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08.30.16

Links 30/8/2016: Fedora 24 Reviewed, Ubuntu Patched

Posted in News Roundup at 2:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux, Linus, Bradley, and Open Source Protection

      In a nutshell, this rather heated (and at times unnecessarily personal) debate has focused on when is the right time to defend the rights on the GPL. Bradley is of the view that these rights should be intrinsically defended as they are as important (if not more important) than the code. Linus is of the view that the practicalities of the software industry mean sending in the lawyers can potentially have an even more damaging effect as companies will tense up and choose to stay away.

    • Evolving a Best-of-Breed IoT Framework by Gregory Burns
    • 2016 LiFT Scholarship Winner Tetevi Placide Ekon: Learning Computer Science Online

      Tetevi Placide Ekon is a graduate student studying civil engineering at the 2iE Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering in Burkina Faso. He was one of 14 aspiring IT professionals to receive a 2016 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) scholarship, announced this month.

      Since receiving his bachelor’s degree in water and environmental engineering and moving onto graduate school, he has nurtured a passion for computer science, and especially open source. Tetevi has completed free courses covering Linux, Apache big data systems and more, and he plans to use this scholarship to pursue more advanced training.

    • Raspberry Pi Zero Will Likely Be Supported On Linux 4.9

      It’s looking like the Raspberry Pi Zero might be playing fine out-of-the-box with the upcoming Linux 4.9 kernel cycle.

      Eric Anholt posted his weekly VC4 driver status/changes. In there the Intel-turned-Broadcom developer commented, “Finally, I landed Stefan Wahren’s Raspberry Pi Zero devicetree for upstream. If nothing goes wrong, the Zero should be supported in 4.9.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • Running Caffe AlexNet/GoogleNet On Some CPUs Compared To NVIDIA CUDA

        With working on some Broadwell-EP Linux comparison benchmarks this weekend, as part of that onslaught of benchmarks I decided to run the CPU-only Caffe build on a few different Intel CPUs. For fun, afterwards I checked to see how the performance compares to Caffe with CUDA+cuDNN on a few Maxwell/Pascal GPUs.

      • A Slew Of RadeonSI Gallium3D Fixes To Kick Off The Week

        After already making a ton of improvements to the RadeonSI Gallium3D stack this month, Marek Olšák is looking to end the month on a high note with yet more fixes to the open-source AMD driver.

        What’s more fun than seeing on a Monday morning [PATCH 00/20] Plenty of RadeonSI fixes. The 20 patches take care of a variety of RadeonSI fixes. Marek commented, “This series contains mostly fixes, i.e. for DCC, cubemaps, tessellation, texture views, Gather4, viewport depth range, etc. There are also some new HUD queries.”

  • Applications

    • Avidemux 2.6.13 Open-Source Video Editor Gets AAC/ADTS Import and Export

      The developers of the Avidemux open-source and cross-platform video editor software have announced a new maintenance update in the 2.6 series, bringing multiple improvements, bug fixes, and a handful of new features.

    • A Quick Hands-On With Chatty, A Desktop Twitch Chat Client

      Chatty is a desktop Twitch Chat client for Windows, macOS and Linux written in Ja

    • HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.16.8 Adds Support for Linux Mint 18, Fedora 24

      The open-source HP Linux Imaging and Printing (HPLIP) project has been updated on August 29, 2016, to version 3.16.8, a maintenance update that adds support for new printers and GNU/Linux operating systems.

      According to the release notes, HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.16.8 adds support for new all-in-one HP printers, including HP OfficeJet Pro 6970, HP OfficeJet Pro 6960, HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile, HP DeskJet 3700, as well as HP DeskJet Ink Advantage 3700.

      Also new in the HPLIP 3.16.8 update is support for the recently released Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, and the upcoming KDE editions, the Fedora 24 Linux operating system, as well as the Debian GNU/Linux 8.5 “Jessie” distribution. So if you’re using any of these OSes, you can now update to the latest HPLIP release.

    • MPlayer-Based MPV 0.20.0 Video Player Released with New Options and Commands

      The popular, open-source, and cross-platform MPV video player software received a new update, version 0.20.0, which comes only two weeks after the previous 0.19.0 maintenance release.

      MPV 0.20.0 is not a major update, and, according to the release notes, it only implements a couple of new options and commands, such as “–video-unscaled=downscale-big” for changing the aspect ratio.

      Additionally, the MPlayer-based video playback application also gets the “–image-display-duration” option for controlling the duration of image display, and a new “dcomposition” flag for controlling DirectComposition.

    • FFmpeg 3.1.3 “Laplace” Open-Source Multimedia Framework Now Available for Linux

      The major FFmpeg 3.1 “Laplace” open-source and cross-platform multimedia framework has received recently its third maintenance update, version 3.1.3, which brings updated components.

      FFmpeg 3.1 was announced two months ago, at the end of June, and it introduced a multitude of new features to make the popular multimedia backend even more reliable and handy to game and application developers. Dubbed Laplace, FFmpeg 3.1 is currently the most advanced FFmpeg release, cut from Git master on June 26, 2016.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Romp Home with these 21 Peerless ASCII Games

        Linux has a raft of open source games. The vast majority of these games are atheistically pleasing. Popular games often have full motion video, vector graphics, 3D graphics, realistic 3D rendering, animation, texturing, a physics engine, and much more. Computer graphics have been advancing at a staggering pace. At the current rate of progress, in the next 10 years it may not be possible to distinguish computer graphics from reality.

        Early computer games did not have these graphic techniques. The earliest video games were text games or text-based games that used text characters rather than vector or bitmapped graphics.

        Text-based games are often forgotten and neglected. However, there are many ASCII gems out there waiting to be explored which are immensely addictive and great fun to play. The developers’ works featured in this article focus on content and fun gameplay.

      • Editorial: I ditched SteamOS in favour of a normal Linux distribution for my gaming

        I have been debating whether to write this up for a while, but here I am. I have completely ditched SteamOS in favour of Ubuntu Mate.

        If you follow me on Twitter, you would have probably known this article was coming due to how frustrating an experience it has been for me.

        I was spurred on due to the BoilingSteam website writing about it, and they echo some of my own thoughts and frustrations.

        Recently I was sat with my son and wanted to play a point & click adventure game called Putt-Putt with him. SteamOS needed to restart to update, so I did and it just flashed into a black screen. We waited quite a long time to see if anything happened but nothing did. After rebooting, the system was completely broken with another black screen.

      • In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor has been cancelled and refunds are being offered

        Well I didn’t see this coming at all, I got told in our IRC moments ago that In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor has been cancelled and refunds are being offered.

      • Hot Lava announced by Klei Entertainment, Linux support is planned
      • Vanguard Princess, a popular 2D fighting game is now on Linux & SteamOS

        Fighting games are in short supply on Linux, so Vanguard Princess has come along to help fill the void for us. A few moments ago they announced the Linux version is good to go!

      • Kingdom Rush Frontiers is now available on Linux

        Kingdom Rush Frontiers the latest Tower Defence game from Ironhide Game Studio has just released for Linux! This update also adds in more languages.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CEO: Taking Open Source Beyond the Data Center

        When Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst spoke at LinuxCon last week, he hardly mentioned RHEL or the company’s stack. Instead, he focused almost entirely on Linux in general and the open source development model in particular. This wasn’t a surprise, as there probably isn’t an organization on the planet with a deeper understanding of open source methodology and its potential. It’s how it built free software into a $2 billion business.

        Most people familiar with Red Hat know the company’s broader vision for open source — sometimes referred to as “the open source way” — goes beyond software, so it also wasn’t much of a surprise when Whitehurst’s talk strayed from data centers and workstations and into areas not normally associated with IT at all.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 24 review: The year’s best Linux distro is puzzlingly hard to recommend

          Fedora 24 is one of the best Linux distro releases you’re likely to see this year. And there are two other releases that I did not have room to cover in depth here: the Server and Cloud variants of Fedora 24, which pack in a ton of new features specific to those environments. The cloud platform especially continues to churn out the container-related features, with some new tools for OpenShift Origin, Fedora’s Platform-as-a-Service system built around Google’s Kubernetes project. Check out Fedora Magazine’s release announcement for more on everything that’s new in Server and Cloud.

          As always, Fedora WorkStation also comes in a variety of “Spins” that are pre-packaged setups for specific use cases. There are prepacked spins of all the major desktops, including Xfce, KDE, MATE, Cinnamon, and LXDE (you can also get alternative desktops in one go by downloading the DVD installer). Spins aren’t just for desktops, though. For example, there’s an astronomy spin, a design suite spin, robotics-focused spin, a security spin, and several more. None of these spins have anything you can’t set up yourself, but if you don’t want to put in the time and effort, Fedora can handle that for you.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 “Erik” Users Receive the Latest Debian Security Updates

          Today, August 29, 2016, the maintainers of the Parsix GNU/Linux distribution announced the availability of multiple security updates, along with a new kernel version for the Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 “Erik” release.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 16.10 Wallpaper Contest Is Now Open For Entries

            Doors have opened on the Ubuntu 16.10 Wallpaper Contest.

            Few desktop operating systems offer amateur and professional illustrators, photographers and graphic designers the chance to have their artwork seen by millions of people around the world.

            But then, Ubuntu isn’t your average operating system!

          • Flavours and Variants

            • The Peppermint Twist Is Still Cool

              Peppermint is a solid Linux operating system with a record for good performance and reliability. It is an ideal choice for handling everyday computing chores.

              LXDE provides a fast and friendly desktop environment. The entire desktop package and tweaked Peppermint 7 settings give you lots of options for creating a comfortable platform. My only dissatisfaction is the lack of much in the way of desktop animation effects. All it provides are semi-transparent application interfaces in the background.

              The Peppermint community is headed by the Peppermint OS LLC, a software company based in Asheville, North Carolina. Founded in 2010, the open source company issues one major release per year. A partial upgrade rolls out periodically.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Compact, rugged Skylake computer-on-module is big on PCIe

      Kontron’s Linux-ready “COMe-cSL6” COM Express Compact Type 6 module offers 10 PCIe lanes, up to 24GB RAM and 32GB eMMC, and industrial temperature support.

    • Credit card-sized module runs Linux on Braswell

      Axiomtek’s credit card-sized “CEM300” module runs Linux on Intel Braswell SoCs at 4-6W TDP and offers HD graphics, dual SATA III ports, and four PCIe lanes.

      Like Axiomtek’s Atom E3800 “Bay Trail” based CEM846 computer-on-module, its new CEM300 supports Linux and Windows, and uses the 84 x 55mm COM Express Type 10 Mini form factor. The CEM300 advances to 14nm Intel Braswell SoCs, which offer much improved Intel HD Graphics Gen8, while reducing TDPs to a 4W to 6W range. Supported models include the quad-core 1.6GHz (2.4GHz burst) Pentium N3700, the quad-core Celeron N3160, and the dual-core Celeron N3060.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • New NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Console Shows Up At The FCC

          While the Xiaomi Mi Box does seem to be inching closer towards its release and while this is expected to be the next big major device release for the Android TV platform, the last week has seen speculation mounting as to what NVIDIA might have up their sleeves. This is because a new SHIELD Controller popped up on the FCC and this was then followed by new filings for a new SHIELD Remote control. Of course, just because the two controller accessories were passing through the FCC, it does not automatically mean there will also be a new SHIELD Android TV device coming as well. Although on this particular occasion, that looks to be exactly what is happening.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Remembering Vernon Adams

    Open-source font developer Vernon Adams has passed away in California at the age of 49. [Vernon Adams] In 2014, Adams was injured in an automobile collision, sustaining serious trauma from which he never fully recovered. Perhaps best known within the Linux community as the creator of KDE’s user-interface font Oxygen, Adams created a total of 51 font families published through Google Fonts, all under open licenses. He was also active in a number of related free-software projects, including FontForge, Metapolator, and the Open Font Library. In 2012, he co-authored the user’s guide for FontForge as part of Google’s Summer of Code Documentation Camp, which we reported on at that time.

  • BSD

    • The Voicemail Scammers Never Got Past Our OpenBSD Greylisting

      We usually don’t see much of the scammy spam and malware. But that one time we went looking for them, we found a campaign where our OpenBSD greylisting setup was 100% effective in stopping the miscreants’ messages.

      During August 23rd to August 24th 2016, a spam campaign was executed with what appears to have been a ransomware payload. I had not noticed anything particularly unusual about the bsdly.net and friends setup that morning, but then Xavier Mertens’ post at isc.sans.edu Voice Message Notifications Deliver Ransomware caught my attention in the tweetstream, and I decided to have a look.

    • Why FreeBSD Doesn’t Aim For OpenMP Support Out-Of-The-Box
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Scientific Library 2.2 released

      Version 2.2 of the GNU Scientific Library (GSL) is now available. GSL provides a large collection of routines for numerical computing in C.

      This release contains new linear algebra routines (Pivoted and Modified Cholesky, Complete Orthogonal Decomposition, matrix condition number estimation) as well as a completely rewritten nonlinear least squares module, including support for Levenberg-Marquardt, dogleg, double-dogleg, and Steihaug-Toint methods.

      The full NEWS file entry is appended below.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Report: If DOD Doesn’t Embrace Open Source, It’ll ‘Be Left Behind’

      Unless the Defense Department and its military components levy increased importance on software development, they risk losing military technical superiority, according to a new report from the Center for a New American Security.

      In the report, the Washington, D.C.-based bipartisan think tank argues the Pentagon, which for years has relied heavily on proprietary software systems, “must actively embrace open source software” and buck the status quo.

      Currently, DOD uses open source software “infrequently and on an ad hoc basis,” unlike tech companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook that wouldn’t exist without open source software.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • The Honey Trap of Copy/Pasting Open Source Code

      I couldn’t agree more with Bill Sourour’s article ‘Copy.Paste.Code?’ which says that copying and pasting code snippets from sources like Google and StackOverflow is fine as long as you understand how they work. However, the same logic can’t be applied to open source code.

      When I started open source coding at the tender age of fourteen, I was none the wiser to the pitfalls of copy/pasting open source code. I took it for granted that if a particular snippet performed my desired function, I could just insert it into my code, revelling in the fact that I’d just gotten one step closer to getting my software up and running. Yet, since then, through much trial and error, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to use open source code effectively.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Affordable, Open Source, 3D Printable CNC Machine is Now on Kickstarter

        The appeals of Kickstarter campaigns are many. There are the rewards for backers, frequently taking the form of either deep discounts on the final product or unusual items that can’t be found anywhere else. Pledging to support any crowdfunding campaign is a gamble, but it’s an exciting gamble; just browsing Kickstarter is pretty exciting, in fact, especially in the technological categories. Inventive individuals and startups offer new twists on machines like 3D printers and CNC machines – often for much less cost than others on the market.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open Standards and Open Source

      Much has changed in the telecommunications industry in the years since Standards Development Organization (SDOs) such as 3GPP, ITU and OMA were formed. In the early days of telecom and the Internet, as fundamental technology was being invented, it was imperative for the growth of the new markets that standards were established prior to large-scale deployment of technology and related services. The process for development of these standards followed a traditional “waterfall” approach, which helped to harmonize (sometimes competing) pre-standard technical solutions to market needs.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Illinois Sues Controversial Drug Maker Over Deceptive Marketing Practices

      Illinois’ attorney general has filed suit against Insys Therapeutics, accusing the controversial pharmaceutical company of using deceptive marketing practices — including paying an indicted doctor thousands of dollars for “sham” speaking events — to sell its signature pain medication.

      It’s not unusual for drug makers to pay doctors who have histories of misconduct for consulting or speaking about their products. A recent ProPublica analysis found that more than 2,300 doctors with records of discipline in five states had received payments from drug and medical device companies since 2013.

      Insys was one of more than 400 companies that made payments to such doctors, but its activities have received far more attention than those of its peers.

      According to investigations in several states, Insys’ business model relied on funneling substantial payments to the doctors who most frequently prescribed its drugs, even if they had troubling disciplinary records or even criminal histories. These payments were mostly for services related to Subsys, a fentanyl-based medication approved by the FDA to treat patients suffering from cancer pain resistant to other types of opioid drugs.

    • CETA Leaves Bad Taste on Food Safety: Report

      While debate rages in Europe about CETA, the Canada-EU trade agreement, a new report warns that the deal could lower food safety standards.

      Food Safety, Agriculture and Regulatory Cooperation in the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, released today by the Council of Canadians and numerous European partners, outlines the regulatory differences between Canada and the EU that could jeopardize European food safety and production standards.

      European farmers, who have been struggling as farm prices crash, will have to compete with Canadian imports.

    • Yet Another Transatlantic Trade Deal Threatening Food Safety, Groups Warn

      The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a controversial trade deal between Canada and the European Union (E.U.), threatens food safety and other consumer standards, according to a new report by a coalition of advocacy groups.

      Even as other global trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) fall apart amid failed negotiations, consumers and workers around the world still aren’t in the clear. According to Food Safety, Agriculture and Regulatory Cooperation in the Canada-E.U. Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (pdf), released by groups including the Council of Canadians, War on Want, and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, European farmers under CETA will have to compete with Canadian imports while contending with “no animal welfare penalties and lower safety standards.”

    • ‘Just Cut the Price’: Consumer Groups Unimpressed With EpiPen Generic

      The maker of the emergency allergy medication EpiPen, Mylan, on Monday announced a generic version of the drug amid a price-gouging scandal—indicating that, as journalist Sonali Kolhatkar wrote on Twitter, public outrage can create change—but consumer groups say it’s too little, too late.

      “The weirdness of a generic drug company offering a generic version of its own branded but off-patent product is a signal that something is wrong,” said Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy organization Public Citizen, in a statement on Monday. “Today’s announcement is just one more convoluted mechanism to avoid plain talk, admit to price gouging, and just cut the price of EpiPen.”

      Mylan was accused in July of having incrementally hiked its EpiPen prices over time until they reached $600 per two-pen set—a 500 percent increase that was well out of reach for many consumers who need the medical tools in life-threatening allergy situations.

      It was also later revealed that the company’s executives gave themselves exorbitant bonuses and avoided paying taxes while they jacked up the cost of the medication.

  • Security

    • 5 Best Linux Distros for Security

      Security is nothing new to Linux distributions. Linux distros have always emphasized security and related matters like firewalls, penetration testing, anonymity, and privacy. So it is hardly surprising that security conscious distributions are common place. For instance, Distrowatch lists sixteen distros that specialize in firewalls, and four for privacy.

      Most of these specialty security distributions, however, share the same drawback: they are tools for experts, not average users. Only recently have security distributions tried to make security features generally accessible for desktop users.

    • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and 12.04 LTS Users Get New Kernel Updates with Security Fixes

      Immediately after informing us about the availability of a new kernel update for the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, Canonical published more security advisories about updated kernel versions for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

    • Canonical Patches Eight Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

      Just a few minutes ago, Canonical published multiple security advisories to inform the Ubuntu Linux community about the availability of new kernel updates for all of its supported Ubuntu OSes, including Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

    • FBI detects breaches against two state voter systems

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation has found breaches in Illinois and Arizona’s voter registration databases and is urging states to increase computer security ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election, according to a U.S. official familiar with the probe.

      The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Monday that investigators were also seeking evidence of whether other states may have been targeted.

      The FBI warning in an Aug. 18 flash alert from the agency’s Cyber Division did not identify the intruders or the two states targeted.

      Reuters obtained a copy of the document after Yahoo News first reported the story Monday.

    • Russians Hacked Two U.S. Voter Databases, Say Officials [Ed: blaming without evidence again]

      Two other officials said that U.S. intelligence agencies have not yet concluded that the Russian government is trying to do that, but they are worried about it.

    • FBI Says Foreign Hackers Got Into Election Computers

      We’ve written probably hundreds of stories on just what a dumb idea electronic voting systems are, highlighting how poorly implemented they are, and how easily hacked. And, yet, despite lots of security experts sounding the alarm over and over again, you still get election officials ridiculously declaring that their own systems are somehow hack proof.

      And now, along comes the FBI to alert people that it’s discovered at least two state election computer systems have been hacked already, and both by foreign entities.

    • Researchers Reveal SDN Security Vulnerability, Propose Solution

      Three Italian researchers have published a paper highlighting a security vulnerability in software-defined networking (SDN) that isn’t intrinsic to legacy networks. It’s not a showstopper, though, and they propose a solution to protect against it.

      “It” is a new attack they call Know Your Enemy (KYE), through which the bad guys could potentially collect information about a network, such as security tool configuration data that could, for example, reveal attack detection thresholds for network security scanning tools. Or the collected information could be more general in nature, such as quality-of-service or network virtualization policies.

    • NV Gains Momentum for a Secure DMZ

      When it comes to making the shift to network virtualization (NV) and software-defined networking (SDN), one of the approaches gaining momentum is using virtualization technology to build a secure demilitarized zone (DMZ) in the data center.

      Historically, there have been two major drawbacks to deploying firewalls as a secure mechanism inside a data center. The first is the impact a physical hardware appliance has on application performance once another network hop gets introduced. The second is the complexity associated with managing the firewall rules.

      NV technologies make it possible to employ virtual firewalls that can be attached to specific applications and segregate them based on risk. This is the concept of building a secure DMZ in the data center. The end result is that the virtual firewall is not only capable of examining every packet associated with a specific application, but keeping track of what specific firewall rules are associated with a particular application becomes much simpler.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Thousands of migrants rescued off Libya

      About 6,500 migrants have been rescued off Libya, the Italian coastguard says, in one of the biggest operations of its kind to date.

      Some 40 co-ordinated rescue missions took place about 20km (12 miles) off the Libyan town of Sabratha, it added.

      Video footage shows migrants, said to be from Eritrea and Somalia, cheering and some swimming to rescue vessels, while others carried babies aboard.

      On Sunday more than 1,100 migrants were rescued in the same area.

    • Can Americans Overthrow The Evil That Rules Them?

      Hillary is a warmonger, perhaps the ultimate and last one if she becomes president, as the combination of her hubris and incompetence is likely to result in World War 3. On July 3, 2015, Hillary declared: “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m president, we will attack Iran. . . . we would be able to totally obliterate them.” http://www.globalresearch.ca/hillary-clinton-if-im-president-we-will-attack-iran/5460484?print=1 The crazed Hillary went on from this to declare the President of Russia to be “the new Hitler.” Little doubt she thinks she can obliterate Russia also.

    • The Sultan’s Hit List Grows, as Turkey Prepares to Enter Syria

      It says a lot about post-failed-coup Turkey that you can spot the priority list of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s foreign antagonists from the Government’s reactions to a massacre. The slaughter of at least 50 Kurdish wedding guests by a suicide bomber in the border city of Gaziantep on Saturday was swiftly blamed on Isis. Erdogan said it was the “likely” culprit. Certainly the target fits Isis’ gruesome track record.

      But then Erdogan’s Deputy Prime Minister, Mehmet Simsek, broadened the scope of Turkey’s enemies. Describing the mass killing as “barbaric” – which it surely was – he then listed the “terror groups” who were targeting Turkey: the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers Party), Isis and the followers of Fethullah Gulen, the exiled and rather eccentric cleric whom Erdogan still claims organised the attempted military coup in July.

    • US Calls ‘Unacceptable’ Turkey’s Attack on Kurdish Fighters in Syria

      The United States has criticized as “unacceptable” the fighting between forces backed NATO ally Turkey and U.S.-backed pro-Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, just days after the U.S. and Russia suggested there was no imminent ceasefire to the conflict that has killed at least a quarter of a million people.

      “We are closely monitoring reports of clashes south of Jarabulus—where ISIL [Islamic State or ISIS] is no longer located—between the Turkish armed forces, some opposition groups, and units that are affiliated with the SDF (Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces),” Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook said in a statement to Agence France-Presse.

      As Reuters explains, the SDF is a “a coalition that encompasses the Kurdish YPG militia and which has been backed by Washington to fight the jihadists.”

    • Rousseff Warns of Threat to Brazil’s Democracy as “Coup” Nears End

      Suspended President Dilma Rousseff testified during her impeachment trial on Monday, rejecting the charge that she manipulated government accounts, and warning that the “future of Brazil is at stake.”

      “I did not commit the crimes that I am unjustly accused of,” she said in her 30-minute address to the senate, adding, “I’m afraid that democracy will be damned with me.”

      “I can’t help but taste the bitterness of injustice,” the 68-year-old told senators.

      Rousseff has been suspended since May. She—and others—have labeled the impeachment effort a coup, saying the charge that she illegally handled the budget in a way to make it look like it was in a better position than it was is just pretext for removing her from office and putting an end to 13 years of rule by her Workers’ Party.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • White New Orleans Has Recovered from Hurricane Katrina. Black New Orleans Has Not.

      96,000.

      That’s how many fewer African-Americans are living in New Orleans now than prior to Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall 11 years ago today. Nearly 1 in 3 black residents have not returned to the city after the storm.

      It was the worst urban disaster in modern U.S. history. Eighty percent of New Orleans lay under water after the epic collapse of the area’s flood-protection system—more than 110,000 homes and another 20,000 plus businesses, along with most of the city’s schools, police and fire stations, electrical plans, and its public transportation system.

    • In Blow to Colorado Residents, Anti-Fracking Measures Fail to Make Ballot

      Fracking opponents vowed to keep up the fight in Colorado on Monday after it was announced that measures seeking to restrict fracking in the state had failed to make the 2016 ballot.

      Secretary of State Wayne Williams said Monday that supporters failed to collect enough “valid voter signatures” for Initiatives 75 and 78, which would have given local authorities more power to regulate fracking and implemented mandatory setbacks for oil and gas activity around schools, playgrounds, and hospitals, respectively.

    • Colorado is no longer heading to a vote on fracking this November. The state found too few valid signatures.

      Initiatives 75 and 78, which would have allowed new restrictions on oil-and-gas development, now face a steep uphill battle to get on the November ballot.

  • Finance

    • Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Social Security

      Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has released a new ad that reveals that either he doesn’t understand Social Security or he wants to galvanize opposition to Social Security. Either way, his rhetoric undermines our collective security.

      In his ad, Trump wrongly attacks immigrants and refugees. Contrary to Trump’s claims, unauthorized workers do not receive Social Security. In fact, while they contribute to Social Security through their jobs, they cannot receive Social Security. Undocumented immigrants are not even eligible for means-tested welfare programs like Supplemental Security Income. There is no ambiguity or debate: They are not eligible for Social Security’s earned benefits.

      Unauthorized workers have billions of dollars in Social Security contributions deducted from their pay checks each year. Social Security’s chief actuary estimates that in the last 10 years they have paid more than $100 billion into Social Security. But, under the law, they are not eligible for benefits.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Jill Stein is a pro-immigration environmentalist and still wants to poach Trump votes

      In an interview with Circa, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein discussed her plan to fight climate change, erase student debt and win over Donald Trump supporters.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein says Colorado leading the way to the future

      With ballot proposals that would revamp the state’s health care system, raise the minimum wage, and allow local governments to regulate fracking, Colorado is blazing a path that the rest of the country should follow, Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate told a crowd in Denver.

      “Colorado is leading the charge. These are the things we need to do at the national level,” Stein, a 66-year-old physician, told a packed house at the Mercury Cafe on Sunday.

      Stein said providing Medicare for all U.S. citizens would revitalize the poorly working health care system by redirecting funds into services that now are spent on administration, bloated salaries for executives, and other costs.

    • Why Hillary Clinton Republicans Matter

      Not since Barry Goldwater’s 1964 campaign has there been such widespread public disavowal by Republicans of their party’s nominee. The Hillary Clinton Republicans will be one of the most important legacies of the 2016 campaigns.

      The question is whether they will constitute the forward end of a political realignment, or just a one-time reaction to the unsuitability of Donald Trump for the presidency.

      Reasons for skepticism about long-term change are rooted in the differences between today’s polarized politics and the more tempered partisanship surrounding the big-bang elections of 1964 and 1980.

      In 1964, there was a lively liberal wing of the Republican Party. GOP figures such as Jacob Javits, Clifford Case, Edward Brooke and John Lindsay had far more in common philosophically with Lyndon Johnson than they did with Goldwater.

    • Glenn Greenwald: Regardless of Trump, Journalists Must Do Their Homework and Investigate Clinton

      Donald Trump has become “such a kind of dangerous presence on the American landscape that a lot of people have become afraid of doing their jobs and scrutinizing his opponent,” Glenn Greenwald told “Democracy Now!”

      Greenwald made his observation as media outlets have launched into Donald Trump’s business and tax history and conducted investigations into the lives and past work of current and former Trump campaign officials Steve Bannon and Paul Manafort.

      Giving a demonstration of the kind of scrutiny he wants his colleagues to practice, Greenwald asked why the Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars in donations from Saudi Arabia and other tyrannical states in the Persian Gulf.

    • Dead Abe Lincoln Says: Vote Gary Johnson

      Via their site and using Facebook, they link a voter who would like to vote Libertarian from a specific state who says they would feel obligated to vote Hillary Clinton if they had no other choice to another voter who says they’d feel obligated to vote Trump in that situation.

    • Sanders Will Campaign for Dems, But Won’t Give Party Coveted Email List

      In an email to supporters on Monday, Bernie Sanders highlighted four hotly-contested races that he says will likely determine the Senate majority: Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Ohio and Nevada.

      “The Koch brothers know this. That is why they are spending tens of millions of dollars to defeat these four candidates for Senate,” Sanders wrote. “And that’s why I’m asking you to support them: Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania, Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, Ted Strickland in Ohio, and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada.”

      “I want to be clear,” he continues. “It is very important that our movement holds public officials accountable. The Democratic Party passed an extremely progressive agenda at the convention. Our job is to make sure that platform is implemented. That will not happen without Democratic control of the Senate.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Transparency Hunters Capture More than 400 California Database Catalogs

      A team of over 40 transparency activists aimed their browsers at California this past weekend, collecting more than 400 database catalogs from local government agencies, as required under a new state law. Together, participants in the California Database Hunt shined light on thousands upon thousands of government record systems.

      California S.B. 272 requires every local government body, with the exception of educational agencies, to post inventories of their “enterprise systems,” essentially every database that holds records on members of the public or is used as a primary source of information. These database catalogs were required to be posted online (at least by agencies with websites) by July 1, 2016.

    • Hacker Shows Us How to Unlock a Laptop Using an NSA Tool

      Around Christmas in 2013, a German newsmagazine published a large cache of leaked NSA files, detailing several spy tools used by the NSA.

      The leaked documents were dubbed ANT (Advanced Network Techniques) Catalog, and showed that the US spy agency had a wide array of tools to spy on people’s computers and, as they put it, get the “ungettable.” The tools ranged from a set of fake cellular base stations that hijack phone calls, a USB plug to steal data as soon as it’s connected to a computer, and “radio frequency reflectors,” devices that beam radio signals to other devices, forcing them to beam data back.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Appeals Court Tosses Search Warrant Used By Louisiana Sheriff In Attempt To Silence Critical Blogger

      The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals has just ended Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry “Censorious Dumbass” Larpenter’s attempt to silence a critic through the magic of abusing his power. The sheriff obtained a warrant to raid a blogger’s house, using the state’s mostly-unconstitutional criminal defamation law to justify the search. The blogger had pointed out that Larpenter’s wife works for an insurance agency that provides coverage for the local government — something that looked just a wee bit corrupt.

      Larpenter didn’t care for this, so he took his search warrant application — and a complaint by Tony Alford, who runs the insurance company that Larpenter’s wife works for — to an off-duty judge to get it signed. This same judge later declared the warrant to be perfectly legal when challenged by lawyers representing the blogger. The blogger’s lawyers appealed [PDF] this decision, which has resulted in the warrant [PDF] being killed. Naomi Lachance of The Intercept has more details.

    • Maine’s “Instant Runoff” Proposal Could Banish Its Governor From State Politics

      Maine’s colorful governor, Republican Paul LePage, has once again grabbed headlines — this time for leaving a profanity-laced voicemail for an opposition lawmaker and then declaring that the “overwhelming majority” of Maine’s “enemy” are “people of color.”

      LePage’s antics have left many people outside Maine wondering how the bland, sensible state ever elected him. The answer’s straightforward: LePage has never needed a majority of Maine’s votes to win. Maine has a standard first-past-the-post voting system plus a strong tradition of third parties and politicians running as independents. With multiple candidates running against LePage during his two races for governor, he was able to squeak into office both times with just a plurality of votes.

      In 2010, LePage was elected with just 37.6 percent of the vote. In 2014, he received 48.2 percent of the vote. In each election, a combination of independent and Democratic Party candidates received the majority of the votes.

    • Kids in Handcuffs?

      WHEN A KENTUCKY SHERIFF’S DEPUTY was caught on camera handcuffing an 8-year-old boy with disabilities, it made national headlines. But the problem runs deeper than one overzealous officer, say ACLU attorneys who sued the deputy and the Kenton County sheriff’s office in federal court under the Fourth and 14th Amendments and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    • Do Over, Please: EFF and ACLU Ask Ninth Circuit to Revisit Two Dangerous CFAA Rulings

      Imagine being convicted of a crime for logging into a friend’s social media account with their permission? Or for logging into your spouse’s bank account to pay a bill, even though a pop-up banner appeared stating that only account holders were permitted to access the system? The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last month issued two decisions—by two different 3-judge panels in two separate cases—which seem to turn such actions into federal crimes. We teamed up with the ACLU and ACLU of Northern California to ask the court to review both decisions en banc—with 11 judges, not just 3—and issue a ruling that will ensure innocent Internet users are not transformed into criminals on the basis of innocuous password sharing. We want the court to come up with a clear and limited interpretation of the notoriously vague statute at the heart of both cases, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

    • Kaepernick vs. Trump: Making America Great Again
    • In ‘Tacit Admission’ of Cruelty, DHS Says It Too May End For-Profit Prisons

      On the heels of the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) “important and groundbreaking decision” to phase out the use of private prisons, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has just signaled that it may follow in those footsteps—a move that would heed human rights advocates’ call for the agency to end “prison profiteers in our inhumane immigration system.”

      In a statement released Monday, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson says he asked the Homeland Security Advisory Council to establish a subcommittee tasked with evaluating “whether the immigration detention operations conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] should move in the same direction” as the DOJ, with their findings to be submitted by Nov. 30.

      Among those welcoming the news was Human Rights First’s Jennifer Quigley, who said, “Private immigration detention facilities are inconsistent with international human rights standards and are largely unnecessary.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

08.29.16

Links 29/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC4, Maru OS Source Code

Posted in News Roundup at 5:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • BSODs at scale: we laugh at your puny five storeys, here’s our SIX storey #fail

    It’s an easy drive-by troll, isn’t it? Last week, we asked readers to top the five-storey Blue Screen of Death spotted in Thailand, and examples big and small flooded the inbox.

    Manchester Piccadilly Station is either vying for the crown with last week’s entry, or perhaps it’s a display from the same maker. Thanks to James for catching this shot from 2013.

  • Server

    • Cost Effective Linux Server Software for Enterprises

      The advantages of a Linux server over expensive Windows systems are numerous with hardly any drawbacks. Since Linux is not dominant as Windows, there are some slight difficulties to find applications based on this platform to support the needs. While security stands as an important aspect for servers, the advantage over dominant operating systems is that security flaws are caught in Linux, even before they become an issue for the public.

      Linux was one of the first open-source technologies in which you can download the source code and change it any way you like. Several Linux coders have developed software that’s completely open-source for any user, improving the security and usability at each core.

    • Weigh the pros, cons of three Linux load balancer options

      Nginx, HAProxy and Linux Virtual Server are three different Linux load balancer to consider for multiserver, high-traffic requests in the data center.

    • Monitoring of Monitoring

      I was recently asked to get data from a computer that controlled security cameras after a crime had been committed. Due to the potential issues I refused to collect the computer and insisted on performing the work at the office of the company in question. Hard drives are vulnerable to damage from vibration and there is always a risk involved in moving hard drives or systems containing them. A hard drive with evidence of a crime provides additional potential complications. So I wanted to stay within view of the man who commissioned the work just so there could be no misunderstanding.

      The system had a single IDE disk. The fact that it had an IDE disk is an indication of the age of the system. One of the benefits of SATA over IDE is that swapping disks is much easier, SATA is designed for hot-swap and even systems that don’t support hot-swap will have less risk of mechanical damage when changing disks if SATA is used instead of IDE. For an appliance type system where a disk might be expected to be changed by someone who’s not a sysadmin SATA provides more benefits over IDE than for some other use cases.

      I connected the IDE disk to a USB-IDE device so I could read it from my laptop. But the disk just made repeated buzzing sounds while failing to spin up. This is an indication that the drive was probably experiencing “stiction” which is where the heads stick to the platters and the drive motor isn’t strong enough to pull them off. In some cases hitting a drive will get it working again, but I’m certainly not going to hit a drive that might be subject to legal action! I recommended referring the drive to a data recovery company.

      The probability of getting useful data from the disk in question seems very low. It could be that the drive had stiction for months or years. If the drive is recovered it might turn out to have data from years ago and not the recent data that is desired. It is possible that the drive only got stiction after being turned off, but I’ll probably never know.

  • Kernel Space

    • Windows 10 vs. Linux Radeon Software Performance, Including AMDGPU-PRO & RadeonSI

      As alluded to earlier and on Twitter, the past few days I have been working on a fresh Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux graphics/gaming performance comparison. This time it’s looking at the latest Radeon performance using an R9 Fury and RX 480. Tests on Windows were obviously done with Radeon Software Crimson Edition while under Linux were the two latest AMD/RTG Linux driver options: the hybrid AMDGPU-PRO driver and the fully open-source driver via Linux 4.8 and Mesa 12.1-dev.

    • Linux Kernel 3.10.103 LTS Has Lots of MIPS Improvements, Updated Radeon Drivers

      Today, August 28, 2016, Linux kernel developer Willy Tarreau announced the release of the one hundred and third maintenance update to the long-term supported Linux 3.10 kernel series.

      For some reason, the Linux 3.10 kernel branch is still getting updates, and this new version promises to add quite some improvements and updated drivers, as, according to the appended shortlog and the diff from the Linux kernel 3.10.102 LTS build, a total of 161 files have been changed, with 1800 insertions and 1293 deletions.

    • Collabora’s Devs to Bring Performance Improvements to Emulated NVMe Devices

      We reported earlier this month that Collabora’s developers contributed patches to the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel to bring the open source Intel graphics driver on par with its Windows equivalent.

      And now Softpedia was informed by Collabora’s Mark Filion about some other interesting patches contributed by Collabora’s developers to the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel. These patches promise to add huge performance improvements to emulated NVMe devices.

    • Linux 4.8-rc4

      Another week, another -rc.

