Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 6/10/2021: MX Linux 21 RC, plocate 1.1.12, Facebook Under Fire

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • This Old Linux PC | LINUX Unplugged 426

        It’s the worst time ever to upgrade or buy a new PC, so we cover our favorite tips for getting the most out of your current hardware. Then we pit a 2014 desktop against a 2021 laptop and find out if our old clunker can beat the Thinkpad.

      • mintcast 371 – Rounded Corners

        1:49 The News 28:03 Security Update 38:05 Bi-Weekly Wanderings 1:19:37 Announcements & Outro

        First up in the news, Linux Mint Monthly updates, Ubuntu news, Windows being Windows and Steam deck news

        In security, More bugs and more malware

        Then in our Wanderings, Joe does vacation, Norbert Listens to the Doctor, Josh tries ventoy, Tony is making ice cream trucks, Leo plays D2

    • Applications

      • Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Microsoft Outlook

        Microsoft’s stance for decades was that community creation and sharing of communal code (later to be known as free and open source software) represented a direct attack on their business. Their battle with Linux stretches back many years. Back in 2001, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer famously tarnished Linux “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches”. Microsoft also initiated its “Get the Facts” marketing campaign from mid-2003, which specifically criticized Linux server usage, total cost of ownership, security, indemnification and reliability. The campaign was widely criticized for spreading misinformation.

        However, in recent years, there has been a partial shift by Microsoft to embrace the open source software paradigm. For example, some of their code is open sourced. Examples include Visual Studio Code, .NET Framework, Atom, and PowerShell. They have also made investments in Linux development, server technology and organizations including the Linux Foundation and Open Source Initiative. They have made acquisitions such as Xamarin to help mobile app development, and GitHub a hugely popular code repository for open source developers. And they have partnered with Canonical, the developers of the popular Ubuntu distro. But many developers remain hugely sceptical about Microsoft and their apparent shift to embrace open source.

      • Steinar H. Gunderson: plocate 1.1.12 released

        plocate 1.1.12 has been released, with some minor bugfixes and a minor new option.

        More interesting is that plocate is now one year old! plocate 1.0.0 was released October 11th, 2020, so I'm maybe getting a bit ahead of myself, but it feels like a good milestone. I haven't really achieved my goal of being in the default Debian install, simply because there is too much resistance to having a default locate at all, but it's now hit most major distributions (thanks to a host of packagers) and has largely supplanted mlocate in general.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • The "why" problem with on-host (host-based) firewalls on your machines

        In the old days, this was to spot and deal with malware, but today, in theory, we could use this to deal with all of the things that want to phone home to snoop on us. Unfortunately, I believe there is a problem with this nice vision, what I will call the problem of "why".

      • 'date -d' vs. 'date -s', and 'show foo' vs. 'clear foo'

        There was someone running around trying to do some work on a Linux box. They had picked up some time_t value from the logs - that is, the number of seconds since January 1, 1970 at midnight UTC that is typically thought of as "Unix time". Right now, it's about 1.6 billion, and will hit 1.7 billion in November 2023. They wanted to turn it back into a human-readable date.

      • Syncing Lagrange Bookmarks via the Cloud

        Lagrange is a superb browser for the Gemini protocol; just a lovely piece of software that's comfortable and in line with the protocol it's built to be used with, is very good on resources. If only our web browsers could be this nice and light at the same time!

        Thankfully it also has the option to save bookmarks to a simple bookmarks.gmi file (press CTRL+S while on the bookmarks page). Try it, it's easy and we'll need it for our next steps further on.

        Lagrange ALSO has the ability to use any Gemini page containing links as a bookmark source. This is very handy, and this will allow us to create a (albeit crude) way to sync bookmarks between our devices.

      • Write HTML, Not JavaScript

        This is a good thing. The web has become increasingly bloated for various reasons, and along with that we've also seen increasingly complex websites/apps that put ever increasing load on the server, in terms of those that dwell sorely server-side. With static generated websites being back in vogue since, I dunno, 2016 or so, we've seen more and more pure HTML and CSS being deployed that only do (or connect to) server stuff when they have to, instead of the server itself being responsible for spitting out the HTML and CSS. A healthy bit of Separation of Concerns, if you will.

        Unfortunately, somehow this has also led to websites being increasingly written in and depending on JavaScript (JS). Entire JavaScript frameworks have risen (almost too many to count nowadays) and become incredibly popular. I wish I were joking, but it's even fairly common to write HTML (or even CSS) inside JavaScript. Even one of the more sane JS driven frameworks, Svelte, tends to save all the HTML and CSS (well, if the CSS is written inline in the HTML anyway) inside the JavaScript bundles. When coupled with it's sister project, Sapper, which allows you to actually generate a static website, this is especially awkward as you have both static pages AND a copy of all the HTML and CSS in the .js bundle files as well. Hello bloat.

      • How to Install Foxit PDF Reader on Rocky Linux 8

        Foxit PDF Reader is a free multi-platform PDF reader for Linux, macOS, and Windows. The PDF reader is a small, fast, and feature-rich PDF Reader to view, annotate, form-fill, and sign PDF documents. PDF Reader easily integrates with popular ECMs and cloud storage.

        At the end of the tutorial, you will know how to install Foxit PDF Reader on Rocky Linux 8.

      • Things To Do After Installing Linux Mint 20 "Ulyana" – TecAdmin

        If you’re a user that recently switched from Windows or macOS to Linux then Linux Mint Ulyana Desktop is the best option for you as it provides its users with new features and user-friendly GUI. If you’re already familiar with Linux and have used Ubuntu 20.04 in the past then this one is similar to it but with some extra and better features.

        Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” offers three different desktop looks to its users which are Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce, out of which the most preferred and favorite of users is Cinnamon. But if you’re looking for a lightweight version you should definitely go for Xfce.

      • How to Create a Certificate Authority (CA) on Ubuntu 20.04

        Certificate Authority (CA) is an entity responsible for issuing digital certificates to make communication secure. Its acts as a trusted third party to the owner of the certificate and the party relying upon the certificate.

        Certificate Authority entity could be either public or private. Public CAs are commonly used to verify the identity of websites and private CAs are used for generating certificates for a Client-to-Site VPN, users, internal servers, or individual programs and services within your infrastructure such as local web servers.

        In this tutorial, we learn how to create a private certificate authority (CA) on Ubuntu 20.04. Here we are using easy-rsa CLI utility to build and manage the CA Server.

      • How to install Audacity 3.0.5 on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Audacity 3.0.5 on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

        This tutorial will only work on Chromebooks with an Intel or AMD CPU (with Linux Apps Support) and not those with an ARM64 architecture CPU.

      • How to Install Cacti on Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux

        Cacti is an open-source web-based network monitoring and graphing tool written in PHP. It was designed as a front-end application for data logging using RRDtool. Cacti uses the SNMP protocol to monitor devices such as routers, servers, and switches.

        It displays information such as network bandwidth utilization and CPU load in a graph format. It’s essential in monitoring and ensuring IT infrastructure is functioning as desired.

      • How To Install Perl on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Perl on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Perl (Practical Extraction and Reporting Language) is a very popular and powerful language for String Handling and String Processing. It has very robust modules available to interact with other programming languages on various platforms.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the Perl programming language on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How To Install Yay AUR Helper on Manjaro 21 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Yay AUR Helper on Manjaro 21. For those of you who didn’t know, Yay (Yet another Yogurt), is an AUR helper that allows users to install and manage packages on a Manjaro system. During installation, it automates the installation of software packages from PKGBUILDS. Yay replaces Aurman and Yaourt which have long been discontinued. Since its release, Yay has proven to be a remarkable helper and a perfect alternative to the native Pacman package manager.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Yay AUR Helper on a Manjaro 21 (Ornara).

      • How to Add a User to Sudoers on Rocky Linux

        When installing Rocky Linux, the user account that was created during the initial setup has sudo rights. However, there may be a need to add additional sudo users or to remove the access. This is a straightforward process with a few commands.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn to add a user to the sudoers group on any Rocky Linux system.

      • How to Install Google Chrome Stable, Beta, or Unstable on Pop!_OS 20.04

        Google Chrome is the most used Internet Explorer software on the earth, with a recent update in 2021 that Chrome is currently the primary browser of more than 2.65 billion internet users. However, as you would know, after installing Linux Mint, only Mozilla Firefox is packaged with the distribution but luckily, installing Google Chrome on Linux Mint is a straightforward task.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Google Chrome on Pop!_OS 20.04.

      • How to Install Java 17 LTS (JDK 17) on openSUSE 15 Leap

        Java is a general-purpose, class-based, object-oriented multipurpose programming language that is popular due to the design of having lesser implementation dependencies, meaning that the compiled Java code can be run on all platforms that support Java without the need for recompilation. Java is also fast, secure, and reliable, therefore. It is widely used for developing Java applications in laptops, data centers, game consoles, scientific supercomputers, cell phones, etc.

        JDK 17 (JDK 17) has brought forward new language enhancements, updates to the libraries, support for new Apple computers, removals and deprecations of legacy features, and work to ensure Java code written today will continue working without change in future JDK versions.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install the latest Java 17 (JDK 17) on openSUSE 15 Leap.

      • How to Join/Merge Multiple Audio Files into One in Linux

        There are several reasons why a Linux user will give in to the urge of concatenating or joining several mp3 files into a single audio file. On one hand, you could be dealing with a single project presentation that exists in different audio files.

