.S. City that has made such a major political and material breakthrough—in this case, Los Angeles City, with 4 million residents, 650,000 students, and the second largest school system in the U.S.

      • What Portland Protesters Think of the Feds

        This image was taken on July 24, 2020, when the battle was up close at the reinforced iron fence  surrounding the Mark Hatfield Federal Courthouse.

      • On the Portland Beating: The Ubiquity of Phones is Arresting
      • For Election Administrators, Death Threats Have Become Part of the Job

        Jared Dearing, the director of Kentucky’s Board of Elections, had little to do with Louisville, the state’s largest city, having only one polling place for the June 28 primary. It was a county decision, and it made sense. In-person turnout was expected to be low during the pandemic. The polling place, a convention center, offered multiple locations to cast ballots, and transportation by bus there was free.

        Nevertheless, as luminaries from LeBron James to U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., tweeted in outrage about the supposed disenfranchisement of Louisville voters, threats poured into Dearing’s office. “You’re too scared to answer your phone,” one man said in a voicemail message from a blocked number. “Go find a gun and kill yourself. Every person that didn’t get to vote because of you should get to beat the shit out of you.” The man, who identified himself as a Washington, D.C., resident, expressed hope that Dearing, a “bigoted whore,” would be mangled in a flaming car crash.

      • ‘Palestine is Still the Issue’: UN Vote Exposes, Isolates Canada

        “Despite its peaceful reputation, Canada is not acting as a benevolent player on the international stage.”

      • ‘Palestine is Still the Issue’: UN Vote Exposes, Isolates Canada

        The notion that ‘Canada is better’, especially when compared with US foreign policy, has persisted for many years. Recent events at the United Nations have, however, exposed the true nature of Canada’s global position, particularly in the matter of its blind and unconditional support for Israel.

      • Media Show Little Interest in Israeli Bombing of Gaza

        Israel is bombing Palestine again, although you likely wouldn’t guess that from watching TV news. For the eleventh straight night, Israeli Defense Force warplanes have been bombing the densely populated Gaza Strip. Israel’s bombs have caused considerable damage, forcing the shutdown of the area’s only power plant.

      • How Israel Wages War on Palestinian History

        When the Palestinian actor Mohammed Bakri made a documentary about Jenin in 2002 – filming immediately after the Israeli army had completed rampaging through the West Bank city, leaving death and destruction in its wake – he chose an unusual narrator for the opening scene: a mute Palestinian youth.

      • A Closer Look at the Public Art at Chicago Police Stations

        Last week, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office announced a plan to reassess the city’s hundreds of pieces of public art, including monuments and memorials. The announcement came about a month after the city removed two statues of Christopher Columbus — without warning and in the middle of the night — following protests. In a statement, Lightfoot said the effort “is not just about a single statue or mural, but how we create a platform to channel our city’s dynamic civic energy to purposefully reflect our values as Chicagoans.” She also announced the formation of a committee to review “artworks that may be problematic.”

        The details of the plan are still being hashed out. But a city spokesperson said that it will include “public art on city or sister agency property,” including public schools and police stations.

      • 19th amendment: A 100-year milestone for women… and what comes next

        Although the amendment was ratified on 18 August 1920, it was preceded by decades of organising and protests – spearheaded by leading figures of US women’s suffrage like Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

        The 19th amendment is considered to be a seminal piece of legislation, but for minority women – particularly African-American, Hispanic and Native-American women – there was a long road ahead to ensure complete access to the vote.

      • Belgium in shock over police brutality footage

        Several police officers are later seen entering the room to handcuff Chovanec. When this fails to calm him, they return to hold him down, with one sitting on his chest for 16 minutes.

        During this sequence, a female officer is seen in the cell dancing and making a Nazi salute.

      • Woman Forced Out Of Home For 25 Lakh Dowry, Gets Triple Talaq On WhatsApp

        A woman from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh has accused her husband of divorcing her by uttering triple talaq over a WhatsApp call, police said. The incident happened on July 31, the 42-year-old woman stated in her complaint.

