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09.07.16

Risk of Going Bankrupt for Foolishly Asserting Software Patents After Alice

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 4:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Those who play with fire (software patents) die in a fire

Fire

Summary: Raniere needs to pay $1.1 million (legal fees of the defendants) in a patent lawsuit which he himself initiated, only to find that his software patents are a worthless pile of papers

EARLIER this year we noted that Jericho Systems threatened a resurgence of software patents at a time of sunset for them (they’re dropping like flies these days). “Jericho could be the next Alice,” Benjamin Henrion noted, pointing at “No. 15-1502 (Eligibility of Patent No. 8,560,836 under Section 101 – Abstract Idea)” though we very much doubt it will ever reach SCOTUS as Jericho Systems might hope. In fact, this latest SCOTUS roundup from Patently-O (published earlier today) suggests there will be no more tests regarding software patents. “Three eligibility cases are pending before the Supreme Court,” says the site. “Of these, the most interesting is likely Genetic Tech v. Merial.” As we noted yesterday, there is also one case regarding the eligibility of design patents. Still, nothing that can refute/annul Alice or even the Bilski case. What does it all mean? Well, expect a lot more software patents, once properly challenged, to die in a fire.

Another death has just been reported for several software patents, demonstrating that holders of such patents oughtn’t bother with software patents (neither application nor litigation). It’s not just a waste of money but it can cause tremendous financial damage to oneself, as this latest story illustrates. Raniere basically sued two large companies and now he needs to pay them a fortune (over a million bucks for an individual, putting aside his own legal bills). In other words, rather than them being the victims it is him who is the victim of his own reckless actions. It’s him who will pay the price for suing with software patents that are not even patent-eligible. This story has been covered by WIPR (behind a time-sensitive paywall). Yesterday it said that “Microsoft and telecoms company AT&T have been granted more than $1.1 million in attorneys’ fees after succeeding in a patent suit against an inventor. Keith Raniere had claimed that the companies had infringed his software patents in February last year. The patents concerned were US numbers 6,373,936; 6,819,752; 7,215,752; 7,391,856; and 7,844,041. The order was filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, on September 2.”

This case shows that holders of software patents can be (self-)bankrupted if they choose to sue using software patents post-Alice. Also behind paywalls today we found this report from Law 360. It says that “A Texas judge Friday granted Microsoft Corp. and AT&T Inc. attorneys’ fees after the companies defeated an inventor’s suit claiming infringement of his software patents, saying the man’s litigation conduct “demonstrates a pattern of obfuscation and bad faith.”

“Keith Raniere filed suit against AT&T and Microsoft in February 2015, asserting the technology giants infringed upon five patents that he owned for technology covering network conferencing systems. (Credit: AP) In her 13-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn determined the cases filed by plaintiff Keith Raniere…”

This happened in Texas, so it is a major warning sign to a lot of patent trolls. “Hopefully many more judgements like this to come,” an activist against software patents told me yesterday. Another person, one who is making excuses for the rocket docket of patent trolls (Texas), said “it depends on who owns the #swpats – if owned by corporate entity better chance they will survive & flourish – #patentdeform” (always brandishing the hashtag “#patentdeform” as if cracking down on patent troll is a horrible things).

So, as expected, a major win for opponents of software patents and more excuses from their proponents, like Daniel Henry in this case (his Twitter activity suggests he’s likely part of the patent litigation industry).

Not many sites have written about this case (at least not yet*) and software patent propagandists like IAM are just shedding tears for parasites that elevate the price of phones without actually making any (patent assertion firms). Well, next week they’re running a Webinar titled “Readying a Patent Portfolio for Sale: What You Need to Know to Be Successful” (often sold to trolls or patent assertion firms) and yesterday they noted that the “Beijing-based patent buying fund Ruichuan – the closest thing that China looked to have to an SPF – has recently gone private, after Zhigu, the firm that managed it, was absorbed into the IP department at consumer tech company Xiaomi.” SPF is a Sovereign Patent Fund and it typically achieves little more than enrichment of parasitic elements like patent lawyers — the same sort of people who bemoan the demise of software patents.
____
* They typically keep intentionally quiet when there’s bad news for them, instead cheering and shouting for weeks if not months when there’s good news for them (like Enfish). That’s the propaganda pattern of deception by omission or selective coverage.

Links 7/9/2016: Sony Microsoft Bundling Case, Torvalds’ ‘sh*t-for-brains stupid patch’

Posted in News Roundup at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Sony wins battle over preinstalled Windows in Europe’s top court [more comments]

      The sale of a computer equipped with pre-installed software isn’t an unfair commercial practice because most customers prefer to buy a laptop they can use straight away, Europe’s top court has ruled in a victory for Sony.

      “Failure to indicate the price of each item of pre-installed software” isn’t misleading, the Court of Justice of the European Union added in its ruling (PDF) on Wednesday.

  • Server

    • Spark Comparison: AWS vs. GCP [Ed: False dichotomy, as if giving all your processing, bandwidth data etc. to the US government is inevitable]

      There’s little doubt that cloud computing will play an important role in data science for the foreseeable future. The flexible, scalable, on-demand computing power available is an important resource, and as a result, there’s a lot of competition between the providers of this service. Two of the biggest players in the space are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.9 To Begin Landing Nouveau “Boost” Support For Faster Performance

      Great news for users of the open-source NVIDIA “Nouveau” graphics driver: the long-awaited boost patches are now queued up to land with Linux 4.9.

      The boost patches are about allowing the Kepler and newer graphics cards to achieve their “boost” frequencies, rather than their highest standard clock frequencies. With being able to hit these upper frequency thresholds, the performance should be more competitive with the proprietary driver. I tested the earlier version of these patches months ago and found great improvements: Nouveau “Boost” Patches Show Much Performance Potential.

      Ben Skeggs finally began pulling the work and is now in the Nouveau repository for then being sent into Linux 4.9 via DRM-Next.

    • Linux 4.9 Planned As The Next LTS Kernel

      Greg Kroah-Hartman announced he’s planning on Linux 4.9 to be the next long-term supported kernel that he will maintain for a period two years.

    • 2016 LiFT Scholarship Winner Luis Camacho Caballero: Preserving Amazon Languages with Linux

      Luis Camacho Caballero is working on a project to preserve endangered South American languages by porting them to computational systems through automatic speech recognition using Linux-based systems. He was one of 14 aspiring IT professionals to receive a 2016 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) scholarship, announced last month.

      Luis, who is from Peru, has been using Linux since 1998, and appreciates that it is built and maintained by a large number of individuals working together to increase knowledge. Through his language preservation project, he hopes to have the first language, Quechua, the language of his grandparents, completed by the end of 2017, and then plans to expand to other Amazonian languages.

    • Next steps for Gmane

      We’ve rebuilt the storage system using ElasticSearch as the document store. We have used it for many projects and have nothing but a good. The site is currently a mixture of Python and PHP, the priority has been given to get the original functionality back in place; then work with the community to decide which of the Gmane interfaces are relevant and what we need to change to bring it up-to-date.

      We’ll do our utmost to continue in Lars’ footsteps, his hardwork and dedication to maintain this valuable Internet resource.

      Thank you Lars for the hardwork that you’ve put into Gmane over the past nearly two decades, all of the Gmane users are greatful to you!

    • Audio workshop accepted for Linux Plumbers Conference and Kernel Summit

      Audio is an increasingly important component of the Linux plumbing, given increased use of Linux for media workloads and of the Linux kernel for smartphones. Topics include low-latency audio, use of the clock API, propagating digital configuration through dynamic audio power management (DAPM), integration of HDA and ASoC, SoundWire ALSA use-case managemer (UCM) scalability, standardizing HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces, Media Controller API integration, and a number of topics relating to the multiple userspace users of Linux-kernel audio, including Android and ChromeOS as well as the various desktop-oriented Linux distributions.

    • Mainline Explicit Fencing – part 1
    • Linux Kernel 3.12.63 LTS Has MIPS and Radeon Improvements, EXT4 and CIFS Fixes

      Today, September 6, 2015, Linux kernel developer Jiri Slaby announced the release and immediate availability of the sixty-third maintenance update to the long-term supported Linux 3.12 kernel series.

    • Linux 4.7.3

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.7.3 kernel.

      All users of the 4.7 kernel series must upgrade.

    • Linux 4.4.20
    • Linux 3.14.78
    • Linus Torvalds won’t apply ‘sh*t-for-brains stupid patch’

      Add another Linus Torvalds swearing incident to his long list of linguistic indiscretions. The Linux lord has unloaded on proposed new code in typically robust language.

      “I call BS”, Torvalds’ post opens. “Let me be very clear. I’m not applying that shit-for-brains stupid patch, and will not be pulling it unless somebody tricks me into it.”

      He’s got a point: his post goes on to ask why Andersson is asking him to approve code when it would mean “… a distribution is distributing the driver without the firmware”.

      Torvalds asks “what the hell is the point of such a thing” and concludes the post by saying “Stop pushing this shit.”

    • Linux creator Torvalds has another expletive-filled rant at the community

      LINUX FOUNDER Linus Torvalds has unleashed a foul-mouthed rant at a contributor over a piece of code with which he fundamentally disagrees.

      Torvalds, usually a complete wallflower who never uses colourful language or sarcasm in any way shape or form, has repeatedly told the community that he is not willing to consider tying firmware and driver modules together in a single unit.

      He was pushed on the issue yesterday with this comment: “Nobody has actually answered the ‘why don’t we just tie the firmware and module together?’ question.

    • Limited number of LPC registrations available starting September 8
    • New Members Strengthen Automotive Grade Linux Security and Software Capabilities

      Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a collaborative open source project developing a Linux-based, open platform for the connected car, today announced that AutoIO Technology, Irdeto, Link Motion, Pocket Soft, sdtech and Synopsys have joined The Linux Foundation and Automotive Grade Linux.

    • How blockchain will disrupt your business

      Like mobile and cloud, blockchain — first implemented in the original source code of bitcoin in 2009 — stands poised to profoundly disrupt business. If it lives up to its promise, it won’t just be financial institutions that are disrupted.

      “If you can transfer money or something of value through the internet just like another form of data, what else can you do with it? It provides a way to establish trust in the digital world,” says Angus Champion de Crespigny, Financial Services Blockchain and Distributed Infrastructure Strategy Leader, Ernst & Young. “How do you ensure something is the original copy of something on the internet? Prior to blockchain technology, you couldn’t.”

      “If you want to prove something happened in the digital world, there is no more secure place to do that,” he adds. “Once information is recorded on there, it is, for all intents and purposes, impossible to go back and retroactively change that. When there are such drastic new technologies that emerge, it isn’t just a matter of looking at your business and thinking how this technology is going to make your business more effective. What you should be doing is considering that maybe your business isn’t structured correctly for this new world.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • Improved Tear-Free Rendering For Radeon DDX With PRIME

        For those making use of the xf86-video-ati DDX driver in a PRIME-capable system with Radeon GPU, there’s more effective tear-free rendering support with the latest development code.

      • A Mesa Fix Lands To Take Care Of The R9 290 Issue, Intel/Radeon Performance Problems

        A fix landed in Mesa Git today that should address various performance issues people have been seeing in different rare setups. The fix mostly seems to be for Radeon/Intel users seeing low performance recently with glxgears but also appears to help those affected by the much talked about R9 290 regression.

        The fix by Michel Dänzer is loader/dri3: Always use at least two back buffers. Michel commented on the simple change, “This can make a significant difference for performance with some extreme test cases such as vblank_mode=0 glxgears.”

      • Arcan Open-Source Display Server Continues Progressing As Alternative To Wayland, Mir

        A few months back I wrote about Arcan: A New Open-Source Display Server Built Atop A Game Engine.

      • Wayland/Weston 1.12 Release Candidate Arrives

        Bryce Harrington announced the release candidates on Tuesday for the upcoming Wayland 1.12 and Weston 1.12 compositor releases.

        Over the earlier development builds, Wayland 1.11.93 simply has a documentation fix and a test case fix. Weston 1.11.93 meanwhile has just a handful of fixes to different parts of that compositor playground.

      • Vulkan 1.0.26 Released
    • Benchmarks

      • 7-Way Linux Distribution Benchmarks To Kick Off September

        In testing out a new Broadwell-EP system as well as for final validation of the new Phoronix Test Suite 6.6, I carried out a fresh Linux OS distribution comparison last week. Here are those results from Ubuntu, Clear Linux, Scientific Linux, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Fedora, Antergos, and Sabayon Linux.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE is 20, Flash Lives, Deep Web Distros

        It was twenty years ago in 1996 that KDE was first announced. The project is celebrating with a new book. Elsewhere, Abode announced they’ve updated the old Netscape Flash plugin and said that development would continue. JP Buntinx recommended some distributions for the “darknet” and a new Linux usermode rootkit was described by anti-virus company Trend Micro.

      • Advanced Search and Replace with the Kate Text Editor

        The powerhouse Kate text editor has advanced search-and-replace, including support for escape sequences and regular expressions, so you can make complex corrections without leaving your document.

        The Kate text editor is my favorite and has been my main workhorse for years. Kate has a lot of great features and is friendly to both touch-typing and pointy-clicky. It doesn’t quite have the eleventy-million features of Vim or Emacs, but then you don’t need the dexterity of a concert pianist to use it, either. I think it is the most user-friendly of the powerhouse text editors.

      • KDE Neon dev/unstable switching to Wayland by default

        During this year’s Akademy we had a few discussions about Wayland, and the Plasma and Neon team decided to switch Neon developer unstable edition to Wayland by default soonish.

        There are still a few things in the stack which need to be shaken out – we need a newer Xwayland in Neon, we want to wait for Plasma 5.8 to be released, we need to get the latest QtWayland 5.7 build, etc. etc.

      • KDE Neon Developer OS Switches To Plasma Wayland By Default

        KDE developers have decided to switch to Wayland by default for KDE Neon’s unstable/developer OS.

        KDE Neon, of course, is the project providing daily spins of the bleeding-edge Ubuntu packages atop Ubuntu. Now moving forward with the new developer/unstable packages is the usage of KDE Plasma on Wayland by default.

      • Plasma 5.8: More efficient Pager and Activity Pager widgets

        On the heels of the Plasma 5.7′s new Task Manager backend, the upcoming Plasma 5.8 LTS release will sport substantially rewritten Pager and Activity Pager widgets, aimed at improving efficiency and conserving resources in a typical Plasma Desktop setup.

      • The Past and the Immediate of the Future, For Your Perusal

        Finally, things were moving again, and store.kde.org was born!

      • From Br-Print3D to Atelier

        Soon, it will be set up the KDE repositories for this project and more news is coming.

      • Wiki, what’s going on? (Part 12-Akademy Day1)
      • Wiki, what’s going on? (Part 13-Akademy Day2)
      • Gsoc 2016 Final
      • Day 4 at Akademy / QtCon 2016
      • Day 5 at Akademy 2016
      • KDE Neon Linux Developer Edition to Use Wayland by Default for KDE Plasma 5.8

        The revolution has started, and it looks like the next-generation display server, Wayland, is here to stay, being adopted by more and more GNU/Linux distributions every month.

      • Krita 3.0.1: new features and bug fixes

        Krita 3.0.1 is the first release after Krita 3.0. With the new release schedule we’re trying to release every six weeks, with a combination of new features and bug fixes. This release already contains the first results of the 2016 Google Summer of Code projects, as well as kickstarter-funded features, the work of new contributors Eugene Ingerman, Nishant Rodrigues, Miroslav Talasek and Laurent Jospin and the work from students mentored by Dmitry: Grigory Tantsev and Alexey Kapustin.

      • Krita 3.0.1 Digital Painting App Arrives with New Threshold Filter, Many Changes

        Today, September 6, 2016, a new version of the Krita open-source digital painting software has been released, build 3.0.1, and it’s the first bugfix and feature release for the major Krita 3.0 series.

        Release highlights of Krita 3.0.1 include the ability to tweak the Brush settings in the pop-up palette, soft proofing support, which lets you see how your artwork will look like when its converted to CMYK (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black), as well as various improvements to the mirror tools by adding extra options.

      • Trying Out The FreeBSD-Powered TrueOS With Its Custom Qt Desktop

        While I’ve been running PC-BSD on some systems for years I hadn’t tried out any of its rolling-release FreeBSD 11.0-based spins under the new TrueOS brand nor had I tried out the project’s Qt-based Lumina Desktop Environment since it reached 1.0.

      • KDE neon Goes Wayland, Kubuntu Still Alive, Dev Distros

        Martin Gräßlin, KDE’s KWin expert, today blogged that KDE Plasma show-horse neon would soon be defaulting to Wayland in the unstable branch. Folks using the unstable will probably need to be aware of the change. What’s unstable today will be stable tomorrow, so some folks wondered how this decision might affect NVIDIA users. Gräßlin said in the comments that NVIDIA hardware will still default to X. He added in another comment that Wayland will be the default, but not exclusive, graphic server. Another asked if NVIDIA is planning on supporting Wayland and a discussion at Phoronix several weeks ago indicated that NVIDIA has been mum on the subject for quite a while. The general consensus was NVIDIA has lost interest in supporting Wayland.

      • Kubuntu Alive and Thriving at KDE Akademy

        Having come a quarter away around the world in part to meet up with my Kubuntu colleagues, it was surprising to hear that some people thought (at a KDE meeting?) that Kubuntu is dead.

        Not a chance. We’re having elections right now for some Kubuntu Council positions that end this year. We have four candidates for three positions, which seems very healthy to me. By the way, if you are a Kubuntu Member and have not gotten your ballot, please contact Aaron Honeycutt, since the vote closes on the 12th of September.

        We ended up meeting for more than 4 hours plus lunch yesterday, the first day of BoF meetings. Then Phil had to leave, which still seems sad, as we all miss his gentle, kind wisdom and humor.

        During the meeting, we accomplished a great deal, mostly cleaning out the Trello. We now have one and only one board, which has been mostly evaluated card by card, commented, and tagged. We hope that this will make it much easier to find a task to work on when you have a bit of spare time. If you have a login to Trello, but need inviting to the board, please check with someone in #kubuntu-devel Freenode IRC. Feel free to create cards when needed, and assign yourself and someone else to it. Many of the items on our Wishlist contain things we really do want, but do not have the time or skills to do. So pitch in as you can.

      • KDE Store presentation video online

        The QtCon / Akademy organizers have published the videos of last weekend’s conference presentations.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Orca Screen Reader App Updated for GNOME 3.22 with More LibreOffice Improvements

        The Orca open-source screen reader and magnifier utility used by default in many GNU/Linux distributions, especially those running the GNOME desktop environment, has received a major update recently.

        The fact of the matter is that we’re talking about Orca 3.22, which is currently under massive development as part of the upcoming GNOME 3.22 desktop environment, due for release on September 21, 2016, and it a Beta 2 milestone had been pushed to public testers a few days ago.

      • Wrapping up user experience testing

        This is a follow-up to my other item about wrapping up Outreachy. Diana posted part two of her analysis from first-time GNOME user experience testing.

        In this test, Diana asked testers to simulate an “unboxing” of a new system. The tester logged in to GNOME using a fresh “test” account so they get the first-time user experience. After allowing each tester to explore GNOME via three broad scenario tasks, Diana asked them to rate their reaction to GNOME using emoji, and followed up with several interview questions.

      • Writing GStreamer Elements in Rust (Part 2): Don’t panic, we have better assertions now – and other updates
  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tiny $7 IoT module packs WiFi, BLE, and sensors, runs FreeRTOS

      SeeedStudio’s “ESP3212” COM taps Espressif’s IoT-focused ESP32 follow-on to the ESP8266 SoC, which uses a faster Tensilica LX6 MCU and adds BLE and sensors.

      Espressif’s highly integrated and highly anticipated ESP32 follow-on to its popular ESP8266 wireless system-on-chip is now shipping. It’s available as part of a tiny SeedStudio ESP3212 computer-on-module, as well on Espressif’s own, slightly larger ESP-WROOM-32 reference design board and more expansive ESP32 Development Board.

    • Arduino Open Source Platform Fuels IoT and Farming’s Future

      Arduino, the world’s leading open-source software and hardware ecosystem, is being used to power Farmbot, the revolutionary farming robot that is built fully on open source. Farmbot is a computer numerical control (CNC) farming machine and software package for small scale, hyper local, DIY food production. It is controlled by and Arduino RAMPS stack and connected to the Internet using Raspberry Pi 2. The platform is designed to be simple, scalable, hackable, and easily made.

      “The applications that are fueling the IoT market are astonishing, and open source technology is playing a big role in it,” said Federico Musto, CEO of Arduino S.r.L. “Predicted to become a $6 trillion market by 2021, the IoT market is starting to take shape with advancements in wearables, healthcare, smart homes and cities, law enforcement, automotive, and, of course agriculture. We are proud to be a part of Farmbot, and look forward to continuing to fuel IoT deployments.”

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 Open Source Tools for DevOps

    To be sure, the list of open source tools for DevOps is growing. Why? Because DevOps itself is growing, and open source is a natural choice for this development methodology.

    First coined around 2009, the term DevOps refers to an approach to IT that emphasizes collaboration between the development and operations groups. It arose out of the agile software development movement and applies some of the same principles to the application lifecycle management (ALM) process. DevOps is difficult to define because it’s more of a movement or a philosophy than a rigid set of rules or practices. Organizations that employ DevOps are characterized by a high degree of cooperation, few internal “siloes,” heavy use of automation, continuous testing and integration, and faster development and deployment of applications.

    In the time since DevOps was first imagined, its popularity has increased tremendously. In fact, a RightScale survey found that 74 percent of organizations and 81 percent of enterprises say they are using DevOps.

  • Why Pixar open sourced its 3D graphics technology

    Pixar Animation Studios has open sourced its Universal Scene Description (USD) technology. USD is an extremely powerful toolset that helps filmmakers in reading, writing, editing, and rapidly previewing 3D scene data.

    “USD is the core of Pixar’s 3D graphics pipeline, used in every 3D authoring and rendering application, including Pixar’s proprietary Presto animation system,” according to Pixar.

    USD is aimed at performance and large-scale collaboration among many artists that makes it ideal for the complex modern pipeline, allowing dozens of creative people working on the same project.

    One of the most notable features of USD is Hydra, a high-performance preview renderer capable of interactively displaying large data sets.

    Pixar engineers gave a live demo of USD at SIGGRAPH 2016, International Conference and exhibition on Computer Graphics & Interactive Techniques. The demo shows real time rendering capabilities of USD technologies.

  • Why open source matters to the IoT market

    By using open source IoT app standards, Indian entrepreneurs will be able to sell their IoT apps globally. App store customers can run these apps on any type of enterprise or industrial hardware. India’s software industry is uniquely positioned to benefit from IoT. India can combine low-cost, innovation and revenue generation in any future IoT solution. IoT is the next big thing, and India should do everything possible to drive it.

  • Google’s Fuchsia OS is out in the open and shrouded in mystery

    Google is developing a new operating system named Fuchsia, and the early source code is already public. Google itself and Fuchsia’s developers haven’t explained what the OS is for—but we can dig into the source code to learn more.

  • Student’s open source project takes him around the world

    I discovered open source software while I was a student at the University of Lomé in Togo in 2004. From that very first day, I was in love with the philosophy and knew this would be a big part of my life.

    I joined the National Open Source Users Association (ATULL) and became an active member. Then, as a student, I created an open source web application for the managing of college activities, and it won 3rd place at the African Conference on Open Source Software in Morocco in 2007. Thanks to the award, I got a first class ticket from the Francophonie International Organization to attend the Open Source Software World Meeting in 2008.

  • Events

    • MEDIA ADVISORY: Open Source NFV Project to Host 2017 Summit in Beijing

      The OPNFV Project, a carrier-grade, integrated, open source platform intended to accelerate the introduction of new products and services using Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), today announced the 2017 OPNFV Summit will be held in Beijing, China, June 12-15, 2017 at the JW Marriott Beijing. The Summit provides an opportunity to reach the innovative communities, developers and companies transforming the networking industry through open source NFV.

      Registration for the 2017 OPNFV Summit is available here. Those interested in sponsoring the event can find more details here. Additional information, including the Call for Proposals, agendas and co-located events will be available in the coming months, so check the OPNFV Summit website for updates.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Testing the Right Things with Docker

      Fast and efficient software testing is easy with Docker, says Laura Frank of Codeship, who will be presenting a talk called “Building Efficient Parallel Testing Platforms with Docker” at LinuxCon + ContainerCon Europe next month.

    • OpenStack Summit in Barcelona will be Last Design Summit

      Since my first OpenStack Summit back in San Diego in 2012, there has been one unique defining characteristic that made the event different than any other in the technology world – the event was where developers and users all gathered in the same place.

  • Databases

    • Tesora Teams with Red Hat on OpenStack-based Database as a Service

      As the OpenStack cloud computing arena has spread out, a whole ecosystem of tools has been growing along with it. Tesora, familiar to many as the leading contributor to the OpenStack Trove open source project, has focused very heavily on Database-as-a-Service tools for OpenStack deployments. It has also pursued partnerships. For example, Tesora has a partnership with OpenStack heavy-hitter Mirantis. The company has made available the first ever plug-in to automate configuration and deployment of its database as a service (DBaaS) platform with Mirantis OpenStack.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • ​OpenOffice is dead. Long live LibreOffice

      If you read some stories about how OpenOffice is reaching the end of the road, you might think OpenOffice was becoming insecure. That’s half true. OpenOffice doesn’t have the programmers it needs to be safe. That’s because all its good developers moved to its fork, LibreOffice, years ago. LibreOffice is as safe as any program can be.

    • OpenOffice: Retirement Talk is Underway Online

      In case it isn’t clear, the situation looks dire for OpenOffice. Meanwhile, The Document Foundation recently announced the releases of LibreOffice 5.2 and 5.1.5. LibreOffice 5.2, and LibreOffice is gaining much traction with new levels of compatibility with mainstream office applications. We will follow up on the OpenOffice debate shortly.

    • Community conference starts with 10th release of LibreOffice in 2016

      The Document Foundation (TDF) has celebrated the opening session of LibOCon with the announcement of LibreOffice 5.2.1, the first minor release of the LibreOffice 5.2 family.