        On the other hand, you might be dealing with a single mp3 audio file that has multiple audio distortions in-between its track. Therefore, the best move here will be to strip out the bad audio sections leaving behind several segments of the good audio section that need to be joined into a single audio file.

      • How to install Wire Desktop on Linux Lite 5.4 - Invidious

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Wire Desktop on Linux Lite 5.4. Enjoy!

      • How to reset root password on Red Hat 7/8 - Unixcop

        Root user or as we commonly say super user (privileged user) is the most dangerous user in our environment because of its powerful capabilities and authority, in fact there is no rule applied on the root user because simply it can neglect or delete any rule.

        And as a result, experts advise not to log in as the root user to avoid any potential attacks that may happen and exploit the system, and of course with these privileges the harm will be inevitable.

        One would ask, how can we use the commands that would need a certain privilege that exceeds the normal user?!

        It`s a good legit question, and the answer is we grant the user to run commands with the root privileged via the sudo command by adding the user to wheel group.

      • How to set up a static IP address on Debian 11

        When you install a new operating system on your computer, the DHCP server assigns you a dynamic IP address. However, you may need to set up a static IP address on your machine in various situations, such as when you are hosting a web server, or any service requires an IP address rather than a domain name, or in a case where you are about to grant someone remote access to your system. Whatever the reason is, you should know how to set up a static IP address on your system.

        In this post, you will learn how to set up static IP on Debian 11 using two different methods. So, let’s start!

      • How to use auto-updates and rollbacks in Podman | Enable Sysadmin

        New auto-update capabilities enable you to use Podman in edge use cases, update workloads once they are connected to the network, and roll back failures to a known-good state.

    • Wine or Emulation

    • Games

      • Amazon CEO Says Video Games Could Become the Largest Entertainment Business

        Games could end up being the largest entertainment category over the long haul, Andy Jassy, the chief executive officer, said Tuesday at a technology conference. It’s a bold pronouncement for a company with almost a decade of failures in gaming and one that just renewed its commitment to the movie business in the form of an $8.45 billion acquisition of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

      • Wasteland 3: Cult of the Holy Detonation is out now | GamingOnLinux

        inXile Entertainment has released the final expansion for Wasteland 3 with Cult of the Holy Detonation

        "Deep within the Cheyenne Mountain military complex, mutant cults worship an ancient deity they call the Holy Detonation—a nuclear explosion held in stasis. Whether god, science experiment, or accidental miracle, the Detonation's energy could power Colorado Springs for hundreds of years, or level it in an instant. The warring cults have differing opinions on who should be allowed to honour their god and you’re going to have to muscle your way to the altar."

      • Scream Fortress XIII is live in the free to play Team Fortress 2 | GamingOnLinux

        Valve has now released the latest Halloween themed event for the still popular free shooter Team Fortress 2. Scream Fortress XIII brings with it plenty of new goodies!

        This event brings with it 6 new community maps with Farmageddon, Sinthetic, Los Muertos, Erebus, Terror, and Graveyard. To access it there's a new Special Events category in Casual. All users who login during this event will get a Soul Gargoyle if you don't already have one, which gives you access to track the special event missions and more.

      • DirectX 11/12 Games like Cyberpunk 2077 Can Use NVIDIA DLSS With Proton Experimental on Linux - It's FOSS News

        In June, Nvidia announced the support for DLSS in Linux via Steam Proton and a beta driver for Vulkan-based games.

        DLSS stands for Deep Learning Super Sampling. It utilizes deep learning algorithms powered by Tensor cores found in RTX GPUs to upscale images inside games. This results in clearer and sharper images along with higher framerates.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Debian-based MX Linux 21 RC is here to spoil Microsoft's big Windows 11 launch party
          Today is October 5, which is particularly significant as it is the official Windows 11 release date. This is even more special as Microsoft's latest desktop operating system isn't just good... it's great. Yes, this is probably the best version of Windows ever, and if you are a Windows user, you should absolutely upgrade if your computer is compatible.

          Unfortunately, that is a pretty big "if" this time around. You see, Microsoft is quite strict with the system requirements, meaning many computers will not be compatible or officially supported. Even though Windows 10 will continue to be supported for a while, understandably, some users will want to jump ship immediately knowing their PC has no future in Microsoft's eyes. Thankfully, these users have a wonderful alternative to Windows 11 -- Linux!

      • Slackware Family

        • [Old] Interview with Patrick Volkerding of Slackware

          I was taking a class on artificial intelligence, and the coding was all done in LISP. We were provided with a DOS based LISP interpreter to use, but the CLISP interpreter that came with SLS turned out to be far, far better. I told my professor about CLISP, and about Linux, and he asked if I could help him install Linux on one of the lab's computers, an AT&T 486 with an S3 video card. We went down there and did the install, and it went pretty well. I took out my notebook ("time to fix the bugs!") and started fixing all the problems that I'd documented in the time I'd been using SLS, and this led to him asking if it would be possible to fix all those bugs on the floppy disks, and make the installer more automated, so that maybe future classes could do their programming on Linux and not have to license a fairly mediocre version of LISP. I was up for the challenge and started figuring out just how things had been put together. SLS had shipped as a mostly binary only release with hardly any source code for anything, and not a lot of clues as to how things were built. There weren't any build scripts for anything, though that was pretty typical for Linux distributions in 1993 (and was a trap I fell into myself early on until I got tired of having to relearn what I'd done every time something needed to be rebuilt). Over the next month or so I corrected all the bugs that I knew about in SLS, upgraded the kernel, and did a major cleanup of the installer. My friend Brett Person was my original beta tester (and contributed a lot to the installer as well), and by April of 1993 was encouraging me to share what I had back with the Internet. I got a few more beta testers around this time by directly emailing people who were posting on comp.os.linux running into problems with SLS and asking if they'd like to help test what we were working on. I got a lot of good feedback, and more encouragement to put the beta up for FTP. So, in July of 1993 I put the first public release of Slackware on an FTP site running on an AT&T 3b2 UNIX box and announced it to comp.os.linux. The response was pretty overwhelming... especially to the UNIX box that was hosting it. I tried to keep things running for a few days, but it wasn't going to cut it, and Linux wasn't yet up to the task yet either (TCP/IP still suffered from random hangs), so I put out a call for help hosting it. Among the responses was one from Rod Grimes of the FreeBSD project offering space on Walnut Creek CDROM's server, which I gratefully accepted. This led to a long relationship with the folks at Walnut Creek CDROM.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • PostgreSQL: PGroonga 2.3.2

          PGroonga is a PostgreSQL extension that makes PostgreSQL fast full text search platform for all languages! It's released under PostgreSQL license.

          There are some PostgreSQL extensions that improves full text search feature of PostgreSQL such as pg_trgm ^1.

          pg_trgm doesn't support languages that use non-alphanumerics characters such as Japanese and Chinese.

          PGroonga supports all languages, provides rich full text search related features and is very fast. Because PGroonga uses Groonga^2 that is a full-fledged full text search engine as backend.

      • Programming/Development

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: littler 0.3.14: Updates

          The fifteenth release of littler as a CRAN package just landed, following in the now fifteen year history (!!) as a package started by Jeff in 2006, and joined by me a few weeks later.

          littler is the first command-line interface for R as it predates Rscript. It allows for piping as well for shebang scripting via #!, uses command-line arguments more consistently and still starts faster. It also always loaded the methods package which Rscript only started to do in recent years.

        • Current issue : #70 | Release date : 2021-10-05

          Phrack! We're back! It was only five years ago that issue 0x45 was released. It may sound bad, but it is also, indeed, quite bad. Issue 0x45 was released four years after issue 0x44. And we are now five years after that. Just trying to set the context here. The world is so different and so many things have happened in these five years that it makes no sense trying to make any point. Phrack has always been a reflection of the hacking community, and guess what, the community is moving away from itself. By this we don't mean that there are no talented hackers, because there most definitely are (just take a look at our authors). We also don't mean that there is no exquisite public hacking, because there is (again, our articles as proof). However, there is a clear move away from the collective hacking mindset that was most prevalent in the past. The word "scene" brings only smirks to people's faces. There are many reasons for this, and we are all to blame [1].

          So where is the community right now, and, most importantly, where is it going?

        • Perl/Raku

          • LAMP is dead! Long live (Perl) web frameworks!

            Certainly on the Perl side (with which I’m most familiar), the community has long since recommend€­ed the use of a framework built on the PSGI specification, deprecating 1990s-era CGI scripts and the mod​perl Apache extension. Although general-purpose web servers like Apache or Nginx may be part of an overall system, they’re typically used as proxies or load bal€­ancers for Perl-specific servers either provided by the framework or a third-party module.

  • Leftovers

    • Very Recent History

      Near the end of “Three Women of Chuck’s Donuts,” the first story in Anthony Veasna So’s posthumous collection Afterparties, something unexpectedly violent happens at a doughnut shop. It’s not a murder, exactly, but there is blood. “Help me clean this up,” Sothy, the shop owner, instructs her two daughters, who are helping run the store through the late-night shift. “Customers can’t see blood so close to the donuts.” The moment is emblematic of So’s short fiction: There’s one generation, then another, rebounding off each other in a crackle of humor on the heels of a moment of absurd yet totally reasonable violence. And all of it is embedded in a distinctly Cambodian American immigrant experience, which is so closely bound to the texture and structure of the stories that it’s impossible to extricate it from this background.1

    • Family of Henrietta Lacks Sues Over Stolen Cells That Made Biotech Firm Billions

      The family of Henrietta Lacks—a Black woman whose "immortal" cells were taken without her consent or knowledge 70 years ago—on Monday sued a pharmaceutical company over its "unjust enrichment" as a result of profits based on the stolen tissue that transformed modern medicine.

