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Courts Are Being Showered With Motions to Invalidate Software Patents, Former USPTO Officials Like Kappos and Stoll in a Panic

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 2:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Officials-turned-lobbyists freak out as courts finally do something to combat USPTO greed

Heritage Foundation and Robert L. Stoll

Summary: Representatives of large corporations’ interests, who used to actually hold key positions at the USPTO, are not particularly happy about the avalanche of software patents (slipping down the cliff)

Another death of software patents (in the US) was recently reported, but not much media attention has been paid to it. That’s pretty much what we expect when the media is controlled or steered by particular interests. It should be noted that software patents are dying in bulk in the US and the ‘mess’ this creates (more requests for invalidation) clogs up the system. As Law 360 put it the other day:

Three federal judges from California and Delaware speaking Tuesday at a symposium to honor retiring U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte criticized the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice ruling, saying it has spurred hundreds of patent invalidity motions in their districts, and its two-part test for analyzing patent validity is too subjective.

As a proponent of software patents put it, “Fed. Judges Report that Their Dockets Are Clogged by 101/Alice; Test Too Subjective to Use…” (that latter part is made up, it’s not even in the headline or the article, at least outside the paywall).

“Don’t think that lobbyists and think tanks of large corporations will just stay idle and watch this without a reaction.”What’s worth emphasising, verbatim from the above, is: “hundreds of patent invalidity motions in their districts” (good news!)

Don’t think that lobbyists and think tanks of large corporations will just stay idle and watch this without a reaction. Watch how in the David Kappos years patent quality in the USPTO sank to gutter level (we wrote about this many times before). This new chart speaks for itself. “In the end,” remarks the author, “the Patent Office was able to ramp-up production enough to end FY2016 with the most utility patents issued in any fiscal year in history – 304,500 utility patents!”

What they mean by “production” is what Battistelli means by production. It’s a distortion of the whole patent system for the sake of short-term profit gains. Battistelli basically repeats the mistakes of Kappos, who is nowadays a paid lobbyist for software patents. “In Europe” according to IAM, “they have not degraded patents like in the US, says Kappos #LESAM16″

Actually, they are now. Battistelli fancies himself another Kappos. As Benjamin Henrion said in response, “he means corrupt and malicious EPO still grants software patents?”

Well, it has certainly gotten there. Insiders told us this too.

“Don’t let the USPTO decide on patent scope.”So while the US moves away from software patents, having ejected this disaster who was David Kappos, Europe under Battistelli turns patent examination into a production line with minimal quality control — the very thing that the US Government Accountability Office recently warned about.

According to this very recent post, Kappos took his lobbying to AIPLA and “Director Lee is likely nearing the end of her term as USPTO Director.” Here is the part which mentions Kappos: “USPTO Director Michelle Lee offered a set of Remarks at the October 28, 2016 AIPLA Luncheon. As a presidential appointee, Director Lee is likely nearing the end of her term as USPTO Director. Although the likely election of fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton suggests a smooth transition that could extend her term beyond January 2017, I expect that she will step-down prior to that point and that Deputy Director Russ Slifer will step-up as Acting Director.”

According to this post from IAM, the USPTO improves patent quality somewhat (Mayo/Alice) and associated fees go up. A sign of improvement to come? Here is how Patently-O put it:

From the USPTO: The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced that as part of its effort to solicit input from the public regarding the legal contours of patent subject matter eligibility, it will be holding two roundtables, one in November and one in December.

“In recent years, the jurisprudence on the very basic issue of what is patent eligible subject matter has been evolving requiring adjustments by innovators, businesses, lower courts and administrative agencies such as the USPTO,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Michelle K. Lee. “Our goal is to minimize any uncertainty in the patent system by ensuring we not only continue to apply the statute and case law in this area as faithfully as possible, but also understand the impact of the jurisprudence on innovation by assessing what, if any, changes might be helpful to further support innovation.”

Don’t let the USPTO decide on patent scope. It’s not their job and they are biased because more patents mean job security for them, at the expense of the public that’s attacked by patent trolls and taxed at every corner by low-quality patents. As a cautionary tale look at the EPO.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street media gives a platform to the former USPTO patent commissioner — a broad platform in which to promote patent maximalism, as usual. Here is what Robert L. Stoll wrote earlier this month:

In conclusion, after a long spell of bad news, Planet Blue—along with decisions like Bascom and Enfish—provides software innovators, applicants and owners with not only increased clarity, but also concrete evidence that the courts are working to address the challenges arising from the Alice test and that we’re not headed for a software patent apocalypse (as some have claimed).

I, for one, remain optimistic that the courts and PTO are fully committed to a healthy patent system and will continue working to resolve the remaining issues around patent eligibility and to ensure that effective patent protection is available to innovations in software (and every other field of technology).

Why does Stoll call the end of software patents “bad news”? Is he — like Kappos — a former USPTO official that’s now de facto lobbyist on patent scope, where the goal is just maximising everything with little or no regard to public interests? See our previous article, the one about Stoll's meddling in policy.

For those who may be wondering about Intellectual Ventures v Symantec, it will be the subject of our next few posts (later tonight). It’s a game changer that may have really heralded the very irreversible death of software patents in the US.

An Update on the Apple v Samsung Patent Cases — Cases That Apple Must Lose in Order for Linux to ‘Win’

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents, Samsung at 1:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Witness those truly innovative things — the work of pure genius! — which are rounded corners!

Apple devices

Summary: A quick roundup of recent articles/reports/analyses about Apple v Samsung, including the impending Supreme Court (SCOTUS) case

APPLE’S longstanding patent war with Samsung (or Android, having started to attack it more than 6 years ago) has become a high profile story and probably the leading example of patent litigation in recent times, with a lot of money at stake.

As expected, patent lawyers go ahead and push forth their fairly tales about patents being surrogates for “innovation” (the 1%’s protectionism), this time in relation to Apple and Samsung. To quote Patent Lawyer Magazine:

The recent and numerous cases opposing companies like Apple and Samsung or Google and Oracle highlight that, today, patents are defensive weapons as well as offensive weapons according to the strategy developed by the holder. Many companies notice lately this functional ambivalence of the patent, just as a patent-related dispute happen, like its violation by a counterfeiter party who reproduces without any authorization the protected invention.

If adopting a strategy of patent application may appear expensive in front of the strategy of the secret which consists in keeping the invention undisclosed, it must be clear that the patents ensure an effective legal protection of the inventions against potential counterfeiters and also permit to the innovative companies recouping their Research & Development costs as a patent owner will be able to negotiate royalties for license agreements signed with firms interested in the use of the patented technology.

That’s a rather misleading framing. If one actually considers which patents Apple is suing with/over, then one hasn’t any doubts; it’s not about innovation at all. Maybe it’s about “first to file” or something along those lines. We have covered these patents many times over the years.

As should become apparent pretty soon — because certainly corporate media will be all over it — Apple’s patent war against Samsung will be discussed at SCOTUS, with design patenting as a whole coming under scrutiny. Here is an overview of some more cases to be discussed by SCOTUS:

Constitutional Challenge to Inter Partes Review: Although the Constitutional issues in Cooper v. Lee and MCM v. HP were law-professor-interesting, they were not substantial enough for certiorari. The Supreme Court has now denied the Cooper and MCM petitions — leaving the IPR regime unchanged. Although Cooper v. Square is still pending, its chances are slight. The Supreme Court has also denied certiorari in Encyclopaedia Britannica (malpractice), Gnosis (appellate review), and GeoTag (case-or-controversy).

A new 101 Challenge: In its first conference of the term, the Supreme Court denied all of the pending petitions regarding patent eligibility. However, Trading Technologies has filed a new petition asking whether a new card game is categorically unpatentable so long as it uses a standard deck (rather than a novel deck) of cards. My post on the case asks: Does the Patent Statute Cabin-in the Abstract Idea Exception? That question references Section 100 of the Patent Act that expressly allows for the patenting of new use of a known manufacture.

Extra Territoriality of Trade Secrecy Law: On the trade secrecy front, Sino Legend has petitioned to review the Federal Circuit’s affirmance of the International Trade Commision’s ban on Legend’s importation of rubber resins used for tire production. The underlying bad-act was a trade secret misappropriation that occurred in China and the question on appeal asks: Whether Section 337(a)(1)(A) permits the ITC to adjudicate claims regarding trade secret misappropriation alleged to have occurred outside the United States. A Chinese court looked at the same case and found no misappropriation.

Design Patent Damages: Oral arguments were held earlier this week in Samsung v. Apple. During the arguments, all parties agreed that (1) the statute does not allow for apportionment of damages but rather requires profit disgorgement; (2) the article-of-manufacture from which profits can be calculated may be a component of the product sold to consumers; and (3) the determination of what counts as the article-of-manufacture is a question of fact to be determined by the jury. The only dispute then was on the factors that a jury should be considered and when the “inside gears” of a product should ever be included in the calculation.

The fourth paragraph is about Apple (design patents, not software patents) and the second paragraph speaks of a Section 101 challenge, which isn’t yet likely to happen. Alice is likely to stay here for a long time to come. The focus of the above cases, or the framing that Patently-O has chosen, is ITC. The I in ITC stands for “international” — surely a misleading label. It’s like calling the KGB “international” because it goes (or went) abroad in order to get its way for its home country. The ITC is to US corporations what the FSB is to Russia’s government (or the Kremlin) and we should recognise that there’s nothing “international” about it. It’s not the UN. Now that the patent battles target Asian companies like Samsung IAM likes to obsess about the subject. This patent trolls-funded site wishes us to believe that patent tax that makes phones worse (removed features to avert risk of lawsuits) and more expensive is a desirable aspect. Phones from Samsung almost literally explode and all that IAM can think about is patents, patents, and more patents.

Over at MIP there has been more coverage of the above patent case of Apple v Samsung. Florian Müller foresees more action in this domain (not involving only design patents but much more).

Little attention is being paid to Apple’s practices or tradition of tax evasion with patents as a financial instrument. It continues to happen in Ireland where Apple has a notorious tax-dodging operation and pro-Apple sites touch on the subject yet don’t quite get to the bottom of it (“Apple Moves $9B Worth of iTunes Intellectual Property To Ireland”). Remember what we wrote about Patent Boxes earlier this year.

Joseph Robinson & Robert Schaffer (over at Watchtroll) write about a related case (a different Apple v Samsung). It is apparent that this site is growingly concerned about yet another case reaffirming the death of software patents in the US. Apple has more than one case against Samsung; there are software patents at stake as well, hence the relevance to us. Watchtroll is still opposing patent reform and uses the terminology of anonymous Twitter accounts that taunt us, e.g. “Efficient Infringement”. What a cesspool Watchtroll has become…

Going back to Müller, here is what he recently wrote about both Apple v Samsung cases that are high profile:

Was it just a coincidence that the Federal Circuit made a decision on an Apple petition for a rehearing about eight months after the original decision and just days before the design patents hearing in the top U.S. court? It may very well have been. But when there are already other oddities (such as the decision not to invite further briefing from the parties and hold a rehearing), it’s not impossible that there is a hidden message or agenda.

The Federal Circuit decision certainly gives Apple leverage. Limited leverage, though: the relatively most valuable one of the three patents on which Apple had prevailed at the spring 2014 trial has expired and the most iconic one, slide-to-unlock, is about as valuable in the age of Touch ID and comparable technologies as an ISDN or floppy disk patent.

“Experts Urge Supreme Court To Take A Bite Out Of Apple’s Patent Win Over Samsung,” said this recent report, stating: “As two of the world’s largest consumer electronics companies face off at the Supreme Court Tuesday, experts in legal, patent, technology and consumer advocacy fields are urging the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling in the smartphone war between Apple and Samsung that awarded the iPhone maker the total profit of patent-infringing Galaxy devices.”

Matt Levy wrote about this also [1, 2]. That was 2.5 weeks ago when he pulished some thoughts about “A Funny Thing [That] Happened on the Way to the Court” and to quote:

A funny thing happened on the way to the Supreme Court in yesterday’s Samsung v. Apple design patent dispute. The high court was expected to review the lower court’s award of the entire profits made for 11 different smartphone models — just under $400 million.


Unexpectedly, some time before the argument Apple had agreed to concede that the “article of manufacture” didn’t have to be the entire product sold. That is, Apple agreed with Samsung and the government that the answer to the question that the Court had agreed to decide is “Yes.”

Will design patents not be challenged even by Samsung after all? IAM (wshfully) thinks there may be alignment on the horizon. To quote: “For the last couple of years it has been apparent that the smartphone wars that have raged in US courts since 2009 have been reaching their final skirmishes. Peace deals between the likes of Microsoft and Google and Apple and Google, have brought many of the battles to an end. Except, that is, for what has probably been the most significant confrontation – Apple v Samsung.”

There’s no “Microsoft and Google” “peace deal”; Microsoft continues to attack Android OEMs with patents and it was Microsoft that initiated antitrust action against Android in Europe. Microsoft is a malicious firm that would lie to anyone, anytime.

Joe Mullin asked: “How much punishment is appropriate when it comes to design patents?”

MIP’s coverage at the time spoke of the arguments and Patently-O offered a “view from inside the courtroom”. It said:

At oral argument, Samsung informed the Court that it was dropping its “causation argument” (i.e., that § 289 must be read in light of background causation principles from general tort law) and wanted to focus on its “article of manufacture” argument (i.e., its argument that a successful design patentee should be entitled to the “total profit” from the “article of manufacture” but that the relevant article should be determined mainly by looking at whether the patent claims a whole design or only part).

We eagerly await rulings against Apple in both cases, one involving software patents and another design patents, which in this case closely resemble software patents in multiple ways/aspects. What’s at stake here isn’t just the price of Samsung phones but the financial viability of Android (Linux-based) phones in general.

The Importance of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board Proven by the Fact That It’s Under Endless Attacks From the Patent Microcosm

Posted in America, Patents at 12:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent maximalists just want patents on everything

PTAB impotence

Summary: The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continues to invalidate patents that should never have been granted in the first place, not slowing down even in the face of greater and louder opposition from reckless patent maximalists

THE SCIENCE-LED PTAB is one of the best aspects of the USPTO. It’s almost like the equivalent of the besieged appeal boards at the EPO and it helps ensure high patent quality.

“The patent microcosm just can’t stand the idea of high-profile patents (with high royalties) being subjected to proper scrutiny.”Don’t assume that PTAB is popular with everyone. Not all people have the same goals; peace, for example, isn’t an objective when you sell weapons. There’s bemoaning of PTAB in IAM ‘magazine’ this month (more of the usual) and MIP writes about Kyle Bass essentially making money out of PTAB. Making money by blowing away bad patents is not an evil thing; in a way, this should be very much encouraged. “The Patent Trial and Appeal Board has invalidated the claims of a patent covering Shire’s Gattex drug,” MIP wrote. Well, good riddance then. Bass does not just go after solid, decent patents. The patent maximalists call him a “troll” (or “reverse troll”) for it. The patent microcosm just can’t stand the idea of high-profile patents (with high royalties) being subjected to proper scrutiny.

In re Aqua, one high profile case involving PTAB, got covered at Patently-O in recent days/weeks [1, 2]. It’s one of those increasingly common cases where a company gets a bogus patent application past careless examiners at the USPTO and then PTAB steps it, threatening to throw it away, whereupon the grantee wants to modify/change the patent (post-grant) for apparent merit. What is this system going to look like if there are post-issuance edits? What are the patent maximalists sinking/stooping down to? To quote Patently-O:

The only pending en banc patent case before the Federal Circuit is In re Aqua Products (Appeal No. 15-1177) involving claim amendments during inter partes review. The Patent Statute contemplates claim amendments as a possibility but not a right — notably, 35 U.S.C. 316(d) states that “the patent owner may file 1 motion to amend the patent” with additional motions to amend permitted in limited situations. The scope of amendment is also limited to (A) cancelling challenged claims and (B) proposing “a reasonable number of substitute claims” that do not “enlarge the scope of the claims of the patent or introduce new matter.”

Another article from Patently-O says that “[i]n a split opinion, the Federal Circuit has affirmed the PTAB’s determination of obviousness. Biota’s patent claims influenza treatment through oral inhalation of zanamivir while the prior art teaches the identical treatment by nasal inhalation. A second prior art reference also suggests that similar compound can be taken via “inhalation” (without the nasal or oral modifier). On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed that the general inhalation disclosure “is reasonably understood to disclose inhalation by either the nose alone, mouth alone, or both.””

It sure looks like attacks on the legitimacy of PTAB come from many directions and they usually fall flat on their face. The PTAB Litigation Blog, one or those blogs that are managed or run by the patent microcosm (Jones Day in this case), has this new article titled “The Equitable Doctrine of Assignor Estoppel Does Not Prevent PTAB from Instituting an IPR”.

“What is this system going to look like if there are post-issuance edits?”It’s all about stopping PTAB, isn’t it? It’s a serial destroyer of software patents, which is a lot more efficient than US courts (more patents invalidated more quickly).

Finnegan et al (other firms that profit from patents) are increasingly afraid of PTAB and do anything within their capacity to politely (more than Watchtroll) delegitimise it. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP can be seen here poking PTAB again. They just never give up, do they?

Michael Loney, who has done a lot of coverage regarding PTAB this year, has this roundup which includes PTAB news and going back to Patently-O, this one new article is attempting to use any tricks in the book to shoot down PTAB because it invalidates patents and does its job by ensuring high patent quality. To quote one very recent article: “Patent Academic Ray Mercado also took advantage of the request for a responsive brief to file an amicus brief. Mercado argues that patents should be seen as “private rights” and therefore cannot be administratively cancelled. He writes: “Once the historical uniqueness of patent law is taken into account, it is clear that patents are ‘private rights’ for purposes of this Court’s separation of powers jurisprudence, and their validity must be decided by Article III courts.””

“It sure looks like attacks on the legitimacy of PTAB come from many directions and they usually fall flat on their face.”So they try to scrutinise the very existence of PTAB. How predictable. Another new article from Patently-O reveals that large companies are exploring ways to overcome PTAB and maintain their invalid, bogus patents. Here are some of the details: “On rehearing in Medtronic v. Robert Bosch, the Federal Circuit panel has reaffirmed its earlier determining that the PTAB’s vacatur of an IPR institution decision is a decision as to “whether to institute an inter partes review” and therefore is “final and nonappealable.” The original Medtronic decision had been released prior to Cuozzo v. Lee (2016) and the rehearing decision now explains that “nothing in Cuozzo is to the contrary.” [...] An additional difficulty with all of this stems from the pending Ethicon petition and the difference between action by the Director and action by the PTAB. The statute separates the roles – indicating that the PTO Director’s role is in determining “whether to institute” an IPR. Under the statute, the PTAB then steps in to conduct the trial. Those separate roles were then combined by PTO regulation which states “The Board institutes the trial on behalf of the Director.” 37 CFR 42.4. A question – unanswered in this case – is whether the Director’s regulatory delegation above should be interpreted to also extend to vacating and terminating petitions. I’m not sure that it does.”

To clarify, IPRs are about invalidation of patents including software patents (killing software patents one at a time, which isn’t optimal/ideal). Anyone in this domain already knows this, yet law firms spin it as “settlement”. That’s highly misleading a characterisation. Watch what Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP is saying: “Through October 1, 2016, the Federal Circuit decided 120 PTAB appeals from IPRs and CBMs. The Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB on every issue in 95 (79.17%) of the cases, and reversed or vacated the PTAB on every issue in 9 (7.50%) of the cases. A mixed outcome on appeal, where at least one issue was affirmed and at least one issue was vacated or reversed, occurred in 11 (9.17%) of the cases.”

“We expect PTAB to come under plenty of new/fresh attacks, including complaints to politicians, to courts, and misinformation (targeting the public and stakeholders).”No matter how much law firms may attempt to destroy the reality (for profit), there are no effective changes to PTAB. Its large-scale patents invalidation progress is not slowing down, not judging by these latest figures. As MIP put it: “The ability to include testimonial evidence with patent owner preliminary responses in Patent Trial and Appeal Board proceedings has not been much help since it was introduced in May, according to an analysis by Oblon’s Scott McKeown”

We expect PTAB to come under plenty of new/fresh attacks, including complaints to politicians, to courts, and misinformation (targeting the public and stakeholders). We’ll keep a close eye on progress and report on it periodically.

Links 30/10/2016: Lenovo Surrenders to Linux, Bodhi Linux 4.0.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 11:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • What you can learn from GitHub’s top 10 open source projects

    Open source dominates big data. So much so, in fact, that Cloudera co-founder Mike Olson has declared, “No dominant platform-level software infrastructure has emerged in the last ten years in closed-source, proprietary form.” He’s right, as the vast majority of our best big data infrastructure (Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark, MongoDB, etc.) is open source.

  • Nine in ten companies use open source

    It’s not surprising that businesses are feeling jittery about cybersecurity, especially after last week’s news that a botnet had used Internet of Things devices to hack into platforms like Reddit, Twitter and Spotify. And this week, a new report from Rackspace, the managed cloud company, has revealed that while many companies are now using open source – a type of software that makes the original source code freely available – they still harbour security concerns.

    The report, which surveyed 300 large organisations in the UK, found that 90% of companies are using open source coding, despite 54% associating it with security threats. And while 25% of companies are fully using open source, of the companies that aren’t fully using it, 49% saw closed source technologies as more secure.

  • Why Professional Open Source Management is Critical for your Business

    In his Open Source Landscape keynote at LinuxCon Japan earlier this year, Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation said that the trend toward corporate-sponsored open source projects is one of the most important developments in the open source ecosystem. The jobs report released by the Linux Foundation earlier this year found that open source professionals are in high demand. The report was followed by the announcement that TODOGroup, a collaboration project for open source professionals who run corporate open source program offices, was joining the Linux Foundation. Open source is no longer exclusively a pursuit of the weekend hobbyist. Professional open source management is a growing field, and it’s critical to the success of your technology strategy.

  • Ignite UI Is Now Open Source!

    For a while now, Ignite UI has been the choice for large enterprises to create beautiful and powerful modern web UIs on top of their enterprise data. We (Infragistics) are now making this product available to everyone. We want to open up the most powerful and easy-to-use UI framework for Modern Web Applications to everyone. In order to do this, we’ve made the majority of the line of business Ignite UI controls and components open source, and available on GitHub to everyone to grab! The open source part of Ignite UI is licensed under Apache 2.0.

  • Increasing Diversity is not Just the Duty of the Marginalized

    Often women are presented with a “Prove it again” bias in the workplace, in which they must repeatedly demonstrate their competence just to be taken seriously. As a member of the OpenStack Technical Committee for the past four years, Anne Gentle has encountered her fair share of these biases. Gentle shared her experience on today’s episode of The New Stack Makers podcast, recorded at the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona this week.

  • Microservices Ecosystem Transit Map

    Microservices architecture has reached a tipping point where its broad adoption is now pretty much guaranteed. According to a survey by NGINX, nearly a third of companies have deployed microservices in production, and another third are either using microservices in development or considering them. Furthermore, there is fairly even distribution of microservices adoption across small (36%), medium (50%), and large companies (44%), indicating that the approach has merit regardless of how many developers you have in your organization.

  • Free Dev Tools for Running or Creating a Site

    Are you involved in DevOps and web development, or are you aiming to be? If so, you’re probably very aware of many of the tools from the open standards and open source arenas that can make your work easier. Still, these are always spreading out at a fast clip and there are some applications and tools that are rarely discussed. Here at OStatic, we try to regularly update our collections focused on them. In this post, you’ll find numerous free resources for web development that range from complete online courses available for free to unsung applications.

  • Collaboration yields open source technology for computational science

    The gap between the computational science and open source software communities just got smaller – thanks to an international collaboration among national laboratories, universities and industry.

    The Eclipse Science Working Group (SWG), a global community for individuals and organizations who collaborate on commercially-friendly open source software, recently released five projects aimed at expediting scientific breakthroughs by simplifying and streamlining computational science workflows.

  • Open source data sharing software takes aim at cancer
  • Open source oncology software from Pitt, UPMC to speed genomic data sharing

    TCGA Expedition, a new new tool developed by the University of Pittsburgh, UPMC and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, can help cancer investigators wade through huge amounts of genomic data.

    The open-source technology, which manages data from The Cancer Genome Atlas project, continuously downloads, processes and manages TCGA data, allowing researchers to choose specific tools as they work toward better treatments.

    “Starting with TCGA, our goal is to make large data sets available to the average researcher who would not otherwise be able to access this information,” said Rebecca Jacobson, MD, professor of biomedical informatics and chief information officer at Pitt’s School of Medicine, in a statement.

  • Pittsburgh researchers team up to offer open-source genomic software

    Several Pittsburgh-based genetic research organizations have released to the public an open-source software tool that aims to make researchers’ work easier while handing massive amounts of genomic data across disparate data sources.

    The three participants in the software development project, called TCGA Expedition, are the University of Pittsburgh, the UPMC health system and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. The 30-year-old center is a collaboration between Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

    The genetic database known as the Cancer Genome Atlas is, for now, the focus of the Pittsburgh developers’ attention. It is a joint project of the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

  • Open source is all about pay it forward

    When a bunch of open source devotees get together, the results can be quite astounding. In eight short years, Cloudera has become number five on the Forbes Cloud 100 list. As for the “pay it forward” reference – see the comments at the end.

  • Mitchell Hashimoto Talks About His Superpower and Why You Should Find Yours

    As the co-founder of HashiCorp, Mitchell Hashimoto is credited with being the creator of Vagrant, Packer, Terraform, Consul, Vault and other DevOps tools. In addition, he’s an O’Reilly author and a top GitHub user, whether guaged by followers, activity or contributions. That’s quite a set of accomplishments for a young man who’s still on the younger side of 30.

  • Events

    • Winners of NZ Open Source Awards revealed

      The winners of the 2016 New Zealand Open Source Awards have been announced.

      Jason Ryan, chair of the judging panel said the winners constituted an impressive list of New Zealand’s Open Source community, and represented a cross-section of a thriving technical, social and creative sector.

      “The calibre of the nominations meant that there were strong contenders in every category. And while all of the finalists were worthy of recognition, the judges unanimously agreed that the winners in each category were those most deserving of recognition for their contributions”, Ryan said.

      The Awards aim to raise awareness of the free and open source advantage for New Zealand by “telling powerful success stories based on real achievements that are already making a difference for our country,” according to the award web site.

