11.26.20

Cartoon: After Gambling With Workers’ Savings the EPO Can Do Real Estate

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO animals

Summary: New EPO cartoon from EPO insiders (the one on the right certainly looks a lot like António Campinos and the one on the left can be his EUIPO ‘import’ or Benoît Battistelli‘s INPI ‘import’)

Free as in Freedom Should Not be Associated With Cost

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 6:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sometimes being freer is more costly (in financial terms) in the short term

Free bicycle? No thanks

Summary: It’s important to remind people that so-called ‘free’ services (Clown Computing, centralised spaces that ‘farm’ their so-called ‘users’) aren’t really free; we need to advocate freedom or free-as-in-freedom alternatives

THE fake Open Source ‘movement’ wanted us to think that the term Free software was bad because it implied “cheap” and “shoddy”; this straw man argument helped them sweep a lot of media attention over to their side and, in turn, promote monopolies and surveillance companies as “good citizens” that are “open” (because they upload some code portion to proprietary prisons/PRISM like GitHub). “They already whitewash Windows 10,” Ryan told us moments ago. “Wikipedia lists it as “partially open source”.”

“GitHub is proprietary and “free of charge”; does that make it “Free”? Ask developers/projects such as YouTube-DL, which got terminated (along with all their mirrors) without even a warning; then, Microsoft reportedly threatened everyone else who ‘dared’ make a mirror.”Thankfully, more and more disillusioned people can now see that for what it really is. As we set aside some EPO affairs (we’re not abandoning that, we’ll carry on covering those matters at least once a day) we intend to focus again on advocacy for Free software. There seems to be a resurgence of it. Recently I’ve been seeing some truly encouraging signs for the #DeleteGitHub ‘movement’ or ‘campaign’, more so after the YouTube-DL debacle. Some high-profile projects have initiated their departure process (leaving Microsoft and GitHub behind). YouTube-DL and other projects (with almost no media attention paid to the latter take-downs, as Microsoft bombarded the media with face-saving PR about ‘defending’ developers) were the last straw to many. As Ryan points out, we should “also mention that after “byuu” left Higan, his successors moved it to GitHub, where it is at risk from Nintendo, who likes to abuse the DMCA as it pertains to emulators.”

“Whether they’re in the right or not,” Ryan adds, “they have a history, and Microsoft won’t fight them, so the current Higan project is at risk of being black bagged and progress lost one day because of lawyers and Microsoft.”

Free software (or libre, some say livre) is about freedom of users; that extends to things such as privacy and free speech, of course. We need to stress this point more and more. GitHub is proprietary and “free of charge”; does that make it “Free”? Ask developers/projects such as YouTube-DL, which got terminated (along with all their mirrors) without even a warning; then, Microsoft reportedly threatened everyone else who ‘dared’ make a mirror. So much “free”, eh? Like "free" food in a slaughterhouse/abattoir.

[Meme] UPC’s Pyrrhic Victory

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Is that a complaint? Maybe we need a restart

Summary: Contrary to what Team UPC says, what happened earlier today is hardly a breakthrough

Many Thanks to Free Software, the Demise of Software Patents (in Europe and the US), and So Much More

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 5:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Thank you

Summary: On a positive note we’re heading into the end of November, one month before Boxing Day; we take stock of patent affairs that impact software developers

ACROSS the United States people celebrate a holiday that we do not have here in ‘Englandia’. Except of course the shopping-related offshoots (cyber Mondays and black Fridays — whatever they even have to do with holidays when we’re still in national/nationwide lock-down).

“Enjoy the long weekend, don’t shop (“consume”) too much, and don’t believe anything Team UPC says.”This coming (long) weekend we’ll be doing some site housekeeping, having ‘earned’ some rest after 29,000+ blog posts. We’re motivated, not tired. Exhilarated, not demoralised.

What happened today in Germany was not a surprise; neither to me nor to Benjamin Henrion, among many others (we correctly predicted this outcome). Daily Links have some coverage from Team UPC, but we will write about the latest on the subject when the constitutional complaint comes (we’re rather certain it’ll arrive soon). Team UPC is, as usual, using Trump-style hype and premature victory laps in an effort to gaslight and demoralise otherwise rational people. António Campinos of the EPO did the same in the afternoon, but even his own workers don’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth.

FFII is crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding a complaint and we also expect the famous Düsseldorf attorney/lawyer to say something. People expect a complaint from him, not just from FFII, and various other parties will likely step in (at some level or capacity). We expect to see some frustrating times for Team UPC ahead of us, e.g. get ready for the FCC… actually dealing with the actual substance this time around (a key Justice already publicly insinuated it would likely come next).

Benoît Battistelli is thankful to lobbyists (CEIPI has long wanted and attempted to profit from UPC courses, even if UPC does not exist) and those who think legislation can be magically retrofitted to bypass Brexit are in for a surprise. Also, those who think they can introduce a new court system to authorise software patents in Europe (without the highest court in the EU getting involved) are simply dreaming.

Thank youIt was almost 24 months ago (2 years) that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) attempted to crush/bypass 35 U.S.C. § 101. Not only will Biden replace the current USPTO leadership (it seems inevitable); in the meantime the Federal Circuit only doubled down on 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice. Coons and his friends made no progress with a Congressional bypass and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continues to handle inter partes reviews (IPRs), habitually crushing American software patents. So we’re generally still in a good position. Not perfect, but not too bad, either.

Enjoy the long weekend, don’t shop (“consume”) too much, and don’t believe anything Team UPC says. They’ve been lying to us all for well over a decade; it’s not like this week their lies miraculously stopped.

Links 26/11/2020: PHP 8.0, Proxmox VE 6.3, UNIGINE 2.13

Posted in News Roundup at 3:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Top 5 Linux PC Desktops You Can Buy in 2020

        The year is 2020, and Linux-based operating systems have never been more popular. All thanks to their increased security and privacy, smooth updates, and open-source nature, everyone wants to at least give a shot to its multitude of distributions. Now we have already covered some of the best Linux-based laptops that you can find in the market as of now. With that being said, we get it that they are not everyone’s cup of tea, so Linux PC desktops are also something that you should be taking a look at as well.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Does Pulse Audio Deserve The Hate It Gets? – YouTube

        In today’s video we’re going to talk about Pulse Audio specifically how Pulse Audio gets a lot of hate for being a terrible linux sound system and whether a lot of this hate is actually very justified.

      • Ubuntu Podcast S13E36 – Singing at the dinner table

        This week we have been playing DRAG. We discuss what we’ve been doing during lock down, bring you an extension of love, go over all your wonderful feedback and take a trip to ThinkPad corner.

        It’s Season 13 Episode 36 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

      • BSD Now 378: Networknomicon

        Interview with Michael W. Lucas: SNMP and TLS book, cashflow for creators, book sale and more.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Inventor Linus Torvalds Wants M1 Mac For Linux [Ed: Misleading headline, he does not want it, he says Linux isn't supported (when asked about it)]

        Apple caused a sensation with the introduction of its first Macs based on its own ARM SoC, as they seem to bring a rather unexpected performance boost. Linux inventor Linus Torvalds is accordingly enthusiastic and now wants a MacBook with Apple M1.

      • Tuxera makes SMB compression available for Linux [Ed: More Microsoft assimilation]

        Tuxera, a Finnish software firm, has introduced Microsoft SMB file compression to Linux. “We can open up entirely new use cases for enterprise customers – especially for hosted storage and software-defined storage vendors,” Heinrich von Keler, director of enterprise solutions, said.

        Compressing SMB files for network transfer saves transit time and bandwidth. Tuxera has added SMB compression to its Fusion File Share by Tuxera software. The implementation is based on Microsoft’s documentation, and the company said compatibility is seamless between Windows, Mac, and Linux environments.

    • Applications

      • The 7 Best Wireless File Transfer Apps on Linux

        Do you have some files that need moving between your Linux devices, or maybe between a Linux device and another platform, but you don’t have or don’t want a wired connection? As a Linux user, you have plenty of options.

        We’re going to highlight several apps, across several different file transfer protocols, that will let you connect to different platforms and painlessly transfer your files.

      • Blender 2.91 Released with Better Cloth Sculpting, Improved Animation Tools

        Blender 2.91 was released on Wednesday as the fourth major release in 2020. It features the user experience improvements, powerful new booleans, better cloth sculpting with support for collisions, volume objects modifiers, improved animation tools and more.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Add, Delete And Grant Sudo Privileges To Users In CentOS – OSTechNix

        A “sudo” user can run an administrative task or command which a normal user is not allowed to. This guide explains how to add, delete and grant sudo privileges to users in CentOS and other RHEL-based systems. The steps given below are tested in CentOS 8 minimal edition, however it should work on other RPM-based systems as well.

      • How To Install Moodle on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Moodle on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Moodle is an Open Source Course Management System (CMS), also known as a Learning Management System (LMS) or a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It has become very popular among educators around the world as a tool for creating online dynamic web sites for their students. Moodle brings features to include assignment submission, online quizzes, wiki, grading, instant messages, discussion boards, and others. But since it’s modular software, it can be extended via plugins to add extra functionality.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of Moodle course management system (CMS) on CentOS 8.

      • Solve error: cannot communicate with server dial unix /run/snapd.socket – Linux Shout

        Then this is because, after installation, the Daemon of SNAP is have not started yet and needs to start and enable manually by the user.

      • Running Multiple MariaDB Instances on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – Linux Hint

        At times you may need to run multiple instances of the MariaDB database server software on the same computer/server. MariaDB has an official tool mysqld_multi to run multiple instances of the MariaDB database server software on the same computer/server.

        In this article, I am going to show you how to run multiple MariaDB database server instances on the same computer/server running the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS operating system. So, let’s get started.

      • Simple guide to install MongoDB on Ubuntu – LinuxTechLab

        MongoDB is an open-source general-purpose, document-based NoSQL database server which uses JSON documents. It is created keeping the current requirements of the cloud era & application developers in mind. It boasts many features, some of which are,

        Schemaless
        Provides replication
        Easy to scale-out
        index on any attribute
        auto-sharding
        Deep/rich query abilities, etc

      • The Calamares Series – everything you need to know about Calamares

        Like always some of the videos contain more information than the title suggests

      • Everything you need to know about pacman
      • Orchestrate event-driven, distributed services with Serverless Workflow and Kubernetes – Red Hat Developer

        Serverless workflows have gained renewed interest and usefulness with the rise of serverless architectures. Once seen as centralized and monolithic, they now play a key role in cloud-based event and service orchestration. Until recently, there was no vendor-neutral way to describe service orchestration, so developers were dependent on vendors and vendor implementations. We realized that we needed a common, standards-based language for describing serverless workflows.

        In this article, we introduce the Serverless Workflow specification, now in its 0.5 version release. Our goal with this project is to empower anyone to develop serverless workflow libraries, tooling, and infrastructure for modeling workflows across different cloud platforms.

      • How to Install ElkArte Forum with Apache and Let’s Encrypt SSL on CentOS 8

        ElkArte is a free and open-source forum software based on Simple Machine Forum. In this tutorial, we will show you howto install ElkArte with Let’s Encrypt SSL on CentOS 8.

      • How to Fix ‘Repository does not have a release file’ Error in Ubuntu

        When installing software on Ubuntu, sometimes you may be required to add third-party PPAs. Adding PPAs enables you to access software packages that have not been included in official Ubuntu repositories. Sometimes, when updating your system or installing software packages, you may run into an error indicating that the added PPA does not have a release file.

        This error is quite frustrating as it limits your ability to manage software packages in an efficient manner. In this guide, we will guide you on how you can resolve this issue and go back to using your system without an issue.

      • How To Install Dotnet Core on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot [Ed: If for some reason you wish to help Microsoft]

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Dotnet Core on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, The .NET Core is a free and open-source software framework and open-source software framework. It is developed by Microsoft. It is developed by Microsoft. .NET Core is a very powerful framework. It is usually used to develop web applications.