      • Netflix comes under fire for sexualising teens in new film ‘Cuties’; streaming platform apologises, updates pictures

        Various petitions filed on Change.org started circulating on social media after the poster that allegedly sexualised teens was released.

      • Three dead in Bengaluru violence over anti-Islam Facebook post

        Unable to quell protesters using batons and tear gas, besieged officers opened fire as they risked being overpowered during the violent unrest in a Muslim-dominated neighborhood, the southern city’s police chief told Reuters today.

        “Despite elders of the community trying to pacify the crowd, the mob burnt vehicles on the road, they attacked the police station,” Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said.

      • Facebook says it denounces hate & bigotry on its platform, says need to do more to tackle hate speech

        Since then, there has been a war of words between the opposition Congress and the BJP. The Parliamentary Panel on Information Technology has called Facebook officials to depose before it on September 2 over safeguarding citizens rights and misuse of social media platforms.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Bizarre Court Ruling Helps Cable Broadband Monopoly Charter Tap Dance Around Merger Conditions

        Eager to impose higher rates on its mostly captive customers, Charter Communications (Spectrum) has been lobbying the FCC to kill merger conditions affixed to its 2015 merger with Time Warner Cable. The conditions, among other things, prohibited Charter from imposing nonsensical broadband caps and overage fees, or engaging in the kind of interconnection shenanigans you might recall caused Verizon customers’ Netflix streams to slow to a crawl back in 2015. The conditions also involved some fairly modest broadband expansion requirements Charter initially tried to lie their way out of.

      • Regulators Are Ignoring How Low Orbit Satellite Broadband Is Trashing The Night Sky

        As previously noted, Space X, Amazon, and others are pushing harder than ever into the low-orbit satellite broadband game. The industry, pockmarked by a long road of failures, involves firing thousands of smaller, cheaper, lower orbit satellite constellations into space to help supplement existing broadband services. The lower orbit means that LO satellite service will offer lower-latency broadband than traditional satellite offerings, which for 15 years or so have been widely maligned as expensive, slow, “laggy,” with annoying monthly caps.

    • Monopolies

      • Why Uber and Lyft Were on the Brink of Shutting Down in California — and What Happens Next

        The issue: Uber and Lyft were set to be subject to a recently-enacted California labor law, Assembly Bill 5 (aka AB5), which requires “gig economy” companies to reclassify workers as actual employees (instead of contractors). The intent of AB5, which went into effect Jan. 1, was to provide protections for gig workers, so they would be eligible to receive legally mandated employer benefits like a minimum wage, overtime pay, paid leave and health care coverage.

      • Apple tells court it “wants Epic on iOS” but Fortnite “hotfix” turned into Epic Games’ “hot mess”: response to motion for emergency relief

        With respect to Epic’s claim of suffering irreparable harm unless the court grants its motion, Apple’s opposition brief is consistent with a statement it provided to The Verge a few days ago. The term “status quo” plays a central role here. The purpose of temporary relief is to prevent a party from changing a situation to the moving party’s detriment in the absence of an injunction (a TRO is the fastest injunction, even more preliminary than what is called a preliminary injunction). Apple explains to the court that Epic’s perspective on the status quo is, in reality, something else: the status quo would be for Epic to simply comply with Apple’s App Store terms and policies, and with its developer agreement, while its antitrust complaint challenging those terms is pending. If, however, the court granted Epic’s motion, it would allow Epic to get away with a breach of its contractual obligations. The requested TRO would not preserve the status quo. It would force Apple to modify its long-standing App Store terms.

        Another key term–in connection with any type of injunction–is “irreparable harm.” Epic’s motion for a TRO argued that the unavailability of Fortnite on the App Store and, as a further consequence of Epic’s non-compliance, the termination of its developer agreement (which would prevent Epic from using Apple’s developer tools in the further development not only of Epic’s games but also of its Unreal Engine) would constitute irreparable harm. Apple’s opposition brief dismisses that theory and distinguishes between irreparable harm on the one hand and “self-inflicted wounds” on the other hand. The Ninth Circuit, which is the appeals court for (among many others) the Northern District of California, stated earlier this year that “self-inflicted wounds are not irreparable injury,” quoting earlier decisions in this circuit and in the Seventh Circuit.