      LibOCon is a showcase of the project activity, and will feature over 60 talks in three days, covering development, QA, localization, ODF, marketing, community and documentation, a business session in Czech focused on large deployments of LibreOffice, and a meeting of the Open Source Business Alliance (OSBA).

      Details of the conference, including the program and collateral activities such as the traditional “hacknight” – a hands-on session where developers hack over food and drinks – are available on the event website: http://conference.libreoffice.org.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Now Has A Port For CentOS 7 Binary Support

      We’ve known for a while that FreeBSD has been working on a CentOS 7 compatibility layer while now that work has finally landed in FreeBSD ports.

      As of yesterday, linux_base-c7 landed in ports for installing the CentOS 7 base packages. This will allow running newer Linux binaries built for modern CentOS/RHEL 7 era systems on FreeBSD, assuming the source isn’t available or isn’t compatible natively with FreeBSD. Previously CentOS 6 was the default port used for this Linux binary compatibility with FreeBSD.

  • Public Services/Government

    • The Sun slams Corbyn for advocating ‘open source’ software, but uses it for its own website

      Its true that hackers in other countries can identify vunerabilities in open source software.

      But they can also hack proprietary software like Microsoft Windows.

      But with open source software – where all the underlying code is open so people can look at it, suggest changes and improve on it – at least problems can be quickly patched up.

      Moreover open source software can be more powerful, cheaper (good news for taxpayers!) and reliable!

      After all, the Sun uses it too. They run their website on WordPress – the open source blog software.

      Did they think we wouldn’t notice?

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • A Git Workflow for Humans

      The following paragraphs will define the most simple and minimal approach which is a base case of how this workflow works, the extensions paragraph defines some extensions which help you dealing with several common usecases. You will likely end up using the base workflow with one or two extensions.

    • Stepsize brings AI to DevOps: contextualised code is smarter

      Stepsize is a UK startup focused on developer tools. The firm is aiming to put a degree of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into DevOps. Stepsize Layer is a desktop application for developers that automatically adds context to code bases. It does this by hooking up tools used to develop software, structuring historical data and attaching this to the piece of code.

    • Why I love these markup languages

      Around this time last year, I wrote a brief introduction to various markup languages for this column. The topic of language selection has come up several times recently, so I thought it might be time to revisit the subject with my biases more overt. I’m here to explain why I prefer the languages I do, not to prescribe anything for you. After all, I’m no doc-tor.

    • LEGO Mindstorms programming with ev3dev

      I was introduced to LEGO Mindstorms eighteen months ago while applying for a STEM grant at a local library. LEGO Mindstorms are kits to create customizable, programmable robots

    • Confronting Jargon

      Throughout my software engineering career, I’ve struggled with and against jargon. Intellectually, I understand jargon as a set of specialized terms meant to facilitate smooth and precise communication, particularly in a professional context. It binds groups together: it’s the secret handshake, the side-long wink, the showing that yes, you’re in the club too, you belong. Experientially? I know the ways jargon can keep you out as you feel along, grasping for knowledge in the dark.

    • LLV8 Is An Experimental LLVM Compiler For V8 JavaScript
    • Open-Source OCaml to JavaScript Compiler BuckleScript Hits 1.0

      BuckleScript 1.0 brings almost full compatibility with OCaml features and an improved FFI with the aim of avoiding writing unsafe JavaScript stubs. InfoQ has spoken with Bloomberg’s Hongbo Zhang, BuckleScript creator at Bloomberg.

    • Runtime CSS styling for SWT
  • Standards/Consortia

    • Z-Wave Specifications Go Open-Source

      The company responsible for drafting the Z-Wave home networking standard has made certain parts of the technology publicly available.

      In an attempt to lure hardware and software developers to the standard, Sigma Designs last week released a public version of Z-Wave’s interoperability layer, which ensures that devices ranging from door locks to security cameras can share information.

      The company has added the software to Z-Wave’s open-source library. The code represents the “language” that defines how devices from different manufacturers talk to each other, said Raoul Wijgergangs, vice president of Sigma Design’s Z-Wave business. That makes it easier for home owners to connect devices with an internet gateway and control them remotely using a phone, computer, or tablet.

Leftovers

  • Typo made Air Asia X flight land at Melbourne instead of Malaysia

    Finger trouble with onboard navigation systems led to an Air Asia flight making a two-hour internal hop in Australia before its scheduled journey to Malaysia.

    An investigation report by the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) into the March flight disclosed the cockup, which it said was down to the A330′s captain “inadvertently enter[ing] the wrong longitudinal position of the aircraft.”

    He had copied down the aircraft’s position co-ordinates from a sign displayed at the airport terminal gate while initialising the Airbus’ systems. Instead of entering 15109.8 east (i.e. 15˚ 19.8′ east), the captain entered 01519.8, resulting in “a positional error in excess of 11,000 km.”

  • British Airways apologises to delayed passengers

    British Airways has apologised to passengers facing delays after an IT glitch affected check-in desks.

    Passengers complained of delays at check-in and at the baggage drop, and on the tarmac waiting for take-off.

    The airline said passengers were able to check in at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports “although it is taking longer than usual”. It advised passengers to check in online.

    “We are sorry for the delay to their journeys,” BA added.

    There was further disruption for passengers at London City Airport on Tuesday after, police said, protesters “locked themselves together” on the runway.

    BA encouraged customers affected by the IT problems to check in online before they reached the airport. It told customers that some flights had been cancelled on Monday “due to operational reasons” but that specialists were “working to resolve this issue”.

  • Science

    • The critical role of systems thinking in software development

      Software applications exist to serve practical human needs, but they inevitably accumulate undefined and defective behaviors as well.

      Because software flaws are often left undiscovered until some specific failure forces them to the surface, every software project ships with some degree of unquantified risk. This is true even when software is built by highly skilled developers, and is an essential characteristic of any complex system.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • UNITAID Issues Call For Solutions To Overcome IP Barriers

      UNITAID, the drug financing mechanism, has put out an appeal calling for ideas on solutions to overcome intellectual property barriers that may be preventing progress in public health. The deadline for submissions is coming near.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Wednesday’s security advisories
    • Stealthy, tricky to remove rootkit targets Linux systems on ARM and x86 [Ed: IDG covers this nonsense from Trend Micro (not a real risk, just the name Pokémon for better headlines])
    • You can’t weigh risk if you don’t know what you don’t know

      If any of us have ever been in a planning meeting, a variant of this has no doubt come up at some point. It came up for me last week, and every time I hear it I think about all things we don’t know we don’t know. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it works a bit like this. I know I don’t know to drive a boat. But because I know I don’t know this, I could learn. If you know you lack certain knowledge, you could find a way to learn it. If you don’t know what you don’t know, there is nothing you can do about it. The future is often an unknown unknown. There is nothing we can do about the future in many instances, you just have to wait until it becomes a known, and hope it won’t be anything too horrible. There can also be blindness when you think you know something, but you really don’t. This is when people tend to stop listening to the actual experts because they think they are an expert.

    • New release: usbguard-0.6.0

      Another milestone behind us. The 0.6.0 release brings the promissed CentOS/RHEL 7 compatibility. This means that our Copr EPEL-7 repository as well as Fedora’s EPEL-7 repository will now provide the latest versions of USBGuard. Check it out!

      One more very good piece of news is that USBGuard was accepted in Debian and is available in Sid (unstable). A big thanks goes to Muri Nicanor and others involved in this packaging effort!

    • StartSSL customers, it is time to leave. Now!

      While listening to the Security Now podcast, I have listened first with amusement then with horror to Steve reading email from Mozilla about the security problems with WoSign CA.

      Their list of woes is long, read the linked email for details, but one thing turned up during the email which I was not aware of: StartCom (owner of the StartSSL certificate authority) was apparently recently bought by WoSign CA! Apparently one of the security bugs StartSSL has (had?) was that with properly modified POST request (yes, I guess you can do it in the Developer Tools of your Firefox) you can get certificate linked to the root ceritificate “CA 沃通根证书” (or “WoSign CA Free SSL Certificate G2” with another value of the parameter). Awesome!

      What’s even more interesting is that I am a paying customer of StartSSL CA and I have never been made aware of the change of ownership. The only other mention of the possible change of ownership I found was on the Wikipedia page, which linked to the blogpost, which is now unavailable due to “legal review of the site” […]. Even better!

    • Debian GNU/Linux Fixes Dangerous TCP Flaw In New Update
    • Why Security Performance Will be Key in NFV

      There is growing evidence that the data center is driving toward a more software-centric security model that will be core to network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) technology. This new model means that security performance in NFV will be key.

    • How to enable server-side encryption in Nextcloud

      Out of the box, Nextcloud servers do not run with server-side encryption. Follow these steps to enable an extra layer of security for Nextcloud.

    • Umbreon rootkit targets Linux on x86, ARM [Ed: nonsensical marketing hype from Trend Micro]
    • Pokemon Themed ‘Umbreon’ Rootkit Hides In Linux Systems
    • Taking umbrage at Umbreon, the Linux rootkit that likes to hide
    • Linux rootkit, named for Pokémon’s Umbreon, targets Linux
  • Defence/Aggression

    • New leaked files reveal more about NSA satellite eavesdropping

      Newly published documents from Edward Snowden have shed more light on American surveillance operations in the UK.

    • Video: Inside Menwith Hill – NSA spy base in UK used for ‘kill or capture’ missions

      Leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed how his former employer used the US spy base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire to conduct ‘kill or capture’ missions in its global shadow war.

    • The NSA Abroad: The UK Base That Makes US Targeted Killing Possible

      In a damning exposé published Monday, The Intercept reporter Ryan Gallagher dives into the inner workings of National Security Agency’s (NSA) largest overseas spying base, the U.K.’s Menwith Hill Station, and reveals concrete evidence that the British government is complicit in the United States’ targeted killing program.

      Citing top-secret documents obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Gallagher reports, “The files reveal for the first time how the NSA has used the British base to aid ‘a significant number of capture-kill operations’ across the Middle East and North Africa, fueled by powerful eavesdropping technology.”

      And given the British government’s repeated assertion that activities at Menwith Hill “have always been, and continue to be” carried out with its “knowledge and consent,” the findings are all the more damning.

      “For years, Reprieve and others have sought clarification from the British government about the role of U.K. bases in the U.S. covert drone program, which has killed large numbers of civilians in countries where we are not at war,” Kat Craig, legal director of London-based human rights group Reprieve, told The Intercept. “We were palmed off with platitudes and reassured that any U.S. activities on or involving British bases were fully compliant with domestic and international legal provisions. It now appears that this was far from the truth.”

    • NSA leaks show US spooks use UK base to launch ‘kill-capture’ missions

      Leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed how his former employer used the US spy base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire to conduct ‘kill or capture’ missions in its global shadow war.

      The new files published by the Intercept partly lay to rest speculation by journalists and campaigners over what really goes on at the US base.

      They show that secretive NSA kill-capture operations in the Middle East have been developed and initiated from inside the base’s heavily guarded perimeter wire.

    • New Snowden leaks unravel mystery behind NSA’s UK base

      Just when you thought you couldn’t be shocked by the NSA’s snooping anymore, new leaked documents show the agency’s reach extends far beyond American borders.

    • Philippine President Sorry, Not Sorry He Cursed Obama for Criticism of His Killing Spree

      In a statement released on Tuesday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that he was sorry — not for calling President Barack Obama a “son of a whore,” but that “it came across as a personal attack on the U.S. president.”

      The contorted apology, read to reporters at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations forum in Laos by Duterte’s spokesperson, Ernie Abella, came after Obama responded to the slur by canceling a meeting with the new leader that had been scheduled for Tuesday.

      Duterte, whose first months in office have been marked by nearly 3,000 killings in a campaign of extrajudicial assassinations of suspected drug dealers and addicts carried out by the police and death squads, launched into a profanity-laced tirade against Obama on Monday when asked by reporters how he would respond to criticism of the killing spree from the American president.

    • Karimov Family Values

      Twelve years ago President Karimov jailed his own nephew, Jamshid Karimov, for the “crime” of writing an article in a state publication which suggested modest improvements to his uncle’s economic policies. Like other prominent dissidents, young Karimov ended up chained to a bed in a psychiatric ward being pumped mind altering drugs to re-educate him.

    • Dissecting the Propaganda on Syria

      The American public is so inundated with propaganda on the Syrian conflict that a rational policy that could minimize the death toll is almost impossible to formulate, a problem addressed by Rick Sterling.

    • 5-key insights on the Syrian conflict via Hillary’s email and the Stratfor Wikileaks
    • Hillary Clinton Thinks Real-World Military Responses To Hacking Attacks Are A Nifty Idea

      Again, you’ll note that the United States is portrayed as an innocent and noble defender of cybersecurity freedom, when it’s the one often engaging in frequently-unprovoked attacks the world over. Of course, Clinton and friends are well aware that the vast majority of the time it’s impossible to know where an attack came from, and any hacker worth his or her salt simply doesn’t leave footprints. That makes a real-world military or economic response to a nebulous, usually-unprovable threat simply idiotic. You’d assume Clinton knows this and was just doing some light pandering to the audience.

      But this rhetoric alone is still dangerous in that it opens the door wide to using hacking — much like communism and Islamic extremism and numerous “isms” before them — as a nebulous, endlessly mutable justification for a litany of bad US behavior. You could, for example, covertly hack a government, publicize its hacking response to your hack, using the press to help you justify military action. Given the US and global media’s historical complicity in helping governments begin wars with jack shit for evidence, it shouldn’t be hard to see how hacking is going to be a useful bad policy bogeyman du jour for decades to come.

      Despite some repeated, painful lessons on this front stretching back generations, forcing the government to show its math before it resorts to violence is simply not the US media’s strong suit. And with hacking and cybersecurity being subjects the press and public are extra-violently ignorant about, we’ve created the opportunity for some incredible new sleight of hand when it comes to framing and justifying US domestic and international policy. If history is any indication, by next time this year we’ll be blaming everything under the sun on Russian hackers because after all, two anonymous senior government officials said so.

      Healthy skepticism will be our ally as we stumble down the rabbit hole. While it’s no surprise that Russia, like the United States is deeply-involved in nation state hacking, you’ll note that actual evidence linking the Putin Administration to the recent rise in US hacking attacks remains fleeting. Most reports simply cite a single anonymous US government source, or security firms with a vested interest in selling services and products. That’s not to say Putin and friends aren’t busy hacking the US, but whether a country is responding to similar attacks by the United States (pdf) — or is actually involved at all — is rather important to transparently document before you begin trotting out awful new policies or worse, real world bombs.

    • Trump Renews Focus on Military Spending as Race Tightens

      Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump detailed his proposals for an expansion of U.S. military power as his race with Democrat Hillary Clinton tightens, in an appeal to service members and veterans who could give him a critical boost in November.

      If elected, Trump would ask Congress to lift military spending caps, increase defense spending, and seek a plan from generals to counter Islamic State in his first 30 days in office, he said in a speech Wednesday in Philadelphia.

      Trump also said he would increase the size of the army to about 540,000, the Marine Corps to 36 battalions, the navy to a number of surface ships and submarines “approaching” 350, and the Air Force to at least 1,200 fighter aircraft.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • FBI Publishes Clinton Email Investigation Documents; More Bad News On Documents Mishandling, FOIA Compliance

      The FBI generally likes to keep as much information as possible out of the public’s hands, so its decision to release its files on the Hillary Clinton email investigation are probably best viewed as a one-off, rather than the leading edge of a new era of transparency.

      The agency certainly couldn’t pretend there isn’t significant public interest in the content of the investigative files. The outcome of a presidential election could very well hinge on the voting public’s interpretation of the documents’ content.

      And the FBI certainly has an interest in clearing the air of any hints of politically-motivated favoritism. That the investigation occurred at all does some damage to Clinton’s credibility, while the decision not to pursue prosecution doesn’t do much for the FBI’s.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Oklahoma earthquake and oil drilling: What we know

      When an earthquake struck Oklahoma on Saturday, one of the first steps state officials took was to shut down 37 of the state’s 3,200 active disposal wells — a move that drew national attention to the link between oil and gas drilling and earthquakes.

    • Dakota Access Pipeline Protests In North Dakota Turn Violent

      Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota turned violent on Saturday.

      Demonstrators supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe faced off with private security officers from Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners.

      Video from the scene showed security officers threatening protesters with dogs.

      As All Things Considered reported, hundreds of Native Americans from tribes across the country have set up a camp near the construction site in North Dakota. The Army Corps of Engineer approved the oil pipeline in July allowing it to run under the Missouri river close to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation.

    • A Native American fight to stop an oil pipeline is a “morally embarrassing reminder” of America’s founding

      For months, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota has been protesting the construction of a $3.8 billion (paywall) oil pipeline that would cut through four US states. Last week, the protests reached unprecedented size. Hundreds of environmental activists joined the local community of about 8,000. The BBC reports that the largest gathering of Native Americans in over a century, with over 90 tribes represented, is currently underway in Cannonball, North Dakota.

      The Native tribes and environmentalists say the pipeline would disrupt a sacred burial ground, as well as threaten water quality in the area. They say that the Army Corps of Engineers should never have granted permits for its construction.

    • Hillary Clinton Raises More Than Donald Trump From Oil Industry

      Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has raised significantly more money than Donald Trump in the heart of the Republican fundraising territory—the oil and gas industry.

    • The oceans are heating up. That’s a big problem on a blue planet

      So, just as a refresher, it’s always good to remember that we live on an ocean planet. Most of the Earth’s surface is salt water, studded with the large islands we call continents.

      It’s worth recalling this small fact – which can slip our minds, since we humans congregate on the patches of dry ground – because new data shows just how profoundly we’re messing with those seven seas. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has published an extensive study concluding that the runaway heating of the oceans is “the greatest hidden challenge of our generation”.

      When we think about global warming, we usually fixate on the air temperature. Which is spiking sharply – July was the hottest month ever measured on our planet. But as the new study points out, 90% of the extra heat that our greenhouse gases trap is actually absorbed by the oceans. That means that the upper few meters of the sea have been steadily warming more than a tenth of a degree celsius per decade, a figure that’s accelerating. When you think of the volume of water that represents, and then try to imagine the energy necessary to raise its temperature, you get an idea of the blowtorch that our civilization has become.

    • Judge halts North Dakota pipeline contruction temporarily after protests

      An American Indian tribe succeeded on Tuesday in getting a federal judge to temporarily stop construction on some, but not all, of a $3.8bn four-state oil pipeline, but its broader request still hangs in the balance.

      James Boasberg, a US district court judge, said on Tuesday that work will temporarily stop between North Dakota’s state highway 1806 and 20 miles east of Lake Oahe, but will continue west of the highway because he believes the US army corps of engineers lacks jurisdiction on private land.

    • Judge grants partial stop on North Dakota pipeline work

      An American Indian tribe succeeded Tuesday in getting a federal judge to temporarily stop construction on some, but not all, of a $3.8 billion four-state oil pipeline, but its broader request still hangs in the balance.

      U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said Tuesday that work will temporarily stop between North Dakota’s State Highway 1806 and 20 miles east of Lake Oahe, but will continue west of the highway because he believes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lacks jurisdiction on private land.

      He also said he will rule by the end of Friday on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s challenge of federal regulators’ decision to grant permits to the Dallas, Texas-based operators of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will cross North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.

    • Finnish nuclear company fired whistleblower over safety concerns

      The Fennovoima nuclear firm’s parent company, Voimaosakeyhtiö SF (VSF), fired one of its executives because he expressed safety concerns to the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK). VSF admitted this to Yle after initially denying it.

  • Finance

    • Inside an International Court of Money and Mystery

      A Dubai real estate mogul had a prison sentence disappear. Manufacturing executives in El Salvador dodged having to clean up a case of dangerous lead contamination. Two global financiers embezzled $300 million from an Indonesian bank but got off light.

      Welcome to the world of international arbitration court. BuzzFeed reporter Chris Hamby spent 18 months penetrating the court and tracing its influence.

    • NYT: Corbyn Has Marginalized Labour With His Popular Positions

      The story focused on Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn—or “its left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn,” in the Times‘ formulation. The point of the piece is to blame Corbyn for the fact that “the Labour Party is in shambles: Its leader and its members of Parliament are in a virtual civil war, and it is deeply unpopular with the broader electorate.”

      Labour’s unpopularity is easy to exaggerate; its projected national share of the vote in the last local elections, held in May 2016, was 31 percent, a percentage point ahead of the Conservatives; this is considered unpromising, as opposition parties that are soon to become governing parties generally do better than that, but it’s an improvement over May 2015 (four months before Corbyn assumed leadership), when Labour trailed by 6 percentage points.

    • At WaPo, You Can Say Anything to Support TPP–or to Smear Sanders

      In pushing trade agreements, it is fair to say anything, even if it has no relationship to the truth. Therefore it is not surprising to see Fareed Zakaria (Washington Post, 9/1/16) pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by claiming that it will boost growth, and attacking Bernie Sanders for opposing “trade policies that have lifted hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people out of poverty.”

      First, the impact on growth will be trivial. According to the International Trade Commission’s assessment, the TPP will boost the annual growth rate over the next 15 years by less than 0.02 percentage points. And this projection does not take account of the negative impact of the protectionist measures in the TPP, such as stronger and longer copyright and patent protection. These measures have the same impact on the protected items as tariffs of several thousand percent.

      [...]

      Actually, in standard trade theory, most of the benefits from lowering tariffs accrue to the countries that lower them. In trade theory, it benefits their consumers. Overall, trade balances are not affected. This is why the very pro-TPP Peterson Institute shows that by far the largest gains to TPP accrue to Vietnam: It lowers its tariffs the most under the terms of the deal.

      In terms of the attack on Bernie Sanders for opposing the world’s poor, Zakaria is again confused. In the standard trade story, capital is supposed to flow from rich countries like the United States to poor countries in the developing world. That would mean rich countries run trade surpluses, and poor countries run trade deficits. This allows poor countries to sustain consumption levels even as they build up their capital stock.

    • Made in China G20 and its Geoeconomic Significance

      Yet now geoeconomics has reached an extremely worrying zone of turbulence. Since the end of the Cold War in 1989 – and of “history” itself, according to academic simpletons – it’s never bee so dire. Greed led globalization to be “defeated”by inequality. In a nutshell, low inflation – due to global competition – led to the proverbial “expansionary” monetary policies, which inflated housing, education and health care, squeezing the middle class and allowing unlimited wealth flowing to a 1 percent minority of asset owners.

      Yet even in de-acceleration, China was responsible for more than 25 percent of global economic growth in 2015. It remains the key global turbine – while at the same time carrying the self-attributed burden of being the representative of the Global South in global economic governance.

    • America and the Plague of ‘Moral Idiocy’

      When it comes to applying rules of international law and ethics, the U.S. government and its mainstream media operate with stunning hypocrisy, what might be called “moral idiocy,” says Lawrence Davidson.

    • Tencent Is Now the Most Valuable Company in Asia

      The web firm Tencent tcehy has become the most valuable company in Asia, and one of the top 10 in the world by market capitalization.

      It wasn’t so long ago that Tencent was racing neck-and-neck with Samsung — their share prices were both up by a third on the year — to overtake state-owned China Mobile and steal the title of the most valuable company in Asia.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Clinton Foundation plans to close overseas fundraising arms

      The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation will shut down its fundraising affiliates in Sweden and the United Kingdom if Hillary Clinton wins the U.S. presidency in November, a spokesman for the global charity said this week.

      The foundation has in recent weeks begun announcing planned new donor restrictions to allay criticism that wealthy supporters might be expecting special treatment from the U.S. government in return.

      Both the William J. Clinton Foundation UK in London and the Clinton Foundation Insamlingsstiftelse in Stockholm will close if Clinton becomes president because of their acceptance of foreign funding, Brian Cookstra, a spokesman for the Clinton Foundation in New York, said in one of a series of emails responding to questions from Reuters.

    • The Unrelenting Pundit-Led Effort to Delegitimize All Negative Reporting About Hillary Clinton

      In his New York Times column yesterday, Paul Krugman did something that he made clear he regarded as quite brave: He defended the Democratic Party presidential nominee and likely next U.S. president from journalistic investigations. Complaining about media bias, Krugman claimed that journalists are driven by “the presumption that anything Hillary Clinton does must be corrupt, most spectacularly illustrated by the increasingly bizarre coverage of the Clinton Foundation.” While generously acknowledging that it was legitimate to take a look at the billions of dollars raised by the Clintons as Hillary pursued increasing levels of political power — vast sums often received from the very parties most vested in her decisions as a public official — it is now “very clear,” he proclaimed, that there was absolutely nothing improper about any of what she or her husband did.

      Krugman’s column, chiding the media for its unfairly negative coverage of his beloved candidate, was, predictably, a big hit among Democrats — not just because of their agreement with its content but because of what they regarded as the remarkable courage required to publicly defend someone as marginalized and besieged as the former first lady, two-term New York senator, secretary of state, and current establishment-backed multimillionaire presidential front-runner. Krugman — in a tweet proclamation that has now been re-tweeted more than 10,000 times — heralded himself this way: “I was reluctant to write today’s column because I knew journos would hate it. But it felt like a moral duty.”

      [...]

      That American journalists have dispensed with muted tones and fake neutrality when reporting on Trump is a positive development. He and his rhetoric pose genuine threats, and the U.S. media would be irresponsible if it failed to make that clear. But aggressive investigative journalism against Trump is not enough for Democratic partisans whose voice is dominant in U.S. media discourse. They also want a cessation of any news coverage that reflects negatively on Hillary Clinton. Most, of course, won’t say this explicitly (though some do), but — as the wildly adored Krugman column from yesterday reflects — they will just reflexively dismiss any such coverage as illegitimate and invalid.

      It should be the opposite of surprising, or revealing, that pundits loyally devoted to a particular candidate dislike all reporting that reflects negatively on that candidate. There is probably no more die-hard Clinton loyalist in the U.S. media than Paul Krugman. He has used his column for years to defend her and attack any of her critics. Indeed, in 2008, he was the first to observe that — in his words — “the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality,” comparing the adulation Clinton’s 2008 primary opponent was receiving to the swooning over George W. Bush’s flight suit. He spent the 2016 primary maligning Sanders supporters as unstable, unserious losers (the straight, white, male columnist also regularly referred to them — including female and LGBT Sanders supporters — as “bros”). And now he’s assigned himself the role as Arbiter of Proper Journalism, and — along with virtually all other Clinton-supporting pundits and journalists — has oh-so-surprisingly ruled that all journalism that reflects poorly on Hillary Clinton is unsubstantiated, biased, and deceitful.

