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It’s Going to be a Long, Long Winter

Posted in Site News at 8:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lamps in winter

Summary: Today we revert back to lock-down mode; we’re reflecting and pondering what comes next

THE “TIER 3″ restrictions are in effect here in Manchester as of 2 hours ago (expect national debt to soar even further). The problem isn’t uniquely Mancunian or British; 1,796 COVID-19 (linked or caused) deaths were registered across Europe yesterday, including 290 in Russia (Eurasia). That’s quite a lot. With 474,412 new cases at the time of writing (the number will continue to grow a little while I type this), we’re also talking about all-time highs all across the board (the US has registered the highest number of new cases since July).

“The economic impacts of the pandemic are far-reaching.”People who believe that COVID is “nothing” or “no worse than the flu” might want to skip this article altogether and reassess where they get their “news”. We won’t waste time on COVID denialists/deniers. Hardly worth the effort (and by the way, we have vaccination for the flu… since ages ago, so we don’t need to lock down during ‘flu seasons’).

The economic impacts of the pandemic are far-reaching. We try hard to focus on ramifications that are limited to technology and tech-rights-type issues. Because there’s plenty of good journalism about COVID in general (lots included in our Daily Links), as well as poor coverage, which extends to surveillance jingoism. Look what Russia is doing

Beach in winterThe way things stand, no vaccination is expected any time soon (just as real experts predicted, unlike vaccine profiteers such as Bill Gates). This means that people generally need to get accustomed to it, not work towards some imaginary deadline where COVID just sort of ‘vanishes’ and becomes a thing of the past. By the way, don’t for a second believe the figures from China (which are as dubious as North Korea’s for a number of rather obvious reasons). A lot of dictatorships want their country to be seen as “doing a good job” regarding COVID; so distorting the statistics is seen as “OK” (it’s not like there’s press freedom to hold the regime accountable and question “official” messages). Considering what Donald Trump did to the CDC and FDA some months ago, the American reporting is suspect as well. See “Amid Trump’s Politicization of FDA, California Joins New York in Vowing to Independently Review Coronavirus Vaccines” (the same should be true in Russia, whose dictator refuses to even consider another lock-down as infection rates increase).

The leader of Germany (a doctor herself) once predicted, based on informed experts, that by the time it all ‘ends’ about 2/3 of the population will have had COVID-19 and the goal was to improve survival (recovery) rates, e.g. by lowering the spread of the virus. Well, yesterday Germany blasted through infection records (12,519 cases in a day) and registered its 10,000th COVID-linked death. Even countries that were regarded as very good at dealing with COVID-19 are struggling. Switzerland, with a population estimated at 8.6 million, registered 5,256 new cases yesterday alone. Death rates across Eastern Europe, not just Western Europe (Spain, France, Belgium, UK etc.), are rapidly increasing. There’s no “herd immunity” and other such malarkey; if it sweeps across 90% of the world’s population, we’re looking at many millions of deaths and no access to hospitals (with ventilators/respirators). Forget about going to hospitals for cancer screenings and other mundane issues, including easily preventable and trivially treatable conditions. Foreseeing the borderline collapse of the existing system and the capacity to treat patients, back in March I completed a series of routine tests. It might take another year or two before anything resembling normalcy. That’s the medical aspect, put apart.

Winter FashionNow, what about technology? The ‘tech’ monopolists like to pretend that it’s business as usual, but they silently lay off a lot of staff, shut off units (sometimes reassigning existing stuff to other projects), and take government bailouts (i.e. more more from the taxpayers). Things are always worse (much, much grimmer) than what corporations tell the public about themselves. I know about Microsoft, for instance, based on what insiders told me. They’re bleeding. Law firms are also bleeding — to the point of nowadays resorting to totally frivolous actions that are aggressive in nature and illogical in practice (they don’t expect to win, they just want a fight).

2-3 months of worldwide lock-downs (with few exceptions) may have given a false sense of calm or the craved-for idea that COVID-19 was ‘contained’ and brought “under control” (yes, good luck doing that when a lot of the population still believes it’s merely a “hoax”, based on social control media posts from ‘influencers’ like Donald Trump).