      Everything looks normal, and it’s been a bit quieter than rc3 too, so
      hopefully we’re well into the “it’s calming down” phase. Although with
      the usual timing-related fluctuation (different maintainers stagger
      their pulls differently), it’s hard to tell a trend yet.

      Regardless, it all looks pretty small. I think the biggest thing in
      there is a skylake power management fix that came in as part of the
      gpu updates just before I was about to cut the rc4 release. Oh well.
      The other slightly larger change is some btrfs fixes.

      But on the whole those things don’t look that scary, and the rest is
      all really pretty tiny fixes spread out: various driver subsystems
      (sound, rdma, block), kvm, and some arch updates.

      The usual shortlog below for the details -it’s small and easy to scan
      to get a taste for the kind of things we’ve had.

      Go forth and test.

      Linus

    • Linux 4.8-rc4 Kernel Released

      Continuing his Sunday tradition, Linus Torvalds released a few minutes ago the Linux 4.8-rc4 kernel.

      This latest weekly development installment of the Linux 4.8 kernel features a variety of bug/regression fixes, including some last minute DRM fixes that made it into this kernel release.

    • Linus Torvalds Announces Linux Kernel 4.8 RC4 with Skylake Power Management Fix

      It’s Sunday evening, so guess what you’ll be doing in the next few hours? Yes, that’s right, Linus Torvalds has just announced the fourth RC (Release Candidate) version of the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel branch.

    • Kernel prepatch 4.8-rc4
    • Linus rages at GNU enforcement

      Open Sauce’s Mr Sweary has gone off on lawyers making money on GPL enforcement.

      Linus Torvalds waded into the Software Freedom Conservancy and Bradley Kuhn over the question of enforcing compliance of the GPL General Public Licence.

      Software Freedom Conservancy head Karen Sandler made a mistake when she suggested that Linuxcon in Toronto should include a session on GPL enforcement.

      A number of developers think that while discussing enforcement issues was topical and necessary, doing it at a conference of this kind could well lead to people who took part being deposed later on by lawyers for their own cases.

    • How IoTivity and AllJoyn Could Combine

      At the Embedded Linux Conference in April, Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) Executive Director Mike Richmond concluded his keynote on the potential for interoperability between the OCF’s IoTivity IoT framework and the AllSeen Alliance’s AllJoyn spec by inviting to the stage Greg Burns, the chief architect of AllJoyn. Burns briefly shared his opinion that not only was there no major technical obstacle to combining these two major open source IoT specs, but that by taking the best of both standards, a hybrid could emerge that improves upon both.

      Later in the day, Burns gave a technical overview of how such a hybrid could be crafted in “Evolving a Best-of-Breed IoT Framework.” (See video below.) Burns stated in both talks that his opinions in no way reflect the official position of OCF or the AllSeen Alliance. At the time of the ELC talk in April, Burns had recently left his job as VP of Engineering at Qualcomm and Chair of the Technical Steering Committee at the AllSeen Alliance to take on the position of Chief IoT Software Technologist in the Open Source Technology Center at Intel Corp.

    • ​Linus Torvalds’ love-hate relationship with the GPL

      Linux’s founder appreciates what the GNU General Public License has given Linux, but he doesn’t appreciate how some open-source lawyers are trying to enforce it in court.

    • Linus Torvalds reflects on 25 years of Linux

      LinuxCon North America concluded in Toronto, Canada on August 25th, the day Linux was celebrating its 25th anniversary. Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, and Dirk Hohndel, VP and chief of open source at VMware, sat down for a conversation at the event and reflected upon the past 25 years. Here are some of the highlights of that conversation.

    • 6 things you should know from Linux’s first 25 years

      Red Hat was founded in 1993, two years after Linux was announced and the company has been one of the top contributors to Linux. There is a symbiotic relationship between the company and the project. Whitehurst pointed out that it’s hard to talk about the history of Red Hat without talking about Linux and vice versa.

    • There Is Talk Of Resuming OpenChrome VIA KMS/DRM Driver Development

      Two or so years back or so it was looking hopeful that the mainline Linux kernel would finally have a proper VIA DRM/KMS driver for the unfortunate ones still have VIA x86 hardware and using the integrated graphics. However, that work was ultimately abandoned but there is talk of it being restored.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Clarity (Vector Design) Icon Theme for Linux Desktop’s

      Clarity Icon Theme is completely different from other icon themes because its purly based on Vector design. This theme is based on AwOken and Token, lots of shapes and basic color pallete was taken from these icons. Few icons was taken from Raphael. used some shapes from OpenClipart, Wikipedia, Humanity and AnyColorYouLike Themes. The rest of icons designed by developer by simplifying existed icons or logos. Two types of fonts used Impact and Cheboygan.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Builder 3.22 Enters Beta with Many Vim Improvements, New Search & Replace

        The GNOME Builder open-source IDE (Integrated Development Environment) designed for the GNOME desktop environment will soon get a major update as part of the upcoming GNOME 3.22 release.

      • GUADEC 2016

        I have just returned from our annual users and developers conference. This years’ GUADEC has taken place in the lovely Karlsruhe, Germany. It once again was a fantastic opportunity to gather everyone who works pretty hard to make our desktop and platform the best out there. :)

      • GUADEC 2016, Karlsruhe

        Nice thing this year was that almost everyone was staying in the same place, or close; this favoured social gatherings even more than in the previous years. This was also helped by the organized events, every evenings, from barbecue to picnic, from local student-run bar to beer garden (thanks Centricular), and more.

        And during the days? Interesting talks of course, like the one offered by Rosanna about how the foundation runs (and how crazy is the US bank system), or the Builder update by Christian, and team meetings.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Debian-Based Q4OS 1.6 “Orion” Linux Distro Launches with Trinity Desktop 14.0.3

        Softpedia has been informed today, August 28, 2016, by the developer of the Debian-based Q4OS GNU/Linux distribution about the immediate availability for download of a new stable release to the “Orion” series, version 1.6.

        The biggest new feature of the Q4OS 1.6 “Orion” release is the latest Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) 14.0.3 desktop environment, an open source project that tries to keep the spirit of the old-school KDE 3.5 desktop interface alive. Q4OS was used the most recent TDE version, so Q4OS 1.6 is here to update it.

        “The significant Q4OS 1.6 ‘Orion’ release receives the most recent Trinity R14.0.3 stable version. Trinity R14.0.3 is the third maintenance release of the R14 series, it is intended to promptly bring bug fixes to users, while preserving overall stability,” say the Q4OS developers in the release announcement.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • LuLu Group migrates to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

        LuLu Group has selected SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications to help business managers faster identify and respond to new opportunities and competitive threats.

        Headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, the international retailer runs 124 outlets and operates in 31 countries. It welcomes more than 700,000 shoppers daily.

        Since starting its retail journey in the early 1990s, LuLu Group expanded its business aggressively and required advanced technology to optimise its business.

        Hence, it migrated from Solaris UNIX to SUSE Linux as platform for SAP solutions, reducing SAP landscape operating costs at least 20 percent.

      • SUSE’s Role in the History of Linux and Open Source

        What role did SUSE play in the growth of Linux and the open source ecosystem? How did SUSE and other Linux-based operating systems evolve into the enterprise platforms they are today? Here’s what SUSE employees had to say about Linux history in a recent interview.

        To help mark the anniversary of Linus Torvalds’s release of Linux twenty-five years ago, I interviewed Meiki Chabowski, SUSE Documentation, and Markus Feilner, Strategist & Documentation Team Lead. Their answers, printed below, provide interesting perspective not only on the history of SUSE, but also of Linux and open source as a whole.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Multiple vulnerabilities in RPM – and a rant

        Last year in November I decided that it might be a good idea to fuzz the parsers of package management tools in Linux distributions. I quickly found a couple of issues in DPKG and RPM. For DPKG the process went very smooth. I reported them to Debian’s security team, eight days later fixes and security advisories were published by both Debian and Ubuntu, the main distributions using DPKG. For RPM the process was a bit more difficult.

      • Commvault announces support for Red Hat Virtualisation 4

        Back-up and archive specialist CommVault has announced support for Red Hat Virtualisation 4, the open source company’s kernel-based virtual machine powered virtualisation platform.

        Red Hat Virtualisation 4 is built on the company’s enterprise Linux distribution. It provides a centralised management platform for both Linux- and Windows-based workloads.

      • Microsoft, Red Hat Look To Steal VMware Customers

        Unfortunately for competitors, VMware has executed on its software strategy consistently enough to stay one step ahead of the prediction of eminent downfall. If it had faltered or introduced a highly defective product, it might have left more of an opening for Microsoft. But instead it has added value to its products and expanded those products into data center operations and virtual networking with such regularity that even IT managers who want to leave have found it hard to cut the cord.

      • VMware New Cloud Plan: Sell Stuff for Rival Clouds
      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • GSoC Wrap Up

          GSoC 2016 finished last week and i am writing this blog to list the work done by me in last three months for Fedora. My project was to adjust pagure and write script(s) so that we can have pkgs.fedoraproject.org on a pagure instance.

        • Flatpak Universal Linux Package Supports Local Path References for Git Sources

          Alex Larsson from the Flatpak project has announced the release of a new maintenance update to the universal binary package format for Linux kernel-based operating systems.

          Flatpak 0.6.9 is now the latest version, and it promises to add many great enhancements, among which we can mention the ability to pass partial references every time a terminal command takes a runtime or application name, as well as a brand new command called build-commit-from.

          Application developers who want to package their apps and distribute it in the Flatpak format can use the above-mentioned command for creating new commits based on the contents of an existing commit, which can be from another local repository or a remote one.

        • Getting involved with the Fedora kernel

          There are countless ways to contribute to open source projects like Fedora. Perhaps one of the most obvious ways to contribute is by helping with the Linux kernel in Fedora. At Flock 2016, I gave a talk about the state of the Fedora kernel. One of the themes of the talk was getting more people involved. The kernel is a project for everyone and all are welcome to take part. This article details what you can do to become a part of the kernel.

    • Debian Family

      • Reproducible builds: week 70 in Stretch cycle
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu’s Mir May Be Ready For FreeSync / Adaptive-Sync

            The Mir display server may already be ready for working with AMD’s FreeSync or VESA’s Adaptive-Sync, once all of the other pieces to the Linux graphics stack are ready.

            If the comments from this Mir commit are understood and correct, it looks like Mir may be ready for supporting FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync.

            While NVIDIA’s proprietary driver supports their alternative G-SYNC technology on Linux, AMD FreeSync (or the similar VESA Adaptive-Sync standard) has yet to be supported by the AMD Linux stack. We won’t be seeing any AMD FreeSync support until their DAL display stack lands. DAL still might come for Linux 4.9 but there hasn’t been any commitment yet by AMD developers otherwise not until Linux 4.10+, and then after that point FreeSync can ultimately come to the open-source AMD driver. At least with the AMDGPU-PRO driver relying upon its own DKMS module, DAL with FreeSync can land there earlier.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Free Hadoop and Spark Training Options Spread Out

      In the tech job market race these days, hardly any trend is drawing more attention than Big Data. And, when talking Big Data, the subject of Hadoop inevitably comes up, but Spark is becoming an increasingly popular topic. IBM and other companies have made huge commitments to Spark, and workers who have both Hadoop and Spark skills are much in demand.

      With that in mind MapR Technologies and other providers are offering free Hadoop and Spark training. In many cases, the training is available online and on-demand, so you can learn at your own pace.

    • Git hooks, a cloud by the numbers, and more OpenStack news

      Are you interested in keeping track of what is happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for news in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.

  • Databases

    • Improving phpMyAdmin Docker container

      Since I’ve created the phpMyAdmin container for Docker I’ve always felt strange about using PHP’s built in web server there. It really made it poor choice for any production setup and probably was causing lot of problems users saw with this container. During the weekend, I’ve changed it to use more complex setup with Supervisor, nginx and PHP FPM.

      As building this container is one of my first experiences with Docker (together with Weblate container), it was not as straightforward as I’d hope for, but in the end is seems to be working just fine. While touching the code, I’ve also improved testing of the Docker container to tests all supported setups and to better report in case of test fails.

  • Funding

    • Support open source motion comic

      There is an ongoing campaign for motion comic. It will be done entirely with FLOSS tools (Blender, Krita, GNU/Linux) and besides that, it really looks great (and no, it is not only for the kids!). Please support this effort if you can because it also shows the power of Free software tools. All will be released Creative Commons Atribution-ShareAlike license together with all sources.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Italian guide on government websites to be updated

      The source of the document is now available on GitHub, a cloud-based source code management system.

    • Open Data

      • Ethiopia’s Lucy is Now Open Source: Famous Bones’ 3D Scans Released

        The world’s most famous fossil is now open source. 3D scans of Lucy — a 3.18-million-year-old hominin found in Ethiopia — were released on 29 August, allowing anyone to examine her arm, shoulder and knee bones and even make their own 3D-printed copies.s

      • How to use open source information to investigate stories online

        Myself and others at First Draft frequently receive emails from a whole range of people asking how they can start doing the sort of online open source investigation and verification that they’ve seen us doing. The skills and methodologies used are all something that can be learnt through a little persistence, but here are a few pieces of advice to get you started.

      • Microsoft relies on Wikipedia and loses Melbourne

        Microsoft’s Bing made the grave mistake on relying on data collected by Wikipedia for its mapping software and lost Melbourne.

        While Melbourne might not be the nicest it place to live, there were a fair few who felt that Bing Maps moving it to the wrong hemisphere was not exactly fair dinkum.

        Apparently Vole made the mistake when it collected the data. Ricky Brundritt, a senior program manager at Bing Maps, said that the outfit does not normally rely that much on Wackypedia, but sometimes it uses it.

    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • You don’t need a green thumb with this farming robot

        FarmBot is a robotic open hardware system that assists anyone with a small plot of land and a desire to grow food with planting, watering, soil testing, and weeding. It uses a Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and other awesome components, including weather-resistant materials.

Leftovers

  • Students suck, professors don’t care and other myths you shouldn’t let ruin the start of the school year

    Back to school means back to bashing students. Maybe it’s time to end that trend.

    It’s that time of year again. As many of us get ready to start the school year, we are bombarded by articles, stories and memes that mock students and denigrate the professors that teach them. By now you have probably seen at least a few articles offering sage advice to this year’s incoming class of college kids. Maybe the article comes in the form of a handy list or maybe it is just a basic rant about how pathetic students are these days. You have likely already seen that meme of an Einstein look-alike professor sporting an “It’s in the syllabus” T-shirt. It all seems very funny and very wise so your instinct is to share it.

    Don’t do it.

    Consider this: When in the last decade have you gone online and read anything positive about the start of the school year? When have you read that the next class of students is extremely bright and promising? That their professors are dedicated and hardworking? Or that their places of higher education are preparing them well for their futures?

    Probably never.

    We live in an age where college aged students — millennials — are the most maligned generation in decades. They are described as lazy and clueless and selfish. Stories of them taking selfies, refusing to grow up and move out, and freaking out over trivial issues abound.

  • Recruitment mistakes: part 3

    It has been a while that I have been contacted by a recruiter, and the last few ones were fairly decent conversations, where they made an effort to research me first, and even if they did not get everything right, they still listened, and we had a productive talk. But four days ago, I had another recruiter reach out to me, from a company I know oh so well: one I ranted about before: Google. Apparently, their recruiters still do carpet-bombing style outreach. My first thought was “what took them so long?” – it has been five years since my last contact with a Google recruiter. I almost started missing them. Almost. To think that Google is now powerful enough to read my mind, is scary. Yet, I believe, this is not the case; rather, it’s just another embarrassing mistake.

  • Denmark gathers ideas for Digital Post update

    In September, Denmark will hold a four-week public survey on the next generation of Digital Post, the country’s eGovernment messaging system. The country’s Agency for Digitisation (Digitaliseringsstyrelsen) is finalising questions on user experience, IT architecture, timetable and procurement approach.

    The next generation of Digital Post should be “future-proof, easy to use and the best possible solution with regards to needs and opportunities”, Digitaliseringsstyrelsen announced in August.

  • One million Norwegians have a government mailbox

    This summer, 23-year old Solveig Boland from Løten (Norway) created the millionth government mailbox account, the Norwegian government reports. Ms Boland opened her account to obtain documents required for registration in the city of Bergen, where she wants to study medicine.

    Earlier this month, the student was congratulated by Jan Tore Sanner, Minister for Local Government and Modernisation. According to a press announcement, both Ms Boland and the minister agreed that the digital mailbox is practical. “In spring, she will receive her income tax forms in the digital mailbox.”

    According to Difi, the country’s Agency for Public Management and eGovernment, this year the number of citizens that created a government mailbox account has doubled.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Chefs get creative about restaurant food waste

      The numbers are big. $218 billion of food is wasted every year in the United States—1.3 percent of national GDP, or $1,500 a year for a family of four. In a country with 48 million food-insecure people, this represents 1,250 calories per person, every day.

      For restaurants and chefs, reducing food waste is becoming business as usual. Not only does it help the bottom line – a potential savings of $1.6 billion a year in an industry with tight margins—it saves resources all along the food supply chain.

    • Claremont wants to kick its private water company out of town. Good idea

      The citizens of Claremont, fed up with the private company that provides their water, voted overwhelmingly in 2014 to seize its water system by eminent domain and convert it to a municipal utility. A Los Angeles state judge has just wrapped up a trial over whether that’s legal and is expected to issue a ruling sometime in the next three months.

      Water users who still get their supply from private companies should be rooting for him to give Claremont a green light.

    • A doctor’s take on pot: Marijuana shouldn’t be grouped into the same category as more dangerous drugs

      On August 11th, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced its decision to keep marijuana classified as a Schedule I drug. The federal government has historically referred to this category as the “most dangerous” group of substances, including drugs like heroin and bath salts.

      As a resident physician specializing in mental health, I can’t make much sense of this.

      Every day, I talk to patients about substance abuse. Whether evaluating patients in clinic, in the emergency department or on inpatient units, my colleagues and I screen patients for substance use. It’s a vital component of any clinical interview, particularly in mental health care, and helps us understand patients’ habits and their risks for medical complications.

      During my medical training, I’ve learned which substances to worry about and which ones matter less.

  • Security

    • Hacking the American College Application Process

      In recent years, foreign students have streamed into American universities, their numbers nearly doubling in the last decade. About half of all international students are coming from Asian countries, many of which have been subject to heavy recruitment from American colleges.

      Taking advantage of the popularity of an American education, a new industry has sprung up in East Asia, focused on guiding students through the U.S. college application process with SAT preparation courses, English tutors and college essay advisors.

      But not all college prep companies are playing by the rules. In their investigative series for Reuters, a team of reporters found that foreign companies are increasingly helping students game the U.S. college application process. Some companies have leaked questions from college entrance exams to their students before they take the test. Others have gone so far as to ghostwrite entire college applications and complete coursework for students when they arrive on campus. We spoke with Steve Stecklow, one of the reporters on the team, about what they uncovered.

    • illusive networks’ Deceptions Everywhere

      illusive networks’ bread and butter is its deception cybersecurity technology called Deceptions Everywhere whose approach is to neutralize targeted attacks and Advanced Persistent Threats by creating a deceptive layer across the entire network. By providing an endless source of false information, illusive networks disrupts and detects attacks with real-time forensics and without disruption to business.

    • Mozila Offers Free Security Scanning Service: Observatory

      With an eye toward helpiing administrators protect their websites and user communities, Mozilla has developed an online scanner that can check if web servers have optimal security settings in place.

      It’s called Observatory and was initially built for in-house use, but it may very well be a difference maker for you.

      “Observatory by Mozilla is a project designed to help developers, system administrators, and security professionals configure their sites safely and securely,” the company reports.

    • New FairWare Ransomware targeting Linux Computers [Ed: probably just a side effect of keeping servers unpatched]

      A new attack called FaireWare Ransomware is targeting Linux users where the attackers hack a Linux server, delete the web folder, and then demand a ransom payment of two bitcoins to get their files back. In this attack, the attackers most likely do not encrypt the files, and if they do retain the files, probably just upload it to a server under their control.

    • How do we explain email to an “expert”?

      This has been a pretty wild week, more wild than usual I think we can all agree. The topic I found the most interesting wasn’t about one of the countless 0day flaws, it was a story from Slate titled: In Praise of the Private Email Server

      The TL;DR says running your own email server is a great idea. Almost everyone came out proclaiming it a terrible idea. I agree it’s a terrible idea, but this also got me thinking. How do you explain this to someone who doesn’t really understand what’s going on?

      There are three primary groups of people.

      1) People who know they know nothing
      2) People who think they’re experts
      3) People who are actually experts

    • Why the term “zero day” needs to be in your brand’s cybersecurity vocabulary

      Linux is “open source” which means anyone can look at the code and point out flaws. In that sense, I’d say Linus Torvalds doesn’t have to be as omniscient as Tim Cook. Linux source code isn’t hidden behind closed doors. My understanding is, all the Linux code is out there for anyone to see, naked for anyone to scrutinize, which is why certain countries feel safer using it–there’s no hidden agenda or secret “back door” lurking in the shadows. Does that mean Android phones are safer? That’s up for debate.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Indonesia’s most-wanted awakens new generation of jihadis

      During a May 2011 shootout, Indonesia’s counter-terrorism forces killed the leader of a militant group thought to be behind a series of failed bomb attempts around the city of Solo in Central Java.

      The death of “Team Hisbah” founder Sigit Qurdowi caused the group to splinter. Some formed an anti-vice squad in the city; many others became associated with a former Solo resident called Bahrun Naim, who authorities believe is a leading Indonesian coordinator for Islamic State (IS).

      Now, five years later, Naim, based in IS’s stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, is building an ever-more sophisticated network of militants from his former hometown, according to police, self-proclaimed radicals and people who work with the militants in Solo.

      Solo, which has a long history of schools and mosques associated with radical Islamists, is a breeding ground for Naim’s recruits, counter-terrorism officials say, and many of his lieutenants in Indonesia have come from Team Hisbah.

      As a result, authorities fear the risk of a major attack in Indonesia is growing.

    • Failed Indonesia Church Bomber Wounds Priest

      A would-be suicide bomber’s explosives failed to detonate in a packed church in western Indonesia during Sunday Mass, and he injured a priest with an ax before being restrained, police said.

    • VIDEO: Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment Trial Nears an End, Endangering Brazilian Democracy

      The most remarkable aspect of all of this – and what fundamentally distinguishes this process from impeachment in, say, the U.S. – is that Dilma’s removal results in the empowerment of a completely different party that was not elected to the presidency. In fact – as my colleagues at The Intercept Brasil, João Filho and Breno Costa, documented this week – Dilma’s removal is empowering exactly the right-wing party, PSDB, that has lost four straight national elections, including one to just Dilma 20 months ago. In some cases, the very same people from that party who ran for president and lost are now in control of the nation’s key ministries.

      As a result, the unelected government now about to take power permanently is preparing a series of policies – from suspending Brazil’s remarkably successful anti-illiteracy program, privatizing national assets and “changing” various social programs to abandoning its regional alliances in favor of returned subservience to the U.S. – that were never ratified by the Brazilian population and could never be. Whether you want to call this a “coup” or not, it is the antithesis of democracy, a direct assault on it.

    • Glenn Greenwald on the hypocrisy of Brazil’s political crisis

      Dilma Rousseff’s political enemies got their wish this week, as Brazil’s Senate voted to remove her from office to face an impeachment trial over charges of financial mismanagement.

      But Glenn Greenwald, founder of the Intercept and long-time resident of Brazil, says ousting Rousseff is likely to make things worse, not better.

      “The only real effect it’s probably going to have on corruption is that it will protect corruption and make it more difficult to root it out of the political system,” he tells Brent Bambury in an interview for CBC Day 6.

      Rousseff has been suspended from office while the trial goes ahead, a process that could take six months. She is accused of cooking the books to hide the size of Brazil’s budget deficit while she was campaigning for re-election. It’s part of a broader investigation including accusations that dozens of lawmakers and state oil execs got huge kickbacks for government contracts.

    • Brazil’s Rousseff faces senators, says accusations meritless

      In the middle of her second term, the left-leaning leader is accused of breaking fiscal rules to hide problems in the federal budget.

    • Green Party calls for a cutoff of aid to Saudi Arabia, citing carnage inflicted on Yemen with U.S. arms

      The Green Party is calling for an immediate cutoff of aid to Saudi Arabia and for intense diplomatic pressure to halt the Saudis’ war in Yemen.

      “Saudi Arabia is using weapons purchased from the U.S. in a campaign of indiscriminate killing in Yemen, with mass civilian casualties, including children, and attacks on medical facilities,” said Robin Laverne Wilson, New York Green candidate for the U.S. Senate ( http://www.robinforsenator.com ). “The Green Party demands a halt in aid to Saudi Arabia until the war on Yemen ceases and the Saudis stop arming violent movements in the Middle East and observe human rights in their own country.”

    • Obama’s Imperial Mideast Policy Unravels

      President Obama’s Mideast policy is such a confusing mess that he is now supporting Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria although it’s primary target is not ISIS but another U.S. ally, the Kurds, explains Daniel Lazare.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Wildlife conservationists need to break out of their Stockholm syndrome

      Conservationists like me want a world where wildlife has space, where wild places exist, and where we can connect with the wild things. Yet time after time, like captives suffering from Stockholm syndrome, wildlife conservation NGOs placate, please and emulate the very forces that are destroying the things they want to protect.

      Despite our collective, decades-long, worldwide commitment to protect wildlife, few indicators are positive. The Red List that’s issued by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature now includes 22,784 species that are threatened with extinction. Habitat loss is the main problem for 85 per cent of species on the list.

      The number of African rhinos killed by poachers, for example, has increased for the sixth year in a row. Pangolins are now the most heavily poached and trafficked mammals on the planet. One third of the world’s freshwater fish are at risk from new hydropower dams. Two hundred amphibians have already gone and polar bears are probably doomed. Human beings are simply taking too much from the world for its rich diversity to survive.

    • Ohio Residents Clash With State and County Government in Fight to Ban Fracking via the Ballot

      For years, local Ohioans have been told by courts and elected officials that they have no control over fracking — “it is a matter of state law.”

      However, groups of determined residents are refusing to accept this argument, taking steps to establish local democratic control over what they see as vital societal questions of health, safety, and planetary survival. But not without resistance from their own governments.

      In recent years, Ohio has seen fracking-induced earthquakes, contaminated waterways, and new proposals for natural gas pipelines and compressor stations, all amidst the accelerating march of climate change. Together, these events have brought the fight against fracking to a fever pitch for the Buckeye State.

      Fed up, residents have taken to the local ballot initiative process — by which citizens write, petition for, and vote on legislation — to propose “Community Bill of Rights” ordinances to ban fracking, injection wells, and associated infrastructure for natural gas production and transportation. Their efforst are part of a growing nationwide Community Rights movement

      This summer, citizens of Medina, Portage, Athens, and Meigs counties collected signatures for county-wide ballot initiatives that would establish new county charters and enshrine rights to local democratic control over fossil fuel development. All four gathered enough signatures to get on their respective November ballots. Normally, that would be enough. But not in Ohio, where Secretary of State and gubernatorial hopeful Jon Husted has done everything he can to stymie the movement’s use of direct democracy.

    • Climate change pledges not nearly enough to save tropical ecosystems

      The Paris Agreement marked the biggest political milestone to combat climate change since scientists first introduced us in the late 1980s to perhaps humanity’s greatest existential crisis.

      Last December, 178 nations pledged to do their part to keep global average temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over preindustrial levels — adding on an even more challenging, but aspirational goal of holding temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

      To this end, each nation produced a pledge to cut it’s own carbon emissions, targeting everything from the burning of fossil fuels to deforestation to agriculture.

      It seems like a Herculean task, bound, the optimistic say, to bring positive results.

      Yet, less than eight months later, a study in the journal Nature finds that those pledges are nowhere near as ambitious as they need to be to keep temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 degrees. And in August, British scientists reported that this year’s record El Niño has already pushed us perilously close to the 1.5 degree milestone.

    • With echoes of Wounded Knee, tribes mount prairie occupation to block North Dakota pipeline

      Long before Lewis and Clark paddled by, Native Americans built homes here at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers, using the thick earth to guard against brutal winters and hard summer heat. They were called the Mandan people.

      Now, Native Americans are living here again. They sleep in teepees and nylon tents. They ride horses and drive quad cabs. They string banners between trees and, when they can get a signal, they post messages with hashtags such as #ReZpectOurWater, #NoDakotaAccess and #NODAPL. For weeks, they have been arriving from the scattered patches of the United States where the government put their ancestors to protest what they say is one indignity too many in a history that has included extermination and exploitation.

      It is called the Dakota Access oil pipeline and it could carry more than 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the Bakken region of western North Dakota across South Dakota and Iowa to connect with an existing pipeline in Illinois.

    • China’s trans-Amazon railway stokes forest fears

      China’s fast-rising population and its burgeoning economy make steep demands on natural resources, so steep that Beijing is searching constantly for supplies from overseas. And it wants to obtain them, naturally, as cheaply as it can.

      Now in prospect is China’s trans-Amazon railway – a 3,300 mile-long (5,000 km) artery to link the soya-growing areas and iron ore mines of Brazil to the southern Peruvian port of Ilo, providing a cheaper, shorter route than the Panama Canal.

      Feasibility studies on three different trajectories were carried out by the China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group (CREEC). The route preferred by the Chinese, because it is cheaper and avoids the complex engineering work needed to traverse the Andes, would instead pass through heavily forested areas in the Amazon, home to many indigenous groups in both Brazil and Peru.

      Miguel Scarcello, a geographer, from the NGO SOS Amazônia, (Portuguese only) says this route for the railway will also cross the headwaters of many rivers.

    • Trumping Environmentalism

      Like many of his conservative white Cajun Catholic neighbors, Mike was a strong Republican and an enthusiastic supporter of the Tea Party. He wanted to strip the federal government to the bone. In his ideal world, the Departments of Interior, Education, Health and Human Services, Social Security, and much of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be gone; as for federal money to the states, much of that, too. The federal government provides 44% of Louisiana’s state budget — $2,400 per person per year — partly for hurricane relief, which Mike welcomes, but partly for Medicaid and, as he explained, “Most recipients could work if they wanted to and honestly, they’d be better off.”

      Louisiana is a classic red state. In 2016, it’s ranked the poorest in the nation and the worst as well in education, health, and the overall welfare of its people. It also has the second highest male incidence of cancer and is one of the country’s most polluted states. But voters like Mike have twice elected Governor Bobby Jindal who, during his eight years in office, steadfastly refused Medicaid expansion, cut funding for higher education by 44%, and laid off staff in environmental protection. Since 1976, Louisiana has voted Republican in seven out of ten presidential elections and, according to a May 2016 poll, its residents favor Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by 52% to 36%.

      Mike was an intelligent, college-educated man with a sense of stewardship over the land and the waters he loved. Given the ominous crack in his floor and the gas monitor in his garage, could he, I wondered, finally welcome government as a source of help? And had the disaster he faced altered his views of the presidential candidates?

    • The Unlimited Power of Ocean Winds

      The first offshore wind farm in American waters, near Block Island, R.I., was completed this month. With just five turbines, the farm won’t make much of a dent in the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels, but it shows the promise this renewable energy source could have. When the turbines start spinning in November, they will power the island, which currently relies on diesel generators, and will also send electricity to the rest of Rhode Island.

      Putting windmills offshore, where the wind is stronger and more reliable than on land, could theoretically provide about four times the amount of electricity as is generated on the American grid today from all sources. This resource could be readily accessible to areas on the coasts, where 53 percent of Americans live.

      This technology is already used extensively in Britain, Denmark, Germany and other European countries, which have in the last 15 years invested billions of dollars in offshore wind farms in the North, Baltic and Irish Seas. In 2013, offshore wind accounted for 1.5 percent of all electricity used in the European Union, with all wind sources contributing 9.9 percent of electricity. By contrast, wind power made up only 4.7 percent of electricity in the United States last year.

    • Hawaiian Islands Sentinel Site Cooperative

      Hawaii stands alone in more ways than one. It is the only U.S. state comprised entirely of islands. There are eight major islands, but the Hawaiian Island Chain consists of more than 80 volcanoes and 132 islands, reefs, and shoals that extend across the Pacific for 1,500 miles (that’s the approximate distance from Houston to San Francisco). Located about 2,400 miles from California, the islands are, in fact, the most isolated inhabited pieces of land in the world.

    • Public Cost of Fukushima Cleanup Tops $628 Billion and Is Expected to Climb

      The public cost of cleaning up the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster topped ¥4.2 trillion (roughly $628 billion) as of March, and is expected to keep climbing, the Japan Times reported on Sunday.

      That includes costs for radioactive decontamination and compensation payments. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) will sell off its shares to eventually pay back the cost of decontamination and waste disposal, but the Environment Ministry expects that the overall price of those activities could exceed what TEPCO would get for its shares.

    • Public cost of Fukushima nuclear accident cleanup topped ¥4.2 trillion as of end of March
    • The Anthropocene Is Here: Humanity Has Pushed Earth Into a New Epoch

      The Anthropocene Epoch has begun, according to a group of experts assembled at the International Geological Congress in Cape Town, South Africa this week.

      After seven years of deliberation, members of an international working group voted unanimously on Monday to acknowledge that the Anthropocene—a geologic time interval so-dubbed by chemists Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer in 2000—is real.

      The epoch is thought to have begun in the 1950s, when human activity, namely rapid industrialization and nuclear activity, set global systems on a different trajectory. And there’s evidence in the geographic record. Indeed, scientists say that nuclear bomb testing, industrial agriculture, human-caused global warming, and the proliferation of plastic across the globe have so profoundly altered the planet that it is time to declare the 11,700-year Holocene over.

  • Finance

    • TTIP Has ‘De Facto Failed,’ Says German Economic Minister

      Germany’s Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister said that the controversial Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has “de facto failed,” admitting that negotiations between the U.S. and E.U. have completely stalled.

      “Negotiations with the U.S. have de facto failed, because of course as Europeans we couldn’t allow ourselves to submit to American demands,” Sigmar Gabriel told the German news station ZDF in an interview that will air at 7pm German time Sunday, according to Der Spiegel.

    • TTIP has failed – but no one is admitting it, says German Vice-Chancellor

      The free trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States have failed, but “nobody is really admitting it”, Germany’s Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has said.

      Talks over the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, also known as TTIP, have made little progress in recent years.

      The 14th round of negotiations between American and EU officials took place in Brussels in July. It was the third round in six months.

    • Jobs With Justice regarding the importance of a binding convention on supply chains.

    • U.S.-EU free trade talks have failed – Germany’s economy minister

      Germany’s Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade deal being negotiated by the United States and the European Union, had essentially failed.

      “The negotiations with the USA have de facto failed because we Europeans did not want to subject ourselves to American demands,” he said, according to a written transcript from German broadcaster ZDF of an interview due to be broadcast on Sunday.

      “Things are not moving on that front,” said Gabriel, who is also Germany’s vice chancellor.

    • Voices from the supply chain: an interview with Jobs With Justice

      BTS speaks with Benjamin Woods of Jobs With Justice regarding the importance of a binding convention on supply chains.

    • Universal basic income wouldn’t make people lazy–it would change the nature of work

      Americans believe in the importance of a good day’s work. And so it’s understandable that the prospect of a universal basic income (UBI), in which the government would issue checks to cover the basic costs of living, rubs some people the wrong way. Writing in The Week in 2014, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry envisions a UBI dystopia in which “millions of people” are “listing away in socially destructive idleness,” with “the consequences of this lost productivity reverberating throughout the society in lower growth and, probably, lower employment.”

      This is a reasonable concern. After all, the most successful anti-poverty programs in the US thus far, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, have been carefully designed to promote work–not enable people to avoid it. But based on the evidence we have so far, there’s little reason to believe that a UBI would lead people to abandon work in droves. And even if some people did indeed opt to give up their day jobs, society might wind up reaping untold rewards from their free time in the long run.

      Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the US and Canada were seriously considering the possibility of instating a UBI. During that time, the US government commissioned a series of experiments across six states to study the effects of guaranteed income, particularly its effects on work. The Canadian government introduced a similar experiment in the town of Dauphin.

    • Overwhelming Evidence that a Guaranteed Income Will Work

      We’ll have to do something drastically different to employ people in the future. Our jobs are disappearing. The driverless vehicle is here, destined to eliminate millions of transport and taxi-driving positions. Car manufacturing is being done by 3-D printing. An entire building was erected in Dubai with a 3-D printer. Restaurants are being designed with no waitstaff or busboys, hotels with no desk clerks, bellhops, and porters. Robot teachers are interacting with students in Japan and the UK.

      There are plenty of naysayers and skeptics, of course. The Atlantic proclaimed, “The job market defied doomsayers in those earlier times, and according to the most frequently reported jobs numbers, it has so far done the same in our own time.” But this is a different time, with no guarantees of job revolutions, and in fact a time of unprecedented machine intelligence that threatens the livelihoods even of doctors, teachers, accountants, architects, the clergy, consultants, and lawyers.

    • Punishing the Poor: Welfare Reform and Its Democratic Apologists

      A defining feature of Ronald Reagan’s unsuccessful 1976 presidential bid—a feature that would animate his political career from that point forward—was his theatrical depiction of welfare recipients.

      While he demonized the welfare system as a whole in familiar terms, Reagan’s ire was largely directed toward single mothers, and his racially coded language was sufficient to make clear his overarching intentions.

      “There’s a woman in Chicago,” Reagan said at a campaign rally in New Hampshire. “She has 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards and is collecting veterans’ benefits on four nonexisting deceased husbands.”

      She operated under several identities, the actor-turned-politician would go on to lament, and her activities were costing those he deemed the “hard-working” taxpayers dearly. Though, as Josh Levin has documented, Reagan’s storytelling was vaguely based on a real person and a real case of welfare abuse, his vivid construction of the “welfare queen” rapidly became larger than life and emerged as a mainstay in the national discourse.

    • What Is Amazon’s Core Tech Worth? Depends on Which Taxman Asks

      Jeff Bezos’s relentless focus on user experience has helped him make Amazon the most valuable e-commerce company in the world. But regulators in Europe and the U.S. say that the value Amazon places on the technology behind that experience varies radically depending on which side of the Atlantic it’s on — and which appraisal will lower its tax bill.

      In Europe, the e-commerce giant tells authorities that the intellectual property behind its web shopping platform is immensely valuable, justifying the billions in tax-free revenue it has collected there since moving its technology assets to tax-friendly Luxembourg a decade ago. In the U.S., however, it plays down the value of those same assets to explain why it pays so little in taxes for licensing them.