      "This isn't just about social justice. This is about genetic justice,” Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Lacks family, said at a press conference.

    • California Cities Experimenting With Civilian Responses To Mental Health Crisis Calls

      More cities are adopting an approach to mental health emergency calls that steers calls away from police officers and towards professionals who are trained to respond to mental health crises with something other than force deployment.

    • Two Days in Frisco: Slices of Life and Pizza in the City of Labor & Lit

      A banker at Wells Fargo, a young Chinese woman named Alice Kunag, explained that older Chinese men usually remarry after their wives die because they don’t know how to take care of themselves, don’t know how to cook or do the laundry. Alice also told me that her favorite aunt “hates, hates, hates Mao Zetung,” but that the aunt’s husband says “Mao did good things for China, now nobody starves to death. Mao made China respected around the world.” I don’t know if Alice has any opinions about Mao. I asked her a couple of times what she thought of the chairman, but each time she changed the subject to the interest rate and the stock market.

      After my first two weeks in San Francisco when I quarantine myself against city life itself, not the pandemic, I began to wander in ever widening circles to the north, the east and the south, though not to the West where waves from the Pacific Ocean batter the shore, where surfers surf, fisherman fish and walkers walk. On the last Thursday in September, I rode the N-Judah Streetcar past Other Avenues, the worker owned foodstore, past Arizmendis, the worker owned and operated bakery, all the way to Civic Center Plaza, where hundreds of homeless men and women gather, talk, use drugs, sleep, eye the police, and more or less keep to themselves.

    • Opinion | Modest Reforms Won't Do. It Is Time for a Radical, Green, and Fair Transition

      It was supposed to be the greatest transition of modern times.

    • The Law of Boredom


      Doing the same thing over and over again—even making money– is boring. Workplace boredom infects all professionals, including thieves, lawyers, and physicians. Boredom means dissatisfaction with what you have: job, relationship, achievements. Boredom is not simply an ungrounded thought process but a genuine discontentment with current personal matters. Reacting negatively to boredom is easy, if not neuro-driven. Teenagers, when bored, deface public property, and adults drink, gorge, gamble, or watch scary films. Boredom is not a defense to committing a crime. The idea of penitentiary commissioned boredom, unsuccessfully, as therapeutic loneliness. Responding positively to boredom is a skill, though reading books rarely alleviates boredom. Preempting boredom through pointless excitements intensifies boredom. Boredom is a godsend for brilliant individuals, for it is a forerunner to creativity. Bored with painting, Picasso started writing poetry for a while. God created the universe out of absolute boredom.

    • Education

      • As heat waves intensify, tens of thousands of US classrooms will be too hot for students to learn in

        Rising temperatures due to climate change are causing more than just uncomfortably hot days across the United States. These high temperatures are placing serious stress on critical infrastructure such as water supplies, airports, roads and bridges.

        One category of critical infrastructure being severely affected is the nation’s K-12 schools.

        Ideally, the nation’s more than 90,000 public K-12 schools, which serve over 50 million students, should protect children from the sometimes dangerous elements of the outdoors such as severe storms or extreme temperatures.

        But since so many of America’s schools are old and dilapidated, it’s the school buildings themselves that need protection – or at least to be updated for the 21st century.

      • Democracy and Technology: An Interview with Richard Sclove from Beth Simone Noveck

        In 1994, I coined a term—the cybernetic Walmart effect—that never gained much traction but that has proven somewhat prophetic. During the 1980s, Walmart and other big-box stores had begun to decimate the downtown shopping areas of many small towns and cities. And I foresaw that in the absence of countervailing policies, Internet commerce was going to deepen that dynamic, challenging not just mom-and-pop retail shops but local economies more generally.

        Contrary to all the hype about how local businesses were going to thrive by selling globally, I wrote that before long online commerce would shake out into dominance by a few very large companies. That prediction came true.

    • Hardware

      • Chip Shortages Likely To Linger Through 2022 - LinuxInsider

        A technology executive raised eyebrows last week when he predicted the shortage in semiconductor chips could last into 2023.

        “Right now, every single end market for semiconductors is up simultaneously,” Marvell CEO Matt Murphy said at a CNBC Technology Executive Council event Thursday.

        “I’ve been in this industry 27 years, I’ve never seen that happen,” he continued. “If it stays business as usual, and everything’s up and to the right, this is going to be a very painful period, including in 2022 for the duration of the year.”

        Murphy’s prediction, though, is more pessimistic that others watching the chip market.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • 'A Huge Win': DC Council Passes Medicare for All Resolution

        Nurses and public health campaigners applauded the Council of the District of Columbia on Tuesday for passing a resolution expressing support for Medicare for All, the 73rd local legislative body to take such a step since 2018.

        "The D.C. Council has put Congress on notice that D.C. residents demand guaranteed, equitable healthcare for all."

      • Covid Vaccines Prevented Nearly 40K Deaths Among US Seniors From January to May: Report

        A new government report released Tuesday shows that coronavirus vaccines helped prevent over a quarter of a million new Covid-19 infections, more than 100,000 hospitalizations, and nearly 40,000 deaths among U.S. seniors from January to May—findings that further demonstrate the effectiveness of the shots in fighting a disease that has killed€ upwards of 700,000 people across the nation.

        According to the study€ on the relationship between county-level inoculation rates and Covid-19 outcomes among Medicare beneficiaries, which was conducted by€ researchers at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), vaccines helped ward off 265,000 infections, 107,000 hospitalizations, and 39,000 deaths during the first five months of 2021.

      • Few Masks. Sick Kids. Packed ERs. How One District’s First Four Weeks of School Went Bad.

        For the mother of two in suburban Atlanta’s wealthy East Cobb, the breaking point came the first Friday of the school year. It was two months after Cobb County School District, Georgia’s second-largest, announced it was revoking its mask mandate, two days after the district ditched its quarantine protocol for a far more lenient one, and 10 minutes after she had decided to cold call a local school official to ask a few questions.

        “Sure, it’s more contagious,” Cobb County School Board Chairman Randy Scamihorn told her on that Aug. 6 call, after she raised concerns about the district’s preparedness for the delta variant. “But it’s less lethal and, uh, probably it’s more like a head cold.”

      • Cuba Accelerates Vaccine Drive

        Unlike Pfizer and Moderna, whose Covid-19 vaccines are based on new (mRNA) technology, all of Cuba’s five domestically produced vaccines are based on technology that has been used with children for decades. Back in 1988, Cuba’s Finlay Institute developed the world’s first Meningitis B vaccine, after an epidemic which particularly affected children. Soberana 2 increases immunogenicity and induces immunological memory. Children are being given two doses of Soberana 2 and a third of Soberana Plus at 28-day intervals. Cuban schools will not reopen until children have been vaccinated. By mid-September, 460,000 Cuban children and adolescents (20%) had received a first dose.

        Rapid vaccine roll out

      • Opinion | New Records Reveal Scope of DEA Spying on 2020 Racial Justice Protests

        The Drug Enforcement Administration approved at least 51 requests from state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies to conduct covert surveillance during racial justice protests last summer, according to records obtained by CREW. The nationwide surveillance operation occurred in cities including Los Angeles, Tampa, Denver, and St. Louis, and involved agents infiltrating crowds undercover, as well as aerial and vehicular surveillance to monitor protesters.

      • Facebook harms children and weakens democracy: ex-employee

        In a statement issued after the hearing, Facebook said it did not agree with Ms Haugen's "characterisation of the many issues she testified about". But it did agree that "it's time to begin to create standard rules for the [Internet]."

        "It's been 25 years since the rules for the [Internet] have been updated, and instead of expecting the industry to make societal decisions that belong to legislators, it is time for Congress to act," the statement read.

        Ms Haugen told CBS News on Sunday that she had shared a number of internal Facebook documents with the Wall Street Journal in recent weeks.

        Using the documents, the WSJ reported that research carried out by Instagram showed the app could harm girls' mental health.

      • Facebook runs the coward’s playbook to smear the whistleblower

        Facebook has chosen to respond to whistleblower Frances Haugen in the most cowardly way possible: by hiding Mark Zuckerberg, the man ultimately responsible for Facebook’s decisions, and beginning the process of trying to smear and discredit Haugen.

        This is some Big Tobacco bullshit — precisely what sleazeball PR guru John Scanlon was hired to do when Jeffrey Wigand blew the whistle on tobacco company Brown and Williamson. Scanlon’s task was to change “the story of B&W to a narrative about Wigand’s personality.”

      • Whistleblower to Congress: Facebook products harm children and weaken democracy

        Facebook's products "harm children, stoke division, weaken our democracy and much more," Frances Haugen, the former Facebook employee who leaked tens of thousands of pages of internal documents, will tell lawmakers on Tuesday.

        "When we realized tobacco companies were hiding the harms [they] caused, the government took action. When we figured out cars were safer with seat belts, the government took action," she will say, according to her prepared testimony. "I implore you to do the same here."

