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04.01.20

Upcoming Articles and Research Areas

Posted in Site News at 10:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Morning sun

Summary: Although we’ve failed to write as much as usual, we’re still preparing some in-depth articles and maintaining Daily Links (in spite of unforeseen ordeals like a forced laptop migration)

WITH the death of my laptop (since 2009) a few days ago and various other aspects not related to COVID-19, I’ve been struggling to produce as many articles as usual. As a matter of priority I try to keep on top of the news and Daily Links, instead.

“The way we see it, a bunch of rather misleading narratives have been put together to appease what’s perceived as “the community” (i.e. not large corporations) in the same way major patent offices like to speak about “inventors” (whom they rarely serve, unlike major monopolies).”Coming soon: The Fall of the UPC – Parts X-XII (at least three more parts) and some articles about GNU. We are currently researching some of the patent pools that claim to support “Linux” (one notion of that term anyway) and seeing that Greg K-H, the deputy of Linus Torvalds, now works for Google we can’t help but wonder what goes on at the Linux Foundation. The way we see it, a bunch of rather misleading narratives have been put together to appease what’s perceived as “the community” (i.e. not large corporations) in the same way major patent offices like to speak about “inventors” (whom they rarely serve, unlike major monopolies).

03.31.20

Techrights to Delete Articles From All Past Years to Save Disk Space

Posted in Site News at 6:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Published 27,000 posts in Techrights, soon to turn 13.5 years (average of about 2,000 posts per year)

An old scale

Summary: What if we deleted over 25,000 posts?

THE SITE Techrights has a problem. It has had this problem for a long time. It is just too big. For instance, the compressed archive of our WordPress database alone is soon exceeding a gigabyte (it’s 983MB at the moment, based on the latest nightly dump) and the Web account is over 50 gigabytes in size.

Sooo… we have a plan.

Compact this!

The Right To Be Forgotten is the best law ever to be passed!

So any criticism made here in past years will be deleted, giving people a chance to reinvent themselves and reform their reputation.

Mr. Battistelli, all is forgiven! And we forgive, then forget, António Campinos for his past blunders, before and after joining the European Patent Office (EPO).

Oh, yes… and if you haven’t noticed the date yet. If. Now may be a time to check the clock. Because no… we’re not deleting anything. We’re in fact fortifying the site to ensure the information doesn’t go away any time soon.

The real news is that we’ve exceeded 27,000 posts — another milestone for us.

03.25.20

Targeted Attack Leveraging FSF Servers

Posted in FSF, Site News at 12:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Target

Summary: Targeted by a determined and persist perpetrator, I’ve received over 20,000 E-mails. And the weapon of choice was the FSF’s infrastructure, remotely misused against yours truly.

THOSE who read our IRC logs or follow us outside this site (e.g. social control media) would likely be aware of communications we had opened up with the FSF in the form of a report, support ticket, and correspondence.

“Leveraging Tor exit nodes, some party decided to ‘weaponise’ the FSF’s mailing lists to bombard my E-mail accounts several times per minute.”First of all, I’d like to commend the FSF for swift action, transparency and eventually an explanation (including technical aspects).

So what is it that happened? Well, it seems like more than a week ago someone (or someones) was trying to cause nuisance if not conflict (it was a nuisance, but I spoke to 3 people at the FSF and there was no conflict). Leveraging Tor exit nodes, some party decided to ‘weaponise’ the FSF’s mailing lists to bombard my E-mail accounts several times per minute. For several days. Non-stop.

“Suffice to say, it clogged things up and caused technical issues.”By week’s end I had received over 20,000 E-mails from the FSF’s mailman services. Suffice to say, it clogged things up and caused technical issues. Rather than flag as spam or report the FSF I contacted them, at the advice or Mr. Oliva, and the problem was resolved within less than a day (despite COVID-19 disruptions to workflows and LibrePlanet right there in the middle, keeping FSF staff very busy).

The timing of the incident was particularly inconvenient to all and its perpetrators remain unknown. We can only speculate about the motivations. This week I asked the FSF if I can interpret the situation as, “as far as we know only Roy was targeted by this” and John Sullivan responded with a yes.

The spam mails have stopped.

It’s worth noting that not one E-mail address of mine was targeted (the public address; there are more addresses). Two accounts were targeted, including a private one (which isn’t easy to find).