    • Despite Bernie Sanders’s Urging, Die-Hards Still Resist Hillary Clinton

      Outside Senator Bernie Sanders’s first general-election rally for Hillary Clinton on Monday, a small group of Clinton supporters and former Sanders backers glared at one another.

      [...]

      “Never Hillary!” the former Sanders supporters yelled back, as some declared they would vote for Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential nominee.

    • Voters Want Third Party Candidates On Debate Stage

      Kent Redfield, a UIS Professor Emeritus of Political Science, said, “Most people really don’t know who they are or what they stand for. But again, we’ve never had an election where you’ve had the two main party candidates with such high unfavorables. It could be that [the third party] will retain strength and then, if they’re getting combined 15% of the vote, then that could tip the balance in a very close state.”

      So far, neither Johnson nor Stein have reached the necessary 15% across the five national polls to be invited to the debate stage, but it’s clear that many Americans would like to see any serious third-party candidates on that stage with Clinton and Trump this fall.

    • Poll: Nine weeks out, a near even race

      Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton start the race to November 8 on essentially even ground, with Trump edging Clinton by a scant two points among likely voters, and the contest sparking sharp divisions along demographic lines in a new CNN/ORC Poll.
      Trump tops Clinton 45% to 43% in the new survey, with Libertarian Gary Johnson standing at 7% among likely voters in this poll and the Green Party’s Jill Stein at just 2%.

    • It is undemocratic to exclude me and Gary Johnson from presidential debates

      Presidential debates should be an opportunity for the American people to decide the direction of our nation. But since 1987, everything about the debates has been predetermined by the party bosses who run Washington.

      Consider that 76% of Americans want the presidential debates to include Gary Johnson and me. Yet the phony Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is trying to rob voters of the open debates they want.

      The CPD is actually a private corporation that refuses to disclose its current funders or sponsors. The Democratic and Republican National Committees both select its leaders. The CPD literally excludes the 50% of voters who reject their parties.

      This two-party cartel posing as a public service “commission” admitted in a 1987 press conference that independent candidates and alternative political parties should be excluded from the debates, and they create artificial barriers to exclude them.

    • Why Aren’t Third Parties Allowed to Debate?

      Would you eat at a restaurant that only offered two unpalatable menu options —especially when more tasty choices were available? Watching a presidential debate with only Clinton and Trump is like having to choose between liver and tripe. And why is this, especially when there are at least two other, more appealing, candidates to choose from?

      Because the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a private corporation run by establishment Democrats and Republicans, doesn’t want you to know you might have better choices. It’s incredibly ironic that their website states they want to “provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners.” That could not be further from the truth.

      The CPD is like one of those exclusive clubs where you have to know somebody influential to get in. But this is America — the land where we were raised to believe anyone could become president. Unfortunately, this is no longer true. Because campaigns are not publicly financed, a candidate needs millions of dollars to buy advertising to build familiarity — or the media needs to be unbiased enough to give equal coverage to all the candidates, which it doesn’t.

      Only 50% of Americans identify as being either Democrat or Republican, and only 9% of these voted in the primaries. A huge segment of the population does not identify with either party, so why can’t we hear about what third parties have to offer? Because the CPD wants you to vote for one of their pre-chosen candidates.

    • Diddy: Black voters ‘shortchanged’ by Obama presidency

      Rapper-turned-mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs said he thinks that black voters “got a little bit shortchanged” by Barack Obama’s presidency, and urged the black community to “hold our vote” as a way to spur meaningful action by political leaders.
      “The heat has to be turned up so much that as a community, we’ve got to hold our vote,” Diddy told the Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC Sunday. “Don’t pacify yourself; really revolutionize the game. Make them come for our vote. It’s a whole different strategy, but I think we need to hold our vote because I don’t believe any of them.”

      The entertainment icon explained that while he thinks that Obama has done “an excellent job” as president, he also feels that the first black presidency didn’t fully deliver on its promise.

    • Young Blacks Voice Skepticism on Hillary Clinton, Worrying Democrats

      When a handful of liberal advocacy organizations convened a series of focus groups with young black voters last month, the assessments of Donald J. Trump were predictably unsparing.

      But when the participants were asked about Hillary Clinton, their appraisals were just as blunt and nearly as biting.

      “What am I supposed to do if I don’t like him and I don’t trust her?” a millennial black woman in Ohio asked. “Choose between being stabbed and being shot? No way!”

      “She was part of the whole problem that started sending blacks to jail,” a young black man, also from Ohio, observed about Mrs. Clinton.

    • EmailGate and the Mystery of the Missing GAMMA

      Last week’s Federal Bureau of Investigation release of materials relating to their investigation of Hillary Clinton has reignited the political firestorm surrounding EmailGate. How the Democratic nominee mishandled her emails while she was secretary of state is again front-page news, which is bad news for Hillary. Particularly because the FBI’s data dump demonstrates clearly that Clinton is either dumb or dishonest—and perhaps both.

    • Observer: Sidney Blumenthal ‘Was Reading Above-Top-Secret NSA Reports Hours After They Appeared’

      [Sidney] Blumenthal’s email read exactly like classified NSA reporting, as anybody acquainted with our SIGINT would immediately recognize. As one veteran agency official told me back in January, Blumenthal’s email was NSA information with “at least 90 percent confidence.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Location Privacy: The Purview of the Rich and Indigent

      I’d just finished parking my car in the covered garage at Reagan National Airport just across the river from Washington, D.C. when I noticed a dark green minivan slowly creeping through the row behind me. The vehicle caught my attention because its driver didn’t appear to be looking for an open spot. What’s more, the van had what looked like two cameras perched atop its roof — one of each side, both pointed down and slightly off to the side.

      I had a few hours before my flight boarded, so I delayed my walk to the terminal and cut through several rows of cars to snag a video of the guy moving haltingly through another line of cars. I approached the driver and asked what he was doing. He smiled and tilted the lid on his bolted-down laptop so that I could see the pictures he was taking with the mounted cameras: He was photographing every license plate in the garage (for the record, his plate was a Virginia tag number 36-646L).

    • Edward Snowden’s Guardian Angels

      From a hotel in Hong Kong, Edward Snowden shocked the world in 2013 by disclosing the extent of U.S. intelligence spying. Then he vanished before fleeing to Moscow. Handelsblatt found the people who hid Snowden — refugees with nothing, and everything to lose.

    • Activists to FBI: Show Us Your Warrant for Mass Hack of TorMail Users

      Mass hacking is now one of the FBI’s established tactics for fighting crime on the dark web. In February 2015, the agency hit at least 4,000 computers all over the world in an attempt to identify visitors of a child pornography site.

      But questions remain about another FBI operation from 2013, in which the agency may have hacked users of a dark web email service called TorMail even if they weren’t suspects of a crime. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is trying to unseal the court docket sheet containing the search warrant used to deploy malware against users of the service. If the ACLU were then to get access to the warrant itself, it may reveal the true scale of the FBI’s controversial hacking campaign.

    • FBI’s Fancy Bear Cyber Structure

      So we already know that the FBI’s legally mandated reports to Congress on NSL numbers are bogus. Now we learn that FBI has devolved its 702 work to field offices which has led to the discontinuation of one of the key oversight mechanisms on their counting process: an outside check.

    • New NSA documents detail how the spy agency used the Iraq war to build its global surveillance system

      Newly released internal NSA documents reveal how the US spy agency used the Iraq war to develop its global surveillance infrastructure, which was later brought to light by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The documents, called WARgrams, also contain messages sent to a vast body of NSA employees between 2003 and 2004 by the then NSA director Michael Hayden.

      According to a report by Motherboard, the documents bring to light for the first time how the NSA asked its staff for “unprecedented degrees of cooperation”, in efforts to develop and establish its global surveillance system. The documents also reveal the agency’s rapid shift in priorities, detailing its move from providing intelligence support to wartime coalition forces to assuming the role of a “pervasive” and “intelligent-driven” leading component in the global war on terrorism.

      Around 70 WARgrams were sent out, the first of which, sent out in the days or weeks leading up to the start of the war in March 2003, characterised Operation Iraqi Freedom as “an intense attack of relatively short duration intended to overwhelm the Iraqi ability to respond.” In Hayden’s own words, the WARgrams were “designed to keep us all ‘in the loop’ with the latest developments during the campaign.”

    • Every Move You Make

      The Delta IV Heavy, introduced in 2004, is the most powerful rocket in American history, and this was only the ninth time it had launched. Even more exclusive, however, was its top-secret cargo: Inside its nearly seven-story-high nose cone was an Advanced Orion, the world’s largest satellite. About eight hours after launch, when the most advanced spy craft ever built went into geosynchronous orbit, it unfurled its gigantic mesh antenna, larger than a football field, and began eavesdropping on the Earth below.

    • WARgrams released: How NSA used Iraq War as springboard for global intel gathering

      Newly published documents from the beginning of the Iraq invasion reveal how the NSA used the “war on terror” to develop its global intelligence capabilities and strengthen the surveillance network exposed by Edward Snowden.

      The information was revealed in a series of documents dating back to 2003-2004, referred to as WARgrams. This was essentially a series of newsletter-style communiqués distributed to a vast number of NSA employees by the agency’s former director, Michael Hayden. These short messages, which number close to 70, contain colorful (when not redacted) descriptions of the NSA’s plans to insert itself into the Iraq war effort. The revelation was made by VICE’s Motherboard, which obtained the documents through an FOI request from back in 2008.

    • NSA used Iraq war to develop surveillance capability, documents show

      As the controversial Investigatory Powers Bill inches closer to becoming law, NSA documents reveal that the agency used the Iraq war to develop and expand its surveillance infrastructure

    • New Docs Show How the NSA Used the Iraq War to Build its Surveillance Apparatus

      Newly released internal NSA missives from the early days of the Iraq war show how quickly the agency’s priorities shifted from providing wartime intelligence to coalition troops to being a “pervasive” part of the “intelligence-driven” global war on terror.

      The documents, which have surfaced for the first time, outline how the NSA asked its employees for “unprecedented degrees of cooperation” to set up the global surveillance infrastructure revealed by Edward Snowden with the stated aim of combating terrorism worldwide.

      The documents, called WARgrams, were newsletter-style messages sent in 2003 and 2004 by then-NSA Director Michael Hayden to what seems to be a large contingent of NSA employees. (Motherboard has reached out to the NSA to learn more about who, exactly, received the WARgrams.)

      The first WARgram pitched Operation Iraqi Freedom as “an intense attack of relatively short duration intended to overwhelm the Iraqi ability to respond.” It was sent sometime in the days or weeks leading up to the March 20, 2003 start of the war. Hayden wrote WARgrams were “designed to keep us all ‘in the loop’ with the latest developments during the campaign.”

    • Former Intelligence Official Leaks Details Of NSA’s Hack Of French Presidential Network

      The latest leak about the NSA’s overseas spying transgressions took the unlikely form of a little-noticed YouTube video — one that covered mostly-wonkish subject matter. The details of the NSA’s malware attack on the French “White House” were revealed during an interview with Bernard Barbier, the former head of the French Intelligence Service, by a local engineering school. The video, of course, has since been removed, but not before French paper Le Monde picked up on the content of the interview.

      Matt Suiche parses it all out — an inadvertent confirmation of a Snowden document leaked in 2013 that contained an itinerary item about a discussion between French and US intelligence officials concerning a (at that time “alleged”) “May 2012 cyber attack on the French Presidential network.”

    • German intelligence accused of ‘serious legal violations’ over surveillance

      The surveillance apparatus used by German intelligence to collect and store masses of communications and internet data may have taken a hit after a classified document that accused the spies of “serious legal violations” leaked online.

      The 60-page analysis, conducted by Andrea Voßhoff, the German federal data protection commissioner, slammed how the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) stores data on citizens and demanded for key databases to be deleted with immediate effect.

      The report was made in July 2015 after a visit to Bad Aibling in southern Germany, which is jointly managed by the US National Security Agency (NSA). The audit was conducted in light of the Edward Snowden revelations in 2013 that exposed how major agencies such as the FBI, NSA and UK’s GCHQ use sophisticated tools to collect data in bulk.

    • Universal credit poses a major security risk, spies tell No 10 [Ed: GCHQ grossly intervening in politics as well]

      The universal credit welfare programme was sent back to the drawing board because spies warned that it was insecure and could lead to millions of people being hacked, a report reveals.

      Experts working for GCHQ, the government’s listening agency, contacted Downing Street in alarm after being “fobbed off” by the Department for Work and Pensions over security flaws in the benefits programme.

      As a result plans to launch the service next year were abandoned. Today only about 300,000 people are receiving benefit payments through universal credit and the system will not be fully operational until 2022 at the earliest.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Court To Cops: Residing In A State Where Marijuana Is Legal Does Not Automatically Make A Motorist ‘Suspicious’

      Colorado legislators legalized recreational marijuana use and now law enforcement agencies in bordering states are camping out on highways hoping for easy busts. All roads in and out of the state are now “drug corridors.” This has led to suspicionless stops and seizures by police officers — predicated on nothing more than a vehicle being on a strip of highway leading to or from a supposed “source” state.

      Not every bust goes as easily as officers might have hoped. Nebraska deputies tried to make drug conspiracy charges stick to a pair of Minnesotans arrested while on their way to Colorado with more than $60,000 in cash. The conviction didn’t stick because it isn’t against the law to conspire to perform an act that is legal in another state. It’s illegal to buy or sell marijuana in both Minnesota and Nebraska, but not in Colorado, where the two were headed. The charges went away but the $60,000 in cash is likely going to remain in Nebraska law enforcement’s possession.

      Another traffic stop in another Midwestern state has been ruled unconstitutional, partially because Kansas law enforcement officers believed the driver being a resident of marijuana-friendly Colorado was pretty much all the reasonable suspicion they’d need to perform a search.

      The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals — in stripping away the immunity granted to two Kansas Highway Patrol officers by the lower court — points out the many flaws in the officers’ reasoning. [PDF link]

      Peter Vasquez was pulled over because his temporary tag was unreadable. Once the temporary tag had been verified as legitimate, he should have been free to go. Instead, it was merely the start of a fishing expedition by the officers, who hoped to find the Colorado resident in possession of an illegal substance.

    • Indians Staged One of the Largest Strikes in History, But No One on U.S. Cable News Covered It

      Ten Indian trade unions staged one of the largest strikes in human history on Friday, with tens of millions of public sector workers participating in a shutdown of parts of the Indian economy to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic plans.

      But if you’re an American relying on cable news, it would be hard to know it ever happened.

      Not a single American cable news network ran a segment focused on India’s massive strike, even on Labor Day, the U.S.’s annual holiday dedicated to workers.

      The strike came after Modi began a push for increased foreign investment and privatization of some state-run industries. Unions fear these policies will undermine both wages and employment.

    • Jim Comey Impugns Pot Smokers Again

      I get that this cute labeling of pot smokers as lacking integrity is part of his script (he used almost the same lines in both speeches), perhaps to avoid thinking about what it means that our nation can’t best fight the alleged biggest threat to it because of outdated laws. But either he has given no thought about the words that are falling out of his mouth (indeed, he also seems to have no understanding of the the words “adult” and “mature” mean, which are other words he tends to wield in profoundly troublesome fashion), or the nation’s top cop really can’t distinguish between law — and that, not even in all states anymore — and ethics.

    • How Snowden escaped

      Earlier that day, that “famous” 29-year-old walked out of the five-star luxury Hotel Mira in Kowloon and sparked an intensive global manhunt not seen since the search for al-Qaeda’s Osama Bin Laden after the Sept. 11, 2001, bombings.

      Edward Snowden, a former U.S. intelligence contractor, became the most wanted fugitive in the world after leaking a cache of classified documents to the media detailing extensive cyber spying networks by the U.S. government on its own citizens and governments around the world.

      To escape the long arm of American justice, the man responsible for the largest national security breach in U.S. history retained a Canadian lawyer in Hong Kong who hatched a plan that included a visit to the UN sub-office where the North Carolina native applied for refugee status to avoid extradition to the U.S.

    • White House Report Concludes That Bite-Mark Analysis Is Junk Science

      The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has concluded that forensic bite-mark evidence is not scientifically valid and is unlikely ever to be validated, according to a draft report obtained by The Intercept. The report, titled “Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity of Feature-Comparison Methods,” is marked as a “predecisional” draft created August 26 that is not to be quoted or distributed, though the title page suggests the report will be made public sometime this month.

      The report reviews a handful of common forensic practices, so called feature-comparison disciplines, or pattern-matching practices — bite-mark analysis, fingerprint and firearm analysis, shoe tread analysis, and DNA mixture analysis — each of which involves an “expert” looking at a piece of evidence and eyeballing whether it matches a particular image, person, or object. The report discusses whether each practice has been scientifically validated, what it would take to do so, and how each practice should be used in the courtroom — if at all.

    • Air China magazine warns London visitors to avoid ethnic minority areas

      Even for China, where companies have struggled with race issues in their marketing previously, the latest inflight magazine from the country’s flagship airline will likely come as a shocker.

      Air China’s Wings of China carries a long feature on visiting London, with almost a third of the magazine dedicated to tourist attractions in Britain’s capital and other famous towns such as Oxford. The main article, titled “London the city of ‘hat tricks’,” covers Brits’ apparent fondness for all kinds of hats.

      Then, after a section on transport options and lifestyle and cultural activities in London, Wings of China offers some “Tips from Air China.”

    • Albuquerque Police Seize Vehicle From Owner Whose Son Drove It While Drunk; Want $4,000 To Give It Back

      Last spring, New Mexico’s governor signed a bill into law that would prevent law enforcement from seizing people’s assets without securing a criminal conviction. This was likely prompted by the New York Times’ publication of footage from Las Cruces asset forfeiture seminar in which the speaker basically said asset forfeiture is used by law enforcement to “shop” for things they want.

      Several months later, the city of Albuquerque was sued by state legislators because its police refused to stop seizing assets — mainly vehicles — without obtaining convictions. The city claimed the new law only applied to state police, and anyway, it was only performing a valuable community service by taking cars away from members of the community.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • [Older] EU’s net neutrality guidelines get published

      The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (Berec) – which represents all the EU’s communications regulators – has finally published guidelines clarifying how telecom companies should treat the data they handle, months after a law concerning the matter was published.

      In the past, apps and other online services could, in theory, pay more to ensure their products ran smoothly. That appealed to network providers, who saw it as a way to boost profits.

      But Berec says only a limited number of services will be able to ask for special treatment, and then only so long as it is not to the detriment of others.

      The new rules also set out consumers’ right to be free to access and distribute information and content, run applications and use services of their choice, so long as they are not illegal.

      The publication has been welcomed by digital rights experts.

    • Users Say Comcast Broadband Usage Meters Don’t Work, May Result in Hundreds Of Dollars Of Errant Charges

      We’ve noted for years that usage caps on fixed line broadband connections are little more than a major, unnecessary price hike on uncompetitive markets. But while caps certainly are little more than a cash grab, there’s another less talked about problem at play: nobody is making sure ISP usage meters are accurate. That has resulted in a number of instances where an ISP will bill users for consumption when the power is off, and even some instances where ISPs confused MAC addresses and billed the wrong customer for additional monthly consumption.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • IP Offices Focus On Educating Younger Population About IP Protection [Ed: Serial abuser of human rights "WIPO is also developing an Education Took Kit for teachers of children aged 5 to 18." Indoctrination of younger populations for IP protectionism and for large corporations.]

      Intellectual property rights awareness campaigns are increasingly targeting the younger population, as early as primary school, according to several country presentations at the World Intellectual Property Organization enforcement committee this week. WIPO is also developing an Education Took Kit for teachers of children aged 5 to 18. However for some countries, this education should encompass a broader view on IP than only enforcing rights.

    • Take Two Interactive Wins Two Publicity Rights Lawsuits Against Lindsay Lohan And Karen Gravano

      Hopefully you will recall that Take Two Interactive had been facing down two lawsuits brought by Lindsay Lohan and Karen Gravano over character depictions in the company’s opus, Grand Theft Auto V. Both filed suit over publicity rights and likeness concerns in New York. Lohan claimed that a character in the game that evaded paparazzi after having sex in public and made some oblique references to similar-sounding movies that Lohan had acted in, along with a female character on the game’s cover art, were both ripping off her personage. Gravano, meanwhile, claimed that a different character, one which made references to starring in a reality show about mobster wives and evading mob retribution, was ripping off her personage. While both suits failed to address the fictional differences in the characters, which were both composite characters parodying their celebrity archetypes, Take Two attempted to defend itself with those facts and tried to get the case dismissed. Strangely, the court at the time allowed the case to move forward…

    • A Principle Of Balance: Top Official Explains India’s IP Policy

      Adopted in May, the first Indian intellectual property policy brought some concerns that the focus on IP rights might dampen India’s willingness to use the IP flexibilities to safeguard national policy space. It was also perceived by some as giving in to pressure from the foreign pharmaceutical industry for India to strengthen patent protection. However, a high level Indian official in an interview this week said the policy caters to Indian development needs and India is aware of its pioneering role in certain sectors like access to medicines.Rajiv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary at the Indian Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion Ministry of Commerce & Industry sat down with Intellectual Property Watch’s Catherine Saez to describe how India’s IP policy came into being, to what aim, what it is expected to change in the Indian IP landscape, and how Indian is standing fast to its principle of balance.

    • Trademarks

      • Donut maker gored by University of Texas over a fan favourite pastry

        Donut Taco Palace in Austin, Texas, is famous for their ‘Longhorns donuts’. These donuts are modelled after the Hook ‘em Horns hand gesture which is made in support of the University of Texas’ Longhorns American football team. These donuts of allegiance satisfied the sweet tooth of many Longhorns fans until last month, when the University of Texas became aware of the situation. They sent a cease and desist letter to the owner of the shop, Angel Feng, citing trademark infringement.

      • Do Apple Trademarks Reveal What It’s About To Launch?

        If you’re a gadget watcher or an Apple fanatic, then you already know that tomorrow is Apple’s big fall event when it announces new hardware products. Unlike basically every other tech blog in the world, we tend not to cover the announcements (or all of the rumors leading up to those announcements). Every so often something interesting will come out of them and we’ll write up that, but for the most part, we recognize that other sites are going to cover the basic beats and we’re not the kind of publication that wants to spend our time writing up promotional copy for tech companies. But, sometimes there’s some overlap in our usual coverage and these kinds of events. Brian Conroy, a trademark lawyer in Ireland who has a fun blog of trademark-related issues realized that Apple may have leaked some details via its trademark applications.

    • Copyrights

      • Bethesda Does Connecting With Fans Right

        We’ve spent some time and energy in these pages poking at Bethesda and its parent company, Zenimax, over each’s overtly ridiculous stances on protecting what it views as its intellectual property in the past. But even a bad actor in the IP arena can get things right in other ways and Bethesda has shown itself to be fairly good in the past in the area of connecting with its fans. This is one of the more underappreciated aspects involved in digital business models, in which the digital realms where we operate open up content producers to direct interaction with their customers. Done right, this will ingratiate a business with its community, fostering a loyalty it might otherwise not have. Done really right, it gets a company all of that plus a PR bonus that can only come from these organic interactions.

      • Warner Bros. Issuing Takedowns For Its Own Site Is No Laughing Matter

        But here’s why this isn’t really a laughing matter: many of the legacy industry players, including Warner Bros. and the MPAA who represent WB, have been pushing very heavily for a revamp of the DMCA that would include a “notice and staydown” provision — such that once a copyright holder representative sent a notice claiming a work was infringing, platforms would basically be required to block that content from ever appearing again. In response, many of us have pointed out just how bad companies like Warner Bros. are at issuing takedowns, and we’re told that such mistakes are rare. But they’re not rare. We see them all the time. And if notice and staydown were in place, it could create all sorts of problems.

        Notice, too, that it wasn’t just WB’s own site that was the target of this bogus takedown. Just two slots above it are the official Amazon sales link for the movie. Elsewhere in the list were official IMDB pages as well. Yes, Google is actually better than most at going through these notices and rejecting ridiculous requests like this, but most other companies are not. If you send a notice, it’s treated as accurate, and down go those sites. Some may consider that fair game when it’s something as ridiculous as WB taking down its own sites, but it’s not so funny when it’s someone else’s work — like the time Fox sent DMCA notices taking down Cory Doctorow’s book, Homeland, just because it had the same title as a TV show.

        Meanwhile, we keep hearing from companies like Warner Bros. about how Google is really to blame, and that it’s “obvious” when there’s infringing content that should be taken down. If it’s so “obvious” why can’t WB gets its act together and not take down its own sites? Perhaps it isn’t so obvious after all and perhaps we shouldn’t make copyright policy based on the bogus claims of companies so clueless that they’re issuing DMCA takedowns on their own websites or other official channels?

09.06.16

The US Supreme Court Cemented the End of Software Patents by Rejecting Them and Refusing to Revisit the Subject After Alice

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Turning a blind eye to the highest court in the United States is unwise

Blind leading the blind
Blind leading the blind

Summary: An update regarding the sordid state of patents on software in the US, where one has to rely on examiners and/or judges ignoring the US Supreme Court in order to have these granted/upheld

Software patents have always been the primary topic here. Longtime readers can attest to that. Thankfully, after Alice (2014), no imminent resurgence of software patents is expected, at least not in the near future. Several months ago when it was predicted that the SCOTUS (US Supreme Court) would deal with low-quality design patents of Apple we noted that no SCOTUS case was bound to reconsider the patentability of software. There wasn’t even another Bilski in the pipeline.