      • Facebook comes under stark criticism at whistleblower hearing

        “Facebook should not get a free pass on choices it makes to prioritize growth and virality and reactiveness over public safety. They shouldn’t get a free pass on that because they're paying for their profits right now with our safety,” she said.

      • Facebook's outage proves Elizabeth Warren right: It's time to break up Big Tech

        This illustration of Facebook's power was likely a coincidence, but it's still chilling in light of what the Washington Post reports as Facebook's changed P.R. approach, which comes in the face of Haugen dumping a ton of documents revealing that the company has been aware of how much social damage it causes, but doesn't care because it's profitable.

        "Facebook is approaching its latest controversy over political polarization and the toxic effects of social media in a more aggressive and defiant way than it has previously," Post reporters Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg write. Instead of the usual Facebook response to controversy, where CEO Mark Zuckerberg offers a hand-wringing apology and an empty promise to change, this time "the company has deployed a slate of executives to mount a public defense."

        The lesson of Monday's outage is not that the world is too in the thrall of Facebook to do anything to fight back against its abuses, but the opposite. It's an illustration that Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, as usual, is right: It's time to break up Big Tech.

      • Four big takeaways from a tough hearing for Facebook

        Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen appeared before a Senate panel Tuesday that was fired up about the recent wave of revelations about the company.

        Lawmakers focused on Facebook’s own research finding Instagram made body issues worse for 1 in 3 teenage girls and the platform’s decision not to share those results.

        The Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection also touched on algorithmic amplification of dangerous content, Facebook’s approach to moderation outside of the U.S. and how to craft policy.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Facebook's Downtime And Why Protocols Are More Resilient Than Centralized Platforms

        As you know by now, much of the tech news cycle yesterday was dominated by the fact that Facebook appeared to erase itself from the internet via a botched BGP configuration. Hilarity ensued -- including my favorite bit about how Facebook's office badges weren't working because they relied on connecting to a Facebook server that could no longer be found (also, how in borking their own BGP, Facebook basically knocked out their own ability to fix it until they could get the right people who knew what to do to have physical access to the routers).

      • Proprietary

        • NSA director expects to be facing ransomware attacks 'every single day' in five years [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Later this month, the administration will continue an effort to reduce ransomware attacks when the White House National Security Council convenes 30 countries to address cybersecurity concerns.

          Anne Neuberger, the deputy national security advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, also spoke at the Mandiant conference Tuesday, describing the upcoming meeting as a “counter-ransomware initiative” with a focus on “cryptocurrency, resilience, disruption and diplomacy.”

        • Apple shares memorial to Steve Jobs on 10th anniversary of his death

          Apple is commemorating its co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs’ death with a new short film and a personal statement from the visionary tech executive’s family. Jobs passed away 10 years ago on October 5th, 2011, after a difficult battle with pancreatic cancer.

        • Python ransomware strikes virtual machines in 'ultra-high-speed' attacks

          Cybersecurity experts have shared details about a speedy new ransomware campaign attacking virtual machines (VM) hosted on a VMware ESXi hypervisor.


          However, two aspects of this particular attack that stand out are the swiftness shown by the attackers, and the use of the Python ransomware.

          The attackers logged into the network after compromising a TeamViewer account that was running in the background on a computer that belonged to a user with Domain Administrator credentials.

        • International coalition arrests 'prolific' [crackers] involved in ransomware attacks

          Europol, the EU's law enforcement agency, on Monday announced the arrests on Tuesday in Ukraine of the unnamed individuals alleged to have been behind ransomware attacks that extorted between 5 million to 70 million euros.

          Authorities say the two began carrying out a series of "prolific" ransomware attacks in April 2020 against industrial groups in both Europe and North America, encrypting files and threatening to release stolen data online if the victims did not pay the ransoms demanded.

        • Finnish security expert: Web services' concentration in Silicon Valley is a weak point

          He says it would be better — and more secure — if online services were offered by different companies across the world, and we were not so reliant on one or two US companies for sign-in and authentication purposes.

          That over-reliance makes the whole [Internet] vulnerable to disruption, he said.

        • Security

          • Yubico YubiKey Bio authentication dongle uses biometrics for added security on Windows, Mac, and Linux

            Portable hardware authentication dongles are pretty darn cool -- they can be a great way to secure access to various devices, applications, and services using hardware. Google offers its own Titan security keys, for instance, but the search giant likely isn't the first company that comes to mind for these products. Actually, Yubico is probably the name most associated with authentication dongles.


            Yubico shares features and benefits of the YubiKey Bio Series below.

          • Critics Say Facebook 'Must Be Investigated, Audited, Regulated, and Stopped'

            While newly revealed Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen appeared before a U.S. Senate panel on Tuesday morning, longtime critics of the social media behemoth elevated calls for legislative and regulatory action to break up Big Tech, outlaw tech giants' surveillance capitalist business model, and fight for a digital environment that respects rights and benefits democracy.

            "This culture of impunity must now end."—Carole Cadwalladr, RFOB

          • Facebook Live Updates: Whistle-Blower Unites Democrats and Republicans in Calling for Regulation of Facebook

            Facebook is sitting on an even larger mountain of internal research. The thousands of documents provided by Ms. Haugen to lawmakers are likely just the tip of the iceberg. In her testimony, she encouraged lawmakers to demand more documents and internal research from Facebook, stating that it was only through complete transparency that Congress could hope to understand and eventually regulate social media.

            Ms. Haugen also hinted that there was more to come from her. During the hearing, she mentioned that she was speaking to a separate congressional committee on how Facebook has understaffed critical security teams that monitor whether countries were using the platform to spy on one another and run disinformation campaigns. She said the company was failing to adequately protect against threats emerging from China, Iran, Russia and other countries.

          • News Scan Finds Multiple Threats to Your Privacy

            Another of the most troubling privacy threats of the month involves law enforcement. The Wall Street Journal reported that US police and federal law enforcement are using private data services to quietly secure information that would otherwise require warrants to attain, thus bypassing judicial process in place to protect U.S. citizens' Constitutional rights. Law enforcement calls this resource “open-source intelligence” rather than unconstitutional warrantless surveillance. Either description would be accurate. The Journal notes that police omit this mode of surveillance from the records of people arrested after use of this data.

            The Journal reports, “Data brokers sprung up to help marketers and advertisers better communicate with consumers. But over the past few decades, they have created products that cater to the law-enforcement, homeland-security and national-security markets. Their troves of data on consumer addresses, purchases, and online and offline behavior have increasingly been used to screen airline passengers, find and track criminal suspects, and enforce immigration and counterterrorism laws.” So the sources of data have proliferated so broadly that multiple channels of surveillance are available to those who chose to use it.

          • Confidentiality

            • Company That Handles Billions Of Text Messages Quietly Admits It Was Hacked Years Ago

              We've noted for a long time that the wireless industry is prone to being fairly lax on security and consumer privacy. One example is the recent rabbit hole of a scandal related to the industry's treatment of user location data, which carriers have long sold to a wide array of middlemen without much thought as to how this data could be (and routinely is) abused. Another example is the industry's refusal to address the longstanding flaws in Signaling System 7 (SS7, or Common Channel Signaling System 7 in the US), a series of protocols hackers can exploit to track user location, dodge encryption, and even record private conversations.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The American Empire Is Unwinding

      The bad news stemming from the ill-planned and ill-managed US evacuation of the Afghan capital just kept coming in. The Washington Post put it this way in blowing the whistle on the culminating disaster: “U.S. military admits ‘horrible mistake’ in Kabul drone strike that killed 10 Afghans.”

    • Missouri Intends to Execute a Disabled Man Today

      Missouri Representatives Cori Bush and Emmanuel Cleaver, along with Pope Francis and an array of racial justice advocates, are begging Missouri Governor Mike Parson to halt the execution of Ernest Lee Johnson, a 61-year-old Black man with an intellectual disability who is scheduled to die by lethal injection this evening.

    • AG Garland Says FBI Will Assist Schools Facing Violence From Anti-Mask Parents
    • New Study Shows More Than Half of Police Killings Have Gone Uncounted Since 1980
    • Britannia Turns Back the Boats

      Disgust and outrage have, in time, been replaced by admiration at the sheer chutzpah of Australian governments such as Tony Abbott’s, who introduced a turn-back-the-boats policy as part of an electoral promise to better secure borders. This meant that vessels heading for Australia could be literally turned back towards Indonesia without a care in the world.€  The drownings would not stop, nor would the danger to the passengers be alleviated; they would simply take place in international waters or the waters of another country.

      Other countries duly followed.€  Greece and Italy fashioned their own turn-back policies at sea.€  The UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants Felipe González Morales spoke despairingly in June this year that the practice should end.€  “In the absence of an individualized assessment for each migrant concerned and other procedural safeguards,” he told the Human Rights Council, “pushbacks are a violation of the prohibition of collective expulsion and heighten the risk of further human rights violations, in particular refoulement.”

    • Opinion | Stop Calling the Military Budget a ‘Defense’ Budget

      It's bad enough that mainstream news outlets routinely call the Pentagon budget a "defense" budget. But the fact that progressives in Congress and even many antiwar activists also do the same is an indication of how deeply the mindsets of the nation's warfare state are embedded in the political culture of the United States.