“It’s worth noting that not one E-mail address of mine was targeted (the public address; there are more addresses). Two accounts were targeted, including a private one (which isn’t easy to find).”So it seems rather clear that someone targeted me, specifically, and used FSF servers for this purpose.

“Given various recent events,” I told the FSF, “it’s rather clear that some people try driving a wedge and strive harm Free software groups. There’s ample evidence of it. Who would have the persistence to get 20,000 spam mails sent to my account from FSF servers?”

The mystery persists, but the FSF and us are in good terms. Many thanks and kind regards to Ruben Rodriguez, Zoë Kooyman, and John Sullivan.

03.21.20

If Techrights is a Conspiracy Website, What’s the Big Conspiracy?

Posted in Site News at 2:47 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Article by figosdev

Free We Are Not Alone

Summary: The real “conspiracy” here is that legalised bribery runs both our industries and our governments, and that corruption is why we hurt as much as we do.

While at least four American politicians are in the middle of an insider trading scandal around a global pandemic, it’s a great time to talk about the sort of “conspiracy” that Techrights exposes.

Of course, the accusation itself is a straw man designed to make criticism of bad actions look less legitimate. It’s a fact that large corporations are known from time to time to fight against fair competition in self-serving ways; reporting that doesn’t make you a “conspiracy theorist.”

Even the term “conspiracy theorist” was promoted heavily by the CIA to lump more criticism of government corruption together with the rants of raving nutters, so that when you encounter one you think of the other. In his standup comedy, Russell Peters makes fun of the way that media and marketing use this sort of association to get more people to judge other groups (Arabs being one example) unfairly.

What we are talking about here is the sort of tactics you might find abused by Fox News. This comparison is even more relevant when you consider that some of the news outlets utilised in the Stallman lynching were owned by Fox News creator Rupert Murdoch. As these tech press shills we often complain about engage more and more in these tactics against sceptics of corporate corruption, they align themselves more closely in ethics with Fox News itself. So that’s something to consider. CBS is another large family of media corporations that we complain about, and they pay some of the shills we have spoken unfavourably of.

“What we are talking about here is the sort of tactics you might find abused by Fox News. This comparison is even more relevant when you consider that some of the news outlets utilised in the Stallman lynching were owned by Fox News creator Rupert Murdoch.”I’m personally of the opinion that it matters less who you are owned by than what you are doing — if you happen to work for Microsoft (one of my least favourite companies on Earth) but the thing you’re best known for is running a non-profit that promotes both Free software (the software itself) and software freedom (the movement) /and/ it isn’t just a ploy to get people to use more proprietary Microsoft tools, I only care that you work for Microsoft if your position on these matters is damaging. Sure, if you work for Microsoft, then it probably is. But it’s the bad things you do, not the person who pays you, that really bothers me.

It’s a common rhetorical maneuver (straw man again) to separate the actual reason for a critique from a person’s argument, then replace it with a nonsense reason, nonsensical-sounding reason, or incomplete reason. I have a problem with what you’re doing, I note that it’s common for people from a certain company to do the same thing, then your retort is “Oh — they just (irrationally) dislike that company for no reason at all.”

The funny thing is, the reason was just stated — but your retort implies there isn’t one. If I gave a dollar to every shill we know who did this, each time they tried to pull it off, I wouldn’t be able to eat. But let’s talk about the “big conspiracy” that Techrights has spent years exposing, since this is supposedly a conspiracy website.

The “big conspiracy”, in my own opinion (I don’t officially speak for Techrights) is that money often equals influence. It’s certainly more complicated than that, but that’s the truth where the real story begins. That’s where the phrase “Follow the money” comes from.

You’ll find this message of money and influence is extremely common in progressive politics, the Occupy movement, and political and election reform. You’ll find former FSF board member and Creative Commons founder (not to mention 2016 presidential candidate and Harvard law professor) Lawrence Lessig speaking on this theme in one of my favourite presentations of all time, which he gave at Dartmouth in 2010.

The big “conspiracy” that Lessig discusses is that via stifling political campaign contributions (legalised bribery) lobbyists have usurped voters and by extension, voting and democracy. This is a theme Lessig has touched on many times during his academic career, and while he is one of my favourite voices on the subject, he is far from alone in this and cites various experts and books that talk more about the subject than he does.

One of the reasons that Lessig got into this topic is actually similar to why more of us do — because we try very hard to advocate for Free software, but find that there are several things (more than we anticipated) standing in our way. It’s logical to try to understand what those obstacles are. When those obstacles are not just remotely but closely linked to corporate donations (legalised bribery) then of course, someone ought to say something. But shills tell us otherwise.