    • ‘Trade Deals’ & Corporate Sovereignty: How Convicted Executives Escape Punishment

      Okay, we’ve been trying to raise the alarm bells about “ISDS” — “Investor State Dispute Settlement” — systems for many, many years, even helping to push the term “corporate sovereignty” to help describe it, since people’s brains seem to turn to mush when you spell out ISDS. We’ve pointed out over and over again the problems of such a system where it basically allows companies to sue countries for passing regulations they don’t like. We’ve noted over and over and over again how problematic this is… and yet people still tell us it’s no big deal and the system is fair and “necessary” to keep countries from doing things like simply nationalizing an industry that foreign companies build up. Of course, that doesn’t happen that often. ISDS corporate sovereignty cases are happening quite frequently, over subjects like Eli Lilly being upset that Canada rejected some patents and Philip Morris suing lots of countries for passing anti-smoking health regulations.

      Thankfully, Chris Hamby, an excellent investigative reporter with BuzzFeed*, has done a massive detailed investigative report into the ISDS corporate sovereignty system and what a complete disaster it is. Much of this was assumed before, but many of the ISDS cases are done in complete secrecy, so there are few details out there. Hamby’s reporting, though, will hopefully change that.

    • The “People’s Fed” and the Oracles of Jackson Hole

      When William Greider wrote his 1989 book about the Federal Reserve, it’s not hard to understand why he called it “Secrets of the Temple.” The Fed’s proclamations can make it seem as mysterious as the Oracle of Delphi. (To be fair, nobody has speculated that hallucinogens are involved, as seems to have been the case in Delphi.)

      The Fed’s oracular sages gathered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming last week for the central bank’s annual retreat. But this year’s meeting was different: For perhaps the first time in history, some of the Fed’s leaders met with activists who are fighting to change it.

      Actually, the Fed’s not as mysterious as it seems. Some of the its behavior can be explained by its hybrid nature as a publicly created, but partly private, entity. (It’s reportedly the only central bank in the world that is not fully public.) As a result, the Fed’s leaders must struggle to accomplish their goals within a complex set of accountabilities, with multiple boards of directors that include many of the same bankers they are supposed to regulate.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Boundary changes could affect up to 200 Labour seats, says analysis

      Two hundred Labour seats – more than 85% of the party’s total – could be affected by the review of parliamentary boundaries due next month, according to a detailed analysis of the review’s likely impact.

      Up to 30 Labour seats could disappear altogether, says Lord Hayward, an analyst widely regarded as an expert on the boundary review, while the rest will see their composition altered in some form.

      Although the changes will also affect the Conservatives, Hayward, a Tory peer, said his analysis of demographics in the UK concluded that Labour is over-represented.

    • After Trump

      I recently got a call from a political analyst in Washington. “Trump is dropping like a stone,” he said, convincingly. “After Election Day, he’s history.”

      I think Trump will lose the election, but I doubt he’ll be “history.”

      Defeated presidential candidates typically disappear from public view. Think Mitt Romney or Michael Dukakis.

      But Donald Trump won’t disappear. Trump needs attention the way normal people need food.

      For starters, he’ll dispute the election results. He’s already warned followers “we better be careful because that election is going to be rigged and I hope the Republicans are watching closely, or it’s going to be taken away from us.“

    • Democrats Step Up Pursuit of House Republicans Left Limping by Donald Trump

      Emboldened by Donald J. Trump’s struggles in the presidential race, Democrats in Congress are laying the groundwork to expand the list of House Republicans they will target for defeat as part of an effort to slash the Republicans’ 30-seat majority and even reclaim control if Mr. Trump falls further.

      Mr. Trump’s unpopularity, which has already undermined the party’s grip on the Senate, now threatens to imperil Republican lawmakers even in traditionally conservative districts, according to strategists and officials in both parties involved in the fight for control of the House.

    • It Takes a Ruling-Class Village to Staff the White House

      That was all very stirring, but who actually comprises the “we” that makes executive branch policy in the name of the common good when either Democrats or Republicans hold the White House? Not the nation’s working- and middle-class majority, that’s for sure. The Dutch political scientists Bastiaan van Apeldoorn and Nana de Graaff recently constructed a richly detailed career profile of the U.S. presidency’s top “grand strategy makers” (GSMs)—holders of key policymaking cabinet and senior advisory positions—over the administrations of the 42nd, 43rd and 44th presidents: Bill Clinton (1993-2001), George W. Bush (2001-2009) and Barack Obama (2009-2017). Their findings are like something out of Karl Marx’s and Frederick Engels’ notion of “the executive of the modern state” as “nothing but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.”

      By van Apeldoorn and de Graaff’s calculations, 23 (more than 70 percent) of Obama’s top 30 GSMs had “top-level corporate affiliations”—executive, director, senior adviser or partner in a law firm—prior to their appointment to the U.S. executive branch. These 23 were linked through a combination of board memberships, executive positions and advisory roles to 111 corporations. These “affiliations in many cases display a revolving door pattern, indicating that the actors are not just closely tied to but actually themselves members of the corporate elite.”

      Elite travelers in and out of top positions in the Obama White House include Timothy Geithner, Jack Lew, Peter Orszag, Ken Salazar and Tom Donilon. Geithner went from being Citigroup Chair Robert Rubin’s handpicked head of the New York Federal Reserve Board to serving (Wall Street) as Obama’s first Treasury secretary to his current position as CEO of the leading Wall Street private equity firm, Warburg Pincus.

      Before replacing Geithner atop Treasury, Lew was chief operating officer at Citigroup’s alternative investment division, focused on risky and complex proprietary trading schemes.

      Orszag left his position as Obama’s Office of Budget Management director to become vice chair of global banking and chair of financial strategy and solutions at Citigroup and now serves as vice chairman of investment banking and managing director at Lazard. (Salazar and Donilon will be discussed later in this report.)

    • Tell Us Why We’re At War, Candidates

      When I was a kid, successive presidents told us we had to fight in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, because if we didn’t fight them over there, we’d have to fight them on the beaches of California. We believed. It was a lie.

      I was a teenager during the Cold War, several presidents told us we needed to create massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons, garrison the world, maybe invade Cuba, fight covert wars and use the CIA to overthrow democratically elected governments and replace them with dictators, or the Russians would destroy us. We believed. It was a lie.

      When I was in college our president told us that we needed to fight in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua or the Sandinistas would come to the United States. He told us Managua was closer to Washington DC than LA was. He told us we needed to fight in Lebanon, Grenada and Libya to protect ourselves. We believed. It was a lie.

      When I was a little older our president told us how evil Saddam Hussein was, how his soldiers bayoneted babies in Kuwait. He told us Saddam was a threat to America. He told us we needed to invade Panama to oust a dictator to protect America. We believed. It was a lie.

      Another president told us we had to fight terrorists in Somalia, as well as bomb Iraq, to protect ourselves. We believed. It was a lie.

    • Disrupting the myth of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the age of Trump, Sanders and Clinton

      The 2016 presidential election cycle and its three prominent candidates are being held up as representing polarizing interests that are emblematic of the political, economic and cultural tensions of our time. Yet, a look back at the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt reveals some familiar tones and policy positions that capture those of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

      As president, Roosevelt is widely celebrated by American “progressives” for fathering the New Deal, which encompassed financial regulations, union rights and a number of social programs. While FDR’s extramarital affairs are well known, what is less known is his racist and anti-Semitic worldview and white supremacist loyalties, which contributed to the suffering and death of millions of the most vulnerable people.

      Many understand the New Deal as a program to save U.S. capitalism based on Keynesian interventions meant to soften its blow via social programs and collective bargaining rights, while simultaneously regulating the most volatile aspects of the banking system.

    • Greenwald: Journalists Should Not Stop Scrutinizing Clinton Just Because Trump is Unfit for Office

      Media outlets have launched massive investigations into Donald Trump’s business and tax history, as well as probes into the lives and past work of his current and former campaign managers Steve Bannon and Paul Manafort. But are these same outlets and journalists refusing to scrutinize Hillary Clinton? For more, we speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald.

    • Greenwald: “Why Did Saudi Regime & Other Gulf Tyrannies Donate Millions to Clinton Foundation?”

      Questions surrounding Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation continue to grow. On Sunday, Democratic National Committee interim chairperson Donna Brazile defended Clinton’s meetings as secretary of state with Clinton Foundation donors, saying, “When Republicans meet with their donors, with their supporters, their activists, they call it a meeting. When Democrats do that, they call it a conflict.” Donna Brazile’s comments come in response to an Associated Press investigation revealing that while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, more than half of the private citizens she met with during the reporting period had donated to the Clinton Foundation. The AP investigation comes after a three-year battle to gain access to State Department calendars. The analysis shows that at least 85 of 154 people Hillary Clinton had scheduled phone or in-person meetings with were foundation donors. We speak to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept. His most recent piece is headlined “Why Did the Saudi Regime and Other Gulf Tyrannies Donate Millions to the Clinton Foundation?”

    • Clinton Campaign Happily Using Strong End-To-End Encryption To Communicate; Will They Let The Rest Of Us Use It Too?

      Of course, she then did a “on the other hand” and noted the concerns of security folks. Since then, she’s called for a sort of Manhattan Project on encryption, believing that if Silicon Valley people could just nerd harder, they could make encryption that could only be broken by law enforcement. That’s not how it works. She’s also complained that Silicon Valley treats the government “as its adversary.”

      So it seems rather noteworthy that, following questions about how well she secured her own emails, combined with email leaks from the DNC and reports that the campaign itself has been hacked, the Clinton campaign has now started using Signal, the popular encrypted messaging system from Open Whisper Systems (which made the protocol that is generally considered the best around for end-to-end encrypted messaging).

    • Hillary Clinton Alleged Barack Obama Sold Access To Big Donors; Now Criticizes Campaign Finance Attacks

      In the closing stretch of the New Hampshire primary campaign, Hillary Clinton has slammed critics for pointing out that she backed public policies that helped her major campaign contributors in the financial industry. At a debate sponsored by MSNBC, she said it was out of line for her opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, to “link donations to my political campaign, or really donations to anyone’s political campaign, with undue influence with changing people’s views and votes.”

      “But time and time again, by innuendo, by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth, which really comes down to — you know, anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought,” Clinton said. She dismissed such suggestions as a “very artful smear” of public officials that is unacceptable in American politics.

      In her previous presidential campaign, though, Clinton launched an aggressive attack on then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama over campaign finance issues. She explicitly alleged that Obama traded access and legislative deals for campaign cash in a set of public attacks, one of which was criticized as deeply dishonest.

    • What Landslide? New Polling Shows Clinton and Trump Still Neck and Neck

      With just over two months to go, pundits have all but called the results of the 2016 presidential election. But despite the never-ending torrent of bigotry and obfuscation streaming from the mouth (and fingers) of the Republican candidate, new polling shows that Donald Trump is still neck and neck with rival Hillary Clinton.

      As of Monday, the USC Dornslife/LA Times tracking poll had the two candidates locked in a virtual tie, with Trump leading slightly at 44 percent and Clinton polling at 43.6 percent.

      That survey uses a slightly different method than most, asking roughly 3,000 randomly recruited voters on a regular basis about their support for Clinton, Trump, or another candidate. The poll is updated daily “based on the weighted average of poll responses over the previous week,” which the Times explains, “means the results have less volatility than some other polls.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • PBS CENSORS JILL STEIN’S INTERVIEW – EXCLUSIVE COMMENT FROM JILL STEIN BELOW VIDEO!

      I got an exclusive comment on this situation from Jill Stein – “Thanks to the free and open internet, people’s eyes are being opened to how corporate-funded media outlets, including PBS, have controlled the narrative by choosing what to report and what to leave on the editing room floor.”

    • New Chinese film law to tighten censorship

      China will soon enact a new censorship law banning contents relating to preaching terrorism and mandating clearance of a film by three experts besides asking film personalities to abide by moral integrity. The draft of the law aiming to promote the development of the Chinese film industry is being reviewed by China’s legislature the National People’s Congress (NPC), state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

      The draw legislation includes rules stipulating people in the film sector to abide by laws as well as social and professional ethics. The bill was submitted for a second reading NPC Standing Committee which sits from Monday to Saturday.

      NPC routinely approves proposals from the government vetted by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC). According to the draft, people working in the movie industry, including actors and directors, should strive for “excellence in both professional skills and moral integrity,” and build good public images.

      Chinese film world was rocked by a series of scandals in the recent past as some actors were involved in consumption of drugs. A number of film stars including Chinese Hollywood star Jackie Chan’s son Jaycee Chan were caught in drug scandals.

    • Florida newspaper kills story of local official allegedly seeking favors from developer

      The South Florida Sun Sentinel killed a news story on its website about Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Bill Julian admitting on tape that he sought developer favors in return for his vote — a move by the newspaper’s leadership that appears to be part of a pattern of censoring controversial stories, according to multiple sources inside and outside the Fort Lauderdale newsroom.

      The story concerning Julian’s alleged bribe-taking was first reported by WPLG-10, where investigative reporter Bob Norman obtained a voice message that the commissioner mistakenly left after he failed to properly hang up a phone. Julian discussed voting favorably for the $450 million Diplomat Golf & Tennis Club and linked it to alleged pledges from the developer’s attorneys who allegedly promised campaign contributions and campaign volunteers as well as a new van for his favorite city charity.

      In a second report by Norman, Julian admitted it was his voice on the recording. Diplomat representatives deny wrongdoing. But Julian didn’t sound so sure in his interview with Norman.

    • Twitter is censoring Turkish accounts for RTs and likes

      The Daily Dot has previously reported that Twitter is censoring journalists’s accounts at the request of the Turkish government. The company appears to be censoring their followers’ accounts as well for “retweeting and liking” journalists’s tweets.

      The 5th Criminal Judgeship of Peace in Ankara, a court in Turkey’s capital, ordered a ban this year on 48 Twitter accounts that “spread posts of [journalist] @kamilmaman on Twitter by retweeting and liking [his tweets].” The judge listed 23 accounts who liked and 25 accounts who retweeted Kamil Maman, a former reporter of Bugün TV.

      The station was a critical Turkish channel that was raided violently by the police in October—four days before general elections—to replace its editors with government-appointed trustees. During the scuffle, Maman was handcuffed, dragged to the street, beaten by the officers, and spent the night in police custody; other journalists who opposed the new trustees’ editorial policy were fired on the spot.

    • Here’s Zimbabwe’s Censorship Act, the law that makes viewing, making and sharing porn illegal

      Porn is illegal in Zimbabwe but in spite of this fact, it’s still being consumed regularly in different formats with one of the recent indicators being the popularity of adult websites on the list of the most viewed sites.

      Thanks to technology like the internet and the way media is easier to share, produce and consume, it’s getting harder for the authorities to enforce any regulation on what people watch and make as well so it’s not surprising that a lot of people are helping themselves to such content.

      So what does the law actually say about indecent material like porn?

      According to Zimbabwe’s Censorship and Entertainment Act (which was instituted back in 1967), it is illegal to import, print, publish, manufacture, make or produce, distribute, display, exhibit or sell or offer or keep for sale any publication anything that is deemed by the Censorhip Board to be indecent.

    • UK Gov’t Report: Facebook, Twitter, And Google Are Pretty Much Unrepentant Terrorist Supporters

      I’m pretty sure giving terrorists free rein is more “damaging” to “brands” than the current status quo. Sure, chasing terrorists off the internet is just another form of whack-a-mole, but it’s not as though these companies aren’t trying. Facebook’s policing of content tends to lean towards overzealous. Twitter just removed over 200,000 terrorist-related accounts. And as for Google, it’s busy bending over backward for everyone, from copyright holders to a few dozen misguided governments. But the internet — including terrorists — perceives censorship as damage and quickly routes around it.

      The argument can be made (and it’s a pretty good argument) that it might be more useful to have terrorists chatting on open platforms where they can easily be monitored, rather than pushing them towards “darker” communications methods. But it’s tough to reason with lawmakers who find big corporations to be the easiest targets for their displeasure.

      And, really, their complaints are nothing more than a cheap form of class warfare, one that tacitly asks millions of non-terrorist internet users to sympathize with a government seeking to gain more control over the platforms they use.

    • Chinese TV host accuses Canada tourism body of censorship
    • China Focus: Talk show host accuses Canadian Tourism Commission of censorship
    • Chinese TV host accuses Canada’s tourism body of pressuring to remove program on First Nations
    • Chinese TV Star Accuses Canadian Tourism Officials of Trying to Censor Show About First Nations
    • Talk show goes offline under alleged pressure from Canada
    • Come to Canada for the natural beauty, stay for the … propaganda?
    • Talk show host’s fury at Canada ‘censors’
    • CBFC objected an ‘offensive shot of a woman’s brasserie’ and the mention of Savita Babhi in Baar Baar Dekho
    • CBFC at it again, asks to remove bra shot, Savita Bhabhi reference from ‘Baar Baar Dekho’
    • No Bra Shot & Definitely No Savita Bhabhi In ‘Baar Baar Dekho’ Thanks To Censor Board
    • Baar Baar Dekho: Censor board snips bra shot, Savita Bhabhi from Katrina Kaif, Sidharth Malhotra film
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Facebook’s newest app may have a huge security problem for teens

      Lifestage, Facebook’s new app aimed at teens, is a great concept that captures a bit of the energy Facebook once had as a startup. It’s got a huge privacy issue that may affect teens, though.

    • Whatsapp and Facebook data sharing: Privacy group threatens legal action over invasive new terms

      WhatsApp has been criticised by campaigners after it backtracked on a pledge to not change its privacy policy when it was bought by Facebook in 2014.

      The US-based Electronic Privacy Information Center (Epic) has claimed the social media firm has violated a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) consent order after it announced it would begin sharing user information such as phone numbers, profile data, status message and online status with Facebook.

      Under the Federal Trade Commission Act, firms are forbidden from “unfair or deceptive trade pratices”.

    • Leaked NSA Zero Days Already Being Exploited By Whoever Thinks They Can Manipulate Them

      There are still people out there who think it’s a good idea for the government — whether it’s the FBI, NSA, or other agency — to hoover up exploits and hoard vulnerabilities. This activity is still being defended despite recent events, in which an NSA operative apparently left a hard drive full of exploits in a compromised computer. These exploits are now in the hands of the hacking group that took them… and, consequently, also in the hands of people who aren’t nearly as interested in keeping nations secure.

      The problem is you can’t possibly keep every secret a secret forever. Edward Snowden proved that in 2013. The hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers are proving it again. The secrets are out and those who wish to use exploits the NSA never disclosed to affected developers are free to wreak havoc. Lily Hay Newman of Wired examines the aftermath of the TAO tools hacking.

    • New Baltimore Aerial Surveillance Program Raises Trust Issues

      The revelations triggered outrage from elected officials, defense lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union, who said the program raised privacy concerns and could aggravate public distrust in a city that exploded in riots last year after the death of a man in police custody.

      “Widespread surveillance violates every citizens’ right to privacy; the lack of disclosure about this practice and the video that has been captured further violates the rights of our clients who may have evidence supporting their innocence that is kept secret,” Paul DeWolfe, the Public Defender for Maryland said in a statement earlier this week.

      The response put Baltimore, where tensions between law enforcement and minority neighborhoods run high, on the edge of the debate about police use of rapidly evolving technology.

    • Experts: FBI Not Bidding On Hacked NSA Code With Bitcoin From Silk Road Seizure

      The FBI is not bidding on stolen National Security Agency (NSA) source code with bitcoins seized from Silk Road, contrary to a widely reported allegation. That’s according to security experts interviewed by The Hill.

      The allegation emerged when a bitcoin user sent money to both an NSA source code account and the seized bitcoin account, but no money changed between the accounts, according to experts.

    • Police Using Journalists’ Metadata to Hunt Down Whistleblowers

      The Nauru Files changed everything. The Guardian’s publication of leaked incident reports from the Manus Island detention centre finally confirmed what many suspected: that the Australian government has been complicit in a campaign of abuse and brutality against those seeking asylum within its borders.

      The expose, featured on front pages around the world, has turned Australia into an international pariah, and will be a black mark on our history for years to come.

      Although it’s received less attention, the Nauru Files have changed a lot for journalists too. Their union, the Media and Arts Alliance, has warned that they’re likely to become a test case for a little known provision snuck into the Government’s Data Retention laws, the Journalist Information Warrant Scheme. The new laws allow police and other investigative bodies to seek access to the phone records, emails and browser histories of journalists in order to track down sources they suspect of leaking confidential information.

      Even before the laws passed, the union had raised concern at the Government’s willingness to use police to investigate journalists’ sources.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • A Tale Of Greed and Stupidity

      As the Silk Road case winds down, Ars Technica posted a great article (seriously, read it) summarizing one of the most interesting aspects of the entire case.

      It is the story of how two corrupt officers in the DEA and Secret Service attempted to use the Silk Road investigations to illegally profit from and abuse the authority entrusted to them. After reading the article above I became interested in the case and decided to read the criminal complaint filing. Within it there were lots of interesting explanations of how the investigators were tipped off on the possibility of the corrupt activity as well as how they were able to produce the necessary evidence for the case.

    • In the Beginning We All Believed: Ramparts’ Warren Hinckle Dies

      Warren Hinckle, the progressive, flamboyant, truth-telling, hard-drinking editor and writer who earned the moniker “godfather of gonzo journalism” by publicizing the likes of Noam Chomsky, Eldridge Cleaver, Susan Sontag, Hunter Thompson, Seymour Hersh and Che Guevara, has died at 77. As editor of San Francisco’s muckraking Ramparts in the 1960s, he was credited with turning the country’s moral compass by publishing early denunciations of the Vietnam War, Cleaver’s prison letters, Guevara’s diaries and investigative pieces exposing CIA recruitment on college campuses, which won Ramparts the prestigious George Polk Award and the reputation of offering “a bomb in every issue.” When Ramparts went broke, he went on to start Scanlan’s Monthly, and then to decades of activism and newspaper columns for San Francisco’s Chronicle and Examiner.

      Hinckle’s mantra for writing and editing: “First you decide what’s wrong, then you go out to find the facts to support that view, and then you generate enough controversy to attract attention.” Always, reads one obituary, Hinckle “delighted in tweaking anyone in charge of anything and muckraking for what he fiercely saw as the common good.” He was startlingly prescient about America’s “professional megabuck politics,” and the need to challenge conventional wisdom. Hinckle starts his 1974 autobiography, ‘If You Have a Lemon, Make Lemonade’: “In the beginning, we all believed. We believed in many things, but mostly in America…It could be said that the youth of America, who had so recently studied it in civics classes, tested the system — and it flunked.”

    • Ajamu Baraka, “Uncle Tom,” and the Pathology of White Liberal Racism

      When Martin Luther King wrote of the white moderate, he wrote of the enemy of progress, the foe of social justice, the obstacle to the defining social movement of his time. He understood, perhaps better than many of his contemporaries, that the white moderate was the single most pernicious influence in the broader sociopolitical landscape. For it was the white moderate who opposed the essential and necessary radicalism, who blocked attempts at widening the Civil Rights Movement, who enjoined that demands be tempered, grievances be blunted; all while posing as a friend of the movement, a defender of the marginalized and oppressed.

      Such was the essence of the white moderate in King’s day. Such is the essence of the white liberal today. For it is the white liberal who finds any excuse to slander and attack radical people of color who challenge the ruling class; who justifies support for white supremacy, imperialism, and neocolonialism; and who does so with the palliative opiate of self-satisfaction – the genuine, though entirely wrongheaded, belief in his/her own essential goodness.

    • “Necessary Trouble” and a Long, Hard Struggle: Talking Movements With Sarah Jaffe

      Sarah Jaffe’s Necessary Trouble is one of the most essential books of the year — an extensive, vivid overview of “trouble-making” organizers and movements from the 2008 financial crisis until, if not quite today, then the moment the book went to press. Each chapter not only covers a movement or group of campaigns, but also provides a concise but nuanced historical summary of the issues at hand.

    • Graduate Students Are Workers: The Decades-Long Fight for Graduate Unions, and the Path Forward

      In the summer of 2004, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the five-member body which adjudicates US labor law, ruled that graduate student teaching assistants and research assistants at Brown University were “primarily students, and not workers.” The Bush-appointee-dominated board’s ruling had immediate implications for graduate students at private universities, who had won protected status under the National Labor Relations Act four years earlier, when the board had ruled in favor of graduate employees’ organizing efforts at New York University (NYU).

      The NYU administration, freed by the Brown University ruling from its obligation to negotiate a second contract with the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC), the first, and to this day, only union to win recognition at a private university (and twice, at that), elected to use the NLRB to break the union. In an attempt to force the recalcitrant administrators back to the bargaining table, NYU’s graduate employees went on strike on November 9, 2005, and remained on strike well into May of the following year. It was, and remains, the longest strike in the history of the US academic labor movement.

    • 5 Ways Growing Up Female In Saudi Arabia Is A Nightmare

      Saudi Arabia is governed by Sharia law, which is a set of Islamic rules that pretty much boil down to banning anything that stimulates in any way. Adam elaborates:

      “Everybody knows about beer, pork, and porn, but it also extends to congregating in large groups (more than five, I think) and the playing of music in public. Also, I think Jeddah [a popular Saudi resort town] has recently forbidden the walking of dogs in public, because they may be used to attract the ladies.”

      [...]

      Censorship also infiltrates the physical realm: “On occasion, I used to buy PC Gamer magazine, and all the computer-generated women had their arms, legs, and exposed cleavage colored in with black permanent marker. (Very precisely outlined, though. The censors were very fastidious in executing their jobs.) And since Islam prohibits the depiction of the human form, many people you’d see on billboards would have pixelated eyes.” (Or sport sunglasses, making all of Saudi Arabia look like it was sponsored by Ray-Ban.)

    • Women Bare Breasts for Gender Equality on GoTopless Day

      Women around the country are taking off their tops on GoTopless Day, a day that promotes gender equality and women’s rights to bare their breasts in public.

      GoTopless Day is celebrated annually on the Sunday closest to Women’s Equality Day, marking the day American women earned the right to vote.

      A group of about 50 women and men were walking topless in the oceanside Los Angeles neighborhood of Venice, behind a giant, inflatable pink breast that had the phrase “equal topless rights” written on it. One marcher carried a sign that said: “My Body Is Not A Crime.”

      A few dozen women, and some men, went topless as they walked down Broadway in New York City. Onlookers gawked and took photos as the parade participants went by.

      The events in New York City and Los Angeles were two of several planned for cities across the globe. Gatherings were planned in New Hampshire, Denver and more.

    • French Court lifts Municipal Burkini Ban; & Why should you care what other people wear?

      Nicolas Cadène, in an interview at L’Express analyzes the French court ruling issued Friday that struck down the ban by the mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet on Muslim women wearing modest clothing at the public beach. The ban was on the burkini, invented by a Lebanese fashion designer to allow observant Muslim women to go to the beach with their families. But women wearing loose street clothes at the beach have also been bothered by police.

      Cadène is a rapporteur at the “Secularism Watchdog” (l’Observatoire de la laïcité), a Ministry of Education body that advises the French government on the implementation of the secularism provisions of the French constitution.

      The Counsel of State found that wearing a Burkini creates no trouble for public order and is simply not illegal in current French law. In response, the French right wing has demanded that the National Assembly enact anti-Burkini legislation. L’Express worries that the French executive, or at least the ministry of interior, might be inclined to appease the Islamophobic and anti-immigrant right wing on this issue.

      L’Express asked Cadène for his reaction. He said he wasn’t surprised and was very pleased that the court had upheld rights in such a clear way. He said that the court had reaffirmed the principle that secularism cannot be invoked to forbid wearing a piece of clothing in a public space, which creates no actual difficulty with regard to public order. And they found that the Burkini doesn’t generate any such disturbances.

    • KING: Why I’ll never stand again for ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’

      Now that I have learned the truth about our national anthem and its author, I’ll never stand up for it again.

      First off, the song, which was originally written as a poem, didn’t become our national anthem until 1931 — which was 117 years after Key wrote it. Most of us have no true idea what in the hell we’ve been hearing or singing all these years, but as it turns out, Key’s full poem actually has a third stanza which few of us have ever heard. In it, he openly celebrates the murder of slaves. Yes, really.

      [...]

      While it has always been known that the song was written during American slavery and that when those words about this nation being the “land of the free” didn’t apply to the millions who had been held in bondage, few of us had any idea that the song itself was rooted in the celebration of slavery and the murder of Africans in America, who were being hired by the British military to give them strength not only in the War of 1812, but in the Battle of Fort McHenry of 1814. These black men were called the Corps of Colonial Marines and they served valiantly for the British military. Key despised them. He was glad to see them experience terror and death in war — to the point that he wrote a poem about it. That poem is now our national anthem.

      [...]

      I will never stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” another day in my damn life. I don’t care where I am or who’s watching. The statue of the racist Cecil Rhodes, which stood tall in South Africa as a painful relic from white supremacists until March of 2015, was finally removed once and for all. It should’ve never been erected. It should’ve been removed a very long time ago, student leaders made it clear that they had had enough.

      Like Kaepernick, I’ve had enough of injustice in America and I’ve had enough of anthems written by bigots. Colin Kaepernick has provided a spark.

    • Halfway to freedom with Stanley Cohen

      On this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges discusses the business of privately-run halfway houses with civil rights attorney Stanley Cohen. After 11-months in prison for a federal tax violation, Cohen spent three months in a New York halfway house operated by the GEO Group. He reflects on what he calls the “vile” conditions and profit-driven approach at such facilities. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at the world of the for-profit halfway houses located in most major US cities.

    • Democracy, neoliberalism and talking to strangers: a kid on a local bus

      In the act of going out from an excluding individualism, breaking the idea that everyone can improve their life conditions on their own, there is a big step. Español

    • What Did the Olympics Really Do for Humanity?

      One might ask. After the too much excitement, fancy celebrations, and multibillion dollar gathering, what is next? What benefits did it bring to humanity?

      What did the poor get out of the abundant wealth that was spent for these games?

      It is sad to say that not only the poor didn’t get anything; some of them have lost their livelihoods and places of living altogether for the construction of the arenas.

      In her article The Olympics Are a Colossal Waste and a Shameful Distraction Sonali Kolhatkar stated, “The poorest sectors of society within the host countries experience displacement and other forms of oppression as authorities work hard to impress visiting athletes and spectators.”

      In Brazil, the first South American country to serve as the international showcase, this was certainly true; more than 20,000 families were displaced to make way for Olympics-related infrastructure. In fact, the state of Rio de Janeiro, where the games are being held, is in such desperate financial circumstances that state workers are not being paid and healthcare centers cannot even afford to take on the Zika virus crisis. Rio declared bankruptcy ahead of the games, and the state’s governor declared a “state of calamity.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Why Tim Berners-Lee is no friend of Facebook

      I f there were a Nobel prize for hypocrisy, then its first recipient ought to be Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook boss. On 23 August, all his 1.7 billion users were greeted by this message: “Celebrating 25 years of connecting people. The web opened up to the world 25 years ago today! We thank Sir Tim Berners-Lee and other internet pioneers for making the world more open and connected.”

      Aw, isn’t that nice? From one “pioneer” to another. What a pity, then, that it is a combination of bullshit and hypocrisy. In relation to the former, the guy who invented the web, Tim Berners-Lee, is as mystified by this “anniversary” as everyone else. “Who on earth made up 23 August?” he asked on Twitter. Good question. In fact, as the Guardian pointed out: “If Facebook had asked Berners-Lee, he’d probably have told them what he’s been telling people for years: the web’s 25th birthday already happened, two years ago.”

      “In 1989, I delivered a proposal to Cern for the system that went on to become the worldwide web,” he wrote in 2014. It was that year, not this one, that he said we should celebrate as the web’s 25th birthday.

      It’s not the inaccuracy that grates, however, but the hypocrisy. Zuckerberg thanks Berners-Lee for “making the world more open and connected”. So do I. What Zuck conveniently omits to mention, though, is that he is embarked upon a commercial project whose sole aim is to make the world more “connected” but less open. Facebook is what we used to call a “walled garden” and now call a silo: a controlled space in which people are allowed to do things that will amuse them while enabling Facebook to monetise their data trails. One network to rule them all. If you wanted a vision of the opposite of the open web, then Facebook is it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WIPO Human Resources: All Is Harmony, Secretariat Says [Ed: like EPO under Battistelli they abuse workers]

      Staff dissension? A thing of the past, according to WIPO. Staff are being included and are at the center of everything. And (after a major upheaval, including the firing of the oppositionist Staff Council president in 2014 followed by staff protests outside the building), the report states: “Finally, staff are at the front, left, right and center in organizing elections for a WIPO Staff Council through which, for the first time, all staff members will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”

    • New Offices, Strategic Plan, GIs, Oversight Among Focus Of WIPO Committee [Ed: There’s no oversight there]

      The choice of hosting countries for new WIPO external offices and the Medium Term Strategic Plan 2016-2021 are among the hottest subjects of the week, according to several regional groups speaking at the opening today of the World Intellectual Property Organization Program and Budget Committee. Separately, the United States again called the attention to a 2015 treaty protecting geographical indications which they said should not be automatically administered by WIPO. And members called attention to audit and oversight issues at WIPO.

    • Copyrights

      • Head Of Anti-Counterfeiting Lobbying Group Says He’s Going To Make Counterfeit Techdirt T-Shirts

        Yes, yes, he’s obviously just being snarky and thinking he’s making a point, but it still seems odd for someone who insists he’s against counterfeiting to basically say he’s planning to counterfeit our shirt. At the very least, it actually gives us a platform to make our point: if he really wants to do so, he can absolutely go and make those cheap $5 shirts. But they won’t sell. Why? This is the whole point we’ve been trying to make all this time. The reason people buy shirts from us is because (1) they like the shirts and (2) they want to support Techdirt. Somehow, I get the feeling that the community that John Anderson has built up around his Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group aren’t exactly the kind of people who would jump at an offer to buy “Copying is Not Theft” T-shirts, even if they are 25% the price of our T-shirts.

        This is the point that so many fail to get when they freak out about people copying. If you’ve built up a community of people who want to support you and people who like and are interested in what you do, there’s nothing to fear from copying. It’s only when you don’t have that kind of support, or when you’re trying to force something on people that they don’t want that you suddenly have to worry about copying.

      • Leaked EU Copyright Proposal A Complete Mess: Want To Tax Google To Prop Up Failing Publishers

        Well, here we go again with the bad EU copyright proposals. Just a few days ago, Mozilla actually launched a petition to call on the EU to update its copyright laws for the 21st century, to make it “so we can tinker, create, share, and learn on the internet.” Apparently the EU’s answer to this is “Fuck You!”

        According to a leaked draft of the EU Commission’s plan to “modernize” copyright, the plan really seems focused on coming up with new ways to tax successful internet companies, like Google, to prop up other companies and industries that have failed to adapt. Apparently, the EU Commission thinks that copyright should be a tool to punish innovation and to reward those who have refused to innovate.

        The leaked draft talks repeatedly about this silly idea of a “value gap.” Just a few weeks ago we discussed why the “value gap” is a misleading talking point. It’s being used by companies that didn’t innovate to try to guarantee a business model, with that model being “have the government force successful companies to subsidize us, because we didn’t adapt to the current market.” And this draft is full of that kind of thinking.

        The draft also continues to weigh “the impact” of various proposals on different stake holders. For example, it notes whether different proposals will have a “positive, neutral, or negative” impact on rightsholders, internet services, consumers and “fundamental rights.” While it’s nice that they include the “fundamental rights” (and the public — who, it should be noted, are more than just “consumers”) it feels like they’re trying to set up proposals again that are sort of “balancing” all of these interests, rather than finding the one that maximizes overall utility. In fact, it’s quite troubling that they seem to think that anything that directly expands copyright automatically benefits “rightsholders.” We’ve seen how that’s not true at all. Greater freedom to remix, reuse and build on the works of others allow everyday people to become creators themselves more easily. And saddling internet platforms also harms many, many content creators who are only able to create, publicize, distribute, connect and monetize because of these new platforms. But the draft doesn’t seem to take much of that into account — or sort of hand-waves it away.

      • Prepare for the next EU copyright war

        The EU is to update the unions copyright laws. The first step was a public consultation, with a lot of input from so-called stakeholders, civil society, and ordinary citizens. The next step is to make an “impact assessment”.

      • Running a Torrent Tracker For Fun Can Be a Headache

        In January 2016, a BitTorrent enthusiast thought he’d launch a stand-alone tracker for fun. Soon, Zer0day.ch was tracking thousands of torrents after being utilized by The Pirate Bay and ExtraTorrent. Now it’s tracking almost four million peers and a million torrents, but the ride has been far from smooth.

      • Kim Dotcom Claims Revived Megaupload Will Run On Bitcoin Micropayments

        The controversial entrepreneur Kim Dotcom said last month that he was preparing to relaunch Megaupload, the file-sharing site that U.S. and New Zealand authorities dramatically shut down in 2012, with bitcoins being involved in some way.

        Now we know more. Dotcom, a German-Finnish man living in New Zealand and currently fighting extradition to the U.S. over copyright-infringement charges, tweeted Friday that the transfers taking place over Megaupload would be linked to very small bitcoin transactions.

        This system will be called Bitcache and Dotcom claimed its launch would send the bitcoin price soaring way above its current $575 value.

      • EU copyright reform proposes search engines pay for snippets

        The European Commission is currently working on major updates to existing copyright legislation, to reform copyright law to reflect digital content. One feature of this reform would allow media outlets to request payment from search engines, such as Google, for publishing snippets of their content in search results.

        The working paper recommends the introduction of an EU law that covers the rights to digital reproduction of news publications. This would essentially make news publishers a new category of rights holders under copyright law, thereby ensuring that “the creative and economic contribution of news publishers is recognized and incentivized in EU law, as it is today the case for other creative sectors.”

        Media outlets rely on Google and other search engines to boost traffic to their sites, while at the same time competing with them for advertising dollars. The updated copyright proposal would allow media outlets at their discretion to charge Google for publishing snippets of articles with the results of a user’s search request.

        The shift from print to digital consumption of newspaper and magazine content has created what is termed a ‘value gap’ – while a provider’s digital content is gaining popularity, revenues from digital content are not making up for the loss of print revenues.

Let Them Eat Patents

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 1:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…as if anyone with an idea/invention can afford them.

Let Them Eat Cake
Reference: Let Them Eat Cake

Summary: A reality check regarding software patents and regarding those who truly benefit from an expensive patent system with an even more expensive litigation process/proceedings

THE USPTO is cracking down on software patents. Like TTIP lobbyists, patent lawyers will never publicly admit this. It was the same in Europe while UPC hype was all the rage (before Brexit effectively killed it).