    • Winners of the 2016 New Zealand Open Source Awards Announced [Ed: same as below]
    • Winners of the 2016 New Zealand Open Source Awards Announced
    • Tizen DevLab Coming to Bangalore India – 4 November 2016
    • OpenStack Summit Barcelona Presentation

      Yesterday I conducted my talk at the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona. You can find the presentation here: “Vanilla or Distributions: How Do They Differentiate?” and the video from the session on the OpenStack Foundation youtube channel.

    • CppCon Special Report

      KDAB has long supported the C++ community, as C++ is the backbone of Qt and up-to-date knowledge of its changes keeps us on the leading edge in the Qt world.

      Later this year we shall be supporting Europe’s Meeting C++ in Berlin, but now that this year’s talks have been released we felt it was time for a Special Report on CppCon which ran from September 17th-23rd this autumn in Bellevue, WA.

      KDAB’s Kévin Ottens was on the program committee and reviewed the talks at this year’s show, while Giuseppe D’Angelo (Peppe) contributed a day’s training on Programming with Qt Widgets, and two Lightning Talks on Qt (see them here and here), as well as attending the rest of the event.

    • GStreamer Conference 2016: Holographic Telecommunication in the Age of Free Software
    • Sysdig Camp-Con-World-Fest-Summit
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • A Quantum Leap for the Web

        Over the past year, our top priority for Firefox was the Electrolysis project to deliver a multi-process browsing experience to users. Running Firefox in multiple processes greatly improves security and performance. This is the largest change we’ve ever made to Firefox, and we’ll be rolling out the first stage of Electrolysis to 100% of Firefox desktop users over the next few months.

        But, that doesn’t mean we’re all out of ideas in terms of how to improve performance and security. In fact, Electrolysis has just set us up to do something we think will be really big.

      • Mozilla Quantum: New Browser Engine Based On Servo/Rust For Firefox

        Mozilla’s latest secret project to go public is Quantum, a new browser engine for Firefox. But before wondering what happened to Servo, don’t worry, Quantum makes use of Servo and Rust.

      • Porting a few C functions to Rust

        Last time I showed you my beginnings of porting parts of Librsvg to Rust. In this post I’ll do an annotated porting of a few functions.

        Disclaimers: I’m learning Rust as I go. I don’t know all the borrowing/lending rules; “Rust means never having to close a socket” is a very enlightening article, although it doesn’t tell the whole story. I don’t know Rust idioms that would make my code prettier. I am trying to refactor things to be prettier after a the initial pass of C-to-Rust. If you know an idiom that would be useful, please mail me!

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Community Week: Design – get involved

      Earlier this week we talked to Heiko Tietze, LibreOffice’s user experience (UX) mentor, and then looked at some of the changes that the Design team has made in recent releases of the suite. You’ve seen that even the smallest updates to the interface can have a significant effect, and the Design team is always looking for new ideas and contributions. So read on to learn how you can get involved and make LibreOffice better for everyone.

  • CMS

    • Wix denies allegations it stole WordPress code, says it open sourced work

      A day after being on the receiving end of allegations that it not only stole code from WordPress, it also failed to contribute back to the open-source community, Wix has responded, saying that the claims against it are baseless and that its do-it-yourself website building platform has been operating in good faith.

      In an open letter to WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg, Wix chief executive and cofounder Avishai Abrahami answered every criticism leveled at his company. He admitted that Wix did use WordPress’ open source library for “a minor part of the application,” but claimed that every modification or improvement the team made was submitted back as open source. Mullenweg had said previously that Wix’s mobile app editor, which was released this month, was built using “stolen code.”

    • Wix Delivers Weak Response To Stolen WordPress Code Claims

      Recently, Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg’s accused Wix of stealing source code from WordPress and using it in the company’s mobile app “without attribution, credit, or following the license”. Wix, deciding it was best not to let Mullenweg’s stipulations go unchallenged, has fired back with a double-barrelled, if wishy-washy, reply.

      Matt Mullenweg’s letter garnered not one, but two responses from Wix: the first from CEO Avishai Abrahami and the second via the company’s lead engineer Tal Kol.

    • WordPress Creator Matt Mullenweg Blasts Wix, Avishai Abrahami Responds

      Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, is not happy with the editor used in the Wix mobile app, saying the web building service copied his platform. Wix.com’s CEO Avishai Abrahami responds to Mullenweg’s accusations.

      Mullenweg said in his blog that Wix’s mobile app seems familiar to him, it’s like he had used it before. He said he has because it’s WordPress.

      “If I were being honest, I’d say that Wix copied WordPress without attribution, credit, or following the license,” he said. “Wix has always borrowed liberally from WordPress – including their company name, which used to be Wixpress Ltd. – but this blatant rip-off and code theft is beyond anything I’ve seen before from a competitor.”

    • Nasdaq Taps Open Source Tech for IR

      Nasdaq Corporate Solutions, a business line of Nasdaq, Inc., is banking on the collective input from users of Drupal open-source web content management technology to empower its platform for IR websites.

    • Moodle Installation Made Easy

      Moodle is a very popular course-management system, equivalent to Blackboard, but entirely free and open source. This short YouTube video by Moodle expert Nellie Deutsch explains how you can install Moodle in your cPanel with Softaculous in under 2 minutes.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Public Services/Government

    • Poland to start a central source code repository

      Poland is to create a central source code repository, aiming to facilitate sharing and reuse of ICT solutions. The repository is part of an overhaul of the country’s eGovernment strategy, which was adopted last month.

    • Boston city Web site goes open source

      Boston has loaded the source code for boston.gov on github, which means code writers can now rummage around and submit improvements to make the site work better.

      City Hall says this makes Boston the first “major” US city to turn its Web site into an open-source project. Officials emphasize the code – based on open-source Drupal software – contains no sensitive data.

    • EXCLUSIVE – Creating an open source driven culture of innovation in the Malaysian government

      Senior ICT executives from Malaysian government agencies got together at an OpenGov Breakfast Dialogue to discuss the process of transforming government with flexibility and transparency, how to do more with less in an era of increasing budgetary constraints and the key role that could be played by Open Source.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • 3D-printed violins, a new tool from NASA, and more open source news
    • Open source healthcare and the empowered patient

      Conventional ‘top down’ health care is characterised by the system not really catering for the patient’s needs and often restricting the way patient data – especially for chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease – can be shared and utilised, says patient advocate, Tim Omer. But there is an alternative, bottom up, approach he tells Ian Scales. A range of “community projects are very interesting because we’re freeing the (patient) data. We’re not necessarily saying we know how to use it, [but] we make it available and other community projects take that data and then do interesting things with it,” he says.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • An Open Source 96 MSPS Logic Analyzer For $22

        If you are in the market for an inexpensive USB logic analyser you have a several choices, but few of them deliver much in the way of performance. There are kits from China for a few dollars using microcontrollers at their heart, but they fail to deliver significant sample rates. If you require more, you will have to pay for it.


        This project has the promise to add a very useful piece of test equipment to the armoury of the engineer on a budget, and to aid the cost-conscious reader he’s provided extensive documentation and installation instructions, as well as the code for the FPGA. Thanks to one of the more awesome hacks of 2015, there is an entirely open toolchain for this Lattice part, and our own [Al Williams] has written up a multi-part getting-started guide if you want to get your feet wet. You probably want one of these anyway, and now it’s a logic analyzer to boot.

      • Global CNC Metal Cutting Machine Tools Market Growth Value, Demand and Analysis 2016
      • Massive Open Source CNC Machine Created Offering 8 x 4ft Cutting Area (video)

        If you are looking for a large format CNC machine you might be interested in a new open source system which has been created by Bar Smith in the form of the Maslow CNC which provides a cutting surface 8 x 4ft in size.


  • Hardware

    • The New Macbook Pro Has a Touchscreen Keyboard, Whether You Like It or Not

      The MacBook introduced in early 2015 already set the stage for this, but the MBP no longer has the USB ports you’re used to. Nope, the now has four Thunderbolt ports, Intel’s proprietary port that also supports the new, smaller, and reversible USB-C standard. What does that mean for you? Basically, if you want to continue to use your current USB devices, like mice, you’ll need an adapter.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Don’t Be Fooled By Profiteers Option

      It is critical, if we are to solve the ongoing healthcare crisis in the US, that we are not fooled by what is actually the Profiteer’s Option that will be another gift to the insurance industry. We must unite instead and fight, just as we fight to stop pipelines and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, for the solution, national improved Medicare for All, a single payer system that nearly two-thirds of people in the US support.

    • More Hepatitis C Patients Being Treated In Developing Countries; Price Still An Issue

      In May 2016, the World Health Assembly adopted a viral hepatitis strategy with the goal of eliminating hepatitis B and C as public health threats by 2030.

      The report found that increasing generic competition is beginning to have an impact on the prices of hepatitis medicines, which are becoming more affordable in low- and most lower-middle-income countries. High prices in high income and middle-income countries have led to rationing of treatment, including in the European Union and Switzerland.

      Measures that have been used to increase affordability and improve access to hepatitis medicines include optimised procurement, voluntary licenses, local production, and patent oppositions, said the report.

      Countries that are not able to procure from generic sources have to engage in price negotiations unless they use flexibilities contained in the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, the report said. The report provides pricing information to help buyer countries to better assess the market prices and fix goals in price negotiations.

    • Protecting Online Access To Safe And Affordable Medication

      High drug prices are a global public health crisis. This is mostly the case among lower income countries but also for citizens and residents in the US, where tens of millions are not filling prescriptions due to cost. The international online marketplace is a much-needed lifeline for consumers who cannot afford prescription medication where they live. People deserve the widest possible access to safe and affordable medication, including online access, and the Internet community can help.

    • Obamacare: The Biggest Insurance Scam in History

      The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called “Obamacare,” may be the biggest insurance scam in history. The industries that profit from our current health care system wrote the legislation, heavily influenced the regulations and have received waivers exempting them from provisions in the law. This has all been done to protect and enhance their profits.

      In the meantime, the health care crisis continues. Fewer people, even those with health insurance, can afford the health care they need because of out-of-pocket costs. The ACA continues that trend by pushing skimpy health plans with low coverage and restricted networks.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security advisories
    • Here’s How to Protect Linux Servers & Android Phones from Dirty COW Vulnerability
    • The Inevitability of Being Hacked

      The last attempted hack came 5 minutes ago, using the username root and the password root.

    • New Windows code injection method could let malware bypass detection

      Security researchers have discovered a new way that allows malware to inject malicious code into other processes without being detected by antivirus programs and other endpoint security systems.

      The new method was devised by researchers from security firm Ensilo who dubbed it AtomBombing because it relies on the Windows atom tables mechanism. These special tables are provided by the operating system and can be used to share data between applications.

      “What we found is that a threat actor can write malicious code into an atom table and force a legitimate program to retrieve the malicious code from the table,” Ensilo researcher Tal Liberman said in a blog post. “We also found that the legitimate program, now containing the malicious code, can be manipulated to execute that code.”

      This new code-injection technique is not currently detected by antivirus and endpoint security programs because it is based on legitimate functionality, according to Liberman. Also, the atom tables mechanism is present in all Windows versions and it’s not something that can be patched because it’s not a vulnerability.

    • Of course smart homes are targets for hackers

      The Wirecutter, an in-depth comparative review site for various electrical and electronic devices, just published an opinion piece on whether users should be worried about security issues in IoT devices. The summary: avoid devices that don’t require passwords (or don’t force you to change a default and devices that want you to disable security, follow general network security best practices but otherwise don’t worry – criminals aren’t likely to target you.

    • OpenStack Security Project Aims to Protect the Open-Source Cloud

      The OpenStack Security project adds new tools and processes to help secure OpenStack technologies. The project technical leader offers insight on the program.
      Security is such a critical element of the open-source OpenStack cloud platform that there is an entire project—the OpenStack Security project—dedicated to the task of helping protect OpenStack technologies.

      In a well-attended session at the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona, Spain, on Oct. 27, Rob Clark, the project technical leader of the OpenStack Security project, detailed the group’s most recent efforts.

    • Bug Bounty Hunter Launches Accidental DDoS Attack on 911 Systems via iOS Bug

      The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Cyber Crimes Unit arrested Meetkumar Hiteshbhai Desai, an 18-year-old teenager from the Phoenix area, for flooding the 911 emergency system with hang-up calls.

      According to a press release from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Desai created a JavaScript exploit, which he shared on Twitter and other websites with his friends.

      People accessing Desai’s link from their iPhones saw their phone automatically dial and redial 911.

    • Dyn DDoS attack exposes soft underbelly of the cloud

      It’s apparently possible that a DDoS attack can be big enough to break the internet — or, as shown in the attack against ISP Dyn, at least break large parts of it.

      The DDoS attack against Dyn that began Friday went far past taking down Dyn’s servers. Beyond the big-name outages, organizations could not access important corporate applications or perform critical business operations.

    • [Older] ​The Dyn report: What we know so far about the world’s biggest DDoS attack

      First, there was nothing — nothing — surprising about this attack. As Paul Mockapetris, creator of the Domain Name System (DNS), said, “The successful DDoS attack on DYN is merely a new twist on age-old warfare. … Classic warfare can be anticipated and defended against. But warfare on the internet, just like in history, has changed. So let’s take a look at the asymmetrical battle in terms of the good guys (DYN) and the bad guys (Mirai botnets), and realize and plan for more of these sorts of attacks.”

    • Incident Report: Inadvertent Private Repository Disclosure

      On Thursday, October 20th, a bug in GitHub’s system exposed a small amount of user data via Git pulls and clones. In total, 156 private repositories of GitHub.com users were affected (including one of GitHub’s). We have notified everyone affected by this private repository disclosure, so if you have not heard from us, your repositories were not impacted and there is no ongoing risk to your information.

      This was not an attack, and no one was able to retrieve vulnerable data intentionally. There was no outsider involved in exposing this data; this was a programming error that resulted in a small number of Git requests retrieving data from the wrong repositories.

      Regardless of whether or not this incident impacted you specifically, we want to sincerely apologize. It’s our responsibility not only to keep your information safe but also to protect the trust you have placed in us. GitHub would not exist without your trust, and we are deeply sorry that this incident occurred.

    • How Bad Is Dirty COW?
    • Unpatched Linux exploit grants instant full access to other users
    • Dirty COW was Livepatched in Ubuntu within Hours of Publication

      If you haven’t heard about last week’s Dirty COW vulnerability, I hope all of your Linux systems are automatically patching themselves…

      Why? Because every single Linux-based phone, router, modem, tablet, desktop, PC, server, virtual machine, and absolutely everything in between — including all versions of Ubuntu since 2007 — was vulnerable to this face-palming critical security vulnerability.

      Any non-root local user of a vulnerable system can easily exploit the vulnerability and become the root user in a matter of a few seconds. Watch…

    • Canonical Livepatch Service Automatically Updates Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (and later) with the Latest Kernel without Rebooting
    • Dirty COW and clean commit messages
    • Linux kernel CVE-2016-5195 “Dirty COW” mitigated by Sandstorm
    • Flexera Software Acquires Software Composition Analysis Provider, Palamida

      Flexera Software, the leading provider of next-generation software licensing, compliance, security and installation solutions for application producers and enterprises, today announced that it has acquired Palamida, provider of Software Composition Analysis solutions. The financial terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

    • Flexera Software Acquires Open Source Application Security Provider, Palamida
    • Vulnerability Spotlight: LibTIFF Issues Lead To Code Execution
    • Short DNS Record TTL And Centralization Are Serious Risks For The Internet
    • Distrusting New WoSign and StartCom Certificates
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Leaked Memo: Is Soros Planning ‘Series of Color Revolutions’ in Southeast Asia?

      Wikileaks’ Podesta Files shed light on US billionaire George Soros’ deep concerns about the lack of “freedom” and “constitutional democracy” in Malaysia under Najib Razak. Soros’ concerns may serve as a prelude for a series of “color revolutions” in Southeast Asia, Mathew Maavak of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia assumed in an interview with Sputnik.

      The latest set of documents released by Wikileaks indicates that George Soros and his Open Society Foundation are very concerned about the situation in Malaysia, one of the US’ longstanding allies in Southeast Asia.

      A memo, sent by Michael Vachon, US billionaire George Soros’ “right hand,” on March 6, 2016, to Chairman of Clinton’s presidential campaign John Podesta shed light on the Malaysian “corruption crisis” and blamed the country’s Prime Minister Najib Razak for “damaging the US’ credibility in the region.”

    • General is most senior Army officer to kill self

      The Army acknowledged Friday that Maj. Gen. John Rossi committed suicide on July 31, making him the highest-ranking soldier ever to have taken his own life.

      Rossi, who was 55, was just two days from pinning on his third star and taking command of Army Space and Missile Command when he killed himself at his home at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. ‘

      Investigators could find no event, infidelity, misconduct or drug or alcohol abuse, that triggered Rossi’s suicide, said a U.S. government official with direct knowledge of the investigation. It appears that Rossi was overwhelmed by his responsibilities, said the official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.

      Rossi himself talked in March about suicide at a conference on preventing troops from killing themselves.

    • Gothenburg ‘one of Europe’s most segregated cities’

      One in ten school students in Gothenburg’s north-eastern suburbs sympathize with religious extremist organizations, according to a survey carried out by Swedish non-profit organization Varken Hora eller Kuvad.

      “I was completely shocked when I saw the result. I perhaps would have guessed one percent. I’m speechless,” Guluzar Tarhan Selvi, acting project manager at Varken Hora eller Kuvad told Swedish newspaper Göteborgs-Posten (GP).

      The Swedish government’s national coordinator against violent extremism said she was not hugely surprised by the number however.

      “The study was carried out in some of the areas where we know there are people who have travelled to join Isis in Syria,” Hillevi Engström said.

      And the MP insisted it is good that more facts about support for extremist organizations are coming to light.

      “You have to put forward all the facts and after that start prevention work early, and speak about everyone’s equal value and human rights in school. It’s also to do with alienation. Many people have a feeling that they don’t belong to society,” she added.

    • Turkey parliament to consider death penalty for coup plotters: Erdogan

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said his government would ask parliament to consider reintroducing the death penalty as a punishment for the plotters behind the July coup bid.

      “Our government will take this (proposal on capital punishment) to parliament. I am convinced that parliament will approve it, and when it comes back to me, I will ratify it,” Erdogan said at an inauguration ceremony in Ankara.

      “Soon, soon, don’t worry. It’s happening soon, God willing,” he said, as crowds chanted: “We want the death penalty!”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • ‘Israel is depressing’: Clinton adviser vents frustration in latest Podesta emails

      WikiLeaks has dumped another batch of emails from the account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta. This is the 21st batch of communications to be released by the whistleblowing site.

    • WikiLeaks Releases 22nd Batch of Clinton Campaign Chair Podesta’s Leaked Emails

      Following the latest release, the total number of leaked emails reached over 35,600.

      WikiLeaks published the first batch of emails on October 8.

    • Despite Administration’s Promises, Most Government Transparency Still The Work Of Whistleblowers And Leakers

      The self-proclaimed “most transparent administration” isn’t even more transparent than the last administration — one run by a hawkish member of a politically-powerful family and given a blank check to increase government power by a terrorist attack on American soil.

      Less transparent, perhaps, than any other previous administration, including those run by the truly corrupt (Nixon) or those engaged in actual wars against actual entities (rather than against loosely-defined concepts like “drugs” or “terrorism”).

      These previous administrations managed to be at least as transparent as the current one, even without the “disadvantages” of being presided over by a lawyer specializing in the Constitution and pushed towards openness by multiple leakers exposing multiple secret surveillance programs.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate change rate to turn southern Spain to desert by 2100, report warns

      Southern Spain will be reduced to desert by the end of the century if the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, researchers have warned.

      Anything less than extremely ambitious and politically unlikely carbon emissions cuts will see ecosystems in the Mediterranean change to a state unprecedented in the past 10 millennia, they said.

      The study, published in the journal Science, modelled what would happen to vegetation in the Mediterranean basin under four different paths of future carbon emissions, from a business-as-usual scenario at the worst end to keeping temperature rises below the Paris climate deal target of 1.5C at the other.

    • Pope’s message on climate change trumped by party affiliations in US

      Over time, a funny thing happened to the perception of climate science in some countries: it became just another badge in the culture wars. Public opinion on what this field of science says is now primarily a reflection of which team you’re on politically. While anyone trying to reach across teams to communicate about climate change is likely to be discounted as a result, voices from within a group can get a fairer hearing.

    • Corporate Bias in Investor-State Dispute Settlement Threatens Environmental Protection

      We now know one of the three tribunalists who will decide TransCanada’s $15 billion claim against the U.S. for rejecting the dangerous Keystone XL tar sands pipeline that would carry oil from Alberta to Texas: David R. Haigh, Q.C.,a lawyer with a long history of representing the oil and gas industry whose previous clients include Alberta-based oil and gas producers, an Alberta-based oilfield materials supplier, and an Alberta-based oil and gas pipeline company. Mr Haigh works as a senior partner in a law firm working on Canadian tar sands.

      The case, which TransCanada is bringing under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), is just one of a growing number of suits in which multinational corporations and other investors use sweeping rights in trade deals to challenge environmental protections in private tribunals.

      This raises a critical question about such tribunals, known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals: are they biased in favor of corporations and other investors?

      The answer is yes, according to a growing body of independent empirical research.

      So why does bias plague ISDS tribunals? How does this affect environmental protection, and where does this leave deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with ISDS at their heart?

    • Amy Goodman on Why the North Dakota Pipeline Standoff Is Only Getting Worse

      If it’s possible in this oversaturated age for a mass-protest movement to fly under the radar, the battle over the building of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline certainly qualifies. Just this past weekend in Morton County, North Dakota, 127 people were arrested during protests over renewed construction, which follows what protesters believed was relief from the federal government, in the form of a multi-agency letter to the pipeline builders, Energy Transfer Partners, asking them to halt building for tribal consultation and the preparation of environmental-impact statements. The construction has continued apace.

      And yet the clash hasn’t quite risen to the level of front-page news. That’s despite the efforts of investigative journalist Amy Goodman, the host of the Democracy Now! independent news broadcast, who had an arrest warrant issued for her in September after her coverage of the situation. (A judge dismissed the charges.) “Not enough people realize what’s going on out there,” says Goodman. “It’s a bigger story than the amount of attention its received.”

    • Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chair: DOJ Must Investigate Use of Force Against #DAPL Resistance

      “I knew North Dakota state was planning something,” says Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chair Dave Archambault II of the raid on a resistance camp Thursday by militarized police. “They set up a pre-hospital tent near the camp. … That was sending me signals this was going to get out of hand.” Archambault says he asked the Department of Justice to step in and ask the state not to proceed with the raid, and now calls on the Justice Department to launch an investigation into the use of force against those resisting the Dakota Access pipeline.

  • Finance

    • Zombie protesters call for CETA to stay dead in the ground

      This morning in London, protesters dressed as zombies posed outside the European Commission office in London with a banner saying “Stop CETA rising from the dead – Toxic trade deals belong in the grave.”

      The controversial trade deal between Canada and the EU was due to be signed on Thursday, but was postponed following opposition from one of the regional Belgian parliaments. An agreement was later reached to appease the Wallonian parliament, but the deal has still yet to be signed.

    • Legal Statement on Investment Protection in TTIP and CETA

      Investment protection and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms are perhaps the most contentious aspects of TTIP and CETA. These mechanisms provide foreign investors with the right to sue the EU or its Member States in private tribunals over potential losses in profit due to current or new public welfare regulations.

      To address this, we, the Stop TTIP European Initiative, are presenting this legal statement signed by 101 professors of law from 24 European countries.

      The goal of this statement is to convey to European decision-makers that a significant part of the legal community finds the investor protection mechanisms within the free trade deals TTIP and CETA to be highly problematic and not compatible with the rule of law. The statement outlines the fundamental legal issues within these mechanisms and explains how they pose grave threats to public interest, democratic principles and state budgets.

    • Vietnam’s reluctance to ratify the TPP is bad news for Washington

      Vietnam’s decision to hold off ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a further blow to the beleaguered trade pact and a setback for American economic ambitions in Asia.

      The 12-nation TPP is aimed at liberalizing trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region, and Vietnam has been hoping that its participation in the deal will lead to an increase in exports. But even in the U.S., which led negotiations for the pact, approval of the TPP is nowhere in sight. This apparently convinced Vietnam to proceed slowly as well.

      An official in the secretariat of the Vietnamese parliament told reporters on Oct. 18 that approval of the TPP is not on the agenda for the current legislative session, which runs through late November, making it certain that the country will not ratify the pact this year.

      Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, chairwoman of the parliament, said in September that Vietnam’s ratification would depend on factors such as moves by other negotiating members of the TPP and the outcome of the Nov. 8 presidential election in the U.S.

      At the same time, the Philippines, which was considering joining the TPP after Vietnam, has apparently changed its stance in recent weeks, moving away from Washington and closer to Beijing.

    • The EU Made Simple. How the Commission dictates law.

      This article will focus on the power of the EU Commission by looking at how its members are appointed, their security of employment and how they are motivated during and after their employment. The second part will focus on Commission powers including its absolute right to veto all ‘legislative initiatives’ from whatever source, including the Council of Ministers and the EU Parliament. The power is, in effect, a veto on all EU Law, amendments and repeals, without exception.

      Edit. 27 Oct 2016. Some quite strong objections on Twitter have been made by pro EU people about the suggestion that the EU Parliament cannot amend proposed EU legislation.

    • Canadians Launch Constitutional Challenge Against CETA

      Wallonia is not alone. Not only has the region been joined by several other Belgian regional parliaments in opposition to CETA (the Canada-EU Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement), but now a Canadian constitutional challenge against CETA has been launched in the Federal Court of Canada.

      On Oct. 21, renowned constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati filed the statement of claim against CETA on behalf of the Hon. Paul Hellyer (former Minister of National Defence) and two co-plaintiffs, Ann Emmett and George Cromwell (members of the Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform). At the Oct. 25 press conference, Galati referred to the corporate sector as “the new royalty,” and he stated, “What this treaty does is literally revert us back to the divine right of kings, but they are multinational corporations now.”

    • EU, Canada to sign trade accord Sunday

      The European Union and Canada will sign the CETA trade agreement Sunday, after a weeks-long deadlock.