      • How to install steam on ArcoLinux | Arcolinux.com

        The motto of ArcoLinux is Learn, have fun and enjoy.

        This is the have fun part for sure.

        We install steam via the terminal.

        The desktop you install steam on does not matter.

      • How to manage Linux permissions for users, groups, and others | Enable Sysadmin

        How to manage permissions and ownership for users, groups, and all others to resources such as directories and files.

      • How to set up DaVinci Resolve for High Resolution displays in Linux – Real Linux User

        The non linear video editor DaVinci Resolve on Linux is an incredible free tool, but does not give correct out of the box scaling for high resolution displays, so it will show an UI with very small icons and characters. Even on my 4K 32 inch monitor DaVinci Resolve is at first start up almost unusable, so if you have for example a smaller 27 inch monitor with the same 4K or higher resolution, the UI components are terribly small. In this short article I will show how you can change the scaling of DaVinci Resolve. So join me to see how to set up DaVinci Resolve for High Resolution displays in Linux.

    • Games

      • Bit – Animation Editor is now supported on Linux and it looks seriously slick | GamingOnLinux

        Bit – Animation Editor is a very interesting tool to help people compose and design animated pixel art. Created by the two-person Swedish indie game studio Morgondag, the team behind the 2015 chilled-out space odyssey RymdResa and the 2017 clicking-puzzler imprint-X.

        Morgondag try to set it apart from other tools, mentioning clearly it’s “not a drawing tool”. You’re not drawing pixel-by-pixel or anything like that. Instead, you bundle together all sorts of included assets to create something new and then export it ready for game engines for games, gifs and more.

        The example they gave when announcing Linux support to us on Twitter was somewhat amusing too…

      • Chaotic track-building co-op game Unrailed! gets PC cross-play with the Switch | GamingOnLinux

        Have a friend or two that mainly play on the Nintendo Switch? Here’s a good choice that you can now play with them with cross-play supported across Linux, macOS, Windows and now the Switch too.

        In a short and sweet announcement, Indoor Astronaut and Daedalic Entertainment mentioned that as of the small update released on November 23 it’s now all hooked up. So you can get building a train-track, chop down trees, do a little mining and have plenty of laughs with friends in Unrailed!

        For those who haven’t played it the idea is simple: build the track as far as you can, without letting your train fall of a get destroyed. It’s a lot more difficult than it sounds, as you’re against an ever-changing map along with various obstacles. As you progress you get to upgrade your train with better and more interesting parts like auto-mining, lights, faster building or more storage and lots more. The train gets gradually faster too, so the further you go the more challenging it is.

      • Kerbal Space Program 1.11 will let you fix up your craft during a spacewalk | GamingOnLinux

        Kerbal Space Program 1.11: Some Reassembly Required will be arriving later this Winter, with it some major new features and it sounds super exciting.

        With it comes a new EVA Construction Mode, allowing your Kerbals to repair and reassemble your craft while outside. Just like a real spaceperson, you will do spacewalks and get to work. You will have similar tools as in the Vehicle Assembly Building and the Spaceplane Hangar with place, rotate, and move and you can visualize the center of mass, center of thrust, and the center of lift for a vessel. There’s some obvious limitations like your range to parts, weight and more. The game is also not paused, so you have to try and not crash while doing so if your craft is moving.

      • The fab strategy sim Mini Metro now has full Steam Workshop support | GamingOnLinux

        After recently expanding the game with a free update with Nigeria and Chile, Dinosaur Polo Club have given users another reason to come back to their excellent strategy sim.

        This update comes six years after the original release, so it seems good things come to those who wait. Adding in Steam Workshop support, you can now make your own maps and share them with everyone. They also crafted detailed instructions on how to actually get map-making, which doesn’t seem to be too complicated. Everything is done through plain JSON files with no special tools needed.

      • Valve updates the Steam Linux Container Runtime for Proton 5.13, helps tools like MangoHud | GamingOnLinux

        With the Steam Play Proton 5.13 compatibility tool being a major upgrade, along with it now using the Steam Linux Container Runtime, it did come with some annoying issues that they’re now trying to solve.

        One of the problems was that since the Windows games are contained and isolated from your system, you couldn’t then run tools like MangoHud or the post-processing layer vkBasalt. Valve have now updated the container systems, to allow them to import Vulkan layers from the host system.

      • Unigine 2.13 Continues Enhancing Their OpenGL Engine While Still Porting To Vulkan – Phoronix

        Unigine 2 remains one of the most visually stunning game and simulation engines out there. That’s even with still using OpenGL (or Direct3D 11 also on Windows) while their Vulkan renderer remains in the works. Unigine 2.13 is out this week as their latest iteration of this visually incredible engine with first-rate Linux support.

        Unigine 2.13 adds a GPU lightmapper tool, adds subpixel reconstruction anti-aliasing, even better looking 3D volumetric clouds, performance optimizations, tessellation improvements, new samples, and a variety of other engine improvements.

      • UNIGINE 2.13: GPU Lightmapper, Volumetric Clouds Upgrade, Better Anti-Aliasing, New Terrain Tools Preview – Unigine Developer
      • A pirate quartermaster is a very quirky game about pirate life – Linux version now up | GamingOnLinux

        A pirate quartermaster from developer Ivan Armandy released back in October, and now it’s available and supported directly on Linux too.

        You’re not the captain here, instead your job is to put yourself in the shoes of a quartermaster, the first mate of a pirate ship. Really though, you’re responsible for everything and you will need to deal with the wishes of the captain and often contradicting their orders to appease the crew. The game has a surprising amount of everything, it’s quite a detailed pirating adventure that needs you to learn and fast too. It even teaches you a little about sailing, in its own quirky fantasy sort of way. From setting up gun positions, to organising your crew, there’s plenty of dialogue to read through and when it comes to ship to ship combat – it turns into a weird real-time typing game as you rush out orders to the crew.

    • Distributions

      • Best forensic and pentesting Linux distros of 2020

        20.04 LTS and uses the Xfce desktop, and is available as a single ISO only for 64-bit machines. In addition to the regular boot options, the distro’s boot menu also offers the option to boot into a forensics mode where it doesn’t mount the disks on the computer.

        BackBox includes some of the most common security and analysis tools. The project aims for a wide spread of goals, ranging from network analysis, stress tests, sniffing, vulnerability assessment, computer forensic analysis, exploitation, privilege escalation, and more.

        All the pentesting tools are neatly organized in the Auditing menu under relevant categories. These are broadly divided into three sections. The first has tools to help you gather information about the environment, assess vulnerabilities of web tools, and more. The second has tools to help you reverse-engineer programs and social-engineer people. The third has tools for all kinds of analysis.

        BackBox has further customized its application menu to display tooltips with a brief description of each bundled tool, which will be really helpful for new users who aren’t familiar with the tools.

        As an added bonus, the distro also ships with Tor and a script that will route all Internet bound traffic from the distro via the Tor network.

      • New Releases

        • Proxmox VE 6.3 released

          we have just released version 6.3 of our virtualization platform Proxmox VE. This release now integrates the stable version 1.0 of our new Proxmox Backup Server so that you can easily back up and restore your VMs and containers. Also, the stable Ceph Octopus is supported, and you can select your preferred Ceph version during the installation process in the GUI. We hope you like it!

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • GNOME, KDE Frameworks, Mutt update in Tumbleweed

          Four openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots have been released since last Thursday.

          Only two packages came in the most recent 20201124 snapshot. Email client mutt had a version bump from 1.14.7 to 2.0.2; the new major release was not because of the magnitude of features but because a few changes are backward incompatible. There were some important changes highlighted like when using attach-file to browse and add multiple attachments to an email; quit can be used to exit after tagging the files. For the full list, read the release notes. The release also fixed a Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures that ensures the IMAP connection is closed after a connection error to avoid sending credentials over an unencrypted connection. The other package in the snapshot was the Ruby static code analyzer rubygem-rubocop. The updated 1.3.1 version offers multiple new features and fixes like reading the required_ruby_version from gemspec file if it exists.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Hands-On: Adventures with Ubuntu Linux on the Raspberry Pi 4

          With the introduction of the Raspberry Pi 4 series, with more than 1GB of memory, it has become much more practical to install and run Linux distributions other than the standard Raspberry Pi OS (formerly known as Raspbian). So it’s time for me to give Ubuntu a try again, and see how it goes.

          The first part of this task is simply deciding what version of Ubuntu to install – and that is nowhere near as easy as it sounds. Those who are familiar with Ubuntu and the RPi will know that the Ubuntu Mate project has had a Raspberry Pi version for quite some time, while the “official” Ubuntu Raspberry Pi distribution has only come out recently, and is only available for the Raspberry Pi 4. I will be looking at both of these.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 5 open source alternatives to GitHub

        Git is a popular version-control system, primarily used for code but popular in other disciplines, too. It can run locally on your computer for personal use, it can run on a server for collaboration, and it can also run as a hosted service for widespread public participation. There are many hosted services out there, and one of the most popular brands is GitHub.

        GitHub is not open source. Pragmatically, this doesn’t make much of a difference to most users. The vast majority of code put onto GitHub is, presumably, encouraged to be shared by everyone, so GitHub’s primary function is a sort of public backup service. Should GitHub fold or drastically change its terms of service, recovering data would be relatively simple because it’s expected that you have a local copy of the code you keep on GitHub. However, some organizations have come to rely on the non-Git parts of GitHub’s service offerings, making migration away from GitHub difficult. That’s an awkward place to be, so for many people and organizations, insurance against vendor lock-in is a worthwhile investment.

      • 8 Best Free and Open Source Functions-as-a-Service

        FaaS (Function-as-a-Service) is a category of cloud computing services. It’s a fairly new development that originated from PaaS. FaaS is a cloud computing model that abstracts server management and low-level infrastructure decisions away from developers, but takes it much further than PaaS. FaaS is a distinct technology. All allocation of resources is managed by the platform, allowing applications to be developed without any thought of implementation, load balancing, or scaling. It allows developers to execute small snippets of code in response to events without having to build complex infrastructure.

        FaaS is often known as serverless. FaaS has been gaining popularity. The main advantage of this technology is the ability to create and run applications without the need for infrastructure management. In other words, when using a serverless architecture, developers no longer need to allocate resources, scale and maintain servers to run applications, or manage databases and storage systems.

      • Open Source/Linux Communities To Join and Enjoy

        Looking for user communities and online forums is one of the very first things any new open source user would normally do after making the switch. These communities can be useful either to provide technical help or just general discussion about various topics in the open source world.

        People simply like to share their thoughts and ideas with other people who are interested in the same topic as they are. And open source or Linux aren’t different in that regard.

        Let us together explore some possible online open source communities to join.

      • The Few, the Tired, the Open Source Coders

        Sometimes open source coders simply walk away: Let someone else deal with this crap. Studies suggest that about 9.5 percent of all open source code is abandoned, and a quarter is probably close to being so. This can be dangerous: If code isn’t regularly updated, it risks causing havoc if someone later relies on it. Worse, abandoned code can be hijacked for ill use. Two years ago, the pseudonymous coder right9ctrl took over a piece of open source code that was used by bitcoin firms—and then rewrote it to try to steal cryptocurrency.

        No one’s quite sure what to do about open source burnout, but some think finding money for the coders might help. Programmer Ashley Williams is a member of the team creating the open source language Rust, and they’re trying to set up a foundation to support core contributors, or get firms to keep contributors on staff. (Some of the largest open source projects thrive in precisely this fashion; firms like Facebook or Google pay some employees to work full-time on open source code.) Eghbal thinks subscriptions could offer new ways to pay for the work. Others worry that injecting pay can deform how and why the work is done in the first place.