“Thankfully, after Alice (2014), no imminent resurgence of software patents is expected, at least not in the near future.”According to this new SCOTUS preview from Patently-O, only design patents would be questioned. Nothing would change when it comes to software patents, at least not at SCOTUS. To quote Patently-O: “When the Supreme Court’s October 2016 Term begins in a few weeks, its first patent hearing will be the design patent damages case of Samsung v. Apple. In Samsung, the Court asks: Where a design patent is applied to only a component of a product, should an award of infringer’s profits be limited to those profits attributable to the component? The statute at issue – 35 U.S.C. § 289 – indicates that, someone who (without license) “applies” the patented design (or colorable imitation thereof) to an article of manufacture, “shall be liable to the owner to the extent of his total profit.” Up to now, courts have repeatedly held that the “profits” are profits associated with the product (i.e., the article of manufacture) being sold, but Samsung is asking that the profits be limited only to components of the product closely associated with the patented design. Although Apple’s position is supported by both the text and history and is the approach easiest to calculate, I expect that many on the Court will be drawn to the potential unjust outcomes of that approach. Apple wins in a 4-4 split. Oral arguments are set for October 11, 2016.”

We previously explained why design patents are similar if not overlapping software patents (the user interface angle in particular). We therefore hope that Apple will lose this case — a case which we wrote about nearly half a dozen times so far this year.

“When it comes to software patents, empirical evidence typically shows that their existence harms innovation and causes more harm than good.”“Professors Feldman and Lemley are well-known for their skepticism about the current form of the patent system,” wrote Neil Wilkof yesterday in IP Kat. It’s not a bad post and here is what it says about the seminal/cited paper: “The authors make a basic distinction between ex ante and ex post with respect to technology transfer and licensing. A significant amount of meaningful technology transfer is “ex ante”, namely it takes place before the patent issues, and sometimes even before it is filed. To the contrary, licensing demands and litigation leading to payment for freedom to operate, occurs “ex post”, after the patent is issued, sometimes long after grant. Even in the life sciences field, where one might expect more evidence that technology transfer would be taking place, the authors found that the “modal license” was primarily for payment for freedom to operate rather than technological transfer of the underlying technology.”

When it comes to software patents, empirical evidence typically shows that their existence harms innovation and causes more harm than good. “Despite Alice,” Benjamin Henrion wrote yesterday, “specialized patents courts keeps issuing software patents in the US” (known issue), but as long as the Supreme Court repudiates such nonsense we’re probably OK in the long run. Upon appeals, e.g. to CAFC (a bit pricey), software patents almost always die. Lower courts need to heed the warning and stop ignoring policies imposed (or handed down) from above.

“Suffice to say, “open source software” as the above names it (Free/libre software) is not compatible with software patents.”Dropbox, according to this page, has “4 new DROPBOX patent applications,” to quote Fresh Patents. They are pursuing software patents (the titles suggest so) on all sorts of basic Web operations. Will USPTO examiners be negligent enough to grant in spite of prior art and Alice? We shall see. One sure thing is, the courts (the higher, the better) won’t tolerate these.

We recently wrote about Blockstream making a patent pledge despite having no patents. This new report suggests that Blockchain technology faces patent-related problems. To quote IP Watch: “Blockchains, such as the well-known bitcoin, are not yet well-defined but are creating a lot of hype, speakers at a 23 August Intellectual Property Owners’ Association webinar said. Two things are clear so far, they said: the technology is in its infancy, and there are lots of unresolved questions about what is patentable and how IP laws intersect with the mostly open source software used in the systems.”

“If the Supreme Court was to be respected rather than ignored for convenience (or maximisation of profit), there would no longer be trials over software patents, let alone new grants of software patents.”Suffice to say, “open source software” as the above names it (Free/libre software) is not compatible with software patents. Neither are APIs (lesser form of “open source”), yet according to this new patent survey, there are more than 23,414 API patents. To quote D-Zone: “After looking through the 23,414 API related patents from between 2005 and present day from 4,283 companies, it is clear that the API patent game will be all about which companies decide to litigate using their “intellectual property.” There is definitely a lot of education that could occur across all industries where these patents will be put to work, and hopefully we can see some reforms at the USPTO regarding how important it is to the economy that the APIs themselves to remain open and reusable, but I think that ultimately the world of API patents will be hammered out in courts across the United States, and other countries around the world.”

Oracle now claims copyrights on APIs, in a case which involves a mixture of software patents and copyrights inherited from Sun upon acquisition. We hope that readers are able to see just how profound an impact all these efforts to apply ‘IP’ to code can have. When can developers go back to coding in peace? Well, hopefully when all courts and patent examiners pay attention to Alice and apply the corresponding test. If the Supreme Court was to be respected rather than ignored for convenience (or maximisation of profit), there would no longer be trials over software patents, let alone new grants of software patents.

Microsoft’s Legacy at Nokia is Patent Shakedown and Feeding of Patent Trolls

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 10:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Texas sign

Summary: Another glimpse at where Nokia stands after Microsoft entryism and the ugly effects of patent trolling — something which Microsoft has played a considerable role promoting as it harms Free/Open Source software (FOSS) the most

ONCE UPON a time there was a mobile giant called Nokia, before Microsoft infiltrated the management (Elop), had it turn down Linux, and later turned it into a patent parasite, as expected by us all along. Any way one looks at it, Nokia is a patent parasite and Benjamin Henrion has said, “I booked http://nokiaplanp.com [P for patents] where that was the frenzy of its future. I was right.” See the latest articles in our Wiki for a detailed blow-by-blow chronology.

“Remember that IAM is funded by a troll of Nokia, MOSAID (now called Conversant, after all the negative publicity), armed with Nokia patents after Microsoft insisted on it (this is well documented).”According to IAM, Nokia is so large a patent parasite right now that it makes literally billions by taxing companies with its old patents. “Nokia Technologies head steps down just after company joins the $1 billion licensing club,” says the headline from IAM. Remember that IAM is funded by a troll of Nokia, MOSAID (now called Conversant, after all the negative publicity), armed with Nokia patents after Microsoft insisted on it (this is well documented). Microsoft has a certain ‘skill’ when it comes to creating and/or arming patent trolls, including the world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures.

The other day we saw the article “Spotify Under Attack from Suspicious ‘Patent Troll’ Venadium LLC…” (probably not one among the thousands of satellites of Intellectual Ventures, but who knows)… [via]

We find it rather ironic, as the company which recently hired from Microsoft the patent mafioso who had armed patent trolls to attack rivals (including Linux, even after his departure) now faces the threat of an incognito patent troll. To quote this “Exclusive” report:

These companies often earn the dubious award of being known as “patent trolls,” of which Venadium may qualify within frustrated tech circles. The Eastern District of Texas is a well-known breeding ground and lawsuit haven for dubious, ‘patent troll’ type cases, with an 88% win for plaintiffs in patent infringement lawsuits, compared to a nationwide average of 68% (at least back in 2006).

The Eastern District of Texas and statistics about it put me in a long argument with the patent microcosm (they don’t like the characterisation of it as plaintiff-friendly), culminating in this citation that claims “36% win rate for plaintiffs”.

Regardless of the true numbers (can we trust lawyers more than we trust journalists?), here is a new article published very recently to explain how patent trolls operate.

How the current patent system actually hurts innovation (and how patent trolls are being fought)

[...]

One of the most common questions I get asked when talking to companies about their issues with innovation is “how do we prevent someone stealing our ideas? Should we get them all patented?”

Unfortunately, the answer to that isn’t so simple.

And that is because the current system for getting patents is in many ways no longer in line with how the world’s businesses work.

And worse than that, in many cases it is being abused by companies in ways which actually discourage innovation completely.

[...]

The issue seems to stem from the fact that the patent office just cannot check whether the people filing for a patent are in fact the original creators of the technology. For example, here is a patent granted to a person in 2002 for his description of “How to swing on a swing“.

[...]

If you want to prove that the patent was not valid, then the only way to prove that the lawsuit should not have happened in the first place is to have the legal system decide, analyse all the patents and claims, and determine once and for all whether the patent is valid.

This process can take 3+ years, and cost over $3 million.

This is much too expensive for most small companies to pay, so instead they are forced to pay the settlement claim to the patent troll.

[...]

A lot of the most innovative companies out there are making breakthroughs in the way we work, live and play using new software, whether we use it directly (a game on our phone) or to underpin their service (the vehicle prioritisation and routing within the Uber platform).

However, software is not always something that can be patented.

In some countries you can patent software (such as the USA, although this is often debated) while many other regions including most parts of Europe do not allow it.

As many software-based companies also operate on a global basis, this can make enforcement of patents extremely problematic, especially if software with different code is able to perform the same end-result.

In fact, there is a growing movement in Silicon Valley to open up patent portfolios and let anyone gain access to and build upon some of the most important software technology in the world. Echoing Henry Ford, who openly pined for the abolition of the patent system, Elon Musk has described patents as “intellectual property land mines” that inhibit progress.

That latter part speaks more specifically about software patents — a subject we shall focus on in our next post. Suffice to say, software patents are inherently incompatible with FOSS.

Convergence Between the EPO and the Media: ‘Managing IP’ as Battistelli and UPC Platform

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Time and space virtually ‘rented out’ to EPO management (another IAM-like propaganda mill in the making)

Managing IP and Battistelli

Summary: Managing IP reinforces the view or the perception that when it comes to the European Patent Office (EPO) it’s only a little better than an external PR department

THE EPO is wasting over a million Euros per year on spurious PR like pro-UPC events in another continent. There is also a lot of hogwash now that the EPO expels the independent judges or the boards they’re part of. Shortly after Battistelli was demolishing the boards and putting lipstick on the pig (see our translation of the hogwash) James Nurton is again, having done a softball ‘interview’ with Battistelli earlier this year in order to help him cover up/whitewash amid peak of a crisis (boiling point), jumping to his rescue. There is this new ‘Managing IP’ (MIP) nonsense titled “EPO President Battistelli on appeals reforms”. Why not just reprint a prepared (by the EPO’s PR team) ghostwritten piece? They frame this as an interview, but any fool can see what it really is. It’s supposedly behind a paywall (“$/trial,” as they put it in Twitter less than an hour ago), so the choir gets preferential access to the lies, the rest will find it harder to rebut (let alone see). This is a common tactic when suppressing criticism. The same goes for attendance at events where dissent is being discouraged/disallowed (e.g. by limiting who can speak and charging a furtune to attend, with exceptions/discounts to ‘desirable’ guests).

“…James Nurton is again, having done a softball ‘interview’ with Battistelli earlier this year in order to help him cover up/whitewash amid peak of a crisis (boiling point), jumping to his rescue.”What on Earth is happening to MIP? It’s even a multi-part Battistelli series, clearly prepared in advance to be released in conjunction with today’s UPC advocacy event. “This is the first of a two-part article,” Nurton wrote. “A further interview with Battistelli, on the social situation at the Office, will be published later this month.”

So, basically, they are planning to publish complete and utter lies like those we explained under an hour ago (the so-called 'social conference' and social report/study).

Shame on MIP. They’re not journalists, they’re actually Battistelli’s propagandists now. Some EPO staff is attending (not willfully) their UPC event, which they have advertised as follows: “Our #EUPatent16 forums take place this week in Munich (Tuesday) & Paris (Thursday) incl. panels on #UPC, #UnitaryPatent, #Brexit & #Frand”

This is a UPC promotion event. Make no mistake about it. Look who has speaking positions. It was mentioned here before, not just a month ago but also days ago. Hastags like #Brexit #EUPatent16 #UPC and #UnitaryPatent are being used by MIP to promote this and even #Frand (yes, the anti-FOSS, pro-software patents Trojan horse!)

“Come on,” they told me this morning. “We’re not in the business of promoting #UPC or #Unitarypatent – just providing a platform for discussion!”

“This is a UPC promotion event.”Yeah, right…

Another ‘conference’ brought to you by EPO, sort of…

“I can say very much the same,” said someone about the EPO a short while ago. “Management is loyal only to hidden agendas, power and weak moral.”

The problem is, MIP agreed to do the EPO management’s work. This shows that their integrity is flaky to say the least. They also profit from this event (over a thousand Euros for each person to attend a one-day event, assuming standard charges).

“I know you claim to have a neutral position,” I replied to them, “but the speakers’ lineup will likely omit any opponents,” as usual.

“They also profit from this event (over a thousand Euros for each person to attend a one-day event, assuming standard charges).”Well, perhaps foreseeing a backlash for licking Battistelli’s boot, MIP wrote to me this morning, hours before the puff piece and around the time the aforementioned event started.

“Disagree,” they added. “Based on our previous events, we expect a full range of views from speakers & audience. You should come to one!”

I replied with “€1095 for a one-day event about the #upc (plus plane tickets) [is] well beyond my means. Event for the rich to preach to the rich.”

“Our events are free for in-house counsel, academics & R&D professionals,” they replied. “Come next year as our guest!”

“We are very sad to see MIP becoming a lot more like IAM, which is the propaganda mill of Battistelli, still.”Well, being a guest at an event with thugs like Team Battistelli (and their bodyguards) doesn’t sound all that safe and besides, the place will be stuffed/stacked with pro-UPC people. It’s like entering the lion’s den.

We are very sad to see MIP becoming a lot more like IAM, which is the propaganda mill of Battistelli, still.

As an aside, the EPO’s PR people have been 'spamming' universities even today (this morning onwards). They don’t publicly mention or endorse MIP’s event, but it’s clear that they’re very much embedded in it. It’s not at all hard for outsiders to see.

High on EPO: Battistelli’s ‘Social Conference’ Nonsense is Intended to Help Suppress Debate About His Abuses Against Staff and Union-Busting Activities

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Big lies from a chronic liar [1, 2]

Battistelli liar
Source (original): Rospatent

Summary: Battistelli is attempting to purchase (i.e. pay for, at the EPO’s expense) an alternate reality wherein EPO staff is absolutely delighted and the social climate is fantastic — all this for the purpose of evading accountability for his systematic abuses that left him with 0% approval rate (literally!), suicidal/depressed staff, and notable brain drain as well as considerable decline in the quality of work [1, 2]

EARLIER this year and last week we mentioned the so-called ‘social conference’ [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], which relates to the social study [sic] commissioned by the liar (Battistelli) and his goons, relying on gross omissions and hired propaganda mills. Battistelli, being a politician, would go as far as necessary to protect his horrible regime, even if that means lying and insulting people’s intelligence.

Next month, at a very strategic time (no coincidence there), the EPO will release Battistelli’s massive and expensive propaganda, unleashing a large bundle of lies to justify not bringing up union-busting and violations of the law in the Administrative Council’s (AC) meeting. Wait and watch. Team Battistelli will continue to shamelessly rubbish justice and try to cover it up with a large bundle of lies, as usual.

The following new comment on the subject is quite revealing:

the stated purpose of the social conference is:

- presenting the results of the occupational health and safety risk assessment (ohsra) and the social study
- forming working groups to discuss these results
- work shops (by now these two points will be done on the same day as the presentations)
- expected results of the working groups and the workshops are
-_- an analysis how the previous reforms influenced the results of the social study and the ohsra
-_- suggestions how the previous reforms need to be amended to restore social climate, of course without an impact on the results of these reforms (so continued abolishment of steps and career, lower salaries, increased work pressure, less secure pensions for newcomers, …)

Both results will be presented to the AC, together with an analysis of the administration of these results, as well as an opinion on the studies by the administration.
How can the administration coordinate the working grouos, and work on their own analysis, as well as waiting for the results and form an opinion on that all on the same day, without most of all that already pre-written?
I bet they even prepared an analysis to be presented by the staff representative groups (FFPE, and the official Staff Representation)

I also wonder how they expect Staff Representation as well as FFPE to be able to actively particiate in all areas, when they do the working groups all at the same time, and will not allow sufficient “experts” to participate; no chance to discuss among themselves, and still deliver opinions on the same day which will be seen as representative of “all staff” if favourable for management, or “dissenting opinions of disgruntled single individuals” (a.k.a. violent and vocal minority) when not in favour of previous and future management actions.

I expect this whole exercise to deliver even more pre-cooked management “Bullshit-Bingo” catchwords without content, but used as justification to push the border of our legal issues even further….

We have loads of new material regarding the EPO. A lot of it will have been published before the so-called ‘social conference’ and we expect some press coverage to that effect, scrutinising the Battistelli regime in some form ahead of the next AC meeting. Dirty laundry will help convince delegates and journalists that everything Battistelli and his yellow ‘union’ say can be disregarded. For those who forgot what FFPE stands for, here is a reminder of past articles:

  1. In the EPO’s Official Photo Op, “Only One of the Faces is Actually FFPE-EPO”
  2. Further Evidence Suggests and Shows Stronger Evidence That Team Battistelli Uses FFPE-EPO as ‘Yellow Union’ Against SUEPO
  3. “FFPE-EPO Was Set up About 9 Years Ago With Management Encouragement”
  4. Fallout of the FFPE EPO MoU With Battistelli’s Circle
  5. The EPO’s Media Strategy at Work: Union Feuds and Group Fracturing
  6. Caricature of the Day: Recognising FFPE EPO
  7. Union Syndicale Federale Slams FFPE-EPO for Helping Abusive EPO Management by Signing a Malicious, Divisive Document
  8. FFPE-EPO Says MoU With Battistelli Will “Defend Employment Conditions” (Updated)
  9. Their Masters’ Voice (Who Block Techrights): FFPE-EPO Openly Discourages Members From Reading Techrights
  10. Letter Says EPO MoU “Raises Questions About FFPE’s Credibility as a Federation of Genuine Staff Unions”
  11. On Day of Strike FFPE-EPO Reaffirms Status as Yellow (Fake/Management-Leaning) Union, Receives ‘Gifts’
  12. Needed Urgently: Information About the Secret Meeting of Board 28 and Battistelli’s Yellow Union, FFPE-EPO
  13. In Battistelli’s Mini Union (Minion) It Takes Less Than 10 Votes to ‘Win’ an Election
  14. FFPE-EPO Going Ad Hominem Against FICSA, Brings Nationality Into It

Sheer propaganda “is good enough for political operators such as BB [Battistelli],” says the following new comment:

Thanks for the explanation. It seems that we have yet another example of a classic BB strategy, namely “consultation” in the form of allowing others to speak but having no intention of listening to them (let alone taking heed of anything that is said).

Of course, this strategy has nothing to do with the dictionary (or commonly understood) definition of “consultation”, but is good enough for political operators such as BB.

Quite frankly, the whole charade is just an insult to the intelligence of the staff representatives and all neutral observers. Not that this will stop the AC swallowing the results hook, line and sinker. What a debacle!

In another thread, one regarding privacy, the EPO's privacy violations (including medical data protection) are brought up again, noting that “patent processing at the EPO is not in compliance with EU standards for data protection.”

Here is the comment in full:

A patent is worth a lot of money.
Personal data are the bibliographic data, payment method, communication with the EPO but also the application (claims/description).

It is incredible that the patent processing at the EPO is not in compliance with EU standards for data protection.

Coming up soon are more articles about data protection abuses, the race to the bottom at the EPO, union-busting activities and highly negative social atmosphere at the Office. We urge readers to relay information about those things to both journalists and delegates as Battistelli prepares to lie to them in a big way. They need to be properly informed in order to counter his claims.

Links 6/9/2016: QEMU 2.7.0, GNU Nano 2.7.0

Posted in News Roundup at 8:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • VintOS Promises to Be the Chromium OS Fork You’ve Always Wanted and Needed

      Dylan Callahan from the Chromium OS for SBCs (Single-Board Computers) project, which unfortunately was discontinued due to lack of interest from users, informed Softpedia today, September 5, 2016, that he’s working on a new Linux-based OS.

      We have to admit that we’re quite surprised to see that developers aren’t giving up on their ambitions of creating the best fork of a well-known Linux kernel-based operating system, in this case Chromium OS. While Chromium OS for SBCs was aimed at embedded and IoT devices, the new one is targeted at all PCs.

      World, meet VintOS! What’s VintOS? Well, it’s upcoming open-source fork of Chromium OS, the operating system on which the famous Google Chrome OS is based. To make a name for itself from the get go, VintOS is named after one of the founding fathers of the Internet, Vinton Cerf, and it’s explicitly designed with educational purposes in mind.

  • Server

    • IBM to set up new Linux cloud for Africa

      IBM has announced a new LinuxONE community cloud for Africa, to be hosted at its client centre in Johannesburg.

      This follows a forecast by Frost & Sullivan that sub-Saharan Africa will be the second-largest mobile market by 2020, surpassing Europe and just behind Asia-Pacific.

      Developers will be able to use the newly set up cloud free for 120 days.

      IBM is also expanding its sales and support network of LinuxONE systems, its most powerful, in Africa.

      Dr Salihu Dasuki, assistant professor of computing and applied sciences at the American University of Nigeria, said the new could would help to boost the open-source movement in Africa.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 3.18.41 LTS Has ARC and Networking Changes, Updated Drivers

      Today, September 5, 2016, a new version of the long-term supported Linux 3.18 kernel series arrived, build 3.18.41, bringing various updated drivers and other small improvements.

      No official announcement was made at the moment of writing this article, but we managed to get our hands on the Git changelog to tell you a little bit about the changes implemented in the Linux 3.18.41 LTS release, which updates a total of 47 files, with 254 insertions and 91 deletions.

      Judging by the statistics mentioned above, Linux kernel 3.18.41 LTS is a relatively small maintenance update that multiple improvements to the ARC hardware architectures, as well as a few minor fixes to the PA-RISC and PowerPC (PPC) ones, a bugfix for the UBIFS file system, and an updated networking stack with IPv4 and mac80211 changes.

    • Greg Kroah-Hartman: Greg Kroah-Hartman: 4.9 == next LTS kernel

      As I briefly mentioned a few weeks ago on my G+ page, the plan is for the 4.9 Linux kernel release to be the next “Long Term Supported” (LTS) kernel.

      Last year, at the Linux Kernel Summit, we discussed just how to pick the LTS kernel. Many years ago, we tried to let everyone know ahead of time what the kernel version would be, but that caused a lot of problems as people threw crud in there that really wasn’t ready to be merged, just to make it easier for their “day job”. That was many years ago, and people insist they aren’t going to do this again, so let’s see what happens.

    • Torvalds at LinuxCon Part III: Permissive Licenses and Org Charts

      In the last of our three part series that began last week on Linus Torvalds’ keynote interview at this year’s LinuxCon, Linux’s lead developer talks about everything from up and coming operating systems in IoT to the development process.

      “You mentioned the strength of the GPL,” Dirk Hohndel said, by now about twenty minutes into his interview of Linus Torvalds at LinuxCon 2016. “Many new kernels have shown up in the last couple of years, mostly geared towards really small devices, the IoT space: Zephyr by Intel, Fuchsia by Google and a bunch more.”

      If you are who you work for now, Dirk Hohndel is VMware’s boy. But at the time of the interview, only a few weeks back, he’d been working as VMware’s chief open source officer for less than a month. For almost fifteen years before that — fourteen years nine months he’s careful to point-out on LinkedIn — he belonged to Intel, where he served as chief Linux and open source technologist. Before that he spent six years at SUSE, where he was CTO when he left in 2001, two years ahead of the Novell brouhaha.

      “One of the interesting commonalities is they’re all under BSD or MIT,” he continued. “Do you think they’re interesting and do you think that one of them could grow up and become a competitor for Linux or replace Linux?”

    • Graphics Stack

      • RADV Radeon Vulkan Driver One Step Closer To Being Merged In Mesa

        While the ultimate vision of the open-source Radeon Vulkan driver isn’t yet clear with RADV being the front-runner so far as the community-based driver while AMD has yet to open up their official Vulkan driver and there’s been few remarks about RADV from AMD employees (aside from John Bridgman in our forums), RADV inched forward today in moving closer to being merged in mainline Mesa.

      • libinput and the Lenovo T450 and T460 series touchpads

        I’m using T450 and T460 as reference but this affects all laptops from the Lenovo *50 and *60 series. The Lenovo T450 and T460 have the same touchpad hardware, but unfortunately it suffers from what is probably a firmware issue. On really slow movements, the pointer has a halting motion. That effect disappears when the finger moves faster.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • 20 Years of KDE Timeline

        KDE is celebrating 20 years as the original and best free software end-user creating community. The milestones of our project are marked on our 20 Years of KDE timeline. Find out the meetings and releases which defined KDE. Learn about the early and recent KDE gatherings around the world and how we have evolved over the years. What was your first KDE release?

      • Akademy 2016 BoF Wrapup Video

        The first BoF day of Akademy is over with several teams meeting to discuss their progress and plans for the next year. At the end of the day we had a group session to summarise what went on in each of the rooms. Watch the video of the wrapup to discover the plans for the next year.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Restricted Funds in Non-Profit Accounting

        I’ve served as treasurer for three separate organizations over the last six years. Two of them are US 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. The other is a consumer-owned cooperative. I’m not an accountant, but I’ve learned a lot about accounting, and each organization has forced me to learn something new.

        Today’s adventure is learning how to deal with restricted funds, or funds that have to be used for a particular purpose. I’m going to show four different techniques for dealing with restricted funds, along with some pros and cons.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian plugs Linux ‘TCP snoop’ bug

        Debian’s maintainers have moved to plug the TCP snooping flaw that emerged in August 2016.

        The bug, CVE-2016-5696, was spotted by University of California Riverside’s Zhiyun Qian and his collaborators and published in August.

        It enabled an attack against Linux (and Android) implementations of RFC 5961, which used challenge ACK packets to try and harden Linux. The implementation bug, present in the kernel since 2012, meant targets could be fooled into rate-limiting their challenge ACKs, letting an attacker work out sequence numbering when it resumed.

      • Derivatives

        • Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 1.01 Officially Released Based on Debian GNU/Linux 8.5

          Softpedia was informed today, September 5, 2016, by Patrick Emmabuntüs about the release and immediate availability for download of the Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 1.01 GNU/Linux operating system.

          Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 1.01 is the first point release of the Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 1.0 distribution announced for the first time right here on Softpedia Linux, exclusively, back in June 2016. Since then, Patrick Emmabuntüs and his team of skilled GNU/Linux developers updated the OS with many new improvements and features.

          First of all, Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 1.01 remains based on the Debian GNU/Linux 8.5 “Jessie” operating system, which means that it includes all the security updates released upstream in the Debian Stable repositories. Second of all, there’s now a 64-bit edition available for download and suitable for modern computers.