Winter SnowmanIt’s hard to tell when Manchester (and Lancashire at large) will exit “Tier 3″, seeing that Wales is “joining the club” and more places shut down than re-open (as of minutes ago we have headlines such as “Wales lockdown: Supermarkets told to sell only essential items”). Get ready for a long, cold winter with little access to health and certainly no celebrations (Halloween already looks doomed, not just Christmas and New Year celebrations). The upside for us is that we’ll likely have even more time to research and publish articles. It’s not entirely clear yet what in Manchester will shut down and which places exactly remain open (some have not decided).


Milestone: Almost a Terabyte in a Single Week

Posted in Site News at 10:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A social coverSummary: A look back at a record week with about a dozen distributed denial of service attacks (their nature varying from time to time)

OWING to Gates deposition tapes for the most part, this past week was a record week for us. At the time of writing, 7 days down the line (based on our monitoring), 875 GB of traffic got passed downstream to visitors. It’s actually more than a terabyte if Tux Machines traffic gets counted as well.

“It’s actually more than a terabyte if Tux Machines traffic gets counted as well.”For those who wonder how we monitor this site (this past week we had about 10 DDOS incidents, which we can mitigate/tackle based on observed patterns, restricting access to parts of the site temporarily), here’s what the monitoring window (tmux in Konsole) looks like:

Tux Machines monitoring

Note that no IP addresses are shown, we’ve removed the Techrights part (only Tux Machines is shown), and we’ve occluded anything that can help a potential attacker. This site is monitored 24/7, with alerting systems set up to help us respond to incidents. The site’s uptime is currently 180 days, i.e. nearly half a year. Accessibility in the uptime sense improved a lot this past Easter.

Most-read posts, in order of number of requests over the past 6 days (as a reminder, we shred all logs after 4 weeks):


It’s decreasing from top to bottom (3,668 for the first one).

Different (unique) pages requested this past 6 days: 284,249.

Number of unique visitors: 22,803.

As we’re using an ancient program to analyse Apache logs, it barely understands what Chrom* is and doesn’t have a good understanding of ‘smart’ phones. Nevertheless, here’s some more stuff of interest.


Hourly distribution (European time):


Subject to many anomalies.


Twitter Undoubtedly Works for Fascists; We’re Glad Techrights Never Participated in Twitter

Posted in Site News at 5:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Twitler - Trump

Summary: Social control media has always been rejected by Techrights; there’s growing evidence that it’s all about social control… on behalf of those in positions of power, including Donald Trump

SEVERAL readers, including a certain RMS, have lately suggested various improvements to this site’s style in the structural sense (not presentation). We try to focus on the “content” or substance alone rather than side issues such as fonts (some people would complain about anything just to distract from the real issues). This means accuracy comes first, then clarify, later structure, whereas the way it’s visually presented matters a lot less because our primary target audience is people who follow the site over RSS feed (plain HTML), so it’s an ongoing story to these people. It’s principally about building upon existing knowledge, cumulatively, whilst avoiding unnecessary repetition. We don’t do social control media (arbitrary ‘shelf life’ or pure junk) and we like to assume that people who have an interest in the covered topics subscribe to us over RSS feed (or similar), i.e. directly. Wiki pages tie together themes and topics, so catching up is always possible, e.g. EPO scandals all being indexed in one place and updated regularly. We never ever wish to depend on social control media because it is full of misinformation (like totally crazy conspiracy theories, unverified and not fact-checked, scored based on emotion) and highly censorious, especially when power gets challenged. In our next batch of Daily Links we’ll have about half a dozen reports about the latest Twitter scandal. It’s pretty big! Twitter’s boss seems to be Donald Trump. The real boss. Long story short (links to be included separately in Daily Links, but some are added below [1-4]), Mr. Trump has long used his Twitter account to publicly issue death threats to millions of people (Iran, North Korea), but he was never suspended at all! Never! People who merely wish an already-ill Trump (partly his own fault; also indirectly the cause of 213,000+ other American perished lives) will eventually die are being suspended. So Twitter has taken a side. We know whose, right? People wishing for the death of Julian Assange (for exposing war crimes) are perfectly safe in Twitter, but Donald Trump? Heck no! Imagine the public reaction if Twitter Inc. — existing back in January 1945 — also publicly warned it would suspend accounts wishing for the defeat of Germany in the war, including the death of Nazi leadership. Never wish for the death of an already-ill president who supports literal Nazis? It’s increasingly clear that social control media is (and has always been) more a tool of repression than of democracy and/or free expression. For a site like Techrights it’s very important to maintain full independence because we speak truth to power. There are many instruments — both legal and technical — for censorship of sites.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Twitter to Suspend Users Wishing for President Trump’s Death

    Twitter’s policies allow for users engaging in “abusive behavior” to be suspended, including when posting “content that wishes, hopes or expresses a desire for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against an individual.”