        But we need to rethink the very idea of what crowdsourcing is capable of—and understand that it is perhaps more limited than promised. The open source revolution has been carried on the backs of some very weary people.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Querying CRLite for WebPKI Revocations • Insufficient.Coffee

            Firefox Nightly is now using CRLite to determine if websites’ certificates are revoked — e.g., if the Certificate Authority published that web browsers shouldn’t trust that website certificate. Telemetry shows that querying the local CRLite dataset is much faster than making a network connection for OCSP, which makes intuitive sense. It also avoids sending the website’s certificate information in cleartext over the network to check the revocation status: solving one of the remaining cleartext browsing data leakages in Firefox.

            Mozilla is currently publishing CRLite data to Remote Settings four times per day, keeping a very fresh set of revocation information for the public Web. I’ve provided some direct details on how to get at that data from the CRLite FAQ, and I want to introduce one of my command-line tools I’ve used to analyze and play with the dataset: moz_crlite_query. I’ll introduce crlite_status in a later post.

          • Firefox 83 Introduces HTTPS-Only Mode

            According to Mozilla, “the web contains millions of legacy HTTP links that point to insecure versions of websites. When you click on such a link, browsers traditionally connect to the website using the insecure HTTP protocol.”

            With HTTPS-Only Mode enabled, Firefox will attempt to establish HTTPS connections to every website and will ask for permission before connecting to a site that doesn’t support secure connections. Even if you click on an HTTP link or manually enter an HTTP address, Firefox will use HTTPS instead.

          • TenFourFox Development: TenFourFox FPR30b1 available

            TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 30 beta 1 is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). I managed to make some good progress on backporting later improvements to the network and URL handling code, so there are no UI-facing features in this release, but the browser should use a bit less memory and run a little quicker especially on pages that reference a lot of resources (which, admittedly, is a lot of sites these days). There is also a minor update to the host database for basic adblock. Assuming all goes well, this release will come out parallel with Firefox 84 on or around December 15. I’ll probably do an SPR-only build for the release immediately following to give myself a break; this will contain just needed security fixes, and there will most likely not be a beta.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice & Open Document Promotion Poster

          Continuing LibreOffice Shortcuts poster, here’s educational poster I made to spread LibreOffice’s ODT – ODS – ODP to all people in all countries. These formats are known with the name Open Document Format and these are better than Microsoft’s. The goal of this poster is to invite people to change their habits of saving as DOC – XLS – PPT formats into saving as ODT – ODS – ODP formats which are better. This poster is an English adaptation of my Indonesian version few years ago. I encourage you to place this on your schools, offices, websites, blogs, social media, and other places. You are free to adapt and share it with your own language. If you are curious, download LibreOffice application here for Windows, macOS and GNU/Linux. Okay, now let’s share once again!

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Music Production on Guix System

            The working title “Ode to One Two Oh” was an obvious choice, being a quasi-palindrome, and its five syllables suggested a time signature of 5/4. Where to from here?

            As I stared at my Emacs session with a Guile REPL (read, eval, print, loop) buffer I tried to recall what the letters “REPL” stand for. Clearly, in my case the “P” was for “Procrastination”, but what about the others? I had stumbled upon the chorus: a description of the Guix development process. Contribute as others before us have shared their contributions (Reciprocation), review patches and discuss (Evaluation), hack on something else (Procrastination), and repeat (Loop).

            The words suggested a simple descending melody, which would need to be elevated by a somewhat less simple chord progression. After trying out a few harmonies on the Grand Stick I remembered how terrible my memory was and decided that I would need to scatter the harmonies onto a canvas, listen to the whole progression, and adjust the lines as needed — all without having to build up muscle memory for harmonies and progressions I may very well end up discarding in the process.

            This is where my composition workflow probably deviates from most other people. Many would use a MIDI sequencer for that kind of approach, whereas I decided to hone in on the exact harmonies with an unlikely tool: the unparalleled music engraving application Lilypond. Lilypond sports a versatile language that covers primitive note input, the means of combining them to larger phrases and musical ideas, and the means of abstraction — it allows for musical ideas to be named and recombined in different shapes. For everything the language doesn’t account for with specialized syntax I can simply switch to Guile Scheme. No other notation software is as flexible and malleable as Lilypond. I let it generate both sheet music and a MIDI file — the sheet music is displayed in a PDF viewer in Emacs and the MIDI file sent to fluidsynth (because I trust my ears over my eyes).

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Good News: Academics Can Make Their Articles Published In Top Journal Nature Freely Available As Open Access. Bad News: They Must Pay $11,000 For Each One

            Two years ago, Techdirt wrote about Plan S, an initiative from top research funders that requires all work they support to be published as open access. It’s one of the most important moves to get publicly-funded work made freely available, and as such has been widely welcomed. Except by publishers, of course, who have enjoyed profit margins of 35-40% under the current system, which sees libraries and others pay for subscriptions in order to read public research. But Plan S is too big to ignore, not least after the powerful Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation joined the coalition behind it. So publishers have instead come up with ways to subvert the whole idea of making knowledge freely available in order to maintain profits. The latest and perhaps most blatant example of this has come from Springer Nature, the publisher of the journal Nature, widely regarded as one of the top two science titles in the world (the other being Science). Here’s what Nature the publisher is doing, reported by Nature the journal:

      • Programming/Development

        • Qt Desktop Days – Day 1 – KDAB

          If you missed Qt Desktop Days, you might be wondering what you missed. No need to worry! We’re going to give you a day-by-day summary of some of the cool things that were discussed, demoed, and explained. (We’re uploading all of the videos to our YouTube channel, but we’ll provide the direct links to each talk here as well.)

        • Qt Desktop Days – Day 2 – KDAB

          The first session on day 2 was from Nyall Dawson who works for North Road but who is also a significant contributor to QGIS, the largest open-source GIS program in the world. Nyall explains why Qt is an awesome fit for this massive desktop application, and why he believes that Qt is partly responsible for its longevity and success. To understand exactly why QGIS is such a beast (over 1.5 million lines of code and over 500 code contributors), he explains what a GIS system is expected to do, like consuming and creating spatial data, creating high-impact and professionally designed maps, and doing geographical analysis – all with multiple coordinates, projects, and extreme accuracy.

          [...]

          Bluescape is a company that creates collaborative, multi-screen, multi-touch whiteboards – some pretty “Minority Report” type of stuff. Bluescape’s Romain Pokrzywka joined us to talk about how to really wrangle touch and pen input, and how to develop applications that need to live equally well across mouse and keyboard desktop, touch screen laptops, tablets, and mobile devices.

          Romain talks about the specifics of Qt multi-touch and pen support in both C++ and QML, gives us some of his hard-learned lessons about how to best develop applications that merge these features, and shares his tips and tricks on what works best (like what to do with those non-conformist mouse wheels). He also discusses what’s coming down the pike for Qt 6 when it comes to input API changes, including some long overdue changes.

        • Qt Desktop Days – Day 3 – KDAB

          If you’re building a desktop application today, should you consider building the UI with Qt Quick? That’s the question that KDABian Shantanu Tushar answers in this session. He walks us through the pros and cons of Qt Widgets versus Qt Quick, and explains that although there are still plenty of good reasons to use widgets, there are a lot of advantages that you’re missing if you dismiss a QML-based desktop app out-of-hand.

          But desktop apps aren’t the same as mobile ones, and having implemented many desktop applications in QML, Shantanu knows what works and what doesn’t. He explains how desktop apps are often more complex than mobile, and how he manages to tame QML complexity with imports, assets, and namespaces. He also covers issues that desktop developers need to handle such as screen layout trade-offs and styling to match native controls. Shantanu also gives us real-life examples of why and how to mix designer screens and implementation screens in the same application. If you’re thinking about going down the QML route with your app, you should really watch this talk before you begin.

        • Qt Desktop Days – Day 4 – KDAB

          If you need to play the widest variety of audio, video, or streaming formats on the planet, you probably know about VLC (the “cone player”). But did you know that VLC uses Qt? They didn’t always. Hear the history of this interesting project from Jean-Baptiste Kempf, one of the lead developers on VLC, a project started by rebellious French university students over two decades ago that is still going strong today.

          We learn from Jean-Baptiste some interesting platform constraints of the VLC project (like unbelievably, they still support OS/2!), and how their abstraction architecture has been able to grow and thrive without software bloat despite years of changing software, multiple new platforms, and loads of new features. We also learn what factors drove the switch from wxWidgets to Qt and what the team did to keep their high-performance video codecs working smoothly in their upcoming port from Qt4 to Qt5. If you’re tackling your own open-source project, the dynamic success of VLC as delivered by Jean-Baptiste might be just the inspiration you need.

        • PHP

          • PHP 8.0 Released

            PHP 8.0 is a major update of the PHP language. It contains many new features and optimizations including named arguments, union types, attributes, constructor property promotion, match expression, nullsafe operator, JIT, and improvements in the type system, error handling, and consistency.

          • PHP 8.0 Officially Released With Many Language Additions, Better Performance

            PHP 8.0 is out today as expected as a major update to this widely-used programming language for server-side programming and other purposes.

            PHP 8.0 introduces an optional JIT compiler, integrates the existing JSON support to core (no longer optional), and adds language support for attributes, union types, a static return type, and other additions. See yesterday’s article for some of the PHP 8.0 features and preliminary benchmark data with more performance tests forthcoming.

          • PHP version 8.0.0 is released! – Remi’s RPM repository – Blog

            RC5 was GOLD, so version 8.0.0 GA is just released, at planed date.

            A great thanks to all developers who have contributed to this new major and long awaiting version of PHP and thanks to all testers of the RC versions who have allowed us to deliver a good quality version.

            RPM are available in the remi-php80 repository for Fedora ≥ 31 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 7 (RHEL, CentOS) and as Software Collection in the remi-safe repository.

          • Remi Collet: PHP version 7.3.25 and 7.4.13

            RPMs of PHP version 7.4.13 are available in remi repository for Fedora 32-33 and remi-php74 repository for Fedora 31 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 7 (RHEL, CentOS).

            RPMs of PHP version 7.3.25 are available in remi repository for Fedora 31 and remi-php73 repository for Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

  • Leftovers

    • Free the Plowshares 7!

      I first met Martha Hennessy a couple of years ago at a barbecue in Vermont, on one of those summer afternoons where the talk winds on and on as smoke from the grill floats lazily up to the heavens. With her grey ponytail and long loose skirt, she fit right in to our post-back-to-the-land community. Lifting her hem a little, she showed me the plastic electronic tag on her left ankle. She was out on bail, awaiting trial for her part in the Plowshares 7 symbolic disarmament action at the largest nuclear submarine base in the world, Kings Bay in Georgia, on April 4, 2018, the 60th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination.

    • ‘Another attack of paranoia’: Community group seeks administrative charges against Moscow school for allegedly violating Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ law

      On November 23, Olga Baranets — the so-called “public commissioner for the protection of the family” from a St. Petersburg-based community group — filed a police report requesting that administrative charges be brought against the director of School Number 962 in Moscow for violating Russia’s “gay propaganda” law. Baranets claimed that teachers at the school instructed students in a fifth grade class to draw rainbows as an LGBTQ symbol. According to parents and teachers however, the drawings were part of a lesson marking the International Day of Tolerance (November 16) and the subject of LGBTQ people was never actually raised in class.

    • Diego Maradona: Comrade of the Global South

      The world mourns today the passing of Diego Maradona, the soccer god and revolutionary from Argentina whose play inspired all manner of poetry and prose. The best description of Maradona’s abilities came from the late Eduardo Galeano, who wrote of Maradona in his book Soccer in Sun and Shadow, No one can predict the devilish tricks this inventor of surprises will dream up for the simple joy of throwing the computers off track, tricks he never repeats. He’s not quick, more like a short-legged bull, but he carries the ball sewn to his foot and he’s got eyes all over his body. His acrobatics light up the field…. In the frigid soccer of the end of the century, which detests defeat and forbids all fun, that man was one of the few who proved that fantasy can be efficient.

    • Johnny Depp Refused Permission to Appeal U.K. Libel Case, Ordered to Pay $840,000

      Earlier this month, the same judge ruled against Depp in the actor’s libel case against News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, and the tabloid’s executive editor Dan Wootton over a 2018 article alleging he was a “wife beater.” In examining 14 incidents of alleged domestic violence allegedly committed by Depp against Heard, the judge ruled that 12 of the incidents did take place.