          “This edition of EmmaDE includes new versions of our set of tutorials on installation, presentation and free culture data. For the time being they are available in French only, and will be published later on the Developpez.com site. The English versions will be then translated by our friend Yves, and included in the release of version 1.02,” says Patrick Emmabuntüs in today’s announcement.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • OTON X claims to be the first artificial intelligent games console, it’s powered by Linux

      OTON X sounds like a rather interesting Linux-powered games console. It is aimed at people who want to create as well as play games.

      Claiming it as “first artificial intelligent games console” is a pretty big thing. It seems it will come with tools to help people with AI in games. It’s still cool either way and will be fun to follow the progress of it.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Gear S3 support coming soon to iPhone says Samsung

          Samsung has now launched the Gear S3 smartwatch and I have to say it looks quite impressive. The Gear S2 has had some excellent reviews by the tech media and so far the S3 looks well received.

        • Game: Table Tennis 3D for Samsung Z1 and Z3 is available

          Table Tennis 3D is a highly addictive game with good graphics, effects and good sound FX. You can play with friends or against the computer. You can do various moves like smash or swing the ball to become higher in rankings whilst in career mode, if you take the table tennis challenge. The computer competitor is based on human behaviour by reflexes, strength and speed. Play different moves: sidespin, corkspin etc. These are similar to normal table tennis moves. There are also 3 types of bat/paddle configuration for speed, spin and control. to personalize your gameplay, you select a bat that you are most comfortable with. You can also zoom in/out to change your view.

      • Android

        • Bad Time for Bad Batteries – Galaxy Recall by Samsung after exploding batteries
        • Samsung tells Australians to turn off Galaxy Note7 smartphones, investigates fire reports
        • Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 recall has a 22-year-old precedent
        • 7 ways Apple’s iPhone 7 needs to play catchup to Android

          All eyes will be on Apple Wednesday, and on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus that everyone expects the company to announce. Now more than ever, Apple has the advantage to win back on-the-fencers who are as open to an iPhone as they are to a whole chorus of Android phones.

          Why? Because Samsung just recalled its latest iPhone opponent, the Galaxy Note 7, over a battery flaw, and because Google hasn’t announced its latest Nexus successors (the rumored “Pixel” phones are said to be coming in October). That puts the iPhone in a position of strength and opportunity — if they can meet some of the top features found in Android rivals.

        • Apple hopes new iPhone 7 release will regain ground from growing Android
        • Fancy using Android on your computer? Android-86 released first build of Nougat for the PC

          It’s safe to say that Android and Intel don’t play that well together these days, and neither Google nor Intel are doing much to change that. Despite that, however, the Android-86 project, which is aimed at bringing Android to computers, is alive and well.

          In fact, the Android 7.0 build for developers has just been released through the project. What does that mean? You can now run Android 7.0 Nougat on your computer.

        • Has Huawei built a tablet for Google to be released in 2016?

          Right now, fans of the Nexus line have their eyes on the next pair of smartphones expected to be released in the coming weeks, but nobody has really been paying much attention to what Google has planned in the tablet department. Some have even speculated that Chromebooks are rapidly overtaking the niche that Android tablets once occupied, but now it seems like Google might have another tablet card up their sleeve in conjunction with Huawei.

          It doesn’t have a name yet, and with the Nexus line allegedly rebranding to Pixel, there’s no way to really even speculate. All we know is that prolific leaker and Android community staple Evan Blass has tweeted that Google will be releasing a “Huawei-built 7-inch tablet, with 4GB RAM” before the end of the year.

        • Leak “confirms” Google Pixel, Pixel XL comes with Android 7.1

          In case there were any doubt that Google’s upcoming Android smartphones due next month would be coming with Android 7.1 out of the box, this should lay those to rest. Actually, it still might not, considering it’s technically still an unverified leak. For leakster LlabTooFeR, however, it’s pretty much a done deal. And considering how the initial Android 7.0 release missed a couple of things, that’s almost a given. Now all we have to do is wait for about a month to see if Marlin and Sailfish, both from HTC, will indeed be the first of Google’s new line of Pixel smartphones.

        • GStreamer on Android and universal builds

          There are some things that I’d like for us to be able to do better. The first is that Android Studio doesn’t pick up native code with our current build approach. This is a limitation of the Android Gradle NDK plugin, which doesn’t support a custom build. This should change with Android Studio 2.2.

        • Do not deal with Android Enjoyed, Camera Sky and Klukkur, Fair Trading warns
        • Apple Music for Android Surpasses 10 Million Downloads
        • Android vs iPhone | Android vs iOS: which is best?

          So you want a new phone, but you’re considering jumping ship from Android or iOS. But is the grass really greener on the other side, or should you stick with what you know? Here we outline the pros and cons of Android phones and iPhones. It’s Android vs iPhone: iOS vs Android. See also: Best new phones

          Before we get started, we must point out that this guide is intended as a brief overview to help you decide whether to choose an Android phone or an iPhone. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive comparison of every last feature, both in hardware and software, of each type of phone. And we also know that die-hard fans won’t be persuaded to switch – that’s not the aim of this article at all.

        • Michael Kors Dylan Access review: Android Wear for everyone

          The Michael Kors Access line is available September 6 starting at $350 for the model above (metal/silicone), going up to $395 for the more exclusive gold-tone Bradshaw varieties. Bands begin at $40, rising to $50 for the embossed versions). (In Canada, watch prices begin at $420, rising to $475, with bands running $50 to $60.)

          Despite the issues with the charger, and the imperfect display characteristics, I grew to enjoy the Access, and would certainly recommend it to anyone looking to engage with the more fashion-forward varieties of Android Wear. Like the Fossil Q Founder, this smartwatch is more about the brand than the product, and it’s clear that certain decisions were made to reinforce its place alongside similarly-designed analog watches in endless glass displays.

          But somehow it works: it is both fashionable and functional, the comfortable enough (with a sizeable battery) to wear all day.

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • El Salvador footballers claim they were offered bribes for World Cup qualifier against Canada

    Players from El Salvador’s national football team claim they were offered bribes for a World Cup qualifier, playing audio of the alleged interaction at a press conference.

    The players claimed they were offered financial inducements to win, draw or avoid a heavy defeat in the match against Canada, scheduled for Wednesday (AEST).

    El Salvador captain Nelson Bonilla told reporters in a pre-match news conference in Vancouver on Monday that a Salvadoran businessman had approached the players with the offer last weekend.

  • Screens In Schools Are a $60 Billion Hoax

    As the dog days of summer wane, most parents are preparing to send their kids back to school. In years past, this has meant buying notebooks and pencils, perhaps even a new backpack. But over the past decade or so, the back-to-school checklist has for many also included an array of screen devices that many parents dutifully stuff into their children’s bag.

    The screen revolution has seen pedagogy undergo a seismic shift as technology now dominates the educational landscape. In almost every classroom in America today, you will find some type of screen—smartboards, Chromebooks, tablets, smartphones. From inner-city schools to those in rural and remote towns, we have accepted tech in the classroom as a necessary and beneficial evolution in education.

    This is a lie.

    Tech in the classroom not only leads to worse educational outcomes for kids, which I will explain shortly, it can also clinically hurt them. I’ve worked with over a thousand teens in the past 15 years and have observed that students who have been raised on a high-tech diet not only appear to struggle more with attention and focus, but also seem to suffer from an adolescent malaise that appears to be a direct byproduct of their digital immersion. Indeed, over two hundred peer-reviewed studies point to screen time correlating to increased ADHD, screen addiction, increased aggression, depression, anxiety and even psychosis.

  • Science

    • Billionaires’ Spectacular Stumbles

      This past week, a Falcon 9 rocket built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company exploded on the launch pad during preparations for a static test prior to the scheduled launch of a communications satellite. The explosion and fire were quite spectacular, although in an unwanted sense, of course.

      This was SpaceX’s second catastrophic failure in little more than a year. Last year another Falcon 9 disintegrated two minutes after launch, with the loss of a cargo capsule bringing 4,000 pounds of supplies and equipment to the international space station. Such failures have raised, at least for the moment, the question of whether Musk is unwisely trying in his ventures to push the envelope too far and too fast.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Toxic air pollution particles found in human brains

      Toxic nanoparticles from air pollution have been discovered in human brains in “abundant” quantities, a newly published study reveals.

      The detection of the particles, in brain tissue from 37 people, raises concerns because recent research has suggested links between these magnetite particles and Alzheimer’s disease, while air pollution has been shown to significantly increase the risk of the disease. However, the new work is still a long way from proving that the air pollution particles cause or exacerbate Alzheimer’s.

      “This is a discovery finding, and now what should start is a whole new examination of this as a potentially very important environmental risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease,” said Prof Barbara Maher, at Lancaster University, who led the new research. “Now there is a reason to go on and do the epidemiology and the toxicity testing, because these particles are so prolific and people are exposed to them.”

      Air pollution is a global health crisis that kills more people than malaria and HIV/Aids combined and it has long been linked to lung and heart disease and strokes. But research is uncovering new impacts on health, including degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, mental illness and reduced intelligence.

      The new work, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined brain tissue from 37 people in Manchester, in the UK, and Mexico, aged between three and 92.

  • Security

    • LuaBot Is the First Botnet Malware Coded in Lua Targeting Linux Platforms [Ed: so don’t install malware]

      Unlike Mirai, which is the fruit of a two-year-long coding frenzy, LuaBot is in its early stages of development, with the first detection being reported only a week ago and a zero detection rate on VirusTotal for current samples.

    • Nearly 800,000 Brazzers Porn Site Accounts Exposed in Forum Hack [Ed: Remember Canonical having Ubuntu Forums cracked, twice, due to proprietary vBulletin? Well, vBulletin — again.]

      Nearly 800,000 accounts for popular porn site Brazzers have been exposed in a data breach. Although the data originated from the company’s separate forum, Brazzers users who never signed up to the forum may also find their details included in the dump.

      Motherboard was provided the dataset by breach monitoring site Vigilante.pw for verification purposes. The data contains 790,724 unique email addresses, and also includes usernames and plaintext passwords. (The set has 928,072 entries in all, but many are duplicates.)

      Troy Hunt, a security researcher and creator of the website Have I Been Pwned? helped verify the dataset by contacting subscribers to his site, who confirmed a number of their details from the data.

    • Pokémon-inspired rootkit attacks Linux systems [Ed: Media hyping up "Linux" threat which requires 1) the cracker has access to the device. 2) cracker installs malware.]

      Provides backdoor and traffic-hiding capabilities.

      A new persistent stealthy malware that can give attackers full control over Linux servers has been discovered by researchers.

      Researcher Fernando Mercês with security vendor Trend Micro said the malware – a rootkit family – is named after a character in the Pokémon fantasy game called Umbreon.

      Umbreon is a dark Pokémon that hides in the night, an “appropriate characteristic for a rootkit,” Mercês wrote.

    • Pokémon-loving VXer targets Linux with ‘Umbreon’ rootkit [Ed: More hysteria, now in British media, over something that’s not a real risk, thanks to self promotion]
    • Pokemon Rootkit Targets Linux Systems
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Syria: Can Russia & US Broker a new Cease-Fire?

      Stars and Stripes reports that US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov may be very near a new US-Russian deal on Syria.

    • In Turkey, a Chechen Commander Makes Plans for War in Syria

      Rustam Azhiyev, better known as Abdul Hakim, rarely left his apartment building in the Basaksehir district of Istanbul. Originally from Chechnya, Hakim has spent almost his entire life at war, and he is now the head of Ajnad al Kavkaz, or Soldiers of the Caucasus, the largest of the Muslim factions from the former Soviet Union fighting in Syria.

      It was the fall of 2015, and I wasn’t given our meeting location until I got in the taxi in Istanbul. “Basaksehir, where the big bazaar is located,” my contact told me in Russian over the phone. “You will find it for sure.”

      I was supposed to call again when I got there and then wait, apparently long enough to make sure that I wasn’t being watched.

      Istanbul is like a giant waiting hall in a train station. It’s easy to remain anonymous in that constant churn of people entering and exiting the city, and that’s what jihadis intent on going to Syria have done here. Though the exact number is hard to know, there are believed to be thousands of Chechens living in Istanbul, and even more Uzbeks, Kazakhs, and Tajiks. And some of them are on their way to Syria, where they take up arms with factions fighting the Assad regime.

    • Erdogan’s unexpected ally

      There was exhaustive coverage by international media of the post-coup meeting between Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in St. Petersburg. Now the Kremlin host may pay a return visit. The media spotlight however did not fall on one other – perhaps, quite unexpected – Erdogan ally: Thorbjorn Jagland, the Council of Europe’s Secretary General.

    • How Obama’s Asia Pivot Nudged China Toward Pakistan but Helped Aggravate India

      After many disastrous years spent trying to shape the Middle East, the Obama administration has refocused its foreign policy toward defending U.S. interests in economically wealthy East Asia. President Obama’s “pivot to Asia” is widely perceived as an attempt by the United States to contain China’s growing economic and political clout in that region. But the resulting increase in U.S. pressure on China’s eastern periphery has had an interesting side-effect — it has led China to look elsewhere on the continent for opportunities to trade, invest, and build diplomatic influence.

      A major target of this redirected effort has been China’s neighbor to its west, Pakistan. A series of joint Chinese-Pakistani infrastructure projects are now underway, branded collectively as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). These investments are intended to build Pakistan’s economic capacity and increase its links to western China, while giving China access to port facilities on the Indian Ocean.

      Although the project could have significant long-term economic benefits to the region, it has engendered tensions with India, which has had contentious relations with both China and Pakistan in the past. How China navigates this effort to expand its influence with Pakistan, and how other powerful countries respond, could determine whether South and Central Asia embark on a new era of shared prosperity or remain trapped in a cycle of conflict.

    • Hillary Clinton Courts Henry Kissinger’s Endorsement Even After Meeting His Victims

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been seeking the endorsement of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and their efforts may pay off, as there are reports that he is expected soon, alongside former Secretary of State George Schultz, to issue a joint endorsement of Clinton.

      While those inside the national security community in Washington, D.C., may applaud the endorsement, Kissinger’s legacy of war crimes — from complicity in the 1973 coup in Chile to spearheading the saturation bombing of Indochina — has made him far less popular among human rights observers.

      Clinton is well aware of that legacy. As secretary of state, she traveled to areas of the world that were devastated by policies Kissinger crafted and implemented.

      The most relevant example is in 2012, when she visited Laos’s Cooperative Orthotic & Prosthetic Enterprise, a joint project between NGOs and the government of Laos dedicated to helping people with physical disabilities get prosthetic limbs and be rehabilitated. The project’s creation was prompted by the millions of submunitions littered across Laos, left over from the U.S. air war on the country during the conflict in Indochina.

    • The link between uranium from the Congo and Hiroshima: a story of twin tragedies

      On August 6 – Hiroshima Day – I participated in a groundbreaking event at the South African Museum in Cape Town entitled The Missing Link: Peace and Security Surrounding Uranium.

      The event had been organised by the Congolese Civil Society of South Africa to put a spotlight on the link between Japan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): that the uranium used to build the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima came from the Shinkolobwe mine in the province of Katanga.

      This was the richest uranium in the world. Its ore had an average of 65% uranium oxide compared with American or Canadian ore, which contained less than 1%.

      The mine is now closed, but its existence put it at the centre of the Manhattan Project in the second world war. The Congo was a Belgian colony at the time and the Congolese suffered from the harsh colonial reality of racism, segregation and extreme inequities.

      Following the war, the mine became a focus for the Cold War conflict between the superpowers. Today, freelance miners, desperate to earn a living and at severe risk to their health, still go to the site to dig out uranium and cobalt.

    • Defending Arms Sales, Boris Johnson Says Yemen Carnage Is No ‘Serious Breach’

      The Saudi-led military campaign that has indiscriminately killed nearly 4,000 Yemeni civilians, is the driving force behind massive humanitarian and refugee crises, and has been accused of war crimes, has not breached international law sufficiently for the United Kingdom to cease selling munitions to the Gulf nation—at least according to British foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

      As members of Parliament prepare this week to debate whether to impose an arms ban on Saudi Arabia in light of the aforementioned allegations, the newly-appointed Johnson submitted a letter Monday arguing that there has been no “serious breach” of law.

      “The key test for our continued arms exports to Saudi Arabia in relation to international humanitarian law is whether those weapons might be used in a commission of a serious breach of international humanitarian law,” he wrote. “Having regard to all the information available to us, we assess this test has not been met.”

    • Boris Johnson defends UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia
    • Repression Rains Down on Pro-Democracy Demonstrators in Brazil

      Protests took place in multiple Brazilian cities on Sunday, in support of ousted president Dilma Rousseff and against the now-officially installed government of her successor, Michel Temer.

    • How Many Guns Did the U.S. Lose Track of in Iraq and Afghanistan? Hundreds of Thousands.

      Early this year, a Facebook user in Baghdad using the name Hussein Mahyawi posted a photograph of a slightly worn M4 assault rifle he was offering for sale. Veterans of the latest war in Iraq immediately recognized it. It was a standard American carbine equipped with a holographic sight, a foregrip that was military-issue during the occupation and a sticker bearing a digital QR code used by American forces for inventory control. Except for one detail — an aftermarket pistol grip, the sort of accessory with which combatants of the current generation often pimp their guns — it was a dead ringer for any of the tens of thousands of M4s the Pentagon handed out to Iraqi security forces and various armed militias after toppling Saddam Hussein in 2003. And here it was on the open market, ready for bids.

      Was this a surprise? No. A little more than four years after the United States withdrew all its military forces from Iraq, and not quite two years after a smaller number of American troops began returning to the country to help fight the Islamic State, the open sale of such an M4 was part of Iraq’s day-to-day arms-trafficking routine. Mahyawi’s carbine was another data point attesting to an extraordinary and dangerous failure of American arms-trafficking and public accountability and to a departure from a modern military’s most basic practice: keeping track of the guns.

    • Obama cancels meeting with leader who called him ‘son of a b—-’

      President Obama cancelled a meeting with new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, after being called a “son of a bitch” by the leader while he spoke to reporters.

      In language highly unusual for any world leader — let alone from a close ally like the Philippines — Duterte told reporters in Manila that Obama should not use their planned meeting to critique the Philippine’s war on drugs.

      “You must be respectful,” Duterte said of Obama, according to the AP. “Do not just throw questions.” Using the Tagalog phrase for “son of a bitch,” he said, “Putang ina, I will swear at you in that forum.”

      The comment came after a reporter asked him how he’ll explain the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, where more than 2,000 suspected drug sellers and users have been killed since the end of June.

      [...]

      “Clearly, he’s a colorful guy,” Obama said.

      “And what I’ve instructed my team to do is to talk to their Philippine counterparts to find out is this, in fact, a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations.”

      Obama stressed that the Filipino people were “some of our closest friends and allies, and the Philippines is a treaty ally of ours.”

      But he said he wanted to make sure “that if I’m having a meeting that it’s actually productive and we’re getting something done.”

    • Michael Levitan, Brian Wilson, and Bo Boudart

      Wilson recounts his transformation from Vietnam-War hawk to veteran to antiwar organizer…

    • The NSA’s British Base at the Heart of U.S. Targeted Killing

      Over the past decade, the documents show, the NSA has pioneered groundbreaking new spying programs at Menwith Hill to pinpoint the locations of suspected terrorists accessing the internet in remote parts of the world. The programs — with names such as GHOSTHUNTER and GHOSTWOLF — have provided support for conventional British and American military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. But they have also aided covert missions in countries where the U.S. has not declared war. NSA employees at Menwith Hill have collaborated on a project to help “eliminate” terrorism targets in Yemen, for example, where the U.S. has waged a controversial drone bombing campaign that has resulted in dozens of civilian deaths.

      The disclosures about Menwith Hill raise new questions about the extent of British complicity in U.S. drone strikes and other so-called targeted killing missions, which may in some cases have violated international laws or constituted war crimes. Successive U.K. governments have publicly stated that all activities at the base are carried out with the “full knowledge and consent” of British officials.

      The revelations are “yet another example of the unacceptable level of secrecy that surrounds U.K. involvement in the U.S. ‘targeted killing’ program,” Kat Craig, legal director of London-based human rights group Reprieve, told The Intercept.

      “It is now imperative that the prime minister comes clean about U.K. involvement in targeted killing,” Craig said, “to ensure that British personnel and resources are not implicated in illegal and immoral activities.”

      The British government’s Ministry of Defence, which handles media inquires related to Menwith Hill, declined to comment for this story.

    • Sowing the seeds of conflict in the Middle East

      British soldiers on guard at Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem, 1920. Matson Collection. Public Domain.Many people, understandably, are perplexed by the violence and disorder of the Middle East. They look at, say, the conflict in Syria and ask: how did it come to this?

      Part of the problem is that the media focus on the crowded foreground and neglect the all-important historical background – in particular, the formative period in the emergence of the modern Middle East, in the age of empire.

      To understand the conflicts and crises of today’s Middle East, we need to understand how it emerged in essentially its present form, in the half-century between 1917 and 1967. When the British left Egypt, 77 per cent of the population was illiterate, per capita income stood at £42 a year, and the life expectancy of an Egyptian male was 36.

      The region was shaped in important, and fateful, ways by the First World War and its aftermath. The Ottoman Empire, which had governed the Middle East for four hundred years, had taken the side of Germany. After its defeat, Britain and France divided the Arab portions of the empire between them. The post-war settlement left a legacy of deep mistrust – and unwittingly sowed the seeds of many of the conflicts of today, including the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the Lebanon problem and the statelessness of the Kurds.

      Arabs who dreamt of independence felt betrayed when they found they had exchanged Turkish for European rule. ‘The ghost of the Peace Settlement,’ wrote the historian Albert Hourani, ‘has haunted Arab politics ever since.’

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • With ‘Time Running Out,’ G20 Fails on Fossil Fuel Subsidies

      ‘Handing out money to the fossil fuel industry is simply not compatible with the Paris agreement’

    • Indonesia team threatened with death for looking into fires, haze

      Dozens of Indonesian men, suspected of being hired by an oil palm plantation company, threatened to kill environmental investigators checking on fires on Sumatra island, the environment ministry said.

      The incident illustrates the difficulties Indonesia faces tackling the illegal burning of vegetation to clear land for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations that causes clouds of smoke every dry season, which at times blanket the region, raising fears for public health and air travel.

      The ministry said a group of up to 100 men detained seven investigators for about 12 hours on the weekend and threatened to burn them alive and dump their bodies in a river at an oil palm plantation in Rokan Hulu, Riau province.

      The team was following up on satellite images showing “hot spots,” or suspected fires, in a concession of PT Andika Permata Sawit Lestari (APSL) oil palm plantation company.

      There were “strong indications” the mob was deployed by the company, the ministry said in a statement.

      “With this incident, the investigation of PT APSL will become our top priority,” Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya said in the statement, referring to both suspected forest encroachment by the company and the detention of the team.

      “The environment ministry will investigate this and take strict action in accordance with the law,” she said.

    • Indonesia Condemns Palm Oil Firm’s Hostage-Taking Over Fires

      Indonesia’s minister of environment and forestry has condemned attempts by a palm oil company to stop an investigation into forest fires by taking ministry investigators hostage.

      A team of seven officials investigating wildfires was intercepted Friday and held by a group of captors believed to be mobilized by Andika Permata Sawit Lestari Ltd., a palm oil company operating in Riau province.

      Novrizal Tahar, a ministry spokesman, said Monday that the hostages were released early Saturday following negotiations involving police and local officials.

      The team initially found that more than 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) of forest had been burned by workers of the company, according to a ministry statement Sunday.

      Following the negotiations, the team agreed to erase the files from their digital camera, except for pictures taken by a drone, the statement said.

      Siti Nurbaya, the minister of environment and forestry, said in the statement that the incident has encouraged her ministry to take stern actions against perpetrators of illegal forest burning and rogue corporations in accordance with the law.

    • Saudi Arabia’s oil industry has an overlooked risk
    • Russia, Saudi Arabia plan oil output task force

      Oil prices rose Monday after Russia and Saudi Arabia announced they would cooperate on stabilizing oil output.

      The two top oil-producing countries plan to hold a Russia-Saudi Arabia task force on oil and gas next month, the Russian and Saudi energy ministers Alexander Novak and Minister Khalid al-Falih announced Monday in a joint statement at the G-20 summit in China.

      Their countries “recognized the need to restrain an excessive volatility of the oil market” and agreed to act together “in order to stabilize the oil market,” they said in the statement.

  • Finance

    • Burning Man’s loving engine powered by wealth, privilege

      As I fumbled for a $20 bill to buy ice, my wallet felt unexpectedly foreign.

      I’d been in Burning Man’s temporary city for nearly a week and it was the first time I’d had to pay for anything.

      That’s a big part of this whole experience: Decommodification.

      In other words, you basically can’t buy anything here. This isn’t a barter economy, either.

      Instead, the 70,000 folks here just give you things. Sweaty naked hugs? Yes (but no thanks). French toast made with challah bread flown in fresh from Berkeley? Absolutely. The best Moscow mule you’ve ever had? Definitely. Free airplane rides? No problem.

    • Obama Needs to Take TPP Off the Table
    • The ITT Fraud: For-Profit Education and the Crisis of the Commons

      The rapid decline of the ITT for profit-college may represent a pivotal moment in modern history, as seen in rising challenges to predatory capitalism. ITT is in deep trouble, subject to numerous lawsuits, from the Securities and Exchange Commission and Consumer Finance and Protection Bureau (CFPB) for defrauding students. The con that is for-profit education is finally being exposed, and these “higher learning” institutions are increasingly recognized for their rapacious treatment of students. Within this context, the Wall Street Journal seeks to reframe the attack on ITT as the work of the big, bad government, which is committed to stifling the liberties inherent in private enterprise. Contrary to the paper’s propaganda, however, the narrative of for-profit colleges as a beleaguered David facing the onslaught of a brutal government Goliath bears little resemblance to reality.

      In a recent piece in their “Review and Outlook” section titled “Obama’s For-Profit Execution,” the Journal attacks the Obama administration for trying to “kill a company without proving a single allegation” in court. The paper laments the Department of Education for requiring ITT to increase its letter of credit from 10 percent to 20 percent, in light of the possibility that the corporation will lose its accreditation in the near future. A letter of credit refers to the collateral a for-profit institution must maintain to assure that it can pay back money owed to the federal government in the case of bankruptcy, which may be right around the corner for the ailing college

    • Reagan Sold Your Future, Trump Will Too

      Two generations ago, many white working-class Democrats bought into Ronald Reagan’s promise of a better nation. Eager for “morning in America” — and swayed by fear that advances for black people would come at their expense — they didn’t see that the shadow of a long sunset was creeping over their lives.