Proponents of software patents seemingly resort to unrelated cases now, such as this patent. It’s about Mayo, not Alice, as it is not a software patent. The patent attorney writes “US Pat 8,586,610, administration of iloperidone; Survived 101/ Mayo Attack,” once again reusing these loaded words (like “attack” and “survive”, even when the “survivor” is the patent aggressor/plaintiff and the “attacker” is actually the defender/victim). Nice reversal of narrative, right? Like George Bush “defending” himself in Iraq and Ukraine “attacking” Russia…

“It was the same in Europe while UPC hype was all the rage (before Brexit effectively killed it).”Elsewhere in today’s news, we learn that “Prescient has received 13 patents on its software,” but software patents are pretty worthless right now. They just get invalided in the courts and the boards (and these are the ones whose holders actually believe have a chance, hence asserting them; the rest — or the untested patents — are likely easier to invalidate once scrutinised/challenged).

A pro-software patents site, Watchtroll, yesterday published this piece by Anthony de Andrade and Venkatesh Viswanath. It’s quite a shot in the foot actually as it serves to legitimise the site’s idealogical opponents. It shows that ‘global’ patents (applied for separately in several jurisdictions) is not for startups but for the richest people (or huge corporations). To get a patent virtually everywhere in the world (where it techncially matters) “an applicant would require $296,233 to file National Phase applications in said jurisdictions and maintain the applications” (renewal fees).

$296,233, eh?

“So much for protecting the ‘little guy’, eh?”For one. Single. Patent!

So much for protecting the ‘little guy’, eh?

This reminds us of Apple’s patents in the EPO — patents which Battistelli is totally clueless about. Remember that Apple is possibly the world’s richest company (by many criteria that are commonly assessed by major publications) and watch what it’s applying for now: “Apple filed for patent on unauthorized user biometric data collection system (AppleInsider) — If an “unauthorized user” (read: thief) uses an iPhone equipped with this technology, the device could capture a photo and fingerprint of the user for use by law enforcement. Not exactly rocket science to understand how this might be used by law enforcement remotely to assure a particular contact (read: target) is in possession of an iPhone, either. Keep an eye on this stuff.”

The Apple advocacy sites offer spin by reinforcing the idea that it’s OK because it will only be used against crime. To quote AppleInsider: “An Apple patent application published on Thursday describes a method of storing an unauthorized user’s biometric information, which can help strengthen security management or assist in device recovery and criminal prosecution in the case of a theft.”

“The Apple advocacy sites offer spin by reinforcing the idea that it’s OK because it will only be used against crime.”“Even as Apple contemplates surveillance software to catch thieves’ fingerprints,” IDG wrote, “it is also reportedly planning to redesign the physical elements of its devices that would make that approach possible.”

As usual, being an Apple story, it was all over the news (we saw more than dozens — perhaps hundreds — of articles, e.g. [1, 2]) and it was all praises and cheerleading, hardly criticism, just like that time Apple patented remote disablement of a phone’s camera (a ‘gentler’ form of kill switch that already exists).

“Apple had to spend a quarter of a million dollars getting a patent on this stupid ‘idea’ in every technologically-developed country, it would just be slush funds to Apple.”It takes sheer disregard for privacy and human rights to do what Apple expresses a desire to do here. It’s not at all innovation, just a lot of hype. If Apple had to spend a quarter of a million dollars getting a patent on this stupid ‘idea’ in every technologically-developed country, it would just be slush funds to Apple. Apple is suing companies (using patents) for billions. What about the mythical ‘little guy’? The patent system just isn’t for the ‘little guy’. Maybe it was a long time ago, but not anymore. See these comments in Reddit, one of which says about patent examiners: “They probably spend a lot more time digging themselves out from under the mountain of Apple / Samsung forms.”

This is, in essence, what the patent systems have turned into. To quote a comment that we mentioned yesterday (regarding the EPO), “Member States must decide very quickly if they wish to throw away more than 40 years of success, and replace it with a system that no longer rewards innovation, but instead becomes simply a tool for large corporations to dominate by means of their financial muscle.”

Nothing Whatsoever Has Improved at the European Patent Office, It’s Just Summer’s Recess (and Silence)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 12:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Prepare for some EPO propaganda about staff being happy, even when the Organisation admits there is a crisis and the President has a 0% approval rate

caricature

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) has done absolutely nothing to improve the work atmosphere, it just alters the marketing strategy somewhat

THIS week, while on retreat in Wales, I intend to dive into hundreds of EPO documents. There is a lot of ‘dirty laundry’ in there (plenty of documents), but now isn’t the best time to write about them because not many people — both staff and journalists — will pay attention (many are still on holiday). Don’t let the silence be mistaken for pacification. We expect that Battistelli will misinterpret this silence and predict it won’t take long for the "Social Study" propaganda to come out (they have renamed it and expect to release it in several weeks, surely with journalists to be contacted to play along and spread/embed the EPO's lies).

“It may sound benign, but given the undisputed decline in EPO patent quality, is it worth bragging about?”There’s a similar/analogous situation at WIPO. IP Watch is playing along with WIPO’s PR/face-saving statements [1,2] (see below) today, whereas the EPO keeps rather quiet. In some promotional press releases, low quality control for EPO patents gets ignored and companies brag about intent to grant at the EPO. It may sound benign, but given the undisputed decline in EPO patent quality, is it worth bragging about? How long before the “Battistelli effect” is understood by all applicants?

For the first time in quite a while SUEPO published something today (not just a link). The workers are coming back (those who have not left or retired). “The London-based lawyers, Bretton Woods Law, specialise in the Rule of Law, International Human Rights law and International Administrative Law,” SUEPO explained this morning, sporting two PDFs that we made public a few months ago (these got leaked to us). “At the request of SUEPO, Bretton Woods Law produced a legal opinion concerning the actions of the President of the EPO, and the responsibility of the Administrative Council as well as the Member States of the EPO with respect to staff,” SUEPO continued. “In an Annex to the above document a number of the reforms are considered in the light of basic legal and democratic standards in Europe.”

“Expect September to be a busy month for EPO coverage.”One document is 22 pages long and the latter is 25 pages long. That’s a lot to read. But these are both well written and structured.

The EPO has not had any announcements for a while (other than the earthquake — Italy’s, not Battistelli'sgetting exploited). Universities are still 'spammed' by the EPO (new examples in [1, 2], even repeatedly today) and sometimes this pushing truly works, as it comes not only from the EPO to all Twitter ‘followers’. It’s promotion of Battistelli's next lobbying event (if he survives this long at the EPO).

Expect September to be a busy month for EPO coverage. Nothing at all has improved (for many months). In fact, things got worse. Those who wish to send us information can do so securely using anonymity-preserving methods of choice.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. WIPO Human Resources: All Is Harmony, Secretariat Says

    Staff dissension? A thing of the past, according to WIPO. Staff are being included and are at the center of everything. And (after a major upheaval, including the firing of the oppositionist Staff Council president in 2014 followed by staff protests outside the building), the report states: “Finally, staff are at the front, left, right and center in organizing elections for a WIPO Staff Council through which, for the first time, all staff members will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”

  2. New Offices, Strategic Plan, GIs, Oversight Among Focus Of WIPO Committee

    The choice of hosting countries for new WIPO external offices and the Medium Term Strategic Plan 2016-2021 are among the hottest subjects of the week, according to several regional groups speaking at the opening today of the World Intellectual Property Organization Program and Budget Committee. Separately, the United States again called the attention to a 2015 treaty protecting geographical indications which they said should not be automatically administered by WIPO. And members called attention to audit and oversight issues at WIPO.

08.28.16

Links 28/8/2016: Q4OS 1.6, ConnochaetOS 14.2

Posted in News Roundup at 6:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • #MyOpenHA Part 1 -Philosophy

    Home Automation. The holy hipster and geek grail. I have played with it. I have tried. I have failed. But today I am proud to have a solution I can truly endorse. So join me on this journey. This series will explain my solution, in excruciating detail. In the hope that I can learn from you while I am explaining. This series will be filled over time with more and more articles. But now, let’s talk about philosophy. The Why. Soon you will see the What and How. One promise, or the TL;DR: It is all 100% Open Source.

    Well, almost. I have integrated some quite non-open things but always in an Open Source Way.

  • Events

    • On speaking at community conferences

      Many people reading this have already suffered me talking to them about Prometheus. In personal conversation, or in the talks I gave at DebConf15 in Heidelberg, the Debian SunCamp in Lloret de Mar, BRMlab in Prague, and even at a talk on a different topic at the RABS in Cluj-Napoca.

    • TPM Microconference Accepted into LPC 2016

      Although trusted platform modules (TPMs) have been the subject of some controversy over the years, it is quite likely that they have important roles to play in preventing firmware-based attacks, protecting user keys, and so on. However, some work is required to enable TPMs to successfully play these roles, including getting TPM support into bootloaders, securely distributing known-good hashes, and providing robust and repeatable handling of upgrades.

      In short, given the ever-more-hostile environments that our systems must operate in, it seems quite likely that much help will be needed, including from TPMs. For more details, see the TPM Microconference wiki page.

    • More translations added to the SFD countdown

      Software Freedom Day is celebrated all around the world and as usual our community helps us to provide marketing materials in their specific languages. While the wiki is rather simple to translate, the Countdown remains a bit more complicated and time consuming to localize. One needs to edit the SVG file and generate roughly a 100 pictures, then upload them to the wiki.

      Still this doesn’t scare the SFD teams around the world and we are happy to announce three more languages are ready to be used: French, Chinese and German!

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Disable the new Firefox 48 location bar – Tutorial

        Here we are. Seven minutes later, our life is bearable again, but not perfect. Thank you Mozilla, thank you very much. This is exactly what I needed to enrich my life. After all, we all know, cosmetic changes are good, because that’s what plants crave. Stop with these idiotic tweaks please. No one cares. It won’t make the browser better. It won’t change the market share. It will not attract idiots, as idiots are happy. It will only alienate diehard users who keep on using your browser because they have no alternative. From a loved favorite to the least of evils choice. That’s what Firefox has become.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • The Importance of BSD

      The Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) is a Unix operating system developed by the Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG) of the University of California, Berkeley.

    • Second FreeBSD 11.0 Release Candidate Restores Support for ‘nat global’ in IPFW

      Glen Barber from the FreeBSD project announced the availability of the second RC (Release Candidate) development build of the upcoming FreeBSD 11.0 operating system.

    • LLVM Might Get An AAP Back-End (Altruistic Processor)

      There’s an active proposal to incorporate a back-end into LLVM for AAP, a processor ISA for deeply-embedded Harvard architectures.

      AAP is designed for FPGA usage and there is an open-source soft-core with commercial deployments also being available. AAP is short for the Altruistic Processor and is described in technical detail here. AAP is said to be an original design but inspired by the OpenRISC / RISC-V projects.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Licensing/Legal

    • The Last LinuxCon, MariaDB Goes Open Core & More… [Ed: And a day later publicly attacks the Conservancy over GPL compliance against VMware]

      Linus Torvalds being interviewed by VMware’s Dirk Hohndel on the last day of the last LinuxCon North America. Next year’s event in Los Angeles will be renamed Open Source Summit.

    • GPL compliance suit against VMware dismissed

      In a setback to the Christoph Hellwig’s efforts to enforce the GPL on code that he wrote in the Linux kernel, his suit against VMware in Germany has been dismissed on procedural grounds. The court ruled that he had not provided enough specificity about the code he was claiming had been used by the company. The merits of the GPL and whether the two main parts of VMware’s product constitute a derived work of the kernel were not even considered. There may be another chance for the court to do so, however, as Hellwig will appeal the dismissal.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • UK-French Data Taskforce publishes joint report

      “Invest in and share experiences building core data registers, learning from the French National Address Database experience”; “develop initiatives to bring basic data literacy into primary and secondary education”; and “commission research into algorithmic transparency and accountability” are among the recommendations listed in a report published in July by the joint French-UK Data Taskforce.

    • Tuscany: how to promote the economy of sharing and collaboration

      In June, the region of Tuscany (Italy), in collaboration with Open Toscana and ANCI Toscana, launched a project, the goal of which is to “build a regional policy on the economy of sharing and collaboration”.

    • Open Data

      • MS Tries But Just Doesn’t Get FLOSS

        This is what drove me to GNU/Linux so many years ago.

      • Microsoft’s maps lost Melbourne because it used bad Wikipedia data

        Microsoft has laid part of the blame for Bing Maps’ mis-location of the Australian city of Melbourne by a whole hemisphere on Wikipedia.

        Yes, Wikipedia, “the free encyclopaedia that anyone can edit.”

        Microsoft made its admission after your correspondent took to Twitter on Monday to do what we in publishing call “pimping”the story of Melbourne’s mis-placement.

        Ricky Brundritt, a senior program manager at Bing Maps, noticed that pimping and responded as follows.

      • Northern Ireland promotes Open Data in education

        The Northern Ireland Department of Finance has supported a challenge that encourages the re-use of public Open Data in education. Called the OpenDataNI Challenge – Using Open Data for Education” (ODNI4EDU), this project, officially launched on June 14, intends to award two applications or educational tools and resources that make use of at least one dataset published on the portal OpendataNI.

Leftovers

  • Try this handy tool to convert a Web site into a native app with Electron
  • Introducing CloudiumOS [Ed: built on Electron]

    It is a complete multi platform operating system that allows you to manage your documents, access your media files and collaborate with other people on the go. CloudiumOS can work side-by-side with another operating system (either via a VM, a Desktop app or Mobile App) or as a standalone installation.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • EpiPen Maker’s Stock Value Plunges Nearly $3 Billion as Investors Panic

      Mylan Pharmaceuticals—the company that makes the EpiPen rescue device—has watched its stock value plummet over the last five days as panicky investors jump ship.

      According to U.S. Uncut, outrage over Mylan’s decision to jack up the price of the EpiPen has spooked shareholders, whose departures have reduced the value of Mylan stock by 12.4 percent. On August 19, Mylan stocks went from $49.20 per share to $43.11 on August 24, a net loss of nearly $3 billion for the company.

    • Big Pharma Increased Price of Life-Saving EpiPen by Over 450 Percent

      Martin Shkreli became one of the most notorious people in the United States for hiking the price of a rarely used life-saving drug by 4,000 percent in September 2015. And nearly a year later, dozens of reports are now coming out about how Mylan Pharmaceuticals hiked the price of the very common life-saving EpiPen by over 450 percent since Mylan bought EpiPen in 2007.

    • As the UN finally admits role in Haiti cholera outbreak – here is how victims must be compensated

      The United Nations has, at long last, accepted some responsibility that it played a part in a cholera epidemic that broke out in Haiti in 2010 and has since killed at least 9,200 people and infected nearly a million people.

      This is the first time that the UN has acknowledged that it bears a duty towards the victims. It is a significant step forward in the quest for accountability and justice.

      Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is frequently devastated by disasters – both natural and man-made. Yet cholera was not one of its problems before 2010. Then a group of UN peacekeepers was sent to help after an earthquake.

      The UN did not screen its peacekeepers for cholera, nor did it build adequate toilet facilities in its peacekeeping camps. As a result, wastewater carrying cholera flowed directly into a tributary that feeds Haiti’s main river. Given that vast numbers of the population rely on the Artibonite river for washing, cooking, cleaning and drinking, cholera quickly spread around many parts of the country. The disease is now endemic within the country. People continue to die at an alarming rate by this preventable and treatable disease.

    • The UN undermined both public health and human rights in Haiti

      Despite the clear risks, in the long run, the UN would have clearly benefited from transparent investigations into the outbreak, and could have risk-managed any negative outcomes. Its shortsighted obfuscation and failure to accept responsibility was disastrous from a public health perspective. It likely undermined efforts to control the cholera outbreak and led to more deaths of impoverished Haitians, already suffering in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. It also violated key human rights principles promoted by the organization, such as the right of Haitians to the highest attainable standard of health.

      Ultimately, this approach damaged the UN’s credibility, and sent an unfortunate message to other governments, multilateral organizations, as well as transnational entities (multilateral corporations) about how to behave in the face of tragic public health mistakes.

      [...]

      UN officials counter that the organization has been instrumental in efforts to remedy their mistake, leading the fight against cholera through public health messages and treatment. Should these efforts be integrated into any calculation of the harm caused by the UN? The amount demanded in a recent US court system filing—USD 40 billion—is five times the UN’s yearly peacekeeping budget. How would any payout affect ongoing efforts by the UN to address governance, development, and health challenges in Haiti and elsewhere? Does such a ruling have unforeseen negative consequences? Would it spur organizations working in challenging and dangerous environments, such as post-earthquake Haiti, to be more responsible or possibly deter such work?

    • Obamacare’s Faltering for One Simple Reason: Profit

      There have been dozens if not hundreds of news articles about Aetna leaving the Affordable Health Care Act’s online marketplaces in eleven states, and whether this signals serious problems for Obamacare down the road.

      But none of them have truly explained that what’s happening with Aetna is the consequence of a flaw built into Obamacare from the start: It permits insurance companies to make a profit on the basic healthcare package Americans are now legally required to purchase.

      This makes Obamacare fundamentally different from essentially all systems of universal healthcare on earth. (There is one tiny exception, the Netherlands, but of the four insurance companies that cover 90 percent of Dutch citizens, just one is for profit.)

  • Security

    • OpenSSL 1.1.0 Series Release Notes
    • Linux.PNScan Malware Brute-Forces Linux-Based Routers
    • St. Jude stock shorted on heart device hacking fears; shares drop

      The stock of pacemaker manufacturer St. Jude Medical Inc (STJ.N) fell sharply on Thursday after short-selling firm Muddy Waters said it had placed a bet that the shares would fall, claiming its implanted heart devices were vulnerable to cyber attacks.

      St. Jude, which agreed in April to sell itself for $25 billion to Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N), said the allegations were false. St Jude shares closed down 4.96 percent, the biggest one-day fall in 7 months and at a 7.4 percent discount to Abbott’s takeover offer.

      Muddy Waters head Carson Block said the firm’s position was motivated by research from a cyber security firm, MedSec Holdings Inc, which has a financial arrangement with Muddy Waters. MedSec asserted that St. Jude’s heart devices were vulnerable to cyber attack and were a risk to patients.

    • BlackArch Linux ISO now comes with over 1,500 hacking tools

      On a move to counter distros like Kali Linux and BackBox, BlackArch has got a new ISO image that includes more than 1,500 hacking tools. The update also brings several security and software tweaks to deliver an enhanced platform for various penetration testing and security assessment activities.

      The new BlackArch Linux ISO includes an all new Linux installer and more than 100 new penetration testing and hacking tools. There is also Linux 4.7.1 to fix the bugs and compatibility issues of the previous kernel. Additionally, the BlackArch team has updated all its in-house tools and system packages as well as updated menu entries for the Openbox, Fluxbox and Awesome windows managers.

    • Opera User? Your Stored Passwords May Have Been Stolen

      Barely a week passes without another well-known web company suffering a data breach or hack of some kind. This week it is Opera’s turn. Opera Software, the company behind the web-browser and recently sold to a Chinese consortium for $600 million, reported a ‘server breach incident’ on its blog this weekend.

    • When it comes to protecting personal data, security gurus make their own rules

      Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of a company devoted to protecting people from hackers, has safeguarded his Twitter account with a 14-character password and by turning on two-factor authentication, an extra precaution in case that password is cracked.

      But Cooper Quintin, a security researcher and chief technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, doesn’t bother running an anti-virus program on his computer.

      And Bruce Schneier? The prominent cryptography expert and chief technology officer of IBM-owned security company Resilient Systems, won’t even risk talking about what he does to secure his devices and data.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Erdogan at a crossroad: dictatorship or democracy

      An interview with A.H. Banisadr, Iran’s former president, about the aftermath of the coup in Turkey.

    • The Dumbed-Down New York Times

      In a column mocking the political ignorance of the “dumbed-down” American people and lamenting the death of “objective fact,” New York Times columnist Timothy Egan shows why so many Americans have lost faith in the supposedly just-the-facts-ma’am mainstream media.

      Egan states as flat fact, “If more than 16 percent of Americans could locate Ukraine on a map, it would have been a Really Big Deal when Trump said that Russia was not going to invade it — two years after they had, in fact, invaded it.”

    • Where are the Child Victims of the West?

      The Facebook page contains a post cheering on al-Nusra, the US-designated terrorist group, referring to them as ‘rebels’, not ‘terrorists’ and also calling the Syrian government a ‘regime’, the standard terminology of the corporate media when referring to Assad’s administration. Such phrasing destroys the Aleppo Media Centre as a neutral, credible source.

    • Is Syria Ceasefire Achievable? US-Russia Talks Bring No Solution

      Meanwhile, U.S.-allied Kurdish forces say they are now being bombed by U.S.-backed Turkish forces, Reuters reported Saturday, which Common Dreams noted was Turkey’s goal from the start of its military incursion into Syria earlier this week.

    • Clintonites Prepare for War on Syria

      Neocons and Clintonites have launched a major campaign with the goal of direct US military intervention and aggression against Syria, potentially leading to war with Iran and Russia. An early indication emerged as soon as it was clear the Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic Party nominee. Following the California primary, the NY Times reported on State Department diplomats issuing an internal memo “urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al Assad.”

    • Venezuela’s Maduro Accuses US of “Imperialist Attack” Against Latin American Leftists

      Venezuela’s leftist president Nicolas Maduro told a crowd of supporters Saturday that the turmoil of recent months in progressive Latin American countries are the result of “an imperialist attack on all,” teleSUR reports.

    • Venezuela’s Maduro Says Dilma Coup, Killing of Bolivia Minister ‘Imperialist Attack’ Against All

      President Maduro said the recent events in Bolivia and Brazil are part of a new plan to destabilize progressive governments in the region.

      Following the murder of the Bolivian vice minister by miners and as the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff reaches its final stage, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro warned Saturday of “imperialist” attacks on the region’s left and compared the situation to a new Plan Condor.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Standing Rock Sioux Chairman: Dakota Access Pipeline “Is Threatening the Lives of My Tribe”

      In North Dakota, indigenous activists are continuing to protest the proposed $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which they say would threaten to contaminate the Missouri River. More than a thousand indigenous activists from dozens of different tribes across the country have traveled to the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, which was launched on April 1 by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The protests have so far shut down construction along parts of the pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has also sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over its approval of the pipeline. For more, we’re joined by Dave Archambault, chairperson of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. He’s in Washington, D.C., where there is a hearing in the tribe’s lawsuit on Wednesday.

    • Singapore chokes on smoke from Indonesia’s slash-and-burn fires

      A swathe of south-east Asia is blanketed in a smoky haze as smoke from forest fires in Indonesia drifts across the Malacca Strait to neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore’s air quality has deteriorated to very unhealthy levels, peaking at a reading of 215 on the National Environment Agency’s Pollutant Standards Index. Levels above 100 are defined as unhealthy and above 200 very unhealthy.

    • Just 90 companies are to blame for most climate change, this ‘carbon accountant’ says

      Last month, geographer Richard Heede received a subpoena from Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Smith, a climate change doubter, became concerned when the attorneys general of several states launched investigations into whether ExxonMobil had committed fraud by sowing doubts about climate change even as its own scientists knew it was taking place. The congressman suspected a conspiracy between the attorneys general and environmental advocates, and he wanted to see all the communications among them. Predictably, his targets included advocacy organizations such as Greenpeace, 350.org, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. They also included Heede, who works on his own aboard a rented houseboat on San Francisco Bay in California.

    • What Baton Rouge Can Learn from New Orleans About Bringing Flood Victims Home

      In the wake of the nation’s worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy, flood recovery efforts are now underway in Baton Rouge: Electricity is operating in certain neighborhoods, damaged floors and walls are being removed from homes, and homeowners are beginning to deal with emergency assistance and insurance—or a lack thereof.

      Soon, another aftereffect of the storm will sweep Baton Rouge communities: climate refugees—people who are displaced by climate change or natural disasters—will begin the daunting task of rebuilding their lives.

    • Nature Is Not Benign, It’s Responsive

      There’s a reason why Indigenous peoples everywhere have led on dealing intelligently with climate change: not because they’re wiser or nobler but because they haven’t experienced a rupture with the non-human world to the same degree as most of us. They remain aware of the ways we’re part of the natural realm, and how dangerous and menacing it can be if, like any relationship, that one is left unattended or gets misshapen by a power imbalance. If you live oblivious to something you’re intimately part of, the odds don’t favor you, ultimately.

      Now when I look out the kitchen window and see the squirrel (not “a” squirrel anymore: he’s become an individual, with motives and capacities), I don’t think of him as “scampering” (too cute and generic); more like lurking, working and perhaps pondering a revisit. You could say we’ve entered a relationship, with mutual regard.

    • We Can Have a Healthy Climate With Zero Warming in Our Lifetimes

      We can have a healthy climate — a climate with zero warming — in our lifetimes. The message for the last 20 years has been that we have to reduce emissions drastically to prevent dangerous climate change of more than 2 degrees C (3.6 F). This strategy would have likely worked when it was first suggested, but we have delayed far too long since then. Now, even stringent emissions reductions allow our warming to at least double and likely triple before finally beginning to cool.

      We must begin to reduce the load of already-emitted, long-lived carbon dioxide (CO2) climate pollution in the sky, regardless of costs. The good news is that, not only will costs be very similar to many things we do in our society today whose costs are taken for granted, but by disconnecting emissions reductions strategies from the removal of already-emitted climate pollution in our sky, we vastly simplify the myriad strategies that have been developed to avoid dangerous climate change.

    • 10th Temperature Record-Breaking Month in a Row

      October. November. December. January. February. March. April. May. June. And now July.

    • Indonesian police arrest hundreds in connection to burning land

      Singapore’s National Environment Agency said on Friday it expected air quality to remain poor into the weekend as Indonesian disaster management officials cautioned that wildfires in Sumatra and Kalimantan could persist through September.

      On Thursday Indonesia’s newly appointed police chief Tito Karnavian said police had prepared cases against 454 individuals in connection with burning land. “The arrests of individuals has increased compared with last year,” he said in Jakarta. “Just in Riau [province] 85 people have been arrested.”

      The head of the police’s criminal investigation division, Ari Dono Sukmanto, said he expected the number of arrests to rise in the coming months. Indonesian environment minster Siti Nurbaya called on police to “investigate thoroughly” for any links to companies and local government officials.

    • Raging Amazon forest fires threaten uncontacted indigenous tribe

      In April 2012, Survival International launched a global campaign to save the Awá, an uncontacted indigenous people that has been called “Earth’s most threatened tribe.” Two years later, the campaign claimed victory when the Brazilian government sent troops to remove illegal cattle ranchers and loggers from Awá land.

      But now the Awá are facing yet another existential threat in the form of forest fires. According to Survival International, fires are “raging” in Awá territory on the edge of the Brazilian Amazon and “threatening to wipe out uncontacted members of the Awá tribe.”

      Small groups of Guajajara Indians, the Awá’s neighbors in the Amazon, reportedly battled the blaze for days without the assistance of government agents until Brazil’s Environment Ministry launched a fire-fighting operation two weeks ago.

      According to Survival International, nearly 50 percent of the forest cover in the territory was destroyed by forest fires started by loggers in late 2015, and the Environment Ministry has warned that the situation is “even worse this year.”

  • Finance

    • The Hidden Homeless Population

      Most children in the United States spend their school days dreaming of their next birthday party or worrying whether they’re popular enough. Not America’s homeless youth.

      Students like Jamie Talley, who first became homeless at age 2, are thinking about how the weather will affect their sleep and how to silence their growling stomachs during a test.

      “I was pushed out of the world and left to survive on my own,” Talley said in a scholarship essay quoted by the Washington Post. “I had given up on the possibilities for me to become somebody.”

      Fortunately, Talley had a teacher who helped her get Medicaid and pushed her to focus on her education.

      But most homeless students don’t feel supported at school. They feel that their schools simply don’t have the funding, time, staff, community awareness, or resources to help, and that’s the way it’s always going to be. This feeling of invisibility continues to disconnect citizens with consistent housing from those without.

      There are more than 1.3 million homeless students in the U.S., according to a new report by Civic Enterprises and Hart Research Associates. Seventy-eight percent of homeless youth surveyed in the study have experienced homelessness more than once in their lives.

      Why are so many of us disconnected from this crisis?

      Many homeless students say they’re uncomfortable talking with their schools about their housing situation and the challenges that impact their ability to learn. Additionally, 94 percent of those surveyed stay with different people on an inconsistent basis, adding to the ambiguity that makes recognizing homelessness more difficult.

    • She’ll keep America not so great for workers

      The Trump plan would, of course, be a disaster for working people–and another windfall for the rich, with its proposals for eliminating the estate tax and opening up new tax loopholes for the wealthy.

      But Clinton’s own economic plan isn’t very new, much less positive for working people. It reads a lot like the policies of the Bill Clinton administration–and while Hillary denounces the failed Republican policies recycled by Trump, the truth is Clintonomics repurposed many of the GOP proposals that came before it.

      Providing targeted tax breaks to corporations, cutting “red tape” and doing away with regulations on business were all hallmarks of the Clinton-era policies that successfully made a break from the Democrats’ past image of the party of social welfare spending.

    • Education Reformers’ Core Beliefs Are Objectionable

      America’s corporate education reform movement has been a marketing success. Reformers have popularized slogans that promote a radically new public school system; one where tenure and bargaining rights are abolished or severely degraded; where CEOs and administrators, who may have backgrounds in business, politics or public relations rather than education, make hiring and firing decisions; and where data-based accountability — necessarily driven by test scores — perpetually imperils schools, tenure- and union-less teachers, as well as students who must conform to onerous protocols and codes of conduct under charter school contracts. Reformers’ slogans such as “demography isn’t destiny” and “poverty is no excuse” have been ingrained in the minds of all who follow education issues — and have apparently been successful in advancing their agenda. But ironically, while reformers’ slogans are well known, their core ideas around such reformer bedrocks as Teach For America, charter schools, and educational expertise are so objectionably elitist that they are unutterable.

    • Postal Contract Narrows the Gap between Tiers

      They didn’t end three-tier in a single blow. But in a new contract covering 200,000 members, the American Postal Workers Union made serious headway and fended off most concessionary demands, including the Postal Service’s effort to create yet another tier.

      The union entered bargaining with little obvious leverage. It was up against a management that’s been openly collaborating with postal unions’ Congressional foes to push a frenzy of cuts—slashing delivery standards, shutting down mail plants, privatizing work, and selling off post offices to real estate sharks.

      Postal workers can’t legally strike. If the union and management don’t reach a deal, an arbitrator writes the contract—which is what finally happened. Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg announced the results July 8.

      He stopped short of eliminating the three-tier system, as the union had proposed. But the new contract shrinks the number of bottom-tier workers and improves their situation, while defending the traditional raises and no-layoff protection for the two upper tiers.

    • Close My Tax Loophole

      My fellow venture capitalists and private equity investors are paying close attention to the heated election-year rhetoric about the future of “carried interest,” which is the performance fee we charge to manage other people’s money. Carried interest is the fund manager’s share of the earnings from a profitable investment, normally paid on top of a much smaller management fee.

      It’s also a subject of increasing political disfavor. Over the past year, every major presidential candidate — from Jeb Bush and Donald J. Trump to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — has called for an end to a tax loophole that exists for carried interest. Mrs. Clinton has vowed that if Congress does not close the loophole, as president she would ask the Treasury Department to use its regulatory authority to do so.

      Ultimately, the controversy has to do with tax fairness, or the lack thereof. Instead of being taxed as wages or commissions earned, carried interest is currently taxed as if it were a personal investment, or capital gains. This gives us a significant tax advantage since the capital gains tax rate is about 50 percent lower than the top rate on ordinary income.

      When I started my first fund, Alan Patricof Associates, in 1970, I vividly remember my accountant telling me about my first sale of an investment: “We’re going to treat this as capital gain, but sooner or later, it will be characterized as ordinary income.”

    • Last BHS stores to close for final time after 88 years

      The last BHS stores are set to close their doors for the final time, ending an 88-year presence on the High Street.

      The closure of the final 22 shops dotted around the UK comes after the retailer was placed into administration in March but failed to find a buyer.

      Previous owners Dominic Chappell and Sir Philip Green have been criticised for mismanaging the chain and failing to protect the company pension scheme.

      Administrators have already made 141 store closures over recent weeks.

    • Dimon is Forever

      Since neither poor earnings by the bank nor a need to find the money with which to pay Mr. Dimon his $27.5 million annual compensation explains why the interest rate on credit card cash advances has increased, there has to be some other explanation and, in fact, there is. Morgan Chase raised the interest rate on those credit cards because it could.

    • ‘People In Poverty Do Work’: What Paul Ryan Misunderstands About Poverty

      Twenty years later, it’s clear that welfare reform has left more families with fewer resources. There has been a 75% drop in the number of Americans receiving cash assistance since 1996, and a sharp rise in the number of households with children with incomes of less than $2 per day. There are 3 million American children who now live on no money for at least three months out of the year.

      [...]

      Ryan claims he is focused on moving people into full-time work—the surest way to get people out of poverty, he says. And it’s true—full-time jobs that pay well and provide benefits are indeed the best path to get out of poverty.

      But that’s not what Ryan is promoting, and his solution—like welfare reform before it—would not have helped me. (Nor would his votes—at least 10 times—against raising the minimum wage.)

    • Obama’s Campaign for TPP Could Drag Down the Democrats

      How much is President Obama willing to harm the Democratic Party in order to win approval for the deeply unpopular Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “trade” agreement? We may soon find out.

      On Tuesday, Politico broke the story that the White House will be “making an all-out push to win passage of the deal in the lame duck session of Congress, organizing 30 events over the congressional recess.” The effort will be designed to put pressure not only on Democratic members of Congress, but also on swing Republican votes, by lobbying important business interests in their districts.

    • TTIP Has ‘De Facto Failed,’ Says German Economic Minister

      Germany’s Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister said that the controversial Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has “de facto failed,” admitting that negotiations between the U.S. and E.U. have completely stalled.

      “Negotiations with the U.S. have de facto failed, because of course as Europeans we couldn’t allow ourselves to submit to American demands,” Sigmar Gabriel told the German news station ZDF in an interview that will air at 7pm German time Sunday, according to Der Spiegel.

      “Everything has stalled,” Gabriel said.

    • Germany’s economy minister: U.S.-EU free trade talks have failed

      Germany’s Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade deal being negotiated by the United States and the European Union, had essentially failed.

      “The negotiations with the USA have de facto failed because we Europeans did not want to subject ourselves to American demands,” he said, according to a written transcript from German broadcaster ZDF of an interview due to be broadcast on Sunday.

    • “TTIP Has Failed” – Global Justice Now Response

      “The fact that TTIP has failed is testament to the hundreds of thousands of people who took to the streets to protest against it, the three million people who signed a petition calling for it to be scrapped, and the huge coalition of civil society groups, trade unions and activists who came together to stop it. TTIP would have resulted in a massive corporate power grab, and sovereign democracies across the EU would have been deeply compromised.

    • Common Core’s New New Math Has the Same Problem as the Old New Math

      Bad ideas are like unlucky pennies – they keep coming back again.

      Take the New Math. Or maybe I should say the New New Math.

      Common Core State Standards suggests we teach children a new way to do arithmetic. We should focus on multiple ways to reach an answer with an emphasis on understanding the concept behind the problem rather than just manipulating numbers.

      It sounds fine in theory – until you think about it for five minutes.

      When learning a new skill, it’s best to master a single, simple approach before being exposed to other more complex methods. Otherwise, you run the risk of confusion, frustration and ultimately not learning how to solve the problem.

      Take directions.

      If you’re lost and you ask for directions, you don’t want someone to tell you five ways to reach your destination. You want one, relatively simple way to get there – preferably with the least amount of turns and the highest number of landmarks.

      Maybe later if you’re going to be traveling to this place frequently, you may want to learn alternate routes. But the first time, you’re more concerned about finding the destination (i.e. getting the answer) than understanding how the landscape would appear on a map.

      This is the problem with Common Core math. It doesn’t merely ALLOW students to pursue alternate methods of solving problems. It REQUIRES them to know all the ways the problem can be solved and to be able to explain each method. Otherwise, it presumes to evaluate the student’s understanding as insufficient.

    • A Do-Over for Our Unequal Economy?

      Families in the upper reaches of the American economy, by contrast, have done just swell. Families in the top 10 percent, the Congressional Budget Office calculates, have seen their net worths increase an average 153 percent.

    • Greek Debt and the New Financial Imperialism

      This week marks the first anniversary of the 2015 Greek debt crisis, the third in that country’s recent history since 2010. Last Aug. 20-21, 2015, the ‘Troika’—i.e., the pan-European institutions of the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB), plus the IMF-imposed a third debt deal on Greece. Greece was given US$98 billion in loans from the Troika. A previous 2012 Troika imposed debt deal had added nearly US$200 billion to an initial 2010 debt deal of US$140 billion.

      That’s approximately US$440 billion in Troika loans over a five year period, 2010-2015. The question is: who is benefitting from the US$440 billion? It’s not Greece. If not the Greek economy and its people, then who? And have we seen the last of Greek debt crises?

      One might think that US$440 billion in loans would have helped Greece recover from the global recession of 2008-09, the second European recession of 2011-13 that followed, and the Europe-wide chronic, stagnant economic growth ever since. But no, the US$440 billion in debt the Troika piled on Greece has actually impoverished Greece even further, condemning it to eight years of economic depression with no end in sight.

      To pay for the US$440 billion, in three successive debt agreements the Troika has required Greece to cut government spending on social services, eliminate hundreds of thousands of government jobs, lower wages for public and private sector workers, reduce the minimum wage, cut and eliminate pensions, raise the cost of workers’ health care contributions, and pay higher sales and local property taxes. As part of austerity, the Troika has also required Greece to sell off its government owned utilities, ports, and transport systems at ‘firesale’ (i.e. below) market prices.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Jill Stein in Colorado: The Photos You Need to See

      On Saturday, Jill spoke at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church. A large number of people showed up to hear her.

    • Clinton Foundation Official Requests State Lunch Invitation, Special Seating for Foundation Allies, Emails Show

      A series of newly released State Department emails obtained by ABC News offers fresh insight on direct contact between the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s inner circle while she was Secretary of State.

      The emails -– released as part of a public records lawsuit by conservative group Citizens United and shared exclusively with ABC — reveal what the group claims is new evidence Foundation allies received special treatment. [Read the emails here.]