      • Trademarks

        • Apple Goes In Even Harder Against Prepear Over Non-Apple Logo

          A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about Apple opposing the trademark for Prepear, a recipe sharing phone app, over its pear logo. The whole thing was completely absurd. The logos don’t look anything alike, the color schemes and artistic styles are different, and also a pear is not an apple. I likened the whole thing to those absurd CNN commercials, which should give you some idea of just how dumb this whole thing was. So, thanks to this idiocy being exposed and the public backlash, Apple finally realized the error of its ways and backed off the opposition.

      • Copyrights

[Meme] Linux is Becoming a Code ‘Burial Ground’, Sometimes at the Expense of Size and Complexity (Bloat)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What ASF and Linux Foundation also became (place to shelve struggling corporate projects)

Sidious mask: Linux. The new Windows?

Summary: Code that not many people are interested in (and which may in fact be obsolete and undesirable for patent/monopoly reasons) is being dumped or tucked into Linux; the sheer magnitude — and the growing concern about the ramifications this entails — was explained below by Con Kolivas, who developed a bunch of Linux schedulers (now MuQSS)

Last Wednesday/Thursday:

  • More delays and motivation issues

    It’s fair to say that my motivation for keeping up with linux kernel development has been flagging for some time now and the current world situation is not helping. Hearing the news extol the virtues of linux-5.8 being the “biggest release ever” does not particularly aid my situation.

    [...]

    As time goes on and more and more features get added to the scheduler that have nothing to do with ordinary desktop and mobile platform usage, at some stage distributions will be tempted to become dependent on one or more of those features and if I don’t develop MuQSS much further to incorporate my own version of those features, it will become redundant. Given the completely different scheduler architecture of MuQSS versus CFS means I can’t simply just port over the code most of the time; I have to write my own complete feature equivalent version and these are far from trivial. The accounting code is completely different, most of the CGROUP features aren’t even implemented, and deadline scheduling is not available at all for example. If more of these appear in the future and eventually become showstoppers, then unless some miracle happens to make me find the motivation to work on them, it will be the death of it.

  • MuQSS/CK’s Con Kolivas Becoming Concerned Over The Increasing Size Of The Linux Kernel

    Longtime independent Linux kernel developer Con Kolivas known for his work previously on the BFS scheduler and now the MuQSS scheduler as well as his out-of-tree “-ck” patch set is becoming increasingly concerned over the growing size of the kernel code-base and that ultimately could put an end to his work with a focus on greater desktop interactivity/performance.

    Kolivas stopped contributing to the mainline Linux kernel a decade ago but has continued maintaining the “-ck” patch-set for each new kernel release as well as working on the likes of the Brain Fuck Scheduler and Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler. Generally he’s been quite punctual in re-basing the work for new kernel releases aside from when the retired anaesthesiologist took a break earlier this year to design equipment for the COVID-19 battle. But now his latest battle is the increasing size of the Linux kernel that often brings core infrastructure changes as opposed to just new drivers.

On DebConf (and Other Conferences) as Potential Facilitator of Bribes From Microsoft

Posted in Debian, Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Selected pages from the new report [PDF] reproduced below:

SPI report sample page #1

SPI report sample page #2

SPI report sample page #3

SPI report sample page #4

SPI report sample page #5

SPI report sample page #6

SPI report sample page #7

SPI report sample page #8

SPI report sample page #9

SPI report sample page #10

SPI report sample page #11

SPI report sample page #12

Summary: An expression of concern about Debian opening up to funds from companies that clearly and blatantly oppose the Debian Project (or in the process of co-opting it)

“Here is something interesting,” a reader told us yesterday, “not sure if you have come across this yet. No application online at SPI these days. States to email the membership email.”

“The costs may vary depending on the location of the event and the developers (e.g. European developers, event in South America), but notice how travel spendings grew 40 times bigger in just a couple of years.”This is about Software in the Public Interest (SPI). We wrote about Microsoft's role in relation to SPI some months ago, quoting one reader (not the same as above) who said “Microsoft is regularly listed as a DebConf sponsor since 2016″ (their logo shows up in https://debconf19.debconf.org/, https://debconf18.debconf.org/, https://debconf17.debconf.org/ and in https://debconf16.debconf.org/). Debian became more censorious in recent years. Debian’s funding is apparently somewhat of an unspeakable topic these days.