      Because the GOP had another, darker agenda. One that didn’t include them.

      Reagan Democrats were left with a president who blamed and criticized people of color, while billionaires got to enjoy a president who helped them grab the lion’s share of America’s wealth.

      Today, Donald Trump is singing the same song, promising salvation and blaming immigrants, blacks, and Muslims for America’s woes. And if enough white men join the chorus, they may doom themselves to another decade of declining economic opportunity.

    • Waiting for Brexit – a note on contentions and biases

      By way of background: until the referendum vote a couple or so months ago, I never expected or wanted to write much about European Union issues.

      I had done a couple of posts at the FT about the referendum before the vote: here I explained why the referendum was not legally binding and here I contended that the referendum was unnecessary.

      But I did not expect ever to write any more than this on the topic: I assumed, like many people, that Remain would win and Cameron would get away with his political folly.

      Then Remain lost and Leave won, and a spectacular political-legal-policy mess was created.

      And, I am afraid, I found this mess fascinating.

      I still do.

    • The Problem With Tax and Spend Politicians

      If we want more war, more unemployment, a new recession, and bursting bubbles that drive financial instability, vote for those Republican incumbents, many of whom gave us the radically wrong invasion of Iraq and the daily hemorrhage of Pentagon contracts that produce record deficits and starve domestic budgets.

    • Apple and Ireland: Partners in Crime

      Underneath the sleek design there’s nothing but sleaze. And behind the blarney there’s sinister bullshit. No wonder they understand each other and have been working harmoniously together since 1991. Despite the ultramodern technology and the trendy little economy – Apple and Ireland are nothing but pirates attempting to pillage as much as they can from the global community.

      All was revealed in Brussels on Tuesday when the EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, nailed the corporation and the country to the wall of shame. After investigating Apple’s tax arrangements in Ireland Vestager concluded that Dublin is breaking EU rules by giving state aid to Apple – one of the richest corporations in the world (it’s value is not far off a trillion dollars).

      The state aid in question is a tax arrangement that allows Apple to avoid paying international tax. The trick is the use of a shell company that is based in Ireland but which is officially “stateless”. By directing all the money it makes outside the US into it’s “Irish” shell company Apple – thanks to the Irish government – walks away with a tax rate of “0.005%”. That is: apart from the token amount it pays to the Irish government at the usual 12.5% rate – Apple walks away with everything it can get it’s hands on. But since this special tax package is offered “only” to Apple the EU judged it to be a breach of it’s competition rules.

    • TTIP Is on the Floor, the Referee Is Counting Down…

      We’ve had an incredible victory this week. Some of the leading proponents of the EU-US corporate trade deal, known as TTIP, have said that the deal is dead.

      We would never have got to this position without the tremendous mobilisation across Europe over the last 3 years. This has been one of the most significant movements in recent European history.

    • Obama still thinks Pacific trade deal can pass Congress

      President Barack Obama expressed renewed optimism that his trade pact with Pacific Rim nations would still be approved by Congress, despite widespread political opposition that has left the 12-nation deal all but dead.

      Both Democrats and Republicans have soured on the Trans-Pacific Partnership as overseas trade has emerged as a campaign scapegoat for all that remains wrong in the shifting U.S. economy. Hopes for passage by the end of Obama’s term have largely faded.

    • Paul Ryan Says the Catholic Charity Model Is the Solution to Poverty. Catholics Disagree.

      Earlier this week, Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Ron Johnson, both of Wisconsin, penned an op-ed stating—once again—their belief that charity and individual responsibility are the key to fighting poverty.

      “This is how you fight poverty: person to person,” they write.

      To illustrate their point, they tell the story of The Joseph Project, a job assistance program run by the Greater Praise Church of God in Christ in Milwaukee. Ryan and Johnson praise The Joseph Project for providing vans that drive Milwaukeeans to Sheboygan County, where they can earn $15 an hour working a factory job. In Milwaukee, by contrast, these workers would likely earn just $8 or $9 an hour. The drive is an hour commute each way, but Ryan and Johnson assert: “That van represents the difference between poverty and opportunity.”

      While it’s important that The Joseph Project is assisting these folks, it’s disingenuous for the Speaker and the Senator to lift up this kind of program as the key to fighting poverty—and even a justification for overhauling our safety net.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trudeau’s fading relationship with Canadian labour

      Justin Trudeau’s government started well, moving swiftly to repeal anti-union legislation in bills C-377 and C-525. Ushered in during the Harper years, the bills implemented legislation that made it harder for workers to unionize, and forced unions to disclose detailed financial information about activities like political lobbying and donations.

      Public sector unions also applauded the decision to repeal Bill C-59, which enabled the government to bypass the collective bargaining process and impose new sick leave rules on the public service.

      Unfortunately, the strong start from the Liberals failed to carry through into the rest of the year, with little movement seen at the public sector union bargaining tables, and the repeal of Bill C-4 yet to tabled formally in Parliament. Trudeau said last month at the Unifor national convention the government planned to introduce repeal legislation for the bill this fall.

      Under Bill C-4 rules, bargaining is heavily skewed in favour of the government. The legislation introduced a raft of anti-union measures impacting contract negotiations that include enabling the government to decide which unions can go to arbitration and which ones are allowed to strike, and skewing the arbitration route in favour of pro-government settlement offers.

    • Hillary Clinton, Servergate, and the Steve Martin Defense

      One possibility is that Clinton is a lying felon who, either intentionally or with reckless negligence, compromised classified information which was entrusted to her care, and who knew she could successfully play the “I forgot card” to forestall prosecution because she is Hillary Clinton.

      The other possibility is that Clinton suffers from a traumatic brain injury which negatively affects her ability to remember important things. Things like, say, “when meeting with the Russian ambassador, don’t let him play with the briefcase that contains the nuclear strike codes.”

    • The United States: Proud Sponsor of Democracy Propaganda

      Consumers are familiar with the term, sponsored by. Someone put up some scratch and in turn gets the right to sell their wares. It’s a business deal. We’ve seen the word “sponsor”, in this sense, prefaced by another word, like “official”, or “proud”. Official sponsor means something like…actually it doesn’t mean anything beyond what sponsor means. It’s merely trying to sound important. Now proud sponsor means something like…no, actually there’s no content to it either but it seems to be trying to puff up the sponsor. What do we really care about how proud they are of, what, to sell us something?

      Words can sometimes mean nothing. How about these? Do you think your choice of candidate is “honest and trustworthy”? This is a popular subject in the upcoming presidential election. A Google search yields about 350,000 results from the four words, Trump, Clinton, honest, trustworthy. It should be more though.

      A Google search for the three words — advertising, honest, trustworthy — yields over four million results. But we still fall hook, line, and sinker for advertising’s inaccuracy, exaggeration, misdirection, manipulation, exploitation, lies of omission and outright lies. It works, and works so wonderfully that it is the engine for consumer mass commercialization. We’re a great country as long as we keep shopping, this taking a little liberty with a line from one G.W. Bush.

      Politicians no more have to tell the truth than advertisers do. That’s not their job. They’re in sales and, as such, occupy the lowest rung in Washington. Marlon Brando once said that actors are the lowest rung in Hollywood. Same thing. Both get pushed out front where they act as instruments of those with permanence in the establishment structure. At best, they become part of the structure.

    • The US Election: an Exercise in Mendacity

      Big Daddy might have been talking about the current U.S. presidential election, which currently wraps the nation in a putrid bubble that can be smelled around the planet. To call it a democratic process would surely be mendacious.

      Leave aside the fact that bourgeois elections are generally structured in such a way as to screw over the 99%. Polls during the primaries consistently indicated that Bernie Sanders led either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in voter support. But devious rules and manipulations, and the now-revealed skewing of the primary process by the DNC, and the solid backing of the news networks deliberately downplaying Clinton’s negatives while belittling Sanders, delivered the convention vote to the former secretary of state.

      Meanwhile Trump became Republican nominee because the mainstream media for months followed a strategy of simultaneously treating his candidacy as a joke but then cutting to coverage of his every utterance (as “breaking news”) even though he just repeated his same old tired, vapid, solipsistic rant that was anything but news. At the same time, they ignored Sanders’ speeches, or at least failed to convey their content, as reporters merely covered Sanders events as curious gatherings of enthusiastic youth. In that way Trump was able to reach his base; pick off, one by one, his GOP rivals; and gradually win polite treatment as a respectable candidate.

      This was not a case of Wall Street pouring money into the candidate’s coffers thus determining the outcome. (Look how little good Jeb Bush’s war chest did him!) It was a case of the bourgeois media determining that the broadcast of Trump’s flow-of-conscious narcissistic diatribes drew in viewers and of course sold the products advertised one out of every four minutes you watch TV. (Ultimately in this system the advertisers decide what constitutes “truth” on TV.)

      We know that Hillary Clinton lied. She obviously did when she told Congress she had never forwarded emails marked classified from her personal email through her personal, unauthorized server. The FBI has made this very clear. While this particular sin is not a concern for me (I am perfectly happy when officials of mendacious governments reveal their dishonesty through lack of caution) it’s a clear that the candidate is (as her rival charges) “crooked.” And she didn’t, as she told Congress, just have one cell phone; she had 13 while secretary of state and had her minions smash at least two with hammers for some reason. And she did email her daughter Chelsea the very day of the Benghazi attack in 2012 that the attackers were “an Al Queda-like group” (notice the misspelling) while the State Department was instructed to blame the attack on a mob enraged over a dumb Islamophobic Youtube video.

    • Jill Stein Doesn’t Want to ‘Whitewash Our Dialogue’ When It Comes to Race (Video)

      This week, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein sat down with Truthdig for a live conversation streamed to our Facebook page. Stein and the Truthdig staff discussed mainstream-media bias, Stein’s political qualifications and the future of the Supreme Court.

      A critical moment in the conversation occurred when Stein addressed comments made by her running mate, Ajamu Baraka. Earlier this month, Baraka incited controversy when he labeled President Obama an “Uncle Tom” president—racially charged language Baraka continues to support.

      Stein has been forced to address Baraka’s comment and the ensuing conflict. In a CNN town hall earlier this month, she refused to condemn his remarks. “I understand Ajamu’s passion, his frustration and his struggle,” she said. “I think we have all been guilty of using some language that doesn’t play well as a sound bite.”

    • Green party’s Jill Stein argues right to appear at presidential debates

      Stein appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, who quizzed her about how realistic her proposals and support was, apropos a recent Washington Post editorial. After a meeting with Stein, the newspaper’s editorial board criticized her declared she was “spinning up a fairy tale – an appealing fairy tale to some, but still a fairy tale”.

      The board criticized the feasibility of her plans to end all coal, oil, gasoline and nuclear energy by 2030, her call to reconsider alliances with Nato members and a guaranteed federal job for all Americans, saying her “ideas are poorly formed and wildly impractical”.

      “I think they called me actually a fairy tale campaign, to which I would answer, in fact, we are living with a couple of nightmare campaigns right now that the American people object to at absolutely unprecedented levels,” Stein told Fox on Sunday.

    • Campaign 2016: Populism vs. Establishment

      Establishment as a concept has gotten a lot of use and abuse in the 2016 presidential election campaign. From the start of his race in the Republican primaries, Donald Trump denounced the political Establishment as a bunch of stuffed shirts, elitists who are out of touch with the voting public. They are looking after their own interests at home and abroad, let the public be damned, he said.

      The line-up of mealy-mouthed opponents whom Trump faced in debates, starting with Jeb Bush, served as exemplary targets of the longstanding indignation against the powers-that-be, an animosity felt by not only Tea Party adherents but by the majority of rank-and-file party members, which is why Trump did so well.

    • Hillary Threatens Russia With War – Neocon Media Doesn’t Even Notice (Video)

      Paul Joseph Watson is on a roll lately.

      His commentary is spot-on regarding the media giving Hillary a free pass for out-of-control Russia-bating, Russia bashing, and basically, irresponsible war-mongering.

      It is going to backfire badly on her.

    • This Guardian Piece Touting Bill Gates’ Education Investment Brought to You by Bill Gates

      What the piece failed to note—other than the fact that Rhee’s tenure left DC’s schools “worse by almost every conceivable measure” (Truthout, 10/23/13)—is that multi-billionaire Bill Gates is both the major investor of the company administering the Liberian education overhaul and the principal of the Gates Foundation, sponsor of the Guardian’s Global Development vertical, where the story appeared.

      The story clearly labels the Gates Foundation as its sponsor. What it never mentioned is that Bill Gates is a major investor of the firm at the heart of the story, Bridge Academies International, having pitched in, along with Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar, $100 million for the “education startup.”

      [...]

      The Guardian claims its Global Development vertical, launched in 2011, is “editorially independent of any sponsorship.” According to its most recent tax filings in 2014, the Gates Foundation has an on-going $5.69 million grant to Guardian News Media Limited.

      The Guardian has run other puff pieces on the Gates Foundation in this vertical, such as “Gates Foundation Annual Letter: What Do You Think of Their Vision?” (1/22/15), which is basically an investment letter, along with “Melinda Gates Hits Out at ‘War on Women’ on Eve of Summit” (7/7/12) and “Bill Gates: Digital Learning Will Revolutionize Education in Global South” (1/22/15).

      FAIR has written for years about how Gates’ investment tentacles influence the media. He’s done softball interviews pushing common core with ABC (3/18/14), helped bankroll charter school reporting at the LA Times (8/24/15), funded the talking heads behind Race to the Top (9/1/10).

      The Gates Foundation gives grants in the hundreds of thousands and often millions to such media organizations as NBCUniversal, Al Jazeera, BBC, Viacom (CBS) and Participant Media (the producer of pro-charter school documentary Waiting for Superman). Both Gates and the Gates Foundation are sizable shareholders in Comcast, which is the primary investor in Buzzfeed and Vox, as well the parent corporation of MSNBC and NBC News–the latter of which teamed up with Gates and other noted education experts like Exxon and University of Phoenix Online for the week-long charter school commercial “Education Week”.

      [...]

      His enormous wealth and the reach of media parent corporations seem to exempt Gates from routine disclosure requirements. He was offered up as an education expert in the pro-charter Waiting for Superman, without any mention of the fact that he donated at least $2 million to the film and had a media partnership with its distributor, Viacom. He is given softball interviews in Comcast-backed Vox without disclosure that he’s a major Comcast investor. Because his stake in media companies is laundered enough times, it’s assumed not to merit mention.

      In the case of the Guardian, Gates effectively owns an entire vertical, so when one of his investments is written up, one doesn’t notice the conflict of interest—like a fish doesn’t notice water. Because his influence is everywhere, it appears to be nowhere.

    • Donald Trump Once Wanted Third Parties in Presidential Debates, But Not Now

      The three presidential debates and sole vice presidential debate will likely exclude third parties, and GOP nominee Donald Trump is just fine with that.

      “I’d rather have head to head and right now they’re not getting any numbers,” Trump told The Washington Post in August, saying he wanted to debate Democrat Hillary Clinton and exclude the Green Party’s Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson.

      But when Trump himself was slated to be excluded from the debate stage, he had a different opinion.

      In January of 2000, the Reform Party held a press conference that, among other things, discussed the exclusion of third-party candidates from the presidential debates. Then-Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, one of the party’s few endorsed candidates to hold a major office, denounced the exclusion as “despicable.”

      Ventura was joined by Trump, who was at the time was considering running for president on the Reform Party ticket.

    • Jill Stein Has a New Political Rap Anthem Called ‘Power to the People’

      The Jill Stein campaign has a new anthem. The political rap song by Kor Element is called “Power to the People,” or “Fall in Line.”

      Kor is a self-described “world poet” and “hip-hop healer,” and he unveiled the song at a Stein rally Wednesday at Bernie’s Coffee Shop, at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. The L.A. landmark, formerly Johnnie’s Coffee Shop, took on a new role as Bernie Sanders headquarters during the presidential primary season.

    • Wingnut Week In Review: Hispanic Advisers To Trump, “We Quit!”

      Donald Trump reverted to type with his immigration speech, delivered shortly after his visit to Mexico. After flirting with “softening” his position, the old Trump-style xenophobia was a hit with some, not with others.

      Hispanic Advisors to Trump, We Quit!

      It may have come as a surprise to Trump, a guy who loves to fire people, when half of his Hispanic Advisory Board quit after his immigration speech. It came as an even bigger surprise to the rest of us that Trump even had any Latino supporters at this point. “We decided to make a big U-turn to see if we could make him change. We thought we were moving in the right direction,” said Alfonso Aguilar, the president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, “we’re disappointed. We feel misled.”

    • Donald Trump doubles down on deportation plan

      Anticipation that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump might moderate his position on immigration in a long-awaited “pivot” to the general election was extinguished on August 31 when he laid out his 10-point immigration plan in a fiery speech in Arizona.

      Instead of a more compassionate and humane platform, he reverted to his fulminating and nativist rhetoric, vowing to deport two million “criminal aliens” immediately and rejecting any path towards legalisation for the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, who would have to return to their home country and wait their turn in the long immigration queue.

      It was unclear how aggressively Trump would pursue law-abiding immigrants, though they would be pushed further into the shadows, including those brought to the country as children who have never known another home.

    • Trump vs. Clinton: 2016’s Race to the Bottom

      She’s an ethically challenged career politician whose key to survival is secrecy and lies. An ever-calculating, power-hungry favor-trader who lacks integrity and dodges the press. And you definitely can’t trust her.

      He’s a boorish bigot who has the temperament of a “drunk uncle.” An egomaniacal brute who favors insults and shuns intellectual rigor. A rudderless risk that’s too unnerving to take.

      These are the dark but widely held perceptions of the two major party candidates for president as the campaign for the White House turns into the fall homestretch heading out of this Labor Day weekend.

      For many exasperated Americans, the choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton comes down to weighing “crazy” against “crooked.”

      And it’s that type of low-brow, gutterball oratory that’s anticipated to continue dominating the final 60-day sprint to Nov. 8.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Ailes Hires Lawyer for Possible NY Mag Lawsuit [Ed: original behind paywall]

      Former Fox News chief executive Roger Ailes has hired Charles Harder, a libel lawyer who recently represented Hulk Hogan in his case against Gawker and is now representing Melania Trump in her suit against the Daily Mail, for a possible lawsuit against New York Magazine and one of its reporters, Gabriel Sherman. According to the Financial Times, Harder already contacted the magazine about Sherman, who has been a thorn in Ailes’ side for years and has recently revealed embarrassing items surrounding sexual harassment allegations against the ousted Fox News chief. It is not yet known whether Ailes will sue NY Mag or Sherman. The news outlet defended Sherman’s “very carefully reported” stories.

    • Facebook Is Censoring Science and Journalism

      One might have thought that the recent allegations by former employees that Facebook was manipulating its trending-topics feed to suppress news stories that appeal to conservatives would make the social-media behemoth tread more carefully. Apparently, though, it did not learn a lesson from the ensuing fallout. Facebook is now censoring science pages, journalists, and groups seeking social support.

      Stephan Neidenbach, founder of the page “We Love GMOs and Vaccines” (WLGV) and one of the authors of this article, was surprised to find that his page had been removed by Facebook censors. His page is dedicated to “promoting biotechnology and exposing those who wish to demonize it.” Such scientific chest-thumping offended a cadre of anti-GMO and anti-vaccine activists who complained to Facebook. Despite the fact that no policies were violated, the company acquiesced to their demands and deactivated the page. To add insult to injury, Neidenbach was subsequently banned from the platform for 30 days.

      His story is not unique. Many other groups, including journalists, have found themselves targeted for arbitrary and bureaucratically inflexible reasons. Facebook banned journalist Laurie Penny for violating its “real name” policy — she had used a pseudonym to avoid cyberbullying and other threats. The author of The Economist blog Democracy in America reported that he was banned for posting a photo that contained nudity in the distant background but that Facebook did not ban the genocidal page Death to Israel. On the other hand, FB removed a post by Jerry Coyne that was critical of Islam.

    • Parody and free use in Germany: Federal Court of Justice decides first parody case after Deckmyn

      But let’s back up and start with a quick look at what exactly the CJEU decided in Deckmyn. Most importantly, the Court declared that a parody under Art. 5(3)(k) InfoSoc directive only has to meet two conditions: “first, to evoke an existing work while being noticeably different from it, and, secondly, to constitute an expression of humour or mockery.”

      The Court then went on to explain that it is necessary to strike a fair balance between “the interests and rights” of the rights holders on the one hand, and “the freedom of expression of the user of a protected work” on the other hand. This, according to the CJEU, requires national courts to take “all the circumstances of the case” into account and decide whether a fair balance is struck or whether the rights holder has a legitimate interest to prohibit the use of his work for the parody. Because the case at hand in Deckmyn concerned a potentially racist message, the CJEU referred to the principle of non-discrimination based on race, colour and ethnic origin (which was defined in another European directive that is not related to copyright) and hinted that this may be a case where the rights holder has a legitimate interest to forbid the parodist’s use of his work.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Clinical trial data, motivated intruders and freedom of information

      Is anonymised clinical trial data exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act? This was the question facing the UK Information Tribunal recently in Queen Mary University of London v (1) The Information Commissioner and (2) Alem Matthees, EA/2015/0269.

    • Secret Report: German Federal Intelligence Service BND Violates Laws And Constitution By The Dozen

      When Edward Snowden exposed the global system of mass surveillance by secret services three years ago, including the German foreign intelligence agency BND, the German government tried to shelf it off and declare the case closed. Only one small authority held out: Then-Commissioner for Data Protection Peter Schaar sent his staff on an inspection visit to the joint BND/NSA-station Bad Aibling in southern Germany, of which the BND feared a „very critical public“. The visit resulted in an elaborate „situation report“, but it’s classified „top secret“ and only accessible for few people.

      Additionally, the new Data Protection Commissioner Andrea Voßhoff produced a legal analysis of the findings and sent it to the Federal Intelligence Service coordinator in the German Chancellery and former BND president Gerhard Schindler. But this analysis is still classified „secret“ and our Freedom of Information-request has been denied. Media have raised the question „Secret, because embarrassing?“. We have now received this legal analysis and have published the full text of the document (in German).

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Once Again, America Seeks the Answer to The Labor Question

      The labor question is back. After World War II, it seemed to many that widespread unionization and collective bargaining had made sure that the people who did the work in this country were getting a fair share of the wealth they created, and that through their unions working people had a substantial voice in the way our country was governed.

      But we live in a different world today. Only 11 percent of all American workers belong to a union, and less than 7 percent of private-sector workers are organized. Workers’ incomes have been stagnant for decades, and whatever gains have occurred in family income have gone entirely to the top of the wage structure, driving runaway inequality. At the same time, working people feel increasingly alienated from and betrayed by our political system.

      It wasn’t so long ago that very serious people denied that the economy was failing working people in America. But overwhelming data on inequality and wage stagnation marshalled by such economists as Emmanuel Saez, Thomas Piketty and the team at the Economic Policy Institute have changed the narrative. Now defenders of the status quo of runaway inequality have shifted from saying there isn’t a problem to saying that, while there is a problem, NOTHING CAN BE DONE. The new line from the very serious people is that runaway inequality and stagnant wages are somehow the result of the unstoppable natural forces of technological change and globalization.

    • A Labor Day Parade for Hillary Clinton and the 0.1 Percent in the Hamptons

      And for the low, low price of just $2,700, the junior set (under 16) among Clinton’s elite supporters at an August event were permitted to ask the candidate a very expensive question. For $10,000, they could join other family members to pose for a snapshot with the Democratic presidential contender.

    • Happy Labor Day! There Has Never Been a Middle Class Without Strong Unions

      The entire Republican Party and the ruling heights of the Democratic Party loathe unions. Yet they also claim they want to build a strong U.S. middle class.

      This makes no sense. Wanting to build a middle class while hating unions is like wanting to build a house while hating hammers.

      Sure, maybe hammers — like every tool humans have ever invented — aren’t 100 percent perfect. Maybe when you use a hammer you sometimes hit your thumb. But if you hate hammers and spend most of your time trying to destroy them, you’re never, ever going to build a house.

      Likewise, no country on earth has ever created a strong middle class without strong unions. If you genuinely want the U.S. to have a strong middle class again, that means you want lots of people in lots of unions.

    • Labor Day

      Labor Day—what is it? Perhaps not many Americans any longer know, so here is my explanation.

      [...]

      As a consequence of jobs offshoring, industrial and manufacturing cities became semi-ghost towns with declining populations. Municipal and state governments, deprived of tax base, found themselves under duress to make pension payments. To avoid immediate bankruptcy, cities such as Chicago sold off public assets such as 75 years of parking meter revenues for a one time payment.

      The Democratic Party, which had been the countervailing power against the Republican business party, was deprived of union funding as the jobs that paid union dues were no longer in America. By moving production offshore, capitalists turned the Democrats into a second capitalist political party dependent on funding from the business sector.

      Today we have one party with two heads. The competition between the parties is about which party gets to be the whore for the capitalists for the next political term. As Democrats and Republicans swap the whore function back and forth, neither party has an incentive to do anything different.

    • ‘Invisibilizing the Workers Who Actually Do the Work’

      It’s presented by corporate media as, most importantly, a long weekend with a parade—or, more seriously, as a holiday fought for by US trade unions to honor American workers. But the day has more complex origins. A national holiday had been a goal of US labor—several states already celebrated—but Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day in the midst of an attack by federal troops on striking Pullman railway workers, leading many to see it as an attempt to appease workers more than honor them.

      It’s fitting that the holiday remind us of the struggles as well as the advances of US workers, who face today some of the same problems as in 1894, including distant and disconnected owners, whose self-enriching, anti-worker policies are enabled and, if need be, enforced by government. We’ll be revisiting a few, we think, illuminating conversations about work and labor, and media coverage, this week on CounterSpin.

    • Thought is Dangerous to the USA

      I have been refused entry clearance to the USA to chair the presentation of the Sam Adams Award to CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou and to speak at the World Beyond War conference in Washington DC. Like millions of British passport holders I have frequently visited the USA before and never been refused entry clearance under the visa waiver programme.