“I’m sure those politicians involved with profiting by telling only a few people to dump stock because of coronavirus “care” a lot as well.”I think it is entirely fair, when someone is being paid by a large corporation that has known connections with monopolies — and is promoting the same messages that are really 10 or 20 years old and in favour of those monopolies — to call that person a “shill”. It’s an opinion, it’s obviously derogatory, but if we can’t criticise corruption and the people who dishonestly champion it, why even bother pretending we stand for anything ourselves?

The real message of people calling Techrights a conspiracy website is that it should stop being so “unfair” (critical) towards corruption, and just you know, drink some iced tea and shut the f*** up. But just to be entirely fair, they don’t really say that. What they say is that Roy uses “charged language.” I suppose referring to “donations” that appear to have transformative and corrupting influence “bribery” is an example of such “charged language”; while calling Techrights a “conspiracy website” isn’t.

Roy and I have our differences. In a corporate cult we would have more orthodoxy, and we would all make our choices and have expectations based purely on what’s best for the big company. You often hear these giant corporations talk about how much they care about people; When you lay people off by the hundreds of thousands, and control more of their personal lives than a smaller company would, you really have to remind people over and over just how much you care about people. “At GAFAM Incorporated, we really care!”

That way when people demonstrate repeatedly just how sociopathic and backhanded you really are, you can say “No, that’s not true — just last Thursday, we told everyone how much we care!” I’m sure those politicians involved with profiting by telling only a few people to dump stock because of coronavirus “care” a lot as well.

But one of the differences between Roy and myself is that I lean more libertarian, and Roy leans (in my opinion) farther left. I don’t have a problem with that at all; being libertarian, I find some of what Eric Raymond says easier to relate to than Roy seems to (again, these are my opinions, I can’t actually speak for Roy but I can speak to my impressions) even though I am certainly sceptical of Raymond’s sincerity on a few specific matters. I still hold out hope that someday, someone will convince me otherwise.

Still, it’s possible to lean both libertarian and progressive — what happens as a result is that you are deeply sceptical of certain routes to progress, but you still try to arrive at a destination where people are happy and more empowered than they were before. I don’t disregard, as shills seem to expect me to — that monopolies disenfranchise the working classes.

One of the most important aspects of the Free software movement to me is that monopolies hurt the user, as well as hurt freedom. Free software does work against that, by definition. It also seems pretty obvious to me that very few billionaires are going to exist without monopolistic abuse. I’d like companies to be able to profit from Free software, but to become a company like Red Hat worth billions of dollars probably takes more compromise than is ideal for anybody — except Red Hat and a few people closer to the top.

“These companies are funding activism junk food, while our collective activist metabolism turns to crap.”To keep something like that going, year after year, you have to convince enough people that this really benefits them too. You have to “sell” disempowerment to the masses, if you want to be the top “earner” in your industry, or if you want to sell your company for billions years down the road.

What Techrights actually talks about, is the motivations and destructive actions of such companies. It talks about the influence that those companies are gaining over more grassroots activism, replacing the “healthy diet” of scepticism of monopoly power with the sugars and fats of “our budget lets us get our message out to more people, while the impact our message has over real user freedom is more shallow than ever before — because we are actually run by the same people we started out standing against.”

These companies are funding activism junk food, while our collective activist metabolism turns to crap. Grassroots movements become larger this way, but have less energy and loaf around watching lots of “messaging” on television instead of getting out and doing what needs to be done. One thing that does change is that it suddenly looks better in media; but the television will not be revolutionised.

Naturally, people quibble over to what degree this has happened, while Techrights repeatedly works to show exactly how this has happened and why. Techrights talks about freedom, it talks about people being disenfranchised, it talks about corruption — and how to stand up to that corruption.

The fight between shills and activists continues — but this means the activists criticise the shills for taking bad money (and then saying things that are untrue, which defend the monopolies) and the shills criticise the activists, saying they’re nothing but trolls, dirty hippies and conspiracy theorists.

There is more money in lying than there is in truth, perhaps. One of the things I love about Techrights is how it invites the community to speak for itself — rather than putting words in everybody’s mouths (and demanding pseudo-ideological corporate conformity) like what is required of the shills.