      European Council President Donald Tusk announced in a tweet Friday evening that a summit has been scheduled for noon on Sunday.

    • EU and Canada to sign trade pact after Belgians strike key deal

      Canada and the European Union will sign a landmark free trade deal on Sunday after a series of key votes in Belgian regional assemblies on Friday ended opposition that had threatened to destroy the entire agreement.

      Soon after the final Belgian vote, European Council president Donald Tusk called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and invited him to Brussels for the signing ceremony, which is scheduled for noon local time (1000 GMT).

    • EU-Canada Trade Deal Dodges Belgian Veto For Now, But Faces Multiple Legal Challenges

      First, Germany’s constitutional court imposed some quite stringent constraints on the German government. The most important of these is that the official signing of CETA will not cause the entire text to be applied provisionally, as the European Commission had originally hoped. Instead, some parts must wait until all 28 member states ratify the deal through votes in their national parliaments. That’s going to take quite a while — perhaps years — and there’s no guarantee that every country will ultimately ratify CETA. The corporate sovereignty provisions are one of the elements that will not come into force until after full ratification, something also agreed with Magnette. This means it’s quite likely that the CJEU will hand down its verdict on the legality or otherwise of ICS before that, possibly killing it forever.

      The other important point about the German constitutional court’s decision is that it only rejected a request for a preliminary injunction, which it deemed unnecessary. The German court’s full consideration of whether CETA is constitutional or not continues. The European Commission may have postponed the Wallonian problem but there are plenty of others on both sides of the Atlantic that could still stop CETA, and definitively.

    • Apple’s Cook: ‘We’re going to kill cash’

      “We’re going to kill cash,” he said. “Nobody likes to carry around cash.”

    • Lost thumb drives bedevil U.S. banking agency

      A U.S. banking regulator says an employee downloaded a large amount of data from its computer system a week before he retired and is now unable to locate the thumb drives he stored it on.

      The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which is a part of the Department of the Treasury, said the loss represented “a major information security incident” as it reported the case to Congress on Friday.

      The data was taken in November 2015, but its loss was only discovered in September this year as the agency reviewed downloads to removable media devices in the last two years.

      The employee in question used two thumb drives to store the information, both of which he is unable to locate, the agency said.

      It didn’t say what information was downloaded but said it involved “controlled unclassified information, including privacy information” and numbered at least 10,000 records.

    • Uber to fight decision that it must pay drivers the national living wage

      GIG ECONOMY SUPERSTAR Uber has been dealt a blow by a London employment tribunal which has ruled that its drivers be paid the national living wage.

      In July, two drivers took the cab firm to court arguing that their terms of employment meant that they were effectively full-time employees rather than self-employed. This would make them entitled to the national minimum wage of £7.20 per hour, rather than the £5.00 they typically earned.

      Uber argued that its drivers are self-employed and were ineligible for this level of pay, as well as from other benefits such as holiday pay.

    • Airbnb faces worldwide opposition. It plans a movement to rise up in its defence

      In the back room of a pub in Kentish Town, a group of middle-class Londoners are perched on velvet-covered stools, eating hummus and talking about property. On the wall, above a pile of empty beer kegs, a slide presentation is in progress. A video of Airbnb’s recent advert shows smiling hosts opening their front doors and declaring their support for Sadiq Khan’s post-Brexit “London is open” campaign.

      The audience of Airbnb hosts are there after receiving individual invitations from the company to a “home sharers” meet-up – a concept largely unfamiliar to the slightly bemused crowd. Jonathan, an enthusiastic Californian Airbnb employee, who was recently seconded to London to set up the clubs, is happy to explain: “Homesharing clubs are simply a way of organising this into something … that has a unified voice … then actually takes actions as a collective,” he says, in a less than clear answer.

    • Reader Alert: EU-Canada Trade Agreement (CETA) To Be Signed Tomorrow In Brussels

      With a delay of mere days, CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the European Union and Canada, will be signed Sunday in Brussels by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker. This follows two weeks of uncertainty over the deal that includes not only tariff reduction, but also an attempt to harmonise regulation and set up a reformed investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • 2006 Audio Emerges of Hillary Clinton Proposing Rigging Palestine Election

      “I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake,” said Sen. Clinton. “And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.”

    • Clinton Adviser Neera Tanden’s Greatest Hits

      In truth, Tanden’s leaked email conversations read almost like discarded lines from a sitcom screenplay, and her candid criticisms of Clinton and colleagues — not to mention her predilection for foul language — have become something of an internet sensation among those keeping close tabs on WikiLeaks releases.

      So, to save our readers from the effort and tedium of spending hours sifting through John Podesta’s leaked emails, here are some of Tanden’s most spectacular statements.

      Tanden on “The Letter” (presumably the letter from Clinton’s doctor touting her health): “Is great. F*** these a**holes.”

      Tanden on Clinton’s use of a private email server: “Do we actually know who told Hillary she could use a private email? And has that person been drawn and quartered? Like whole thing is f***ing insane.”

    • Inside The Invisible Government: John Pilger On War, Propaganda, Clinton And Trump

      The American journalist, Edward Bernays, is often described as the man who invented modern propaganda.
      The nephew of Sigmund Freud, the pioneer of psycho-analysis, it was Bernays who coined the term “public relations” as a euphemism for spin and its deceptions.
      In 1929, he persuaded feminists to promote cigarettes for women by smoking in the New York Easter Parade – behaviour then considered outlandish. One feminist, Ruth Booth, declared, “Women! Light another torch of freedom! Fight another sex taboo!”
      Bernays’ influence extended far beyond advertising. His greatest success was his role in convincing the American public to join the slaughter of the First World War. The secret, he said, was “engineering the consent” of people in order to “control and regiment [them]according to our will without their knowing about it”.
      He described this as “the true ruling power in our society” and called it an “invisible government”.
      Today, the invisible government has never been more powerful and less understood. In my career as a journalist and film-maker, I have never known propaganda to insinuate our lives as it does now, and to go unchallenged.

    • Choices Other than Clinton or Trump

      And there are more choices. In Connecticut there are at least 20 or so other presidential candidates you can vote for. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill will explain.

    • The Green Party’s Radical Common Sense

      Germany and other European countries have a thriving multiparty political culture. The U.S. used to have one too. In 1916, five parties were seated in Congress.

      In his Washington Post article “In Europe, the Green Party is a force. In the U.S., it’s irrelevant. Here’s why,” Per Urlaub, associate professor of German studies at the University of Texas, contends that “the American electoral system is heavily weighted against small political parties.”

      He’s right. Alternative parties must wrestle with ballot-access laws, enacted since 1916 by Democratic and Republican legislators in many states, that privilege major-party candidates and hinder others. In some states, alternative parties are effectively banned from participation.

      When alternative parties do get on the ballot, their candidates often face the “spoiler” accusation. The supposed spoiler effect can be eliminated by replacing the prevailing “first past the post” system with “ranked choice,” which allows people to rank their preferences.

      Reforms like ranked choice voting (RCV) and proportional representation—which gave Germany and other European countries their multiparty legislatures—are considered radical here, even though they grant voters greater power and more options.

    • Unheard Third Debate with Margaret Flowers

      During a TRNN Facebook live event, Green Party Candidate Margaret Flowers – who was not invited to the Maryland Senate debate despite being on the ballot – responds to questions posed to Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen and Republican State Delegate Kathy Szeliga, as well as questions from viewers.

    • Clinton Email Scandal: Kim Dotcom Says Deleted Mails Can Be Recovered

      Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s email controversy may be far from over, if internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is to be believed. The man wanted by the U.S. on copyright infringement and money laundering charges said on Twitter Thursday that all of Clinton’s “permanently deleted” emails can, in fact, be accessed. Legally.

    • Megaupload’s Kim Dotcom: NSA Could Recover Hillary’s Emails
    • Clinton’s emails could be recovered by NSA, says Kim Dotcom

      An internet entrepreneur notorious for his illegal file-sharing website Megaupload says Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails could be recovered by the US National Security Agency.

      “I know where Hillary Clintons [sic] deleted emails are and how to get them legally,” wrote Kim Dotcom on Twitter Wednesday (27 October).

      Dotcom is fighting extradition to the United States on copyright infringement charges, among others, for hosting unlicensed content like films, music, and software on his defunct file-sharing site.

      Attached to the tweet — which was copied to Donald Trump’s Twitter account — is a screenshot with a five-step plan on how to get the emails. Step two suggests contacting Michael Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency (NSA). The third step is to have Rogers use the XKeyscore surveillance program, revealed by Edward Snowden, to recover the emails.

    • How Facebook’s Racial Segmentation Is Helping Trump Campaign Try To Suppress African American Voting

      Earlier this week, Bloomberg had a fairly revealing article about the internal digital efforts of the Donald Trump campaign, in which Bloomberg reporters embedded for a few days. The whole article is quite interesting, but one of the most stunning parts, frankly, was the Trump campaign staffers directly admitting how they are actively trying to suppress voting by African Americans. It’s no secret that a variety of new voter ID laws are designed to suppress voting — especially among minorities. When North Carolina’s voter ID law was struck down by the court, the judge pointed out how the legislators that had backed it had explicitly targeted rules that would suppress votes among African Americans. They had requested “racial data” concerning voter ID and then specifically targeted the types of ID more commonly used by African Americans.

    • Can Iceland’s Pirate Party Win the Election?

      Iceland Pirate Party Candidate Smari McCarthy discusses how the party would govern should it win the country’s upcoming election. He speaks on “Bloomberg Markets.”

    • Iceland elections: The Pirate Party’s march to power

      Snowdens of the world rejoice, the Pirate Party is coming.

      This Saturday Iceland holds its parliamentary elections and is likely to become the first nation to vote Pirates into government.

    • AI system that correctly predicted last 3 US elections says Donald Trump will win

      The New York businessman with a penchant for celebrity television may suddenly find himself in love with artificial intelligence developed in India.

      The polls and simulations that involve the skills and insight of human beings suggest Donald Trump could be heading for something of a pasting. But an artificial intelligence (AI) system developed in Mumbai, and which correctly predicted the last three US presidential elections, puts the Republican nominee ahead of his rival Hillary Clinton in the battle to secure the keys to the White House.

      MogIA was developed by Sanjiv Rai, the founder of Indian start-up Genic.ai. It has taken 20 million data points from public platforms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter and analysed the information to create predictions, CNBC reported.

    • Rig The Election … With Math!

      Welcome to The Riddler. Every week, I offer up a problem related to the things we hold dear around here: math, logic and probability. These problems, puzzles and riddles come from many top-notch puzzle folks around the world — including you!

      Recently, we started something new: Riddler Express problems. These are bite-size puzzles that don’t take as much fancy math or computational power to solve. For those of you in the slow-puzzle movement, worry not — we still feature our classic, more challenging Riddler.

    • Clinton Aide’s For-Profit Firm Illegally Raised $150 Million for Clinton Charity

      Douglas Band, one of former President Bill Clinton’s closest advisors, boasted to outside auditors that his for-profit corporation had a “historical role in carrying the majority of the fundraising burden” for the nonprofit Clinton Foundation.

      A Nov. 16, 2011 memo Band authored, which WikiLeaks made public Wednesday, raises disturbing questions about charitable law violations due to mixing for-profit activities with the nonprofit foundation.

    • #PodestaEmails22: WikiLeaks release another 600 mails from Clinton chair

      WikiLeaks has released the 22nd batch of emails from the account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.

      To date, the whistleblowing site has released 36,190 emails, with around another 14,000 expected before Americans go to the polls on the November 8.

      It was revealed in mails released on Friday that Podesta had been warned in March 2016 to change his email password “immediately” as someone had illegitimately attempted to gain access to his account.

    • What the WikiLeak Revelations Reveal About Donna Brazile and the DNC

      Donna Brazile, interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, faces new scrutiny as evidence points to abuses of power.

      Brazile’s alliance with the Hillary Clinton team looks to have started in 2008. In February of that year, while Clinton was running for president against Barack Obama, CNN political commentator and consultant Paul Begala wrote an email to the Clinton team saying that it should “court” Brazile. At that time, during the primaries, Brazile refused to publicly endorse a candidate but worked closely with the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Until recently, she also worked for CNN and ABC News. Her close relationship with the Clinton camp has deepened over the years.

    • If President Hillary Is Inevitable, Why Are Her Media Goons Still Attacking Jill Stein?

      This phrase has become very useful in our current political environment. It’s a line from one of those Shakespeare plays where everyone dies in the end, and its use has become a way of pointing out when someone’s frantic resistance to something reveals a lot more about their true agendas than they intended to let on. When you know that your government is lying to you and the media is helping them, such things can often be a useful way of figuring out exactly what’s going on.

      Take for example the way corporate media, proven by WikiLeaks to be pervasively controlled by the Clintons and their allies far more than we ever knew, has continued to run smear pieces on Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, even while they assure everyone that Hillary has an insurmountable lead over Donald Trump.

    • Clinton Aide Boasted About How He Helped Foundation Prosper

      Doug Band, a longtime aide to former President Bill Clinton, said in a 2011 document released by WikiLeaks that the high-powered consulting firm he co-founded helped raise money for the Clinton Foundation when its own efforts were flagging.

      The memo was written around the time Chelsea Clinton was questioning whether Band’s role as an adviser to her father and the family foundation presented conflicts of interest as he courted clients for Teneo Holdings LLC. In the memo, Band argued just the opposite: that he was a volunteer who sought to “leverage my activities, including my partner role at Teneo, to support and raise funds for the Foundation.”

    • Podesta emails finally reveal smoking gun

      The “Podesta emails” being released daily by Wikileaks have produced their first bona fide “smoking gun” — a long email by Clinton Foundation associate Doug Band detailing the manner in which Bill Clinton was using the foundation’s connections as a way to build up personal clients for speech giving and consultancy.

    • Hillary Clinton Tops 2015-16 Islamist Money List

      The Middle East Forum’s “Islamist Money in Politics” (IMIP) project has revealed the top ten recipients of 2015-16 campaign contributions from individuals who subscribe to the same Islamic supremacism as Khomeini, Bin Laden, and ISIS.

      Hillary Clinton tops the list, raking in $41,165 from prominent Islamists. This includes $19,249 from senior officials of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), declared a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates on November 15, 2014.

      For example, Mrs. Clinton has accepted $3,900 from former CAIR vice-chairman Ahmad Al-Akhras, who has defended numerous Islamists in Ohio indicted – and later convicted – on terrorism charges.

    • FBI Investigating New Information Regarding Hillary Clinton… Because Of The Anthony Weiner Sexting Investigation

      Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server (at times kept in her own basement…) has obviously been a big story during this campaign — and for a variety of obvious, yet stupid, reasons, the discussion has become ridiculously partisan. What people should be able to admit on all sides of the debate is that Clinton’s use of a private email server was incredibly stupid and, at the very least, calls into serious question the judgment of whoever told her this was okay. It also, almost certainly, put serious information at risk of being exposed through hacks. But, earlier this year, the FBI came out and said that it didn’t actually break the law. There was a bit of the old “high court, low court” to this whole setup, because you could see how someone with much less fame or status would be nailed to the wall by the DOJ if they wanted to put that person away.

      Either way, the surprise of today is the new announcement by James Comey that the FBI is investigating some new emails that were apparently discovered in an “unrelated case” on “a device.” There were a couple of hours of speculation on this, with gradual denials — not the Wikileaks investigation, not the Clinton Foundation investigation — until it was revealed that it was from the investigation into Anthony Weiner’s sexting. Law enforcement seized devices belonging to both Weiner and his then wife (they’ve since filed for divorce), Huma Abedin, who is a close Clinton aide (and who also had an email account on the private Clinton server). Other reports have noted that the emails aren’t ones that were withheld from the original investigation, so it’s not an issue of withholding info, but could potentially reveal issues about the motivations and setup of the private server.

      In political circles this is raising eyebrows, coming just 11 days before the election, in a campaign where Clinton’s opponent, Donald Trump, has repeatedly pointed to her use of an email server as a reason that she should be in jail, and even promising to appoint a special prosecutor to go after her for this (which, uh, actually isn’t how the President is supposed to use that power, but…). Comey’s letter doesn’t go into much detail, though reporters have been getting more and more details. The letter was sent to a variety of people in Congress, on key committees, including the heads of the Intelligence, Judiciary, Oversight and Homeland Security committees.

    • Clinton the Victim, FBI-Email Edition

      Her first role was as “woman,” hoping to sweep up roughly 50% of the electorate in a single empowering noun. As with Obama, she hoped to mobilize a huge swath of voters who wanted to participate in electing the first Black female president. Didn’t go mainstream. Grandmother, same. Competent life-long government person, hmmm, cut both ways, many people wanted a change. Third Obama Term, meh, took some steam out of Bernie’s campaign but not much more. Killer of bin Laden, sorta worked in one debate, dragged on into an SNL skit cliche through the others.

      When the first news of the emails came out in March 2015. Hillary didn’t really have a persona for that, mumbling about no classified, then about not wanting multiple devices, prevaricating here, avoiding there. She tried blaming Colin Powell, then the State Department’s creaky IT infrastructure.

      Until she nailed it: She was the victim of a conspiracy.

    • Only 2 points separate Clinton, Trump in latest tracking poll

      Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are separated by only two percentage points in a new Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll, ending a week in which the race has tightened as core Republican groups have returned to Trump’s fold.

      Likely voters split 47 percent for Clinton and 45 percent for Trump, according to the survey conducted Monday through Thursday. That’s little changed from a 48-44 split in the previous day’s tracking results, which covered Sunday through Wednesday, but it is a substantial tightening since last weekend when Clinton led by a wide margin.

    • #PodestaEmails23: WikiLeaks releases new mails from Clinton chair

      More than 36,000 emails from Podesta’s account have been released by the whistleblowing site, which has vowed to publish a total of 50,000 emails before the US presidential election on November 8.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Twitter Sued By Shareholders Over Poor Performance Following Censorship Spree

      Twitter took on the narrative of “listen and believe”. They appointed people like Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminist Frequency to their Trust and Safety Council and had people like Randi Lee Harper and the Crash Override Network crew in their ear. They censored people like Milo Yiannopoulos, a Conservative provocateur at the behest of comedian Leslie Jones, and have amply ignored a lot of other cases of sexual and aggressive harassment that didn’t fit in line with their Social Justice “progressivism”.

    • Why Wikipedia Is Worried About Global ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ Delistings

      As Techdirt reported last year, the problematic “right to be forgotten” — strictly speaking, a right to be delisted from search results — took a really dangerous turn when the French data protection regulator told Google that its orders to delist results should apply globally, not just in France, a view it confirmed twice. The latest development in this saga is the submission of a petition to the French Supreme Court against the global reach of delisting, made by the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind Wikipedia

    • Wikimedia Foundation files petition against decision to extend the ‘right to be forgotten’ globally

      Although the [French data protection authority] CNIL’s case is directed towards Google, the gradual disappearance of Wikimedia pages from Google search results around the world ultimately impacts the public’s ability to find the invaluable knowledge contained within the Wikimedia projects. Search engines have played an important role in the quest for knowledge — roughly half of Wikipedia visits originate from search engines.

      The CNIL’s most recent order, if upheld, threatens the capacity to write and share important information about history, public figures, and more. It undermines the public’s ability to find relevant and neutral information on the internet, and would make it exceedingly difficult for projects like Wikimedia’s to provide information that is important for society.

    • Danish Mohammed cartoons editor clashes with paper

      The Danish ex-editor who commissioned the Mohammed cartoons that triggered deadly protests a decade ago on Friday accused the Jyllands-Posten newspaper of trying to silence him, saying it had let “the jihadists” win.

    • Angela Merkel: internet search engines are ‘distorting perception’

      Angela Merkel has called on major internet platforms to divulge the secrets of their algorithms, arguing that their lack of transparency endangers debating culture.

      The German chancellor said internet users had a right to know how and on what basis the information they received via search engines was channelled to them.

      Speaking to a media conference in Munich, Merkel said: “I’m of the opinion that algorithms must be made more transparent, so that one can inform oneself as an interested citizen about questions like ‘what influences my behaviour on the internet and that of others?’.

    • Ex-professor attacked for Halloween email: ‘Certain ideas are too dangerous to be heard at Yale’

      Erika Christakis set off a furor a year ago by publicly questioning whether Yale students should try to stop their peers from wearing allegedly offensive Halloween costumes.

      Student activists tried to get her and her husband Nicholas, both professors, removed as the masters of the Silliman residential college, and Erika canceled her spring classes because the campus climate was not “conducive to civil dialogue.” She never came back.

    • My Halloween email led to a campus firestorm — and a troubling lesson about self-censorship

      The right to speak freely may be enshrined in some of our nation’s great universities, but the culture of listening needs repair. That is the lesson I learned a year ago, when I sent an email urging Yale University students to think critically about an official set of guidelines on costumes to avoid at Halloween.

      I had hoped to generate a reflective conversation among students: What happens when one person’s offense is another person’s pride? Should a costume-wearer’s intent or context matter? Can we always tell the difference between a mocking costume and one that satirizes ignorance? In what circumstances should we allow — or punish — youthful transgression?

    • Citizen Journalists Claim Facebook Censorship After Page Was ‘Unpublished’ by ‘Mistake’

      “It’s a sickening feeling to know you’re being censored not for any horrible thing you’ve done, but for trying to tell the truth to millions of people. Are we living in America? Seriously, our First Amendment rights have been slowly eroding away bit by bit.”

      Leisa Audette and Patty McMurray started the Facebook page when they became “frustrated by so-called journalists” and were inspired by Andrew Breitbart. The citizen journalists say they were both stay-at-home moms with three girls. They met at a fundraiser at Patty’s house.

      Leisa said, “We were blessed to meet and hear Andrew Breitbart speak at a small, private event in Michigan just one week before he died. Inspired by his work and his passion to save America, we started a Facebook page to honor his legacy.”

    • Facebook executives feel the heat of content controversies
    • Is Facebook feeling the heat of content controversies?
    • Facebook continues to face heat over its censorship practices
    • Oscar-nominated filmmaker attacks Kremlin censorship
    • Moscow theatre director sparks row with claims of state censorship

      A culture war between Russia’s artistic community, the Kremlin and a patriotic biker gang has broken out, after the leading star and director of a Moscow theatre accused the state of heading towards Stalin-era censorship.

      “I see how people are itching to change things and send us back to the past. And not just to the time of stagnation, but further back – to Stalin’s times,” said Konstantin Raikin, during an emotional speech to a gathering of theatrical professionals earlier this week.

      “Stop pretending that the authorities are the only bearers of morality. That’s not true,” he said.

      Raikin is the director of Moscow’s Satirikon theatre as well as its star actor, featuring in a number of leading roles including King Lear. He said the state was using informal influence to block stagings or plays it thought were inappropriate, or went against loosely defined traditional values.

    • ‘Leviathan’ Director Says Russian Censorship Is “Rampant”

      Andrey Zvyagintsev, the Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-nominated Russian director of Leviathan, has written an op-ed in Russian daily Kommersant, in which he expressed concerns about state censorship in the world of arts and culture.

    • Oscar-nominated filmmaker attacks Kremlin censorship

      Oscar-nominated director Andrei Zvyagintsev on Thursday launched a furious attack on the Kremlin over government censorship that he said is strangling the arts.

      “It’s completely obvious that censorship has fully entered into the cultural life of the country,” Zyagintsev wrote on the website of the Kommersant daily.

      Zvyagintsev, whose biting social drama “Leviathan” was nominated for an Oscar last year, argued that the state effectively censors the arts by limiting funding for only projects it approves.

      The director said he was responding to comments by President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov that while censorship is unacceptable, the commissioning of arts projects made with state funds does not fall under this category.

      “We say it’s censorship, they say it’s a state commission,” he wrote, saying that cinema and other arts are dependent on state funding to survive.

      Zvyagintsev has become one of Russia’s best known directors abroad since he won the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival with his debut film “The Return” in 2003.

    • Dad pens sarcastic response to son’s ‘Fahrenheit 451′ permission slip

      Some Twitter users suggested the permission slip may have indeed been a part of the lesson, but Radosh expressed doubt.

    • YouTube Just Censored A Video Criticizing Censorship
    • YouTube Versus Conservative Speech
    • Joe Hildebrand says the Left finds film censorship is a bitter pill
    • Cassie Jaye’s Red Pill too truthful for feminists to tolerate
    • Sex, politics and censorship
    • Protest prison censorship of the Bay View: Use this sample letter
    • Appeals Court Says Plaintiff In Anti-SLAPP Lawsuit Can’t Lower Fee Award Just By Voluntarily Dismissing Lawsuit
    • Australian Teen With Wacky Mullet Sues The Media For Making A Meme Out Of His Haircut
    • The UK government’s war on porn will expose children to more and worse

      Ars first raised the prospect of the UK government bringing in age verification for porn sites a year ago and confirmed that it would be happening in February.

      In its written evidence to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Digital Economy Bill, the Open Rights Group put together a good summary of the problems with the approach. These include the privacy risks of creating insecure databases of the UK’s porn habits, and the fact that age verification will be easy to circumvent.

      As a more recent blog post by the Open Rights Group notes, MPs have finally woken up to the fact that age verification won’t in fact stop children from accessing pornographic sites, and have come up with Plan B, which is even worse than Plan A: “in order to make age verification technologies ‘work,’ some MPs want to block completely legal content from access by every UK citizen. It would have a massive impact on the free expression of adults across the UK. The impact for sexual minorities would be particularly severe.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Google intensifies tracking: check your private settings

      Google made a significant change to the company’s privacy policy recently which changes in a significant way how the company is tracking users on the Internet.

      Previously, the company kept its DoubleClick advertising engine apart from its core user services such as Gmail, Search or YouTube. While users could give Google consent to use the information for advertising, it required users to become active and opt-in for that.

      Those who did give Google consent, did not have their “personal” information and activity used for advertising purposes and tracking.

    • Navy veteran in NSA data breach ‘stole numerous names of American spies abroad and sensitive operational details’
    • How did one contractor steal 50TB of NSA data? Easily, say former spies
    • DOJ: Much of seized 50TB from ex-NSA contractor is “highly classified”
    • Powers to Investigate

      The Communication Data Bill was draft legislation introduced first in May 2012. It sought to compel ISPs to store details of communications usage so that it can later be used for law enforcement purposes. In 2013 the passage of this bill into law had been blocked and the bill was dead.