    • Working from home: A double-edged sword?

      Few dispute the massive impact that Covid-19 has had on every aspect of our lives, including our work. Thousands of employees have switched to working from home, rather than spread the virus through shared workspaces in office buildings.

      Whether this work-from-home trend will continue, and what its long-term impact on productivity will be, is, however, far from clear.

      One of the most interesting aspects to consider is the potential loss of a multi-generational workforce as a result of the work-from-home imperative. Today’s workforce can include up to four generations working side by side – even a young 5th generation could be added. While this has its challenges, it also brings unique opportunities for symbiotic relationships from which all can benefit.

    • Science

      • A New Study About Color Tries to Decode ‘The Brain’s Pantone’

        Now, Conway is suggesting a new method of organizing and understanding colors: by basing it on patterns of neuron activation in the brain. In a recent paper published in Current Biology, Conway was able to show that each color elicits a unique pattern of neural activity. In this study, he focused first on the brain’s response to a color, rather than on the color each of his study subjects verbally described. This approach reframes how neuroscientists typically try to answer questions about color perception. “Perception is usually taken as the known quantity, and then researchers tried to figure out the neuronal processes leading to that,” writes Chatterjee. “Here, the perceptual variable is taken as the unknown (this abstract color space), and they try to derive it based on the measured neuronal activity.”

    • Hardware

      • TSMC completes work on 3nm process fab, production in 2022

        The world’s biggest contract chip manufacturer, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, has reached an important milestone with the beam-raising ceremony for its 3nm process fab at Tainan’s Southern Taiwan Science Park on Tuesday.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Calling for End of ‘Shadow Pandemic,’ Rallies Across Globe to Mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

        “Men’s violence against women is also a pandemic—one that pre-dates the virus and will outlive it.”

      • 100+ Public Health and Justice Leaders Call on Biden to Reject ‘Global Vaccine Apartheid,’ Ensure Doses ‘Free and Available to All’

        “The U.S. government has the capacity and the authority under existing law to treat Covid-19 vaccines as global public goods.”

      • A Dangerous New Chapter of the Pandemic
      • How a Turkish-German Couple Invented a Coronavirus Vaccine

        The vaccine success of Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci – both with Turkish roots – is fuelling a new diversity discussion in Germany. In today’s Germany, women and men with a migrant background are still disadvantaged. This is supported by Germany’s right-wing press along with the infamous right-wing tabloid the Bild Zeitung being one of the key favourites when it comes to decades of racial abuse fired towards anyone non-German looking.

        Despite the daily racism, institutional xenophobia, and a rightist press of substantial proportions, the path of Ugur Sahin marks a human and an entrepreneurial success that cannot be seen without German racism. Suddenly, the pair is presented in a glorious light even by Germany’s staunchly conservative press. Ugur Sahin and his wife Özlem Türeci are pushed into the spotlight having produced Germany’s vaccine against the coronavirus as stock prices exploded, and congratulations poured in from around the world.

      • Good Times and End Times on 26th and Folsom

        I’m standing near the sunny corner of 26th and Folsom, two blocks from my writer’s cave, across the street from the projects and down the block from my birthplace, in San Francisco’s Mission district.

      • Fauci Says He’d “Absolutely” Join a Biden COVID Task Force
      • Doctors behind bars Amid the coronavirus pandemic’s second wave, medical workers in Belarus get swept up in the opposition crackdown

        The opposition protests in Belarus have been ongoing for more than three months now, despite the fact that demonstrators opposing President Alexander Lukashenko are beaten, arrested, and fined large amounts of money regularly. According to civil society organizations, there are at least a hundred medical workers among the victims of the crackdown. At the same time, doctors are trying to fend off the coronavirus pandemic’s second wave. According to the official statistics alone, about 1,500 people in Belarus are falling ill daily, but healthcare workers maintain that the actual number of cases is much higher. Meduza recounts how the Belarusian authorities are persecuting healthcare workers amid the worsening pandemic and shortages of medical personnel.

      • Nurse: “We Are Screaming at the Top of Our Lungs and So Few Are Listening”
      • Even COVID-19 can’t stop antivaxxers from publishing crappy “vaxxed/unvaxxed” studies

        If there’s one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught me, is that, no matter what else is going on, antivaxxers gonna antivax (that is, continue to spread antivaccine propaganda). It’s certainly true that very early on during the pandemic antivaxxers formed an unholy alliance with pandemic deniers/minimizers, antimaskers, anti-lockdown protesters, and promoters of unproven treatments for COVID-19, such as hydroxychloroquine—and QAnon. However, that new alliance, which, thanks to the pandemic’s being the all-consuming crisis and story of 2020, brought antivaxxers to arguably more prominence than they’ve ever achieved before, hasn’t stopped antivaxxers from continuing to do what they do to provide fodder for their disinformation blaming vaccines for autism and other neurodevelopment disorders, as well as all manner of other diseases and chronic health conditions. A favorite among these is what I like to refer to as the “vaxxed/unvaxxed” study, and another such study was just published this week by antivax pediatrician Dr. Paul Thomas and scientist turned antivax crank, James Lyons-Weiler.

      • Donald Trump Is the Ultimate Super-Spreader

        In the absence of anything approaching an actual plan, all he has given the country is performative messaging. And that messaging has been a disaster. Trump is the single largest driver of coronavirus misinformation worldwide. He called it a hoax (it wasn’t); he said it would magically go away (it didn’t); he told people to inject bleach (don’t); he mocked people for wearing masks (wear a mask); he said only older people die from the virus and children are immune (none of that is true). Even after he got Covid-19 and recovered—thanks to the socialized medicine taxpayers provided him—he refused to embrace basic science and reason; instead he ripped off his mask, parading about the White House balcony like some orange Übermensch. He ended his failed reelection campaign by barnstorming around the country holding superspreader events that are thought to have caused 30,000 infections and 700 deaths.

        And now? Now he hides out in the White House, nursing his bruised ego with Big Macs and revenge fantasies. He stokes his clown coup—tweeting, filing lawsuits, refusing to allow a smooth transition to the Biden administration—all the while allowing the virus to run amok. This is the real Trump surge: a surge not of mythical lost ballots but of flagrant, fast-replicating disease. Trump is a walking biological weapon.

      • The Midwest is America’s covid-19 hotspot

        Smaller hospitals suffer the greatest strain—not least because 130 rural ones closed across America in the past decade, putting pressure on those that remain. Ben Christians, an emergency-care doctor at one in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, says it has just experienced by far “the worst month” of the entire pandemic, eclipsing the outbreak in the spring. For the past two months “we’ve been functioning at over 100%” of ICU beds, and adding other sorts, he says. Finding enough trained staff is the biggest constraint. He admits patients from 80 sparsely populated but ever more afflicted counties, sometimes over 150 miles away. The smallest rural clinics, with just a handful of beds and a single dotor, are easily overrun.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Thought the M3 roadworks took a while? Five years on, Vivaldi opens up a technical preview of its email client

          It’s been a while coming, but browser maker Vivaldi has finally released a public preview of its long awaited email client.

          “It arrives,” wrote Vivaldi boss Jon von Tetzchner, “just ahead of Thanksgiving as a way of saying ‘thanks for waiting’.”

          And goodness, it has been a while coming. Back in 2015, the browser makers confirmed: “A robust, efficient, lightweight and good looking email client called M3 is to be integrated into Vivaldi.” And the faithful waited, patiently.

          Over the years, various company representatives have confirmed to us that the client existed, but none would commit to a release date. And now here we are.

        • Vivaldi Integrates Email Client, Feed Reader, and Calendar in a Browser

          The Vivaldi team announced that they are bringing an Email client, a Feed Reader, and a Calendar – all of these together in the latest Vivaldi technical preview release.

          The first technical preview of Vivaldi with these three features is immediately available for download and you can enable it with just a tweak (I explained how – at the end of this post).

          This is probably the best thing that happened to a browser with all three important information sources packed together in a browser for seamless integration. I mean, imagine – if you set up all your emails, feeds, calendar and sync with your Vivaldi account. You can access them anywhere, on any device, and even in Chromebooks.

          But I am skeptical about how the email is stored after retrieving it from the server though. Because email box sizes tend to be in terms of gigabytes for the majority of users.

        • Prolonged AWS outage takes down a big chunk of the internet

          Many apps, services, and websites have posted on Twitter about how the AWS outage is affecting them, including 1Password, Acorns, Adobe Spark, Anchor, Autodesk, Capital Gazette, Coinbase, DataCamp, Getaround, Glassdoor, Flickr, iRobot, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pocket, RadioLab, Roku, RSS Podcasting, Tampa Bay Times, Vonage, The Washington Post, and WNYC. Downdetector.com has also shown spikes in user reports of problems with many Amazon services throughout the day.

        • Security

          • 5 Ways to Check Your Android Phone Hacked or Not

            Do you suspect that your Android smartphone or tablet is infected with some malware or spyware? Well, there are several pointers that can indicate this is the case. For example, your device is unnecessarily slow and even freezes periodically, or displays popups. Experiencing these symptoms can mean that your device has been hacked but that is not always the case. Sometimes, devices act funny due to a handful of reasons including a security hack.

            In today’s article, we give you five tips on how to check whether your phone is infected with malicious software as well as how to ensure that it is safe/protected.

          • Thanksgiving security updates

            Security updates have been issued by openSUSE (blueman, chromium, firefox, LibVNCServer, postgresql10, postgresql12, thunderbird, and xen), Slackware (bind), SUSE (bluez, kernel, LibVNCServer, thunderbird, and ucode-intel), and Ubuntu (mutt, poppler, thunderbird, and webkit2gtk).

          • Drupal core – Critical – Arbitrary PHP code execution – SA-CORE-2020-013

            AC:Complex/A:User/CI:All/II:All/E:Exploit/TD:UncommonVulnerability: Arbitrary PHP code executionCVE IDs: CVE-2020-28949CVE-2020-28948Description:
            The Drupal project uses the PEAR Archive_Tar library. The PEAR Archive_Tar library has released a security update that impacts Drupal. For more information please see:

            CVE-2020-28948
            CVE-2020-28949
            Multiple vulnerabilities are possible if Drupal is configured to allow .tar, .tar.gz, .bz2 or .tlz file uploads and processes them.

            To mitigate this issue, prevent untrusted users from uploading .tar, .tar.gz, .bz2 or .tlz files.

            This is a different issue than SA-CORE-2019-12, similar configuration changes may mitigate the problem until you are able to patch.

          • Financial software firm cites security, control as reasons for moving from email to Slack [Ed: Unbelievable stupidity; Slack is illegal mass surveillance and it’s centralised proprietary software (whereas E-mail can be encrypted, e2e)]

            ASX-listed financial software firm Iress is moving away from email to Slack for communications and its chief technology officer, Andrew Todd, says this is because the app offers improved security and control.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Airlines call for new app-based air travel controls

              During  its online annual general meeting this week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) rolled out a  new proposal for an app-based system of control over air travel that IATA is proposing for use by its member international airlines and by governments.

              The scheme is being promoted as a response to the COVID-10 pandemic, but would institutionalize structures and practices with the potential for continuing and wider abuse.

              IATA is calling its scheme the IATA Travel Pass. As described in these slides,  it would require would-be air travelers to enter both personally identifying information (most likely passport or other ID-card details) and records of tests and/or vaccinations into an IATA  smartphone app.  The data would  be processed by the algorithms of a “rules engine” to detemine whether to issue an “OK to travel” permission message. The output of this algorithmic decision would be available for use by both airlines and governments.

            • Visa Wants to Buy Plaid, and With It, Transaction Data for Millions of People

              Visa, the credit card network, is trying to buy financial technology company Plaid for $5.3 billion. The merger is bad for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it would allow a giant company with a controlling market share and a history of anticompetitive practices to snap up its fast-growing competition in the market for payment apps. But Plaid is more than a potential disruptor, it’s also sitting on a massive amount of financial data acquired through questionable means. By buying Plaid, Visa is buying all of its data. And Plaid’s users—even those protected by California’s new privacy law—can’t do anything about it.