I won’t link to the Bill Hicks remix, but shills hate your freedom so much, they lie to you for a living. Then they claim they support Stallman. In what form does that support exist? What aspect of what Stallman stands for are they supporting, really? Because the old lie that open source is the same thing as Free software is always used to get you and keep you further away from freedom.

“…the old lie that open source is the same thing as Free software is always used to get you and keep you further away from freedom.”If you sell off Free software — that is, if these monopolies gain more and more (indirect) influence as they pay for more and more of our organisation’s budgets, then these organisations don’t work for us anymore; just as politicians no longer work for voters when they get paid off by lobbyists.

Instead, the direction things are going in is that we work — as volunteers (but really as slaves) for Free software, because although we work harder than we ever did before, we actually get less freedom than we used to as a result. Volunteering for freedom is not slavery, but doing free labour for a bunch of corporate liars making false promises absolutely is.

That’s the “conspiracy” that Techrights exposes. But I prefer to call it “corruption” rather than conspiracy, even if it’s a little of both. I am a libertarian; at least as much as I am aligned with anything else on the political compass, but I am aware of the fact that as regulations on funding (or anti-bribery rules) have been systematically weakened over the past three or four decades, legalised bribery explains more and more of what has gone wrong in the world.

Although I may at times disagree with some progressives on the best course of action — I don’t believe regulations even can prevent enough corruption — I think I can agree that without such regulations there absolutely must be some other established force in place to work against corruption; if that force is not present, we all suffer. Libertarians and most progressives sometimes have different thoughts about why these things are not working, but it’s still extremely important that these things are clearly not working.

I have no respect for the shills, and they have none for us. The reason I think they only care about money, is that it isn’t enough to say you care; you have to show it. What these pundits repeatedly show, is that money means more to them than Stallman, than Freedom, or us. A warning, if you support the shills — they will “help” you and they will use you, in exactly the way they helped Linus Torvalds.

The real “conspiracy” here is that legalised bribery runs both our industries and our governments, and that corruption is why we hurt as much as we do. I hope Techrights continues to report on that — while the Twit-verse continues working to turn bullshit into “marketshare”, and other cynical and shallow examples of success.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

03.19.20

Keep Busy, Prosper at Home

Posted in Site News at 5:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Collective safety, societal solidarity

Better sedentary than sick

Summary: A word to the wise and advice to the kind; please don’t put those around you, especially vulnerable citizens, at risk; on a brighter note, we’ll likely become more productive because of the COVID-19/Coronavirus epidemic-turned-pandemic

THOSE who read this article likely live somewhere like the Americas, Europe, Australia or some other “developed” place. Some of us are forced to stay home, some are advised to stay home, and many choose to stay home.

Stay home. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. Social distancing if not self-isolation are “cool” now. They’re an act not of selfishness but of responsibility.

As somebody who has worked from home since 2007, remote working isn’t unusual for me. It’s actually going to the office — something which happens for day or few every several years — that is unusual (and yes, we have a physical office where I’ve worked; several years ago it was universities).

To me, personally, the main reason to go out is buying stuff (mostly food) and the gym. But yesterday we learned that the gym is closing for at least a month. Buying stuff probably won’t be easy either (or safe). So starting next week I’ll definitely spend more time at home and I shall take advantage of that to write more, read more, respond more.

The pandemic has certainly slowed down the flow of news (and number of significant announcements made), but under the radar many bad things continue to happen, often uncovered, and the spare breathing space (unless running short of it) gives us more time to prepare and publish analyses (as in analytical articles).

Bear with us as we’re likely to become more active in the month to come (or months to come, depending on when the curve gets flattened and the epidemic is contained).

We have deep sympathy and empathy for those who will suffer profoundly in months to come. But we cannot let such an unprecedented pandemic bring our lives to a stop/halt.