      In one December 2010 email chain with Clinton’s closest aide Huma Abedin, then-top Clinton Foundation official Doug Band offers names for a State Department lunch with Chinese President Hu Jintao scheduled for January 2011.

    • Green Party Candidates: Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka

      Born in Chicago and raised in Highland Park, Illinois, Dr. Jill Stein is a physician and longtime political and environmental activist with the GPUS. According to her campaign website, Stein “graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1973, and from Harvard Medical School in 1979.” She unsuccessfully ran for governor of Massachusetts as the nominee of the Green-Rainbow Party, the Massachusetts affiliate of the national Green Party. Stein also ran unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives in 2004, and for Massachusetts secretary of the commonwealth in 2006, and was the Green Party nominee for U.S. president in 2012.

      Despite her loss in the 2012 presidential election, coming in fourth place with 469,628 votes (0.36 percent of the national vote), Stein holds the record for the most votes won by a female presidential candidate in a general election. However, Hil­lary Clinton, unless forced out of the race, is likely to break this record in November.

      Endorsing the Black Lives Matter movement, Stein selected and the Greens nominated radical Black Nationalist and human rights activist Ajamu Baraka as the Green Party vice-presidential nominee.

      Also born in Chicago, Baraka served as the founding executive director of the US Human Rights Network, a self-described “national network of organizations and individuals working to strengthen a human rights movement and culture within the United States,” from 2004 to 2011.

    • How Sanders Shaped the National Discourse on Class: A Media Analysis

      Now that Bernie Sanders’ campaign is officially over, many of his supporters are adrift. The same week the Sanders’ campaign officially ended, the systematic efforts of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to sabotage his campaign became a matter of public record, thanks to WikiLeaks. The media largely ignored this scandal and proceeded to fawn over various politicians at the Democratic National Convention, as if they were deities. And Bob Woodward appeared on the August 14 Fox News Sunday, smugly joking that Sanders will now “write his memoirs about the revolution that didn’t quite happen.”

      But Sanders supporters should not get disillusioned. It may seem easy to forget, but the primary goal of the Sanders’ campaign was not the presidency, but a “political revolution.” Winning an election was a goal, to be sure, but “revolution” was the goal. The distinction matters. Consider the dictionary definition of revolution: “a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system.” Electing Sanders wouldn’t have been a revolutionary act by itself; the bulk of the work, no matter who won, was always going to take place after Election Day.

    • Number of registered lobbyists plunges as spending declines yet again

      The lobbying industry may start arguing for its own bailout bill, given the relentless decline in reported spending for its services.

      The first quarter of 2016 was sluggish, the second similarly so. And with it came a pronounced dive in the number of active registered lobbyists.

      With 325 fewer lobbyists registered in the second quarter of 2016 than in the first, this marks the biggest single-quarter drop in four years and puts the number of registered lobbyists at the lowest point OpenSecrets has ever recorded. Since 1998, the total number of lobbyists has never dipped below 10,000, but that figure has been falling ever since it peaked at nearly 15,000 in 2007 and this quarter’s decrease puts it at just more than 9,700.

    • Open up debates to Johnson, Stein

      With two less than optimum candidates for president filling the Democratic and Republican slots, two other candidates have generated heightened interest.

      But not enough, apparently, to convince the Commission on Presidential Debates to open the door and let them in.

      And a legal challenge to the format determined by the commission was rejected earlier this month by U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer.

      The lawsuit had been brought by Libertarian party presidential nominee Gary Johnson and Green party nominee Jill Stein, among others. It alleged that the threshold set by the debate commission was designed to prevent any but the major-party nominees from participating in the debate. And that is clearly the case.

      This threshold is set at 15 percent support from an average of public polls, a much more exacting standard than the 5 percent threshold set by Congress to qualify for public campaign funds.

    • Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein campaigns in Colorado

      Voters not in tune with everything politics may not even know what the Green Party is. That’s the party Dr. Jill Stein represents. It’s the party that is based on principles like social justice and protecting the environment.

      The trouble for Stein? She’s not well-known. She represents the party that hardly gets any airtime, the party that does not spend millions on ad campaigns, the party hidden behind the big two candidates from the two big parties.

      But there is a market for Stein, one with plenty of devout supporters.

      New numbers show more and more Colorado voters are registering Green and Libertarian. Right now there are more than 11,000 registered Green Party voters and 35,000 registered Libertarian voters.

      That’s not enough to win a presidency, but that is not stopping Dr. Stein from hitting the campaign trail.

      She joined her supporters at a Colorado Springs park Saturday afternoon.

    • Let a Third Candidate Join the Clinton-Trump Debates

      A month from now, the Commission on Presidential Debates will let us know which candidates get a golden ticket to that national forum.

      Will America get to hear from anyone besides Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the two most distrusted and reviled candidates in modern political history?

      [...]

      The Commission on Presidential Debates, an organization set up and originally co-chaired by the then-chairman of Republican National Committee and his Democratic counterpart, has served as the debates’ gatekeeper since 1988.

      CPD describes its mission as ensuring that the debates “provide the best possible information to viewers.” But its real mission is to make the debate stage a “safe space” for major-party candidates. It does so by rigging the rules to protect them from unflattering camera angles, the microaggressions of uncooperative moderators and—most hurtful of all—the terror of third-party competition.

    • Hillary Clinton hasn’t held a news conference since December — but NPR has proven why it’s not media blackout

      One of the circulating scandals surrounding Hillary Clinton is that she hasn’t held a news conference in 265 days (and counting!), leading to allegations that she has something to hide or is trying to “run-out the clock.”

      The Clinton camp denies this, and has begun to claim that she has given more than 300 interviews this year alone. To prove it, they provided NPR with a list of interviews through the end of July. NPR “made minor corrections after conferring with the campaign, and analyzed the results,” finding some interesting things.

      Clinton by far gave the most interviews to television (both national and local) and local radio. Those three account for 81% of the interviews she’s given this year. Despite her affinity for television, she rarely appears on Sunday shows, usually considered a staple of a politician’s press diet. (Trump, for reference, has appeared on twice as many Sunday shows as she has this year — 43 to 22.)

      Most of her interviews only last for between three and eight minutes — short enough that the reporters don’t have the time to ask follow-up questions or really press her on the issues. In nearly a fifth of the interviews she gave, they weren’t with what NPR considers a journalist or reporter. One radio host gave her an astrological reading.

    • Trump and the Transformation of Politics

      Illiberal politicians are not very interested in civil liberties. They will manipulate the rule of law to “get things done.” They tend to appeal to religious or national identity rather than political ideology. They also generally favor greater state intervention in the economy.

      In short, they defy the usual political categories.

      If Donald Trump weren’t so personally unpopular and so tactically inept, he might be able to join the ranks of these successful illiberal leaders. Still, he has gotten as far as he has – seizing the nomination of a major political party – by articulating the same anger and resentment as the others.

    • Rich Upper East Siders Are Spending Millions to Mess With Elections in Brooklyn and the Bronx

      A new super-PAC is spending millions of dollars to oust four labor-backed black and Latino state Democrats from the Bronx, Brooklyn, and nearby Suffolk County. But most of the $3.17 million campaign, which has already begun to flood the Bronx with mailers, has not been financed by local organizations or concerned constituents.

      Of New Yorkers for Independent Action’s sixteen donors, all have addresses listed outside Brooklyn, Bronx, and Suffolk County, according to the New York State Board of Elections. All those registered in New York list addresses on the Upper East Side and in midtown. And all of the super-PAC’s donors appear to be white.

      The group’s main issue has been advocating for an education tax credit, which would give tax rebates to donors and companies for donations to private and parochial schools and has long been opposed by most state Democrats.

    • LISTEN: Maine’s Governor Unleashes Obscenities On Lawmaker Who Criticized Him

      The vulgar voicemail left Thursday was first reported by the Portland Press-Herald. The newspaper also reports that in an interview, LePage said he wished it were 1825 so that he could challenge Gattine to a duel — and that if he did, he wouldn’t shoot in the air like Alexander Hamilton.

      “I would point it right between his eyes, because he is a snot-nosed little runt,” LePage told the Press-Herald.

      LePage has since apologized for his language, and said his comments about shooting Gattine were metaphorical. Democratic leaders in Maine, meanwhile, have said the governor is not “mentally or emotionally fit to hold office.”

      The hostile remarks follow — and are directly linked to — a series of widely-criticized remarks the Republican governor made on race.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Pahlaj Nihalani is in favour of controlled censorship

      Pahlaj Nihalani has become quite inured to criticism these days, and in his 20-month tenure as the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), he has found the going tough since the online leak of censor copies of ‘Udta Punjab’ and ‘Great Grand Masti’ recently. In fact, Nihalani makes no secret of the fact that the CBFC has become a punching bag as everyone has got it into their head that all the ills that plague Bollywood have something to do with the CBFC.

    • Piers Morgan takes dig at Indian Twitter users, tweets about who Sachin Tendulkar follows
    • Twitterati teach Piers Morgan a lesson for poking fun at Indian Olympians
    • Piers Morgan TWEETS AGAIN: UK journalist takes credit for PM Modi setting up task force for next three Olympics
    • Piers Morgan and Indian athletes at Rio
    • Piers Morgan tweets Shekhar Gupta’s blog about India’s easy embrace to mediocrity and we kind of agree with both

      Days ago, British journalist and Television personality Piers Morgan was trending on twitter worldwide after he literally broke the internet. Morgan’s tweet questioning the over-zealous celebration by Indians for only two Olympic medals, agitated the Indian twitter and soon enough everyone was thrashing and slamming Morgan for it.

    • The Anti-Semitism Smear Against Canadian Greens

      So, establishment pro-Israel organizations are increasingly shrill in smearing the growing Palestinian solidarity movement. While supporters of Palestinian rights generally ignore these smears or reply that it’s not anti-Semitic to stand up for Palestinian rights, defensive strategies aren’t sufficient. The anti-Semitic label is too potent to not confront directly.

      [...]

      Of course, considering the historical oppression originally defined by the term, most progressive minded folk would be discomforted by the idea of mocking and re-appropriating “anti-Semitism”. But, isn’t this inevitable when “leading Jewish organizations” publicly denounce “anti-Semitism” in inverse relation to discernible anti-Jewish animus? When Jews fleeing Hitler’s atrocities were blocked from entering Canada, notes A Coat of Many Colours: Two Centuries of Jewish Life in Canada, the dominant Jewish organizations mostly shied away from publicly criticizing Ottawa’s prejudice. Similarly, some Jewish representatives negotiated with McGill over the cap it placed on Jews in some university programs in the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

      While some Jewish activists at the time pushed for a more forceful response to this quantifiable anti-Semitism, the “leading” community representatives didn’t want to rock the boat. Their aim was largely to join the power structure.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA Whistleblowers: NSA Hack Was Likely An Inside Job

      The mainstream press is accusing Russia of being behind the release of information on NSA hacking tools.

      Washington’s Blog asked the highest-level NSA whistleblower in history, William Binney – the NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information, who served as the senior technical director within the agency, who managed six thousand NSA employees, the 36-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency and the NSA’s best-ever analyst and code-breaker, who mapped out the Soviet command-and-control structure before anyone else knew how, and so predicted Soviet invasions before they happened (“in the 1970s, he decrypted the Soviet Union’s command system, which provided the US and its allies with real-time surveillance of all Soviet troop movements and Russian atomic weapons”) – what he thinks of such claims.

    • Tampa man at center of web spying case that could impact the workplace

      A federal appeals court has ruled that a Tampa man can sue Awareness Technologies, a Connecticut firm that makes an electronic monitoring program.

      While the ruling by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals involved the use of the monitoring program in a divorce case, it could impact what happens in the workplace, an attorney involved in the case told the Wall Street Journal.

      Employees agree to be monitored as part of their jobs, but the people they communicate with do not provide the same agreements. That could lead to more exposure for companies that provide employee monitoring services, attorney Mark Pickrell, interim head of Vanderbilt Law School’s appellate litigation clinic, told the Journal.

    • Man Sues Surveillance Company for Spying on His Conversations With Married Woman

      Javier Luis, of Tampa, Florida, met a woman named Catherine Zang in a chat room on metaphysics in 2009. Zang’s husband, Joseph Zang, somehow became aware of the personal relationship and installed a program called WebWatcher, created by a company called Awareness Technologies, on the family computer to monitor her. WebWatcher made recordings of all the online interactions between Luis and Catherine Zang, which Joseph Zang was then able to review after they were routed to Awareness Technologies’ servers in California. Though Javier Luis and Catherine Zang never actually met in person, Zang’s husband allegedly was able to use the compiled communications to his advantage in their divorce proceedings.

    • Proposed ‘social media ID, please’ law draws outrage

      A plan by the U.S. government to require some foreign travelers to provide their social media IDs on key travel documents is drawing outrage.

      People who responded to the government’s request for comment about the proposal spared little in their criticisms. They call it “ludicrous,” an “all-around bad idea,” “blatant overreach,” “desperate, paranoid heavy-handedness,” “preposterous,” “appalling,” and “un-American.”

      But the feds are most serious about it.

      The plan affects people traveling from “visa waiver” countries to the U.S., where a visa is not required. This includes most of Europe, Singapore, Chile, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand — 38 countries in total.

      Travelers will be asked to provide their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and whatever other social ID you can imagine to U.S. authorities. It’s technically an “optional” request, but since it’s the government asking, critics believe travelers will fear consequences if they ignore it. Business and pleasure travelers are affected, too.

    • All the Ways Your Wi-Fi Router Can Spy on You

      City dwellers spend nearly every moment of every day awash in Wi-Fi signals. Homes, streets, businesses, and office buildings are constantly blasting wireless signals every which way for the benefit of nearby phones, tablets, laptops, wearables, and other connected paraphernalia.

      When those devices connect to a router, they send requests for information—a weather forecast, the latest sports scores, a news article—and, in turn, receive that data, all over the air. As it communicates with the devices, the router is also gathering information about how its signals are traveling through the air, and whether they’re being disrupted by obstacles or interference. With that data, the router can make small adjustments to communicate more reliably with the devices it’s connected to.

      But it can also be used to monitor humans—and in surprisingly detailed ways.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Nothing to See Here: The Counter-Revolution Against Black Lives Matter

      There is a phenomenon in this country that we need to examine and it’s just not in New York,” NYPD Commissioner William Bratton told reporters in May, after addressing a national conference of police chiefs at the Times Square Marriott Marquis. “This has become very serious. I would almost describe it as an epidemic.”

      Bratton, who announced his retirement on August 3— much to the delight of Black Lives Matter demonstrators who set up an encampment at City Hall calling for his resignation one day previously — was not speaking of zika or ebola. He was talking about civilians filming police, a viral occurrence in recent years.

      Bratton went on to equate recording law enforcement with intimidation and attempts to free individuals in police custody. “The community has to make up their mind if they want law enforcement or if they want mob rule,” Bratton said.

    • As the Private Immigrant Detention Business Persists, Families Fight Back

      Moussa came to the United States nine years ago seeking asylum. He lost his asylum case, but while appealing the decision, he fell in love with Victoria. The two were married and have three beautiful children together. Moussa also adopted Victoria’s two children from a prior relationship. When Victoria filed for a family petition on his behalf in April 2015, they thought their immigration struggles were finally over. Sadly, they had just begun.

    • Slavery in modern Britain? Too true but today, it’s on farms and kitchens

      One victim said she came to England from south-east Asia to work as a servant in the home of a wealthy family. “I was forced to work 14 hours a day, even on building sites,” she said. “I felt like a chained dog. Even now, I feel like I am in chains. I still have nightmares that my boss is chasing me.”

      The woman is now in a safe house and is applying for asylum in the United Kingdom. Officials say 21st century slavery takes these basic forms: domestic servitude, sex trafficking, forced labour, forced marriage and child labour.

      The Salvation Army said that 44 per cent of those it helped had been exploited sexually, 42 per cent were used on farms and building sites, and 13 per cent were household slaves.

    • Hate Crime in Tulsa: Khalid Jabara’s Family Speaks Out After His Murder by Racist White Neighbor

      In Oklahoma, funeral services were held Friday for Khalid Jabara, a Lebanese-American man police say was shot dead by his next-door neighbor in a possible hate crime. Police say Stanley Majors will be charged with first-degree murder. Majors has harassed the Jabara family for years. The August 12 killing came less than a year after Majors was arrested and jailed for hitting Jabara’s mother with his car while she was jogging. At the time, the mother, Haifa Jabara, already had a restraining order against Majors, after he had threatened and harassed her. But eight months later, Majors was released on $60,000 bond even though Tulsa County prosecutors called him “a substantial risk to the public.” For more, we speak with Khalid’s brother and sister, Rami Jabara and Victoria Jabara Williams.

    • Socializing the Corrupt: Cheating, Education and Law Enforcement in Pennsylvania

      Collaborations between higher education institutions and law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania have multiplied in the past two decades. Although many of these collaborations purportedly aim to improve law enforcement by educating current and future generations of police officers, they have unfortunately produced ethically questionable and socially deleterious consequences, such as lowering academic integrity standards, encouraging systemic cheating and artificially inflating graduation rates. As a result, higher education institution executives and law enforcement leaders in Pennsylvania have managed to create an educational system for socializing successive generations of corrupt police.

      The expression socialization of the corrupt is Charles Bahn’s. In the 1975 article “The Psychology of Police Corruption,” he compares police corruption to academic cheating. In a study of students’ attitudes towards cheating and their actual cheating behavior, there was no correlation. Students who disapproved of cheating still cheated; others who approved of cheating chose to abstain. Bahn concludes that, “while verbal morality is learned, it is not necessarily true that the related behaviors are also learned.” The implication of this study for police training is that being taught the importance of an institution’s core values (e.g., honesty, integrity, fidelity) and expressing one’s commitment to these values do not curtail unethical behavior. Socializing the corrupt means filling students’ heads with empty slogans and moral platitudes, hoping that they will do what is right in any particular situation.

    • No Way to Call Home: Incarcerated Deaf People Are Locked in a Prison Inside a Prison

      Silent Voices is truly silent. The group’s three members are doing what looks like a dance in the front of a classroom at a state prison near the banks of the Mississippi River, just south of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, performing their version of the song “I Believe” by R. Kelly. Instead of singing, the performers are interpreting R. Kelly’s lyrics into American Sign Language, or ASL, the sign language most commonly used in the United States. ASL is an animated language. Gestures, facial expressions and even foot-stomping the floor to a beat allow ASL speakers to add context, detail and music to their conversations. The three men in Silent Voices are stunning in this way. The performance is part ASL, part gospel choreography and it’s contagiously uplifting — in stark contrast with the backdrop of armed guards and barbed wire. The classroom erupts into applause.

    • Corporate Conquistadors Rape Indigenous Lands and Bodies

      Canada’s National Inquiry into Murdered and Disappeared Indigenous Women ought to investigate the role of the extractive industry.

      Recently, KWG Resources Incorporated, a Canadian mining company, posted a video online using women dressed in bikinis to promote the mining of chromite on Indigenous lands in northern Ontario, known as the Ring of Fire. KWG President Frank Smeenk defended his company’s actions saying “sex sells.” Perhaps this was the most honest statement of those in the industry.

    • A Shocking Story of How a Chicago Cop Killed a Teen — Then Locked Up His Best Friend for the Murder

      In 2012, 19-year-old Tevin Louis and his best friend Marquise Sampson allegedly robbed a restaurant. After reportedly making off with about $1,200, the two ran in different directions. Sampson crossed paths with an officer, who gave chase and ultimately opened fire, killing the teenager. Louis arrived at the scene where his friend was shot, and attempted to cross the police line. He was arrested for disorderly conduct. But in a shocking turn, Louis was eventually charged with first-degree murder in the death of his best friend, even though it was the officer who killed Sampson. Louis was found guilty. He is now serving a 32-year sentence for armed robbery and a 20-year sentence for murder. Louis is one of 10 people with similar cases exposed in the Chicago Reader’s new article headlined “Charged with Murder, But They Didn’t Kill Anyone—Police Did.” For more, we speak with the article’s authors: Alison Flowers, a journalist with the Chicago-based Invisible Institute, and Sarah Macaraeg, an independent journalist and fellow with the International Center for Journalists.

      [...]

      AMY GOODMAN: And, Alison Flowers, are police using this murder—this felony murder rule to protect their own misconduct?

      ALISON FLOWERS: That is what we heard from experts about this, that it’s really a red flag for misconduct when you see civilians or co-arrestee suspects being charged with a killing that they didn’t commit, but that police did. It’s often a red flag for misconduct. And, you know, here in Chicago, we have a problem with that, as we see nationwide, of course, but we know that 97 percent of Chicago police misconduct complaints go undisciplined. And so, there really is a problem of immunity, where police officers face little discipline, and it’s pretty easy for them to shift blame.

    • Why Colin Kaepernick Didn’t Stand for the National Anthem

      Explaining the gesture, Kaepernick said that he had decided to remain seated as a statement against racial oppression.

      “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he told NFL Media in an interview published on Saturday.

    • Yes, Innocent People Confess To Crimes They Haven’t Committed

      A cop friend of mine told me not to talk to the police even if you aren’t even a suspect. She warned that, in court, they can take one tiny thing you said — take it totally out of context — and use to to yank you into a prison sentence. Like how you “hate that girl.” The sort of hyperbole many of us use without ever wanting to kill someone. Or it could be something more innocuous. Suddenly, you are a suspect. And in court, they only present the things that make you sound guilty.

      Via @PINACNews, Cops coerce a 13-year-old kid into confessing to a murder he did not commit, sending him to prison for three years. A question from the video — did he really understand Miranda rights? I think it’s probably often unlikely that young teens do understand the rights and the ramifications of talking.

    • Now we need a reunited kingdom, open to Europe and the world

      Despite being drawn from different political parties, all of us campaigned proudly and passionately for Britain to remain in the European Union. The result was not the one we wanted, but of course we respect the democratically expressed verdict of the British people.

    • New pro-European campaign organisation: Stronger In relaunched as Open Britain

      Open Britain will help tackle the many unanswered questions about our future relationship with the EU, whether over funding, trade, immigration, security, the environment or workers’ rights. We will also, we hope, play a part in the now necessary debate about how we make our economy fairer – arguably the most pressing issue after June 23rd.

    • How storytelling can help address police violence

      On the same evening that three police officers were killed and three more were wounded in Baton Rouge in July, media outlets around the country reported that police officers and members of a local Black Lives Matter group met for a peaceful cookout in Wichita, Kansas. A nation fatigued by police violence was quick to pick up on the story, and social media posts about the gathering were soon trending, signaling peoples’ overwhelming desire to affirm that “all is well.”

      Except that all is not well. As an Oakland member of Black Lives Matter stated the following week when asked to respond to the offer of a cookout with police, “I eat pigs, I don’t eat with them.” Many people are obviously dissatisfied with such piecemeal displays of collaboration, and are seeking something much more substantial.

      So what’s gone wrong? After all, police departments all around the country have been working to implement Department of Justice recommendations intended to reduce incidents of violence. Why have these recommendations, which focus on policing policies and practices, failed to result in meaningful reform?

      As the nation struggles to find a path forward, storytelling, one of the oldest human traditions, could help pave the way. In 2013, I began my own process of leveraging this ancient human tradition to begin building a restorative bridge in my community. I attempted to get law enforcement officers and members of the non-law enforcement community to publicly tell stories about their true, personal stories about police violence.

    • The ‘Burkini Battle’: France’s capitulation to extremism

      Approximately two years ago in Turkey, there was an odd case in which AKP-allied Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc made a statement declaring that it was indecent for women to laugh in public or, presumably, in mixed company.

      Naturally, this statement was effectively a call to arms. Women took to social media in droves, posting pictures of themselves smiling accompanied by the hashtags #direnkahkaha (resist laughing) and #direnkadin (resist woman). Many similar stories have come out of the Middle East since the rise of social media, in which online activists and citizens protest their government’s encroachments upon their self-representation and lifestyle.

      Recently, another such viral campaign came in the form of Masih Alinejad’s “My Stealthy Freedom Project.” A fascinating challenge to both Iran’s state-enforced gender binary and state-enforced veiling/modesty codes of dress, this campaign as well as the #resistlaughing campaign and many others like it have been hailed in international media as shining examples of women and their male allies fighting against a repressive and reactionary theocratic state, and received well-deserved popularity and accolades for their bravery.

      Last week, another story of reactionary state control over women’s bodies rose for its moment of international attention, yet this time the tone of coverage by international media outlets was generally one of uncomfortable ambivalence. Beginning with the cancellation of a planned party at a waterpark and expanding to include legislation by several towns in France and an ongoing protest, the ‘burkini’ (a swimming costume allowing for most of the body to remain covered while in the water) has become a central topic in France’s ongoing crisis over its relationship to its Muslim citizens.

    • The burkini as a mirror

      Last week, the mayor of Oye-Plage in France was so disturbed by seeing a woman in a burkini on the beach that he is planning to ban such a garb from the beaches of his own town. This reminded me of some of my own experiences in the past that may just be relevant to the current debates over the burkini in Cannes, Marseille and other beaches in France.

      About fourteen years ago I was in Jordan with my not-yet-adolescent daughter. We were in a goldsmith’s shop in Amman looking at jewelry. The shop was very small, almost a cubicle. At one point six to eight women entered. They were totally covered by burkas; only their eyes were partially visible through a bit of lacework. This was the first time I had found myself in such a situation, in a very small space, surrounded by a group of women of whom I could see nothing. I was more than a bit uncomfortable. We bought a pair of earrings and left the shop.

      Some two years later I was in Esalen, California for a conference. Among those attending was an old friend of mine, a very observant Jewish man who lives in an ultra-orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem. We were both quite taken with the open-air hot tubs, which famously look out over the Pacific Ocean.

      We quickly learned, however, that the etiquette of Esalen demanded that one enter the hot tubs naked, men and women together. We felt rather uncomfortable with this arrangement and contrived to go one morning at about 3:00 am, certain that nobody would be there. We took off our clothes, ran the water in the tubs, and were enjoying ourselves immensely when we were suddenly joined by—a naked woman.

    • Photo of the Week: A Burkini in Marseille

      A woman steps into the sea. Water displaced by her feet flies lightly into the air. Nearby, children wade and play. No one appears uncomfortable, yet the image is a trigger in France, where descendants of people who once displayed the words “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” in their public squares wish to exclude from those ideals certain peaceful others, many of whom were forced from their homelands by oppressors and events beyond their control.

      Bans on “burkinis” this month in more than a dozen French cities and towns—a move supported by many high-profile public figures—reminds us that the capacity for cultural intolerance or its more aggressive elder sibling, cultural bigotry, is a nagging constant in human affairs.

    • Truthdigger of the Week: Ethiopian Silver Medalist and Protester Feyisa Lilesa

      A member of the Oromo tribe of Ethiopia, Lilesa made headlines on the final day of the Rio Olympics when he raised his crossed arms in a gesture of solidarity with the Oromo people as he reached the finish line of the men’s marathon. He repeated the pose later during an Olympic ceremony. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 people have been killed and tens of thousands arrested since Nov. 2015, when the Ethiopian government began to forcibly displace Oromo and other people during an effort to develop land around the capital, Addis Ababa.

    • Airline pilots arrested on alcohol charge at Glasgow Airport

      Two airline pilots were arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol as they prepared to fly from Glasgow Airport to New York.

      The United Airlines pilots, aged 35 and 45, were detained by police ahead of the 09:00 flight on Saturday.

    • Pilots arrested in UK over alcohol concern

      Two pilots were arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol as they prepared to fly a transatlantic passenger jet from Scotland to the US.

      Concerns were reportedly raised over the pilots before the 9am United Airlines UA162 flight to Newark, New Jersey, was due to depart from Glasgow Airport on Saturday.

    • Police brutality against Blacks: ‘Changes in the air thanks to videotape & social media’

      Black Americans have had problems with police brutality in each generation. The difference now is the introduction of technologies that allow victims to pursue justice in a court of law, said Roland Martin, host and Managing Editor of TV One’s ‘News One Now’.

      Fifty one years ago, it was legal for African-Americans to be treated as second-class citizens in the United States of America. During the Jim Crow era African-Americans were prohibited from attending the same schools as the Whites, using the same restrooms, same restaurants and from drinking out of the same water fountains as white Americans. Now in 2016, segregation is no longer legal. But since the Jim Crow era ended it seems practices have been put into place to ensure African-Americans aren’t given a fair chance to succeed in the US.

      RT America correspondent Ashlee Banks focuses on issues related to the black community in the United States and discusses them with experts.

    • Colin Kaepernick Is Righter Than You Know: The National Anthem Is a Celebration of Slavery

      Before a preseason game on Friday, San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. When he explained why, he only spoke about the present: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. … There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

      Twitter then went predictably nuts, with at least one 49er fan burning Kaepernick’s jersey.

      Almost no one seems to be aware that even if the U.S. were a perfect country today it would be bizarre to expect African American players to stand for the Star Spangled Banner. Why? Because it literally celebrates the murder of African Americans.

    • Slavery: memory and afterlives

      Tomorrow, 23 August 2016, is International Slavery Remembrance Day; yesterday, the UK’s first ever memorial service to the victims of the transatlantic slave trade/African holocaust was held in Trafalgar Square. But what exactly should or can we remember, and why, and what should we ‘do’ with these memories? The forthcoming series of articles will reflect on these questions as they relate to the memory of slavery and the different conversations that can be had about its past and present. But they do not, and cannot, provide the answer to these questions, for there is no simple or single answer.

    • The living legacy of Emmett Till’s casket

      A casket is an unusual item to display in a museum. Most people visit museums not to dwell on death but to learn about what people did while alive. But there are times when a person’s death itself leaves an impact on history. Such is the case of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old from Chicago who was tortured and murdered by white supremacists in Mississippi on Aug. 28, 1955.

      Many Americans do not remember Till as a carefree, smiling teen but as a brutally disfigured civil rights martyr. Once a person has seen Till’s disfigured face inside his casket, it is impossible to forget.

      That’s why the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which will open in Washington, D.C., next month, will feature Till’s casket among its exhibits. The display will give visitors to the museum the opportunity to hear an audio recording of Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, tell her son’s story and why she decided to shake up the civil rights movement by holding an open casket viewing and showing the world just how brutally Blacks were treated in America.

      A year before Till was killed while visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi, the U.S. Supreme Court in its Brown v. Board of Education decision overturned the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling, holding that its doctrine of “separate but equal” was in fact unconstitutional.

    • Abu Zubaydah: Torture’s ‘Poster Child’

      Last week, Abu Zubaydah, who has been imprisoned at Guantanamo for 14 years without being charged with a crime, appeared for the first time before the U.S. military Periodic Review Board, which determines whether Guantanamo detainees will continue to be held as “enemy combatants.”

      Zubaydah argued he should be released because he has “no desire or intent to harm the United States or any other country.” During his hearing, Zubaydah also said he had been tortured by the CIA, an allegation confirmed by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report. The U.S. government maintains he is an enemy combatant.

    • Readers Think. Thinkers Read. – by Ralph Nader

      Here are my recommended books to read for the late summer holidays.

    • Journalist ‘Worried’ Next President May Order Assassination of WikiLeaks Founder

      ​As Jake Sullivan points out in his chilling opinion piece titled “Why I’m Worried America’s Next President Will Kill Assange,” the sentiment expressed by Beckel far from being an exaggerated response of anger has recently become part of the mainstream political discourse in the United States.

      The author points to a new narrative, budding primarily from the Hillary campaign but expressed by think tanks and defense analysts throughout the country that “Russia Weaponized WikiLeaks to Disrupt the US Election” and various derivative forms of the conspiracy theory that Julian Assange is an anti-Hillary agent of Putin.

      Assange for himself explained that he would gladly post damaging material on Donald Trump, but with the caveat that “we would have a hard time publishing something worse than what comes out of his mouth every second day.”

      [...]

      “Trump has indicated his treatment of an extradited Assange or Snowden would be severely harsh,” explained Sullivan. “Snowden, in particular, would be assassinated if Trump had his way. I can only shiver imagining how a President Trump would react to a major leak from the inner chambers of his new political empire.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Non-U.S. Universities with .edu Domain Names: They’re More Common Than You Might Think

      We were curious to see how many 2nd-level dot edu domains (including grandfathered edus) actually map to non-US IP address space. This may be of some practical importance since often people forget that users coming from legacy dot edu domains may not be from the United States.

      Now obviously, a non-US university could elect to host their domain in US address space, or a US university could choose to host their domain in non-US address space, but for the most part we’d expect to see US universities in US IP address space, and international universities in non-US address space.

      So can we identify dot edu domains that are hosted outside the US? It turns out that yes, yes we can.

    • ‘MegaMIMO 2.0’ wireless routers work together to triple bandwidth and double range [Ed: Runs Linux]

      Some enterprising researchers have found a way to make those routers work together, though. Dina Katabi and her team at MIT”s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory call it MegaMIMO 2.0, and they claim some pretty serious improvements: three times better data transfer speeds and doubled range.

      “In today’s wireless world, you can’t solve spectrum crunch by throwing more transmitters at the problem, because they will all still be interfering with one another,” said MIT grad student and lead author Ezzeldin Hamed. “The answer is to have all those access points work with each other simultaneously to efficiently use the available spectrum.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Library of Congress Might Become a Piracy Hub, RIAA Warns

        The U.S. Copyright Office is considering expanding the mandatory deposit requirement for publishers, so that record labels would also have to submit their online-only music to the Library of Congress. The Library would then allow the public to access the music. The RIAA, however, warns that this plan introduces some serious piracy concerns.

      • Commissioner Oettinger is about to turn EU copyright reform into another ACTA

        Instead, Commissioner Oettinger has let the publishing, film and music industries hijack the reform in an attempt to protect old business models from progress – at a tragic cost to freedom of creativity and expression on the internet, startups’ right to innovate and the cause of a Europe without digital borders.

The United States Has Gotten Over Software Patents

Posted in America, Patents at 3:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The very home (or origin) of software patents is finally breaking up with them

Breakup

Summary: A roundup of new articles about software patents in the United States, 2 years into the post-Alice era (the US Supreme Court deeming patents on software too abstract to have merit)

WE are very pleased to see the USPTO (and also GAO) recognising that patent quality truly counts. The EPO under Battistelli treats quality control as a nuisance, which is a terrible mistake. A lot of people publicly acknowledge right now that software patents are somewhat of a “thing of the past”, even if few of these still trickle in past the examiners (later to be properly scrutinised by PTAB and/or the courts, whereupon there’s a reversal). Jakob Schnaidt, writing for MIP, said this: “In the early 1960s, patent practice was quiet and inventors often faced a hostile environment.” Nowadays, by contrast, “patent practices” take over the system (they write patent law by proxy), tax everything, and inventors face a hostile environment full of patent trolls and fear. Which way — or status quo — will we be better off with? Remember that back in the 1960s there was software but no software patents. In fact, back then FOSS (Free/Open Source software) was the norm; people openly shared source code and didn’t keep it secret. It didn’t work too badly, did it? A lot of software innovation happened around that time, arguably more so than today. Magazines used to publish source code (e.g. for compression) and there was no atmosphere of fear over patent lawsuits in the field of software.

“Remember that back in the 1960s there was software but no software patents.”An industry full of (or rife with) patent lawyers is certainly good for “patent practices” but not for developers. An article which was mentioned here before but reposted/revisited by MIP over the weekend compares the situation in Japan to that of the US. “As Suntory and Asahi settle their patent dispute over non-alcoholic beer,” says the summary, “John A Tessensohn surveys the state of litigation in Japan, and compares it with the United States” (spoiler alert: there’s a paywall).

Japan is arguably the only country in which software patents are potent, other than the United States (which is moving away from them anyway). There are a few other east Asian countries where software patents stand a chance, but then again, quality control there is virtually non-existent. Consider SIPO in China for instance…

Looking at some recent patent news from the US, Cioffi, which was mentioned here before, uses software patents against Google. Cioffi does this in the Eastern District of Texas, the capital of patent trolls where courts advertise themselves as plaintiff-friendly. The US Supreme Court might eventually weigh in (latest reports on the case suggest that the software patents might somehow reach SCOTUS), potentially reaffirming its position on Alice. As one writer put it: “Central to the decision was the court’s interpretation of two of the claims that Cioffi had made in the patents pertaining to a “web browser process” and a “critical file.” While Cioffi’s lawyers maintained that the terms as defined in the claim were narrow and specific in scope, Google argued that there were no common definitions for these terms on which to base an infringement claim.”

After Alice these patents are not likely to survive. Cioffi is wasting its time and money and once it leaves the crooked courts of the Eastern District of Texas it doesn’t stand a chance. These patents are far too abstract and broad, as Google already points out.

“Sadly for lawyers, in order to win cases they need to do more than just call patents “medical” or “health” (to convince judges).”Revisiting MIP, there are a couple of new articles about PTAB’s fourth anniversary [1, 2]. “Covered business method (CBM) proceedings have lost some of their appeal recently,” says one article. The same goes for software patents and “two recent interesting ITC decisions involving PTAB proceedings,” as the latter article puts it, further reaffirming this (see the statistics presented/charted in the pages). The ITC‘s rejections of software (or abstract) patents were covered here very recently in relation to two cases, not just one. There’s almost no hope left for software patents in the US and vocal patent law firms are fuming. Watchtroll, for instance, is now resorting to ‘medi-washing’ (see “life-saving results” in the headline) of software patents, in an order to make it sound as though if the US doesn’t grant software patents, people will die! These truly pathetic tricks that exploit a perceived dilemma over life — a sort of hostage situation or ransom — just come to show how low Watchtroll would stoop (recall how he mocked PTAB a month ago). As we saw at the EPO’s appeal boards, calling software "device" or "medical" does not make the software patentable. And speaking of software patents on something “medical”, here is a new article titled “What have we learned from four years of digital health patent fights?”

“In 2012,” notes the author, “CardioNet sued several companies, including heart-monitoring company MedTel for allegedly infringing five patents by either selling devices or offering cardiac monitoring services using CardioNet’s software.”

We wrote about this case one year ago (“Healthwashing Patents”). Sadly for lawyers, in order to win cases they need to do more than just call patents “medical” or “health” (to convince judges). As this article notes, even Intellectual Ventures does not bother with the strategy. To quote: “The biggest of these NPEs, Intellectual Ventures, hasn’t filed a single suit in the mobile health space according to the firm’s website, though it has litigated aggressively in the telecom and digital camera spaces since 2012.”