      In 2014 we saw the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 appear. This seemed to be in response to the Data Retention Directive being successfully challenged at the European Court of Justice by Digital Rights Ireland on human rights grounds, with a judgment given in 2014. It essentially reimplemented the Data Retention Directive along with a whole load of other nasty things.

      The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act contained a sunset clause with a date set for 2016. This brings us to the Investigatory Powers Bill which it looks will be passing into law shortly.

      Among a range of nasty powers, this legislation will be able to force ISPs to record metadata about every website you visit, every connection you make to a server on the Internet. This is sub-optimal for the privacy minded, with my primary concern being that this is a treasure trove of data and it’s going to be abused by someone. It’s going to be too much for someone to resist.

    • N.S.A. Appears to Have Missed ‘Big Red Flags’ in Suspect’s Behavior

      Year after year, both in his messy personal life and his brazen theft of classified documents from the National Security Agency, Harold T. Martin III put to the test the government’s costly system for protecting secrets.

      And year after year, the system failed.

      Mr. Martin got and kept a top-secret security clearance despite a record that included drinking problems, a drunken-driving arrest, two divorces, unpaid tax bills, a charge of computer harassment and a bizarre episode in which he posed as a police officer in a traffic dispute. Under clearance rules, such events should have triggered closer scrutiny by the security agencies where he worked as a contractor.

    • Facebook Lets Advertisers Exclude Users by Race

      Imagine if, during the Jim Crow era, a newspaper offered advertisers the option of placing ads only in copies that went to white readers.

      That’s basically what Facebook is doing nowadays.

      The ubiquitous social network not only allows advertisers to target users by their interests or background, it also gives advertisers the ability to exclude specific groups it calls “Ethnic Affinities.” Ads that exclude people based on race, gender and other sensitive factors are prohibited by federal law in housing and employment.

    • Google AI invents its own cryptographic algorithm; no one knows how it works

      Google Brain has created two artificial intelligences that evolved their own cryptographic algorithm to protect their messages from a third AI, which was trying to evolve its own method to crack the AI-generated crypto. The study was a success: the first two AIs learnt how to communicate securely from scratch.

    • WhatsApp-Facebook privacy U-turn now being probed by EU data watchdog

      A seismic shift in privacy policy by messaging app WhatsApp this summer, when it said it would begin sharing user data with parent company Facebook including for ad targeting, has now attracted the attention of European’s data protection watchdog group, the Article 29 Working Party.

      The WP29 group wrote to WhatsApp founder Jan Koum yesterday, setting out its concerns about the privacy policy U-turn — including how the shift was communicated to users.

      “The Article 29 Working Party (WP29) has serious concerns regarding the manner in which the information relating to the updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy was provided to users and consequently about the validity of the users’ consent,” it writes.

      “WP29 also questions the effectiveness of control mechanisms offered to users to exercise their rights and the effects that the data sharing will have on people that are not a user of any other service within the Facebook family of companies.”

      It adds that its various members, so basically all the national DPAs of EU Member States, will “act in a coordinated way” to target any problems they identify, with a dedicated working group for enforcement actions set to address the WhatsApp issue specifically.

    • President Obama ridiculed on Snapchat by daughter Sasha

      President Barack Obama has disclosed that his younger daughter recently mocked him on Snapchat.

      The US leader said Sasha had recorded him discussing the social network at a family dinner and then quietly posted a reaction to her friends.

      It is not the first time the president has discussed his 15-year-old’s online activities.

      In July, he said she also tweets, leading several media outlets to try to identify her account.

      It remains secret.

      Likewise a copy of the described Snapchat post has not been made public. Messages posted to the app are designed to disappear after being viewed or within a short period of time, but there are ways to circumvent the restrictions.

    • Killer sought via text message broadcast

      Ontario police have used the mass-messaging technique, known as a tower dump, before now, but its use was challenged in Canadian courts after one local force applied to use it to contact more than 100,000 people.

    • Standards Symposium Highlights Security, Privacy On Eve Of World Telecom Standardization Assembly

      Besides privacy-enhancing technologies, privacy by design and the “leveraging of international frameworks that contain basic principles of security, privacy and trust,” the conclusions also “stressed” security goals, including “sharing of information between public and private sectors on threats to the ICT infrastructure,” and a joint effort “to develop national capabilities to protect from cyber-attacks.” ITU experiences 1 million attacks every day, according to Reinhard Scholl, deputy director of ITU-T, of which he called 10,000 serious.

    • Would You Be Tempted By This ‘Grand Bargain’ On Privacy?

      Digital privacy and the control of personal data have emerged as two of the main online battlegrounds in recent years, as the flood of Techdirt posts on the subject attests. One of the central questions is how we can use global online services like Facebook and Google without surrendering control of the information we provide them. The US and the EU take contrasting approaches here, both of which have attracted plenty of supporters and detractors.

      But what about alternatives: might there be another way to tackle this crucial subject that is effective and reasonably fair to all? Jack M. Balkin and Jonathan Zittrain, respectively professors at the law schools of Yale and Harvard, believe there is. Together, they’ve written an article that appears in The Atlantic, entitled “A Grand Bargain to Make Tech Companies Trustworthy,”

    • Booz Allen Hamilton hires former FBI director to review its security measures
    • Booz Allen Hamilton hires former FBI director to investigate high-profile thefts
    • Booz Allen hires former FBI director Mueller to review personnel processes
    • Booz Allen reviewing security after arrest of NSA contractor

      Booz Allen Hamilton said on Thursday it had hired a former FBI chief to conduct an external review of its security practices, after the consulting firm learned for the second time in three years that an employee working under contract with the National Security Agency had been charged with stealing classified information.

      Booz Allen, which earns billions of dollars a year contracting with U.S. intelligence agencies, has come under renewed scrutiny in recent weeks after authorities took Harold Thomas Martin into custody.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • In Leaked Recording, Austin Police Chief Tears Into Commanders For Fatal Shootings, Use Of Excessive Force

      If police culture is truly going to change, it needs to start at the bottom. Years of DOJ investigations and consent agreements have done almost nothing to root out the deep-seated problems found in many law enforcement agencies. The change has to come from within each department — a much longer, slower process that requires those leading the reforms to put their careers on the line. They will be opposed by many of their fellow officers and villainized by police unions for any attempts to bring more accountability to policework.

      There are probably more law enforcement officials out there with the same mindset as Austin (TX) police chief Art Acevedo. Unfortunately, very little of what they’ve done or said makes its way into the public eye without being strained through several filters. Acevedo’s private comments to Austin PD commanders, however, arrive in the form of a leaked recording.

      Acevedo was addressing the criticism he took for firing Geoffrey Freeman after the officer shot and killed a naked, unarmed, mentally-ill 19-year-old as he ran down a residential street. Acevedo addressed many issues during this talk and made it clear the APD isn’t going to keep heading down the same limited-accountability road and end up just another law enforcement agency more known for its misdeeds than its law enforcement efforts.

    • Berkeley protesters form human chain to stop white students from getting to class

      Students at the University of California, Berkeley held a day of protest on Friday to demand the creation of additional “safe spaces” for transgender and nonwhite students, during which a human chain was formed on a main campus artery to prevent white students from getting to class.

      The demonstrators were caught on video blocking Berkeley’s Sather Gate, holding large banners advocating the creation of physical spaces segregated by race and gender identity, including one that read “Fight 4 Spaces of Color.”

      Protesters can be heard shouting “Go around!” to white students who attempt to go through the blockade, while students of color are greeted with calls of “Let him through!”

    • Liberals’ blind faith: The silence on the misogyny in the Muslim world is deafening

      In a new 90-second video ad, a Muslim-focused political action committee rightly slams Donald Trump for his sinister proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

      While Trump is wrong-minded as he pounds the drumbeat of “us vs. them” with the Islamic world, I also hope liberals can move beyond blind defense of the Muslim religion and assess it with greater nuance. I say this as someone who has endured considerable alienation by challenging the premises of Mormonism, my childhood faith (even after facing discrimination growing up because of my religion). While initially painful, thinking about Mormonism objectively has broadened my worldview and allowed me greater ability to analyze any institution, religious or otherwise.

      I wish many Muslims and liberals would be so objective when looking at the brutally misogynistic behavior associated with some Muslims’ interpretations of sharia and reject the knee-jerk reaction that paints anyone who questions the modern Muslim world as Islamophobic. The refusal to do so is chilling those of us who unequivocally believe in women’s rights, who believe in freedom of expression, who believe in rationality and critical thinking. Last week in a #SalonTalks interview, author Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, who is otherwise incredibly talented and articulate, essentially said that the horrible French move to ban the “burkini” is essentially on par with an anti-woman acid attack; this is as false equivalency.

    • ‘I Live in a Lie’: Saudi Women Speak Up

      Saudi Arabia is an incredibly private, patriarchal society. While I was making the film, many women were afraid to share their stories for fear of backlash from the male relatives who oversee all aspects of their lives as so-called guardians. We wanted to hear more about their fears, their frustrations, their ambitions.

      Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s highest rates of Twitter use, and our posts rocketed around. We were overwhelmed by the outpouring.

      Most of the responses focused on frustration over guardianship rules that force women to get permission from a male relative — a husband, father, brother or even son — to do things like attend college, travel abroad, marry the partner of their choice or seek medical attention. Some women talked about the pride they had in their culture and expressed great distrust of outsiders. But many of them shared a deep desire for change and echoed Juju19’s hopelessness.

    • When CIA and NSA Workers Blow the Whistle, Congress Plays Deaf

      Do the committees that oversee the vast U.S. spying apparatus take intelligence community whistleblowers seriously? Do they earnestly investigate reports of waste, fraud, abuse, professional negligence, or crimes against the Constitution reported by employees or contractors working for agencies like the CIA or NSA? For the last 20 years, the answer has been a resounding “no.”

      My own experience in 1995-96 is illustrative. Over a two-year period working with my wife, Robin (who was a CIA detailee to a Senate committee at the time), we discovered that, contrary to the public statements by then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell and other senior George H. W. Bush administration officials (including CIA Director John Deutch), American troops had in fact been exposed to chemical agents during and after the 1991 war with Saddam Hussein. While the Senate Banking Committee under then-Chairman Don Riegle, D-Mich., was trying to uncover the truth of this, officials at the Pentagon and CIA were working to bury it.

    • Youth prisons don’t reform, they damage: Column

      On any given day, more than 50,000 young offenders are locked away from their families in juvenile detention facilities.

      We expect these kids, most of whom have few positive relationships with adults or meaningful connections to education or jobs, to emerge equipped for success.

      Instead, recidivism rates (which vary from state to state) range from nearly 50% to 75% within three years of release for juvenile offenders in many areas of the country. Across America, we need a watershed shift in youth justice that protects public safety and is more informed by what works.

    • A Language to Unite Humankind

      According to Esther Schor, in her new book, “Bridge of Words: Esperanto and the Dream of a Universal Language” (Metropolitan), this famous story, of the Tower of Babel, represents a sort of second original sin. “If mortality is what it is like to live after Eden, misunderstanding,” she writes, “is what it is like to live after Babel.” This is not just a psychological misfortune but, more pressingly, a political one. Because we don’t speak the same language as our neighbors, we can’t see their point of view, and therefore we are more likely to rob them and kill them.

      For thousands of years, people have taken this matter quite seriously. Ambitious organizations such as the Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church made sure that their members, whatever their mother tongue, learned a second, common language. More recently, various thinkers have considered constructing universal languages from scratch. Schor gives a colorful summary. In the seventeenth century, Francis Bacon proposed that our written language switch to something like Chinese ideograms, bypassing words altogether, and John Wilkins, the first secretary of the Royal Society, proposed a new language with two thousand and thirty characters. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz said that we should use a pictographic system, a little like Egyptian hieroglyphs. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries came the rise of nationalism and, with it, linguistic nationalism, which held that the particularity of language was in fact an advantage, not a problem. Johann Gottfried Herder claimed that a people’s language contained its spiritual essence. Wilhelm von Humboldt believed that language, mediating between the mind and the world, actually created a people’s identity.

    • Seoul considers messaging ban

      The city legislature of Seoul, South Korea, is considering implementing a law that would ban after work messaging to employees, in an effort to reduce work-related stress among employees.

      Members of the Seoul Metropolitan Council proposed a revision to a public ordinance that would ban after-work messaging to employees of the city’s government. The new rule is an attempt to guarantee employees the right to rest and states that employee privacy must not be subject to employer contact outside of work hours. If passed, it would ban managers from contacting public sector employees after work hours through phone calls, text messaging, or social networking.

    • Heart doctor ‘beat teenage daughter for staying at male friend’s house after Halloween party’

      A top heart doctor who worked at the UN gave his teenage daughter a beating and labelled her a “prostitute” after she disobeyed his orders and went to a Halloween party, a medical tribunal heard on Thursday.

      Dr Gohar Rahman, 57, grabbed the youngster by the hair, caned her on the bottom with his walking stick and then rained down punches on her head after he accused her of “bringing shame” on his family.

      Police were called in after the daughter sent out a SOS message on social media using a Nintendo DS.

      The daughter, then 17, had earlier gone to the party after falsely telling her father she would be home from a friend’s house by 9.30pm.

    • Young Scholar, Now Lawyer, Says Clarence Thomas Groped Her in 1999

      The anticipation of meeting a U.S. Supreme Court justice for the first time turned to shock and distress for a young Truman Foundation scholar in 1999 when, she says, Justice Clarence Thomas grabbed and squeezed her on the buttocks several times at a dinner party.

    • James Comey Broke with Loretta Lynch and Justice Department Tradition

      On Friday, James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, acting independently of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, sent a letter to Congress saying that the F.B.I. had discovered e-mails that were potentially relevant to the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private server. Coming less than two weeks before the Presidential election, Comey’s decision to make public new evidence that may raise additional legal questions about Clinton was contrary to the views of the Attorney General, according to a well-informed Administration official. Lynch expressed her preference that Comey follow the department’s longstanding practice of not commenting on ongoing investigations, and not taking any action that could influence the outcome of an election, but he said that he felt compelled to do otherwise.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast Joins AT&T, Files Lawsuit Against Nashville To Slow Google Fiber

      We’ve been noting for the last year how the latest front in the quest to bring competition to the broadband market is the boring old utility pole. Under the current model, a company like Google Fiber needs to request an ISP move its own gear before Google Fiber can attach its fiber lines. Given that ISPs often own the poles, and have little incentive to speed a competitor to market, this can often take six months or longer — worse if gear from multiple incumbent ISPs needs moving. Google Fiber notes this has quite intentionally slowed its arrival in cities like Nashville.

      As such, Google Fiber has been pushing cities to pass new “one touch make ready” utility pole attachment reform rules, which let a single licensed and insured technician move any ISP’s gear (often a matter of inches), reducing pole attachment from a 9 month process, to one that takes as little as a month. Needless to say, ISPs like AT&T feel threatened by anything that could speed up competition in these stagnant markets, so it has been suing cities like Louisville and Nashville for trying to do so.

    • What’s really at stake if AT&T buys Time Warner

      After all the shouting this election season, perhaps it’s no wonder AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is proposing a tone-deaf $85.4 billion megamerger with Time Warner. On paper, the deal may have seemed like a shoo-in — after all, the Department of Justice approved a similar merger between Comcast and NBC Universal in 2011. But a lot has changed in the meantime.

      Riding the current wave of populism, politicians from both sides of the aisle have expressed skepticism — even outright hostility — to the proposed merger. Hillary Clinton last year vowed to prevent further market concentration by beefing up the antitrust enforcement arms of the DOJ and FTC. And in a fact sheet on competition policy put out earlier this month, she promised a return to stricter antitrust enforcement, “in contrast to the highly permissive approach of the Reagan era.”

    • The Senate Summoned The Wrong Time Warner To Talk About AT&T Merger

      The big news earlier this week, of course, was AT&T’s announced plans to purchase Time Warner. As we, and plenty of others, were careful to point out, Time Warner is a different and totally separate company from Time Warner Cable (which Comcast famously tried to takeover not that long ago). Yes, at one time they were the same company, but that was a long, long time ago. They’ve been separate since 2009. And yet, lots of people still get them confused. In fact, soon after the announcement of the deal, AT&T had to do a special filing with the SEC to clarify which Time Warner it was buying. Really.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Your Brexit briefing

      There is no need for IP owners and advisers to panic following the UK vote to leave the EU. But now is a good time to consider how rights could be affected in the medium term

    • Trademarks

      • Catching up with TTAB cases

        The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has seen a slew of unusual cases this year, according to John Welch, an attorney with Wolf Greenfield

      • Arsenal, The UK Football Club, Sues Arsenal Cider House, The Pittsburgh Bar, Because Of Course It Would

        Exactly how far can overly protective trademark owners go before the wider public wakes up to what a shitstorm trademark has become? It’s a question I find myself asking often, given the type of stories we cover around here. It seems any progress made on that front is slow, however, and the ridiculous stories keep on rolling in. You may recall that the Premier League, the UK’s famous soccer/football/whatever league, has already proven itself incapable of making any kind of sense while enforcing its intellectual property rights. Well, perhaps taking its cue from its parent league, the also-famous Arsenal soccer club is reaching across the pond to try to block a trademark application for a small bar in the suburbs of Pittsburgh.

      • Huge Casino Threatens Small Blues Club For Using The Word ‘Live’ In Its Name

        When I drop dead of a massive heart attack, it will be because some huge company has bullied some small company over a ridiculous trademark that never should have been granted in the first place. The examples for this sort of thing are legion around Techdirt, but it still gets me every single time. The Trademark Office has done such a poor job of turning even the barest of critical eyes towards trademark applications that all sorts of short and common words have been granted trademarks all over the place, including in industries where it was plainly insane to grant them at all.

        The latest of these concerns a small family-owned supper club in Maryland and the threat letter it received from an enormous casino company over the trademark it had somehow received on the word “live.”

    • Copyrights

      • Swedish Court: News Site Embedding A YouTube Video Guilty Of Copyright Infringement

        Nearly a decade ago, just as YouTube was really getting popular, we questioned whether or not it would be considered infringement to merely embed a YouTube video if the content in that video were unauthorized. As we noted at the time, it seemed like a crazy idea that this should be considered infringing, given that embedding is just sticking a simple line of code on a website. No content ever actually is hosted or lives on that website. You’re just telling a browser to go find content from the original YouTube source. For the most part, US courts have agreed that embedding is not infringing. And we’d thought that the EU had come to the same conclusion — however that ruling was a bit vague, in that it focused on the embedding of authorized content, not unauthorized content.

        Last month, however, there was the troubling EU Court of Justice ruling that found that mere links could be deemed direct infringement, especially if they were posted on a for-profit site. The ruling, somewhat dangerously, argued that any for-profit site that posted links should have the burden of checking to make sure the content they link to is not infringing, and it’s fine to assume that they had the requisite knowledge when they link (this is, of course, crazy). And now we’re seeing the reverberations of such a silly ruling.

      • Time Warner Cable Threatens Pirates With Account Termination

        Time Warner Cable has added an interesting clarification to its copyright infringement notifications. In addition to warning pirates of the standard “mitigation measures” that are part of the Copyright Alert System, the ISP now adds that persistent pirates also risk losing their Internet connection, and more.

      • Reykjavik: Icelandic Pirates Triple Result, But Not Largest Party

        The Icelandic Pirate Party has made a record election. Early vote counts place Pirates at 14 percent, for nine seats of the 63-seat world’s oldest Parliament. As the victory party draws to a close and the results slowly finalize, it’s worth looking a little at what comes next.

        Pirate Parties keep succeeding, although on a political timescale. It started out a little carefully with getting elected to the European Parliament from Sweden, then to multiple state parliaments in Germany, city councils all over Europe, the Czech Senate, and the Icelandic Parliament, all in a decade’s insanely hard volunteer work.

        Today, as the victory party draws long into the night and as the Election Saturday becomes Celebration Sunday (and quite probably Interview-and-Media Sunday for a lot of people), it’s clear that the Pirate Party of Iceland has broken all previous election records, clocking in at 14% with about one-third of the votes counted at 01:00 on election night.

      • How Hacker and ‘Pirate’ Birgitta Jónsdóttir Revolutionized Iceland’s Politics

        Birgitta Jónsdóttir likes to describe herself as a “poetician”—part poet, part politician. But that moniker doesn’t touch on what she’s best known for: founding Iceland’s radical Pirate Party, the collection of anarchists, libertarians, and techies that could gain control of the Nordic island’s parliament in an election Saturday.

        The Pirates are expected to gain as many as 20 seats in the weekend vote, which would give them a leading position to form a government. If that happens, the group’s extraordinary rise to power will have taken just a heartbeat in politics—less than four years.

      • Why Icelandic Elections Are More Important Than American

        On Saturday, in the shade of the American presidential elections that dominates the daily global news, some more important elections are going to be held. They will take place in the land of ice and snow, the most northern country of Europe, Iceland.

        This election is important because in Iceland we don’t have the usual “pretenders” to the power, but a pair that symbolizes the fight between the old world that is dying and the new one that is rising. The old is a traditional right-wing, conservative party which gives all power to the politicians. They stand against the radical, which believes in power of the base of the society, the grass root movements, the collective intelligence.

      • Pirate party prepares for first major win in Iceland elections

        This weekend, the political landscape in Iceland could be transformed. Polls show a real possibility that the Pirate Party – best known for its anti-establishment views and activism over copyright law and transparency – could come into power.

        In opinion polls conducted in October, the Pirate Party is tied for first place with the Independence Party (currently in government) and the Left-Green Movement. The pirates and the greens have agreed to form a coalition, and if after Saturday’s election they have a majority – perhaps with the help of some other parties – they will become the government of Iceland.

        “We don’t know what will happen on election night,” says Björn Leví, a Pirate Party candidate hoping to be elected on Saturday. “It will be very exciting, and it looks like it will be amazing for the Pirate Party.”


        Iceland’s Pirate Party is led by Birgitta Jónsdóttir. The first Pirate Party was established in Sweden in 2006 with the main intention of reforming copyright law. Political parties acting under the Pirate Party banner now have a presence in many countries.

        “In Iceland we’ve expanded the Pirate Platform,” says Leví. “We’re not just about copyright and privacy, we’re about transparency and direct democracy as well.”

      • MPAA: EFF Just Jealous It Doesn’t Control Copyright Office Like Hollywood Does

        Earlier this week we wrote about the revelation, via a FOIA request by the EFF, that the Copyright Office consulted heavily with Hollywood (the MPAA directly, and a variety of movie studios) before weighing in on the FCC’s set top box competition proposal. As we noted, the Copyright Office’s discussion on the issue involved completely misrepresenting copyright law to pretend that an agreement between to industries (content studios & TV companies) could contractually wipe out fair use for end users. That’s… just wrong. The FCC’s proposal had absolutely nothing to do with copyright. It was just about letting authorized (paying) customers access content that was already authorized through other devices. What the FOIA request revealed was that the Copyright Office not only had many, many, many meetings with Hollywood, but that it actually prioritized those meetings over ones with the FCC — and lied to the FCC to say that key Copyright Office personnel were not available the very same week they were meeting with the MPAA, in order to push back the meeting with the FCC.

        It was a pretty big deal, given the Copyright Office’s reputation for acting as a taxpayer-funded lobbying arm for Hollywood. Of course, the MPAA is now mocking the EFF over this story, with a blog post by Neil Fried, one of the top lobbyist’s for the MPAA, and someone who features prominently in the conversations with the Copyright Office revealed by the FOIA request. The crux of Fried’s post is that there’s no news in the revelations, and that the Copyright Office met with the MPAA because the MPAA asked to meet with it.

      • Hollywood Accounting Back In Court: How Has Spinal Tap Only Earned $81 In Merchandise Sales For Its Creators?

        We’ve discussed the amazing bullshit known as Hollywood Accounting many times here on Techdirt. This is the trick whereby big Hollywood studios basically get out of paying anyone royalties by claiming movies (including big, mega-famous ones) are not profitable. The most simple version of this trick is that the big studio sets up an independent corporation to represent “the film.” It then “sells” services to that corporation, which it owns, at exorbitant prices. So, for example, it will charge a “marketing and distribution fee,” which may actually be many multiples of the film’s actual budget. No cash changes hands here. It’s just a paper transaction, but because of those “fees” any money made from the film remains with the big Hollywood studio, and is not passed on to anyone who has “participation” in the net profits from the film.

        Things can get more complex than that, but that’s a basic version of the scam. This has come out a lot in the past few years, thanks to a series of lawsuits. It’s how we know that a Harry Potter film that brought in basically a billion dollars in revenue still declared a $167 million “loss”. It’s why one of the highest grossing films ever, Return of the Jedi, still claims to be in the red, when it comes to paying out residuals. That’s a film that’s made $33 billion (with a b). Not profitable, under Hollywood accounting. Another film whose books were opened up in a lawsuit was Goodfellas, where Warner Bros. was not only accused of charging $40 million in interest on the $30 million cost of production, but also of hiding over $100 million in revenue.

        In another bizarre case from a few years ago, two subsidiaries of Vivendi went after each other over Hollywood accounting — with StudioCanal suing Universal for pulling such an accounting trick on a bunch of famous movies. Universal hit back by claiming it actually overpaid StudioCanal.


Indian Press Continues to Print Utter Lies About Software Patents and India’s Interests

Posted in Asia, Patents at 12:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Taj Mahal, India

Summary: Another new example of software patents advocacy that somehow creeps in, finding its way into the mainstream press in India

THE subject of software patents in India keeps coming up, even though it has been more or less resolved for at least a decade. Lobbyists of multinational corporations like Microsoft and IBM, or Indian patent lawyers trying to attract more business (like frivolous lawsuits), keep bringing it up and the latest such effort comes from Venkatesh Ganesh, who bemoans the ban on software patents. The argument? Poorly made:

Hardware clause makes software patenting difficult

Changes in India’s software patent laws are stoking heartburn among companies that are looking to file patents in India, which could impact investment flows into the country.

Companies based in India and elsewhere depend on patents to protect their intellectual property and attract investments to succeed in a competitive marketplace. However, some minor changes to the patent guidelines have caused a major headache.

This is a complete fantasy or fairy tale. Who or what are those companies? Those oppressing India, like Microsoft which still actively derails the country’s software policy? Those that work for foreign corporations under the guise of being “Indian”?