              Since mergers and acquisitions often fall outside the purview of privacy laws, only a pointed intervention by government authorities can stop the sale. Thankfully, this month, the US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit to do just that. This merger is about more than just competition in the financial technology (fintech) space; it’s about the exploitation of sensitive data from hundreds of millions of people. Courts should stop the merger to protect both competition and privacy.

              A few years ago, when you saw a security camera, you may have thought that the video feed went to a VCR somewhere in a back office that could only be accessed when a crime occurs. Or maybe you imagined a sleepy guard who only paid half-attention, and only when…

            • Parler, the “free speech” Twitter wannabe, explained

              Based in Nevada, the company behind Parler is run primarily by two people: Matze and Jared Thomson, who serves as CTO. Neither of them had a particular public profile before creating the app. Jeffrey Wernick, a bitcoin enthusiast and early Airbnb investor, serves as the company’s chief operating officer. But there are other people funding the app.

              Earlier this month, Parler confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that conservative megadonor Rebekah Mercer was the company’s lead investor and agreed to fund Parler only if it gave users control over what they saw on the platform. She recently declared in a Parler post that the site was a “beacon to all who value their liberty, free speech, and personal privacy.” Robert Mercer, who is Rebekah’s father and a billionaire hedge fund investor, previously invested $15 million in Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm hired by the Trump campaign in 2016 and excoriated for harvesting the personal data of nearly 100 million Facebook users. Rebekah Mercer served on the board of Cambridge Analytica.

              Another notable funder of Parler is Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent and conservative podcast host with a very popular conservative Facebook page. Despite his apparent success on mainstream platforms — Bongino has nearly 3 million followers on Twitter and nearly 4 million on Facebook — he regularly urges his fans to join him on Parler.

            • Facial Recognition Technology Is Being Used on More Campuses During COVID-19

              However, the resume of David Rivero, the chief of police with the University of Miami Police Department, touts the university’s usage of a camera system that employs facial recognition. “One of the largest security project[s] added during Chief Rivero’s tenure was the creation of the new university-wide camera system,” reads Rivero’s resume, obtained by Teen Vogue. “The system now includes 1,338 cameras, recording 24 hours a day, and featuring video analytics, which is the use of sophisticated algorithms applied to a video stream to detect predefined situations and parameters such as motion detection, facial recognition, object detection, and much more.” In an October 4 interview with Distraction, a student magazine at the university, Rivero admitted to using facial recognition to catch “a few bad guys” on campus. According to the university’s statement, though, Rivero denies the use of facial recognition technology during the September protests on campus. Teen Vogue has reached out for clarity surrounding the matter, but has not received a response.

            • Introducing another free CA as an alternative to Let’s Encrypt

              Let’s Encrypt is an amazing organisation doing an amazing thing by providing certificates at scale, for free. The problem though was that they were the only such organisation for a long time, but I’m glad to say that the ecosystem is changing.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ‘Truly Grotesque’: On Way Out the Door, Trump Prioritizes Bringing Back Executions by Firing Squad and Electrocution

        “Over 2,000 Americans died yesterday and 266,000 are dead and the gangsters in this regime are focused on bringing back the electric chair and making it easier to spew poison in the air. The Republican Party is unfit to govern.”

      • Biden’s Hawkish Foreign Policy Picks Are a Very Bad Sign

        Biden’s incoming team helped shape some of the most militaristic policies of the Obama administration.

      • How Many Syrians Did You Vote to Kill?

        Syria was not an issue in the presidential campaign and there were no foreign policy questions in the two presidential debates. That won’t stop the Biden team from claiming a mandate to spread truth and justice via bombs and bribes any place on the globe.

        The Biden campaign promised to “increase pressure” on Syrian president Bashar Assad – presumably by providing more arms and money to his violent opponents. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris declared that the U.S. government “will once again stand with civil society and pro-democracy partners in Syria and help advance a political settlement where the Syrian people have a voice.” Northeastern University professor Max Abrahms observed, “Every foreign policy ‘expert’ being floated for Biden’s cabinet supported toppling the governments in Iraq, Libya and Syria, helping Al Qaeda and jihadist friends, ravaging the countries, uprooting millions of refugees from their homes.”

      • The Unending War in Afghanistan Is America’s Shame

        People in the United States continue to pretend that the despair and futility we’ve caused isn’t our fault.

      • German authorities confirm that several items belonging to Navalny contained traces of a Novichok-type nerve agent

        Other items belonging to Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny — in addition to the poisoned water bottle found in his Tomsk hotel room — contained traces of a Novichok-type nerve agent, German officials confirmed on Wednesday, November 25.

      • Biden’s Defense Pick Flournoy Is Part of the Military-Industrial Revolving Door
      • Dutch court refuses to consider alternative explanations for MH17 crash

        The Hague District Court has rejected a request from the defendants in the MH17 case to investigate alternative explanations for the plane crash, reports the Russian state news agency TASS. 

      • Fifth Circuit Denies Immunity To Cops Who Beat And Tased An Unresisting Man To Death

        The Fifth Circuit is a bit infamous for allowing law enforcement to do what it wants without worrying about too much pushback from judges. This is due in part to the Supreme Court’s increasing insistence lower courts take a hands off approach to qualified immunity by encouraging them to avoid determining whether any rights violation has occurred. Instead, the Supreme Court has pushed lower courts to only determine whether or not a similar rights violation has occurred in the past, and whether past precedent justifies the stripping of immunity.

      • Skewed Responsibility: Australian War Crimes in Afghanistan

        The Report goes into some detail about various practices adopted by Australia’s special forces in Afghanistan.  The initiation rites for junior soldiers tasked with “blooding” – the first kill initiated by means of shooting a prisoner – come in for mention.  “This would happen after the target compound had been secured, and local nationals had been secured as ‘persons under control’.”  “Throwdowns” – equipment such as radios or weapons – would then be placed upon the body.  A “cover story” would thereby be scripted “for purposes of operational reporting to deflect scrutiny.”

        A “warrior culture” also comes in for some withering treatment, which is slightly odd given the kill and capture tasks these men have been given with mind numbing regularity.  “Special Force operators should pride themselves on being model professional soldiers, not on being ‘warrior heroes.’”  When one is in the business of killing, be model about it.

      • Feminism Not Militarism: Medea Benjamin on the Movement to Oppose Michèle Flournoy as Pentagon Chief

        President-elect Joe Biden has introduced key members of his national security team this week, including his picks for secretary of state, national intelligence director, national security adviser, homeland security chief and ambassador to the United Nations. Biden has yet to announce his defense secretary, but progressives are already raising alarm over reports that he intends to nominate Michèle Flournoy, a hawkish Pentagon veteran with close ties to the defense industry. If nominated, Flournoy would become the first woman to lead the Department of Defense. “She represents the epitome of what is worst about the Washington blob, the military-industrial complex’s revolving door,” says CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin. “Her whole history has been one of going in and out of the Pentagon … where she supported every war that the U.S. engaged in, and supported increases in the military budget.”

      • The New Humanitarian | MSF and aid worker safety in Afghanistan

        Despite terrible losses, Médecins Sans Frontières has decided to keep working in Afghanistan in the name of a “humanitarian imperative” – and in contradiction of its own security policy.

        On 12 May, 25 people were executed by Islamist insurgents in an MSF-supported maternity hospital in Kabul, including two children, 16 mothers in their beds, and one MSF midwife. Five years before, 45 people were burned to death or cut to pieces in an MSF hospital in Kunduz by the US Air Force, including 24 patients and 14 MSF staff. These two massacres represent the worst killings in MSF facilities since the genocide in Rwanda. No other NGO has experienced such a level of violence against its staff and patients in Afghanistan.

        Since its inception in 1971, MSF has placed exposure to danger as an integral part of its identity; one of the four short paragraphs of its charter recognises the inherently risky aspect of its mission. This “chivalrous” spirit, however, was tempered by another principle: the rejection of sacrifice. MSFers were supposed to take risks, but to come back alive.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Kentucky Judges Reject Proposal For More Warrant Approval Transparency

        Scrutiny of warrants and the judges who approve them has stepped up in Louisville, Kentucky after a no-knock raid ended in the killing of an innocent resident by police officers. The shooting of Breonna Taylor sparked protests, reform efforts, and at least one judge’s personal moratorium on no-knock warrants.

      • Roger Stone-linked group urges voters to write in Trump in Georgia runoffs as revenge against GOP

        A super PAC linked to longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone is calling for Republicans to write-in the president’s name in the upcoming Senate runoff elections in Georgia as retaliation after his re-election bid failed in the once red state.

        The Committee for American Sovereignty, a group tied to Stone which raised millions pushing disinformation during the 2016 election, launched a new website urging Republican voters to “crush” the “plot to destroy America” by “writing in Trump for the Georgia Senate runoffs.”

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Trump Leaves Biden a Quarantine…But Against China

        On the national security front, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s swan song visit to Israel will complicate Biden’s effort to press Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a two-state solution and to stop the illegal construction of settlements throughout the West Bank.  Pompeo used the visit to endorse Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan Heights and to reinforce recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.  Pompeo also denounced the boycott movement against Israeli exploitation of the West Bank as a “cancer,” and denigrated anti-Zionism as anti-Semitic “by its very nature.”  Pompeo’s pressure tactics against Iran will make it harder for Biden to reestablish the Iran nuclear accord that Israel opposed.

        The Trump administration’s economic warfare against China over the past several years will make it particularly difficult for Biden to pursue the necessary adjustments for one of the most important relationships in the world, the Sino-American relationship.  For the past several years, Trump has pursued a trade and tariff war against China that has harmed U.S. farmers and consumers, and has restricted the profitable trade of technology with Chinese firms.

      • Barbara Ransby & David Sirota Warn of Close Links Between Biden’s Cabinet Picks & Corporate Power

        President-elect Joe Biden declared “America is back” this week as he revealed some of the people who will staff his administration in key national security posts, vowing to roll back Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy and embrace multilateralism. Among his picks are longtime adviser Tony Blinken for secretary of state, diplomatic veteran Linda Thomas-Greenfield as ambassador to the United Nations, and former Secretary of State John Kerry for a new Cabinet post as climate czar. Historian, author and activist Barbara Ransby says Biden’s picks so far mostly come from the centrist establishment of the Democratic Party and lack progressive voices. “We need people who have compassion, who have accountability to the most vulnerable, who pledge to defend the planet, people who have a clear understanding and commitment to fighting white supremacy and police violence,” says Ransby. We also speak with investigative journalist David Sirota, who says Biden’s picks represent “an attempt to restore the old Washington.” Sirota served as an adviser and speechwriter for Senator Bernie Sanders during his presidential campaign.

      • Bryan Washington on Fiction ‘Outside the Bounds of Trauma’

        The rare quality of Bryan Washington’s fiction is that he deftly explores the emotional lives of people from marginalized communities without foregrounding or telegraphing trauma or reducing them to their marginalization. In Memorial, his debut novel, two men, countries apart, assess the sum of their four-year relationship while trying to grapple with various forms of familial abandonment. Mike decides to go to Osaka, Japan, to stay with his estranged father, who is dying of cancer, leaving Ben alone in their Houston apartment with Mike’s mother, Mitsuko, who has just flown from Japan to visit her son. The book shifts between the two men’s perspectives as they clumsily form tentative relationships and learn to be vulnerable with the new people in their lives—Mike with his father, Eiju, and the sole employee and patrons of his father’s bar, Ben with Mitsuko and Omar, the older brother of a child at his day care job. That there are few white characters populating the novel and that Mike is Japanese and Ben is Black should not be even worth mentioning, and yet here we are.

      • Are Cuban American Voters Really a ‘Special’ Case?