“DebConf numbers,” according to what we were told yesterday, “coincide with statements regarding conferences used as bribery…”

Well, as per SPI [PDF] (we’ve examined this document, with a breakdown of about a million dollars in 2019):

DebConf17:
2,950.86 Travel

DebConf18
11,779.66 Travel

DebConf19
781.90 Banking fees
23,445.87 Conferences
122.11 IT
132,833.61 Travel

The costs may vary depending on the location of the event and the developers (e.g. European developers, event in South America), but notice how travel spendings grew 40 times bigger in just a couple of years.

“We’re still investigating the matter…”“Talk about a huge increase,” our reader noted. “Maybe the money they took in was more during the timeframe of DebConf19… or maybe… it’s something else. Not sure.”

We’re still investigating the matter; that’s not to say Debian is corrupt or anything (my wife and I both use Debian “Buster” on our main machines), but clarity/clarifications would help. The new Debian Project Leader (DPL) seems sincere and he has averted scandals/confrontations thus far, so maybe we’ll inquire politely; we urge readers to consider doing the same.

Managing ‘Intellectual Property’ (Managing ‘IP’) is Promoting Software Patents for a Fee

Posted in Deception, Patents at 5:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Managing IP lying

Summary: The boosters of software patents are so disingenuous and so shallow that they’re literally being paid for it (it is all about litigation, not innovation)

Managing Intellectual Property (or Managing ‘IP’) is not a hoax site but a farce of a site. Yesterday, for instance, it spoke about “IP harvesting” — being a site of litigation fanatics, who call lowering of patent quality to get more patents “patent gains” (same article, link omitted). What a bunch of jokesters. Weeks ago they made a bunch of highly misleading articles about UPC (what some would call classic “fake news”), they constantly whitewash the European Patent Office (EPO) — both under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos — and they lobby for software patents in Europe on the payroll of litigation companies. Being sympathetic to patent trolls, who law firms profit from (at both ends, defendants and plaintiffs), is part of the ‘parcel’…

“Being sympathetic to patent trolls, who law firms profit from (at both ends, defendants and plaintiffs), is part of the ‘parcel’…”Yesterday we noticed advocacy of software patents from China (PRC). “Sponsored by” (paid spam) the author, the article by Quan Kang focuses on China but mentions Europe also (link here, but it’s a paid-for ad disguised as ‘article’). The author clearly understands nothing about the topic; maybe that’s a “plus”, as it makes the lying more excusable (or not a lie at all, merely “misunderstanding”). When speaking about “AI-related inventions” (the headline), the author speaks of algorithms spun as “HEY HI” (AI) for pseudo novelty’s sake — the same thing Campinos is constantly doing. “The first type,” it says, “i.e. inventions by means of AI, is permitted in China currently. Inventions created by AI independently are not allowed yet. There are no clear standards on how to examine the second kind of invention. The principle of the CNIPA on this point is essentially the same as that of the European Patent Office (EPO).”

That’s conflating the subject of the article with something completely different, which is computer-generated patents (basically something broad to that effect). “According to Section 6.3, Chapter 9, Part II of the Examination Guidelines,” it says, “for AI-related inventions, technical features and algorithmic features or business rule and method features that support each other and interact with the technical features in their function, must be clearly defined in the claims. Specifically, besides the technical features and algorithm features or business rule and method features, the interaction and interactive process of the features must be clearly defined in the claims.”

“They’re basically just facilitating — with new loopholes and buzzwords — patents on software.”Notice the words “algorithmic” and “algorithm” Here again: “1) The abstractive algorithm and its specific technique, in which the definition of at least one input parameter and its output results should be associated with specific data in the art.”

And on it goes…

They’re basically just facilitating — with new loopholes and buzzwords — patents on software. Got an “AI” patent? “HEY HI! Come on in!”

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