  2. Twitter Says You Cannot Tweet That You Hope Trump Dies From COVID

    Twitter told Motherboard that users are not allowed to openly hope for Trump’s death on the platform and that tweets that do so “will have to be removed” and that they may have their accounts put into a “read only” mode. Twitter referred to an “abusive behavior” rule that’s been on the books since April.

  3. Twitter to remove posts hoping for Trump’s death

    After reports initially surfaced that Twitter would suspend accounts that posted such messages, the company said the tweets would not merit immediate suspension, but would be swiftly removed.

  4. Twitter warns it will suspend users who publicly hope for Trump’s death

    Update, 7:21 PM ET: Added additional guidance from Twitter that these tweets will not automatically result in a suspension.


Saving or Preserving Earlier History of Microsoft Crimes (of the 1990s)

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, IBM, Microsoft, Site News at 9:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cat memes and videos are nice; but they’re nowhere as important as evidence of corporate crimes

Cat and dogSummary: We’re fishing and putting together plenty of old material about Microsoft’s crimes that got it in antitrust trouble (Microsoft was found guilty, but it was never split up and Bill Gates went on to bribing the media, reinventing his identity, in effect substituting reality with self-serving fiction)

THE reason we’re assessing “Internet rot” every now and then is the importance of preserving history. This past summer we were aiming to preserve as much as possible of IBM history, seeing that IBM went out of its way to obstruct and destroy evidence of its role in the implementation of the Holocaust (falsely claiming that material about it was no longer available or was disposed of). History is a teacher and companies with a "keen sense of Public Relations” want history to just go away.

“Don’t let history go astray in the same way IBM tries to make us forgot what it did 80-90 years ago.”Similarly, Microsoft and Bill Gates have long wanted these videos to go away (become impossible to find, inaccessible to future generations). Seeing that Groklaw is rotting away (in the “Internet rot” sense) due to everything being turned into static pages, we’ve decided to retain key resources. Notably Gates “Deposition Audio and Video” (transcripts also); the reason we reproduce these is that it’s hard to find them anymore. Minutes ago in IRC Chaekyung said: “I searched a bit, it does seem to find very hard to find the videos outside of something called “youtube” [sarcasm noted]” (but they’re not in open formats and there are censorious tendencies there; the poster, moreover, can choose to remove these at any time).

An associate of ours found all the pertinent videos [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13] but then noted: “All that searching yesterday really poisoned YouTube for me. Now it’s recommending all kinds of stuff by Bill’s fanbois and shills.”

“Gates sponsors videos there,” I responded, as I myself saw it. There are “recommended” videos there that are pure PR, likely paid-for Gates puff pieces. In effect, Google profits from laundering the reputation of criminals and it would not be reluctant to net some more money from the Gates Foundation in the name of ‘combatting misinformation’. So one cannot rely on YouTube. In the coming days expect us to provide local copies of all the footage, plus commentary and partial transcripts. Don’t let history go astray in the same way IBM tries to make us forgot what it did 80-90 years ago. Enough of the “dog ate my homework!” As a side note, earlier today I searched a lot for material about IBM’s roots/genesis (over in YouTube and in Google Search). More than 90% of it was self-promotional spam and fluff, obscuring and almost rendering invisible factual or objective information about IBM’s roots and Watson’s controversial beginnings.