    • Can We Please Get Rid of the Pledge?

      The Pledge of Allegiance is not an expression of patriotism. It is a loyalty oath that one normally associates with totalitarian regimes. People who love freedom, should be appalled by the idea our children are being coerced to stand and declare their support for the state. This is the worst form of indoctrination and it is completely anathema to the principals articulated in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I cannot imagine outspoken libertarians like Thomas Jefferson or Tom Paine ever proclaiming their loyalty to the state when they correctly saw the state as the greatest threat to individual freedom. Which it is.

    • Taking a Knee for Peace: Recalling the Veterans Who Sat

      It was my own moment of reckoning—stand and salute for the Star Spangled Banner or sit? The moment returns in memory, brought back by the current flap involving Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the National Anthem. Kaepernick is a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers football team who did not stand for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner before the start of the 49ers August 26 game against the Green Bay Packers. The next week vs. the San Diego Chargers, he sat again.

      My own first protest sit-down made was indelibly set—Fort Lewis Army Base in February, 1970—and the stakes—retention in the Army as a draftee, if not reassignment to Vietnam etched it in memory. But back to the Kaepernick story.

      Kaepernick says he is “not going to stand up and show support for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” The reaction to his protest has been mixed with most, and the loudest, voices expressing opposition. Kaepernick’s supporters are fewer in number but count among themselves some fellow athletes.

    • Colin Kaepernick and American Freedom: The Quarterback’s Protest Exemplifies What Our Nation Stands For

      “We wonder why our country is in the toilet?!” Thus tweeted former pro baseball player Aubrey Huff, condemning Colin Kaepernick after the San Francisco 49ers quarterback refused to stand during the national anthem at a preseason game last week.

      But Huff has it exactly backward. The Kaepernick controversy shows what is truly great about America: our shared commitment to free expression.

      Yes, critics across the blogosphere have denounced Kaepernick’s conduct as an insult to the nation and its armed forces. They also slammed subsequent comments by Kaepernick, who is biracial, about the experiences of people of color, whom he said are denied “freedom and justice” in the United States.

    • Troubling Origins of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’

      San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refuses to stand for the national anthem in protest against U.S. oppression of “black people and people of color,” a concern underscored by the origins of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” writes Sam Husseini.

      [...]

      I actually first learned of the racism underlying the national anthem from Alex Cockburn’s 1987 book Corruptions of Empire, which features a splendid cover.

      Note to illustration on the front of jacket: In August 1814, a British raiding party led by Admiral Sir George Cockburn launched an attack on Washington. They set fire to the Capitol, then proceeded to the White House and, before setting fire to it, consumed a meal set out by Dolly Madison which had been abandoned by the fugitive President and his family. Cockburn next proceeded to the offices of The National Intelligence to avenge himself on the press which had abused him. He ordered his men to destroy the paper’s printing types, saying ‘Be sure that all the Cs are destroyed so that the rascals cannot any longer abuse my name’.

      Cockburn then laid siege to Baltimore, the unsuccessful fusillades prompting the composition of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’, whose reference to ‘the hireling and slave’ in the British force alludes, as Robin Blackburn points out in The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery, to the fact that Cockburn had offered freedom to all slaves who would join him in his attacks of 1813 and 1814. According to a British report these slaves conducted themselves very well and ‘were uniformly volunteers for the Station where they might expect to meet their former masters.’ Some of these black recruits were in the party that burned the White House.

    • The Trump Supporter Running Hungary Is Building a Wall to Keep Muslims Out

      Having successfully hogged the media spotlight for a day with his surprise trip to Mexico City this week, Donald Trump might now be scanning the globe for another foreign capital to visit. If so, don’t be surprised to see Trump Force One landing soon in Budapest, and being greeted warmly by Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban.

      Twice in recent weeks, Orban has effectively endorsed Trump, praising the American’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, aimed particularly at Muslims, as in keeping with the Hungarian leader’s own efforts to seal his country’s southern border with a wall and to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in order “to keep Europe Christian.”

      Hungary is even holding a Brexit-inspired referendum on immigration policy next month, which will most likely give Orban’s government a mandate to reject the European Union’s plan to compel the country to accept about 1,200 refugees. And last week, as the Hungarian journalist Szabolcs Panyi noted, the prime minister announced plans to build “a more massive defense system” on Hungary’s border with Serbia to reinforce the tall fence erected last year to block migrants seeking refuge from war and poverty.

    • Behind the Russian-Israeli Detente

      Even as Official Washington gears up for a lucrative New Cold War with Russia, America’s close “ally” Israel is finding common ground with Moscow that complicates U.S. hostility, as Zach Battat explains.

    • Dakota Access Pipeline Company Attacks Protesters With Dogs and Mace

      The ongoing Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests were hit with violence on Saturday, as private security forces reportedly hired by the pipeline builders descended on the Native American activists with pepper spray and dogs that bit and threatened the protesters.

    • ‘Is That Not Genocide?’ Pipeline Co. Bulldozing Burial Sites Prompts Emergency Motion

      In a last ditch attempt to protect burial and prayer sites, North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux late Sunday filed for a temporary restraining order to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which they say has already caused “irreparable harm” to the sacred plots.

      “On Saturday, Dakota Access Pipeline and Energy Transfer Partners brazenly used bulldozers to destroy our burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts,” said tribal chairman David Archambault II in a press statement.

      “They did this on a holiday weekend, one day after we filed court papers identifying these sacred sites,” Archambault added. “The desecration of these ancient places has already caused the Standing Rock Sioux irreparable harm. We’re asking the court to halt this path of destruction.”

      The emergency motion came after security forces hired by the pipeline company attacked Indigenous demonstrators with dogs and pepper spray on Saturday.

      In a Facebook post on Sunday, tribal member and activist Linda Black Elk said that it’s clear that the pipeline company is trying to “provoke” the peaceful resisters “to violence.”

    • Is Zionist a rude word?

      Words trail meanings beyond their formal definitions. Raymond Williams in his Key Words leads us through the dizzying journeys that words we thought we knew well have taken over their history. For example, who nowadays brings to mind what ‘Protestants’ were protesting about? Or take ‘fascism’. This theory and practice of authoritarian politics is now so entangled with its delivery of the holocaust that outside academia it is used as a swear word plain and simple.

      Words are deployed as moves in a strategic battle. This comes out in the titanic struggle between Alice and Humpty Dumpty. Humpty Dumpty says “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean”, but is challenged on this by Alice. ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

      To Mary Davis (“Contestation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism”, openDemocracy, 27 July 2016) words are quite straight forward, Humpty-Dumpty-style. Contested words are deployed in unitary meanings of her choice. The result is of course a coherent story – of Zionism, the stages of development of Jewish settlement, the possible ways forward from the current impasse. However by failing to engage with the other competing versions of this story we get an account remarkable in its lack of nuance. News flash: Mary Davis wrestles with a straw person, and wins!

      Antisemitism has in recent months become an active concept in British politics for the first time in most living memories. Many, indeed most, of the allegations of antisemitism that have been made are about statements (not actions), and they are statements about Israel and about Zionism. I will turn to those allegations later, but first need to do some house cleaning around the subject of Zionism.

    • A (partial) defence of democracy

      The UK’s recent referendum on membership of the European Union has brought out an anti-democracy sentiment amongst many people. The People were asked a direct question, and they  —  we  —  gave the ‘wrong’ answer. So much for democracy, eh?

    • London City Airport flights disrupted after ‘Black Lives Matter’ protesters occupy runway

      Flights at London City Airport were disrupted this morning after a group of protesters occupied the runway.

      Nine demonstrators got onto the runway and chained themselves to a tripod at about 5.40am, police said.

      The protesters, who claim to be acting in support of Black Lives Matter UK, are said to have got onto the tarmac at the airport after using a boat to sail across the Royal Docks.

    • Hong Kongers ‘thumb their noses at Beijing’ with pro-independence votes

      In a gesture of defiance to Beijing, Hong Kongers have elected a raft of young former pro-democracy protesters, including several who advocate for independence for the city from China.
      Voters flew in from around the world, lined up until the early hours and turned out in record numbers to elect the city’s parliament Sunday.

      The poll for the Legislative Council is the first major election since hundreds of thousands took to the streets for the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement that shut down parts of the city — a special administrative region of China.

    • Hong Kong elections: anti-Beijing activists gain foothold in power

      Two years after tens of thousands of young people poured on to the streets of Hong Kong to issue an unprecedented call for political change, a new generation of pro-democracy activists has gained a foothold in power in the former British colony.

      At least four radical young activists who support greater political autonomy or outright independence from China claimed seats in Hong Kong’s 70-member legislative council, or Legco, after a record 2.2 million people went to the polls on Sunday.

      Those elected include Nathan Law, a 23-year-old from the recently founded Demosisto party who was one of the leaders of the 2014 “umbrella movement” protests.

      “I think it is a miracle,” the former student leader, whose party has called for a referendum on independence, told reporters after his victory.

      “This is absolutely unexpected – nobody imagined this would happen. Every day and night, our team used hard work and sweat to turn defeat into victory,” added Law, who received more than 50,000 votes.

    • ‘I’ve Become a Racist’: Migrant Wave Unleashes Danish Tensions Over Identity

      Johnny Christensen, a stout and silver-whiskered retired bank employee, always thought of himself as sympathetic to people fleeing war and welcoming to immigrants. But after more than 36,000 mostly Muslim asylum seekers poured into Denmark over the past two years, Mr. Christensen, 65, said, “I’ve become a racist.”

      He believes these new migrants are draining Denmark’s cherished social-welfare system but failing to adapt to its customs. “Just kick them out,” he said, unleashing a mighty kick at an imaginary target on a suburban sidewalk. “These Muslims want to keep their own culture, but we have our own rules here and everyone must follow them.”

      Denmark, a small and orderly nation with a progressive self-image, is built on a social covenant: In return for some of the world’s highest wages and benefits, people are expected to work hard and pay into the system. Newcomers must quickly learn Danish — and adapt to norms like keeping tidy gardens and riding bicycles.

    • Police unions are a public enemy

      Thanks the the contracts police unions get from local governments, it’s not only hard to get rid of violent, corrupt cops, but investigating them in the first place is made nigh-impossible. They beat, steal and grift with impunity. The New York Times’ editorial board says it’s time for legislators to rip up these agreements and force the rule of law on those who represent it.

    • When Police Unions Impede Justice

      Across the country, municipal governments have signed contracts with police unions including provisions that shield officers from punishment for brutal behavior as well as from legitimate complaints by the citizens they are supposed to serve.

      That may soon change, as public outrage over police killings of civilians is ratcheting up pressure on elected officials to radically revise police contracts that make it almost impossible to bring officers to justice.

      The most striking case in point is Chicago, which has been roiled by a police scandal stemming from a cover-up in the case of a 17-year-old named Laquan McDonald, who was executed by a police officer nearly two years ago.

      The Police Department first claimed that Mr. McDonald was brandishing a knife and moving toward officers when he was killed. A video — probably available to the city within hours of the shooting but not made public until last November, more than a year later — showed that Mr. McDonald was moving away from the cops when they shot him 16 times, and that the police were obviously lying.

    • U.S. Blocks Former British Ambassador From Entering America to Honor CIA Whistleblower

      craig murray

      The United States over the weekend denied travel to a former British ambassador, Craig Murray, who was also a British diplomat for some 30 years, and is the author of several books.

      Murray has stood twice for election to the House of Commons. He was “honored” by being thrown out of Uzbekistan by its repressive government after risking his life to expose appalling human rights abuses there. He is not a terrorist and is not a social media jihadi. He has no criminal record, no connection to drug smuggling, and does have a return ticket, a hotel reservation and ample funds to cover his expenses.

      He is however seen as a threat to the United States.

      Ambassador Murray was headed to the U.S. this week to be Master of Ceremonies at an award ceremony honoring John Kiriakou, the CIA torture whistleblower. Kiriakou was the only U.S. government official to go to jail in connection with the torture program, and all he did was help expose it to the media. The event is sponsored by Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (of which I am a member.)

    • ‘Angry, Snarling, Terrifying’: Trump Confirms Nightmarish Immigration Vision

      In a chilling speech on Wednesday night, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump doubled down on his anti-immigrant rhetoric, adopting a cutthroat tone as he reiterated his vow to deport millions of undocumented people and build a wall on the border with Mexico—which that country would pay for, of course.

      The vague, misleading, and divisive speech, lauded by the likes of right-wing pundit Ann Coulter and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, “was long on inflammatory rhetoric, and short on viable policy solutions,” Raul A. Reyes wrote in his analysis for NBC News.

    • Opinion: Trump’s Immigration Plan? Demonize Immigrants, Latinos — Again

      So much for that pivot. Despite speculation over a so-called “softening” on immigration policy, Donald Trump returned to true nativist form on Wednesday night with a speech laying out his ten-point plan for reforming our immigration system. Among his proposals were building a border wall, a new deportation task force, and a requirement that undocumented immigrants leave the country to apply for legal status. There will be no path to citizenship for the undocumented.

      Trump’s speech was long on inflammatory rhetoric, and short on viable policy solutions. He missed no opportunity to demonize immigrants, yet failed to address the issue at the heart of the immigration debate – what to do with the estimated 11 million undocumented people who are already here. Trump also revealed his ignorance about how our immigration system works.

    • Fear of a black and brown America

      Make America Great Again spells fear of a black and brown US, where racist rhetoric will graduate into racist policy.

    • In Post-Olympics Brazil, a Political Coup Is No Game

      The Olympic torch in Rio de Janeiro has been extinguished, and the global spotlight has left Brazil. In the shadow of the Games, an extraordinary event has taken place, largely ignored in the U.S. media: a coup d’etat against Brazil’s democratically elected president, Dilma Rousseff. Brazil is the fifth-most populous country in the world, with one of its largest economies. Like many Latin American nations, it suffered under a military dictatorship for decades, emerging as a young democracy only 30 years ago. This week’s coup was not carried out by the military, but by the Brazilian Senate. The effect is essentially the same: the president has been impeached, and an unpopular political opponent, Michel Temer, who represents that country’s wealthy elites, has assumed the presidency.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Facebook’s satellite went up in smoke, but its developing world land grab goes on

      A rocket crashing into a satellite and cutting off the internet may sound somewhat like the start of an end-of-the-world blockbuster; surely such destruction, and lack of Wi-Fi, could only be a harbinger of doom?

      Fortunately, the scenario that played out last week was slightly less portentous. A SpaceX rocket, part of Elon Musk’s fevered attempts to eventually colonise Mars, exploded on Thursday as part of a failed pre-launch test fire, destroying a Facebook-owned satellite in the process.

      The satellite, which cost the company around £150m, was due to be used as part of Internet.org, a project designed to bring web connectivity to areas of the world with limited internet access. Free Basics, a program developed by Facebook with six internet service providers, is an “onramp to the internet”, designed to help those without the internet get online. Its latest iteration, in Nigeria, saw the launch of 85 free online services including healthcare offerings, job listings, education portals and, of course, Facebook itself.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Devs Rename Game to ‘DMCA’s Sky’ Following Nintendo Legal Threats

        As Nintendo continues to rid the world of fan-made games which dare to mention the company’s characters, one dev team has bitten back. Rather than completely back down, the people behind No Mario’s Sky have rebranded their platformer as DMCA’s Sky. Sadly, that couldn’t stop it being withdrawn from triannual game coding competition, Ludum Dare.

      • Swedish ISP Attacks Copyright Trolls, Over Trademark Infringement

        Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof is launching a direct attack against Spridningskollen, the group that’s spearheading the copyright trolling efforts in Sweden. Bahnhof accuses the anti-piracy outfit of trademark infringement and demands the shutdown of its website.

09.05.16

Links 5/9/2016: Linux 4.8 RC5, Mageia Picks DNF

Posted in News Roundup at 3:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • How to install Linux on a Chromebook

      Chromebooks have a lot going for them – they’re cheap, they’re lightweight, and they don’t slow down over time. They’re also based on a stripped-down version of Linux, and upgrading your laptop to a fully fledged desktop operating system isn’t all that difficult.

    • Is Linux a Threat to Windows? Not According to These Stats [Ed: A longtime Microsoft booster, Bogdan Popa, uses Microsoft-connected firm to make case against GNU/Linux]

      [Microsoft-connected] Net Applications claims Windows is currently at 90.52 percent, up from 89.79 percent the month before. Windows’ worst month was April this year, when it dropped to 88.77 percent, but the OS has been recovering ever since.

    • ‘I’m sorry, your lift has had a problem and had to shut down’

      “Eight years ago I was visiting a friend in hospital when I was confronted with a disturbing image upon entering one of the elevators (yeah, OK, one of the lifts).”

      Phil arguably beats Charles, though, because this Sydney lift wanted a login and was running Windows98 well after it was deprecated:

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.8-rc5
    • Linux 4.8-rc5

      So rc5 is noticeably bigger than rc4 was, and my hope last week that we were starting to calm down and shrink the releases seems to have been premature.

      That said, most of the diffstat looks fairly flat (which tends to imply lots of small trivial changes rather than big invasive ones). There’s some stuff going on in the mellanox mlx5 network driver, and there is some nfs and overlayfs noise, but on the whole it just looks like a lot of small fixes. It may be _more_ of those small fixes than I’d prefer at this stage, but I suspect what happened was that rc4 looked so nice and small simply because some of the fixes ended up being delayed until rc5.

    • Linus Torvalds Announces a Noticeably Bigger Linux 4.8 RC5 Kernel Release

      Today, September 4, 2016, Linus Torvalds announced the immediate availability of the fifth RC (Release Candidate) development milestone of the forthcoming Linux 4.8 kernel branch.

      Yes, that’s right, it’s Sunday and tomorrow is Labor Day in the U.S., so it’s time to get your computer ready for some long testing sessions of the next major Linux kernel release, namely Linux 4.8, which just received a new Release Candidate version that looks quite big compared with the previous RC.

      According to Linus Torvalds, who has hoped to see thing starting calming down in the development cycle of Linux kernel 4.8, the fifth RC introduces some improvements to the Mellanox MLX5 network driver, various changes to the OverlayFS and NFS filesystems, and some other minor improvements here and there.

    • Linux 4.8-rc5 Kernel Brings A Fair Number Of Changes
    • Torvalds at LinuxCon Part II: Fragmentation and the GPL

      This is the second of a three part series that began last Tuesday on Linux Torvalds’ keynote interview at this year’s LinuxCon. In today’s segment, Torvalds talks about how the GPL has helped prevent fragmentation.

      “Don’t get me wrong,” Linus Torvalds said, “we still argue. We’re not all happy people, we don’t love each other.”

    • Linus Torvalds credits GPL with preventing Linux fragmentation

      Linus Torvalds has never been one to mince words when it comes to Linux, or anything else for that matter. At a keynote conversation at LinuxCon he expressed his appreciation for the GPL and how it helped Linux avoid fragmentation.

    • Graphics Stack

      • SMAF Still Hasn’t Landed In Linux Kernel, Would Allow Better Protecting Video Playback [Ed: Using euphemisms like EME, secure etc. we’re now having another DRM (not Direct Rendering) entered into Linux]

        Last year we covered SMAF as the project aiming to allow for secure DMA-BUF usage. While that was written about nearly a year ago and had already gone through multiple patch revisions, unfortunately that code has yet to be mainlined.

        A Phoronix reader wrote in this weekend to explain how he wish it would land and that it would help address an important use-case: better handling of protected video content.

      • SMOL-V Is A Compression Effort On Vulkan’s SPIR-V
      • X.Org Server 1.19 Proposed For Release Next Month

        It’s been since last November that X.Org Server 1.18 was released and while the project previously stuck to a six month release cadence, that didn’t happen for xorg-server 1.19. Now, however, out of the blue Keith Packard has put together a proposal for quickly shipping it next month.

        Adam Jackson of Red Hat had been managing X.Org Server releases while this weekend Keith Packard seems to have stepped back into that position and is looking to quickly get X.Org Server 1.19 released.

      • [ANNOUNCE] mesa 12.0.2

        The current release fixes crashes in GLX, EGL and Wayland-EGL, resolves a number of memory leaks in the video decoding drivers, makes the Intel Vulkan driver more robust by exporting only the required symbols (previously we would get symbol collisions leading to strange behaviour or even crashes).

      • Mesa 12.0.2 Released, Fixes For Intel Vulkan Driver, Wayland-EGL Crashes

        The long-awaited Mesa point release update to Mesa 12 is now available with a variety of fixes for these open-source graphics drivers.

      • AMDGPU Southern Islands Support Added To Mesa’s DRM Library
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • LXQt Still Working Towards Its Next Release, Not Yet Ready For Release Schedule

      XQt 0.10 was released last November and is currently the desktop environment’s current latest release of this Qt-written desktop forked from LXDE. There’s talk though of a new release possibly coming soon, but the project doesn’t appear ready yet to commit to any release schedule or routine cadence for new versions.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Akademy Awards 2016

        QtCon talks closed with our annual awards ceremony, the Akademy Awards. Given each year to the most valued and hardest working KDE contributors, they are awarded by the jury from the previous year. This year’s winners are:

      • KDE neon Talk at QtCon Akademy 2016

        Me and Harald gave a talk at QtCon Akademy about KDE neon and how it is modernising and smoothing the KDE development process.

      • Wiki, what’s going on? (Part 11-QtCon Day3)
      • QtCon Closing Keynote with Julia Reda MEP

        The talks are over after the three days of QtCon Akademy 2016 which means the BoF sessions and hacking days are about to begin. To close the talks at the conference we had a finishing keynote by Julia Reda, Member of the European Parliament and member of the Pirate Party.

        She began by saying that on a fundamental level government is all of us, and it provides the infrastructure for our culture. Software used by the government is also a public service and the only philosophy that takes responsibility for that is free and open source software. Getting governments to use free and open source software is more important then ever because of the importance of technology in society. Computers are no longer limited to some parts of our lives, they are integral to everything we do. She gave the example of the VW Dieselgate scandal which is linked to cars being computers on wheels. There are no check that the software that is tested by regulators is the same that is run by the car hardware. Another interesting aspect is limitations on diesel control can be turned off to save the engine which means in practice they do this a lot and don’t even need to tell the regulators. VW had a function programmed into the car which turned off the fuel saving if it deviated from the testing procedures.

      • KDE Software Store to Soon Offer Downloads in Snap, Flatpak and AppImage Formats

        Ex-Kubuntu maintainer Jonathan Riddell is proud to report on the public availability of a new online service designed as a replacement for the services provided by openDesktop.org.

        Dubbed The KDE Store, the new software store is exactly that, a store where application developers can publish their open-source projects and share them with the world. Also known as KDE Software Store, the app sharing platform contains many of the code from the openDesktop.org website, which appears to no longer be functional.

      • Interviews with QtCon Stall Holders

        KDE Dot News sent its roving reporter Devaja round the stalls at QtCon to ask them what they were promoting and of their experience of the conference.

      • Qt 5.8 Alpha released

        I’m happy to let you know that we have now reached our first milestone towards the release of Qt 5.8. The Alpha version of Qt 5.8 is now ready, and can be downloaded from download.qt.io or your Qt Account. As a new minor release, Qt 5.8 comes with a lot of new features as well as many bug fixes and improvements. We’ll go through all the new features in more detail as we get closer to the release. For now, let me just mention some of the biggest changes.

      • Qt 5.8 Alpha Released With New Graphics Architecture, Qt Lite

        Last week’s Qt 5.8 Alpha preliminary packages have now been promoted to being the official alpha packages for this next major version of the Qt5 tool-kit.

      • Akademy: the social bits

        So far at Akademy and QtCon, I’ve been quiet on the blogging front. That’s mostly because it’s been really really busy from morning to night with technical and social things.

      • QtCon: Plasma 5 running smooth on ARMv7!

        Today at QtCon, I was introduced to a Plasma 5 session running on a Odroid-C1+ (using ARMv7, running Debian).

        I was very amazed to see that it runs very smooth, and is very responsive. Moving windows, placing plasmoids on the desktop works with almost no glitch. As email management and file indexing is not really needed in this context, Akonadi and Baloo were disabled. Of course, it’s not very usable for intensive graphic use (watching videos, image editing, etc), but it’s alright for other use-cases.

      • KDE Talk Videos from QtCon
      • QtCon Akademy 2016
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • What’s coming in Tracker 1.10

        Tracker 1.9.1 was released last month, and it comes with some work we did to improve the various extract modules (the code which looks at files on disk and extracts what we think is useful information). The extract modules are no longer hardcoded to generate SPARQL commands, instead they now use the new TrackerResource API which is a simple way of describing resources programmatically.

      • 2016 GNOME Summit @ Montréal

        Hi everyone, we’re planning to host the GNOME Summit in Montréal this year, on October 8-9-10 (US Colombus Day week-end, Canadian Thanksgiving). It is an unconference-style event aimed for those who want to get involved at the deeply technical level of GNOME, but everyone is welcome and we’re hoping to have a newcomers-oriented session as well as the “deep end of the pool”. Please pre-register here by Friday, indicate any topics of interest you would like to propose for collective tackling during the summit, and indicate your travel and accommodation needs. I will try to secure the venue and figure out all the details surrounding the event soon. Oh, and if you’re in any position to ask one of the GNOME-friendly companies for sponsorship, please do so and drop me an email at nekohayo at gmail. Thanks!

      • GNOME 3.22 “Karlsruhe” Desktop Environment Gets Closer, Second Beta Out Now

        GNOME developer Matthias Clasen was happy to inform us via an email announcement about the availability of the second and last Beta release of the upcoming GNOME 3.22 “Karlsruhe” desktop environment.

      • Experience at GUADEC 2016

        This has been my first GUADEC. It was held in Karlsruhe, Germany (Indeed a very beautiful and peaceful city). The week was truly amazing , got to meet the fellow GNOMies in person. As I did Outreachy internship with GNOME-Maps, I was so happy to meet the team-maps in person. Though my mentor could not come to GUADEC. I met many people there and it was an awesome experience having talks with them.

      • Rewriting code review documentation, on paper.

        I’m not a person carrying around a laptop and don’t use mobile phones much. The more text/comments to tackle (or seperate pages covering related topics), the more I prefer working on paper. (That’s also how I started high-level planning the GNOME Evolution user docs rewrite.)