Citizens of India shouldn’t be gullible enough to believe the above and newspaper editors need to start filtering or fact-checking material that they publish. Too often they just copy-paste some lobbying material from patent law firms for the illusion of “balance”. That’s not how true journalism is done.

The Former Chief Economist of the EPO Warns That Battistelli’s Implicit Policy of Lowering Patent Quality (for Quantity) Will Bring Patent Trolls to Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In the US, for example, it’s widely known that trolls rely a lot on software patentability

Nikolaus Thumm

Summary: Another piece of evidence or a European Commission report (akin to that of GAO in the US) which demonstrates that Battistelli’s policies would bring patent trolls to Europe

TOMORROW (in Techrights) will be all about the USPTO — a system so severely ruined/tainted by patent trolls that it’s widely regarded as the model not to follow, yet the EPO is trying to become more like the USPTO (before the ongoing reforms which actually repair the USPTO). Nowadays, under Battistelli, the EPO even markets software patents.

Today’s EPO is in shambles because of Battistelli’s coup which removes people who openly don’t agree with him, terrifies people who secretly disagree with him, and installs (in power with astronomical salaries) many of his cronies, usually from France/INPI. Battistelli has made the EPO a laughing stock and an embarrassment to Europe. Not too long ago Team Battistelli added a French Chief Economist (Yann Ménière) who seems more or less like a Battistelli “yes man” or Pet Chinchilla ([ref 96056 reference here]) who will be speaking for the EPO in Australia pretty soon (we mentioned that a few days ago).

What does the previous/former Chief Economist think? Obviously something very different. He no longer needs to be a Battistelli “yes man”. His salary does not depend on it.

When EPO mouthpiece and patent maximalist IAM does not gloat about Clinton (who is a large corporations’ tool and a corporate front) because of her stance on patents it actually mentions the position of the EPO’s former Chief Economist. Put another way (without IAM’s spin), the EPO under Battistelli is evidently brewing or creating an epidemic of patent trolls. They will soon come to Europe as well, more so if the UPC becomes a reality. Here is what IAM wrote:

The continued issuance of high quality patents is the key to preventing the widespread activities of troll-like patent assertion entities in Europe, a new report from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre has concluded.

Based on work undertaken by a team led by the centre’s senior fellow Nikolaus Thumm, a former chief economist of the European Patent Office, Patent Assertion Entities in Europe. Their impact on innovation and knowledge transfer in ICT markets takes a detailed look at the activities of PAEs in Europe and explores how these may develop under the Unified Patent Court regime. In addition to ensuring high quality patents, the report also recommends that policy makers focus on enabling transparency around patent ownership, ensuring excellence at the UPC and providing more clarity around FRAND licensing and standards essential patents.

“The institutional and legal framework in Europe has not allowed the more negative consequences associated with PAEs to materialise to the same extent that it has, according to some economic literature, in the US,” the report states. “Moreover, some of the negative consequences that we have identified are currently hypothetical and are based on stakeholder evidence which could be susceptible to bias.”

Responding to a patents maximalist (who wrote: “Is this an evidence-based conclusion or just wishful thinking from people outside the patent system who don’t understand it?”), IAM noted: “Report was compiled under the leadership of former chief economist of the EPO, who knows patent system pretty well!!”

The former Chief Economist of the EPO, in that case, essentially warns that patent quality declining (what the EPO does under Battistelli), if this continued, would be a boon to trolls. Battistelli is the trolls’ friend. Does he mind? Does he even know? The man is patently clueless and dangerous.

Here is what IP Watch wrote about the same news:

A new report by respected economists under the European Commission has found that problems of patent assertion entities in Europe could be better controlled if patent quality stays high in the region. It also found that the majority of patent assertion entities in Europe have focused on vulnerable targets – mainly in the telecommunications sector – and the report provides significant research on such entities operating in the European Union. The findings shine light on the key role of standard essential patents, with suggestions for policymakers and predictions about the impact of the prospective changes to the European patent system.

Looking at MIP, we haven’t yet found coverage of it (maybe we’ll find some later), but it did say that “[p]atent prosecution is taking place against a backdrop of the press claiming many patents should not have been issued, allegations that patent examiners shirk their responsibilities and the technology industry being exasperated by the Alice aftermath” (actually, Alice is improving patent quality, which is good).

MIP separately noted that the “cost of global filing quickly climbs into the multi-hundred-thousand dollar range.”

Put another way, patents are for the 1% only. Only the super-rich can afford them. It helps the SMEs in no way whatsoever. In light of this, watch how another site has just fallen for the bogus ‘study’ from EUIPO and the EPO, joining the ranks of few others who parroted the lies [1, 2]. To quote from the article:

IPR-intensive industries generated more than 42% of the EU’s economic activity in the period, with the total value of that activity amounting to €5.7 trillion. The majority of EU trade with the rest of the world also stemmed from IPR-intensive industries, the report said.

EPO president Benoît Battistelli said: “Our second joint report confirms the benefits of patents and other IPRs for the European economy. Intangible assets are increasingly important for innovative companies today, especially for SMEs, but also for research centres and universities. We again see that this has a positive impact on jobs, growth and prosperity. But in order to remain competitive in the global economy, Europe needs to encourage even further the development and use of new technology and innovations.”

These are lies right there in the numbers (even MIP refuted these numbers 3 years ago) and in the statement from the Liar in Chief, Benoît Battistelli. It has nothing whatsoever to so with SMEs. These are the same utter lies which he used to promote the UPC. With patent trolls imminent and already arriving at London (because of his policies that opened the floodgates to crappy patents), those who will suffer the most are European SMEs.

Battistelli is a truly destructive man whose remembered legacy should be that he practically killed the EPO or put it in a death spiral, along with Europe itself. Where’s Wallonia when we need it so badly?

How to Tell You’re Deliberately Not Covering Important EPO Scandals

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Your latest coverage about Europe’s most important subject is several months old, in a British blog…

IP Kat silence

Summary: IP Kat’s awkward silence about the European Patent Office (in the face of many historic/critical events) demonstrated again, in light of the news that the EPO’s Boards of Appeal might soon be sent to ‘exile’ (likely a long-term deprecation plan to mask patent quality degradation)

PEOPLE who rely on IP Kat for EPO news won’t get the information they deserve, unless they look very closely at the comments added to a very, very old thread (see above). The site has been totally quiet about it since the EPO threatened by means of blocking the site, as it first did to Techrights. Has IP Kat just surrendered to the bullies? Will there ever be any criticism of the EPO there (ever again)?

The EPO was mentioned very briefly only in “Friday Fantasies” (yesterday) where there’s a small section that reads:

New EPO Enlarged Board referral: does the gold standard apply to a bitten apple? Tufty the Cat brings us news on the latest EPO Enlarged Board referral in the appeal case of T 437/14, which considers if the “gold standard” test for assessing any amendment for compliance with A123(2) EPC must also be applied to the type of undisclosed disclaimers that would otherwise be allowable under G 1/03.

There is much bigger news regarding the EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeals, but IP Kat isn’t talking about it. Only its readers do and the only place where it would not be off topic is a thread from the summer. “It seems that 63% of the voters do not agree with the move of the BoA to Haar,” this commenter wrote. To quote:

the Budget & Finance Committee of the Admin Council has approved the “resettlement” of the Boards of Appeal to Haar.

13 votes in favour, 8 against and 15 abstentions.

It seems that 63% of the voters do not agree with the move of the BoA to Haar.

Abstentions, however, are not taken into consideration when counting the votes.

The move to Haar, therefore, has been approved by 61% of the voters.

Magic at the EPO!

The response to which was:

BoA: To the great silent majority of the B28 and AC we ask your support.
BB: Hmmm…the Silent Majority is a phase used by Homer to describe the dead!

And here is the latest very curious input:

It seems to me that this is a case in which weighting of votes in accordance with Article 36 EPC would be justified.

Weighting of votes
(1) In respect of the adoption or amendment of the Rules relating to Fees and, if the financial contribution to be made by the Contracting States would thereby be increased, the adoption of the budget of the Organisation and of any amending or supplementary budget, any Contracting State may require, following a first ballot in which each Contracting State shall have one vote, and whatever the result of this ballot, that a second ballot be taken immediately, in which votes shall be given to the States in accordance with paragraph 2. The decision shall be determined by the result of this second ballot.

I wonder if the AC delegates have actually read the rule book?


Therein alone is an article idea for IP Kat to go with, but where’s Merpel and what happened to this site? Has all the media been silenced by means of payments and intimidation?


Links 28/10/2016: NetBSD 7.0.2, Linux Mint 18.1 Will be “Serena”

Posted in News Roundup at 6:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Voice / Linux Magazine Merge

    Issue 32 is the last issue of Linux Voice as a stand-alone magazine as we have joined Linux Magazine. This newly merged magazine will bring the best bits of Linux Voice and Linux Magazine together into a single volume. All four of us Linux Voice founders will still be here contributing to the newly merged magazine – you’ll find us in the aptly named Linux Voice section. We’ll continue to write about the things that excite us in the world of open source software and we’ll continue making our popular podcast.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Managing OpenStack with Open Source Tools

      Day 2 operations are still dominated by manual and custom individual scripts devised by system administrators. Automation is needed by enterprises. Based on the above analysis, Ansible is a leading open source project with a high number contributions and a diverse community of contributions. Thus Ansible is a well supported and popular open source tool to orchestrate and manage OpenStack.

    • Databricks Weaves Deep Learning into Cloud-Based Spark Platform

      Databricks, a company founded by the creators of the popular open-source Big Data processing engine Apache Spark, is a firm that we’ve been paying close attention to here at OStatic. We’re fans of the company’s online courses on Spark, and we recently caught up with Kavitha Mariappan, who is Vice President of Marketing at the company, for a guest post on open source tools and data science.

      Now, Databricks has announced the addition of deep learning support to its cloud-based Apache Spark platform. The company says this enhancement adds GPU support and integrates popular deep learning libraries to the Databricks’ big data platform, extending its capabilities to enable the rapid development of deep learning models. “Data scientists looking to combine deep learning with big data — whether it’s recognizing handwriting, translating speech between languages, or distinguishing between malignant and benign tumors — can now utilize Databricks for every stage of their workflow, from data wrangling to model tuning,” the company reports, adding “Databricks is the first to integrate these diverse workloads in a fast, secure, and easy-to-use Apache Spark platform in the cloud.”

    • OpenStack Building the Cloud for the Next 50 Years (and Beyond)

      Two OpenStack Foundation executives talk about what has gone wrong, what has gone right and what’s next for the open-source cloud.
      BARCELONA, Spain—When OpenStack got started in 2010, it was a relatively small effort with only two companies involved. Over the last six years, that situation has changed dramatically with OpenStack now powering telecom, retail and scientific cloud computing platforms for some of the largest organizations in the world.

    • The Myth of the Root Cause: How Complex Web Systems Fail

      Complex systems are intrinsically hazardous systems. While most web systems fortunately don’t put our lives at risk, failures can have serious consequences. Thus, we put countermeasures in place — backup systems, monitoring, DDoS protection, playbooks, GameDay exercises, etc. These measures are intended to provide a series of overlapping protections. Most failure trajectories are successfully blocked by these defenses, or by the system operators themselves.

    • How to assess the benefits of SDN in your network

      Software-defined networking has matured from a science experiment into deployable, enterprise-ready technology in the last several years, with vendors from Big Switch Networks and Pica8 to Hewlett Packard Enterprise and VMware offering services for different use cases. Still, Nemertes Research’s 2016 Cloud and Data Center Benchmark survey found a little more than 9% of organizations now deploying SDN in production.

  • Kernel Space

    • Applying the Linus Torvalds “Good Taste” Coding Requirement

      In a recent interview with Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, at approximately 14:20 in the interview, he made a quick point about coding with “good taste”. Good taste? The interviewer prodded him for details and Linus came prepared with illustrations.

      He presented a code snippet. But this wasn’t “good taste” code. This snippet was an example of poor taste in order to provide some initial contrast.

    • DTrace for Linux 2016

      With the final major capability for BPF tracing (timed sampling) merging in Linux 4.9-rc1, the Linux kernel now has raw capabilities similar to those provided by DTrace, the advanced tracer from Solaris. As a long time DTrace user and expert, this is an exciting milestone! On Linux, you can now analyze the performance of applications and the kernel using production-safe low-overhead custom tracing, with latency histograms, frequency counts, and more.

    • The initial bus1 patch posting
    • Linux 4.8.5

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.8.5 kernel.

      All users of the 4.8 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 4.8.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.8.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


    • Linux 4.4.28
    • BFQ I/O Scheduler Patches Revised, Aiming To Be Extra Scheduler In The Kernel

      FQ developers had hoped to replace CFQ in the mainline Linux kernel with Budget Fair Queueing for a variety of reasons but it hadn’t ended up making it mainline. Now the developers are hoping to introduce BFQ back to mainline as an extra available scheduler.

      Paolo Valente on Wednesday published the latest patches dubbed “BFQ-v0″ for adding it as an extra scheduler. He began by saying, “this new patch series turns back to the initial approach, i.e., it adds BFQ as an extra scheduler, instead of replacing CFQ with BFQ. This patch series also contains all the improvements and bug fixes recommended by Tejun, plus new features of BFQ-v8r5…On average CPUs, the current version of BFQ can handle devices performing at most ~30K IOPS; at most ~50 KIOPS on faster CPUs. These are about the same limits as CFQ. There may be room for noticeable improvements regarding these limits, but, given the overall limitations of blk itself, I thought it was not the case to further delay this new submission.”

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Power Consumption & Efficiency Of The Linux Kernel For The Last Three Years

        Earlier this week I published Linux 3.9 through Linux 4.9 kernel benchmarks looking at the raw performance of various subsystems when testing each of the major kernel releases as far back as this Core i7 Haswell system was supported. From that same system, today is a look at testing the kernels going back to Linux 3.11 when Haswell graphics support was first in good shape for this Core i7 4790K box while looking at the raw power consumption and performance-per-Watt for these 19 major kernel releases.

      • The Idle Power Use Of The Past 19 Linux Kernel Releases

        This morning I published the Power Consumption and Efficiency Of The Linux Kernel For The Last Three Years article containing power consumption data for an Intel Haswell system going back to the Linux 3.11 kernel through Linux 4.9 Git. Those were some interesting power consumption numbers under load while here are the idle numbers.

        The idle tests were still running this morning so I opted to post them later since they’re interested in their own right. The same i7-4790K system was used for benchmarking all of these kernels from Linux 3.11 to Linux 4.9 (25 October Git). No other changes were made during the testing process. Each kernel was freshly booted to the Unity desktop and then launched the idle power consumption test for a period of three minutes while monitoring the AC power draw as reported by the WattsUp Power meter. Automating this with the Phoronix Test Suite: MONITOR=sys.power phoronix-test-suite benchmark idle.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 6.8 Milestone 1 Released
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • 6 Best Linux Desktop Environments [Part - 2]

      Linux has been developing at a good pace through this last years and with development comes better support for different hardware regarding support for proprietary drivers for video cards, better file systems, more choices in what operating system to use and one of the things that has it importance is distros graphical environment.

    • More Details On Enlightenment’s Ecore_Drm2 Atomic Modesetting

      Back in September the Enlightenment project’s EFL library added atomic mode-setting and nuclear page-flipping support to provide a “perfect rendering” and a “buttery smooth” experience. Earlier this month was then an update on the Ecore_Drm2 state while coming out this week is a Samsung OSG blog post explaining more about the atomic mode-setting details.

    • Ecore_Drm2: How to Use Atomic Modesetting

      In a previous article, I briefly discussed how the Ecore_Drm2 library came into being. This article will expand on that article and provide a brief introduction to the Atomic Modesetting and Nuclear Pageflip features inside the new Ecore_Drm2 library.

    • Papirus Icon Theme Scores Big October Update
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt Creator 4.2 Beta released

        Qt SCXML is a new module in Qt that allows you to create state machines from State Chart XML and embed them into Qt C++ and Qt Quick applications (Overview). It was released as Technical Preview in Qt 5.7 and will be released fully supported with Qt 5.8.

        Qt Creator 4.2 now supplements the module by offering a graphical editor for SCXML (experimental). It features editing states and sub-states, transitions, events, and all kinds of properties. The editor is experimental and the plugin is not loaded by default. Turn it on in Help > About Plugins (Qt Creator > About Plugins on macOS) to try it.

      • Qt Creator 4.2 Beta Released
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GObject and SVG

        GSVG is a project to provide a GObject API, using Vala. It has almost all, with some complementary, interfaces from W3C SVG 1.1 specification.

        GSVG is LGPL library. It will use GXml as XML engine. SVG 1.1 DOM interfaces relays on W3C DOM, then using GXml is a natural choice.

        SVG is XML and its DOM interfaces, requires to use Object’s properties and be able to add child DOM Elements; then, we need a new set of classes.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Chapeau Is Exactly What the Linux Desktop Needs

        That is where Chapeau comes in. Chapeau is a cutting-edge Linux distribution, built from Fedora Workstation, using the GNOME desktop environment, and intended to be an incredibly intuitive and easy to use, out-of-the box experience.

        Trust me when I say Chapeau is exactly that.

        Part of the Chapeau marketing states that it is “Fedora without the work.” I could not have said it better. With Chapeau, you get a desktop distribution in which everything works—in every way—out of the box.

    • New Releases

      • Maui 2 “Blue Tang” released

        The Maui team is happy to announce the release of Maui 2 – 64bit version.

        This is our second version of Maui which comes with plenty new features and fixes based on Plasma 5.8.2, KF 5.27 and Qt 5.7.0.
        We also provide the latest LTS Linux Kernel 4.4 together with an updated Ubuntu 16.04 LTS base system.
        Firefox was updated to version 49 and Thunderbird to version 45.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • New KNOPPIX Release, LibreOffice 5.1.6, Rosa Down

        In Linux news today KNOPPIX 7.7.1 was released to the public based on Debian with GNOME 3.22, KDE 5.7.2, and “Everything 3D.” The Rosa project is experiencing network issues and folks may experience problems trying to connect to their services the next few days. LibreOffice 5.1.6 was announced today by The Document Foundation, the sixth update to the Still branch for stable users, and a new vulnerability was disclosed in GNU Tar.

      • Network shutdown

        From our part we will try our best to make the migrating process as smooth and seamless as possible for our partners.
        Note that the most possible period for unavailability of our resources is this weekend, but there is some probability it may also occur on Friday 10/28/16.
        In the first place, this process is aimed to improve the quality of our services, so please be patient and cooperative.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the Week 2016/43

        The magic number this week is 6: that’s how many snapshots have been published since the last weekly review (1020, 1022, 1023, 1024, 1025 and 1026). Some of them were a bit larger than average (1026 – a big rebuild due to bash 4.4).

      • Identify constraint problems

        Until now it was not possible to easily identify if the constraints are the reaseon for your job to hang in state scheduled and not switching to building. That caused a lot of confusion for it was not clear what the problem is and if the state would change.

    • Red Hat Family

      • ESDS Teams Up With Red Hat On Managed Cloud Hosting Services

        ESDS Software Solution has announced that it has joined hands with Red Hat to bring together the benefits of cloud solutions to legacy applications and enterprise databases. Customers can now avail managed data and cloud hosting services on ESDS eNlight Cloud platform that allows vertical auto scaling of virtual machines. ESDS can now offer needed agility to enterprises that may not otherwise reap the benefits of cloud, given the architecture of their systems.

        eNlight Cloud is a state-of-the-art cloud hosting solution with a built-in ability to automatically scale CPU and RAM on-the fly. Customers can now access the benefits of automatic load sensing and scaling, pay-per-consumption metered billing, root access to enterprise databases and managed OS, database and network services by using Red Hat Enterprise Linux on patented eNlight Cloud. This solution is targeted at customers across several verticals including aviation, banking, manufacturing, oil & gas, shipping and telecommunications.

      • Swisscom, UKCloud Adopt Red Hat OpenStack Platform

        Red Hat announced today that both Swisscom and UKCloud will be leveraging its OpenStack platform as the companies transition toward cloud computing. Swisscom will use the platform to develop its own cloud platform, and UKCloud will provide its customers with the ability to deliver digital services directly to UK citizens.

      • Red Hat named as visionary in Gartner’s 2016 Magic Quadrant

        Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, on Thursday announced that Gartner, Inc. has positioned Red Hat in the “Visionaries” quadrant of Gartner’s October 2016 Magic Quadrant for Distributed File Systems and Object Storage for Red Hat Ceph Storage and Red Hat Gluster Storage.

      • CentOS 6 Linux Servers Receive Important Kernel Security Patch, Update Now

        We reported a couple of days ago that Johnny Hughes from the CentOS Linux team published an important kernel security advisory for users of the CentOS 7 operating system.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Bodhi 2.3.0 released

          Bodhi 2.3.0 is a feature and bug fix release.

        • Fedora at Ohio Linuxfest 2016

          We arrived at the our hotel around 1PM on Friday. After checking in we headed over to find the new site in the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The first things we noticed was the Columbus Convention Center is doing a major renovation and one of those renovations was they removed the escalators from the food court to the second floor. At first we thought this may be a issue to move the event stuff in but there was an elevator close by. Also no signage for OLF in the Food Court area. After getting off the elevator on the second floor there was a sign pointing around the corner to the Ohio Linuxfest registration table. This year Ohio Linuxfest charged $10 for general attendees (free to students with student ID). We checked in and out our badges (yes insert favorite Blazing Saddles joke here). We walked down to the Vendor Expo hall which this year had a grand total of 28 exhibitors (see website for vendor lists). While the Expo was setup ready for Vendors to move in but the Vendor Expo was not open to the public on Friday.

        • The Bugs So Far Potentially Blocking The Fedora 25 Release

          Adam Williamson of the Fedora QA team has sent out a list of the bugs currently outstanding that could block the Fedora 25 release from happening on its current schedule should they not be fixed in time.

        • Updated Fedora 24 ISO Respins Now Available with Dirty COW-Patched Linux Kernel

          It looks like a new set of updated Live ISO images for the Fedora 24 GNU/Linux operating system were published by Ben Williams, founder of the Fedora Unity Project and a Fedora Ambassador.

          Dubbed F24-20161023, the updated Live ISOs a few days ago and include up-to-date components from the official Fedora 24 Linux software repositories, with which was fully syncronized as of October 23, 2016. Of course, this means that they also include the latest Linux kernel update fully patched against the “Dirty COW” bug.

        • PHP version 5.6.28RC1 and 7.0.13RC1
        • Flock Stories 2016, Episode 1: Redon Skikuli

          Flock Stories by Chris WardIf you were wondering where Flock 2018 might be, today’s guest Redon Skikuli might just have your answer! Redon is not just a Fedora community contributor, he’s a Fedora community creator. I ask Redon what he’s up to these days and why he thinks we should also consider joining future Flocks.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Security-minded µQseven COM taps Allwinner A64

      Theobroma’s µQseven form factor “A64-µQ7”COM runs Linux 4.x on a quad-core -A53 Allwinner A64, and adds a security module.

      Austria-based Theobroma has released its second Allwinner-based computer-on-module using the half-size, 70 x 40mm µQseven form-factor. The A64-µQ7 follows the A31 µQ7, based on the quad-core, Cortex-A7 Allwinner A31. This time around the company has opted for the 64-bit, quad-core Cortex-A53 Allwinner A64.

    • Latest 96Boards SBC ships with GbE/PCIe add-on

      Fujitsu’s 96Boards CE compatible “F-Cue” SBC runs Linux on a quad-core Cortex-A15/A7 Socionext MB86S71 SoC, and offers a PCIe/GbE expansion board.

      The Fujitsu Electronics F-Cue is the latest Linux-driven 96Boards CE form factor SBC, following others like the uCRobotics Bubblegum-96 and Qualcomm DragonBoard 410c. The open-spec board uses the same 85 x 54mm CE spec, featuring standard 40- and 60-pin mezzanine expansion connectors. The board is pricier than most 96Boards entries, selling for $286, plus another for $48 an optional PCIe/GbE expansion board.

    • Rugged Qseven module runs Linux on Apollo Lake

      Seco unveiled a “Q7-B03” Qseven COM with Intel’s new Atom E3900 “Apollo Lake” SoC and optional onboard SATA flash and -40 to 85°C support.

    • 96Boards SBC adds “Giga” expansion and optional GbE card
    • Rugged Bay Trail boardset offers dual GbE and dual mini-PCIe

      The device supports Linux, Windows, Windows Embedded, and VxWorks, and offers five-year availability.

    • Tiny, open spec SBC offers wireless and 8GB eMMC

      FriendlyElec’s $45, 75 x 40mm “NanoPi S2” SBC runs Debian or Android on a quad-core A9 SoC, and offers RPi expansion, WiFi, Bluetooth, and 8GB eMMC.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Video: Introducing Samsung ARTIK Cloud with Samsung Gear S2

          Samsung Electronics have previously announced SAMSUNG ARTIK Cloud™, which is an open data exchange platform designed to connect devices and applications. One of the goals of the SAMSUNG ARTIK Cloud is to provide developers the tools they need to securely connect to Internet of Things (IoT) devices, collect data and react to it accordingly.

          Companies can benefit from using open APIs and tools in order to accelerate their “time to market” and ultimately start monetizing their Investment. SAMSUNG ARTIK Cloud has a tiered pricing model, but the great thing is that you can actually start using it for FREE.

        • Game: Group Play Drag Racing in Tizen Store for Samsung Z1, Z2 and Z3

          Remember the World Cricket Championship 2 game? The most rated cricket game in the Tizen Store by Nextwave Multimedia Pvt. Ltd. Today they have added a new game named “Group Play Drag Racing“. It’s a Racing game against 6 racers, and you have to use your gears to the best of your ability in order to be fast fast fast !

      • Android

        • NVIDIA rolling out Shield Android TV upgrade 3.3 with improved audio, updated Vulkan API, and more
        • Software Upgrade 3.3 Available For NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV
        • PlayStation Vue launches on Android TV
        • Google Assistant channel launches on IFTTT
        • Google Allo Update 2.0 Brings Android 7.0 Nougat Features To The Table: Split-Screen, Quick Reply Support
        • Android 7.0 Nougat OTA download for OnePlus 3, OnePlus 2, OnePlus X happening this December
        • In Tech News: Apple iPhone Quarterly Results Signal Yet Another Year of 15% Flat Market Share

          If you look at the above picture, you really need to come to grips, that there is not, and will never be, a global take-over of the smartphone space by Apple’s iPhone. It has a VERY steady slice of the market. A healthy, profitable and loyal slice, but it is not growing nor is it shrinking. Apple finds one in seven smartphone owners eager to own their devices, and six in seven smartphone buyers will not buy an iPhone, either they don’t want it, or can’t afford it. Deal with this reality. 15%. That is not the world

        • How I Use Android: EvolveSMS and Talon developer Luke Klinker

          Luke Klinker knows his way around app development.