DDOS Attacks Against Us Lately

Posted in Site News at 8:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

DDOS attacksSummary: (Distributed) Denial-of-service attacks or DDOS attacks have slowed down the site, but we treat that as evidence of suppression and fear (of what’s to come and what was recently published), or accuracy (in reporting) rather than inaccuracy

DDOS attacks may seem like a topic we frequently write about. But we touch it seldom and very briefly considering how often we come under DDOS attacks. Almost every week there’s some kind of DDOS attack against us, sometimes lasting minutes, sometimes hours, and sometimes entire days. Several days ago an attack lasted almost an entire day, slowing down the site for the whole day (sometimes rendering it unreachable or barely available; readers pointed this out to us) and when we fought back the attack intensified further, at a pace exceeding 10,000 page requests per minute. That attack coincided with a busy day (we posted about 20 posts that day) and it was exceptionally annoying because it interfered with site access when the site needed it the most. Well, it coincided, but maybe it was no coincidence. It’s different. It’s also difficult to pin-point the culprit or assess who’s behind it (the motivation/association, not just the IP addresses). Someone said it was likely the EPO (we published some important revelations lately), but there’s no evidence to actually support it.

“It’s also difficult to pin-point the culprit or assess who’s behind it (the motivation/association, not just the IP addresses).”Regardless and in spite of that nuisance, we’re currently preparing some material about Microsoft (leaks). If people out there are so desperate to make us despair and silence/slow down our work, then we’re probably on the right path.

As CounterPunch puts it in its support page:

CounterPunch's right enemies

Of course CounterPunch supports Julian Assange, who stands trial this month in the UK (because Wikileaks exposed crimes, hence in an act of blatant inversion the criminals try to hold the publisher/exposer accountable instead, for committing the act of courageous journalism, confronting power).

“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

Malcolm X

Malcolm X

Credits: Top image by Nasanbuyn under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International licence. Bottom image in the Public Domain.


Why We’re Called Techrights

Posted in Site News at 4:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Animal Rights Protest

Summary: Why we renamed to “Techrights” more than a decade ago and who made the suggestion/s

THE name Techrights came as a suggestion from Tracy, our Web host at the time, in 2010. He spent some time searching available domains when Novell had become obsolete (to be sold imminently), so the site’s identity needed to evolve accordingly. We considered doing so a lot sooner, but in IRC some people insisted that we should not leave Novell alone until the mission was accomplished. The site’s byline was a suggestion from Richard Stallman. He borrowed that from a publication of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He liked the word “sentry”; he still reads the site and apparently Linus Torvalds as well (sometimes).

“The site’s byline was a suggestion from Richard Stallman.”The site was vastly smaller 10 years ago. Depending on what’s being measured, it was about 5 times smaller (number of pages) and the readership was also a lot smaller (but not small). One of the things we’re happy to say and take pride in is that decisions were often made within the community (longtime contributors) and involved some open consultation. We’re also happy to say we have a perfect source protection record (nothing to brag about as much as to assure future sources). Being a very technical bunch, it comes almost naturally; the same cannot be said about the average lawyer or journalist. They don’t even use basic encryption and they extensively use this thing they call “smartphone” (surveillance equipment that can also make phonecalls… but rarely does).

Women Are Persons!Looking back at the whole thing, it’s good that the word “rights” was chosen. Some people think it’s a lot more meaningful than “freedom” because the word got distorted over time (like corporate deregulation). Stallman insisted to me that the “F” word would be more useful, but it was already too late to change. The term “rights” is associated with law (universally enforceable sometimes) and with principles such as “human rights”, “animal rights”, “women’s rights” and so on. The term “open” is so broad that it is slated for abuse and “free” has the issue of ambiguity (other than just “zero cost”). So we never really regretted the choice of name. “Tech” is a broad enough term, applicable both to hardware and software (even networking), so we can swiftly navigate from one topic to another (without drifting too far astray from the overarching umbrella/title). Sites must focus not only on important issues (of the time; timing matters, too) but also topics that they understand very well; otherwise they risk ending up making lots of errors, then framed as a non-factual chaotic mess (mainstream media is full of that).

“More Open Than Open [...] I am constantly amazed at the flexibility of this single word.”

Microsoft’s Jason Matusow


Large Corporations Have Not Got Your Back

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Site News at 5:40 pm by Guest Editorial Team

They have their own to protect; they just want to control everybody

Superhero meme: Billionaires Won't Save Us

Summary: The misguided idea that public interest groups can be sponsored by the very monopolies that those groups ought to replace may seem alluring at times; but autonomy and independence mean rejection of such money is ever more necessary

THE most saddening thing is, many Free software (or “Open Source”) institutions give up on people — along with mission statements — in favour of corporate money. The most obscene example of this is the Linux Foundation, which equates “growth” with money and conflates corporate buyout with “success”. The most depressing aspect of that is the spread of the phenomenon to other institutions, such as OSI, SFC, FSFE and to a lesser degree FSF (we’re still undecided about the last one). Debian has amassed a lot of money; much of it comes from corporations that don’t necessarily respect software freedom but have an interest in controlling Debian as a project/community.