        A common question this election cycle, especially from non-Cuban Americans, was “How could Cubans immigrants possibly support Trump?” The question of Republican support among the Cuban diaspora in Florida has bedeviled Democrats for decades, including many in the community itself.

      • How the UK Became a Chumocracy

        BoJo’s survival notwithstanding, he’s now having to self-isolate—again– as a result of meeting with a group of Tory MPs, many casual about social distancing and mask-wearing, who subsequently tested positive for the virus.

        BoJo’s self-isolation came at a convenient time for him.

      • Khabarovsk City Duma deputies backpedal on plans to leave the LDPR

        A group of deputies from the Khabarovsk City Council, who announced their intentions to leave the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) just yesterday, have changed their minds, council chairman Mikhail Sidorov told TASS on Wednesday, November 25.

      • ‘One More Stain on Trump’s Rapidly Diminishing Legacy’: President Pardons Former Adviser Michael Flynn

        “One liar pardons another. What a disgrace.”

      • Trump Was No Fluke: George W. Bush Blazed the Trail

        His lies and incompetence created epic disasters that may yet sink America.

      • ‘Proekt’ investigation reveals how Putin’s ‘close acquaintance’ became a multi-millionaire

        The investigative outlet Proekt has released a new report on the wealth of Russian millionaire Svetlana Krivonogikh, revealing her ties to President Vladimir Putin. 

      • Trump’s Election Lies Failed, but the Damage Is Done

        Hopefully, by the time you read this, Donald Trump’s presidency will be in its end stage. But there will have been no graceful concession, no admission of defeat from a man so pathologically insecure that he would rather take down the country than be a loser. Instead, his failed coup d’état will have led, undoubtedly, to a scorched-earth lame-duck session.

      • Disdain and Disbelief After Biden Claims ‘Significant’ Progressive Presence in Administration

        Leftist politicians, pundits, and people also reacted with indignation after a Daily Beast article claimed progressives are satisfied with Biden’s selections so far. 

      • Noam Chomsky: Trump Has Revealed the Extreme Fragility of American Democracy
      • Trump Tweets Bogus Poll Backing His Refusal to Concede
      • To Prevent ‘Another Right-Wing Authoritarian’ Even Worse Than Trump, Sanders Says Democrats Must Pursue Bold Working Class Agenda

        The Vermont senator said Democrats in Congress and the incoming Biden administration “must have the courage to take on the powerful special interests who have been at war with the working class of this country for decades.”

      • Trump Is on a Death Row Killing Spree and Wants to Make Firing Squads Possible
      • Pennsylvania Judge Grants GOP Request to Halt Certification of Election Results
      • Georgia Organizers and the GOP Square Off in a Fight for the Future
      • Corporate Media Begin to Acknowledge GOP Coup Attempt

        Even though President Donald Trump had telegraphed his intent months in advance to steal the 2020 election, by planning to get judges, state legislators and/or the Electoral College to illegitimately declare him the winner—laying out a pretext by lying about widespread voter fraud—corporate media were slow to accurately convey the reality and significance of Trump’s election theft efforts. I’ve noted twice before (FAIR.org, 9/15/20, 11/5/20) that corporate media betrayed their journalistic responsibilities by refusing to report, outside the context of opinion columns, that Trump has been attempting a coup, despite all the plain evidence.

      • New Poll Shows 68% of Americans Want Senators to Block Any Corporate Biden Nominees

        Progressives are calling on the president-elect to reject a “Corporate Cabinet” and instead pick “people dedicated to working in service of the general welfare.”

      • How Mitch McConnell’s Do Nothing Republicans are Killing You

        The writing is on the wall. Do your job, Mitch McConnell. Our lives depend on it. 

      • Trump’s Team Is Sabotaging the Transition

        Trump has yet to concede the 2020 election and quite likely will never acknowledge his loss. It’s not in his character to admit defeat. Instead, he remains diligently at work constructing a “stolen election” myth that will allow him to retain his pride while also building the rationale for a 2024 bid to return to the White House. But no concession is necessary so long as the administrative machinery of transition runs smoothly.

      • Rahm Emanuel Doesn’t Deserve a Job in Biden’s Administration

        The president-elect often speaks of this nation’s ‘better angels.’ The former Chicago mayor isn’t one of them.

      • What President Biden Won’t Touch: Foreign Policy, Sacred Cows, and the U.S. Military

        While there were indeed areas where his ability to cause disastrous harm lent truth to such a belief — race relations, climate change, and the courts come to mind — in others, it was distinctly (to use a dangerous phrase) overkill. Nowhere was that more true than with America’s expeditionary version of militarism, its forever wars of this century, and the venal system that continues to feed it.

      • Hey Joe, Where You Going With That Pentagon in Your Hands?

        Warning and petitioning Biden to dissuade him from a Flournoy nomination probably have scant chances of success. But if Biden puts her name forward, activists should quickly launch an all-out effort to block Senate confirmation.

        As the Biden administration takes office, progressives have an opportunity to affirm and amplify the position that Martin Luther King Jr. boldly articulated when he insisted that “I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism.” In the present day, the pernicious and lucrative aspects of that madness are personified in the favorite to be Biden’s Defense Secretary.

      • US needs to get its mitts out of Australia’s internal affairs

        If proof were ever needed that the US directly interferes in Australia’s internal affairs, US ambassador Arthur Culvahouse has provided it in spades, intervening in a dispute between Beijing and Canberra over a list of Australian actions which reportedly annoyed the Middle Kingdom.

      • Senate Republicans’ Georgia bullying failed. But Lindsey Graham’s ethics violations stand out.

        Graham denies this account and maintains he was merely inquiring into the standards for mail-in ballots. His denial is not plausible. CNN reported that a staffer for Raffensberger, Gabriel Sterling, said “he participated in a controversial phone call with Sen. Lindsey Graham and claimed he heard Graham ask if state officials could throw out ballots.” Sterling and his family have received death threats and are now under 24-hour police protection.

      • Zuckerberg Flipped Secret Switch Favoring Credible News Outlets on Facebook After the Election: NYT

        [...] The drastic shift, intended to fight rampant election misinformation problems, resulted in skyrocketing visibility for mainstream publishers like CNN and NPR and a downturn in engagement for hyper-partisan pages like Breitbart and Occupy Democrats. Facebook reportedly evaluates news outlets on a clandestine metric titled “news ecosystem quality,” which ranks the authority and trustworthiness of their journalism, and the shift in the News Feed system weighted organizations with high N.E.Q. more heavily. [...]

      • Facebook Struggles to Balance Civility and Growth

        Typically, N.E.Q. scores play a minor role in determining what appears on users’ feeds. But several days after the election, Mr. Zuckerberg agreed to increase the weight that Facebook’s algorithm gave to N.E.Q. scores to make sure authoritative news appeared more prominently, said three people with knowledge of the decision, who were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations.

        The change was part of the “break glass” plans Facebook had spent months developing for the aftermath of a contested election. It resulted in a spike in visibility for big, mainstream publishers like CNN, The New York Times and NPR, while posts from highly engaged hyperpartisan pages, such as Breitbart and Occupy Democrats, became less visible, the employees said.

      • How Trump’s conspiracy theories have inspired some supporters to boycott the Georgia runoffs

        A faction of Trump’s base — including a PAC with ties to Roger Stone — has taken Trump’s conspiracy-mongering and attacks on Kemp and Raffensperger as a call to sit out the runoffs. Those rumblings have been significant enough that on Monday, Donald Trump Jr. felt compelled to weigh in with a tweet in which he dismissed talk of withholding votes from Perdue and Loeffler as “NONSENSE,” adding, “We need ALL of our people coming out to vote for Kelly & David.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Cryptocurrency Giant Binance Sues Forbes, Driving New Attention To Article About Binance’s Corporate Structuring

        Binance is one of, if not the, biggest cryptocurrency exchanges around. Its famously vocal CEO Changpeng Zhao (known as CZ) has positioned himself as a supporter of free speech, and even sees cryptocurrency/blockchain as a key element in that. Frankly, Binance is a fascinating company that I think is working on a some very interesting projects. And that’s why it’s incredibly disappointing to see the company sue Forbes over an article published last month, using lawyer Charles Harder (as you’ll recall, Harder was the lawyer in the case against us and has a reputation for filing sketchy SLAPP lawsuits to try to stifle the media when it criticizes the rich and famous.)

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • With Brutal Memories of Standing Rock, Stop Line 3 Campaigners Wary of Rule Barring ‘Counterinsurgency Tactics’

        “I’ve been followed for hundreds of miles along the line by different trucks,” said one Indigenous organizer. “I don’t know if that’s counterinsurgency, but it’s certainly surveillance.”

      • Zero per mill Belarusian doctors spark solidarity demonstrations following arrests over article on protester’s death

        A new type of solidarity protest has sprung up in Belarus, in support of a journalist and a doctor who were arrested on charges of divulging confidential medical information about Raman Bandarenka — an opposition protester who died after being hospitalized on November 12. The solidarity action, called “Nol promille” (Zero per mill), was initiated by doctors at the Minsk Emergency Hospital and has quickly been picked up by other opposition protesters, including journalists and students.

      • US Civil Rights Pioneer Bruce Carver Boynton Dies at 83

        Boynton was arrested 60 years ago for entering the white part of a racially segregated bus station in Virginia and launching a chain reaction that ultimately helped to bring about the abolition of Jim Crow laws in the South. Boynton contested his conviction, and his appeal resulted in a U.S. Supreme Court decision that prohibited bus station segregation and helped inspire the “Freedom Rides.”

      • ‘Unconscionable’: ICE Deported 33 Unaccompanied Guatemalan Children After Judge Ordered Halt to Practice

        “It is not out of the power of the district court, if someone could raise the matter, to order ICE to return the children that it removed on that flight,” said one legal expert. 

      • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Atlantic’ By Haviah Mighty

        In 2019, Haviah Mighty’s debut album “13th Floor” won the Polaris Prize, an award that goes to the best Canadian album based on artistic merit. She was the first hip-hop artist and black woman to win. The exceptional album touched upon many themes related to blackness and social injustices.

      • Indigenous Groups Vow to Keep Resisting as Construction Is Approved for Enbridge Tar Sands Pipeline

        A massive fight is brewing in Minnesota against the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved a permit for the project this week. After years of resistance, pipeline construction is now set to begin by the end of the month despite the concerns of Indigenous communities, who say it would violate tribal sovereignty and contaminate the land and water. The controversial proposed pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to a terminal in Superior, Wisconsin, cutting through Indigenous territory in Minnesota and running under more than 200 streams. Construction could also bring thousands of temporary workers to Minnesota even as COVID-19 cases are spiking in the state. “It’s been a long, seven-year fight against this particular project,” says Tara Houska, an Indigenous lawyer, activist and founder of the Giniw Collective, who is Ojibwe from Couchiching First Nation. Minnesota leaders, she says, “are willing to put our children’s futures on the line to allow through a Canadian corporation to do as it wishes and to suppress the rights of our citizens.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Trump’s FCC Nominee Asked Fox News To Help Destroy Section 230 To Help Elect More Republicans

        We’ve written a few times about Nathan Simington, who is currently nominated to take over Michael O’Rielly’s seat at the FCC. As you’ll recall, O’Rielly’s renomination was withdrawn after he dared to give a talk in which he noted, accurately, that the 1st Amendment means that the government cannot regulate how private companies handle content moderation. Simington, in contrast to O’Rielly, has been at the center of various efforts to force social media companies to host speech they do not wish to host (a clear violation of the 1st Amendment, which does not allow for the government to compel speech).

      • Ajit Pai’s FCC Does Something Good, Frees Wireless Spectrum The Auto Industry Had Done Little With

        While we’ve had no shortage of criticism for Ajit Pai’s facts-optional, relentless ass kissing of entrenched telecom monopolies, or his wholesale demolition of U.S. consumer protection, his agency has done a good job bringing more wireless spectrum to market. Doing so wasn’t particularly controversial, since everybody, consumers to big carriers alike, benefit from having access to more spectrum — especially valuable middleband spectrum of great use in 5G deployments. Still, it’s complicated and warrants kudos in an era when government often can’t tie its own shoes correctly.