    • Andrew Cockburn on Power, Profit, and the American War Machine
    • Private Facebook Group that Organized the July Protests in Cuba Plans Bigger Ones Soon

      After gaining access to their private Facebook group, MintPress can reveal that the people who sparked the July 11 protests in Cuba are planning similar actions for October and November.

    • Unmanned supersaturation attacks

      After the German Armed Forces, the EU also wants to research drone swarms that are dropped from a mother ship

    • Pence Diminishes Significance of Capitol Attack, Calls It "One Day in January"
    • Islamist Terrorism Flourishing Under the Taliban

      In particular, the appointment of Sirajuddin Haqqani, a prominent member of the infamous Haqqani network who is on the FBI's most wanted list and is a designated global terrorist, completely undermines the Taliban's claim that it wants to curb the activities of Islamist terrorists.

    • Paris baguette winner in row over social media posts

      Screen grabs published by an anonymous Twitter user claimed to show that Akrout had shared, on a now-deleted Facebook account, posts expressing Islamist ideas and anti-French sentiments.

    • EU Unveils Strategy for Combating Growing Antisemitism in Europe

      In a statement, the commission said antisemitism is worryingly on the rise, in Europe and beyond. Citing statistics from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, 90% of Jews said antisemitism has increased in their country and it is a serious problem, and 38% of Jews have considered emigrating because they do not feel safe in the EU.

  • Environment

    • A new report shows just how much climate change is killing the world's coral reefs

      Put another way: The amount of coral lost between 2008 and 2019 is equivalent to more than all of the living coral in Australia.

      The report — the first of its kind since 2008 — found that warming caused by climate change, overfishing, coastal development and declining water quality has placed coral reefs around the world under "relentless stress."

    • It’s Getting Hot in Here, Scientists Warn

      Scientists warned in a new study published Monday that urban population growth paired with warmer temperatures due to climate change have contributed to increasing numbers of people experiencing extreme heat, the number one weather-related cause of death in the U.S.

      The researchers wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the problem of urban heat is even worse than we thought because earlier studies underestimated extreme heat exposure, particularly in areas experiencing rapid population growth.

    • Tory MP Steve Baker Claims Much Climate Science is ‘Contestable’ at Party Conference

      Much of climate science is “contestable” and “sometimes propagandised”, former Brexit minister Steve Baker has told a Conservative Party conference event, in which he claimed some UN climate scenarios were “implausible”.

      Speaking at an event in Manchester hosted by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the Tory MP said students should be taught that they will become “poorer”, “colder”, and eat “insects for protein” as a result of climate policies.

    • Hurricane Ida Is Proof Systemic Racism Aggravates the Effects of Climate Crisis
    • Three Scientists Share Nobel Prize in Physics for 'Revolutionary' Climate Work

      Three scientists on Tuesday were awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics for their "revolutionary contributions" to the world's understanding of the climate—and how human activity, such as the emission of carbon dioxide, impacts it.

      "The discoveries being recognized this year demonstrate that our knowledge about the climate rests on a solid scientific foundation."

    • Opinion | We Need Biden to Fulfill His Climate Promises—Now

      Just seven days into President Biden's administration, he declared that the United States must "meet the moment" and raise our "climate ambition." He backed that sentiment up with a set of sweeping executive orders directing the government to place the climate crisis at the center of domestic and foreign policy decisions. It was a welcome change from past presidents who have too often waited until the end of their terms to take any bold action to protect the environment.

    • Energy

      • Let’s Blow up Luxury Emissions

        Malm makes the case for grassroots-organized destruction of the property of energy companies to raise the cost of their doing business and to punish fossil investors. More importantly, he advocates also for sabotage of the property of the very wealthy, whose outsize carbon footprint adds an extra layer of class-based culpability in the unfolding crimes against humanity which climate change already constitutes, not in some hazy future but today.

        Klein, however, cannot abide property destruction, and therefore Malm is dismissed, from the pulpit of the Times to all the listening world, as “trying to make eco-terrorism a thing.”

      • Cryptocurrency's Carbon Footprint Underestimated

        Back in April I wrote Cryptocurrency's Carbon Footprint about the catastrophic carbon emissions of Proof-of-Work cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It now turns out that I didn't know that half of it; the numbers I and everyone else has been using are greatly underestimated. Below the fold, based on my no doubt somewhat inadequate methodology, the real story.

    • Wildlife/Nature

      • Fueled by Climate Crisis, Planet Lost 14% of Coral Reefs in Just One Decade

        The most comprehensive study of the health of the world's coral reefs to date shows that warming temperatures driven by the human-caused climate crisis wiped out a staggering 14% of the diverse underwater ecosystems between 2009 and 2018—a trend that's likely to continue without urgent action.

        "We must not leave future generations to inherit a world without coral."

  • Finance

    • How 'Insanely Corrupt' South Dakota Became a Magnet for the Wealth-Hoarding Megarich

      Experts on the wealth-hoarding strategies and subterfuges of the world's superrich are weighing in this week on why "billionaires love South Dakota" after a bombshell report revealed that the Republican-led state is a leading global destination for plutocratic tax cheats.

      "South Dakota has sheltered billions in wealth linked to wealthy individuals previously accused of serious financial crimes and labor violations."

    • Warren Calls for Insider Trading Investigation at Fed After Scandal Emerges
    • The Politician-Scholar

      Before he became a celebrated author and the founding father and first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Eric Eustace Williams was an adroit footballer. At his high school, Queen’s Royal College, he was a fierce competitor, which likely led to an injury that left him deaf in his right ear. Yet as Williams’s profile as a scholar and national leader rose, so did the attempts by his critics to turn his athleticism against him. An “expert dribbler” known for prancing downfield with the ball kissing one foot, then the other, Williams was now accused by his political detractors of not being a team player. Driven by his desire to play to the gallery—or so it was said—he proved to be uninterested in whether his team (or his nation, not to mention the erstwhile British Commonwealth) was victorious.

      What his critics described as a weakness, though, was also a strength: His willingness to go it alone on the field probably contributed to his willingness to break from the historiographic pack during his tenure at Oxford University, and it also led him to chart his own political course. Williams, after all, often had good reason not to trust his political teammates, particularly those with close ties to London. Moreover, he was convinced that a good politician should play to the gallery: Ultimately, he was a public representative. And this single-minded determination to score even if it meant circumventing his teammates, instilled in him a critical mindset, one that helped define both his scholarship—in particular his groundbreaking Capitalism and Slavery—and his work as a politician and an intellectual, though admittedly this trait proved to be more effective at Oxford and Howard University than during his political career, which coincided with the bruising battles of the Cold War.

    • The Week Ahead: Everything hangs in the balance, but the economy is a wild card

      This coming Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will report on jobs and wages for September. The August jobs report was a disappointment, mainly because of the negative effects of the Delta COVID variant. I expect the September report to show slow job growth, too. But keep your eye on wage growth. If wages continue to rise as fast as they have been, workers will have more money to purchase all sorts of things — thereby getting the economy back on track.You’ll also be hearing lots of scaremongering this week about inflation and “labor shortages.” Last Friday, the Fed reported that prices climbed in August at the fastest pace in 30 years. This – along with uncertainty about jobs and the Delta variant – has already rattled the stock market. (But as I’ve said a thousand times, the stock market is not the economy! The richest 1 percent of Americans own half of all stocks, the richest 10 percent own over 80 percent.)The major reason for inflation is supply bottlenecks, both in the US and around the world, which are pushing up prices of everything from crude oil to semiconductor chips. These bottlenecks should ease over the year. In fact, so-called “core” inflation (which excludes food and fuel) has been slowing somewhat.But this hasn’t stopped Republicans from claiming that the spending Biden and the Democrats want to do will spur more inflation. Rubbish. It will expand the capacity of the economy to produce goods and services, thereby relieving shortages and reducing inflation over time. (When more people have childcare, for example, they’re freer to work – reducing “labor shortages.”)Republicans also claim that the stronger safety nets in the bill will make people more reluctant to join the labor force. Additional rubbish. America has the weakest safety nets of all rich countries. Giving Americans slightly more economic security will help the economy, by allowing them to get additional skills, change jobs, and get better pay.In many ways, Biden’s plan will improve the lives of the bottom 90 percent of Americans – people who don’t have much wealth and own almost no shares of stock. This is something the corporate backers of Republicans and conservative Democrats don’t seem to care about, but they should.What do you think?

    • Pandora Papers: Massive Leak Exposes How Elite Shield Their Wealth & Avoid Taxes in Colonial Legacy

      The Pandora Papers, described as “the world’s largest-ever journalistic collaboration,” have revealed the secret financial dealings of the world’s richest and most powerful people. “We’ve uncovered a system that benefits a few at the expense of the many,” says Ben Hallman, senior editor at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, who details some of the project’s main revelations so far. We also speak with Vanessa Ogle, professor of history at the University of California at Berkeley and an expert on tax havens, who says the growth of tax havens like the Bahamas and Switzerland is directly linked to wealth extraction from the developing world. “The seed money for the expansion of these tax havens comes out of the colonial world,” she explains.

    • Inside the Pandora Papers

      This colossal undertaking involved 600 journalists from 117 countries and was coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in what they describe as the “largest-ever journalistic collaborative.”