          Klinker started building his Android app empire when he was a student at the University of Iowa. He embraced Google’s Material Design standard and worked with his brother to create clean and intuitive apps that were packed with features and yet easy to use.

        • LG V20 Review: For spec-hungry Android enthusiasts, it’s the best Android phablet you can buy [Video]

          2016 has been a tough year for the Android market. In previous years we couldn’t count on one hand the number of awesome devices, but this year there have only been a few to choose from. The Galaxy S7, specifically the Edge has stood out as a clear winner, despite the praise given to competing devices like the HTC 10. On the other hand, no one really cared about LG this year. The G5 was a flop by every definition.

          Now in late 2016, there still isn’t much to pick from. The Galaxy Note 7 was close to perfection, and then it literally exploded in Samsung’s face. Google’s Pixel aims to fill the void, and redefine what an Android smartphone can and should be. However, if you’re not looking to get a Pixel, the LG V20 is 100% what you should be looking at, especially if you’re aiming for a big phone. Let’s take a closer look.

        • Android 7.0 Nougat: 15 hidden tips and tricks

          WE’VE RAIDED THE release notes in pieces past, but this time around (and with Google’s Pixel XL in tow) we’re running through some of the more useful additions to have found their way into the latest Android build.

          And for those of you who’ve skipped to the end, cats and hamburgers both have their uses…

        • Why Apple-to-Android upgrade comparisons are utterly meaningless

          Android upgrades are a contentious topic. Bring ‘em up in any way, and you’re bound to see some riled up people.

          I should know: I’ve observed and analyzed Android upgrades for years now — all the way back to the now-ancient-seeming Android 2.2 Froyo era, when widespread rollouts for the platform were still an untested concept. And in all of that time, one thing has stayed pretty much the same: By and large, Android manufacturers suck at delivering timely and reliable OS updates.

          But hang on: Not everything about the Android upgrade situation has remained constant over these past several years. In fact, one very significant area has evolved considerably — and it’s an area that’s almost always overlooked as part of the Android upgrade discussion, particularly when iOS comparisons come into the picture.

          As we think about Google’s new Pixel phone and its unique position as the sole current handset guaranteed to get quick and regular Android updates, it’s important to step back and put the situation in perspective — because there really is much more to it than what we see on the surface. And while iPhone-to-Android upgrade comparisons are an inevitable side effect of the discussion (and one I’ve already heard brought up plenty in the context of the Pixel, especially when it comes to its short-seeming two-year window for support), the truth is that upgrades on iOS and Android are drastically different beasts.

        • BlackBerry reveals its LAST ever Android smartphone

          Marking BlackBerry’s third foray into Android devices, the DTEK60 has been designed to take on the likes of Samsung and HTC with a polished look and powerful hardware.

          The device features a 5.5-inch QuadHD display with a resolution of 2,560×1,440-pixels and a pixel density of 538ppi, which BlackBerry says can display up to 16 million colours.

          Inside, there’s a speedy quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor from Qualcomm, backed up by 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, which can be boosted up to 2TB via a microSD card.

        • Latest Strategy Analytics data shows Chinese Android manufacturers eating at Apple’s marketshare

          Apple just reported its latest earnings yesterday evening, and now Strategy Analytics is out with its latest report concerning the smartphone industry. The latest data shows the entire smartphone industry saw shipments rise 6 percent year over year to hit 375 million worldwide during Q3 2016.

          Shipment rose from 345.2 million units in Q3 2015 to 375.4 million in Q3 2016, which is the industry’s fastest growth rate for a year. Strategy Analytics attributes much of this growth to new product launches from Apple.

          Individually for Apple, though, the numbers weren’t as bright. The company saw its shipments fall from 48 million to 45.5 million, just as it reported during its earnings call. This fall pushed Apple’s marketshare from 13.6 percent to 12.1 percent, though Apple is holding strong to its #2 spot.

        • Android, Samsung Improve in Third Quarter

          Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) released analysis of the results of its research on mobile phone operating systems and brands for the calendar quarter that ended September 30, 2016. This analysis features findings about market share trends in mobile phone operating systems and brands in the US from July-September 2016.

          CIRP research shows that the two major mobile operating systems, Google Android and Apple iOS, controlled about 97% of US customer mobile phone activations in the third quarter (Chart 1). In the September 2016 quarter, Android accounted for 71% of US activations, the same share as the year-ago September 2015 quarter, and up from 63% in the June 2016 quarter. iOS accounted for 26% of activations, about the same as its 27% share in the year-ago September 2015 quarter, but down from its 32% share in the June 2016 quarter.

        • This Android keyboard trick fixes bad autocorrect suggestions
        • 11 things Android phone makers should copy from the Pixe
        • Review: 7 PDF editing tools for iOS and Android
        • Qualcomm acquires NXP Semiconductors for $47 billion
        • Moto M with metal body and Snapdragon 625 leaks

Free Software/Open Source

  • Pitt, partners create open source software for cancer genome data

    Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, UPMC and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center have created software to help investigators more easily navigate genomic cancer data.

    The free, open-source software, profiled Thursday in the journal PLOS ONE, processes data generated by The Cancer Genome Atlas project. Funding for the new software was provided by the Institute of Precision Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

  • Starting a Career as an Open Source Developer

    “Disney, John Deere and Walmart. Any idea what these three companies have in common?”

    The question was asked on Wednesday by Brandon Keepers, GitHub’s head of open source. He was about three minutes into a session he was conducting called “Contributing to Your Career” at the All Things Open conference.

    “All three of these companies are actually software companies,” he answered after taking a moment to tease the audience. “They do other things. They build tractors, protect trademarks and build amusement parks, and sell groceraies and things that you need everyday. But they’ve also become software companies and they’ve become really active in open source — and they’re not alone.”

  • A look at how retail giant Walmart is becoming open source first

    It’s rare that we speak to large, global enterprises that are redesigning their technology stack and culture around an open source first policy. More often than not companies stick to their legacy vendors of choice, or they shift to ‘reliable’ cloud/digital vendors where similar buying rules apply.

    However, that’s exactly what Walmart is doing. Since acquiring performance lifecycle management start-up OneOps four years ago, in order to implement a DevOps approach to its e-commerce environment, the retailer is also prioritising open source over everything else – with it having made a big investment in OpenStack for its infrastructure.

  • Open source no longer scares the enterprise

    Open source breaks the rules on corporate procurement, but developers never play by the rules and now open source has sneaked in through the back door

    A study by Vanson Bourne for Rackspace reports that businesses are making big savings by using open source.

    In the survey of 300 organisations, three out of five respondents cited cost savings as the top benefit, reducing average cost per project by £30,146.

  • Defining MANO: Open Source vs. Standards

    As service providers are working to deploy NFV-based services, they are finding that management and orchestration (MANO) is a pain point. One of the big questions about MANO is how we go from a high-level architecture diagram to interoperable implementations. Do we take the traditional telco path and work through standards bodies? Or do we take a cloud-centric path and focus on open source development projects?

  • Eclipse Kapua IoT Project Gets Code from Eurotech and Red Hat

    The nascent Eclipse Kapua project got a big boost this week from its chief sponsors, open source solutions provider Red Hat and M2M/IoT platform provider Eurotech. The two companies announced their first official code contributions to the recently approved project, through which they are developing a modular, cloud-based platform for managing IoT gateways and smart edge devices. Red Hat and Eurotech collaborated to propose the project last June.

  • APIStrat Boston to highlight link between APIs and open source projects

    This year’s API Strategy and Practice (known as APIStrat)—to be held in Boston on November 2-4—has a strong open source component running throughout the event, and with little wonder. Successful API strategies more often than not either contribute new open source projects, or draw on the rich source of tools already built by the open source community.

    The API mindset has always lent itself to an open source ethos. APIs are all about opening up internal assets, data, and systems in order to connect and collaborate with a wider ecosystem of partners and end users. Amongst leadership businesses that have a strong API strategy, seeing so many contribute and use open source projects is not surprising, and this is reflected throughout this year’s APIStrat program. After all, two of the key specifications formats that are used across the industry to describe APIs—the Open API Initiative and RAML—are both open source projects. Projects like Mashape’s Kong and Tyk’s API Gateway are both open source and gaining greater recognition and uptake.

  • Phil Shapiro: Open Source and Social Justice Advocate

    If you visit the public library in Tacoma Park, Maryland, you might run into Phil Shapiro, who is in charge of their computer lab. Or if you visit Foss Force (you’ve heard of that website, right?) you’ll see his byline here, here, here, and many other places.

    According to my thesaurus, “Phil Shapiro” is a synonym for “prolific.” And then there’s Twitter, where Phil holds forth on many topics, often many times daily.

    For a change, this video is a story that’s not by Phil, but about Phil. How did he get into Linux? How well is Linux accepted by library patrons? How do the Open Source and Social Justice movements complement each other, and how they they work together better? All good questions for Phil, so they’re questions we asked him. And his answers are enlightening — but also light-hearted, because Phil is a light-hearted guy.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Our Role in Protecting the Internet — With Your Help

        Protecting the security of the Internet requires everyone. We talked about this theme in a recent post, and in this post we’ll expand on the role Mozilla plays, and how our work supports and relies on the work of the other participants in the Web.

      • Mozilla Hosts Seventh Annual MozFest in London this weekend

        Now in its seventh year, MozFest is the world’s go-to event for the free and open Internet movement. Part meeting place for like-minded individuals keen to share ideas; part playground for Web enthusiasts, hobbyist netizens and seasoned open source technonauts alike, part hack-a-thon; part living breathing creative brainstorm; part speaker-series; MozFest is a buzzy hive of activity. It attracts thousands of visitors each year (1,800 in 2015) from as many as 50 countries around the world, making it the biggest unconference of its kind.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.1.6 Office Suite Released for Enterprise Deployments with 68 Fixes

      Today, October 27, 2016, we’ve been informed by The Document Foundation about the general availability of the sixth maintenance update to the LibreOffice 5.1 open-source and cross-platform office suite.

      You’re reading that right, LibreOffice 5.1 got a new update not the current stable LibreOffice 5.2 branch, as The Document Foundation is known to maintain at least to versions of its popular office suite, one that is very well tested and can be used for enterprise deployments and another one that offers the latest technologies.

    • LibreOffice 5.1.6 available for download

      The Document Foundation (TDF) announces LibreOffice 5.1.6, the sixth minor release of the LibreOffice 5.1 family launched in January 2016, targeted at individual users and enterprise deployments. Users of previous LibreOffice releases should start planning the update to the new version.

  • BSD


    • FSF announces change in general counsel

      On Thursday, October 27, 2016, Eben Moglen stepped down as general counsel to the Free Software Foundation (FSF). Moglen, who in addition to being a professor of law and legal history at Columbia University, is the founder, president, and executive director of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), and a former FSF board member, has generously served as the FSF’s pro bono general counsel for the last 23 years.

    • Licensing resource series: How to choose a license for your own work

      We provide plenty of resources when it comes to picking a license. From our list of licenses to essays on copyleft, if you are looking to figure out what license is right for you there is plenty of information to rely upon. But this month’s resource helps to pull that information together in one place to make selecting a license simple.

      Our guide, “How to choose a license for your work” is one stop browsing for answering many of the questions you may have when it comes to finding the right license. It provides recommendations based on the state of the work, but also based on the type of work that it is. While the Affero GNU General Public License version 3 works great for server software, documentation would probably be better served with a license directed at such, like the GNU Free Documentation License version 1.3. Smaller works can often get away without a strong copyleft, but still need to address patents, and so Apache License version 2.0 might be appropriate. The guide explains the reasoning behind the different recommendation for these and more. It also links to all those other resources mentioned above in case you need to dive in deeper when picking out a license.

    • Friday ‘Frankenstein’ Directory IRC meetup: October 28th starting at 1pm EDT/17:00 UTC
    • Free Software Directory meeting recap for October 21st, 2016
  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Conservancy’s First GPL Enforcement Feedback Session

      As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I had the privilege of attending Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELC EU) and the OpenWrt Summit in Berlin, Germany earlier this month. I gave a talk (for which the video is available below) at the OpenWrt Summit. I also had the opportunity to host the first of many conference sessions seeking feedback and input from the Linux developer community about Conservancy’s GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers.

      ELC EU has no “BoF Board” where you can post informal sessions. So, we scheduled the session by word of mouth over a lunch hour. We nevertheless got an good turnout (given that our session’s main competition was eating food :) of about 15 people.

      Most notably and excitingly, Harald Welte, well-known Netfilter developer and leader of gpl-violations.org, was able to attend. Harald talked about his work with gpl-violations.org enforcing his own copyrights in Linux, and explained why this was important work for users of the violating devices. He also pointed out that some of the companies that were sued during his most active period of gpl-violations.org are now regular upstream contributors.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Chemistry project raises up the next generation of researchers

      In 2007 I took part in Google Summer of Code (GSoC) developing the Avogadro application. As we were developing Avogadro, we founded The Open Chemistry project as an umbrella project to develop related tools for chemistry and materials science. Our goal is to bring high quality open source tools to research communities working in these areas, and to develop other tools to complement the Avogadro molecular editor.

      This year we were very pleased to be selected as a mentoring organization for GSoC; a few of our mentors are Geoff Hutchison, Adam Tenderholt, David Koes, and Karol Langner, who are all long-time contributors in related projects. And, we were lucky to get three slots for student projects. To get started, we lined up a number of mentors from related communities, and developed an ideas page.

  • Programming/Development

    • Getting Groovy with data

      Groovy is an almost perfect complement to Java, providing a compact, highly expressive and compatible scripting environment for my use. Of course, Groovy isn’t totally perfect; as with any programming language, its design is based on a series of trade-offs that need to be understood in order to produce quality results. But for me, Groovy’s advantages far outweigh its disadvantages, making it an indispensable part of my data analysis toolkit. In a series of articles, I’ll explain how and why.


  • Spreadsheets have ruled Earth for too long. Business must embrace the cloud [iophk: “the pie chart has already done untold damage, how much more when coupled with clown computing?”]

    The one certainty in business software and services is that there will always be more acronyms. At the moment, though, there’s more to the sector than just another jargon explosion: we’re moving towards a new way of looking at IT, one that applies best-practice business processes to any company—however small it may be, and however fast it may grow.

    This sounds good, but wading through websites full of perky lists of generic benefits can leave many IT managers still wondering exactly what they’re being sold.

  • Finland ranks in top 3 travel destinations for 2017

    In its annual ranking, independent-travel publisher Lonely Planet names Canada, Colombia and Finland as prime destinations for 2017.

  • 13 IT leaders confess their scary stories and deep, dark fears

    Today’s IT leaders are facing a world of unknowns and underlying fears on a daily basis – from the ransomware that could take down their organizations, to the emergence of new digital disruptors that could render their business obsolete, to the absence of quality IT talent they need to stay ahead of these and other threats. Although scary, it is comforting to know that you are not alone.

    We asked 13 IT leaders to share their stories of unexpected or frightening events in their career, or the threats on the horizon making them nervous for the future of IT. Read on for their tales from the IT crypt.

  • Science

    • Google’s neural networks invent their own encryption

      Computers are keeping secrets. A team from Google Brain, Google’s deep learning project, has shown that machines can learn how to protect their messages from prying eyes.

      Researchers Martín Abadi and David Andersen demonstrate that neural networks, or “neural nets” – computing systems that are loosely based on artificial neurons – can work out how to use a simple encryption technique.

      In their experiment, computers were able to make their own form of encryption using machine learning, without being taught specific cryptographic algorithms. The encryption was very basic, especially compared to our current human-designed systems. Even so, it is still an interesting step for neural nets, which the authors state “are generally not meant to be great at cryptography”.

  • Hardware

    • 2001: An Apple Odyssey

      A lot about Apple has changed since 2001, but one thing that hasn’t are the haters.

      Exactly 15 years ago this week, Apple released the iPod, a device that was met with a famously harsh one-line review from Slashdot founder Rob Malda: “No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.”

      If you’re an Apple fan, you know that quote inside and out, because it was a great example of the haters being wrong and a nice quote to pull out of your hat.

    • The question about ‘grand strategy’ that made Tim Cook unhappy on Apple’s earning call was based on a Harvard professor’s theory that makes uncomfortable reading for Apple

      Last night, Apple CEO Tim Cook gave a terse, unhappy answer to this question from UBS analyst Steven Milunovich: “Does Apple today have a grand strategy for what you want to do?”

      Milunovich asked the question two different ways, and Cook gave only non-answers, one of which was “as usual, we’re not going to talk about what’s ahead.”

      There is a reason Milunovich asked that question. It’s not merely about Cook’s tradition of not giving clues about what Apple will do next. Rather, Milunovich’s question was based on a theory by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen. The theory makes uncomfortable reading for observers of Apple, and perhaps for insiders too.

  • Security

    • Thursday’s security updates
    • Mirai will be dwarfed by future Android botnet DDoS attacks, Lookout warns

      THE MIRAI BOTNET will seem like nothing compared to the havoc that is caused when hackers turn their attention to hijacking Android smartphones, Lookout’s security research chief has warned.

      Speaking to the INQUIRER, Mike Murray said it would be easy for cyber crooks to take over millions of smartphones, noting how often the Android requires patching.

    • Deal Seeks to Limit Open-Source Bugs

      Seeking to spot potential security vulnerabilities in systems that increasingly rely on open source software, software license optimization vendor Flexera Software has acquired a specialist in identifying potentially vulnerable software components.

      Flexera, Itasca, Ill., said Thursday (Oct. 27) it is acquiring San Francisco-based Palamida Inc. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

    • Senator Wants to Classify Insecure Internet of Things Devices As ‘Harmful’

      A massive attack carried out with a zombie army of hacked internet-connected devices caused intermittent outages on Friday, preventing tens of thousands of people from accessing popular sites such as Twitter, Reddit, and Netflix.

      For many security experts, an attack like that one, which leveraged thousands of easy-to-hack Internet of Things such as DVRs and surveillance cameras—weaponized thanks to a mediocre but effective malware known as Mirai—is just a sign of things to come.

      That’s why Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) wants the US government to do something about it.

    • Senator Prods Federal Agencies on IoT Mess

      The co-founder of the newly launched Senate Cybersecurity Caucus is pushing federal agencies for possible solutions and responses to the security threat from insecure “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices, such as the network of hacked security cameras and digital video recorders that were reportedly used to help bring about last Friday’s major Internet outages.

      In letters to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Virginia Senator Mark Warner (D) called the proliferation of insecure IoT devices a threat to resiliency of the Internet.

    • European Parliament increases budget for EU-Fossa

      On Wednesday, the European Parliament agreed to a follow-up to the European Commission’s ‘EU Free and Open Source Software Auditing’ project (EU-Fossa). The plan for the next phase is included in the EU 2017 budget that was agreed upon by the European Parliament.

    • European Parliament votes to extend Free Software security audits

      Remember how I raised €1 million to demonstrate security and freedom aren’t opposites? Well here’s what happened next and how we are going to move forward with this.

      In 2014, two major security vulnerabilities, Heartbleed and Shellshock, were discovered. Both concerned Free Software projects that are widely used throughout the Internet, on computers, tablets, and smartphones alike. My colleague Max Andersson from the Swedish Greens and I proposed a so-called “pilot project”, the Free and Open Source Software Audit (FOSSA).

    • Princeton Upskills U on Open Source Security

      During Wednesday’s Upskill U course, lecturer Gary Sockrider, principal security technologist for Arbor Networks , explained the history of DDoS attacks, case studies of recent attacks, and the business impact of these security threats. DDoS attacks not only raise operational expenses, but can also negatively affect an organization’s brand, and result in loss of revenue and customers. (Listen to Security: Tackling DDoS.)

      “Having visibility is key, you can’t stop something you can’t see. Having good visibility across your own network is vital in finding and stopping these attacks,” said Sockrider. “You can leverage common tools and technology that are already available on the network equipment you own today such as flow technologies, looking at SIP logs … Obviously you’ll want to get to some specific intelligent DDoS mitigation in the end.”

    • GNU Tar “Pointy Feather” Vulnerability Disclosed (CVE-2016-6321)

      Last week was the disclosure of the Linux kernel’s Dirty COW vulnerability while the latest high-profile open-source project going public with a new security CVE is GNU’s Tar. Tar CVE-2016-6321 is also called POINTYFEATHER according to the security researchers.

      The GNU Pointy Feather vulnerability comes down to a pathname bypass on the Tar extraction process. Regardless of the path-name(s) specified on the command-line, the attack allows for file and directory overwrite attacks using specially crafted tar archives.

    • Let’s Encrypt and The Ford Foundation Aim To Create a More Inclusive Web

      Let’s Encrypt was awarded a grant from The Ford Foundation as part of its efforts to financially support its growing operations. This is the first grant that has been awarded to the young nonprofit, a Linux Foundation project which provides free, automated and open SSL certificates to more than 13 million fully-qualified domain names (FQDNs).

      The grant will help Let’s Encrypt make several improvements, including increased capacity to issue and manage certificates. It also covers costs of work recently done to add support for Internationalized Domain Name certificates.

      “The people and organizations that Ford Foundation serves often find themselves on the short end of the stick when fighting for change using systems we take for granted, like the Internet,” Michael Brennan, Internet Freedom Program Officer at Ford Foundation, said. “Initiatives like Let’s Encrypt help ensure that all people have the opportunity to leverage the Internet as a force for change.”

    • How security flaws work: SQL injection

      Thirty-one-year-old Laurie Love is currently staring down the possibility of 99 years in prison. After being extradited to the US recently, he stands accused of attacking systems belonging to the US government. The attack was allegedly part of the #OpLastResort hack in 2013, which targeted the US Army, the US Federal Reserve, the FBI, NASA, and the Missile Defense Agency in retaliation over the tragic suicide of Aaron Swartz as the hacktivist infamously awaited trial.

    • How To Build A Strong Security Awareness Program

      At the Security Awareness Summit this August in San Francisco, a video clip was shown that highlights the need to develop holistic security awareness. The segment showed an employee being interviewed as a subject matter expert in his office cubicle. Unfortunately, all his usernames and passwords were on sticky notes behind him, facing the camera and audience for all to see.

      I bring this story up not to pick on this poor chap but to highlight the fact that security awareness is about human behavior, first and foremost. Understand that point and you are well on your way to building a more secure culture and organization.

      My work as director of the Security Awareness Training program at the SANS Institute affords me a view across hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of employees trying to build a more secure workforce and society. As we near the end of this year’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month, here are two tips to incorporate robust security awareness training into your organization and daily work.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Britain, U.S. sending planes, troops to deter Russia in the east

      Britain said on Wednesday it will send fighter jets to Romania next year and the United States promised troops, tanks and artillery to Poland in NATO’s biggest military build-up on Russia’s borders since the Cold War.

      Germany, Canada and other NATO allies also pledged forces at a defense ministers meeting in Brussels on the same day two Russian warships armed with cruise missiles entered the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Denmark, underscoring East-West tensions.

      In Madrid, the foreign ministry said Russia had withdrawn a request to refuel three warships in Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta after NATO allies said they could be used to target civilians in Syria.

      The ships were part of an eight-ship carrier battle group – including Russia’s sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov – that is expected to join around 10 other Russian vessels already off the Syrian coast, diplomats said.

    • Yazidi women who escaped from Isis win EU human rights prize

      Two Yazidi women who survived sexual enslavement by Islamic State before escaping and becoming “inspirational” advocates for their community in Iraq have won the EU’s prestigious Sakharov human rights prize.

      Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar were abducted with other Yazidi women in August 2014 when their home village of Kocho in Sinjar, northern Iraq, was attacked by Isis jihadis. It was one of the darkest episodes Iraq has suffered at the hands of the terrorist group.

      The annual Sakharov prize for freedom of thought, established in 1988, is named after the Soviet physicist and outspoken dissident Andrei Sakharov and is awarded to “individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the fight for human rights across the globe”. It has previously been awarded to the likes of Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela.

      The EU described Murad and Aji Bashar as “public advocates for the Yazidi community in Iraq, a religious minority that has been the subject of a genocidal campaign by IS militants”.

    • Assyrian Woman: ISIS Murdered My Son Because He Refused to Convert

      An Assyrian Christian woman has shared how members of the Islamic State terrorist group brutally murdered her son because he refused to deny his faith in Jesus Christ.

      During an interview with the Southern California-based human rights group Roads of Success, Syrian mother Alice Assaf recalled how ISIS overtook her hometown, the Damascus suburb of Adra al-Ummaliya, in 2014, and immediately began killing Christians.

      “Members of 200 different families were killed right before our eyes,” Assaf said, according to an English translation provided by Roads of Success in a YouTube video. “They shot them. We witnessed the shooting of so many. So I told my children [and thought] it was better for us to die in our own home so that our other family members would know our fate. When we got home, one person said to me, … ‘ISIS is killing Christians.’”

      Assaf shared how militants killed indiscriminately, massacring at least six men and about 250 children – all under four years old – at a nearby bakery.

    • ‘The day I killed my rapist’

      A young Tunisian woman was photographed naked by a friend of her father’s. He then used the images to silence her – until one day she snapped and took a bloody revenge.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The strange tale of a dating site’s attacks on WikiLeaks founder Assange

      For an online dating site, toddandclare.com seems really good at cloak-and-dagger stuff. Disconnected phones. Mystery websites. Actions that ricochet around the globe.

      But the attention grabber is the Houston-based company’s target: Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, whose steady dumps of leaked emails from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign have given supporters of Donald Trump the only cheering news of the last few weeks.

      In some ways, toddandclare.com’s campaign against Assange is as revelatory as the leaked emails themselves, illustrating the powerful, sometimes unseen, forces that oppose WikiLeaks.

      Whoever is behind the dating site has marshaled significant resources to target Assange, enough to gain entry into a United Nations body, operate in countries in Europe, North America and the Caribbean, conduct surveillance on Assange’s lawyer in London, obtain the fax number of Canada’s prime minister and seek to prod a police inquiry in the Bahamas.