      • The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day Five: The Narrow Exclusion of User Generated Content Services

        The government’s position appears to be that those services do not qualify for the exemption since the exemption only applies to “online undertakings whose broadcasting consists only of such programs.” For the majority of sites and services – even those who feature some user generated content – there will be the prospect of facing the full regulatory model that includes registration, discoverability requirements, and even mandated payments. Yet again, the CRTC could exempt some of these sites and obligations, but Bill C-10 leaves open the possibility of extensive regulation, which may result in sites blocking the Canadian market for fear of facing new regulations. Rather than promoting innovation, greater choice, and new services, Bill C-10 discourages it.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Denuvo’s Anti-Piracy Protection Probably Makes Sense For Big-Selling AAA Titles

        A hacking team believed to have obtained data from gaming giant Ubisoft has published documents that claim to reveal the costs of implementing Denuvo’s anti-piracy protection. While the service doesn’t come cheap, the figures suggest that for a big company putting out big titles with the potential for plenty of sales, the anti-tamper technology may represent value for money.

      • Disappointing: Netflix Decides To Settle With Chooseco LLC Over ‘Bandersnatch’ Lawsuit

        Well, it’s been quite a stupid and frustrating run in the trademark lawsuit between Netflix and Chooseco LLC, the folks behind Choose Your Own Adventure books from our youth. At issue was the Black Mirror production Bandersnatch, in which the viewer takes part in an interactive film where they help decide the outcome. The main character is creating a book he refers to as a “choose your own adventure” book. Chooseco also complained that the dark nature of the film would make the public think less of CYOA books as a result. Netflix fought back hard, arguing for a dismissal on First Amendment grounds, since the film is a work of art and the limited use or reference to CYOA books was an important, though small, part of that art. The court decided that any such argument was better made at trial and allowed this madness to proceed, leading Netflix to petition for the cancellation of Chooseco’s trademark entirely. This story all seemed to be speeding towards an appropriately impactful conclusion.

      • TPM circumvention and website blocking orders: An EU perspective

        Website blocking orders in IP cases (mostly, though not solely, in relation to copyright-infringing websites) are routinely granted in several jurisdictions, whether in Europe or third countries. The availability of such relief has been established in case law, administrative frameworks and academic studies alike.

        The Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) expressly acknowledged the compatibility of such a remedy with EU law in its 2014 decision in UPC Telekabel. Also the European Court of Human Rights recently found that, although it is necessary that this particular remedy is available within a balanced and carefully drafted legislative framework which contains a robust and articulated set of safeguards against abuse, website blocking orders are not per se contrary to the provision in Article 10 ECHR.

        Over time, courts and other authorities (including administrative authorities in certain EU Member States) have dealt with applications which have: been based on different legal grounds; been aimed at protecting different types of rights; and resulted in different types of orders against internet service providers (‘ISPs’).

        An interesting recent development concerns website blocking orders in relation to websites that market and sell devices and software aimed at circumventing technological protection measures (‘TPMs’). TPMs offer rights holders an ancillary right of protection and are deployed to protect against infringement of copyright in works that subsist in multimedia content such as video games. TPMs are a cornerstone in copyright protection in the digital age where large-scale copying and dissemination of copyright-protected content is so prevalent.

        [...]

        In light of the foregoing, copyright owners appear entitled to seek injunctions against intermediaries to also block access to websites dealing with TPM-circumventing devices. The legal basis for that can also be, subject to satisfying all the other requirements under EU and national law, the domestic provision implementing Article 8(3) of the InfoSoc Directive.

        All in all, it appears likely that we will see more blocking orders in the future, including orders – issued by courts and competent authorities around Europe – targeting websites that provide TPM-circumventing devices. This is an unsurprising and natural evolution of website blocking jurisprudence. It also serves to show the very flexibility of this type of remedy and, matched inter alia with the loose notion of ‘intermediary’, its inherently broad availability.

    • Monopolies

      • France goes ahead with 3% digital tax on big tech firms

        Despite threats of retaliation from the US, France has decided to go ahead with a 3% tax on big technology firms, asking them to pay the levy next month.

      • Comcast to raise internet and TV prices nationwide next year

        At the same time as these price hikes, Comcast also said this week it’d impose a home internet data cap of 1.2TB per month in more than a dozen states next year. If people go over this allotment, they’ll be charged $10 per 50GB, up to $100 in a month. That means it’s going to be an expensive year to be a Comcast customer.

      • Coming to Grips with an IP Business Model [Ed: "AYE PEE" is a misleading propaganda term, not a business model (unless one's business is lying/lobbying)]

        To come to grips with a business model for IP is a dire necessity for any firm seeking to compete on the edge. The many business opportunities afforded by IP extend beyond its ability to protect and enable a firm’s performance. IP can in and by itself constitute a business opportunity. Particularly firms operating in forward looking technology spaces cannot ignore the business dimension of IP. The need to thoroughly establish a business model for IP is given by the sheer growth opportunities enabled in many technology sectors.

        [...]

        The existing body of IP management suggests that the role IP can assume in a corporate context can extend beyond this single value proposition. Patents can be used to block other market participants from entering the market, but they can also serve to enhance the firm’s reputation. Patent attorney often emphasise on the strategic function of patents to assure a firm the freedom to operate.

        Other than the important signalling function that IP can offer, it can also be an instrument of revenue generation. Often, this is achieved through the licensing and sales of IP.

      • India vs Pakistan: Dispute over Basmati’s GI Registration in the European Union

        Recently, the aromatic, long grain rice known as ‘Basmati’, became another source of conflict between India and Pakistan. It isn’t the first time that a European GI registration for Basmati has been in the news, nor the first conflict relating to a GI between India and Pakistan. In the past, the GI registration of Pashmina had been a contentious issue. In 2008, India had decided to register Pashmina as a GI domestically and a Pakistani body had opposed this on the grounds that Pashmina was also produced in their territory. (discussed here) Pakistan was open for a joint GI tag, but India stated that it could only be possible if it was proven that Pakistan’s wool was of the same quality as India’s. At the end, a GI was granted for ‘Kashmir Pashmina’ solely for India. More than a decade ago, in 2008, India and Pakistan had considered filing a joint application for registration of Basmati as a GI in the EU. However, it could not be realised due to rising tensions between the two after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Coincidently, on the same day, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (hereinafter ‘APEDA’) filed for Basmati’s domestic GI registration and in 2016, the GI was granted in its favour.

        In July 2018, India had applied for protected geographical indication (PGI) status for Basmati before the European Commission. This application for registration was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 11th September 2020 and can be opposed within 3 months of the publication, with a reasoned statement of opposition being required within two months of the notice. India’s GI registration in the EU will affect Pakistani exporters and Pakistan plans on ‘vehemently’ opposing this application. A formal objection will most likely be filed before the deadline. About 65 percent of the Basmati imports in EU are from India, while about 35 percent are from Pakistan. Indian government has stated that it has not claimed ‘exclusivity’ over Basmati. Pakistan would still be able to sell Basmati after EU’s grant of GI protection in favour of India, but the perceived value of their product may change. This post will analyse India’s application, practical problems that Pakistan might face in filing an opposition and the possible grounds on which it might oppose India’s application.

      • Patents

        • Back to the Drawing Board: Indian Courts’ Tryst with Public Interest Principle in Pharmaceutical Patent Infringement

          Recently, India and South Africa made submissions to the WTO seeking a pro tem waiver of rules governing certain IPRs including patents to, inter-alia, ensure affordable and adequate access to diagnostic kits, medicines and vaccines needed to combat the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, a development that once again brought to light the uneasy relationship that IPRs, especially patents, generally tend to have vis-a-vis access to knowledge goods. Much of this uneasy equation, including the tussle between the inventor’s interest and public interest, is well documented in patent literature. Quite unsurprisingly, the struggle to balance these competing interests is reflected in the application of the public interest principle in patent law by the Indian courts, especially when it comes to pharmaceutical patents. To be fair (to, inter-alia, Roscoe Pound!), there is a constant tug of war between two societal interests- one, suitably incentivizing the innovators in any society by what currently appears to be the best mode of doing so- the patent system and the other, ensuring that consumers have a real and meaningful access to innovations. Naturally, each society would like to (and should) fix this equilibrium as per its own specific technological and socio-economic realities.

          [...]

          It is clear that public interest, as it stands today in the Indian jurisprudence, is an etiolated principle in theory as well as in practice, and rendered subservient to the satisfaction of the three-factor test and/or the ‘credible challenge’ test. To be fair, an interim injunction cannot and should not be denied to the patentee in every single case of infringement of a pharmaceutical patent for that would defeat the very purpose of granting patents and would essentially leave the innovator companies without any real right. But public interest cannot be subservient to patent rights either. It therefore should have a greater role to play in deciding patent disputes in India, at least in the domain of pharmaceutical patents.

          A simple reading of the Statement of Object & Reasons of the Patent Act, 1970 reveals public interest as the cornerstone of patent law. A similar understanding is reflected in Articles 7 (“Objectives”) and 8 (“Principles”) of the TRIPS Agreement (to which India is a signatory) which recognise that protection of intellectual property rights must be “conducive to social and economic welfare” and “promote public interest in sectors of vital importance to their socio-economic development”. Undoubtedly, patent law is designed to balance competing interests– the monopoly rights of the patentee and the public interest in availing the consequent benefit from grant of such monopoly rights. Moreover, a first principle understanding of patent law makes it unequivocally clear that the role of public interest is to act as a check on any potential abuse of this monopoly right. Its purpose is straightforward – ensuring that the consumers are not deprived of the benefits of the patented creation by way of availability, accessibility or affordability. In fact, the monopoly rights granted under patent law are in lieu of the patentee working its invention and ensuring that the benefits thereof reach the public. In fact, Franz Xaver, Glaverbel and Sandeep Jaidka have expressly recognised that mere non-working of the patent by the patentee is in itself a sufficient ground for refusing interim injunction as such squatting is to the detriment of the public.

          Admittedly, ‘public interest’ is an extremely broad term, and it is therefore the court’s duty to define its scope, application and its limitations. A situation of clear and overwhelming public interest, backed up by prima facie proof that the patentee is failing to meet such public interest in the immediate foreseeable future, should in itself be a sufficient ground for the non-grant of interim injunction.

        • Around the Blogs

          In other German developments, JUVE Patent reported on the interaction between pharmaceutical and intellectual property law after Daiichi Sankyo won its case against TAD Pharma and Ratiopharm concerning a generic blood pressure medication before Cologne Administrative Court, achieving a further year of market exclusivity via its entitlement to data exclusivity.

        • Data exclusivity means market exclusivity for Daiichi Sankyo

          Data exclusivity could be the emerging battle arena for German IP lawyers in the fight over generic licences. Until now, this property right has been enshrined by pharmaceutical law, and been the domain of administrative courts. However, the case between Daiichi Sankyo and TAD Pharma could set a precedent in higher courts in Germany.

          [...]

          The reasoning is that generic companies do not have to prove the effectiveness and tolerability of their imitation products through time-consuming and costly studies and clinical trials. Instead, the ‘8 plus 2 plus 1’ rule follows a streamlined procedure to obtain a licence. However, the generic company may only use the study results of the original manufacturer following the relevant time period.

          In the case between Daiichi Sankyo and TAD Pharma, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices in Germany had granted a licence to generic manufacturers TAD Pharma and Ratiopharm. However, the documents also contained a reference to a paper based on a study by the original manufacturer Daiichi Sankyo.

          Therefore, through a preliminary injunction, Daiichi Sankyo achieved market exclusivity and thus economic gain for another year.