“It helps the public hold people in positions of authority accountable (to the people, not to corporations/corporate sponsors).”One needn’t be a cynical anti-capitalist to say that there’s something wrong with corporate takeover of almost everything. Capitalism is not inherently about few corporations running the world; it just isn’t.

Over the next few days we’ll reproduce a bunch of older articles about the FSFE, based on insiders. When we reproduce article we do not necessarily endorse everything they say; the Free Software Fellowship articles do, however, contain a number of interesting facts/information. It helps the public hold people in positions of authority accountable (to the people, not to corporations/corporate sponsors).


How to Spot Diversion Tactics (Excuses and Distractions From Articles Not Convenient to the Reader)

Posted in Site News at 7:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Covered eyes

Summary: When the subject of an article harms oneself one is more likely to shoot the messenger (or the platform) rather than the article itself; here are some examples of patterns we’ve encountered/witnessed over the years

LET’S face it! There are companies out there that dislike Techrights because of things Techrights published about them. Those companies have employees and sometimes a loyal base of clients/supporters (Apple has plenty of these). So Techrights often becomes the target of cheap smears, with various individuals looking for excuses to never read Techrights and even tell people to do the same. It’s very common among comments/commenters. Sometimes it’s downright amusing.

If Techrights gets some facts wrong, state it out loud and upfront. But most complaints (almost all!) are saying nothing about the contents and instead changing the subject to something else (innuendo or nitpicking). Here are some examples: (I have encountered them all before)

“It’s old news”

“I found a typo”

“The headline’s capitalisation style is wrong”

“The site isn’t mobile-friendly”

“The fonts are of the wrong size”

“The stylesheet isn’t good with my browser”

“I don’t like the site”

“I dislike the author”

“The site is not secure enough”

“The site is slow (or down at the moment, maybe due to load)”

“The English is grammatically correct, but I don’t like its style”

“There’s not enough background”

“The site links to itself too much”

“This is conspiracy theory!”

“The author is anonymous and thus lacks credibility”

“I saw some crank linking to this site, hence the site is run by cranks”

“This is clickbait because it makes me angry”

“This is insensitive or intolerant because it points out something correct like a crime (which I prefer not to talk about)”

“It’s too strongly-worded and biased, e.g. it calls bribes “bribes” and not some euphemism like ‘contribution’ or ‘sponsorship’ or whatever…”

“The site looks like it needs a redesign and was made in the 1990s” (maybe it was! Doesn’t discredit the substance, does it?)

“It’s difficult on the eyes that I need to scroll and there’s no glitz such as “like” buttons”

“Comment(er)s are foaming at the mouth and I will hold the original author accountable for these”

“The author does not understand the topic and is merely emotional”

“The article’s site has a low budget; therefore, it cannot possibly get the story right”

“The format of the dates is American; I am not American, hence this site isn’t for me”

“The site quotes an anonymous source to protect from retribution/reprisal; thus, the source is fabricated or is lying”

“There are too many articles in that site and I cannot keep up, hence there’s something wrong with the site”

“The site covered this same subject before, hence it’s merely repeating itself and the message thus lacks legitimacy/novelty”

“The author supports some particular politics or particular political party which I dislike, hence I will read no further”

“Authors aren’t salaried for the work, hence they’re not bossed by rich media owners and cannot possibly produce anything of value”

“The authors are too young to know what’s going on; I’m older and I therefore know a lot more and have been around for longer; my views supersede all else”

“The article has far too many links; it really should be more like a professional newspaper, including not a single link or citation or traceable source”

“I don’t have time to read something this long (tl;dr)”

“I don’t like the picture in that article, so I will not read the article”

“This is pure hypocrisy because [add some smear about the author, whether factual or not]”

“Jealousy, hatred or bigotry/extremist views drove or motivated this posting; it’s thus invalid”

“The article contains leaked communication, hence it does something borderline illegal and I should not examine the evidence at all”

The list goes on and on, but that’s just exemplary.

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