      And they’ve done it at a time when WikiLeaks has become a routine target of Democratic politicians who portray Assange as a stooge of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his reported efforts to disrupt the U.S. election.

      One part of toddandclare’s two-pronged campaign put a megaphone to unproven charges that Assange made contact with a young Canadian girl in the Bahamas through the internet with the intention of molesting her. The second part sought to entangle him in a plan to receive $1 million from the Russian government.

    • Hillary, Wikileaks, Russia – theater of absurd goes viral

      Can people STOP referring to Wikileaks as a news organization. They are a foreign agent, supported by Russia, publishing stolen data,” tweeted Michael McFall, who is considered among the most controversial former US ambassador in Russia. During his tenure in Moscow, McFall was surrounded by controversies and continues to air bombastic tweets.

      On the other hand, Wikileaks, which was launched 10 years ago, has turned out to be a unique phenomenon. It is redefining modern media by attempting to expose even media outlets, tabloids, and successful channels alongside their big bosses. The website has been publishing leaked documents to bring truth out in the open.

      The sad state of affairs of our times is that truth has to find its way to the public through questionable ways and instruments. In case of Wikileaks, most of their documents are accessed either via hacking or are supplied by whistleblowers.

      All these years Wikileaks has been revealing a lot of classified information on numerous subjects related to foreign and domestic policies of countries. Wikileaks publisher and journalists have won many awards. In 2015, it was nominated for the UN Mandela Prize and was nominated for six years in a row, from 2010 to 2015, for the Nobel Peace Prize.

    • Aide Said He Was Running ‘Bill Clinton Inc.’ in New WikiLeaks Dump

      A 12-page memo written by a former aide to President Bill Clinton illustrates how he and other advisers raised millions of dollars for the Clinton Foundation and the Clintons after they left the White House, according to a new batch of emails released by WikiLeaks.

      The purported memo from Doug Band details how he and his team locked in lucrative speaking deals for Bill Clinton and how Band leveraged his work at his global consulting firm, Teneo Strategies, to persuade clients to contribute to the Clinton Foundation. Band described his work as running “Bill Clinton Inc.”

      “We also have solicited and obtained, as appropriate, in-kind services for the president and his family – for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like,” Band allegedly said in the document.

    • The strange tale of a dating site’s attacks on WikiLeaks founder Assange

      For an online dating site, toddandclare.com seems really good at cloak-and-dagger stuff. Disconnected phones. Mystery websites. Actions that ricochet around the globe.

      But the attention grabber is the Houston-based company’s target: Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, whose steady dumps of leaked emails from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign have given supporters of Donald Trump the only cheering news of the last few weeks.

      In some ways, toddandclare.com’s campaign against Assange is as revelatory as the leaked emails themselves, illustrating the powerful, sometimes unseen, forces that oppose WikiLeaks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • World wildlife ‘falls by 58% in 40 years’

      The Living Planet assessment, by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and WWF, suggests that if the trend continues that decline could reach two-thirds among vertebrates by 2020.

      The figures suggest that animals living in lakes, rivers and wetlands are suffering the biggest losses.

      Human activity, including habitat loss, wildlife trade, pollution and climate change contributed to the declines.

      Dr Mike Barrett. head of science and policy at WWF, said: “It’s pretty clear under ‘business as usual’ we will see continued declines in these wildlife populations. But I think now we’ve reached a point where there isn’t really any excuse to let this carry on.

    • World facing biggest mass extinction since dinosaurs – with two thirds of animals wiped out in 50 years

      The world is facing the biggest extinction since the dinosaurs, with seven in 10 mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles wiped out in just 50 years, a new report warns.

      The latest Living Planet report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) estimates that by 2020 populations of vertebrates will have fallen by 67 per cent since 1970.

      Extinction rates are now running at 100 times their natural level because of deforestation, hunting, pollution, overfishing and climate change.

    • World on track to lose two-thirds of wild animals by 2020, major report warns

      The number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020, according to a new report, part of a mass extinction that is destroying the natural world upon which humanity depends.

      The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020. Researchers from WWF and the Zoological Society of London compiled the report from scientific data and found that the destruction of wild habitats, hunting and pollution were to blame.

      The creatures being lost range from mountains to forests to rivers and the seas and include well-known endangered species such as elephants and gorillas and lesser known creatures such as vultures and salamanders.

    • Hectare by hectare, an indigenous man reforested a jungle in Indonesia’s burned-out heartland

      The road from this inland provincial capital in southern Borneo to the delta city of Banjarmasin is littered with degraded forests and peat swamps, hallmarks of a region at the epicenter of last year’s nationwide fire and haze crisis.

      Amid this arid landscape, however, lies an oasis: the peat forest of Jumpun Pambelom, whose name means “life source” in the local Dayak Ngaju language.

      The jungle here is largely the work of a Ngaju man named Januminro. Since 1998, when Indonesia experienced one of the worst episodes of uncontrolled burning in recorded history, the 54-year-old has bought up and reforested degraded land in the area — a hectare here, a few there.

      Today Jumpun Pambelom spans 18 hectares (44 acres) and bustles with with plant and animal life, from rare ulin trees (Eusideroxylon) and towering ramins (Gonystylus) to endangered Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) and sun bears (Helarctos malayanus), not to mention plenty of swamp fish and game.

    • Two-Thirds of Wild Animal Populations Could Be in Decline by 2020

      Around the world, more than two-thirds of wildlife populations could be in decline by the year 2020 because of human activity on the planet, says a new report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London, a conservation charity.

      The Living Planet Report, which the WWF puts out every two years, says that populations of vertebrates (including mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles) dropped by 58 percent between 1970 and 2012. Of course, quantifying biodiversity loss around the planet is no easy task, and there are long-raging debates about how much species loss spells disaster. The picture will get even worse if we don’t take steps now, the WWF says.

      “Within one generation, we’ve seen drastic declines in global wildlife populations,” James Snider, vice-president of science, research and innovation at WWF-Canada, told me. “One of the more troubling facts is that it seems, based on reporting [every two years], that the decline is worsening.” The 2014 report showed a 52 percent decline over the same period, he noted. “Based on that, we expect that by 2020, If no significant action is taken, it could be as much as two-thirds of populations that have declined since the 1970s.”

    • What the elk is that? Animal in SC for 1st time in centuries

      A wild elk has been spotted roaming the woodlands of South Carolina for the first time in more than 200 years.

      News outlets report that wildlife biologists are warning Upstate residents and tourists to stay away from a young bull elk that was seen in several places in Pickens County over the weekend.

      In response to social media posts showing people feeding the animal, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission biologist Justin McVey warned the public that the animal can cause serious injuries.

    • Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere Has Passed a Worrying Threshold

      The World Meteorological Organization’s greenhouse-gas bulletin shows that 2015 was the first year in which levels of carbon dioxide reached 400 parts per million on average across the globe. Part of what pushed the planet over this threshold was El Niño, which, according to the WMO, “reduced the capacity of ‘sinks’ like forests, vegetation and the oceans to absorb CO2.”

      But even when those sinks regain their ability to absorb carbon dioxide, warns the WMO secretary-general, Petteri Taalas, emissions will still need to be cut. “The El Niño event has disappeared. Climate change has not,” he explained. “Without tackling CO2 emissions, we cannot tackle climate change and keep temperature increases to below 2 °C above the preindustrial era.”

    • Officials say no drinking water impacted by Sunoco pipeline rupture

      The state Department of Environmental Protection and the EPA continue to sample water downstream from a gasoline pipeline break in Lycoming County, and say so far no levels of petroleum have been detected that would risk public health. Terry Maenza, a spokesman for American Water, which serves about 12,000 customers in the area near the accident says their sampling has also found no traces of the contaminant. American Water had shut down its intake valves and asked customers to conserve water on Friday after an estimated 55,000 gallons of gasoline spilled into a tributary of the Loyalsock Creek. The Loyalsock runs into the Susquehanna River. Officials speculate that the flood waters that likely caused the pipeline rupture were so heavy, that the leaked fuel was quickly diluted as it flowed downstream.

      “Everything is back to normal,” said Maenza. He says the company lifted it’s conservation request and resumed operations on Sunday.

      The flood waters have receded and Sunoco has removed the broken section of pipe, which was about 10 feet downstream from a bridge washed out by heavy rains. Sunoco officials say the bridge washed into the exposed pipe, which had been buried 5 feet below the creek.

      “Given the position of the pipe and the location of the bridge before and after the event, it’s clear that the bridge was responsible for the damage to the pipe,” said David R. Chalson, Sunoco Logistics senior vice-president for operations.

    • Clinton campaign declines to support Dakota pipeline protesters

      Hillary Clinton’s silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline has not gone unnoticed.

      On Thursday morning, young water protectors from Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires, and the Standing Rock Sioux Nation traveled to the Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, demanding that she speak out against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

      The Hillary Clinton campaign has thus far remained silent about the 1,172-mile pipeline, which would cross both the Missouri River and the Ogallala Aquifer, threatening sacred indigenous land and water supplies. The group also called for solidarity actions at Clinton campaign offices across the country.

  • Finance

    • Twitter Failing? 5 Signs The Company Is In Trouble

      Twitter Inc. announced its quarterly results Thursday, which showed the company’s growth has slowed for the second consecutive quarter. The social network company has struggled to maintain a positive outlook as it faces competition from apps such as Instagram and Snapchat.

    • Twitter slashes jobs, Vine as it seeks profits

      Twitter appeased Wall Street by restructuring to chart a course to profitability and by showing early signs its business is perking up.

      User growth and revenue climbed more than analysts expected as the struggling social media company announced 350 job cuts, or about 9% of its workforce. It also said it would shutter mobile video app Vine.

      “The current quarter results were ahead of expectations and user figures provided some promising elements as well,” said Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser, who is maintaining his price target of $26 and a buy recommendation on the stock.

      The effort to right the company comes as potential buyers such as Google, Salesforce and Walt Disney declined to pursue an acquisition. The lack of interest has cranked up pressure on Twitter’s embattled management.

      Jack Dorsey, the Twitter chief executive who returned to the helm last year to reinvigorate growth, declined to comment on the takeover discussions, saying only that Twitter’s board is committed to “maximizing long-term shareholder value.”

    • Twitter to Cut 9% of Workforce as Q3 Earnings Top Expectations

      Twitter will lay off 9% of its employees as the company struggles to achieve profitability, while the social-media company’s third-quarter 2016 revenue and earnings exceeded Wall Street expectations.

      Twitter said the job cuts will focus primarily on reorganizing its sales, partnerships and marketing operations. The company had 3,910 employees as of the end of September, meaning Twitter is pink-slipping about 350 staffers.

      The layoffs come as Twitter showed some slight improvement in financial performance for Q3. The company posted quarterly revenue of $616 million, up 8% year-over-year, and adjusted net income of $92 million, or 13 cents per share. Wall Street expected Twitter to post revenue of $606 million and adjusted EPS of 9 cents. Factoring in stock-based compensation and other items, Twitter’s net loss in the quarter was $103 million, an improvement from a net loss of $132 million in the year-earlier period.

    • [Old] CETA: The Canadian TTIP nobody noticed until it was (almost) too late

      Since Ars wrote about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) last year, it has gradually moved up the UK’s political agenda, culminating in the recent pledge by Jeremy Corbyn to scrap it if he is elected as prime minister before it is completed, and to fight it if he is not. But while many people are increasingly worried about what might happen with TTIP, there’s another trade agreement, one which has already been signed, which is about to bring in many of the same controversial measures almost unnoticed.

    • Here’s Why Amazon Stock Just Collapsed

      Shares fell over 6% in after-market trading Thursday

      Amazon.com Inc reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday as expenses rose and the company provided a disappointing fourth-quarter revenue forecast.

      Amazon, whose shares were down 6.8 percent in after-hours trading, said its net income rose to $252 million, or 52 cents per share, from $79 million, or 17 cents per share, a year earlier. It was company’s sixth straight profitable quarter.

    • ‘We’re Not Helping Our Kids by Keeping the Deficit Down’ – CounterSpin interview with Dean Baker on the debt boogeyman

      The announcement that one agenda item for the final presidential debate would be “debt and entitlements” was not surprising. “Debt and entitlements,” linked together that way, are always on corporate media’s agenda, but though the terms are tossed around a lot, they’re rarely unpacked or explained. In place of facts, we get fear. The Chicago Tribune said if they could inject one debate question, it would be: “Secretary Clinton, Mr. Trump, you have children. Why aren’t you scared?”

      Well, Americans face many serious challenges. Are runaway national “debt and entitlements” one of them? We’re joined now by Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, where you’ll find his blog, Beat the Press, and he’s the author of, most recently, Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Dean Baker.

    • UN rights expert urges States not to sign the ‘flawed’ CETA treaty and put it to referendum

      The trade deal set to be signed by the European Union and Canada is a corporate-driven, fundamentally flawed treaty which should not be signed or ratified without a referendum in each country concerned, a United Nations human rights expert says.

      Alfred de Zayas, the UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, deplored the pressures brought on the Belgian regional parliament of Wallonia, which initially said it would not approve the treaty but later said its concerns had been met. “A culture of bullying and intimidation becomes apparent when it comes to trade agreements that currently get priority over human rights,” the expert said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Jill Stein: The Best Way to Boost the Economy Is by Saving the Planet

      I believe the U.S. economy needs a Green New Deal: an ambitious yet secure economic and environmental program that will revive the economy, turn the tide on climate change, and make wars for oil obsolete—allowing us to cut our bloated, dangerous military budget in half. Building on the concept of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Green New Deal calls on communities, government, and ordinary people on the scale of World War II to transition our energy system and economy to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030.

      The author of the best-known series of studies on transitioning to 100% clean energy, Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson, asserts that it is technologically and economically feasible. Bill Nye and others note that we have the technology to make this transition possible—and the science shows that we must. The only missing ingredient is political will.

    • Be A Realist – Vote Jill Stein

      It cracks me up whenever I see pawns of the Democratic Party like Robert Reich try to argue that supporting Hillary Clinton is the “realistic and practical” way to forward the progressive agenda. It always makes me wonder what reality they’re referring to when they call such creative fabrications “realistic.” Does Mr. Reich hail from Narnia, perhaps? Some magical gumdrop fantasy land where everyone walks backward and M. Night Shyamalan’s movies keep getting better and better?

    • ‘Ethical deficit’: New concerns over foundation

      Hillary Clinton’s top aides worried about foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation ahead of 2016, according to a NYT report based on a new Wikileaks release.

    • Memo shows Bill Clinton’s wealth was tied to Clinton Foundation

      In a 2011 memo, an aide to Bill Clinton laid out the messy relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the former president’s personal interests, detailing how some foundation donors also paid Clinton to speak and provide consulting services.

      The memo was released on Wednesday as part of a Wikileaks dump of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta’s hacked emails.

      Doug Band, a long-time aide to Bill Clinton, wrote the 2011 memo as part of an internal audit at the Clinton Foundation. In trying to explain his role in the Foundation, Band also brought up a series of instances he and his consulting company, Teneo Holdings, helped Bill Clinton secure for-profit contracts.

      The memo, which was being circulated to some in Clinton’s inner circle including Podesta, reinforces Republican criticisms of the blurred lines between the foundation and professional interests of the Clintons and their associates.

      “Independent of our fundraising and decision-making activities on behalf of the Foundation, we have dedicated ourselves to helping the President secure and engage in for-profit activities — including speeches, books, and advisory service engagements,” Band wrote. “In that context, we have in effect served as agents, lawyers, managers and implementers to secure speaking, business and advisory service deals. In support of the President’s for-profit activity, we also have solicited and obtained, as appropriate, in-kind services for the President and his family — for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like.”

      At one point, Band even referred to the former president’s money-making enterprises as “Bill Clinton, Inc.”

      Band said and Justin Cooper, another long-time aide, weren’t separately compensated for helping Bill Clinton profit.

    • Wikileaks: Damaging analysis of Sanders’s single payer plan was likely a coordinated Clinton hit

      A search through Wikileaks’s database reveals that a week before a damaging, highly critical analysis of Bernie Sanders’s single payer healthcare plan was released by healthcare expert Kenneth Thorpe, with no disclosure of any affiliation with any campaign, the Clinton campaign was floating Thorpe’s name out as a vehicle to attack the Senator’s Medicare-for-all plan.

      Thorpe’s analysis was reported by Vox on January 28th, in an article titled “Study: Bernie Sanders’s single-payer plan is almost twice as expensive as he says.” A flurry of articles and editorials touting the study followed — for example, Paul Krugman’s January 28th editorial “Single Payer Trouble,” or the New York Time’s report “Left-Leaning Economists Question Cost of Bernie Sanders’s Plans.” These articles all fed the notion that Sanders was a pie-in-the-sky, puppies and rainbow dreamer, with no real grasp on reality.

      Others, however, such as single payer advocates David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, (“On Kenneth Thorpe’s Analysis of Senator Sanders’s Single-Payer Reform Plan”), claimed convincingly that Thorpe’s analysis rested on highly questionable, or flatly incorrect, assumptions and that it also contradicted previous studies that Thorpe himself had done. Sanders’s campaign, meanwhile, called the analysis “a total hatchet job.”

      As it turns out, a week before Thorpe’s analysis was released, in a January 19th thread discussing the merits of attacking Sanders on healthcare, Jake Sullivan, a top Clinton advisor, floated the idea of using Thorpe to attack Sanders on healthcare…

    • Eric Garner’s Daughter Slams Clinton Campaign Over Emails Confusing Police Brutality And Gun Violence

      Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner, a black man who was killed by a NYPD officer in 2014, is slamming Hillary Clinton’s campaign over leaked emails from the server of John Podesta, the campaign’s chairman.

      “I know we have Erica Garner issues but we don’t want to mention Eric at all? I can see her coming after us for leaving him out of the piece,” wrote Nick Merrill, a spokesman for the campaign, in the email leaked from Podesta’s private server and posted on WikiLeaks.

      The email correspondence was a discussion about whether the death of Garner’s father should be used in a Clinton opinion piece for New York Daily News on gun violence.

      “It was obvious that the two white men that were on the email chain didn’t even know that my dad wasn’t shot,” Garner told The Huffington Post via Twitter direct message. “It was clear that he was just a dead body for them to manipulate for their use. White liberals have been trying to cram racism into the box of gun violence for a while now.”

    • Erica Garner Slams Clinton Campaign, Staffers for ‘Exploiting’ Father’s Death in Wikileaks Emails
    • Why would you want to “use” my dad?’: Eric Garner’s daughter slams Clinton campaign over WikiLeaks emails

      Erica Garner, whose father died in a chokehold by a New York City police officer in 2014, scolded the Clinton campaign in a series of tweets Thursday over hacked internal emails published by WikiLeaks that mentioned her and her father.

      The emails, exchanged between several Clinton staffers, had discussed a draft of a Clinton op-ed on gun violence that was eventually published in the New York Daily News in late March.

    • Neo-McCarthyism masks the US’s real problems

      AMID a tense stand-off in the Middle East between Russia and the United States, it is not surprising that tensions are rising by the day. Rhetoric coming out of the White House and the Kremlin is increasingly antagonistic, which has had damaging implications for the battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

      This election can be characterised by the blatant red scare tactics by Clinton and the Democrats, largely aimed at insinuating that Trump, WikiLeaks, and even Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein are de-facto Kremlin agents.

      It feels like we are in the 1960 election rather than 2016.

      The neo-McCarthyism adopted by the Clinton campaign to deflect any reasonable criticisms one may have of her flawed candidacy is unnecessary and paranoid.

      Not only this, but it draws attention away from the real issues and problems that the US faces as a nation — many of which Clinton and fellow centrists have been the root cause of.

    • Hacker-founded Pirate Party could win Iceland election

      Iceland’s radical Pirate Party, run by a former WikiLeaks worker who wants to be a political “Robin Hood,” could lead the Nordic nation’s next government after Saturday’s election.

      The Pirate Party, started four years ago, is part of a wave of populist groups gaining ground in Europe, from Austria to Italy, amid discontent with political scandals and a stalled economic recovery. Iceland’s economy collapsed after the 2008 financial crisis, and in April the prime minister resigned after being named in the Panama Papers scandal.

      “We stand for enacting changes that have to do with reforming the systems, rather than changing minor things that might easily be changed back,” said Birgitta Jónsdóttir, 49, the party’s leader and self-described “poetician.” “We do not define ourselves as left or right but rather as a party that focuses on the systems. In other words, we consider ourselves hackers.”

      Formed in 2012 to lobby for Internet copyright reform, the Pirate Party has broadened its platform to include advocating for direct democracy, total government transparency, decriminalizing drugs and even offering asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

    • Iceland’s ‘Pirate’ Jonsdottir: an accidental politician

      The public face of the Icelandic Pirate Party, Birgitta Jonsdottir is a hacker, cyberspace anarchist, poet — and a rather reluctant politician.

      However, she could find herself strutting the corridors of power if the Pirate Party emerges as expected as the strongest group in Saturday’s election in the North Atlantic island nation.

    • The Truth About Donald Trump’s Hair
    • The Greens are a movement party

      The Greens have elected hundreds of people to office at the local level, and Greens win about 34 percent of the time that we run in local elections. So please do not allow Pacifica to repeat a myth that the corporate media creates.

    • National Geographic Rebrands, Drops ‘Channel’ From Its Name

      NatGeo is finally dropping “Channel” from its name. A year after bringing all the other National Geographic entities — the magazine, the National Geographic Society — under the 20th Century Fox corporate umbrella, National Geographic Partners is going to start acting like one big adventurous family, and it’s giving itself a new tagline to boot: “Further.”

      “[‘Channel’] suggests this linear television destinations and increasingly that’s not the way people are consuming us,” explained National Geographic Global Networks CEO Courtney Monroe. “We are one, and we are working more closely together.” Monroe put forth the upcoming NatGeo series “Mars”, premiering Nov. 14, as an example: Yes, it’s a big event series, a hybrid of documentary-style interviews interwoven with a fictional narrative about the mission to colonize the Red Planet. But, she pointed out, it’s also the cover story of the November issue of the National Geographic magazine, as well as the topic of two books — one for kids, and one for adults.

    • WikiLeaks drops another tranche of #PodestaEmails from Clinton campaign chair

      There will be a total of 50,000 emails released in the lead up to November 8, according to WikiLeaks. So far, 35,594 have been published.

    • WikiLeaks Releases 21st Batch of Clinton Campaign Chair Podesta’s Emails

      WikiLeaks uploaded on Friday the 21st batch of emails of the US Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

    • Clinton’s camp feared Joe Biden run, worked hard to kill it

      Biden would have sailed away from Trump much earlier and faster than Hillary Clinton did. But beyond the easy victory she’s likely to win anyway all told, he doesn’t have much to recommend him over her, and lacks many of her — yes, I know! — her scruples.

    • Why 5% for the Green Party is a win for America

      In 1854, a few thousand people gathered in Jackson, Michigan to launch an independent challenge to a national political system dominated by two parties. “Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements,” a party leader later recalled, “we gathered from the four winds…[with] every external circumstance against us.” This challenge was fueled by the radical abolitionist movement that united white workers and formerly enslaved Africans against the criminal institution of slavery, as a response to the political crisis caused by the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

      In just two years, this insurgent third party — created by movement activists — had gained ground across the Northern states, challenging the Whig Party. In short order this insurgent “third party” had become a major opposition party. By 1858 they had won an influential foothold in Congress, and by 1860, that party leader — Abraham Lincoln — was elected President of the United States.

      It’s painfully obvious that the Republican Party has strayed dramatically from its early radical roots in abolitionism, equality, and peace. But it’s also quite fitting that, in 2016, as that party is declining into dangerous reactionary know-nothingism, the opening for a new party rooted in radical equality, environmental justice, and peace to rise up is bigger than ever. Amid the raging flames of austerity, endless war, impending climate change, and the most polarized election in modern memory, a record 57 percent of Americans are yearning for another choice, and for an independent political party that will truly represent their interests, according to a recent Gallup poll.


      Our grassroots, people-powered campaign has achieved incredible gains in this election cycle, despite having had a fraction of the media coverage and an even smaller fraction of the vast resources of the two major parties. With the material benefits that come with 5 percent of the popular vote, we will have unprecedented resources to continue building this movement for progressive change, shoring up power from below, and paving the way for a new, sorely needed politics of integrity and transformation.

    • The Best Ballot Plan Now? ‘Strategic’ Voting for the Stein-Baraka Green Party Ticket

      Donald Trump is campaigning to win 40 percent of the vote for president—and he’s close, with recent polls showing him in the high 30s. But his final performance will not help.

      Trump is focusing on topics that will prevent him from broadening his base, such as the women he accuses of lying about his alleged sexual assaults, and what he calls the rigged election. He is fighting with other Republicans, like Paul Ryan, and with Republican state leaders, most notably in Ohio. His refusal to say he will accept the outcome of the election is creating more conflict with Republicans and raising doubts with voters.

      Outlets predicting the results of the election say Clinton will be the next president, with astoundingly lopsided odds. The Huffington Post gives Trump only a 3.1 percent chance of winning and puts Clinton’s likelihood at 96.8 percent. The New York Times gives Clinton a 93 percent chance.

    • Podesta relative earned six-figure fees lobbying Clinton’s State Dept. during his tenure there
    • Eric Garner’s daughter blasts Clinton campaign after WikiLeaks emails

      The daughter of a New York City man who died after he was put in a police chokehold blasted Hillary Clinton’s campaign Thursday when WikiLeaks revealed email conversations about using her father’s death to protest gun violence.

      “I’m troubled by the revelation that you and this campaign actually discussed ‘using’ Eric Garner … Why would you want to ‘use’ my dad,” tweeted Erica Garner, who endorsed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary.

    • Goodlatte Statement on the FBI’s Decision to Reopen the Clinton Investigation
    • WikiLeaks Dumps Mean Hillary’s Presidency Would Be Tainted from Day One
    • How Neera Tanden Works

      Emails released by WikiLeaks reveal the maneuverings of a liberal think-tank president and member of Hillary Clinton’s inner circle.

    • Hillary headache: Even Chelsea ripped ‘hustling’ at lucrative family foundation

      Did the Clinton Foundation, for all its good works, serve as a giant slush fund?