02.20.20

Techrights Warns Against Impending Extradition Efforts (Passage of Julian Assange to His Death in the United States)

Posted in Site News at 7:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

People who report/expose/show evidence of crimes aren’t the ones who should be arrested

Joe Arpaio Loses: New Times Co-Founders Win $3.75 Million Settlement for 2007 False Arrests
Source: Joe Arpaio Loses: New Times Co-Founders Win $3.75 Million Settlement for 2007 False Arrests (Trump pardoned Arpaio because he loves pardoning the very worst offenders)

Summary: Imprisonment of journalists who are effective at exposing crimes (of the powerful, not petty crimes) must never be condoned

THE ‘trial’ of Julian Assange is a few days away (Twitter prevented Wikileaks accessing its own account for nearly a week and that does not help); there’s already intentionally-misleading press coverage associating Assange with a Trump pardon, Russia and so on. Wikileaks, still depending on Twitter as its prime communications medium, spoke about Twitter’s suppression attempts and it is already debunking some of what the press is saying, seeking to alter public opinion just days before this trial’s commencement in sites such as BBC (which are eager to associate Assange with Russia, with Trump and so on). This sort of deception by false association is an art form we’ve seen a lot of, sometimes coming from Team UPC and the management of the European Patent Office (EPO), e.g. associating staff unions (notably SUEPO) with Nazism and seeking to paint opposition to the UPC as just AfD.

“What’s really at stake here in the UK and over in the US (Chelsea Manning and a few other cases implicating imprisoned Wikileaks sources) is the legality of exposing crimes, sometimes by means of unauthorised access (by sources, not publishers, although this ‘trial’ deliberately conflates the two things, as does the ‘case’ against Glenn Greenwald in Brazil).”We see no point linking to the latest smears and their refutation (as the refutations themselves link back to the smears), but let’s just say that we in Techrights have a lot at stake because we’re receiving a lot of leaks, we use encryption for communications, and sometimes our sources clearly break company/institution rules in order to get information to us. This isn’t a case of committing a crime but exposing actual crimes by breaching rules whose sole purpose is to protect criminals from accountability (or public embarrassment).

What’s at stake in the upcoming ‘trial’ (see our Daily Links for lots of information or scandals associated with these so-called ‘trials’) isn’t whether Assange is a “nice guy” or whether he “respects women” or “likes Trump” or “works for Russia…”

What’s really at stake here in the UK and over in the US (Chelsea Manning and a few other cases implicating imprisoned Wikileaks sources) is the legality of exposing crimes, sometimes by means of unauthorised access (by sources, not publishers, although this ‘trial’ deliberately conflates the two things, as does the ‘case’ against Glenn Greenwald in Brazil).

“A campaign of misinformation is in full swing, seeking to manufacture support for an outcome that seems pre-determined (based on appointment of judges and procedural anomalies).”Don’t be fooled by what billionaires-funded sites like the BBC say. They actively suppressed coverage — as the EPO had done — about Battistelli‘s corruption, they never mention António Campinos, and illegal software patents being granted in Europe never bothered them. The BBC is being bribed by Bill Gates every few years and many managers at the BBC come from Microsoft UK. I’ve noticed that another publication that smears Assange at the moment (misleading coverage if not fabrication) has Chelsea Clinton on its Board. So much for impartiality and objectivity…

In closing, regardless of your views on Wikileaks or Assange (or both), the upcoming ‘case’ has impact on us as well. So think carefully before condoning a dangerous precedence. A campaign of misinformation is in full swing, seeking to manufacture support for an outcome that seems pre-determined (based on appointment of judges and procedural anomalies).

02.08.20

Back to Normal Soon

Posted in Site News at 11:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

My new setup

Summary: Why there have not been many articles this past week

THE site has been quiet lately. It’s not due to holiday or sickness and no, the site isn’t dead. What’s dead or at least dying is my main PC (active since 2009). So I had to urgently seek a replacement and rebuild everything — still an ongoing process. Hopefully by the end of today if not tomorrow we’ll be back to normal in terms of publication. Thankfully no data was lost.

01.02.20

Starting 2020 With 20 Posts in 24 Hours

Posted in Site News at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

New year, new style?

Sun headed down

Summary: We’re trying a new publication strategy with shorter stories but more of them overall

TODAY it’s no longer a holiday, so it’s officially the first working day of 2020. Having explained earlier on why social control media can be a waste of time [1, 2], this coming year we’ll try to be a lot more productive and publish more articles, even if some will be relatively short (but still have a lot more substance in them than mere “tweets”). A decade ago we published, on average, about ten posts per day. That was before social control media came along (and had gained so much traction, taking up so much time).

“A decade ago we published, on average, about ten posts per day.”Today we publish 20 posts in 24 hours and wholeheartedly welcome feedback from regular readers. We’re going to assess the response to today’s ‘experiment’. Some have already suggested that we should flag posts that are only memes, but the main question then becomes, what would be the most suitable way to flag them? In the past we preceded with “[ES]” all of our Spanish translations (of Techrights articles).

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