      Five and a half years ago, the ICIJ released the Panama Papers, which focused on a leak from a single law firm, Mossack Fonseca. According to ICIJ Director Gerald Ryle, the Pandora Papers are the “Panama Papers on steroids.” See a summary prepared by the ICIJ here.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Somebody Should Probably Do Something

      Support independent cartooning: join€ Sparky’s List—and don’t forget to visit TT’s€ Emporium of Fun, featuring the new book and plush Sparky!

    • Democrats Urged to Axe the Filibuster to Prevent 'Global Economic Crisis'

      With Congress barrelling toward a potentially devastating default on U.S. financial obligations, a coalition of 75 advocacy groups and labor unions on Tuesday urged Senate Democrats to axe or modify the 60-vote filibuster rule to raise the debt ceiling—and avert a "global economic crisis."

      "It's unbelievable and unacceptable that a minority of U.S. senators can cause economic devastation for millions of Americans."

    • Bernie Sanders Explains Why Most Media Coverage of Reconciliation Fight Is Corporate Con Job

      "When we talk about big money controlling this country, it's not only the direct political process but it's how we even learn about what's going on in this country."—Sen. Bernie Sanders

    • The Past 2 Years Have Left Portland Reeling. What Kind of Recovery Comes Next?

      In late July, Portland, Ore., held a grand reopening of its downtown. Hollowed out by the pandemic, which banished office workers and tourists, the neighborhood became the site of massive demonstrations against police brutality after the murder of George Floyd. Throughout the summer of 2020, protesters faced off against local and federal law enforcement in nightly clashes that inevitably ended in tear gas, flash-bang grenades, and arrests. Even after direct actions became small and sporadic, many storefronts remained boarded up—a detail often mentioned in a barrage of media coverage characterizing the Rose City as dangerous, trashed, even dying.1

    • Opinion | The GOP Is Rooting for Failure, But the American People Support Biden's Sweeping Agenda

      After much drama, President Joe Biden made it clear last week that his core legislative package—the American Jobs Plan, which would begin rebuilding our decrepit infrastructure, and the American Family Plan, which would address essential needs—will pass together or not at all.

    • Opinion | So-Called 'Centrists' Are Really Incredibly Dangerous Extremists

      After a half decade of progressive political gains, so-called "Centrists" over the last several weeks have struck back hard. In the U.K., Labour Party leader Keir Starmer used his annual speech to the party's annual conference to "draw a line" under the progressive ideas of "Corbynism" promising instead a "serious plan for government." Similarly in the U.S., Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona—both frequently described as "centrist" or "moderate"—are holding up a major progressive spending bill due to claimed concerns over its cost. While the Left rails against these attacks, many continue in the corporate press embrace them as "sensible" and "moderate" voices with "their thumb more on the pulse on the average Democrat in the country" in a time of supposed left-wing and right-wing extremism.

    • American Red Tape
    • Pramila Jayapal’s Perfect Pitch

      The New York Times headline on Sunday declared, “Biden Tacks Left,” as the newspaper recounted the fact that “when Biden ventured to the Capitol on Friday to help House Democrats out of their thicket, he had to choose sides. He effectively chose the left.”

    • Texas GOP's Gerrymandering Plan Reveals 'Ominous'—and Deeply Racist—Threat to US Democracy

      After Texas Republican lawmakers on Monday approved congressional and state legislative maps that would disenfranchise communities of color and cement GOP power for at least 10 years, voting rights advocates implored Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill to take immediate federal action to ban racial and partisan gerrymandering—anti-democratic ploys likely to be copied in other Southern battleground states as redistricting proceeds.

      "At a time when Texas is becoming more diverse and Democratic," journalist and author Ari Berman wrote Monday in Mother Jones, "the new maps drawn by Republicans for Congress and the state Legislature would make the state's political representation far whiter and more Republican, all but ending competition at the very moment when ascendant Democrats are finally making the state competitive."

    • 'Disgraceful': Watch Kyrsten Sinema Ignore Constituent's Heartfelt Plea on Immigration

      "When the easiest way to get a senator’s attention is to purchase a plate at a fundraising dinner... people have few other options to make themselves heard."—Sarah Jones, New York

    • Bickering Democrats Hurting Themselves

      This tumultuous era of rage and division is a far cry from the accommodating Democratic congressional majorities that enabled Lyndon B. Johnson to succeed in passing his civil rights and Great Society legislation and for Franklin D. Roosevelt to push through his New Deal.

      At the same time, Republicans have made unprecedented anti-democratic successes by governors and legislatures to keep minority Democratic voters away from the polls just as the 2022 midterm elections creep over the horizon. The timing of the discord among Democrats is worse than bad.

    • Trudeau’s Parliamentary ‘Victory’ May Cost Him the Next Elections

      69% of Canadians did not think that holding an election during the fourth wave of the Covid pandemic was necessary.€ Officials and media analysts did not make much of public opinion polls at the time. Instead, they focused on two major issues: first, whether Trudeau’s Liberal Party would be able to galvanize on the popularity of his pandemic policies to win a decisive parliamentary majority, of 170 in Ottawa’s House of Commons. The other issue is whether the new Conservative Party leader, Erin O’Toole, would succeed in galvanizing the protest votes, coming mostly from Liberals and the New Democrats.

      Yet, the outcome of the latest vote was almost identical to that of October 2019: Trudeau’s Liberals increased their presence by a single seat only, O’Toole’s Conservatives lost merely two seats, which were gained by Jagmeet Singh’s New Democratic Party. Meanwhile, the Green Party received another setback with the loss of one seat to return to parliament with merely two seats, while the People’s Party could not muster enough support for a single seat.

    • “Appalling and Unacceptable”: Leak Shows Facebook Knew Its Algorithms Spread Hate & Harmed Children

      An unprecedented leak at Facebook reveals top executives at the company knew about major issues with the platform from their own research but kept the damning information hidden from the public. The leak shows Facebook deliberately ignored rampant disinformation, hate speech and political unrest in order to boost ad sales and is also implicated in child safety and human trafficking violations. Former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen leaked thousands of documents and revealed her identity as the whistleblower during an interview with “60 Minutes.” She is set to testify today before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection. “Their value system, which is about efficiency and speed and growth and profit and power, is in conflict with democracy,” says Roger McNamee, who was an early mentor to Mark Zuckerberg and author of “Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe.” He says Facebook executives are prioritizing profits over safety. We also speak with Jessica González, co-CEO of the media advocacy organization Free Press and co-founder of Change the Terms, a coalition that works to disrupt online hate, who says this demonstrates Facebook is “unfit” to regulate itself. “We need Congress to step in.”

    • Biden White House Ends Trump-Era Abortion Restrictions on Family Planning Orgs
    • At the March for Abortion Rights, a New Generation of Activists Takes Center Stage

      Anna stood backstage at Saturday’s Rally for Abortion Justice in Washington, D.C., one month into a near-total abortion ban in her home state of Texas. It was the biggest Women’s March in the nation’s capital since the first one, when the inauguration of President Trump inspired the largest day of protest in US history. The crowd of 20,000 filled a small plaza near the National Mall; in 2017, half a million people in pink pussy hats practically shut down the city. You could blame this on the Delta variant, or on burnout, or—as some activists have said both privately and publicly—on a sense that march organizers failed to adequately support or engage abortion funds and groups doing the work on the ground. Still, there were 660 marches across the country, a number similar to that in 2017, and 85 percent of the organizers of those events were new to the Women’s March, according to Executive Director Rachel O’Leary Carmona.

    • Chile is Taking the Final Steps of Dismantling Dictatorship

      The Institute for Policy Studies holds this program every year at the site of the 1976 assassination of IPS colleagues Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt by agents of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Letelier was a former Chilean ambassador to the United States and Moffitt was a 25-year-old IPS development associate. A€ virtual human rights awards program€ in their names will be held on October 13.

      During our exile in D.C., Angélica and I would come year after year to Sheridan Circle for this commemoration to gather with Isabel Letelier and Pancho and the other Letelier sons and our friends in the solidarity movement and our dear IPSers, some present today and some, alas, departed from our midst, each year measuring how much closer we were to ending Pinochet’s dictatorship, an end that would be a fitting way to celebrate the lives of Orlando and Ronni that were lost here.

    • Sinema’s Approval Rating Plummets Among Democrats as She Allies With Lobbyists
    • Leak Shows Facebook Knew Its Algorithms Harmed Children and Spread Hate
    • In Scathing Senate Testimony, Whistleblower Warns Facebook a Threat to Children and Democracy

      Two days after a bombshell "60 Minutes" interview in which she accused Facebook of knowingly failing to stop the spread of dangerous lies and hateful content, whistleblower Frances Haugen testified Tuesday before U.S. senators, imploring Congress to hold the company and its CEO accountable for the many harms they cause.

      "In some cases, this dangerous online talk has led to actual violence that harms and even kills people."

    • [Old] Get On Gab

      If you're a leftie, get on Gab. No, I'm serious. If you're fair and objective, you'll agree echo chambers are not a good thing. Gab is already growing at an incredible rate and no doubt there are already more diverse people joining. Gab's strength is it's totally pro-free speech mantra, but also the entire infrastructure is owned and built by Torba and his team, so it won't get wiped out like Parler did when Amazon decided to flex its censorship muscles.