      That question has surged to the forefront of the campaign in the wake of another Wikileaks dump, and one of the biggest accusers turns out to be Chelsea Clinton.

      The Chelsea criticism is a bombshell, one that exploded with enough force that it propelled the lead story in both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and an above-the-fold piece in the Washington Post.

    • State Dept Told ‘Friendly’ AP Reporters About Missing Hillary Emails Before Congress

      Department of State officials told Hillary Clinton campaign staffers they would leak a story about missing Benghazi investigation emails to a “friendly” Associated Press reporter before Congress “has a chance to realize what they have.”

      “Just spoke to State a little more about this,” Clinton’s travelling press secretary Nick Merrill wrote to campaign staffers on June 24, 2015, regarding emails sent between the former secretary of state and her longtime confidant Sidney Blumenthal.

      The Department of State told Merrill they would be tipping off AP reporters that at least 15 emails between Clinton and Blumenthal were missing from 55,000 pages of emails handed over to a House committee investigating the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

    • If Clinton Campaign Believes WikiLeaks Emails Are Forged, Why Don’t They Prove It?

      Top Democrats have repeatedly waved off substantial questions arising from their hacked emails by falsely implying that some of them are forgeries created by Russian hackers.

      The problem with that is that no one has found a single case of anything forged among the information released from hacks of either Clinton campaign or Democratic Party officials.

      The strategy dates all the way back to a conference call with Democratic lawmakers in August. Politico reported that a number of Democratic strategists suggested that Russian hackers — who have been blamed by U.S. intelligence agencies for supplying the emails to Wikileaks and other web sites — could sprinkle false data among the real information.

      Since then, despite the complete lack of evidence to support such a claim, it’s become a common dodge among leading Democrats and the Clinton campaign when asked questions about the substance of the emails.

    • WikiLeaks shows Clinton hid email scandal from her own staff

      Hillary Clinton’s closest aides hid the private email scandal from her campaign team in the months before the official launch of her presidential campaign, emails made public by WikiLeaks show.

      Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chair, and Neera Tanden, co-chair of Clinton’s transition team, each expressed shock at the revelations about her private server as they emerged in early March 2015.

      Although Clinton’s team had performed research on her in 2014 as staff prepared for her campaign, Clinton’s inner circle apparently steered Mook and others away from the issue until it was too late.

      When Podesta asked Mook if he had “any idea of the depth of this story,” Mook answered simply, “Nope.”

    • Is there a deeper network behind the ‘Catholic Spring’?

      Washington D.C., Oct 27, 2016 / 12:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A reputed “Catholic Spring” is in the news after hacked emails from John Podesta, now Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, indicated plans for an effort to sow revolution within the Church.

      But grants to the think tank Podesta founded also suggest links to other efforts targeting religion. The Center for American Progress appears to be part of an influence network that advocates restrictions on religious freedom while promoting dissent within Christianity on sexual morality, especially LGBT issues.

      Podesta co-founded the Center for American Progress in 2003 after serving as White House Chief of Staff in President Bill Clinton’s final term. He served as the center’s CEO until 2011. He became a special adviser to President Barack Obama in 2013, and joined the Hillary Clinton campaign in early 2015.

    • Propaganda Alert! Misleading Article About Jill Stein in the Daily Beast

      A particularly misleading article, titled “Jill Stein’s Ideology Says One Thing — Her Investment Portfolio Says Another,” is being peddled by the Daily Beast, which accuses the Green Party’s presidential candidate, Jill Stein, of being a hypocrite for investing in certain mutual funds which hold assets with energy, tobacco, & pharmaceutical companies. The accusation is, like much of what the Clinton-controlled Daily Beast spews from it’s slimy propaganda-machines, a poorly-constructed pile of journalistic garbage.

      I shall provide a link to the article at the bottom of this page but I’d like to discourage my readers from clicking it because I hate the thought that these jerks will get any amount of ad-money from web-traffic out of my site. I’d also like to note that the Daily Beast is owned by IAC, a media corporation whose board of directors includes — [drumroll, please…] Chealsea Clinton! So — please click sparingly!

    • New Emails in Clinton Case Came From Anthony Weiner’s Electronic Devices

      Federal law enforcement officials said Friday that the new emails uncovered in the closed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server were discovered after the F.B.I. seized electronic devices belonging to Huma Abedin, a top aide to Mrs. Clinton, and her husband, Anthony D. Weiner.

      The F.B.I. is investigating illicit text messages that Mr. Weiner sent to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. The bureau told Congress on Friday that it had uncovered new emails related to the Clinton case — one federal official said they numbered in the thousands — potentially reigniting an issue that has weighed on the presidential campaign and offering a lifeline to Donald J. Trump less than two weeks before the election.

      In a letter to Congress, the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said that emails had surfaced in an unrelated case, and that they “appear to be pertinent to the investigation.”

      Mr. Comey said the F.B.I. was taking steps to “determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.” He said he did not know how long it would take to review the emails, or whether the new information was significant.

    • October surprise: FBI reviewing new emails in Clinton server case

      The FBI on Friday said it is assessing new emails “pertinent” to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, a stunning and unexpected move that comes more than a week before the presidential election.

      In a letter sent to lawmakers on Friday, FBI Director James Comey said the bureau has learned of the existence of more emails “that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.” The messages were found “in connection with an unrelated case,” Comey wrote without further explanation.

      Law enforcement officials told The New York Times that the emails were uncovered after the FBI seized devices belonging to longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her husband, Anthony Weiner, who is under investigation for allegedly sending sexually explicit messages to an underage girl.

      After being briefed by his team, Comey “agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps” to determine whether the emails “contain classified information, as well as to asses their importance to our investigation.”

      Comey said he could not predict how long it would take the bureau to assess whether the new emails are “significant,” meaning the investigation could hang over Clinton’s head through the election.

    • Advocating a ‘Split Ticket,’ WaPo Columnist Parts Ways With Reality

      I’m glad, truly I am, that Samuelson (7/9/97) is no longer writing in regards to climate change, “It’s politically incorrect to question whether this is a serious problem that serious people ought to take seriously.” But if he’s not in denial about climate change, he’s in denial about denialism: Ryan says “I don’t know” whether humans are warming the Earth’s climate, “and I don’t think science does either.” He does know whether the federal government can do anything about climate change, though: “I would argue the federal government, with all its tax and regulatory schemes, can’t.”

      As for McConnell, he says that “for everybody who thinks [the planet is] warming, I can find somebody who thinks it isn’t.” His own position? “I’m not a scientist, I am interested in protecting Kentucky’s economy, I’m interested in having low-cost electricity.”

      These are the people that Samuelson suggests will do something about the climate catastrophe if you make sure they don’t lose control of Congress.

      Finally, a historical note: Setting up his argument, Samuelson notes, “At its peak in 1972, ticket splitters represented 30 percent of voters.” Hmm—why do you suppose that 1972 was the peak of ticket-splitting? While the parties on the presidential level had definitively switched sides on civil rights by 1972, with Democrat George McGovern an ardent advocate and Republican Richard Nixon pursuing his “Southern strategy,” congressional representatives throughout the South were still overwhelmingly Democratic—mostly the same people who had been fighting civil rights for years.

    • Why It All Matters for Hillary

      The arguments of “everybody does it” and “well, it wasn’t illegal” in regards to the email server, the Clinton Foundation, pay-for-play, donor access, dirty tricks against Sanders, the many well-timed coincidences of Trump revelations, and more, are strawman logic.

      Leaving aside the idea that people usually say “everybody does it” and “well, it wasn’t illegal” only when their own candidate gets caught doing something, what was done matters.

    • Anthony Weiner Investigation Leads FBI Back To Clinton Email Server Case

      Newly discovered emails being examined by the FBI in relation to Hillary Clinton’s email server came to light in the course of an unrelated criminal investigation of Anthony Weiner, a source familiar with the matter tells NPR’s Carrie Johnson.

      Weiner is the estranged husband of close Clinton aide Huma Abedin; he has been under scrutiny for sending illicit text messages to an underage girl.

      Earlier Friday FBI Director James Comey notified members of Congress that the FBI had reopened its investigation into the handling of classified information in connection with the Democratic presidential candidate’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.

      In a letter to the leaders of congressional oversight committees, Comey wrote: “In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.”

    • Clinton Campaign Worried About Bill Cosby Clinton Foundation Ties

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign worried that she would face scrutiny over the thousands of dollars the Clinton Foundation accepted from accused rapist Bill Cosby, a newly leaked memo reveals.

      The memo, dated July 16, 2015, also reveals that Hillary was instructed to give a non-answer if pressed over whether the foundation would return Cosby’s donations.

    • Limbaugh: FBI wants focus off WikiLeaks

      Rush Limbaugh says the FBI is starting a new review of Hillary Clinton’s emails to distract voters from WikiLeaks’s revelations about her.

      “[FBI Director James] Comey is just doing this to take everybody’s attention off of the WikiLeaks email dump,” Limbaugh said on his radio broadcast Friday.

      “The cynical view is that Comey is still carrying water for Clinton and is trying to get everybody to stop paying attention on the WikiLeaks dump because it’s starting to have an impact,” he continued.

      “So you announce you’re opening the inquiry, get everybody all hot and bothered and focused on it, and after three or four or five days, you announce it’s a false alarm, nothing to see her, investigation now officially over, and meanwhile, in that five day period, everybody’s forgotten about WikiLeaks.”

      Limbaugh said WikiLeaks emails are exposing the Democratic presidential nominee’s secrets and damaging her White House bid.

    • ‘Bill Clinton, Inc.’ Memo Reveals Tangled Business, Charitable Ties

      A 2011 memo made public Wednesday by Wikileaks revealed new details of how former President Bill Clinton made tens of millions of dollars for himself and his wife, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, through an opaque, ethically messy amalgam of philanthropic, business and personal activities.

      The memo was written by Bill Clinton’s longtime aide, Doug Band, and is among tens of thousands of emails apparently stolen from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief, John Podesta, in what U.S. officials believe is part of a massive Russian-backed attempt to disrupt the U.S. election.

      The Band memo came in response to an investigation undertaken by a law firm, Simpson Thatcher, into the activities of the Clinton Foundation at the behest of its board. The board was concerned that some of the activities undertaken by Band and others on behalf of the President could threaten the Foundation’s IRS status as a charity, according to Band’s memo. Chelsea Clinton had also reported concerns to Podesta and other Clinton advisors that Band and his recently-launched consulting firm, Teneo, were using her father’s name without his knowledge to contact British lawmakers for clients, including Dow Chemical.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Comedy writer has exactly the right response to his kid’s Fahrenheit 451 permission slip

      Daily Show writer Daniel Radosh’s son came home from school with a permission slip that he’d have to sign before the kid could read Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451, which is widely believed to be an anti-censorship book (Bradbury himself insisted that this was wrong, and that the book was actually about the evils of television).

      Fahrenheit 451 has been the frequent subject of parental challenges on the flimsiest of grounds, as when fundamentalist Christian Alton Verne, of Conroe, Texas, demanded to have the book removed from the curriculum because the characters occasionally blaspheme and say “damn” (“If they can’t find a book that uses clean words, they shouldn’t have a book at all”).

      Radosh responded to the permission slip — which mentioned these parental challenges — with a wry note congratulating the teacher for using permission slips to convey the awfulness of heavy-handed attempts to control peoples’ access to information.

    • Copyright conundrum: Tweeting this may cost you

      Be careful if you tweet this story: It might cost you.

      The European Commission created a legal minefield for billions of internet users with a well-intentioned but poorly worded proposed law to help struggling publishers guard against digital attrition by Google and other news aggregators.

      As people read the fine print in plans released last month to strengthen publishers’ rights over their articles, they discovered the Commission may have accidentally exposed tweeters, facebookers and even LinkedIn users to the whims of the world’s most powerful media organizations.

      Under the Commission’s proposal, copyright lawyers could chase down citizens for sharing sentences or snippets of articles on social media.

      “Users would be breaking the law if they use snippets of articles whether it is enforced or not,” said Julia Reda, a Member of the European Parliament. The law is intended to help traditional publishers survive the digital age but, she said, “it applies to everyone, and if we pass this legislation, it will be in the hands of the publishers to decide whether they want to enforce it.”

    • Clinton Campaign Scrambled To Kill NYT Report She Flipped On Gay Marriage, WikiLeaks Shows

      Members of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign sought to discredit reports over her shifting stance on same sex marriage, the latest batch of WikiLeaks emails show.

      On April 15, 2015, press secretary Nick Merrill started an email chain with policy spokesman Jesse Lehrich over a New York Times article written by Alan Rappeport titled, “Shifting Position, Clinton Says Gay Marriage Should Be A Constitutional Right.”

    • Milo speech at U-Md. canceled because security fee was too high; supporters call it censorship

      A scheduled speech by conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of Maryland was canceled because a student group was unable to raise enough money to cover fees the university required shortly before the event, including more than $2,000 for security.

      The costs led to complaints from students and others that the university was silencing a potentially contentious speech rather than encouraging free and open debate. But a spokeswoman for the school countered that the security fee included the speaker’s request to have officers present, and that university officials had worked to help the students.

    • Colleges Cancel Milo Yiannopoulos Appearances
    • Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos’ U. of Md. appearance canceled due to security costs
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Privacy Shield legal spat puts EU-US data flows at risk again

      Europe’s Privacy Shield faces a legal challenge from an Irish civil liberties group.

      Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) has brought a complaint against the Safe Harbour successor that governs the transfer of personal data between the European Union and the US.

    • AT&T is (allegedly) making millions of dollars selling your data to cops
    • Big data grab: Now they want your car’s telemetry

      This isn’t simply a market for one Uber to dominate, suggests McKinsey in its new report, “Monetizing Car Data.” As the report authors conclude, the opportunity to monetize car data could be worth $450 billion to $750 billion within the next 13 years.

    • We’re seeing yet another election cycle where privacy is of no concern to candidates

      Yet another election campaign is passing without privacy and other fundamental rights being discussed. While candidates certainly have different stances, judging on public discourse, they’re not what makes or breaks the election. The conclusion remains that in absence of political importance, technical measures are necessary to maintain privacy at the individual level.

      When I founded the Swedish Pirate Party in 2006, which would go on to win seats in the European Parliament, it was on a key insight: nothing political happens unless it’s positive for a politician’s career. This can either take the form of looking good in media, when they take a rare initiative of their own, or of not being fired, when their job is under threat from challengers.

    • Search Risk – How Google Almost Killed ProtonMail

      In the past two months, many of you have reached out to us to ask about the mysterious tweets we sent to Google in August. At ProtonMail, transparency is a core value, and we try to be as transparent with our community as possible. As many people have continued to point out to us, we need to be more transparent here to avoid continued confusion and speculation. Thus, we are telling the full story today to clarify what happened.

    • Why did ProtonMail vanish from Google search results for months?

      If you’re the maker of a popular, zero access encrypted webmail product and suddenly discover your product is no longer featuring in Google search results for queries such as “secure email” and “encrypted email,” what do you conclude?

      That something is amiss, for sure.

      But the rather more pertinent question is whether your product’s disappearance is accidental or intentional — given that Google also offers a popular webmail product, Gmail, albeit one that does not offer zero access because users “pay” the company with their personal data, which feeds into Alphabet’s user profiling and ad targeting engines.

      So, in other words, Google is not an entirely disinterested bystander when it comes to a rival email product’s success.

    • Encryption no bar to giving govt data, Apple told Democrats

      A senior Apple official reassured the chairman of the Clinton presidential campaign that the tech giant would co-operate with the US government when it came to handing over “meta-data or any of a number of other very useful categories of data”, as “strong encryption does not eliminate Apple’s ability to give law enforcement” such data.

      Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice-president for environment, policy and social initiatives, sent an email to John Podesta on 20 December 2015, thanking him for “the principled and nuanced stance the Secretary took last night on encryption and the tech sector. Leadership at Apple certainly noticed and I am sure that is true throughout the Valley”.

      Her comments about handing over data to the government are in marked contrast to the strong pro-customer statement on encryption made by Apple chief executive Tim Cook earlier this year when the FBI demanded that Apple hand over data on an Apple iPhone 5C belonging to one of the two people who participated in a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.

    • AT&T actually sells leads to DEA and local law enforcement using Project Hemisphere

      AT&T has been running a for-profit mass surveillance program, called Project Hemisphere, since 2007. Everybody already knows about AT&T cooperation with NSA mass surveillance metadata database… This is a separate program that allows law enforcement to access all of AT&T’s data at will, even though the information is never handled by law enforcement, which apparently makes it legal. The Project Hemisphere mass surveillance program was created by AT&T and specifically marketed to law enforcement as an easy-to-use system

      If you’re wondering what information that AT&T could possibly have on you if you’ve never been an AT&T customer, AT&T has compiled all the relevant phone metadata that passed through their hardware that they possibly could since the 1980s. AT&T has a metadata record of everything from Skype calls to text messages to phone calls on LTE, not just the ones that were made to or from AT&T networks; either, but all of them that ever touched an AT&T owned switch. If you’re wondering what percentage of American switches are owned by AT&T, the answer is over 75%.

    • AT&T reportedly spies on its customers for government cash

      AT&T controls a big chunk of America’s cellular infrastructure, and it turns out that it’s been using that power for super-creepy purposes. The Daily Beast is reporting that the telco has essentially turned itself into a spy-for-hire in the pay of the government. According to the piece, the company’s Project Hemisphere is providing warrantless surveillance, thanks to some legal gray areas, that score it millions of dollars from taxpayers.

      The existence of Project Hemisphere has been known since the New York Times reported on it way back in 2013. Back then, it was presented as a minor tool that was only employed in a handful of states for specialized anti-drug operations. If these new revelations are accurate, then Hemisphere’s being used for a wide variety of crimes all across the country ranging from murder all the way through to Medicaid fraud. AT&T’s information is good enough that it can tell investigators where someone was when they made a call, who they were speaking to and, as we know from the EFF, it’s easy to divine intention just from those two pieces of information.

    • Beijing threatens legal action over webcam claims

      The Chinese Ministry of Justice has threatened legal action against “organisations and individuals” making “false claims” about the security of Chinese-made devices.

      It follows a product recall from the Chinese electronics firm Hangzhou after its web cameras were used in a massive web attack last week.

      The attack knocked out sites such as Reddit, Twitter, Paypal and Spotify.

      The Chinese government blamed customers for not changing their passwords.

      Its legal warning was added to an online statement from the company Xiongmai, in which the firm said that it would recall products, mainly webcams, following the attack but denied that its devices made up the majority of the botnet used to launch it.

      The firm later told Reuters that the recall would effect “less than 10,000″ devices.

      It also noted that users not changing their default passwords were contributing to weak security.

      This was reiterated by the Ministry of Justice which said Xiongmai’s products “cannot be manipulated by criminals”, again blaming users who “do not change the initial password”.

    • AI-powered body scanners could soon be inspecting you in public places

      A startup bankrolled by Bill Gates is about to conduct the first public trials of high-speed body scanners powered by artificial intelligence (AI), the Guardian can reveal.

      According to documents filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Boston-based Evolv Technology is planning to test its system at Union Station in Washington DC, in Los Angeles’s Union Station metro and at Denver international airport.

      Evolv uses the same millimetre-wave radio frequencies as the controversial, and painfully slow, body scanners now found at many airport security checkpoints. However, the new device can complete its scan in a fraction of second, using computer vision and machine learning to spot guns and bombs.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Fury over Bosnian town built by Middle East investors which has Arabic as its ‘official’ language – and locals can only enter if they work as servants

      Angry locals are protesting about a Bosnian town built by Middle Eastern investors which has Arabic as its ‘official’ language – and where locals can only enter if they work as servants.

      The 160 homes have been constructed in a luxury enclave near Tarcin, five miles west of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

      But furious locals say that their only way of accessing the area is through being hired as servants or cleaners – and claim most of the homes contain the wives of wealthy businessmen.

    • Sex Before Marriage: Indonesia Proposed Islamic Law Would Put Sexually Active People In Prison

      Anyone engaging in sex outside of marriage in the world’s third-largest democracy could soon face up to five years in prison. Indonesia’s highest court is deliberating whether to broaden existing law to make all casual sex illegal in the latest bid by conservative Islamists in the country to revise a relatively secular legal code.

      A decision by the Constitutional Court is expected in December or early next year, with indications that the court is leaning toward enacting the tougher legislation. While adultery is currently punishable by up to nine months in prison, if the new law goes through it would make gay sexual relations illegal in Indonesia for the first time. It has already received backlash from human rights organizations.

    • Jaipur: After losing bet, man forces ex-wife to sleep with friend

      A 42-year-old mother-of-two from Jaipur filed a rape complaint after her former husband tricked her into sleeping with his friend. She claimed that her ex-husband drugged her and took her to his friend’s house after losing a bet.

      The man, however, claims it was all for Nikah Halala, a Sharia law that requires the divorced woman to marry and consummate with another man before she can remarry her former husband.

      A Hindustan Times report says he has a fake nikahnama with the stamp of the Jaipur city qazi, which states his ex-wife and the friend were married.

    • The Mayor of London’s “My Side”

      Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, addressed the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (CCGA) on September 15. Although his topic was “The Breakdown of Social Integration – The Challenge of Our Age,” some crucial components of that challenge were notably absent from his presentation.

      Even though Mayor Khan said he believes that, “London is the powerhouse” for his country and is “proud that London was the only region in England to vote to remain in the European Union” (some boroughs voted 80% “Remain”), when it came to the United Kingdom as a whole, he said that “my side” lost the referendum.

      That strikes one as an odd way for the mayor of any city to talk. Isn’t he the Mayor of all of London? Aren’t the Londoners who voted for Brexit included on his “side”?

    • Email To Podesta: Germany Imported Its Own Immigrant Crime Wave

      Nobody tells it like it is like they do when they don’t know the world will be tweeting their emails. Here’s a Wikileaked February 2016 email to Hillary Clinton presidential campaign chairman John Podesta.

    • 36-year-old Pennsylvania man gets 18 months for phishing nude celebrity pics

      A 36-year-old Ryan Collins from Pennsylvania was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to hacking the Apple and Google accounts of more than 100 celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Aubrey Plaza, Rihanna, and Avril Lavigne. Collins stole personal information, including nude photos, from the celebrities.

      The photos were famously posted on 4Chan and Reddit in 2014. Collins pleaded guilty to hacking the celebrities’ accounts in May, but he did not plead guilty to posting the images on the Internet. “Investigators have not uncovered any evidence linking Collins to the actual leaks or that Collins shared or uploaded the information he obtained,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) noted.

      According to The Guardian, Collins ran a phishing scheme from November 2012 to September 2014, sending celebrities e-mails that appeared to be from Apple and Google, requesting their user names and passwords.

    • Dakota Access Pipeline protesters arrested and pepper sprayed

      Authorities began arresting people at a Dakota Access Pipeline protest site in Morton County, North Dakota today, according to the Associated Press and the Guardian. Protesters report being pepper sprayed by authorities on a live stream hosted by Cempoalli Twenny on his Facebook page. There have also been reports that authorities are using beanbag guns. Protesters could be heard calling for a medic in the live stream.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The City That Was Saved by the Internet

      The “Chattanooga Choo Choo” sign over the old terminal station is purely decorative, a throwback. Since the Southern Railroad left town in the early 1970s, the southeastern Tennessee city has been looking for an identity that has nothing to do with a bygone big band song or an abandoned train. It’s finally found one in another huge infrastructure project: The Gig.

      The first thing you see at the Chattanooga airport is a giant sign that says “Welcome to Gig City.” There are advertisements and flyers and billboards for the Gig in the city’s public parks. The city’s largest building is dedicated to the Gig. Years before Google Fiber, Chattanooga was the first city in the United States to have a citywide gigabit-per-second fiber internet network. And the city’s government built it itself.

      At a time when small cities, towns, and rural areas are seeing an exodus of young people to large cities and a precipitous decline in solidly middle class jobs, the Gig has helped Chattanooga thrive and create a new identity for itself.

    • This Guy Has the Fastest Home Internet in the United States

      For reference, the Federal Communications Commission officially classifies “broadband” as 25 Mbps. His connection is 400 times faster than that.

  • DRM

    • Apple’s new MacBook Pro kills off most of the ports you probably need

      Apple just introduced a shiny, super thin new MacBook Pro. But for what was birthed, a lot of widely-held standards had to die.

      Today, Apple removed the MagSafe 2 charging port type, they stripped away the HDMI port, they ripped out the SD card slot, they shuttered the Thunderbolt 2 ports (which you probably used like three times) and they most notably killed the standard USB port. All these ports, which power data transfer and charging for most everything you likely use, have been replaced by four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports. Surprisingly the folks at Apple saw it fit to give the headphone jack a stay of execution on the new model.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • “MPAA and RIAA’s Anti-Piracy Plans Harm The Internet”

        The Internet Infrastructure Coalition is urging the U.S. Government not to blindly follow the RIAA and MPAA’s input regarding online piracy threats. The group, which represents tech firms including Google, Amazon and Verisign, warns that the future of the Internet is at stake.

      • Repeat Infringers Can Be Mere Downloaders, Court Rules

        A 10-year-old copyright case has prompted an interesting opinion from a US appeals court. In determining the nature of a “repeat infringer” (which service providers must terminate to retain safe harbor), the court found these could be people who simply download infringing content for personal use.

      • When the FCC asked about unlocking set-top boxes, the Copyright Office ran to the MPAA

        It’s been more than 20 years since Congress told the FCC that it should do something about the cable and satellite companies’ monopolies over set-top boxes (American households spend more than $200/year to rent these cheap, power-hungry, insecure, badly designed, trailing edge, feature-starved boxes), but it wasn’t until this year that the FCC announced its Unlock the Box order and asked for comments.

        The US Copyright Office is a branch of the US government, and its job is to help regulate the entertainment industry. That industry is one of the principle advocates for keeping the set-top box dumpster fire burning without any changes, because the lack of competition lets them call the shots with the cable/satellite companies (some entertainment companies are also major satellite/cable companies — Comcast/Universal, Time-Warner Cable, etc).

        But newly released internal documents from the Copyright Office reveal that literally the first thing it did when it learned that the FCC was seeking comments on unlocking set-top boxes was to call on the MPAA and its member companies — and shortly thereafter, it released a highly controversial comment stating that movie companies should have the right to dictate the features of these devices and exercise a veto over the them.

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