“It’s only now, decades too late, that the US Congress, GAO, courts, ITC, PTAB and even the USPTO (however begrudgingly) acknowledge this was a mistake all along.”Yes, the Microsoft-connected Intellectual Ventures even went after Linux with such patents, as we showed earlier this year and last year. Finally, notes this article, Alice changed everything. To quote: “The judges in those two cases cited a Supreme Court precedent, Alice v CSL Bank. Much older precedents have created a category of inventions that are unpatentable because they constitute an “abstract idea”. Under Alice, a 2014 unanimous decision, the Supreme Court devised a test for whether computer software was a patentable invention or just the application of technology to an unpatentable human process, and therefore an unpatentable abstract idea. Both American Well and Jawbone failed that test.”

Patent law firms will tell us that this is bad news (for “innovation” of course!); so will officials-turned-lobbyists like David Kappos. But the reality is, such patents should never have been granted at all. It’s only now, decades too late, that the US Congress, GAO, courts, ITC, PTAB and even the USPTO (however begrudgingly) acknowledge this was a mistake all along. Better fix the system; better late than never.

More Lies From President Benoît Battistelli and the EPO Crisis Which Continues to Deepen

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The Member States must decide very quickly if they wish to throw away more than 40 years of success, and replace it with a system that no longer rewards innovation, but instead becomes simply a tool for large corporations to dominate by means of their financial muscle.”

Battistellius

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO), collectively speaking, is still wrestling with a Battistelli infiltration (a circle of high-level managers) which habitually lies and viciously attacks those who dare counter these lies

MANAGEMENT of the EPO is a disaster and the cause of crisis. It has been doing far too much damage to be simply tolerated and taken for granted. More than 2 years since we began coverage of some of the cliquish scandals Battistelli is still in power (having merely broadened his ‘circle’) and his agenda, except the UPC, is still moving forward. Software patents in Europe will be promoted next month in New York [1, 2] because who cares about the EPC, right? These people don’t seem to care about patent quality, not even when the US is itself withdrawing or moving away from software patents (post-Alice). It often seems like the USPTO quickly redeems itself, whereas the EPO goes (or races) in the opposite direction under Battistelli. Have we learned nothing from the mistakes of David Kappos, who is publicly accused this weekend of discarding patent quality?

Battistelli liarThe EPO has been rather silent for several weeks, probably more so than last year (in spite of summer holidays). It can be seen messaging everyone with dull repetition but slight variation (as if from a set of templates) [1, 2, 3] regarding Battistelli’s next lobbying event. The EPO is now 'spamming' the University of Manchester too (it ‘spams’ quite a few universities to jack up the votes/nominations, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]). Apart from that, there’s nothing which counts as news, just a lot of repetition. The UPC is on the rocks, so there’s nothing to be celebrated. According to this report titled “U.K. Patent Bar Says Country Should Join EU Patent Court” (via), Team UPC has grown rather desperate as short of political mischief the UPC cannot happen in the UK (or anywhere in Europe unless profoundly overhauled). Still, these people are pushing Lucy to ratify the UPC for their own personal gain. This takeover by non-practicing elements led Henrion to stating (to one from Team UPC, his employer) that “upc is not a reform, it is n hostile takeover.” It’s a Battistelli-backed takeover. It would be valuable for large corporations from abroad, not to mention patent trolls from the US.

“Well, the lies of Battistelli are very common and very frequent.”As we already noted here years ago, the UPC would likely make the boards of appeal redundant and despite the fallout (post-Brexit) Battistelli is still punishing the boards. It speaks volumes about his horrible sense of leadership. Responding to an article from the Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice, one person in the comments section now notes that Battistelli “has instructed staff to provide preferential treatment to such mega corporations,” as per leaks we published here a year ago. Here is the full comment:

It is encouraging to see a critique of the current situation at the EPO, but it focusses on the situation of the Boards of Appeal, without going into enough detail about the staff conflict, which has major repercussions for the mission of the EPO. The editorial seems to accept that there was a need for “reform” without saying what reform and why. Once on accepts the use of this term, much wielded by the President, it is a very short step to considering it a “good thing”, and that the only difficulty lies in its implementation. This is very far from the truth. The President’s aims since his appointment seem to be to replace the high- standard examination at the EPO, which has contributed so much to the its reputation, and to the rewarding of innovation by small and medium industries, with a registration system, such as prevails in France, which favours mega corporations with deep pockets for litigation. To this end he has instructed staff to provide preferential treatment to such mega corporations, made impossible productivity demands on examiners, and appears to be intent on destroying the Boards of Appeal. The editorial is correct in identifying the weakness of the governance of the EPO by those who benefit financially from it. The President has had no hesitation in exploiting that fact, linking grants to agreement with his agenda, promising that the EPO will pay for “emergency” dental treatment for delegates at AC meetings, etc. In fact he realized from the outset that the only real opposition he was likely to encounter was from the staff, and specifically, the staff union, SUEPO. The resistance of the staff is not linked to salaries and benefits, but rather to the idea that with privilege comes responsibility, and with pride in fulfilling that responsibility by providing a high standard of examination to the benefit of industry. Hence the President has specifically targetted the union, and the staff with a series of repressive measures that would be impossible in any member state, secure in the knowledge that, as the editorial correctly states, staff have little or no recourse to timely justice. He has dismissed or demoted Union officials on trumped-up charges, forbidden strikes, rigged the internal system of appeals, and done away with almost all of the feeble safeguards available to staff. Indeed the ATILO itself has expressed extreme disquiet at the overwhelming workload generated, to the extent that it is threatening to expel the EPO.

The editorial is right to say that something must be done. A reputation is built over many years, but can be destroyed quickly and is slow to be recovered. Already experienced staff are leaving in droves, and recruitment criteria are being greatly lowered. The Member States must decide very quickly if they wish to throw away more than 40 years of success, and replace it with a system that no longer rewards innovation, but instead becomes simply a tool for large corporations to dominate by means of their financial muscle.

As long as Battistelli demolishes patent quality at the EPO there is an uncertain future for the Office. NPOs (national patent offices) might turn out to be the better route in all cases, thus jeopardising everything that the EPC stood for. In the EPO’s own words (a couple of days ago): “To get protection in just a few countries, applying for national patents may be best” (under Battistelli it may be best under all circumstances).

Another comment said: “In the Administrative Council every member-state has the same level of voting power. One possible solution might be that there will be a different weight added to the vote of a member-state.” As readers may recall, the EPO’s President is rumoured to be ‘buying’ votes of small countries. He is also lying to Administrative Council delegates in order for them to support his unpopular proposals, including the crushing of the appeal boards.

In light of the recent coverage from Bernhard Lohr (not Katja Riedel or other colleagues), as well as an article about Haar for which a translation is still needed, one person published the following comment:

From the text of the reform concerning the relocation of the boards:

“in Germany, it was decided to separate the former boards of appeal administratively and physically from the German Patent and Trademark Office, as the new Federal Patent Court, in order to reinforce their independence.”

Actually, the trade mark department of the DPMA is in the same building as the Bundespatentgericht.

It is surprising that at least the German representative in the AC did not point out this lie of Battistelli. May be he will get a post as vice president or as the president of the boards in the near future.

Well, the lies of Battistelli are very common and very frequent. We pointed out some lies of his just a few days ago. Those who have the courage to question him and his lies are punished severely, so the record is rarely corrected from within. From September onwards we plan to accelerate coverage of the EPO. There is still a lot of ‘dirty laundry’ or skeletons in Battistelli’s closet.

08.27.16

Links 27/8/2016: Torvalds and GPL, “DOD Must Embrace Open-Source Software”

Posted in News Roundup at 2:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Are You a Linux Expert?
    • Common hardware causes Windows 10 Anniversary Update crashes, again

      Microsoft’s Anniversary Update is causing headaches yet again, this time for owners of Kindle e-readers. Some Kindle Paperwhite and Voyager devices are causing PCs running the Anniversary update to lock up and display the dreaded blue screen of death (BSOD) whenever the e-readers are connected via USB, as first reported by The Guardian.

      The reason for this odd behavior is unclear, but Microsoft says it’s working on it.

      “We are aware of an issue with a small number of Kindle Voyager and Paperwhite e-Readers causing an unexpected behavior when plugged into Windows 10 devices after installing the Anniversary Update,” Microsoft said on its support forums.

      The impact on you at home: For now, there isn’t a solid workaround for anyone who’s experiencing this problem. Some users are reporting, however, that leaving the Kindle plugged in to the PC while rebooting will allow them to use the Kindle normally and transfer files. Rebooting the PC and plugging the Kindle back in again just causes another lock-up.

  • Kernel Space

    • World Wide Web became what it is thanks to Linux

      Linux is used to power the largest websites on the Internet, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and Wikipedia.

    • SFC’s Kuhn in firing line as Linus Torvalds takes aim

      A few days after he mused that there had been no reason for him to blow his stack recently, Linux creator Linus Torvalds has directed a blast at the Software Freedom Conservancy and its distinguished technologist Bradley Kuhn over the question of enforcing compliance of the GNU General Public Licence.

      Torvalds’ rant came on Friday, as usual on a mailing list and on a thread which was started by Software Freedom Conservancy head Karen Sandler on Wednesday last week. She suggested that Linuxcon in Toronto, held from Monday to Thursday, also include a session on GPL enforcement.

    • Linux at 25: A pictorial history

      Aug. 25 marks the 25th anniversary of Linux, the free and open source operating system that’s used around the globe in smarphones, tablets, desktop PCs, servers, supercomputers, and more. Though its beginnings were humble, Linux has become the world’s largest and most pervasive open source software project in history. How did it get here? Read on for a look at some of the notable events along the way.

    • Microsoft at LinuxCon: Building Open Source Cred One Conference at a Time [Ed: Wim Coekaerts received just one salary from Microsoft and now he’s being painted as “Microsoft”, which still attacks Linux. Microsoft is just purchasing the illusion that it is loved by Linux and vice versa.]

      Coekaerts came to Microsoft after some off campus meetings at a Redmond area Starbucks with Scott Guthrie and Mike Neil, two vice presidents with the cloud and enterprise group, who convinced him that “open source is very important to Microsoft.”

    • How Cloud Native Computing Is Evolving

      “Cloud native” is a relatively new term that isn’t particularly well understood, but the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) aims to change that.

      At the Cloud Native Day here following LinuxCon, Dan Kohn, CNCF executive director (pictured), detailed what his organization does and how the cloud native approach is now evolving.

      The CNCF was formed in July 2015, as an effort to help unify and define the Cloud Native era. Kohn started off his keynote with a brief history of the cloud and the movement of workloads from physical servers.

    • Making Use Of eBPF In The Mainline Linux Kernel

      One of the exciting innovations within the Linux kernel in the past few years has been extending the Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF) to become a more generalized in-kernel virtual machine. The eBPF work with recent versions of the Linux kernel allow it to be used by more than just networking so that these programs can be used for tracing, security, and more.

    • Linux turns 25 with a brilliant history

      Chances are, you use it every day. Linux runs every Android phone and tablet on Earth. And even if you’re on an iPhone or a Mac or a Windows machine, Linux is working behind the scenes, across the Internet, serving up most of the webpages you view and powering most of the apps you use. Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Wikipedia—it’s all running on Linux.

      Now, Linux is finding its way onto televisions, thermostats, and even cars. As software creeps into practically every aspect of our lives, so does the OS designed by Linus Torvalds.

    • Linus Torvalds says GPL was defining factor in Linux’s success

      Linus Torvalds and Dirk Hohndel, vice president and chief of open source at VMware, discussed the role that GNU GPL played in the success of Linux during a keynote conversation this week at LinuxCon NA in Toronto.

      Hohndel, who has been involved with the kernel for a very long time, said that during the past 25 years there have been many challenges, and one of the biggest challenges was the possibility of fragmentation. “How do we keep one single kernel?” he asked.

      “I used to be worried about fragmentation, and I used to think that it was inevitable at some point,” said Torvalds. “Everyone was looking at the history of Linux and comparing it with UNIX. People would say that it’s going to fail because it’s going to fragment. That’s what happened before, so why even bother?”

      What made the difference was the license. “FSF [Free Software Foundation] and I don’t have a loving relationship, but I love GPL v2,” said Torvalds. “I really think the license has been one of the defining factors in the success of Linux because it enforced that you have to give back, which meant that the fragmentation has never been something that has been viable from a technical standpoint.”

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Bodhi Updates, KaOS & Antergos Reviews, Another 25?

        Today in Linux news, Jeff Hoogland posted a short update on the progress of Bodhi Linux 4.0 and reported on the updates to the project’s donations page. In other news, An Everyday Linux User reviewed Arch-based Antergos Linux saying it was “decent” and Ubuntu-fan Jack Wallen reviewed “beautiful” KDE-centric KaOS. makeuseof.com has five reasons to switch to the Ubuntu phone and Brian Fagioli asked if Linux can survive another 25 years.

      • Rescatux 0.40 beta 9 released

        Many code in the grub side and in the windows registry side has been rewritten so that these new features could be rewritten. As a consequence it will be easier to maintain Rescapp.

        Finally the chntpw based options which modify the Windows registry now perform a backup of the Windows registry files in the unlikely case you want to undo some of the changes that Rescapp performs.

        I guess that in the future there will be a feature to be able to restore such backups from Rescapp itself, but, let’s focus on releasing an stable release. It’s been a while since the last one.

        UEFI feedback is still welcome. Specially if the Debian installation disks work for you but not the Rescatux ones.

      • Bodhi 4.0.0 Updates and July Donation Totals

        Late last month I posted a first alpha look at Bodhi 4.0.0. Work since then has been coming along slowly due to a few unpredictable issues and my own work schedule outside of Bodhi being hectic over the summer. Bodhi 4.0.0 will be happening, but likely not with a stable release until September. I am traveling again this weekend, but am hoping to get out a full alpha release with 32bit and non-PAE discs next week.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the Weeks 2016/34

        Time seems to be flying, it feels like I only just wrote review of week 33 and now week 34 is already over again. A perfect moment to look back what the three snapshots (0818, 0820 and 0822) offered us.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Virtualisation 4 woos VMware faithful

        It is easy for a virtual machine user to feel left out these days, what with containers dominating the discussion of how to run applications at scale. But take heart, VM fans: Red Hat hasn’t forgotten about you.

        Red Hat Virtualisation (RHV) 4.0 refreshes Red Hat’s open source virtualisation platform with new technologies from the rest of Red Hat’s product line. It is a twofold strategy to consolidate Red Hat’s virtualisation efforts across its various products and to ramp up the company’s intention to woo VMware customers.

      • Forbes Names Red Hat One of the World’s Most Innovative Companies

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced it has been named to Forbes’ “World’s Most Innovative Companies” list. Red Hat was ranked as the 25th most innovative company in the world, marking the company’s fourth appearance on the list (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Red Hat was named to Forbes’ “World’s Most Innovative Growth Companies” list in 2011.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • When creating updates remember to build for rawhide and Fedora 25 (devel)

          When ever we branch for a new release of Fedora I, and others, end up spending a non trivial amount of time ensuring that there’s a clean upgrade path for packages. From the moment we branch you need to build new versions and bug fixes of packages for rawhide (currently what will become Fedora 26), for the current stabilising release (what will become Fedora 25) as well as what ever stable releases you need to push the fix for. For rawhide you don’t need to submit it as an update but for the current release that’s stabilising you do need to submit it as an update as it won’t just automagically get tagged into the release.

          As a packager you should know this, it’s been like it for a VERY LONG TIME! Yet each cycle from the moment of branching right through to when a new release goes GA I still end up having to fix packages that “get downgraded” when people upgrade between releases!!

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • 5 Reasons to Switch to Ubuntu Phone

            You’ve had Android phones, and you’ve had iPhones. Buying a smartphone for most people is a polarized, A/B choice. And for some, the experience of choosing a new phone is becoming… jaded.

            You might think that Android and iOS have the mobile market sewn up, but what if I was to tell you that you don’t need to look at Windows 10 Mobile or BlackBerry as alternatives? Various others are available, but perhaps the most impressive of them all is the Ubuntu Phone, which uses the Ubuntu Touch platform, and can be found on devices such as the Meizu Pro 5.

          • Ubuntu Linux 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Beta 1 now available for download (don’t talk back)

            Linux celebrated a 25th birthday yesterday — a spectacular open source milestone. For some folks, rather than eat cake, they reflected on how the kernel impacted their lives. For many, Ubuntu would be a big part of the picture — the desktop OS is wildly popular in the Linux community.

            Today, the first beta of Ubuntu Linux 16.10 sees release. Once again, a silly animal name is assigned, this time being the letter “Y” for the horned mammal, “Yakkety Yak”. This is obviously a play on the classic song “Yakety Yak” by The Coasters. Please be sure not to “talk back” while testing this beta operating system!

            “Pre-releases of the Yakkety Yak are not encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage. They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu flavor developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting and fixing bugs as we work towards getting this bos grunniens ready. Beta 1 includes a number of software updates that are ready for wider testing. These images are still under development, so you should expect some bugs”, says Set Hallström, Ubuntu Studio project lead.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • How Google Does Open Source

    Marc Merlin has been working as an engineer at Google since 2002 and has seen (and done) a lot of open source and Linux work during that time. Speaking at the LinuxCon North America event this week, Merlin provided a standing room only audience with an overview how Google uses and contributes to open source.

    “Google wouldn’t be around today without open source software,” Merlin said.

  • ownCloud-Forked Nextcloud 10 Now Available
  • Secure, Monitor and Control your data with Nextcloud 10 – get it now!

    Nextcloud 10 is now available with many new features for system administrators to control and direct the flow of data between users on a Nextcloud server. Rule based file tagging and responding to these tags as well as other triggers like physical location, user group, file properties and request type enables administrators to specifically deny access to, convert, delete or retain data following business or legal requirements. Monitoring, security, performance and usability improvements complement this release, enabling larger and more efficient Nextcloud installations. You can get it on our install page or read on for details.

  • What makes a great Open Source project?

    Recently the Document Foundation has published its annual report for the year 2015. You can download it as a pdf by following this link, and you can now even purchase a paper copy of the report. This publication gives me the opportunity to talk a bit about what I think makes a great FOSS project and what I understand may be a great community.

    If it is possible to see this topic as something many people already went over and over again, think again: Free & Open Source Software is seen as having kept and even increased its momentum these past few years, with many innovative companies developing and distributing software licensed under a Free & Open Source license from the very beginning. This trend indicates two important points: FOSS is no longer something you can automagically use as a nice tag slapped on a commodity software; and FOSS projects cannot really be treated as afterthoughts or “nice-to-haves”. Gone are the days where many vendors could claim to be sympathetic and even supportive to FOSS but only insofar as their double-digits forecasted new software solution would not be affected by a cumbersome “community of developers”. Innovation relies on, starts with, runs thanks to FOSS technologies and practices. One question is to wonder what comes next. Another one is to wonder why Open Source is still seen as a complex maze of concepts and practices by so many in the IT industry. This post will try to address one major difficulty of FOSS: why do some projects fail while others succeed.

  • Events

    • First FSFE Summit Will Focus on Social Issues and Strategies

      Free Software advocates from all over Europe will be meeting in Berlin Sept. 2-4 at the first ever Free Software Foundation Europe’s summit.

      This 2016 event, besides being long overdue, also marks 15 years since the creation of the FSFE. Throughout its history, the FSFE has had its fair share of landmark achievements. It has been instrumental in a successful antitrust-case against a big software corporation that intended to dominate the market of personal computers. It managed to keep software patents unenforceable in Europe, thereby avoiding a veritable apocalypse for European small and medium-sized tech companies. And, it worked alongside gpl-violations.org to get free licenses vindicated in German courts, setting ground-breaking precedents for the whole of the EU.

      One of the main missions of the Free Software community in general, and the FSFE in particular, is to put users back into the driver’s seat, so that people control technology and not the other way around. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it would likely not be an exaggeration to say that the FSFE has transformed the foundations of IT in Europe and that it has had a deep impact on anybody who has used a computer, a smartphone, or a tablet in the last decade or so.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Report: DOD must embrace open-source software

      The Defense Department increasingly relies on software for everything from weapons systems to accounting, but it is failing to capitalize on the power of open-source software, according to a report from the Center for a New American Security.

      In “Open Source Software and the Department of Defense,” CNAS argues that a number of cultural factors, biases and regulatory barriers are keeping DOD from embracing open-source options.

      “Unfortunately, software development is not currently a high-profile, high-priority topic in the discussion about diminishing U.S. military technical superiority,” the report states. “It should be.”

      Industry relies heavily on open-source software with great success, and DOD’s continued reliance on proprietary code is more expensive, slows innovation and puts America’s warfighters at greater risk, according to CNAS.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Black Women Do Breastfeed, Despite Intense Systemic Barriers in the US

      The movement to normalize breastfeeding in this country has generated positive results, but a racial gap in breastfeeding rates persists. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 79 percent of all newborn infants in the US started out breastfeeding in 2011. That is good news for both babies and mothers, as breastfeeding yields significant health benefits, such as a lower risk of asthma and childhood leukemia for children, and a lower risk of gynecological cancers and osteoporosis for mothers. But the data suggest that US mothers require more support in order to continue breastfeeding. Among US-born children in 2011, only 49 percent were still breastfeeding at six months; and at 12 months, only 27 percent of those babies were still breastfeeding. For Black mothers and their babies, support needs are greater, as Black women’s rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration are significantly lower than the US average.

    • EPA’s Inaction Made Way for Lead Poisoning in Children, Lawsuit Claims

      Environmental justice and public health groups are demanding that the federal government update regulations and expand efforts to protect young children from lead poisoning, which can cause irreversible cognitive and behavioral problems and tends to be more common in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

      In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, a coalition of groups asked a federal court in California to mandate that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) update its standards for assessing dangerous levels of lead dust on surfaces in homes and residential buildings, especially those built before 1978, when regulators began restricting the amount of lead in lead-based paints.

      In 2009, the EPA granted a citizens’ petition to update its lead dust standards and agreed to initiate rulemaking proceedings, after new scientific evidence showed that existing standards were inadequate for protecting children from lead poisoning. However, seven years have passed and the agency has yet to set new rules.

    • Slamming ‘Absurd’ US Healthcare, Sanders Backs Single-Payer in Colorado

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) this week endorsed a Colorado ballot measure that would create single-payer healthcare in the state, urging his supporters to rally around the amendment and stating, “If that proposal can win in Colorado, I believe that idea will spread around the country.”

      “It is absurd, it is beyond belief, that here in America we remain the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people,” Sanders said at an event in Vermont on Wednesday, where he offered his official endorsement.

      As the Denver Post reports, Colorado Amendment 69—known colloquially as ColoradoCare—would create a universal healthcare system funded by payroll taxes that would largely replace private health insurance. People could still choose to keep their own, although they would still be required to pay the tax.

    • Bernie Sanders endorses ColoradoCare universal health care measure

      Former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has formally endorsed the Colorado ballot measure to create a universal health care system in the state.

      At an event in Vermont on Wednesday launching his new political organization, called Our Revolution, Sanders singled out Colorado’s Amendment 69 — also known as ColoradoCare — as something his supporters should rally behind.

    • In Zika-Gripped Florida, Concerns Mount Over Insecticide Use—and Efficacy

      Not only is the anti-Zika aerial insecticide spraying program raising health concerns in Florida and beyond, but the high-rise landscape in Miami Beach may be making such campaigns ineffective, to boot.

      Weeks ago, as mosquitoes carrying the disease became resistant to a less-potent pesticide, Miami-Dade County turned to the more controversial naled, which the Miami Herald noted is “toxic not just to the noxious flying parasites, but also to beneficial insects like honey bees, as well as birds, some fish—and people.”

    • Is insecticide sprayed to fight Zika a risk for people and wildlife?

      Faced with the need to quickly kill hard-to-reach mosquitoes spreading the Zika virus through Wynwood, Miami-Dade County has turned to a controversial pesticide that’s toxic not just to the noxious flying parasites, but also to beneficial insects like honey bees, as well as birds, some fish — and people.

    • The ADHD Epidemic: Smart Drugs and the Control of Bodies and Minds

      Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which has seen massive recent increases in diagnosis since 2000, is defined as a difficulty in paying attention, restlessness, and hyperactivity. By 2010, nearly one in three US children age 2-17 had been diagnosed as suffering ADHD, and by 2012, diagnoses of ADHD had risen 66% in the prior decade. Ballooning rates of diagnosis for ADHD have been met with unprecedented levels of medical prescriptions principally for the amphetamine pharmaceutical drugs Adderall and Ritalin. By 2011 11% of all US children 4-17 were diagnosed with ADHD and 6.1% were taking ADHD drugs and an estimated 8% to 35% of university students in the US using cognitive stimulants. Boys are diagnosed at nearly three times the rate as girls. About 80% of those children diagnosed with ADHD are using these medications. Children below the poverty line are diagnosed at higher rates especially poor toddlers.

  • Security

    • OpenSSL 1.1.0 released
    • Security advisories for Friday
    • Openwall 3.1-20160824 is out

      New Openwall GNU/*/Linux ISO images and OpenVZ container templates are out.

    • Scorpene Leak Could Be Part Of ‘Economic War,’ Says French Maker: 10 Facts

      The leak, was first reported in The Australian newspaper. Ship maker DCNS has a nearly 38 billion dollar contract with Australia, but the leak has no mention of the 12 vessels being designed for Australia.

    • Homeland Security has ‘open investigation’ into Leslie Jones hacking

      The Department of Homeland Security is investigating the cyberattack against Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones one day after her personal information and explicit images were leaked online.

      In a short statement on Thursday, a spokesperson for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said that the Homeland Security investigations unit in New York “has an open investigation into this matter”.

      “As a matter of agency policy and in order to protect the integrity of an ongoing investigation, we will not disclose any details,” the statement said.

      “As a matter of agency policy, we are unable to disclose any information related to an active investigation,” a spokeswoman said.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The US: A Dead Nation Walking

      It is my conclusion that Washington is aware of the constraint that the desire for Western acceptance puts on the Russian government and that this is why Washington, in a direct thrust at Russia, was comfortable orchestrating the coup that overthrew the elected Ukrainian government. I believe that this constraint also explains the mistakes the Russian government made by refusing the requests of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics to be reincorporated as parts of Russia, where the territories formerly resided, and by the premature withdrawal from Syria that allowed Washington to resupply the jihadists and to insert US forces into the conflict, thus complicating the situation for Russia and Syria.

    • The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives up on Empire

      The main architect of Washington’s plan to rule the world has abandoned the scheme and called for the forging of ties with Russia and China. While Zbigniew Brzezinski’s article in The American Interest titled “Towards a Global Realignment” has largely been ignored by the media, it shows that powerful members of the policymaking establishment no longer believe that Washington will prevail in its quest to extent US hegemony across the Middle East and Asia.

    • Russia’s Misplayed Hand with Iran

      Iran’s annoyance that Russia over-played its hand in going public about its use of an Iranian airbase shows the risk of offending potential allies, a lesson that U.S. officials also need to learn, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • The High Cost of American Hubris

      Although renowned political scientist John Mearsheimer does not consider himself to be an isolationist – a term which has acquired a negative connotation since WWII – his definition is illuminating as much for clarifying what the term does not mean as for what it does.

      In America Unhinged, Mearsheimer writes: “Isolationism rests on the assumption that no region of the world outside of the Western Hemisphere is of vital strategic importance to the United States. Isolationists do not argue that America has no interests in the wider world, just that they are not important enough to justify deploying military force to defend them. They are fully in favor of engaging with the rest of the world economically as well as diplomatically, but they view all foreign wars as unnecessary.”

    • Naomi Klein, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Others Condemn ‘Coup’ in Brazil

      Naomi Klein, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Susan Sarandon, Arundhati Roy, and 17 other human rights activists, intellectuals, and public figures on Wednesday sent a letter to the Brazilian government condemning the impeachment of the country’s President Dilma Rousseff, and demanding that Brazil’s senate “respect the October 2014 electoral process which over 100 million people took part in.”

      [...]

      “The impeachment—labeled a coup by many Brazilians—has generated outrage and frequent protests in Brazil,” Mendonça adds.

      “We stand in solidarity with our fellow artists and with all those fighting for democracy and justice throughout Brazil,” the letter says, adding that “Brazil has only emerged from dictatorship some 30 years ago and these events could set back the country’s progress towards social and economic inclusion by decades.”

      Rousseff’s removal would end 13 years of Workers’ Party rule, as Common Dreams reported, and bring about the confirmation of “the unelected, right-of-center Temer” as president until 2018, the rest of Rousseff’s term.

    • Saudi-Led Bombing Kills 11 Civilians in Yemen, While Kerry Ignores US ‘Complicity’

      Another Saudi-led coalition airstrike in northern Yemen killed 11 civilians on Friday—only one day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Saudi Arabia, purportedly to urge Saudi King Salman to seek a “political solution” to the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing campaign in Yemen.

      And despite Kerry’s words about seeking peace in Yemen, the U.S. continues to supply Saudi Arabia with weapons that have been used to kill civilians in that country.

    • Saudi-Led Airstrikes Reportedly Kill 11 Civilians in Yemen

      Airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition in northern Yemen killed 11 civilians, including women and children, Yemen’s rebel-run news agency said Friday.

      The overnight attack in the city of Saada, a stronghold of the Shiite rebels known as Houthis, came as Iran’s foreign minister dismissed claims from Saudi Arabia that his country had supplied Yemen’s rebels with missiles.

      U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, on a visit to Saudi Arabia the previous day, said he was “deeply troubled” over Saudi photographs showing Iranian-supplied missiles being positioned along the Saudi-Yemeni border. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said such statements were “baseless accusations.”

    • What Makes a Hate Group?

      “As a matter of fact, you have had a person attend your protests in Camp Douglas who has threatened to kill our Deputies.” This piece of startling news was revealed to me in a letter from Juneau County, Wisconsin, Undersheriff Craig Stuchlik dated July 25.

      I had written to the sheriff’s department requesting documents under the Open Records Law and for an explanation of the department’s response to a demonstration at Volk Field, a Wisconsin Air National Guard base near the town of Camp Douglas, where my colleague at Voices for Creative Nonviolence Kathy Kelly and I had been arrested onFebruary 23, carrying a loaf of bread and a letter for the base commander. There is a facility at this base where military personnel are trained in the operation of remotely controlled Shadow Drones that have been instrumental in the targeted assassination program that legal experts label war crimes and that military experts say recruit more enemies for our country than they kill.

      Undersheriff Stuchlik put this purported threat into a broader context that suggests that the sheriff’s department views Voices for Creative Nonviolence and the Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars that organizes these demonstrations as hate groups: “Law Enforcement Officers are being targeted in the United States by hate groups because they stand for law and order. Law Enforcement Officers are being executed by these hate groups at an alarming rate and it does not appear to be slowing down.”

    • Pundits, Decrying the Horrors of War in Aleppo, Demand Expanded War

      The devastating photo of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh sitting in an ambulance after his home was bombed in Syrian or Russian air strikes has amped up calls for direct US military intervention against the Syrian government. The now-viral photo of Omran—and the broader siege of east Aleppo—was prominently featured in most major newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and several other publications. CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News all ran stories on the photo, and editorial boards and pundits weighed in as well, with several insisting that President Obama must “do something” to stop the suffering of the Syrian people.

      According to the Chicago Tribune editorial board, State Department officials “sent a cable to Obama, urging stronger military action against Syrian government forces. They suggested that could include cruise missiles and ‘targeted airstrikes.’ That’s what we mean by leverage, of a sort Putin would comprehend.”

      In The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof wrote (in response to the siege of Aleppo, but before the photo went viral): “Many experts recommend trying to ground Syria’s Air Force so it can no longer drop barrel bombs on hospitals and civilians. One oft-heard idea is to fire missiles from outside Syria to crater military runways to make them unusable.”

      And on Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough proclaimed: “Inaction by the United States and the West and the world is not only responsible for this [holding up the Omran image] and 500,000 deaths, it’s responsible for those images of those Syrian refugees, the little boy we saw washed up on the beach…. The world will look back. Save your hand-wringing…you can still do something right now. But nothing’s been done.”

    • How Veterans Are Losing the War at Home

      Among the prime movers in our corporatized politics are undoubtedly the two billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, and their cozy network of secret donors. It’s hard to grasp how rich they really are: they rank fifth (David) and sixth (Charles) on Business Insider’s list of the 50 richest people in the world, but if you pool their wealth they become by far the single richest “individual” on the planet. And they have pals. For decades now they’ve hosted top-secret gatherings of their richest collaborators that sometimes also feature dignitaries like Clarence Thomas or the late Antonin Scalia, two of the Supreme Court Justices who gave them the Citizens United decision, suffocating American democracy in plutocratic dollars. That select donor group had reportedly planned to spend at least $889 million on this year’s elections and related political projects, but recent reports note a scaling back and redirection of resources.

      While the contest between Trump and Clinton fills the media, the big money is evidently going to be aimed at selected states and municipalities to aid right-wing governors, Senate candidates, congressional representatives, and in some cities, ominously enough, school board candidates. The Koch brothers need not openly support the embarrassing Trump, for they’ve already proved that, by controlling Congress, they can significantly control the president, as they have already done in the Obama era.

      Yet for all their influence, the Koch name means nothing, pollsters report, to more than half of the U.S. population. In fact, the brothers Koch largely stayed under the radar until recent years when their roles as polluters, campaigners against the environment, and funders of a new politics came into view. Thanks to Robert Greenwald’s film Koch Brothers Exposed and Jane Mayer’s book Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, we now know a lot more about them, but not enough.

      They’ve always been ready to profit off America’s wars. Despite their extreme neo-libertarian goal of demonizing and demolishing government, they reportedly didn’t hesitate to pocket about $170 million as contractors for George W. Bush’s wars. They sold fuel (oil is their principal business) to the Defense Department, and after they bought Georgia Pacific, maker of paper products, they supplied that military essential: toilet paper.

      But that was small potatoes compared to what happened when soldiers came home from the wars and fell victim to the profiteering of corporate America. Dig in to the scams exploiting veterans, and once again you’ll run into the Koch brothers.

    • Colombia: Peace in the Shadow of the Death Squads

      As the Colombian government and left-wing FARC rebels near the signing of a comprehensive peace accord, and though they have already signed a bi-lateral ceasefire which is largely holding, Colombia is still suffering from the worst human rights abuses in the Western Hemisphere. These abuses are being carried out by right-wing paramilitary groups (aka, death squads), which the U.S. and Colombian governments conveniently deny even exist.

      These paramilitary groups, in accord with their long-time friend and ally, former President Alvaro Uribe, are openly and aggressively opposed to the peace accords, and will most certainly escalate their violence as a national referendum which will be held to ratify, or reject, these accords draws near. Thus, as Insight Crime recently reported, the Colombian Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) estimates that nearly 250 municipalities (or more than 25% of the 1,105 municipalities in all of Colombia) “are at risk of violence or fraud affecting the referendum on an anticipated peace deal” with the FARC. The departments of Choco, Arauca, Cauca and Putumayo – that is, departments with heavy concentrations of Afro-Colombians and indigenous – are among the departments with the greatest risk. Antioquia, the department of Alvaro Uribe who was governor there, has the greatest number of municipalities at risk.

      [...]

      Father Giraldo then expresses a seldom-uttered truth which I have certainly learned upon my numerous trips to Colombia in the past 17 years – that while the paramilitaries oppose the peace process because it will grant some immunity for rebels, the “popular movements feel more fear of the impunity of the powerful and of the paramilitaries and the agents of the government, whose war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide greatly exceed, both in quality and in cruelty, the crimes of the insurgency.”

    • ‘It Is Time to Give Peace a Chance’: Historic FARC Peace Deal Achieved

      After almost four years of negotiations and over 50 years of war, Colombia’s rebel FARC group and the government finally signed a peace accord in Havana, Cuba, late Wednesday.

      “We won the most beautiful of all battles: Peace,” said the rebel group’s top negotiator, Iván Márquez.

      “The war is over,” the Guardian quotes Humberto de la Calle, chief government negotiator, as saying after signing the deal. “It is the time to give peace a chance.”

      “Today marks the beginning of the end of the suffering, the pain and the tragedy of the war,” Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos said in an address to the nation after the announcement in Havana.

      Colombia’s government will hold a plebiscite on October 2 for citizens to either accept or reject the agreement.

    • Colombia’s president rushing vote on deal with rebels

      Colombia’s president is moving quickly to hold a national referendum on a peace deal meant to end a half-century of bloody conflict with leftist rebels, delivering the final text of the deal to congress on Thursday and declaring a definitive cease-fire with the guerrillas.

    • Pentagon Has No Idea Where Hundreds of Thousands of Guns Went in Iraq and Afghanistan

      The U.S. government has shipped over 1.4 million guns to Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, according a new analysis by the U.K.-based watchdog Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), but the Pentagon is only able to account for fewer than half of them.

      AOAV released its analysis of publicly available data on U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) contracts on Wednesday, and added that when requested to provide its own accounting for the small arms provided to the war-torn nations, “the DoD data shows that over 700,000 small arms were sent from the U.S. to Iraq and Afghanistan within these periods. However, this amount only accounts for 48 percent of the total small arms supplied by the U.S. government that can be found in open source government reports.”

      AOAV also noted that the total number of small weapons the U.S. provided to Iraq and Afghanistan is likely to be far higher than even the group’s count, as the Pentagon kept such shoddy records of the planeloads of weapons it dispatched to those countries—if it kept any records at all.

    • Afghanistan, dynamic of war

      Afghanistan has somewhat fallen off the radar of western media, even though violent conflict there continues unabated. An exception is major incidents such as the ten-hour attack and siege against the American University in Kabul on 24 August, which killed fourteen people and injured many more. This rightly attracted attention as a grim indicator of continued Taliban activity, as did the bombing of a Hazara protest march on 23 July, also in the capital, when eighty people died and 250 were wounded.

      But other developments in the Afghan conflict, which are barely reported or even ignored by establishment media in the west, can carry much greater significance. So it was this week with a report at the bottom of an inside page of a leading military journal: “B-52 bombers rejoin US campaign in Afghanistan”.

    • Is the U.S. Finally Ending the Toxic Practice of Burning Old Munitions in Open Pits?

      By the year 2020, the U.S. is expected to have on its hands a growing stockpile of munitions nearing 1.1 million tons that are no longer considered useful to the military. As a means of disposal, these munitions, including small arms cartridges, rockets, mortars, artillery shells, tactical missiles and other wastes, have for decades been burned or detonated on large trays out in the open at military bases across the country.