      Update 09-02-2021: Having used Gab a bit longer, I still stand by my general idea of the more people and diverse opinions end up on there, the better. However, fair warning, there are a lot of Christian fundamentalists and with that brings some interesting interactions whenever someone makes it clear they are gay, for example. In this case, some very intolerant viewpoints come about. It's not everyone, but with a free speech platform, and a heavy slant towards conservative Christians... well, you've been warned. That said, it still reinforces my original point. And the alternatives, where said conservative Christians themselves are actually persecuted, such as on Facebook and Twitter, are not exactly pleasant either.
    • [Old] Peter Thiel’s Origin Story: His ideology dominates Silicon Valley. It began to form when he was an angry young man.

      In 2019, while on a trip to Washington to answer questions from Congress about his digital currency, Thiel joined Zuckerberg, Jared Kushner, Trump, and their spouses at the White House. The specifics of the discussion were secret — but, as I report in my book, Thiel later told a confidant that Zuckerberg came to an understanding with Kushner during the meal. Facebook, he promised, would continue to avoid fact-checking po€­litical speech — thus allowing the Trump campaign to claim whatever it wanted. If the company followed through on that promise, the Trump administra€­tion would lay off on any heavy-handed regulations.

    • AOC Pounces on Facebook Blackout: ‘Break Them Up’

      Facebook has continually used its vast cash reserves to absorb potential competitors, giving Mark Zuckerberg’s company tendrils across the [Internet]. The company’s dominance also means that its content moderation policies — set by a company with its eye seemingly on its bottom line, rather than public benefit — can have major consequences for the national discourse. Those rules, and Facebook’s role in setting them, have become increasingly important as foreign and domestic groups exploit them to spread misinformation and propaganda.

    • The Pandora Papers Reveal How the Super-Rich Shaft the Rest of Us

      The Pandora leaks come from confidential records at 14 different offshore wealth service firms in Switzerland, Singapore, Cyprus, Samoa, Vietnam, and Hong Kong, as well as wealth managers in well-known tax havens such as Belize, Seychelles, The Bahamas, and the British Virgin Islands. These firms help wealthy individuals and corporations to form trusts and foundations, incorporate companies, and establish other entities in low- or no-tax jurisdictions.

      The Pandora team analyzed almost 12 million files from these firms, including leaked e-mails, memos, tax declarations, bank statements, passport scans, diagrams of corporate structures, secret spreadsheets, and clandestine real estate contracts. Some reveal the real owners of opaque shell companies for the first time.

    • How do people and companies avoid paying taxes?

      Individuals have various ways to avoid tax legally by using structured tax shelters or changing their place of residence. Tax evasion is a different matter, treated as a criminal offence in many countries (though famously dealt with more leniently in Switzerland). The smartest evaders use a combination of bank accounts, shell companies, trusts and foundations—often fronted by nominees—in one or more offshore financial centres. Corporate tax avoidance is a greyer legal area. Companies naturally push the envelope, often betting that the authorities will have neither the wit nor the resources to confront them over their tax-minimisation strategies—or that governments will accept less tax in return for investment by “mobile capital”.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • A New Hope For Moderation And Its Discontents?

      In his post kicking off this series, Mike notes that, “the biggest concern with moving moderation decisions down the stack is that most infrastructure players only have a sledge hammer to deal with these questions, rather than a scalpel.” And, I agree with Jonathan Zittrain and other contributors that governments, activists, and others will increasingly reach down the stack to push for takedowns—and will probably get them.€ 

    • OnlyFans Isn't The First Site To Face Moderation Pressure From Financial Intermediaries, And It Won't Be The Last

      In August, OnlyFans made the stunning announcement that it planned to ban sexually explicit content from its service. The site, which allows creators to post exclusive content and interact directly with subscribers, made its name as a host for sexually-oriented content. For a profitable website to announce a ban of the very content that helped establish it was surprising and € dismaying to the sex workers and other creators who make a living on the site.

    • Bring on the Publicity Trolls: Federal Appeal Court Ruling Drastically Undermines Online Speech

      State law claims are normally barred under Section 230, a law has enabled decades of innovation and online expression. But Section 230 doesn’t apply to intellectual property claims, so if publicity rights are intellectual property (“IP”), the theory goes, intermediaries can be sued for any user content that might evoke a person.

      If that's the case, intermediaries€ will only be able to host as much speech as their lawyers, content moderators, and filters could screen beforehand, based on the most restrictive provisions in wildly varying state laws. In California, publicity rights protections apply to virtually anything that evokes a person, and last for 70 years after the death of that person. In Virginia, a publicity rights violation can result in criminal penalties. Alaska doesn’t recognize a right of publicity at all. Faced with a panoply of standards, email providers, social media platforms, and any site that supports user-generated content will be forced to tailor their sites and procedures to ensure compliance with the most restrictive state law, or risk liability and potentially devastating litigation costs.

      Sadly, that is exactly what this decision has invited.

    • Islamic charity that outed teacher in Batley cartoon row is rebuked by watchdog

      The 29-year-old teacher was forced to go into hiding with police protection and was suspended for showing pupils the drawing from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

      However, he was cleared after an independent external investigation, launched by the school’s governing trustees, found he had shown the image on more than one occasion but had not intended to cause offence.

      At the time in March, Mohammad Sajad Hussain, Purpose of Life’s chief executive, accused the teacher of “terrorism” and “insulting Islam”.

  • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Investigation: CBP Targeted Journalists, Illegally Shared Info With Mexico, And Attempted To Cover It All Up

      A couple of years ago, documents surfaced that showed the CBP was placing journalists, activists, and immigration lawyers on some form of a watchlist, which would allow agents and officers to subject these targets to additional scrutiny when they crossed the border. There were obvious civil liberties implications, ones the CBP seemed largely unconcerned about.

    • The CIA Plot to Kidnap or Kill Julian Assange in London is a Story that is Being Mistakenly Ignored

      It was revealed this week that a year before the Khashoggi killing in 2017, the CIA had plotted to kidnap or assassinate Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who had taken refuge five years earlier in the Ecuador embassy in London. A senior US counter-intelligence official said that plans for the forcible rendition of Assange to the US were discussed “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration. The informant was one of more than 30 US officials – eight of whom confirmed details of the abduction proposal – quoted in a 7,500-word investigation by Yahoo News into the CIA campaign against Assange.

      The plan was to “break into the embassy, drag [Assange] out and bring him to where we want”, recalled a former intelligence official. Another informant said that he was briefed about a meeting in the spring of 2017 at which President Trump had asked if the CIA could assassinate Assange and provide “options” about how this could be done. Trump has denied that he did so.

    • Journalists Claim Wrongful Firings at US News Agency

      In suits filed at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, the journalists cited Pack's comment in an August 2020 interview that being "a journalist is a great cover for a spy" and said that J-1 visa holders might try to "penetrate" USAGM.

      Soon after Pack took charge at USAGM in June 2020, he fired several heads of the media networks he oversees. Pack later launched a "comprehensive investigation" into the agency's operations because of what he said were "long-term security failures" that undermined its mission.

      Members of Congress at the time publicly questioned whether the moves were eroding the networks' editorial independence. USAGM oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Network, and other U.S. funded news and information outlets.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Conflict Zone

      I can see, but not clearly describe, the patch of concrete, the base of the tree, the few brief seconds that the man and I struggled before my head hit the pavement. I spent the next week in bed with a concussion, staring at the ceiling of my hot bedroom, forbidden the use of words: no screens, no books, no stimuli. The nonverbal blur that followed was a time that passed as a smear across my brain. It soon came to feel like a muted extension of the attack.

    • Hacked Data Exposes Law Enforcement Officers Who Joined Far-Right Oath Keepers Group

      Some more unsettling news about law enforcement's close relationship to (or at least professional tolerance of) far-right groups linked to the January 6th raid of the Capitol building has come to light, thanks to transparency activists Distributed Denial of Secrets.

    • Opinion | President Biden, as a Leader of Faith, Do Better on Immigration

      President Biden is facing a pivotal moment on immigration policy—one that will define America's image on its treatment of migrants in desperate need of help. It's not going well.

    • Top State Department Official Resigns, Saying Haitian Deportations Violate Law
    • Leaving Post, Top Official Blasts Biden Over Use of 'Inhumane' Trump-Era Deportation Policy

      A senior official departing the Biden State Department has issued a blistering critique of the administration's ongoing use of a Trump-era policy "to rebuff the pleas of thousands of Haitians and myriad others arriving at the Southern Border who are fleeing violence, persecution, or torture" and urged his remaining colleagues "to do everything in your power to revise this policy."

      The rebuke, Politico first reported, came in an Oct. 2 internal memo—which centers on the government's use of Title 42—from resigning senior adviser Harold Koh.

    • Was the G.I. Bill of Rights a Safety Net Bill?

      We also need to give them grief on the other side of the picture. I doubt anyone likes generic government spending. On the other hand, most of the specific areas where the government does spend money, like Social Security, Medicare, and education, are very popular. So, describing the bill as simply “spending” is virtually certain to reduce support for it.

      In recent days, reporters have taken to calling it a “safety net” bill. It’s not clear that is very much better. Most of us probably think of safety net programs as items like TANF or food stamps, programs designed to help people who have fallen on hard times. Most of the proposed spending in the bill really does not have this character.