        • [BREAKING] Düsseldorf court refers questions on component-level SEP licensing to CJEU in Nokia/Daimler – The IPKat

          While our American cousins were waking up early to put their turkeys in the oven this morning, the Düsseldorf court announced that it will be referring questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the high-stakes patent battle between Nokia and Daimler [Katposts here and here]. The text of the decision is not yet available, but a press release issued by the court can be found here [in German].

          The decision is likely to be the CJEU’s most important decision on the law of Standard Essential Patents [SEPs] since its landmark ruling in C-170/13 Huawei v. ZTE. Among other things, the CJEU will likely resolve whether holders of SEPs must grant licenses on Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) terms to any company that asks, or whether they may choose to selectively license end-device manufacturers to maximize profits.

          This issue has received a lot of attention lately and the European Commission is investigating Nokia’s refusal to license Daimler’s suppliers separately in a pending investigation [here]. In a previous post [here], this Kat reviewed a recent article on the issue and tentatively supported Daimler’s position that holders of SEP’s should be required to make available licenses to all interested parties, unless the text of the FRAND-commitment gives rise to a limitation.

        • German Bundestag approves ratification bill on the Unified Patent Court Agreement

          Welcoming the news, EPO President António Campinos said: “Today’s approval by the Bundestag brings us an important step closer to the much-anticipated implementation of the Unitary Patent package. Once that happens, European inventors will finally be able benefit from the Unitary Patent, giving them uniform patent protection and, what’s more, a unified system for litigation in all participating EU Member States. This will make Europe even more attractive for innovation and investors – and help with economic recovery in light of the COVID-19 crisis”.

        • Preparatory Committee: Unified Patent Court an important step closer

          In an announcement on its website the Committee writes: “The goal of bringing the Unified Patent Court into operation moves an important step closer this evening with the news from Germany that the Bundestag has voted on and approved the legislation for the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court and its Protocol on the provisional application. The approval was given by a majority of over two-thirds of the Bundestag’s members, a requirement which had been set by the Federal Constitutional Court in its decision published 20 March of this year declaring the earlier legislation passed in 2017 void. After Thursday’s vote by the Bundestag the next step is for the bill to be presented to the Bundesrat for a second time in the procedure for a final vote which is expected to take place on 18 December 2020.

          [...]

          Less than an hour after the Bundestag vote, the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) issued a press release calling for “donations against Unitary Software Patent Trolls after disastrous Bundestag vote” to crowdfund a new constitutional complaint before the German Federal Constitutional Court, against what it calls “the third attempt to impose software patents in Europe, via the Unified Patent Court (UPC)”.

        • German Bundestag approves legislation to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement [Ed: Bristows telling it like it's all done, but it is not. It remains to be seen how many complaints are now filed with FCC.]

          The German Bundestag has approved draft legislation to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement. 571 representatives support the UPCA, 73 voted against. It means the necessary 2/3 majority was easily achieved. There were three abstentions.

          The vote is an important step towards introduction of the Unitary Patent system, which can enter into force only after Germany has completed the ratification procedure. The draft legislation will now go the Legal Committee of the Bundesrat and could be voted on by the Bundesrat in December. It will also have to be signed by the Bundespräsident, before Germany can formally deposit its instrument of ratification with the secretariat of the European Council and finalize the procedure.

        • Bundestag vote for Unitary Software Patents Trolls, FFII call on companies and open source community to donate now

          The Bundestag has voted today on the Unitary Patent, the third attempt to validate software patents in Europe. German Greens betrayed their voters by supporting the bill. FFII is calling on software companies all over Europe and the free and open source (FLOSS) community to urgently donate to crowdfund a constitutional complaint, as the UPC will promote patent trolls and job destruction, without the possibility for the CJEU to have a say in patent law. Only Constititional Courts can save us from the UPC and its Patent Trolls.

          German Greens have betrayed their voters, as the Greens was the only trans-national party in Europe which opposed software patents during the European Elections. The Greens was the only party that voted against the UPC back in 2012 at the European Parliament level, as the UPC creates a non-EU court, which is outside the European Union.

          CDU/CSU/SPD ate the propaganda of the “cheaper” patent for SMEs, while the UPC will increase the costs of access to justice for SMEs. The German Ministry of Justice Christine Lambrecht (SPD) refused to procure an “impact analysis” for SMEs, relying on an “outdated” and “full of errors” analysis from 2009, while the UPCA treaty was signed in 2012, and expensive court fees of 20.000EUR (validity) and 10.000EUR (infringement) will worsen the case of SMEs to access justice.

          [...]

          FFII is now calling on its supporting companies and on the open source community to donate to crowdfund a Constitutional Complaint in Karlsruhe. Stopping the UPC in Germany will be enough to kill the UPC for the whole Europe.

        • DEVELOPING STORY: Dusseldorf Regional Court refers component-level licensing of standard-essential patents to Court of Justice of the EU

          The Landgericht Düsseldorf (Dusseldorf Regional Court) has indeed, as widely anticipated in light of the inclination the court expressed during the early-September trial, referred to the top EU court a set of legal questions regarding the right of component makers to an exhaustive component-level standard-essential patent (SEP) license. This news was first shared on Twitter by Benjamin Raetz (“Rätz” in German), an intellectual propety lawyer with the firm of Kather Augenstein, whose clients include Volkswagen (in favor of component-level licenses) and Ericsson (opposed). Here’s the tweet (this post continues below the tweet)…

          [...]

          EU competition commissioner Magrethe Vestager said at yesterday’s announcement of the Commission’s Action Plan on Intellectual Property that the EC wanted the parties to talk to each other and was seeking to keep these case out of the courts. That’s easier said than done. Judicial clarification is needed, and it will come.

      • Trademarks

        • Nike v. Warren Lotas: A Running Timeline of the Case Over One of Nike’s Most “Iconic” Sneakers

          Los Angeles-based brand Warren Lotas made headlines in September when it revealed that it had teamed up with noted Nike collaborator Jeff Staple for what both parties characterized as a “reinterpretation” of the cult-classic shoe that is said to have “catapulted sneaker culture to the masses” when Staple released it with Nike back in February 2005 to intense fanfare and what has since been characterized as a full-blown “riot.” Consisting of Nike’s classic Dunk silhouette and adorned with a stylized version of the Beaverton-based titan’s swoosh on the side, the $300 Staple Pigeon x Warren Lotas Reinterpreted OG Shoes swiftly led to litigation.
          In the “trademark and anti-dilution” lawsuit that it filed against Los Angeles-based Warren Lotas LLC (“WL”) and Warren Lotas in his personal capacity in October, Nike asserted that it is not in any way involved in the reintroduction of the infringing sneakers – including the Warren Lotas X Staple Pigeon OG, as well as “the Warren Lotas Freddy Broccolini Chanclas, the Warren Lotas Toxic Green, [and] the Warren Lotas Jason Voorhees Dunk Low” styles – and has not authorized WL’s release of them.
          Nike’s suit has swiftly heated up, with the sportswear giant seeking preliminary injunctive relief in order to bar WL from offering up and/or distributing any of the infringing sneakers, including the Lotas x Staple Pigeon, which Lotas offered up in a pre-order capacity in September, and Lotas responding with claims of its own.

      • Copyrights

        • IP Reading Group: Inspiring IP reading recommendations

          Andrew Murray’s article introduces an inspiring analysis on internet regulation, which goes beyond Lawrence Lessig’s breakthrough thesis on ‘code is law’, bringing to the discussion the important role of communication and discourse in the implementation and effectiveness of any internet regulation. In his ‘Active Matrix’ doctrine, Murray argues that regulation does not apply to an individual alone, but to what he calls a ‘Habermasian opinion former’, which is a member of a community who gives or removes legitimacy from any regulation. Besides that, Murray highlights the key role of gatekeepers in this world of multiple overlapping matrices, being the internet gatekeepers that control the flow of the information, and the increasing reliance of regulators on internet gatekeepers as proxies in their attempts to control online activities. Finally, he argues that there are different kinds of gatekeepers and those that are more powerful have a greater gravitational force, making it harder for individuals to overcome their regulatory settlements.

          [...]

          Another book I would like to recommend is published in 1990 by Lawrence Levine. It focuses on the fabrication of the cultural hierarchy in America. The first chapter backtracks to how Shakespeare plays changed from ‘popular art’ to ‘elite art.’ Then, the second chapter reveals a sacralisation process of some art forms, such as orchestra and painting. The final confirmation of the cultural hierarchy by the end of the 19th century is discussed in the third chapter. Whilst not related strictly to IP, the distinction between culture superiority and culture inferiority portrayed in the book inspires us to regard culture as a dynamic flow, and enables us to discover cultural inequality in the law.

        • EU Study: More People Consume Legally But Stubborn Pirates Remain

          New research published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office shows that, in the EU, people more frequently pay to access online content. There is still a group of stubborn pirates who remain, however, but these often pay for legal services too. Affordable options appear to be the key to lowering piracy rates.

29,000 Blog Posts and Recent Site Improvements

Posted in Site News at 11:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Over 29,000

Summary: Over 29,000 blog posts have been posted here, but more importantly we’ve made the site a lot more robust and resilient, accessible in more formats and protocols (while improving transparency, too)

BACK in August (just 3 months ago) we crossed the 28,000 posts milestone and last week we crossed 29,000, so 30,000 will likely be some time in late winter.

“The more distributed we become, the more censorship-resistant we can get and the more attractive the leaks we receive, then publish.”Recent changes made to the site include unicode ‘art’ next to the menu items above, addition of text-only (plain text) IRC logs, revised layout for IRC disclosures, and various IPFS improvements. We don’t often ‘announce’ minor changes, but this time we can take note of the milestone and those 4 other things. Improving the workflows, the layout and the way we cooperate can sometimes take more time than working on articles. We hope that more people will embrace our text-only bulletin (usually updated every day at around midnight, depending on factors like availability) and participate in IPFS to help make the site distributed, as in P2P and decentralised. The more distributed we become, the more censorship-resistant we can get and the more attractive the leaks we receive, then publish.

[Meme] Trump is Out. Now It’s Time to Pressure the Biden Administration/Transition Team on Software Freedom Issues.

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 9:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Biden is not our ally, he’s just the “lesser foe” (compared to Trump and his swamp)

Biden and EPO

Summary: The Biden transition is in motion and tentative appointments are underway, based on news reports (see our Daily Links); now is the time to put pressure, e.g. in the form of public backlash, to ensure it’s not just another corporate presidency

Boycott ZDNet Unless You Fancy Being Lied to

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux at 9:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ZDNet is in a race to the bottom in gutter ‘journalism’

Formula 1 BAR Honda

Summary: ZDNet’s Catalin Cimpanu continues to lead the way with misinformation and lies, basically doing whatever he was doing to land that job at ZDNet (after he had done the same elsewhere)

TODAY there was a new article from Sam Varghese about Catalin Cimpanu, the liar and dramatist whom ZDNet hired to attack Linux with FUD, seeing how he had been doing that for years in another site. As Varghese put it, “ZDNet has a person on staff, Stephen J. Vaughan-Nicholls [sic], who knows the Linux very well. So why exactly the kind of dross that was published on 24 November was ever allowed to pass the editor’s knife is puzzling.”

The “tl;dr” is that (quite frankly as usual) it’s not about “Linux” and it requires shoddy users/admins to help the attacker/s.

“This got notably worse than ZDNet’s parent company collapsed.”What’s more puzzling to us is that SJVN continues to work there, even while bemoaning this Linux “security” FUD. Varghese already wrote a number of other pieces about Cimpanu’s lies, as did we and some sites that we’ve cited. Let’s face it; ZDNet isn’t really a news site but a propaganda apparatus. The above article was in Daily Links this morning, as was one piece of FUD derived from the ZDNet FUD.

ZDNet's Catalin CimpanuWe continue to urge readers to boycott ZDNet. One year ago its parent company collapsed. Let’s make sure ZDNet collapses as soon as possible as well. It’s lying and provoking for traffic, in effect spreading Microsoft propaganda, defaming Free software people, and using clickbait to annoy people who still value actual facts. This got notably worse than ZDNet’s parent company collapsed.

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