      Canada and a number of European countries like Germany and the Netherlands have banned the practice, for good reason. Plumes of toxic smoke from burn pits have been documented drifting over surrounding communities, while the destroyed munitions expel pollutants that leach into the soil and groundwater. These pollutants include an array of highly toxic chemicals such as dioxins and furans, PCBs, chromium, dinitrotoluene (DNT), and perchlorate. Many of these toxic chemicals are known carcinogens, while all of them can cause chronic illnesses in humans and wildlife.

    • Is Turkey’s incursion into Syria about Daesh, or about the Kurds?

      Turkish military sources told the Anadol news agency that Wednesday’s military attack on the Syrian border town of Jarabulus, held for years by Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), involved hitting 82 targets. The objective, Ankara said, was to secure the Turkish border and to support the US-led Coalition in its war on Daesh and guarantee the unity of Syrian territory.

      The Turkish military chief of staff and his deputy said they followed the course of the operation from their operations room in Ankara.

      Daesh fighters withdrew from much of Jarabulus and surrounding villages, heading south to al-Bab, now the northernmost Daesh outpost in Syria.

    • Hillary Clinton Shows Dangerous Tendency to Go to War No Matter the Consequences

      In our extended interview with scholar Vijay Prashad, he discusses the U.S. presidential election and notes that while President Obama was reticent, then-Secretary of State “Hillary Clinton led the charge against Libya. This shows, to my mind, a profound dangerous tendency to go into wars overseas, damn the consequences. If you’re looking at this from outside the United States, there’s a real reason to be terrified.”

    • War ‘Has Become a Permanent Condition’ for the United States

      Did you know that Oliver Stone was a Vietnam vet? That explains a lot. No wonder he has come out so strongly against all the various American “war” fiascos since then. If you had suffered through all the shite that he did while fighting in Vietnam, you would most likely be anti-war as well.

      Stone recently spoke at the annual Veterans For Peace convention here in Berkeley—and he had a lot to say too. “America’s crackpot realists create the terror for which they then provide the antidote.” Apparently it’s the American thing to do.

      “In Vietnam, every time we took fire, we went berserk. We’d blow up everything. The mentality of absolute destruction. But when I came back from Vietnam, I thought that intelligence would finally start to reign. Didn’t happen. Reagan’s warning to the world was that Americans could be truly barbaric. That was the lesson of Hiroshima too—to let the Soviet Union know that America was capable of anything.”

    • Acceptable Losses

      Just a few short years ago, Yemen was judged to be among the poorest countries in the world, ranking 154th out of the 187 nations on the U.N.’s Human Development Index. One in every five Yemenis went hungry. Almost one in three was unemployed. Every year, 40,000 children died before their fifth birthday, and experts predicted the country would soon run out of water.

      Such was the dire condition of the country before Saudi Arabia unleashed a bombing campaign in March 2015, which has destroyed warehouses, factories, power plants, ports, hospitals, water tanks, gas stations, and bridges, along with miscellaneous targets ranging from donkey carts to wedding parties to archaeological monuments. Thousands of civilians — no one knows how many — have been killed or wounded. Along with the bombing, the Saudis have enforced a blockade, cutting off supplies of food, fuel, and medicine. A year and a half into the war, the health system has largely broken down, and much of the country is on the brink of starvation.

    • Mainstream Media Are Ignoring U.S. Accountability in Saudi Arabia’s Destruction of Yemen

      Many Americans were shaken last week after a picture of a stunned Syrian child, whose home had just been bombed into rubble, went viral. Time magazine noted that “[d]evastating pictures and footage from Syria are common now.” But what about children in other war-torn countries?

    • “This is Our War & It is Shameful:” Journalist Andrew Cockburn on the U.S. Role in the War in Yemen

      Even before the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen began more than a year ago, Yemen was ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world. But now, a year and a half into the war, Yemen’s health system has broken down, and the population is facing the threat of starvation. For more, we’re joined by Andrew Cockburn, the Washington editor for Harper’s magazine. His latest piece for Harper’s is headlined “Acceptable Losses: Aiding and Abetting the Saudi Slaughter in Yemen.” He is author of “Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • “The Hunt”: Colonial Conservation, Caught on Film

      Over the last few weeks, BBC America has broadcast “The Hunt,” the latest offering from world-renowned natural history broadcaster David Attenborough. The formula is familiar: gorgeous photography, silky smooth voiceovers and tear-jerking narratives about the animals on screen. The series has profiled the world’s most “charismatic” predators — big cats, birds of prey, wolves, bears — and the ways in which they dominate their environment. The final episode focused on conservation and the threats faced by many of these species, which are unquestionably very serious.

      Sadly, rather than critiquing poaching or industrialization, the program placed most of the blame for endangering species like the lion and the tiger on the shoulders of the tribal people who live in the so-called “wildernesses” that had been photographed. The narrative was full of distortion and misrepresentation and seemed to support an essentially colonial form of conservation that is deeply problematic.

    • Waste Not, Save More

      On average, each person in the U.S. throws away five pounds of solid waste each day. While many eco–conscious citizens do their due diligence to recycle, compost, and reduce waste, others remain apathetic about preserving the environment.

      Wherever you might land on the eco-friendly scale, innovative “Pay As You Throw” (PAYT) programs are incentivizing people nationwide to increase (or start) recycling and composting through a usage-pricing model.

      Basically, the less trash you send to a landfill, the less you pay.

      Over 7,000 communities in the U.S. report using this green solution, with cities seeing an average of 45 percent less trash.

    • Day After Obama Tours Louisiana Flood Damage, Gov’t Holds Massive Gulf Oil & Gas Lease Auction

      On Tuesday, President Obama visited Louisiana for the first time since the devastating floods that killed 13 people and damaged 60,000 homes. The Red Cross has called it the worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy. While many climate scientists have tied the historic floods in Louisiana to climate change, President Obama made no link during his remarks. However, on Tuesday, four environmental activists were arrested in New Orleans protesting the Interior Department’s decision to go ahead with a lease sale of up to 24 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas exploration and development. The sale is being held today in the Superdome—the very building where thousands of displaced residents of New Orleans sought refuge during Hurricane Katrina 11 years ago. We speak to Antonia Juhasz, an oil and energy analyst, author of “Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill.” She joins us from San Francisco.

    • Flood-Ravaged Gulf Coast Residents Ask President Obama To Cancel Federal Offshore Drilling Lease Auction

      During President Obama’s visit to a flood-ravaged area near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this week, a group of environmental activists delivered a petition to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) protesting the planned leasing of more of the Gulf of Mexico for oll and gas drilling.

      They gathered 184,000 electronic signatures over just six days calling for the President and BOEM to cancel its lease auction — scheduled to take place today, August 24.

      Four members of the group told police on the scene they planned to stay until either they got a response from President Obama or they were arrested.

    • Climate Change and the 1,000-Year Flood in Baton Rouge: When Will We Learn?

      The floodwaters are receding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the scale of the damage is revealing itself. It has been described as a 1,000-year flood, leaving at least 13 people dead and close to 60,000 homes ruined. According to Weather Underground meteorologists Jeff Masters and Bob Henson, August has been the wettest month in Baton Rouge in 174 years, when records were first kept. They added, “Since June 1, Baton Rouge has picked up an amazing 40.95 inches—more rain in three months than downtown Los Angeles has recorded over the last five years (38.79 inches)!”

      President Barack Obama traveled there Tuesday. “I think anybody who can see just the streets, much less the inside of the homes here, people’s lives have been upended by this flood,” he said after walking through part of the devastated city. While Obama was criticized by his political opponents for not visiting Baton Rouge earlier, it’s what happened one day later, in nearby New Orleans, that should have everyone concerned.

      The Obama administration conducted a massive auction of offshore oil and gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The irony was not lost on Antonia Juhasz. She is a journalist and energy analyst who has long tracked the multinational petroleum corporations engaged in deep-water oil extraction. “Following Obama #LouisianaFlood visit, Interior Dept to auction offshore drilling leases to 24 million acres in Gulf on 8/24 at Superdome,” she tweeted, followed by, “After protests nearly shut down lease sale in March at Superdome, for first time, BOEM closes sale to public, makes viewing available online.” The BOEM is the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The agency was auctioning 23.8 million acres in the western section of the Gulf of Mexico, for deep-water oil and gas exploration and extraction.

    • 3 Reasons the Standing Rock Sioux Can Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

      America has more than 2.5 million miles of oil and gas pipelines crossing the country in every direction. So plans to construct the 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline from oil fields in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to Patoka, Illinois, were supposed to be a nonevent. The regulatory process was largely through state commissions and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and far less stringent than the successfully opposed Keystone XL pipeline.

    • From #NoDAPL to #FreedomSquare: A Tale of Two Occupations

      On the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota, Natives have been encamped for 146 days, in an ongoing effort to thwart construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. In Chicago, Black organizers with the #LetUsBreathe collective have created a living, breathing community space in the shadow of the infamous Homan Square police compound — a facility that some call a “black site,” where people have been held for days on end without being able to contact loved ones or an attorney and where some have been tortured.

    • Kandi Mossett on Native American Pipeline Protests

      This week on CounterSpin: For months now, hundreds and then thousands of indigenous people have been taking part in peaceful protests at the Sacred Stones camp in North Dakota. They’re protesting the construction of what’s called the Dakota Access pipeline, slated to carry fracked oil across the state and across the Missouri River. The Standing Rock Sioux say the Army Corps of Engineers approved the pipeline without their consent. For many people, what’s happening right now in North Dakota is a crucial story of a frontline fight of indigenous people against extractive industry—and on behalf of humanity, really, and the planet.

    • The American Petroleum Institute’s Desperate PR is Failing

      If you’ve watched any political coverage on television in the last few months, or the Olympics, or really anything on TV, you’re bound to have seen some pretty ridiculous advertising coming from the oil and gas industry.

      The American Petroleum Institute in particular has been putting out some pretty desperate stuff. Did you know that “A Vote for [Fossil Fuel] Energy is a Vote for Cheesesteaks?” That’s actually the title of one ad put out during the Democratic Convention, which was held in Philadelphia (Get it? Cheesesteaks!).

    • Win for Climate Protection as Obama Creates World’s Biggest Marine Sanctuary

      President Barack Obama’s creation on Friday of the world’s largest marine protected area drew praise from lawmakers, Hawaiian community members, and environmental groups alike, who say it will help protect biodiversity and increase resilience in the face of climate change.

      Obama is expanding the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii, more than quadrupling it in size to 582,578 square miles.

      A White House fact sheet says the expansion, which also bans commercial resource extraction, will afford “critical protections for more than 7,000 marine species,” “improve ocean resilience,” and help preserve “resources of great historical and cultural significance.”

      Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who was among those who had proposed the expansion to the president, praised the move, calling it “one of the most important actions an American president has ever taken for the health of the oceans.” He noted, however, that it was “only beginning” because “management, research, educational opportunities, and enforcement” need to follow.

      Similarly welcoming the move was Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), who said the expansion “will help to combat climate change, preserve biodiversity, and honor cultural traditions.”

    • New Study Warns Biofuels May Be Worse for Climate Than Gas

      A new study finds that biofuels—which are derived from plants like corn or soybeans and sometimes considered to be carbon-neutral—may actually be worse for the climate than gas.

      University of Michigan (UM) Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco analyzed all the greenhouse gas emissions created in the supply chains of various fuel types. For gas, that meant starting with extraction and transportation, among other parts of the process; for biofuels, it was farming and fertilizer use, but not tailpipe pollution, due to the presumed carbon dioxide offset, the Detroit Free Press explains.

    • Biofuels worse for climate change than gas, U-M study says

      The multi-billion-dollar U.S. biofuels industry — promoted and expanded for more than a decade by the federal government — may be built on a false assumption, according to a University of Michigan study published Thursday that is sure to stir all sides in the contentious debate over the industry.

      Despite their purported advantages, biofuels — created from crops such as corn or soybeans — cause more emissions of climate change-causing carbon dioxide than gasoline, according to the study from U-M Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco.

      The study is the latest salvo in the expanding battle over whether biofuels, and the farmland increasingly devoted to them, are actually providing the environmental and climate benefits many expected.

      [...]

      As for the petroleum industry funding, DeCicco said that years ago, he reached out to other more environmentally oriented funding sources that he declined to specify, who weren’t interested in funding his examination of life-cycle analysis.

    • Dakota Access Pipeline Protests Recall America’s Historical Shame

      Until a few years ago, the word “occupation” was synonymous with power, imperialism and foreign invasion. Today, in the post-Occupy Wall Street era, more and more activists are using their physical presence to make demands. From Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park to Tahrir Square in Cairo, occupation has become a powerful method of organizing.

      One of the most dramatic such occupations is occurring in the form of a growing encampment at the Cannonball River in North Dakota, where indigenous tribes are leading a coalition of environmental activists in protest over the building of a new crude oil pipeline.

    • We’ve always “Occupied the Prarie” and We’re Not Going Anywhere

      In Occupying the Prairie: Tensions Rise as Tribes Move to Block a Pipeline by Jack Healy, New York Times, Aug. 23, 2016 we see and hear about Indians in paint on horseback, in “procession” out of their “tepee-dotted camp.” Who writes like that?

      While the almost 500 Nations of our indigenous brothers and sisters (over 80 are represented in the Sacred Stones Camp) are proud of the heritage of our peoples, it’s important to keep the focus on today and why we are here. This is our land, as defined in our times as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, a Sovereign Nation.

      In fact, what we call the United States is really comprised of Nations, it is a “united” Nations, of relationships formed by diplomacy.

      The Greater Sioux Nations predated the United States, so as the newly minted USA acquired more territory, agreements were sought in many cases with the existing nations of the Plains and elsewhere. One such Treaty, the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1851), matters now. The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 was signed on September 17, 1851 between United States treaty commissioners and representatives of the Cheyenne, Sioux, Arapaho, Crow, Assiniboine, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara nations.

    • In Effort to Kill Pipeline, Groups Call Directly on Obama to Oppose Permits

      As Indigenous activists maintained resistance to a proposed oil pipeline in North Dakota this week, allied groups on Thursday sent an open letter to President Barack Obama asking him to urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to pull its permits for the project.

      “After years of pipeline disasters—from the massive tar sands oil spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2010, to the recent oil pipeline spills in the San Joaquin Valley and Ventura, CA—our organizations and our millions of members and supporters are concerned about the threat these projects pose to our safety, our health, and the environment,” reads the letter (pdf), signed by groups such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Sierra Club, and 350.org.

      The letter was published as a federal judge delayed a decision on allowing the construction to continue.

    • Fatigue, Migraines Linked to Fracking as Case Builds for National Ban

      New research published Thursday links severe fatigue and migraine headaches to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, leading to renewed calls for a ban on the controversial oil and gas extraction method.

      Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reported their findings online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, saying their research adds to “a growing body of evidence linking the fracking industry to health problems.”

    • Study: Fracking associated with migraines, fatigue, chronic nasal and sinus symptoms

      New research suggests that Pennsylvania residents with the highest exposure to active natural gas wells operated by the hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—industry are nearly twice as likely to suffer from a combination of migraine headaches, chronic nasal and sinus symptoms, and severe fatigue.

  • Finance

    • Median Income Is Down, But Public College Tuition Is Way Up

      Public colleges play a special role in making higher education affordable, but in recent years, soaring tuition is pushing that dream out of reach. From 2000 to 2014, the average cost of in-state tuition and fees for public colleges in America rose 80 percent. During that same time period, the median American household income dropped by 7 percent.

    • ‘Good News,’ Says Sanders, as McConnell Signals No Lame-Duck Vote on TPP

      Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that the U.S. Senate will not vote on the 12-nation, corporate-friendly Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) this year, buoying progressive hopes that the trade deal will never come to fruition.

      Responding to the news, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—whose opposition to the TPP was a hallmark of his presidential campaign—said: “This is good news for American workers, for the environment, and for the ability to protect public health.”

      McConnell told a Kentucky State Farm Bureau breakfast in Louisville that the agreement, “which has some serious flaws, will not be acted upon this year.”

      Grassroots groups have led a concerted campaign to prevent a vote during the so-called “lame-duck” session of Congress, after the November election and before President Barack Obama leaves office in January. The White House recently vowed to wage an “all-out push” in favor of such a vote.

      “We never thought we would agree with Mitch McConnell on something, but we do agree on not bringing the TPP to a vote in the lame-duck session,” said Adam Green, Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder, on Friday. “There’s widespread, bipartisan opposition to the corporate-written TPP and an unaccountable, lame-duck Congress voting on it.”

    • Sanders Welcomes McConnell Decision to Block TPP

      A leading opponent of the proposed Pacific rim trade pact, Sanders welcomed McConnell’s turnaround on the measure. The Republican leader on Thursday told an audience in Kentucky that he won’t bring the pact to the Senate floor for a vote this year because it “has some serious flaws.” Last June 23, McConnell engineered congressional passage of a measure that gave President Barack Obama and future presidents power to “fast-track” negotiations with the 11 other countries which are parties to the deal. He called it “a very important accomplishment for our country.”

    • Groups Demand Clinton Publicly Oppose Lame-Duck TPP Vote—Now

      Heavy-hitting progressive groups have sent a letter to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, urging her to make “a clear, public, and unequivocal statement opposing any vote on the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the post-election, ‘lame-duck’ session of Congress.”

    • How Small Donors Are Giving Super PACs a Run for Their Money

      Election reform advocates are closely watching Seattle to see whether it becomes a viable model for getting big money out of local politics. Last year the city approved a “democracy vouchers” program, which will publicly fund local candidates through small donors, requiring limits on campaign spending.

      Starting in 2017, all registered voters will receive $100 in vouchers from the city government to spend in $25 parcels on their preferred candidates for city office.

    • Debt Collectors Get Away With Daylight Robbery

      I thought Donnie Trump and his fellow Republicans were big law ‘n order politicians. So, why are they trying to scrap the sheriff and unleash thousands of robbers to run wild across America?

      The sheriff they want to nix is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

      The thieves they’re out to help are corporate debt collectors who pay pennies on the dollar for huge databases of overdue bills, then hound the borrowers to pay up.

      Debt collectors profit from weak regulations that let them bully, harass, and run roughshod over tens of thousands of consumers every year—including people who’ve already paid off their debt or never even incurred it.

    • Please Write and Tweet John Oliver to Thank Him for His Program Revealing Charter Fraud

      As readers of this blog know, deregulation of charters leads to fraud, graft, and abuse. On this site, I have documented scores of examples of fraudsters and grifters who take advantage of weak (or no) oversight to enrich themselves and to strand children in bad schools.

      A few days ago, John Oliver ran an excellent segment about charter schools and the fraud associated with them. He barely scratched the surface. Charter supporters are furious and are saying that he “hurt” children, he savaged children, etc. (This is a familiar tactic; when I criticized the improbable test scores in New York City almost a decade ago, I was told that I was “hurting children and their teachers” by questioning the validity of the dramatic rise in scores.)

      Fraud is a feature of deregulation, not a bug. When no one is looking, some people steal. Not everyone steals, but many do. That is why Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and California are scamming taxpayers. No one is demanding accountability. Politicians get paid off by charter friends, then cripple any effort to oversee them Ohio and Michigan spend $1 billion a year to subsidize charter schools, which are lower-performing than public schools.

    • Diane Ravitch to Readers: Don’t Let Charter Industry Silence John Oliver

      Shared opposition to the fraud and abuse associated with charter schools and other privatization efforts, of course.

      On Thursday, longtime educator and activist Diane Ravitch encouraged her readers to start a campaign of thanks to comedian John Oliver, who devoted a segment of his HBO show Last Week Tonight on Sunday to charter schools and fraud—and is now being targeted by privatizers and other corporate propagandists on Twitter.

      Charter supporters are “saying that he ‘hurt’ children, he savaged children,” she wrote, noting that this is “a familiar tactic” of intimidation that she faced after writing about dubious test-scoring methods in New York City school a decade ago.

    • John Oliver Slams Charter Schools And His Critics Totally Miss The Point

      Sometimes it takes a funnyman to make sense.

      Earlier this week, British comedian John Oliver devoted a “Back to School” segment on his HBO program Last Week Tonight to examining the rapidly growing charter school industry and what these schools are doing with our tax dollars.

      The Washington Post’s education blogger Valerie Strauss watched the segment and reports that while Oliver declined to address whether or not charters provide high quality education, he focused mostly on how often these schools are “terribly – and sometimes criminally – operated.” (You can see Oliver’s entire sketch here.)

      Editors at Rolling Stone watched Oliver’s broadcast as well and report Oliver focused much of his attention on three states – Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio – that have “especially depressing charter track records – including negligence in the approval process and school executives embezzling funds.”

    • Progressive Activists Take A Seat For The People At Federal Reserve Retreat

      Two years ago this week, the nonprofit Center for Popular Democracy and allied groups launched the Fed Up campaign, aimed at making the Federal Reserve more accountable to workers and communities of color. They converged then on the Jackson Lake Lodge in Wyoming, where Fed officials decamp every year to discuss policy and hobnob with the economic elite.

      How much political headway has the campaign made since then? This year, Fed Up activists were essentially put on the schedule for senior Federal Reserve officials, with a major meeting at the Jackson Hole summit.

      The group met Thursday, the first day of the summit, with eight of the 12 presidents of the regional Federal Reserve banks and two members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

      Fed Up activists have met individually with the governors and regional bank presidents before; they spoke with some Fed officials less formally at the past two Jackson Hole gatherings. This is the first time, however, that their delegation of some 120 rank-and-file activists had met with so many of the central bank’s decision-makers in one place.

    • Day Laborers Leader on Right-Wing Hostility: “So Far, We Have Won This Fight”

      Pablo Alvarado is executive director of the Los Angeles-based National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON)—a group dedicated to building a movement among low-wage workers, most of them immigrants and many of them undocumented. The 49-year old Alvarado, who came to the United States in 1990 from El Salvador, views NDLON as both a workers’ rights and an immigrants’ rights organization. It has been an important player in campaigns to win local minimum wage laws and to stop the exploitation of immigrant workers, many of whom survive in the shadow economy as day laborers, housekeepers, gardeners, restaurant workers and janitors.

      We recently spoke with Alvarado in his small office at the Pasadena Community Job Center in Pasadena, California, one of some 70 worker centers in 21 states connected with NDLON. He is a whirlwind of activity, typically working 12 hours a day, running a national organization while engaged in the daily activities of the Pasadena center—counseling workers, organizing demonstrations, negotiating with city officials, raising money and supervising staff.

      This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

    • The Tax Evasion Double Standard: How US CEOs Are Withholding Revenue

      If I refused to pay any taxes until the US government lowered my taxes to a so-called “fair rate,” I’d almost certainly be arrested for tax evasion. But when The Washington Post asked Apple CEO Tim Cook about the billions that his company has stashed in tax havens around the world, Cook declared: “We’re not going to bring it back until there’s a fair rate. There’s no debate about it.”

      And nothing happened, either to Cook or to Apple. Because when it comes to taxes, it’s truer today than ever that only the little people pay.

      Apparently though, that’s not enough for the CEOs of multinational corporations, like Tim Cook. He doesn’t just want to avoid taxes, he wants Americans to know that Congress isn’t writing the rules; Apple is.

    • Meet the Swedish politician ready to play hardball with the UK on Brexit

      During the febrile, topsy-turvy days after Britain voted to leave the European Union, there were plenty of tough messages from European leaders. But few sounded more uncompromising than the EU trade commissioner.

      A week after the result, Cecilia Malmström, Europe’s lead trade negotiator, stated that the UK could not even begin discussing a trade deal until it had left the bloc. “First you exit and then you negotiate the terms of the relationship,” she told Newsnight, opening up the prospect of the world’s sixth-largest economy being left dangling for years. When the BBC interviewer suggested this would damage businesses in Britain and on the continent, her response was straightforward: “Yes, but the vote was very clear.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Another Fly In The SugarMan Lemonade

      Recently Rudy Giuliani said if you want to find dirt on Hillary Clinton, just go on the Internet and google “Hillary Clinton”. Apparently he got that idea from out own Google master, the Sugarman (Remember that moniker? That’s the nickname given to him by some servers in a local eatery for his knack of ordering lemon water and sugar to make his own lemonade). The Sugarman actually said Lemon Water is only served in “High-Class” restaurants, I assume he thinks Chiles or Applebees are “High-Class”… Anyway, the Sugarman has been doing exactly what Giuliani suggested since day one. He scratches around Right Wing blogs until he finds something that he can use. In his last letter he found Democratic Convention goodies, never mind that they were mostly just made up. Things like, foreign flags like N. Korean, Soviet, Plastinian and Hamas but NO American flags. Really Sugarman? That was just one, he had a whole list of made-up stuff to share, he always does…

    • Donald Trump: The NSA Is ‘Coddling’ Hillary Clinton
    • Trump thinks NSA has Clinton’s deleted emails
    • Hillary Clinton Used BleachBit To Wipe Emails

      Have any Slashdotters had any experience with BleachBit? Specifically, have you used it for erasing “yoga emails” or “bridesmaids emails?”

    • In Defending His Support of Trump, Sean Hannity Says He ‘Never Claimed to Be a Journalist’
    • Sean Hannity Turns Adviser in the Service of Donald Trump

      During major inflection points in Donald J. Trump’s campaign, the advisers, family members and friends who make up his kitchen cabinet burn up their email accounts and phone lines gaming out how to get his candidacy on track (and what counsel he might go along with).

      But one person in the mix brings more than just his political advice. He also happens to control an hour of prime time on the Fox News Channel.

    • US: Clinton calendars won’t be released until after election

      Seven months after a federal judge ordered the State Department to begin releasing monthly batches of the detailed daily schedules showing meetings by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, the government told The Associated Press it won’t finish the job before Election Day.

    • From Booster to Adviser: Sean Hannity Has Erased His Final, Albeit Microscopic, Sliver of Impartiality

      Today in Austin, Texas, Republican presidential nominee – it still feels weird to type this – Donald Trump will tape a two-hour interview with his trained news poodle Sean Hannity. The event will likely entail 120 minutes of the Fox News host offering the sentient tangelo peel open-ended softball questions from which Trump can spin out extended rants about every conspiracy theory and nasty, subversive rumor he has ever heard about Hillary Clinton, egged on by the chuckles of the live audience brought in for the private, closed-to-the-press affair.

    • Embracing the Alt-Right: New Trump Campaign Chief “Created an Online Haven for White Nationalists”

      Last week, Donald Trump once again upended his campaign team and named Stephen Bannon, the head of Breitbart Media, to be his campaign chief. Breitbart regularly sparks controversy with headlines such as “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy,” “Trannies Whine About Hilarious Bruce Jenner Billboard” and “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew.” In a new article published by Mother Jones, investigative journalist Sarah Posner writes, “By bringing on Stephen Bannon, Trump was signaling a wholehearted embrace of the ‘alt-right,’ a once-motley assemblage of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, ethno-nationalistic provocateurs who have coalesced behind Trump and curried the GOP nominee’s favor on social media.” For more, we speak to Sarah Posner and Heather McGhee of Demos.

    • Weapons, Pipelines & Wall St: Did Clinton Foundation Donations Impact Clinton State Dept. Decisions?

      New questions have arisen this week over Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. On Tuesday, the Associated Press published a new investigation revealing that while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, more than half of the private citizens she met with had donated to the Clinton Foundation. The AP investigation comes after a three-year battle to gain access to State Department calendars. The analysis shows that at least 85 of 154 people Hillary Clinton had scheduled phone or in-person meetings with were foundation donors. This does not include meetings Clinton held with U.S. or foreign government workers or representatives, only private citizens. We speak to David Sirota of the International Business Times and Paul Glastris, editor-in-chief of the Washington Monthly. He was President Bill Clinton’s chief speechwriter from 1998 to 2001.

    • “Our Revolution”? Bernie Sanders Launches New Organization, But Key Staffers Quit in Protest

      Bernie Sanders and his supporters have launched a new political organization called Our Revolution. It seeks to support the next generation of progressive leaders, empower millions to fight for progressive change and elevate the nation’s overall political consciousness. More than 2,600 watch parties were held across the country last night to witness Sanders launch the new organization. But reports have emerged of political tumult within Bernie Sanders’s own team. Over the weekend, eight key staffers abruptly resigned in a dispute over the group’s leadership and legal structure. For more, we speak with Larry Cohen, incoming board chair of Our Revolution, and with Claire Sandberg, former digital organizing director for Bernie Sanders’s campaign, who resigned as the organizing director for Our Revolution.

    • Is Trump-Bashing Good for the Media?

      Just about everyone now concedes that the media have it in for Donald Trump. A survey of eight major news organs during the primaries, conducted by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy — one I cited in a previous post — showed that the press grew increasingly hostile to Trump, peaking at 61 percent negative to 39 percent positive at the end of the primary season. Even the conservative, Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal editorialized that he should consider quitting the race, and the normally cautious NBC Nightly News has turned reporter Katy Tur into a one-woman truth squad, correcting Trump whoppers.

    • Troglodyte Vs. Goebbelean Fascism: The 2016 Presidential Race

      Alienation is built into the societal edifice, a known factor long before Marx’s Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, which enabled him to write as presciently as he did. The commodity becomes engrained in the human psyche, and from there the merry race commences, codified in the institutions and culture of property, for superiority one over another fellow human being. Is it too late for systemic rectification of what should be regarded as the political culture of oppression and evil? That would make for an interesting starting point for discussion and possible action, not the mealy-mouthed platitudes offered by the candidates, their respective parties, and America as a whole.

    • Trump Illegally Pumped Up His Own Book Sales With Campaign Donations

      Now we know how Donald Trump manages to write so-called bestsellers. He buys up thousands of copies himself.

      The newest wrinkle in the Republican nominee for president’s con artistry is that he used campaign donations — to the tune of about $55,000 — to buy up approximately “3,500 copies of the hardcover version of Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, or just over 5,000 copies of the renamed paperback release, Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America,” the Daily Beast reported Wednesday morning.

      According to a Federal Election Commission filing, the Trump campaign paid $55,055 to Barnes & Noble for the books in May. While it’s not illegal to buy thousands of copies of your own book to artificially boost your sales, it is when you use campaign donations to do so, while also lining your own pockets.

    • Internet blind spot highlighted in Trump’s $8.4 million digital expenditure

      Since internet advertisements are usually targeted to a specific demographic, only the people who are targeted by the ad will know it is out there. The only way to tell if campaigns are getting what they paid for in terms of this digital marketing is if those targeted people show up to the polls and vote.

    • Reporter Tweets From Trump Rally: “His Supporters Are Ready for Violence”

      Since Donald Trump’s presidential campaign took off, there have been numerous reports of the sometimes violent nature of the crowds attending his massive rallies, including tales of pushing, shoving and other physical altercations instigated by attendees pumped up by Trump’s hateful rhetoric. “I can’t vote for Trump after that way I was treated,” said one student who was kicked out of a rally.

      Trump’s angry speeches at these rallies are nothing new, but the targets of his vitriol keep changing. In recent weeks, Trump has narrowed his focus to one enemy: the mainstream media.

    • The Independent “Women’s” Voice? Most Known Donors Are Men

      The Independent Women’s Voice touts its “independent” brand in reaching potential voters.

      But is it even women’s voices it is throwing? Let alone independent women?

      The reported data from the Federal Election Commission data says no.

      New research shows that the overwhelming majority of its known donors are men.

      Very rich men.

      Yes, men have provided most of the disclosed donations to fund election-related expenditures under the name of the “Independent Women’s Voice.”

    • How the Washington Post Sells the Politics of Fear

      Dana Milbank, a columnist for the paper, popped up at Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s news conference that focused on climate change. After Stein noted that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have gotten billions in free media, he chimed in: “Dana Milbank with the Washington Post segment of the corporate media. I have a conundrum I want to present to you. I could write about today and others could report here about what an important issue climate change is. And we would publish it or broadcast it. The fact is very few people will read it. They will go read or view stories about Trump’s staff machinations or Clinton’s e-mails. I’m not sure the issue is necessarily a corporate media but what people are demanding. Why is that? What is the way around that if there is one?”

      Milbank is pretending to be so concerned about what it is people want. What came to mind for me was John Milton’s aphorism: “They who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them of their blindness.”

      Stein was more diplomatic: “Right now so many people are tuned out [of] the election and out of the political system in general because they are accustomed to being ignored by that system. Was Bernie Sanders tuned out? I don’t think so. I think he had more attention from the American public than just about anyone at least from my point of view. It looks to me like he was the guy saying that the emperor had no clothes and everyone was agreeing with him. Even Trump supporters were agreeing with him. Polls showed that the majority of Trump supporters are not motivated by supporting Trump. They are motivated by not liking Hillary Clinton. Let’s give them another choice besides Donald Trump as an alternative to Hillary Clinton.”

      Having been deftly rebuffed, Milbank didn’t note his own question in his column in the Post.

    • Jill Stein: Majority of Americans Want Another Choice

      Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein discusses the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and her campaign. She speaks on “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

    • Tech Giants Go to Washington

      As they try to gain more influence with regulators and policymakers, several of the top technology companies are increasing the amount of money they spend on lobbying.

    • A Guided Tour of the ‘Alt-Right,’ by the Trump Campaign Chief’s Website

      And the “alt-right”? Well, Breitbart (3/29/16) tried to explain what that is in a 5,000-word piece last spring, written by Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos—perhaps best-known for being banned from Twitter for harassing actress Leslie Jones—and Allum Bokhari, who describes himself as the “resident kebab at Breitbart Tech” and “Milo’s deputy.”

    • Will Debates Inject Ideas Into Election Coverage? That’s Debatable

      After weeks of watching media rehash Clinton and Trump campaign talking points of the day, Americans can be forgiven for wanting to see some ideas injected into coverage of the presidential election. For some, debates are a natural opportunity to possibly pull candidates off script, force them to answer questions they didn’t write themselves. But, activists are saying, debates that include only the two major party candidates are far less likely to do that.

      As FAIR founder Jeff Cohen notes in a recent column, the Commission for Presidential Debates that runs the show, though sometimes mistakenly described as “nonpartisan,” is in fact vehemently bipartisan—really a sort of corporation run by the two major parties, and funded by powerful interests like oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and finance. CPD rules, Cohen says, don’t aim so much at eliminating “nonviable” candidates as preventing outsiders from ever becoming viable.

      In charge of debates since the 1980s, the CPD makes no bones about its intent to use its role to secure a Republican/Democrat duopoly. So much so that when they took over fully in 1988, the League of Women Voters, which had been running debates, pulled its sponsorship, saying, “The demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter.”

    • ‘Good Riddance’: Canada’s Stephen Harper Bids Adieu to Politics, Hello to Consulting

      As expected, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced his resignation from Parliament, saying that he’s now gearing up for “for the next chapter of my life.”

      That chapter, as the Toronto Star reports, includes “launching a global consulting business.”

      Harper posted the news Friday on his social media accounts, saying, “I leave elected office proud of what our team accomplished together.”

      For the 57-year-old, the resignation marks the end of “nearly two often-tumultuous decades in public office,” Mississauga News reports.

      Harper lost power in October in a “devastating election defeat” when his Conservative Party lost to the Justin Trudeau-led Liberal Party.

      Since then, the Star adds, he “has only appeared in the Commons for votes since he lost power last fall, and has never spoken in debate as the MP for Calgary Heritage.”

    • Former Canadian prime minister Harper leaves politics

      Harper served as prime minister for almost a decade. Canada shifted to the center-right under Harper, who lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation, strongly supported the oil and gas extraction industry and backed the right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His legacy includes merging two conservative parties in Canada.

      Harper now plans to consult on international issues.

    • American white nationalism isn’t isolationist #USA!USA!USA!

      Alt-right white nationalism is an apt term for a campaign that has electrified white supremacists so it makes sense that most people would focus on the racial angle. According to this analysis in the Guardian, the rising right wing ethno-nationalist movement in Europe is the progenitor of this American version, which adheres to its basic premise but brings its own special brand of deep-fried racism. Both share a belief that the white race is under siege and that “demands for diversity in the workplace which means less white males in particular forms the foundation for the movement.” So it stands to reason that Trump’s border wall, Muslim ban and bellicose appeals for “law and order” (along with his overt misogyny) is a clarion call to this faction.

    • Here’s a Bold Idea for Hillary’s Troubled Campaign

      3. Eliminate tax shelters and loopholes for 1-percenter households and businesses. The loopholes crying out for elimination include capital gains and other types of investment income, such as ‘carried interest’ and the truly outrageous ‘step-up in basis,’ which exclusively benefits inherited wealth. These function as direct federal subsidies to mostly affluent Americans. And they cost the national treasury some $250 billion per year, with the Congressional Budget Office estimating that a whopping 70 percent of this subsidy is hoovered by Americans in the top 1 percent income bracket (and nearly 93 percent by the top 20 percent bracket).

    • Maryland redistricting lawsuit can go forward, federal judges rule

      A lawsuit challenging Maryland’s contorted congressional district map on First Amendment grounds has merit and should go forward, a three-judge federal panel ruled Wednesday.

      The map, drawn by Maryland’s Democratic lawmakers following the 2010 Census, essentially ensured that seven of the state’s eight congressional seats would be under their party’s control.

      According to the lawsuit, the redistricting specifically targeted western Maryland’s 6th District, where lines were altered to help unseat 10-term incumbent Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R). Bartlett was defeated by John Delaney (D) in 2012.

    • Democracy Wins as ‘Biggest Gerrymandering Case in Generation’ Moves Forward
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Facebook Reduces Human Involvement in Selection of Trending Topics

      Facebook Inc. is reducing human involvement in how it displays its Trending Topics after a controversy earlier this year over whether editors working for the social network operator silenced conservative news.

      After conducting an internal investigation and saying it found no bias, Facebook is still retooling the trending news section to rely more on computers than humans. Instead of showing a headline and a summary, the trending topics will instead show an algorithmically selected topic, like “Olympics,” as well as the number of people talking about it, the company said Friday in a blog post.

    • How I Was Blacklisted at CNN, and How Easily America Goes to War Now

      It was about two years ago to the day I was blacklisted at CNN.

      I don’t want to remind them they were sadly wrong, but they were. So write this off however you prefer, but understand that we were lied to again to drag us again into an open-ended war in Iraq-Syria. Last time it was Bush and those missing Weapons of Mass Destruction. This time is was Obama and saving the Yazidi people from genocide.

      Wait, what? Who are the Yazidis? How they get us back into Iraq?

      Ah, how fast time flies.

      Two years ago a group of Yazidis, a minority spread across Iran, Iraq and Turkey, were being threatened by a group called ISIS few American were focused on. Obama declared a genocide was about to happen, and the U.S. had to act. U.S. officials said they believed that some type of ground force would be necessary to secure the safety of the stranded members of the Yazidi group. The military drew up plans for limited airstrikes and the deployment of 150 ground troops.