    • Working With Ed Asner to Keep the GM Van Nuys Plant Open

      This is not primarily a story about Ed. It’s a story about a powerful coalition of many stars in which Ed played an important role. For the many friends of Ed Asner this may still be a side of him you did not know. And for those who do not know him, and may Google a guy named Lou Grant, this is Ed in a far more important role on the stage of history. € 

      Spoiler alert—we initiated the Campaign to Keep GM Van Nuys Open in 1981 even before GM threatened to close our plant. We spent 2 years building a powerful coalition, we met with GM President F. James McDonald in 1984 as which time, shaken up by our real threat of a boycott of GM cars in the largest new car market in the U.S., he made a 3-year commitment to keep the plant open. Thanks to our work we won one of the great UAW labor/Black/Latin@/women’s victories of the entire period as GM kept the plant open until 1992—the exact ten years we had demanded to “keep GM Van Nuys Open.” More than 4,000 workers, 50% Latin@, 15 Black, 15% women, kept their jobs for a full decade.

    • Human Rights Attorney Sentenced to Prison After Winning Case Against Chevron
    • Immigrants Start 'Sleep Out' at Schumer's Home, Urging Dems to Defy Senate Parliamentarian

      Immigrants and rights advocates gathered outside the Brooklyn home of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Tuesday evening for a four-day "sleep out" pressuring congressional Democrats to ignore the upper chamber's parliamentarian, who last month advised against including an immigration policy in the Build Back Better budget reconciliation package.

      Schumer (D-N.Y.) "holds the power to lead Democrats to deliver on their promise to create a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants," organizers of the #NoSleepTilCitizenship event said in a statement, which also highlighted a related postcard-writing campaign and Bicycle Ride 4 Relief planned for later this week.

    • Advocates Cheer Senate Reintroduction of John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

      Democracy defenders on Tuesday cheered the U.S. Senate's reintroduction of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill passed by the House of Representatives in August that would revive key provisions of the weakened Voting Rights Act and honor the legacy of the civil rights icon after whom it is named.

      "We cannot claim to honor the life of John Lewis if we refuse to carry on his life's work."

    • Beyond the Spin: workers’ share of wealth slumps to record low

      Workers now have the lowest share ever of the nation’s earnings. Under-employment is even worse now than it was late last year. Alan Austin looks behind the spin to report the true state of unemployment and economic management in Australia.

    • Michigan: Judge Throws Out Female Genital Mutilation Case Against Muslim Physicians

      The defendants had previous charges dismissed on religious freedom grounds. But is the freedom of religion really a license to abuse children? “The lead defendant,” the Free Press noted, was Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, “whom prosecutors allege cut the genitals of nine minor girls during after-hours procedures at a Livonia clinic that belonged to her doctor friend, who also was charged in the case. Nagarwala has long denied engaging in genital mutilation, saying the procedure she performed on minor girls was a benign, religious practice that involved only scraping or ‘shaving’ of the genitalia, not cutting.

    • Judge throws out historic female genital mutilation case, calls feds 'vindictive'

      In dismissing the four-year-old case, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman concluded the prosecution was vindictive in seeking new charges against the accused, who had previously convinced the judge to declare the federal FGM ban as unconstitutional.


      Since the case emerged in 2017, the bulk of the charges had been dropped and the federal FGM law was declared unconstitutional in 2018. In making that decision, Friedman concluded that "as despicable as this practice may be," Congress did not have the authority to pass the law that criminalizes female genital mutilation, and that FGM is for the states to regulate.

    • Judge Dismisses Charges Tied To Historic Female Genital Mutilation Case

      Authorities alleged that mothers from Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota brought their girls to Dr. Jumana Nagarwala when they were roughly 7 years old for the procedure.

      Nagarwala and others denied any crime was committed. She said she performed a religious custom on girls from her Muslim sect, the India-based Dawoodi Bohra.

    • Kenya and Tanzania roll up sleeves to stamp out cross-border FGM

      In Kajiado South, the Maasai community, where 93 per cent of women are cut, according to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, began sneaking girls to Tanzania for the ritual.

      Families sneak out their daughters using boda boda operators at night via Tarakea on the border all the way to Arusha where they are cut and stay there until they heal before returning to Kenya.

    • Victims reveal how Kenyan girls are secretly ferried to Tanzania for circumcision

      He said the act is not only harmful but also illegal to girls and women and the Tanzanian government.

    • [Old] The work against Female Gender Mutilation (FGM) demands cooperation

      FGM is sometimes described as a “women’s problem”. During the gathering, however, many participants emphasized the importance of having men engaging in the issue. If boys and young men question and deprecate the tradition, there is a risk that they themselves will be subjected to the abuse of their future wives and daughters.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Pirates: Facebook Outage Could Have Been Avoided

      „In technical terms, Facebook incorrectly updated their BGP records, making it impossible to route traffic to Facebook from anywhere on the Internet. They practically removed themselves from the Internet. To make matters worse, a lot of Internet services depend to a certain extent on Facebook. Including… Facebook itself. It was as if they had forgotten their keys and locked themselves out of their own home. This outage demonstrates the risks of the whole Internet being dependent on one company. That is another good reason why we need an interoperability obligation of core services in the Digital Markets Act.“

  • Monopolies

    • Rethinking Facebook: We Need To Make Sure That 'Good For The World' Is More Important Than 'Good For Facebook'

      I'm sure by now most of you have either seen or read about Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen's appearance on 60 Minutes discussing in detail the many problems she saw within Facebook. I'm always a little skeptical about 60 Minutes these days, as the show has an unfortunately long history of misrepresenting things about the internet, and similarly a single person's claims about what's happening within a company are not always the most accurate. That said, what Haugen does have to say is still kind of eye opening, and certainly concerning.

    • Progressives Respond to Facebook Outage With Simple Call: 'Break Them Up'

      Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was among the progressives calling for government action to break up Facebook after the company and its family of apps—including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp—experienced a massive outage on Monday, rendering inaccessible services that billions of people worldwide use to communicate.

      "Facebook must be broken up and brought to justice."

    • Facebook, WhatsApp outage an annoyance for U.S., but a big deal in rest of the world

      “In many developing countries, services including WhatsApp, Facebook and Facebook Messenger have become deeply integrated into the delivery of primary health care, education and other government services,” Marcus Leaning, a digital media education professor at the University of Winchester in the U.K., said. “In the global North, we tend to use such services as supplementary to other channels of communication, so the global outage will have a disproportionate impact.”

    • Whistleblower urges regulation to tackle Facebook 'crisis'

      She also noted the risks that the social media giant's platforms are fueling a contagion of eating disorders, body-shaming and self-dissatisfaction that is particularly dangerous for young people.

      "There are going to be women walking around this planet in 60 years with brittle bones because of the choices that Facebook made around emphasizing profit today," she said, referring to the impact of eating disorders.

      Haugen spoke less than a day after Facebook, its photo-sharing app Instagram and messaging service WhatsApp went offline for roughly seven hours, hitting potentially billions of users and highlighting global dependence on its services.

      "Here's my message for (Facebook CEO) Mark Zuckerberg. Your time of invading our privacy, promoting toxic content and preying on children and teens is over," said Senator Ed Markey.

    • Patents

    • Copyrights

      • [Old] French Appeal Court affirms decision that copyright claims on GPL are invalid; must be enforced via contractual dispute

        This article follows the case of Entr’Ouvert vs Orange on a GPL copyright violation. The case went to the Tribunal de Grande Instance in 2019 and went to the Cour d’Appel recently in 2021, with a referral to the European Court of Justice (CJUE) in between.

        TL;DR: ALL courts so far have dismissed all copyright claims, asserting that the GPL (and software license generally) is a contract and can only be pursued as a contractual dispute in contract court.

        This article will go into more details about the decisions and highlight some major culture and legal differences. Disclaimer, there may be a bit of a culture shock.

      • Court Orders Universe IPTV to Pay DISH $7m in Copyright Infringement Damages

        In August 2020, DISH Network filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in the United States against 'pirate' IPTV provider Universal IPTV. DISH tracked down three defendants to addresses in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Germany but despite extensive efforts, could not engage the parties in legal battle. That has now resulted in a judgment in favor of DISH to the tune of $7 million.

      • MPA: Piracy is Hollywood's Greatest Threat But Site Blocking Helps

        Piracy remains the single greatest threat to the audiovisual community, MPA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin said at CineEurope. The organization, which is the driving force behind the ACE anti-piracy coalition, has booked several anti-piracy successes and praises European law enforcement efforts. Site blocking, which is common in several European countries, has made a difference too.

      • Disney Defeats Lawsuit Brought By Company Owning Evel Knievel's Rights Over 'Toy Story 4' Character

        Roughly a year ago, we discussed a lawsuit brought by K&K Promotions, the company that holds the trademark and publicity rights for the now-deceased stuntman Evel Knievel, against Disney. At issue was a character in Toy Story 4 named Duke Caboom, a toy version of a motorcycle stuntman that certainly had elements of homage to Knievel. But not just Knievel, which is important. Instead, a la several lawsuits Rockstar Games has faced over characters appearing in the Grand Theft Auto series, Caboom was an amalgam of retro-era stuntmen, not a faithful depiction of any one of them, including Knievel. And, while some who worked on the film even mentioned that Knievel was one of the inspiration points for the character, they also noted that Knievel's routine, garb, and mannerisms were hardly unique for stuntmen in that era. Despite that, K&K insisted that Caboom was a clear ripoff and appropriation of Knievel.

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