    • Why There’s a Media Blackout on the Native American Oil Pipeline Blockade

      As the Lakota Sioux continue their peaceful blockade of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, the story’s absence from the national media narrative is palpable. Considering the corporate media’s chronic quest for controversial stories on government versus public standoffs, you’d think this situation would garner the typical media frenzy invoked during a right-wing militia occupation of a federal building, for example, or a tense standoff between the Black Lives Matter movement and police. But it’s not.

      As of late, the media has faced criticism for its selective coverage of certain events — like, say, focusing on single terror attacks in Western Europe that garner thousands of headlines while basically ignoring similar or worse attacks that occur on a constant basis in Muslim-majority countries.

    • Melania Trump threatens to sue news outlets

      Melania Trump has threatened to sue The Daily Mail, Politico and at least eight other news outlets for defamation, her lawyer says.

      Trump, the wife of the Republican presidential nominee, has placed The Daily Mail and other news organizations “on notice… for making false and defamatory statements about her supposedly having been an ‘escort’ in the 1990s,” Charles Harder, a lawyer for Trump, said in a statement.

      In addition, Harder said that he had put Politico on notice for “false and defamatory statements” regarding its reporting on Trump’s immigration history. Politico confirmed that its reporters had been sent notices.

    • Lawsuit Over Facebook Post Raises Fears of Online Censorship in Bhutan

      Bhutanese journalist Namgay Zam is facing defamation charges over a Facebook post, marking the first time that anyone in the Himalayan country has been taken to court over their social media activities. Official statements surrounding the case indicate that social media users in Bhutan may soon be restricted in what they can say online.

      The suit against Zam revolves around a family that is fighting a property dispute against well-connected business man Ap Sonam Phuntsho, who is also father-in-law to the Chief Justice of Bhutan.

      In an online appeal posted by Namgay on Facebook, Dr. Sacha Wangmo explains how Phuntsho attempted to seize her family’s home when an estranged family member could not repay Phuntsho a debt of Nu 0.7 million. Wangmo says that Phuntsho forged documents to show that they sold their house to repay debts to him, something to which the family says they never agreed. The documents also indicated that their debts had compounded, rising from Nu 0.7 million to Nu 3 million.

    • Pakistani law could enable sweeping internet censorship

      Bangkok, August 26, 2016 – Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain should veto a bill that could allow for sweeping censorship of the internet and the prosecution of journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Pakistan’s National Assembly approved the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 last week and sent it to Hussain to sign into law, according to press reports.

      Ambiguous language in the bill, which the Pakistani Senate approved in July and the National Assembly approved on August 11, would give state regulators sweeping powers to censor the internet, including material posted to social media platforms, in the name of upholding stability, security, and “the glory of Islam,” news reports said. Penalties under the law include three years in prison and fines for “spoofing,” defined as creating a website or disseminating information online using a “counterfeit” identity with “dishonest” intent, a provision that could apply to satirical websites. Judges could also sentence those found guilty of publishing material deemed to “harm the reputation” of someone, reports said.

    • Israel’s war on open discourse: State censorship now reaches into international news sources and social media

      Since the beginning of this year, Israel’s attempts to control what people can read and write within the country and in occupied Palestinian territories have increased, reaching into new areas in ways that are of concern.

      Of course, all states carefully monitor information, and Israel is not the only country that advertises itself as being an “open democracy” while imposing strict kinds of censorship. But recent developments in Israel signal not only the kinds of things it wishes to censor beyond its borders, but also how it is systematically censoring political dissent and monitoring social media.

      Israel’s authority to carry out such monitoring and censorship still largely derive from measures called the “Defense (Emergency) Regulations,” which were put in place in 1945 during the British Mandate. These have been adapted to the present day in three problematic manners. First, Israel is imposing gag orders on international journalists. In some cases, this holds true even if the information included in an international report is already available in Israel itself. This puts international journalists and editors in the difficult position of determining how much information is worth fighting for.

      Second, Israel is using a vague and broad notion of “incitement” to arrest and detain individuals for things they post on Facebook and Twitter, and requiring that certain individuals gain the State’s approval before posting. Furthermore, Israel has publicly shamed Facebook for not catching certain posts in time — in effect, Israel is asking Facebook to adopt the State’s criteria for what is to be censored. Finally, Israel has also tried to enlist Facebook and Twitter to its cause, and recruited other countries to form a consortium of watchdogs.

    • Who is Nabeel Rajab?

      Have you expressed disapproval of your government? Called for more democratic decision-making in your country? Criticised prison conditions or criticised a country allied with your government? Retweeted a comment that included #opinionsarenotcrimes?

      You are a criminal. You could be facing up to 15 years in prison for simply expressing your point of view, if you lived in Bahrain.

      Nabeel Rajab, just like you, thinks his country could be better. And he has made those views public. He speaks out against poor prison conditions, and argues for more freedom of speech in Bahrain.

      On 5 September Rajab is due in court accused of spreading “false or malicious news, statements, or rumours”, evidence of which includes a retweet of an Index tweet; “offending a foreign country” through tweeted criticism of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Yemen; and “offending a statutory body” by condemning conditions in the country’s notorious Jau prison.

      What’s worse, it’s just the latest in a long line of actions taken by the Bahraini government against Rajab, one of the Middle East’s most prominent human rights defenders.

    • Shrinking space for journalism in Russia and Ukraine

      The conflict over Crimea between Ukraine and Russia is having a direct impact on journalists. Though the tactics have differed, each country has been narrowing the space for reporting information on events.

      “A review of incidents reported to the database show that increasingly — in both Russia and Ukraine — the public’s right to information is being jeopardised by the blocking of journalists’ professional duties. The long-term implications, reinforced by polarised viewpoints, are hardened by a lack of a free media,” Hannah Machlin, project officer of Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom platform, said.

    • Brazilian students return to the streets over classroom censorship laws
    • Social media throttling in Turkey points to wartime censorship efforts
    • Telemundo Responds To SAG-AFTRA’s Accusation Of Censorship For Not Airing Ad Critical Of NBCUniversal
    • Telemundo Refuses to Air SAG-AFTRA Ad About Language Equity
    • Telemundo refuses to air ad from SAG-AFTRA calling for pay uniformity
    • US Latin TV Network Underpaying Spanish Speakers
    • SAG-AFTRA Blasts Telemundo’s ‘Double Standard’ Treatment of Talent in TV Spot
    • Clinton’s Censorship Tactics Aren’t Working Against Trump
    • Journalists resort to self-censorship after Maldives passes draconian defamation law
    • Former President of Maldives Mohammed Nasheed flies secretly to Sri Lanka to unseat President Abdullah Yameen
    • Facebook Censors Video Exposing PBS Cutting Hillary/TPP Criticism From Jill Stein Interview

      Facebook is censoring a video created by Green candidate Dr. Jill Stein supporter Matt Orfalea that exposes PBS Newshour cutting Stein’s criticism of Hillary Clinton, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and Obamacare.

      Breitbart News reported on the Orfalea’s video exposing the Hillary bias and now it appears Facebook is censoring the exposure of censorship. Orfalea told Breitbart News: “It’s insane.”

    • PBS NewsHour Cuts Anti-Hillary Portions of Judy Woodruff’s Jill Stein Interview
    • Criticism of Clinton Edited from Jill Stein’s Answer During PBS Interview
    • Jill Stein Reportedly Censored In PBS Interview
    • PBS Gets Caught Cutting Criticism Of Hillary, TPP, and Obamacare From Jill Stein Interview
    • Just What Clinton Doesn’t Need: An Attack From the Left by Jill Stein
    • Extensive Criticism of Clinton Edited Out of Green Party Nominee’s Answer During PBS Interview
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Secret Cameras Record Baltimore’s Every Move From Above

      The sky over the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on June 23 was the color of a dull nickel, and a broad deck of lowering clouds threatened rain. A couple dozen people with signs—“Justice 4 Freddie Gray” and “The whole damn system is guilty as hell”—lingered by the corner of the courthouse, watching the network TV crews rehearse their standups. Sheriff’s officers in bulletproof vests clustered around the building’s doors, gripping clubs with both hands.

      Inside, a judge was delivering the verdict in the case of Caesar Goodson, the only Baltimore police officer facing a murder charge for the death of Freddie Gray. In April 2015, Gray’s neck was broken in the back of a police van, and prosecutors had argued that Goodson purposefully drove the vehicle recklessly, careening through the city, to toss Gray around.

    • Cisco starts patching firewall devices against NSA-linked exploit [Ed: Cisco should not deliver patches. It should liberate all the code, make it FOSS so that trust can be established]

      Cisco Systems has started releasing security patches for a critical flaw in Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) firewalls targeted by an exploit linked to the U.S. National Security Agency.

      The exploit, dubbed ExtraBacon, is one of the tools used by a group that the security industry calls the Equation, believed to be a cyberespionage team tied to the NSA.

      ExtraBacon was released earlier this month together with other exploits by one or more individuals who use the name Shadow Brokers. The files were provided as a sample of a larger Equation group toolset the Shadow Brokers outfit has put up for auction.

    • Cisco Takes Measures Against NSA Exploit Cyberweapon

      On Wednesday, Aug. 24, Cisco Systems has released some security patches for a critical flaw in Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) firewalls found to be the target of an exploit cyberweapon linked to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). Security analysts expect that the networking company will soon release more fixes.

    • NSA cyber weapons ‘hacked’ by mysterious Shadow Brokers

      According to another expert, Matt Suiche, co-founder of security start-up Comae Technologies, the stolen sample also shows that network security equipment from different manufacturers and brands – including Cisco Systems, Juniper, Fortigate and Chinese industrial giant Topse – are targeted by Equation.

    • Hacker Group to Auction Off Supposed NSA Data From Breached Computer Systems

      The hacking group who perpetrated the cyber attack call themselves “The Shadow Brokers” and much speculation surrounds their origin.

      How sure are we that these tools actually belonged to the NSA?

      This code similarity makes us believe with a high degree of confidence that the tools from the ShadowBrokers leak are related to the malware from the Equation group.

    • Untangling the NSA’s latest alleged embarrassment
    • Should the NSA Reveal Leaked Exploits?

      The outing of the NSA-linked framework is the latest in a series of leaks of cyber toolsets that highlight that many governments are active in cyber operations against rival nations, non-governmental groups and even individuals. Mobile security firm Lookout and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab revealed on Aug. 25, for example, that an attacker, likely a nation, had used espionage tools allegedly created by the NSO Group—including exploits for three previously unknown iOS vulnerabilities—against a well-known Middle Eastern activist, Ahmed Mansoor. Mansoor had been targeted by similar attempts twice before.

    • Cisco updates advisory: “We have started publishing fixes” for NSA-linked exploits

      Cisco Wednesday updated a security advisory for a remote code execution vulnerability affecting the SNMP application-layer protocol. The vulnerability was discovered after the Shadow Brokers release of exploits believed to have been used by the Equation Group loosely tied to the National Security Agency (NSA).

      Omar Santos, principal engineer of Cisco’s product security incident response team (PSIRT), wrote in the advisory that the SNMP vulnerability (CVE-2016-6366) is related to the ExtraBacon exploit. “We have started publishing fixes for affected versions, and will continue to publish additional fixes for supported releases as they become available in the coming days,” Santos wrote.

    • Cisco, Huawei and Juniper play down NSA attack reports

      The reports emerged after a group called Shadow Brokers released files that seemed to show the NSA was targeting not only US companies such as Cisco and Juniper but also Chinese vendor Huawei.

      A Huawei spokesperson said: “We do view this as a bit of an old story”, but gave an official statement: “Huawei is aware of allegations of past government attempts to exploit commercial networking gear. We know that networks and related ICT product are under regular and widespread attack and we make significant investments in innovative technologies, processes and security assurance procedures to better secure them, as well as the networks and data of our customers.

    • Is There Another Edward Snowden Leaking NSA Info?

      After news that a cache of proprietary and powerful hacking tools had been stolen from the National Security Agency, the government suggested Russian hackers were to blame.

      But intelligence expert and former NSA whistleblower James Bamford writes that the theft probably isn’t the work of the Russians, and was more likely carried out by an insider, similar to famed NSA leak source, Edward Snowden.

      “If Russia had stolen the hacking tools, it would be senseless to publicize the theft, let alone put them up for sale,” Bamford wrote for Reuters. “It would be like a safecracker stealing the combination to a bank vault and putting it on Facebook.”

      On the weekend of Aug. 13 and 14, a hacker group calling itself the Shadow Brokers placed the stolen tools online. They consist of what The Washington Post called “a sophisticated cyber arsenal” capable of smashing through firewalls and exploiting weaknesses in network security.

    • Politicians renew call to bring Snowden to Germany

      The Green and Die Linke politicians wrote a letter to the Federal Court of Justice, asking that Snowden be allowed to be questioned in Germany for an ongoing inquiry into NSA surveillance.

      According to DPA sources, they want to break a blockade by the coalition government against having Snowden come for questioning about surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

      “Neither a questioning by video nor a hearing of Edward Snowden in Moscow are the same as a questioning in Berlin,” said Linke politician Martina Renner.

      “A testimony in Moscow or by video still would entail significant problems for security and the protection of information about the relevant concerns.”

      The German parliament set up an investigatory committee after Snowden leaked information that revealed the scale of the NSA’s spying, including claims that American agents had tapped into Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone.

      The information from Snowden also led to the emergence of information about Germany helping the NSA to spy on German companies and European politicians.

    • Letter: Liberals twist ‘hacks’ and ‘leaks’ [Ed: Whistleblowers need to defy rules in order to demonstrate misconduct and avoid cover-up. This letter ignores that.]

      What if the leaker signed a confidentially agreement not to share any information, as Manning and Snowden did? Did they not then break the law to obtain the information? What if someone physically enters into a restricted area at work and leaks this data to the media? Is this not theft?

    • NSA has a Most Skillfully Developed Hackers’ Team

      It’s presumed that Equation Group is a contractor that provides service to the NSA. To describe it differently it would be USA’s very own hackers’ team. Cyber Security Company Kaspersky Lab based in Moscow analyzed Equation Group as an extremely skilled hacking group equipped with resources and sophisticated techniques.

    • Were Stolen NSA Codes Leaked by ‘Another Snowden?’

      Top secret tools used by the National Security Agency are believed to be have been leaked by a group calling itself the “Shadow Brokers.”

      The “Shadow Factory” author James Bamford said he wouldn’t be surprise if the hack was caused by someone within the NSA.

      “All indications are that this probably came from somebody from the inside, not somebody from the outside, and certainly not the Russians,” Bamford said during an interview on the FOX Business Network’s Cavuto: Coast-to-Coast.

      The leaked toolkits, believed to be authentic, provided an inside look at the hacking toolkit of the NSA’s hacker unit from 2013. Bamford is convinced someone from within the agency is responsible for the security breach – an incident similar to the one in which Edward Snowden walked away with 1.7 million NSA documents.

    • If You’re Learning About It From Slate, Running Your Own Email Server Is A Horrendously Bad Idea

      And for what tradeoff? Well, there are some pretty big ones. If you’re not particularly skilled and experienced with online security issues, your personal email server is almost certainly significantly less secure than the big companies that have strong security teams and are constantly making it stronger and on the lookout for attacks. If you’re that good, you’re not learning about the issue of hosting your own email server for the first time in… Slate.

      The article insists that it’s a myth that running your own server is a security nightmare, but I’ve yet to see an online security expert who agrees with that even remotely. Even the comments to the Slate piece are filled with IT folks screaming about what a bad idea this is.

      In the end, this seems to be an issue of tradeoffs and skills. If you’re quite skilled with online security and you think the government might want secret access to your email, then maybe in some limited cases, it might make more sense for you to run your own server — though, even then you’re exposing yourself to being hacked by the government too, because, you know, they do that kind of thing also in some cases. Otherwise, you’re almost certainly opening yourself up to a home IT nightmare and a lot more trouble than it’s worth for significantly less security.

      In short, even if you’re not Hillary Clinton, running your own email server is a bad idea. And if you’re just now getting the idea from Slate… then it’s a really bad idea.

    • Privacy-Preserving Abuse Detection in Future Decentralised Online Social Networks
    • WhatsApp and Facebook to share data – even more snooping

      WhatsApp is an encrypted mobile messaging service. It was purchased by Facebook in February 2014 with the implication that its users’ data would never be shared. It is still saying that despite its latest blog indicating otherwise.

      WhatsApp’s latest blog “Looking ahead for WhatsApp” reveals changes to allow it to share user data with its parent Facebook for highly targeted advertising.

      The blog says, “By connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them. For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of. You can learn more, including how to control the use of your data, here.”

      The updated privacy policy, however, is a wordy document but essentially says, “We may provide you marketing for our Services and those of the Facebook family of companies, of which we are now a part.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Sheriff’s Raid to Find Blogger Who Criticized Him Was Unconstitutional, Court Rules

      An appellate court in Baton Rouge ruled Thursday that a raid on a police officer’s house in search of the blogger who had accused the sheriff of corruption was unconstitutional.

      The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals argued that Sheriff Jerry Larpenter’s investigation into the blog ExposeDAT had flawed rationale: the alleged defamation was not actually a crime as applied to a public official.

      The unanimous ruling from the three-judge panel comes after police officer Wayne Anderson and his wife Jennifer Anderson were denied assistance in local and federal court.

      “I love it when justice is tangible,” Jerri Smitko, one of the Andersons’ laywers, told The Intercept.

      “With that piece of paper it says that what they did was unconstitutional — that’s a great feeling because you’re holding it in your hand and it’s vindication for people that they intended to oppress,” she added.

      The raid was sparked by the sheriff’s investigation into who was behind the anonymous blog that accused local officials, including him, of corruption and fraud. Through a blog and a Facebook page called “John Turner,” ExposeDAT used public records to show conflicts of interest.

      The sheriff sought warrants when Tony Alford, a local business owner, filed a criminal complaint about the blog. On August 2, Larpenter and his deputies raided the Andersons’ house after they traced the IP address of the John Turner Facebook page through a warrant to AT&T.

      The information AT&T provided, according to an affidavit, gave the sheriff an address and a name: Wayne Anderson.

    • Patients violated, doctors rehabilitated

      Doctors who sexually abuse patients go to therapy and then return to practice

    • The Battle Over the Burkini

      There are at least two ways of looking at this: one from the perspective of much of the Muslim world, the other from the perspective of Western countries. The main difference here is this: Westerners or others have of course right to express personal opinions on this issue, but have no authority overseas to decide on the issues that essentially affect Muslim women and local practices in the Muslim world. (Unless we are talking about gross violations of human rights which this is not.)

      It is Muslim men and women who have to decide for themselves what norms they seek on social dress codes for their own countries and cultures. In the Muslim world there is no unanimity, and furthermore the issue is evolving with time.

      Let’s be clear — I’m talking about here the wearing of full face and body covering (burka), not about women’s modest Islamic dress such as the hijab — more like a nun’s habit — that covers the hair but not the face.

      I happen to personally believe that women’s place in society is basically held back by the wearing of the full body and face covering (burka). That is indisputably the case in the West, but even in the East as well. But that is just my personal opinion.

    • The Deep Colonial Roots of France’s Unveiling of Muslim Women

      Throughout the summer, as a growing number of southern French municipalities banned burkinis on their beaches, the measure was widely decried as Islamophobic, counter-productive and oppressive to women. While it would be easy to reduce it to a misled, demagogue measure by right-wing mayors attempting to appear ‘tough on extremism’ in the aftermath of the Nice attack and in a national climate of rising Islamophobia, the bans are only the latest development in a long history of state-led oppression of Muslim women. In fact, the French State has been unveiling Muslim women for decades.

      During colonial rule in Algeria and the Algerian War of Independence, French military propaganda enjoined women to unveil themselves as acts of allegiance to both the French state and “civilization” itself. In turn, remaining veiled was an act of cultural and national resistance. Following years of controversy on the subject, France passed a law to ban headscarves in schools in 2004, and in 2010 Nicolas Sarkozy’s government banned the burqa in all public spaces.

    • ‘Line in the Sand’: Court Halts Burkini Ban on French Beaches

      France’s highest administrative court halted the controversial ban on full-body “burkinis” imposed by the town of Villeneuve-Loubet on the grounds that it “seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms.”

      The court said a final decision on the legality of the ban—which is similar to those also in place in some 30 French towns, mostly on the Riviera—would be made later. If Villeneuve-Loubet’s ban is found to be illegal, that ruling could set a precedent for the others, the BBC reports. Correspondents said the court’s action makes it likely that the other bans will also be overturned.

      The ban on the full-body swimsuits has engendered widespread criticism from those who say it uses the language of human rights to impose discriminatory rules on Muslim women.

    • France: Reaction to court decision to overturn burkini ban

      Responding to the decision of France’s highest administrative court to overturn the ban on the burkini on a French beach, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director said:

      “By overturning a discriminatory ban that is fuelled by and is fuelling prejudice and intolerance, today’s decision has drawn an important line in the sand.”

      “French authorities must now drop the pretence that these measures do anything to protect the rights of women. Rather, invasive and discriminatory measures such as these restrict women’s choices and are an assault on their freedoms of expression, religion and right to non-discrimination.”

    • When Police Body Cameras Aren’t The Answer

      Earlier this month, a too familiar tragedy unfolded in East Los Angeles when Los Angeles police officers shot and killed 14-year-old Jesse Romero. Witness accounts vary — the police department says Romero fled when officers approached him on suspicion of scrawling graffiti in his neighborhood, then fired at officers. Some civilians say he had a gun but tossed it away.

      As is increasingly common, the incident was captured on officers’ body cameras.

      Los Angeles officials have touted body cameras as a way to provide transparency and accountability and build trust between police and the public in moments of crisis. But that’s not how it has played out because the LAPD’s policies for body cameras don’t provide transparency or assure the public that officers will be held accountable.

      Instead, the department has stated that it generally holds videos from public view unless ordered by a court to release them. Romero’s family has called for the footage to be released.

      According to LAPD policy, officers are able to review body cam footage before talking to investigators. Instead of promoting transparency and trust, LAPD’s body camera program has resulted in more questions than answers.

    • NYPD Ignored Court-Imposed Rules While Spying on American Muslims

      A new report from the NYPD Inspector General provides more fodder for critics of the department’s discredited practices.

      The New York Police Department repeatedly violated important court-imposed safeguards when it secretly investigated American Muslims for years, according to a new report released this week by the police’s own watchdog.

      The report, issued by the Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD, examined the department’s compliance with the Handschu Guidelines, which protect New Yorkers’ lawful political and religious activities from unwarranted surveillance, and are incorporated into the NYPD’s Patrol Guide. The investigation focused on a sample of cases closed between 2010 and 2015 that largely involved American Muslims. The report found that the NYPD failed to follow important safeguards in place to protect people’s rights and the integrity of police investigations.

      In perhaps its most damning finding, the inspector general said that in more than half the cases reviewed, both NYPD investigations and their use of informants and undercover officers continued after approval expired. In some cases, the inspector general found the department failed to document any actual reason for extending investigations in which there was no reasonable indication of wrongdoing. This is just more proof that the NYPD’s surveillance of American Muslims was highly irregular and disturbing.

      In the cases reviewed, according to the inspector general, the NYPD always met the “informational threshold” required to open cases. That plainly does not jibe with what the ACLU and NYCLU discovered when looking at NYPD records. Our lawyers have said there were often no valid reasons for the NYPD to open or extend investigations of American Muslims.

    • Justice Department Pressed to Intervene When Police Arrest Grassroots Journalists

      Across the country, civilian journalists have documented government violence using cell phones to record police activities, forcing a much-needed national discourse. But in case after case after case after case, the people who face penalties in the wake of police violence are the courageous and quick-witted residents who use technology to enable transparency.

      Earlier this month, the International Documentary Association launched an online petition to the Department of Justice asking the federal government to intervene when local police arrest or otherwise harass civilians who document and record police violence. EFF was proud to sign the petition, since this is an issue on which we have been increasingly active.

      Led by film makers Laura Poitras and David Felix Sutcliffe, the petition also calls for an official investigation exploring “the larger pattern of abuse that has emerged on a federal, state, and local level, and the threat it poses to free speech and a free press.” Finally, the petition urges “our peers in the journalistic community to investigate and report on these abuses.”

      Poitras’ film Citizenfour, documenting the Edward Snowden revelations, won the 2015 Oscar award for Best Documentary. Sutcliffe directed (T)error, which is the first film ever to document an FBI sting operation as it unfolds (and in the interest of full disclosure, briefly features the author of this post).

    • Illinois Achieved Important Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reforms. But Those Reforms Represent Only A Fraction of What Must Be Done.

      While Illinois embraced some bipartisan criminal justice reform, the battle for systemic change has just begun.

      Earlier this week, Illinois’ Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and leaders from the Democratic-controlled legislature took a break from campaigning and gathered together at a ceremony in Chicago to smile for cameras and extol the spirit of compromise as the governor signed legislation aimed at reforming the state’s broken criminal justice system.

      To an observer outside Illinois politics, the significance of this show of bipartisanship might not be readily apparent. Election year politics aside, cooperation between Rauner and the General Assembly has been almost nonexistent since the governor took office in 2015. The two sides have been locked in a bitter and protracted budget battle, with the government operating on stopgap and court-ordered funding, while each side accuses the other of holding the state hostage.

      No one should expect that the recent bill signing represents a break in the impasse that has paralyzed government in Illinois. However, it does demonstrate that the growing consensus that Illinois’ criminal justice system is broken and in need of immediate reform has the power to transcend even the unprecedented partisan distrust and hostility that exists in Springfield today.

      The current state of Illinois’ criminal justice system is the product of a familiar story that is playing out in cities all across the country. Although crime rates have been on a steady decline for decades, our prisons are severely overcrowded as a result of “tough on crime” sentencing laws passed in the 1980s and 1990s, and the destructive impact of over-incarceration has fallen disproportionately upon communities of color and the poor. There is also a profound shortage of rehabilitative services to address behavioral health disorders that can thrust people into crisis and lead to negative interactions with law enforcement.

      Those released from prison face barriers to employment, education, and housing years after paying their debts to society. Not surprisingly, recidivism among those released from prison remains high. Meanwhile, relations between police and the community are at a tipping point, and our draconian drug sentencing laws have done nothing to stave off an epidemic of addiction and overdose.

      As the governor himself acknowledged, the five bills enacted into law on Monday are the first tiny steps in a long process of reform. Gov. Rauner created the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform in early 2015, and he tasked it with recommending specific reforms which, if implemented, will enable the state to safely reduce its incarcerated population by 25 percent over 10 years.

    • Federal police raids over NBN leak should ring alarm bells for journalists

      The last two people who were successfully prosecuted in Australia for receiving and disclosing an “official secret” were a former intelligence officer and the prostitute he gave classified documents to for the purposes of selling them on to a foreign government.

      But now, for the first time in decades, the Australian federal police has dusted off this rarely used law. There are no prostitutes this time, and no sordid allegations of espionage or intrigue.

      Instead, there’s a Labor staffer who is under investigation for allegedly receiving documents tantamount to an “official secret” from an anonymous source. The documents, according to Labor, are nothing to do with national security but do show failings and cost blowouts in the construction of Australia’s highly politicised national broadband network.

    • Administration Creates A Hack For A Entrepreneur’s Immigration Visa

      For many, many years we’ve talked about why the US should have an entrepreneur’s visa to let in smart entrepreneurs who are able to build companies and create jobs in the US, rather than kicking out the very people who are helping to build out the US economy. However, because immigration is such a touchy issue, attempts to do so via Congress have gone nowhere. And while we’ve had some concerns about the actual implementation (in particular the focus on requiring the entrepreneurs to raise a fair amount of venture capital), the general concept is a good one.

      [...]

      This does seem better than some of the earlier proposals, which included requirements after receiving the visa to have to raise upwards of $1 million from investors. We were worried that this would basically force entrepreneurs to take money from VCs when they might not otherwise need to. This parole system still has raising money as a criteria, but the amount is significantly lower and DHS also has the flexibility to still grant the parole without the investment if there is “other reliable and compelling evidence of the startup entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.”

    • Challenged Over ‘Racist’ Remarks, Maine Governor Leaves Unhinged Voicemail

      Maine’s Donald Trump-supporting, race-baiting, Republican Governor Paul LePage has gotten into hot water—again—after leaving a state lawmaker an expletive-laced and threatening voicemail on Thursday.

      In the phone message, LePage—who was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014—demands that Democratic Rep. Drew Gattine “prove” that he’s a racist, calls him a “son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker,” and says: “I am after you.”

      Gattine has denied that he called the governor racist after his latest diatribe on the racial background of drug dealers in the state. LePage on Wednesday said that “90 percent of drug dealers coming into Maine are black or Hispanic.”

    • ‘Prove I’m a racist’: LePage challenges Westbrook lawmaker in obscenity-laced voice mail

      Gov. Paul LePage left a state lawmaker from Westbrook an expletive-laden phone message Thursday in which he accused the legislator of calling him a racist, encouraged him to make the message public and said, “I’m after you.”

      LePage sent the message Thursday morning after a television reporter appeared to suggest that Democratic Rep. Drew Gattine was among several people who had called the governor a racist, which Gattine later denied. The exchange followed remarks the governor made in North Berwick on Wednesday night about the racial makeup of suspects arrested on drug trafficking charges in Maine.

    • Rights Advocates Slam Baltimore’s “Incomprehensible” Police Spying

      “The fact that the BPD has been engaged in a secret program of mass surveillance is both incomprehensible and unacceptable. It is even more astounding that this could be done during a Justice Department investigation into the BPD that found pervasive racial bias and lack of accountability,” Rocah said in a statement Wednesday.

    • Match the Fine For Palestine: The Higher You Build Your Barriers, the Taller We Become

      In what one admirer calls “a brilliant generous gesture… telling Palestinians they have not been forgotten,” activist fans of Scotland’s Celtics soccer team – the working-class, historically progressive community already facing punishment for flying Palestinian flags at a recent game against Israel to protest the Occupation – have launched a defiant fundraiser to match their likely upcoming fine, thus “hugging tighter” an oppressed population with which they’ve long felt a kinship. The Celtics plan to give the proceeds – their original goal of $20,000 quickly grew to a flood of about $200,000 – to two Palestinian charitable groups.

      Europe’s ruling soccer body UEFA has already announced disciplinary proceedings against Celtic for its display of an “illicit banner” at a game against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva team a couple of weeks ago. The act of solidarity was one of many over the years by a largely Irish Catholic community with a strong sense of affinity for the Palestinian struggle against colonization. With over 1,200 Scots of Palestinian origin, their own history of occupation and an ongoing sense of being underdogs in Scotland, says historian Tom Devine, “Part of their sense of communal identity is that sense of grievance about what was done in the past. People who are Irish nationalists will always tend to support independence movements they believe to be based on historical justice.”

    • Death to the Death Penalty in California

      On Election Day, California voters will make a monumental moral and financial decision. Proposition 62—the Justice That Works Act—is on the Nov. 8 ballot, and if the initiative passes, it will replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole. It will also require convicted murderers to work and pay restitution to their victims’ families. And it will save taxpayers $150 million a year, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

      Among the states still part of the U.S. death penalty system, California has the most people on death row—746. Florida is next, with 388 according to the Yes on 62 campaign. Overall, 2,943 people are on death row in the United States (as of Jan. 1)—meaning almost one in four people waiting to be executed are in the California penal system. The elderly make up 11 percent, and the oldest condemned inmate is 86. The average stay on death row is 18 years.

      Although California has spent about $5 billion administering the death penalty, it has executed just 13 people since 1978. This means taxpayers have spent about $384 million per execution.

      There is no evidence demonstrating that the death penalty deters crime, according to a 2012 National Academy of Sciences study. Capital punishment has been applied arbitrarily due to inherent bias, local political pressures on prosecutors and judges, and lack of access to quality defense attorneys by those convicted. According to Death Penalty Focus, the race of the victim and the race of the defendant are major determinants in who is sentenced to death in this country.

      [...]

      And look at the company we keep. Only China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia execute more people than the United States.

    • Where Is Our Martin Luther King Jr.?
    • Apple is the source of mistreatment of Chinese workers
    • iPhone or iExploit? Rampant Labor Violations in Apple’s Supply Chain

      A new report published August 24 by China Labor Watch (CLW) demonstrates that the same legal and ethical violations that attracted media attention in 2012 continue unabated at Apple supplier factories today. In the case of Pegatron, CLW reports that conditions have actually worsened since 2015, despite years of audits commissioned by Apple, a membership in the Fair Labor Association, and promises from the company that it is committed to ensuring the safety and dignity of those who make its lucrative products.

    • Why Walmart Matters to 21st Century Working-Class Struggle

      Service jobs as a share of US working hours increased 30 percent between 1980 and 2005, and their prevalence has only grown since the Great Recession. One 2012 study found that although two-thirds of the jobs lost during the recession were mid-wage jobs, 58 percent of the jobs regained by the time of the study were instead low-wage, paying less than $13.84 per hour. Retail sales alone added well over 300,000 jobs in this period, at an average wage of $10.97 an hour; just behind was food prep, paying an average of just over $9 an hour. The trend had begun before the crisis, but after the crisis hit, it was impossible to pretend that something fundamental hadn’t changed.

    • Temp Organizing Gets Big Boost from NLRB

      Thanks to a National Labor Relations Board decision, workers employed by temporary staffing agencies may find it easier to organize and bargain.

      The Board issued its long-awaited ruling last August in the case of Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI). The decision revamped the Board’s test for what’s considered a “joint employer,” imposing new legal obligations on employers who hire through temp agencies and potentially also on giant corporate franchisors.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • How the father of the World Wide Web plans to reclaim it from Facebook and Google

      When the World Wide Web first took off in the mid 1990s, the dream wasn’t just big, it was distributed: Everyone would have their own home page, everyone would post their thoughts – they weren’t called “blogs” until 1999 – and everyone would own their own data, for there was no one around offering to own it for us. The web consisted of nodes joined by links, with no center.

      Oh, how times have changed.

      Now a handful of companies own vast swaths of web activity – Facebook for social networking, Google for searching, eBay for auctions – and quite literally own the data their users have provided and generated. This gives these companies unprecedented power over us, and gives them such a competitive advantage that it’s pretty silly to think you’re going to start up a business that’s going to beat them at their own game. The fact that Facebook already has the data in 1.7 billion users’ profiles and, more important, the history of its users’ interactions means that you’re probably not going to attract a lot of savvy investors. Plus that’s where all your friend are already. Vendor lock-in is real.

    • How Is This Not A Net Neutrality Violation, Sprint?

      While the United States’ net neutrality rules are certainly better than nothing, we’ve noted a few times how they contain enough loopholes (and ignore enough hot button topics) as to be more than a little problematic. More specifically, they contain so much wiggle room they let ISPs of all stripes violate net neutrality — just so long as they’re a bit more creative about it. Verizon and Comcast were quick to highlight this when they began cap-exempting their own content, while still penalizing their competitors (without so much as a real peep from the FCC).

      T-Mobile pushed these creative barriers further with Binge On, which exempts only the biggest and most popular video services from the company’s usage caps (aka “zero rating”). This automatically puts thousands of smaller video providers, non-profits, educational institutions and startups at a notable market disadvantage, but by and large nobody outside of the EFF and academia seems to give much of a damn because a: ill-informed consumers are happy laboring under the illusion that they’re getting something for free and b: the public (and by proxy media) is lazy and tired of debating net neutrality.

      But the door being opened here leads to a monumental, potentially dangerous shift not only in how broadband service is purchased and sold, but in just how open the internet of the future is going to be.

  • DRM

    • Remember When Cracking Groups Said Denuvo Would End Game Piracy? Yeah, Didn’t Happen

      As you may recall, earlier this year a well-known hacking group that specializes in cracking PC games made the bold prediction that cracking games would no longer be a thing in another year or two. Contrasting with what seems like the neverending trend concerning DRM in software, 3DM stated that the software industry had apparently found its unicorn in a DRM called Denuvo, which was increasingly elongating the time between a game hitting the market and the crack for it becoming available. A practice that usually took days or weeks was suddenly being measured in months, pushing to a year. 3DM made the case that this amount of time and effort to crack a Denuvo-protected game made the practice too costly and, more importantly, that the DRM software was being updated and getting so good that it might essentially become uncrackable.

      This prediction, of course, flew in the face of the history of DRM and the speed with which it has always been defeated, leading me to be more than a bit skeptical of the prediction. Skepticism well-founded, it appears, now that Denuvo appears to have been neutered in the days since.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • France Passes Copyright Law Demanding Royalties For Every Image Search Engines Index Online

        The Disruptive Competition Project is detailing yet another bad copyright law change in Europe — France, in particular, this time. Called the Freedom of Creation Act, it actually passed a few months ago, but people are just beginning to understand and comprehend the full horror of what’s happening. Basically, it will now require any site that indexes images on the internet (i.e., any image search engine) to pay royalties for each image to a collection society.

      • Do passive hosting providers commit acts of communication to the public in relation to third-party content?

        The document is extremely interesting for various reasons. Among the things, the Commission addresses the problem of right holders facing great difficulties, or being unable, “to negotiate with online service providers that store and give access to large amounts of protected content uploaded by their users. This results in right holders having limited control over the use and the remuneration for the use of their content.” [p 124, the so called 'value gap'].

      • European Copyright Leak Exposes Plans to Force the Internet to Subsidize Publishers

        A just-leaked draft impact assessment on the modernization of European copyright rules could spell the end for many online services in Europe as we know them. The document’s recommendations foreshadow new a EU Directive on copyright to be introduced later this year, that will ultimately bind each of the European Union’s 28 member states. If these recommendations by the European Commission are put in place, Europe’s Internet will never be the same, and these impacts are likely to reverberate around the world.

        The 182-page document identifies three general objectives—ensuring wider access to content, adapting copyright exceptions to the digital and cross-border environment, and achieving a well-functioning marketplace for copyright. In this initial article we examine the recommendations that fall under the third of these three objectives, which are amongst the most alarming proposals, including new obligations on Internet platforms, and new copyright-like powers for news publishers.

        More specifically, this article will look at two of the proposals for what the Commission calls “upstream” problems, or difficulties faced by copyright owners in extracting value from the use of content online. We’ll deal with other parts of the document in later posts.

      • FBI-Controlled Megaupload Domain Now Features Soft Porn

        As part of its criminal case against Megaupload, the U.S. Government seized several domain names belonging to Kim Dotcom’s file-hosting service. Nearly five years later the authorities still control the domains but they haven’t done a very good job of securing them. Megaupload.org now links to a soft porn portal.

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