  • Distributions

    • Several Linux Distros Cater To Deep Web Users

      For those people who have ever considered exploring the deep web, there are specific Linux distributions at your disposal. Using Tor itself is far from sufficient to provide optimal privacy these days. VPN usage is an alternative option, but one never knows if the provider logs traffic. So several Linux developers created custom distributions for all one’s deep web needs.

    • Reviews

      • Peppermint OS 7

        The latest release of Peppermint OS was launched back in June and I meant to take it for a test drive then. However, one exciting release after another distracted me until now. Peppermint is a project I pay attention to because it is one of the distributions I have had the most success with when it comes to transitioning people from Windows to Linux. Peppermint’s lightweight nature, speed, relatively uncluttered interface and solid hardware support (thanks to its underlying Ubuntu base) have made it an attractive option. Peppermint OS 7 is based on packages available through the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS repositories with a few Linux Mint utilities added for flavour. Peppermint runs the LXDE desktop by default and version 7 offers users GPT, UEFI and Secure Boot support. The distribution is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture.

        The ISO for the 64-bit build of Peppermint is approximately 1GB in size. Booting from this media displays a menu where we can choose to try the live desktop environment, launch the system installer or check the disc for defects. I took the live desktop option which loads LXDE. The desktop environment is presented with a panel along the bottom of the display. This panel contains our application menu, task switcher and the system tray. The application menu uses unusually large and bold fonts, making the text easy to read. On the desktop we find a single icon we can use to launch the distribution’s system installer. The desktop uses a dark theme with brightly coloured icons. Personally, I like the bright icons on a dark background coupled with the large font. I found the combination made it easy to browse the application menu and find launchers I wanted to use.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The September 2016 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the September 2016 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006.

      • Dandifying Mageia – Adding the DNF stack to Mageia

        There’s a lot of good things coming to Mageia 6: KDE Plasma 5 desktop, updates to other desktop environments, many new games, and a fresh coat of paint with a new visual style. However, there’s quite a lot of under-the-hood improvements in Mageia, too!

        Among the many less-than-visible improvements across the board is a brand new dependency resolver: DNF. DNF (Dandified Yum) is a next generation dependency resolver and high-level package management tool with an interesting history. DNF traces its ancestry to two projects: Fedora’s Yum (Yellowdog Updater, Modified) and openSUSE’s SAT Solver (libsolv). DNF was forked from Yum several years ago in order to rewrite it to use the SAT Solver library from openSUSE (which is used in their own tool, Zypper). Another goal of the fork was to massively restructure the codebase so that a sane API would be available for both extending DNF (via plugins and hooks) and building applications on top of it (such as graphical frontends and system lifecycle automation frameworks).

      • Mageia To Offer DNF, But Will Keep Using URPMI By Default

        The RPM-based Mageia Linux distribution has decided to offer Fedora’s DNF forked version of Yum in their next major release.

        While Mageia 6 will be offering dnf, it’s not going to be the default but will just be present on the system for those wanting to use it. The urpmi command and Mageia’s existing software management tools will remain the defaults for the “foreseeable future.”

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE : Distro Review Of The Week

        openSUSE is one of the best Linux distributions in the world. Apart from Ubuntu, openSUSE is probably one of the best multi-purpose distribution around.The distro is geared towards desktop users and developers working on desktop or server. openSUSE is based on SUSE Linux Enterprise.

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed Now Based on Linux Kernel 4.7.2, VirtualBox 5.1.4 Lands Too

        The openSUSE Project, through Douglas DeMaio, is glad to inform the openSUSE Tumbleweed community about the new package updates and improvements incorporated in the snapshots released during the week that passed.

        Now that some of you are probably attempting to install the first Beta ISOs of the upcoming openSUSE Leap 42.2 operating system, which promises to offer a strong, secure, and very stable GNU/Linux distributions to pragmatic and conservative users, those who use the openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling release are enjoying the latest software releases and technologies.

      • Akonadi/KMail issues on Tumbleweed?
    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • DebConf17 organization started

        DebConf17 will take place in Montreal, Canada from August 6 to August 12, 2017. It will be preceded by DebCamp, July 31 to August 4, and Debian Day, August 5.

        We invite everyone to join us in organizing DebConf17. There are different areas where your help could be very valuable, and we are always looking forward to your ideas.

      • My Free Software Activities in August 2016
      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Look Ma, no hardware! Coding the Raspberry Pi in a web emulator

      You may be familiar with the Sense HAT, an add-on board for the Raspberry Pi which was made especially for a space mission with British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake for Astro Pi. It’s a great piece of hardware, very handy for data logging, science experiments, environmental analysis, games and more. It comes with a Python library making it work out-of-the-box. (See Exploring the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT and Experimenting with the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT).

    • Skylake-H Mini-ITX SBC has 4 GbE, 4 USB 3.0, and 3 HD video ports

      Kontron’s Linux-friendly “mITX-SKL-H” is based on Intel Skylake-H processors, and offers generous helpings of GbE, HD graphics, SATA 3.0, USB 3.0, and PCIe.

    • Phones

      • Mobile apps are now bigger than the web — a trend that threatens to eat Google’s core business

        It’s a stat that will be discomfiting to advocates of the open web, as well as companies whose core business is built around it — notably Google.

      • Tizen

        • Game: Sniper Ops for Samsung Z1 and Z3 now available in Tizen Store

          If your a gaming fan that loves a good shoot ’em up then possibly Snipe Ops 3D might ‘hit the spot’. The game is developed by Modern Alchemists and is possibly one of the best examples of a 3D shooting game that I’ve seen on the Z3.

        • Samsung Gear S3 is the latest Tizen Smartwatch

          It seems forever since we have been waiting for the next Samsung Tizen based smartwatch to be released, and the good news is that it was launched at a special event that was held last week at the Tempodrom arena in Germany. As expected the Gear S3 retains many of the same characteristics of its predecessor, the Gear S2, as we have the same round face and rotating bezel which seems a winning combination for Samsung.

      • Android

        • BlackBerry’s 2016 Android Phone Lineup REVEALED: The BlackBerry DTEK50 Is Just The Beginning

          The BlackBerry PRIV was just the beginning. BlackBerry is working on two Android handsets for 2016

          The first BlackBerry Android phone is out of the blocks for 2016 and, once again, BlackBerry has kind of made a dog’s dinner of the handset’s name. It’s called the BlackBerry DTEK50. I know, I know — it sounds like something you’d grill a steak on and not at all like a handset you’d lust after in a phone shop. I don’t get why they don’t just stick with the codenames? They’re always good — Rome, Milan, etc,…

        • OnePlus merging Oxygen OS and Hydrogen OS to improve updates

          OnePlus has been shaking the industry from the very start. They offer great hardware at unbelievable prices, but they have been divided in the software department. Literally; they created Oxygen OS for the general market, while their Chinese customers get to use Hydrogen OS. The former offers a much more clean interface that looks very much like vanilla Android, while Hydrogen OS is a tweaked in a heavier manner.

        • 6-Inch Meizu M3 Max Is Now Official With A 4,100mAh Battery

          The Meizu PRO 5 was the last phablet this China-based company had released. This device was introduced back in September last year, and was actually Meizu’s flagship at the time. Well, the Meizu PRO 5 might still be the flagship phablet of this company, though the Meizu PRO 6 is now considered to be the company’s most powerful smartphone. In any case, the company has been teasing the arrival of a new phablet, the Meizu M3 Max, for quite some time now. We knew that the M3 Max will sport mid-range specifications, and that it will be announced today, and that’s exactly what just happened, read on.

        • Galaxy Note 7 recall could cost Samsung $1 billion

          It’s inevitable that Samsung’s mass Galaxy Note 7 recall is going to cost the company a notable sum, but industry analysts are now expecting that the total bill could reach around $1 billion in order to fix the mess.

          Despite the relatively low number of affected devices, Samsung has issued a total recall on the estimated 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 handset that has shipped out to consumers in the last two weeks. Estimates from Credit Suisse Group AG, Daishin Securities Co. and Pelham Smithers Associates, all suggests that such a mass recall could cost the company up to $1 billion. The estimated cost to return each handset has been calculated at around $900 plus the profit that Samsung would have made. Koh Dong Jin, the head of Samsung’s smartphone business, said at a press conference in Seoul on Friday that this was a “heartbreaking amount.’’

        • Android lockscreen bypass: Google patches flaw on Nexus 5X phones [Ed: article says “allowed an attacker to obtain a full memory dump via Android Debug Bridge (ADB),” but it's not an attacker but a thief with physical access]
        • What is Android fragmentation, and can Google fix it? [Ed: no different than Windows versions]
        • How to use multitasking in Android Nougat
        • What the iPhone 7 needs to stay ahead of Android
        • EA quietly launches FIFA 17 official mobile game on Android, iOS version coming soon
        • Sony shows Android-based, touch-enabled projector concept at IFA 2016, and we got to try it

          There’s this thing about the future – it is uncertain. 50 years ago, people envisioned us having robot butlers, flying cars, and colonies on other planets by the turn of the 21st century. Instead, we got automated vacuum cleaners that can’t tell when there’s kitty poop in their way. Following that trail of thoughts, we can’t be sure whether Sony’s touch-enabled projector would ever see the light of day, but the concept we saw at IFA 2016 was surely drawing attention.

        • Android Central’s Top Picks from IFA 2016!

          There’s a lot of tech here at IFA in Berlin, as is often the case. OK, that’s one hell of an understatement. There’s a LOT of tech here at IFA. Some from the usual players. A whole lot from folks we’ve, frankly, never heard of.

          And that’s maybe the hardest part of these jaunts. Not the jet lag. Not the time away from home. No, it’s sorting through all the awesomeness that gets crammed into the Messe Berlin and put on display for the world to see.

          But we’ve managed to narrow it down a bit. Here, now, are Android Central’s Top Picks from IFA 2016.

        • AndEX Project Brings Android 7.0 Nougat with GAPPS & Linux Kernel 4.4 to Your PC

          Today, September 4, 2016, Arne Exton is happy to inform us about the release of the first build of his AndEX project based on Google’s recently released Android 7.0 Nougat mobile operating system.

          For those of you who never heard of AndEX, it is an Android-x86 operating system for personal computers, and until today it was based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. We have to admit that we were wondering when Arne Exton will start rebasing AndEX on Android 7.0 Nougat, and it looks like that just happened.

        • Android-x86 releases early build of Nougat for desktop PCs

          Google and Intel may not be doing much work to make sure that Android can run on devices with Intel processors anymore… but the Android-x86 project continues to release new builds of Android for computers with Intel and AMD chips.

        • How to…back up your photos on your Android phone

Free Software/Open Source

  • [Older] Meet Ali Abdulghani, a Blind Programmer Working in the field of Open Source

    It’s rare actually to hear about people with such well and desire to continue their lives even though they suffer such tragic disabilities, for this, meet “Ali Abdulghani”, an Iraqi young man working in the field of free and open-source software although he is completely blind! Who said that you should be useless when you can’t see things?

  • Do Crypto-Token Sales Make Sense for Open-Source Projects?

    Spurred by Union Square Ventures partner Albert Wenger’s recent blog post, there’s been lots of discussion about crypto-tokens in recent week.

    This has led to excitement and skepticism about their ability to incentivize open-source developers to create and maintain protocols.

    However, as Runa Capital has funded a number of developers who have created and maintained thriving open-source protocols, I wanted to shine some light on this approach in the context of how open-source developers have been incentivized historically.

    This article focuses on both why a crypto-token issuance may make sense for some, and why it might not make sense for others who are served well by existing business models.

  • Three Open Source Business Models

    Any developer considering releasing open source software needs to have a plan to monetize it. Likewise, any organization thinking about deploying open source software needs to know how the vendor is monetizing it. The reason for the first is obvious, bills and expenses being what they are. As for the later, knowing exactly how developers of code you’re thinking of using are funding their efforts will not only help you determine whether the project will remain supported for years to come, but will help keep you from walking into traps such as vendor lock-in.

    There are three primary business models being used by open source vendors. However, before making a decision on what model is right for you, seek legal counsel. Not only is the law complex, IT easily crosses jurisdictions that the law does not.

  • Students take part in MIT workshop on open source software

    MIT Group of Academic and Research Institutes celebrated their 25th global Linux day and conducted various exciting programmes.

    One day hands-on workshop on Linux was organized under the guidance of Professor Suresh Bhawar.

    Vatsal Thakur, an IT expert from Mumbai conducted a seminar on career opportunities in open source software. He said, “Linux is used by big corporate houses as it drives fastest supercomputers and android mobiles. Hence, market requirement for skilled Linux people is huge.”

    Third year students Sanket Kolnurkar, Nihal Renu, Manpreet Singh, Gauri Bhalerao, Prathamesh Videkar assisted the workshop participants. Santosh Bhosle, Ex principal at MIT briefed students about the evolution of open source software. The members of teaching staff including Nilesh Patil, Hanumant Dharmadhikari Deepak Nehte, Kavita Bhosle and Bhakti Ahirwadkar were also present.

  • AquaCrop-OS Provides Open-Source Tool for Ag Water Management

    “We created AquaCrop-OS to provide a free, open-source software tool that makes it easier for scientists and policymakers to devise creative solutions to real-world water and food security challenges,” said Foster.

  • Events

    • Kids on Computers and Unleash Kids at LinuxCon North America!

      Kids on Computers is a non-profit organization made up of volunteers — adults and kids. Founded in 2009, KOC sets up computer labs in locations worldwide, providing access to educational content which they otherwise would not be able to access. The computers have FOSS installed on them. Unleash Kids helps volunteer groups who work with kids by providing Internet in a Box (IIAB) community kits. This brings much of the online-educational content (such as offline Wikipedia, Khan academy, e-books and world-wide maps) to children in areas where there is no access to the internet.

    • 7 tips for learning how to give a technical talk

      Hack-A-Week is an event my team at Red Hat runs every year to encourage innovation. During that week engineers can work on any project they choose. After the week is over, each engineer gives a short presentation on what they worked on.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Richard Stallman: Publishers should let readers buy articles anonymously

      Richard Stallman, known for creating the GNU Project and initiating work on the popular Emacs text editor, has proposed that online publishers should allow users to buy individual stories, anonymously. Stallman took the opportunity to mention that the GNU Project is working on a new piece of software that will allow his suggested anonymous payments.

    • Publishers must let online readers pay for news anonymously

      Online newspapers and magazines have come to depend, for their income, on a system of advertising and surveillance, which is both annoying and unjust.

      Readers are rebelling by installing ad blockers, which cut into the publisher’s surveillance-based income. And in response, some sites are cutting off access to readers unless they accept being surveilled. What they ought to do instead is give us a truly anonymous way to pay.
      Some people use ad blockers because they find the sight of an advertisement offensive. That’s purely subjective, and publishers could argue that readers are overreacting. Yet ads on the internet do inconvenience readers too. Adverts increase the amount of data needed to view a page, making it slow to load and expensive on a mobile connection.

      At a deeper level, tailored ads also imply snooping, because the most lucrative, targeted advertising on the internet nowadays is based on tracking people’s interests and behaviour.

    • GCC Might Finally Drop The GNU Compiler For Java (GCJ)

      The GNU Compiler for Java (GCJ) while made a lot of progress in its early years as a free software Java compiler, in recent years it’s basically been in maintenance mode and might now be removed entirely from GCC.

      GCC developers have been talking about the pity state of GCJ Java support for some time while now action might finally be taken to strip it from the GNU Compiler Collection codebase.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • California Makes GovOps Portal Open Source

        California’s Government Operations Agency has moved its open data portal to an open source platform.

        California piloted the first statewide open data portal, GreenGov.data.ca.gov, with data sets and results from the GreenGov Challenge, a code-a-thon built around sustainability data sets hosted on the pilot site. GovOps is now moving the open data portal to an open source platform (DKAN) to ensure the longevity of continuous efforts to make government

        To effectively manage the improved statewide portal it will be moved to the Department of Technology’s (CDT’s) Office of Digital Innovation, alongside the state’s Innovation Lab. The new location within the CDT will allow customers, civil coders and government entities to create innovative solutions to their government business challenges

        In the coming months, GovOps and the CDT will work with departments and agencies across the executive branch to continuously add more data sets to the portal.

      • This Week in Civic Tech: California Launches First True Open Data Portal, KC Takes Another Step Toward Innovation

        The Golden State’s first agencywide open data portal is now live. Officials from the California Government Operations Agency (CalGovOps) announced the launch after a successful pilot that began earlier this summer. The intent, technology leaders say, is to make the state’s vast collection of data easier to access and more intuitive to use.

      • How to Uncover Corruption Using Open Source Research

        When most people think about open source research, they think about uncovering social media materials of soldiers on the front-lines of the wars in Ukraine and Syria, or geolocating video footage of significant events with Google Earth. While open source materials have led a mini-revolution in how conflicts are reported online, there is another area where there has been just as much impact: corruption investigations. This guide will provide instructions on how to start doing your own research into corruption using open source materials, and also include advice from experts who have uncovered corruption in eastern Europe, the Balkans, Caucasus, and elsewhere.

  • Programming/Development

    • The new CIS-194

      The Haskell minicourse at the University of Pennsylvania, also known as CIS-194, has always had a reach beyond the students of Penn. At least since Brent Yorgey gave the course in 2013, who wrote extensive lecture notes and eventually put the material on Github.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • EPA: Flint’s new water will need 3 months or more of testing

      Federal officials say it will take at least three months of testing before Flint can distribute water from a new pipeline in the in the wake of its crisis with lead-tainted water.

      The Flint Journal reports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told city and state officials that Flint must demonstrate its ability to treat water from the Karegnondi Water Authority.

      Flint switched from Detroit’s system to the Flint River in 2014 to save money, but the corrosive river water caused lead to leach from aging pipes into homes. Flint has switched back to Detroit water.

    • Modern life is killing our children: Cancer rate in young people up 40 per cent in 16 years

      Modern life is killing children with the number of youngsters diagnosed with cancer rising 40 per cent in the past 16 years because of air pollution, pesticides, poor diets and radiation, scientists have warned.

      New analysis of government statistics by researchers at the charity Children with Cancer UK found that there are now 1,300 more cancer cases a year compared with 1998, the first time all data sets were published.

      The rise is most apparent in teenagers and young adults aged between 15 and 24, where the incident rate has risen from around 10 cases in 100,000 to nearly 16.

      Researchers say that although some of the rise can be explained by improvements in cancer diagnoses and more screening, the majority is probably caused by environmental factors.

      Dr Denis Henshaw, Professor of Human Radiation Effects at Bristol University, the scientific adviser for Children with Cancer UK, said air pollution was by far the biggest culprit, accounting for around 40 per cent of the rise, but other elements of modern lifestyles are also to blame.

  • Security

    • Linux project mum after man indicted for 2011 breach

      The Linux Kernel Organisation, the non-profit that manages development of the kernel, is still reluctant to make any statement about a breach of its servers that took place more than five years ago, despite the fact that a man from South Florida has been charged with being responsible for the intrusion.

      The same man, named as Donald Ryan Austin by the US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California, was also charged with gaining unauthorised access to the servers of the Linux Foundation, an organisation that employs Linux creator Linus Torvalds.

      Asked for a response to the development, senior kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman told iTWire: “The process is not complete yet, so sorry, I do not have any comment at this point in time.”

    • Hacker behind Linux Kernel’s Mass Trojan Infection Arrested in Florida

      Cert-Bund, a German cyber security group estimated that a third of Linux computers in the U.S., and a tenth of those in the world that were checked, were in fact infected with the Trojan Austin had uploaded into the servers.

      After obtaining the credentials, he used them to make unauthorized changes to those servers by adding messages that automatically appeared when the servers rebooted. He also broke into a private email server of Linux Kernel Founder Peter Anvin, along with the Odin1, Zues1, and Pub3 servers.

    • Suspect arrested in 5-year-old kernel.org breach
    • Florida IT Guy Arrested for 2011 Linux Hack
    • Mirai DDoS Trojan Is the Next Big Threat to IoT Devices and Linux Servers

      A new trojan named Mirai has surfaced, and it’s targeting Linux servers and IoT devices, mainly DVRs, running Linux-based firmware, for the purpose of enslaving these systems as part of a large botnet used to launch DDoS attacks.

    • Pokemon-Themed Umbreon Rootkit Targets Linux x86 and ARM Platforms [Ed: Hyping up a Linux 'threat' which requires cracker has physical access to the device and INSTALLS crap on it]

      Security researchers at Trend Micro have discovered a new rootkit trojan that targets only Linux-based systems running on x86 and ARM (Raspberry Pi) platforms.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Earthquake Rattles Oklahoma Amid Warnings of ‘Inherent’ Fracking Risks

      Oklahoma was hit with a 5.6-magnitude earthquake on Saturday, with reports of tremors felt in six neighboring states—making it one of the strongest quakes in Oklahoma’s history and fueling a growing consensus that the cause lies with wastewater disposal from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

      CNN reported that the event also rattled Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Nebraska, and Iowa, citing geophysicists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), who said it “occurred as the result of shallow strike-slip faulting.”

      The quake struck just after 7:00am local time near Pawnee, followed by four separate incidents of aftershock. No major injuries were reported.

      The USGS continued: “Scientific studies have linked the majority of this increased activity to wastewater injection in deep disposal wells in several locations. However, other mechanisms such as fluid withdrawal, enhanced oil recovery, or hydraulic fracturing processes can also result in induced earthquakes.”

      In Oklahoma, where earthquakes increased by 50 percent last year as about 1.5 billion barrels of wastewater from oil and gas sites were disposed of underground, the link between fracking and seismic events is well-established.

    • Giant pandas rebound off endangered list

      The giant panda is no longer an endangered species, following decades of work by conservationists to save it.

      The official status of the much-loved animal has been changed from “endangered” to “vulnerable” because of a population rebound in China.

      The change was announced as part of an update to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

      But the update also brought bad news. The eastern gorilla, the world’s largest primate, is now endangered.

      Efforts by China, which claims the giant panda as its national animal, have brought its numbers back from the brink. The latest estimates show a population of 1,864 adults.

    • Giant pandas no longer endangered species, experts say

      The giant panda is no longer endangered, according to experts, thanks to aggressive conservation efforts.

      The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said the panda should no longer be classified as “endangered”, but “vulnerable” instead.

      In a report published on Monday, they cited the growing number of pandas in the wild in southern China – which jumped from 1,596 in 2004 to 1,864 in 2014.

      The IUCN hailed the work of Chinese agencies who helped wild panda populations grow by enforcing poaching bans and expanding forest reserves.

    • Bizarre ant colony discovered in an abandoned Polish nuclear weapons bunker

      For the past several years, a group of researchers has been observing a seemingly impossible wood ant colony living in an abandoned nuclear weapons bunker in Templewo, Poland, near the German border. Completely isolated from the outside world, these members of the species Formica polyctena have created an ant society unlike anything we’ve seen before.

      The Soviets built the bunker during the Cold War to store nuclear weapons, sinking it below ground and planting trees on top as camouflage. Eventually a massive colony of wood ants took up residence in the soil over the bunker. There was just one problem: the ants built their nest directly over a vertical ventilation pipe. When the metal covering on the pipe finally rusted away, it left a dangerous, open hole. Every year when the nest expands, thousands of worker ants fall down the pipe and cannot climb back out. The survivors have nevertheless carried on for years underground, building a nest from soil and maintaining it in typical wood ant fashion. Except, of course, that this situation is far from normal.

    • Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun

      Huge vertical rulers are sprouting beside low spots in the streets here, so people can judge if the tidal floods that increasingly inundate their roads are too deep to drive through.

      Five hundred miles down the Atlantic Coast, the only road to Tybee Island, Ga., is disappearing beneath the sea several times a year, cutting the town off from the mainland.

      And another 500 miles on, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., increased tidal flooding is forcing the city to spend millions fixing battered roads and drains — and, at times, to send out giant vacuum trucks to suck saltwater off the streets.

      For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline.

      Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes.

  • Finance

    • Apple mired in a mess entirely of its own making

      It is said that there are two things that are certain in this world: death and taxes. One has to rethink that line now, in view of the EU-Apple news this week; only death seems to be a certainty.

      After the EU ordered Apple to pay billions in back taxes to Ireland this week Apple chief executive Tim Cook chose to indulge in populist rhetoric — “it’s political crap” — and did not try to refute the detailed allegations levelled against the company by the European Commission.

      Doubtless, Cook did what he thought was right; the media, at large, is on Apple’s side and is not particularly inclined to meticulously examine things. More so in the US, where the American government is painting this as some kind of victimisation of US companies.

      But Apple’s corporate structure does merit some attention.

      The late Steve Jobs was the one who set up Apple’s operations in Cork, Ireland, back in 1980. Apple has provided employment to thousands and the attractive corporate tax rate that Ireland offers — 12.5% — has resulted in a host of international companies setting up office there.

    • Why Apple’s low-tax deal is no blueprint for Brexit Britain

      One of the islands that makes up Papua New Guinea is called New Ireland. But it seems that a much colder island far to the north might also wish to be called New Ireland – the island formerly known as Great Britain.

      In the wake of the European commission’s ruling that Ireland must reclaim €13bn plus interest in taxes from Apple, there is a good deal of excitement at the prospect of a post-Brexit Britain replacing its smaller neighbour in the affections of tax-shy global corporations. As the Daily Telegraph put it in an editorial: “If Ireland and the EU do not want a huge, wealth-creating firm doing business in their territory, Apple will be very welcome in the UK.” Welcome, that is, to use the UK as it has previously used Ireland – as a compliant state that will look the other way while vast profits pass through, untaxed.

    • Brexit is truly daunting: this is the biggest crisis I have known

      The leader of the Lib Dems, Tim Farron, struck a chord last week when he said that as a result of the Brexit vote, Britain had become a laughing stock abroad.

      He is quite right. I myself have been receiving baffled inquiries from friends overseas. And on two recent trips to get away from it all – to Crete and Provence, since you ask – we could not escape. Everyone we encountered – yes, everyone – asked why this country had taken leave of its senses.

      It is no good people saying we Remainers, or “Brits-in” as an acquaintance terms us, should shut up, accept that “the people have spoken” and get on with it. This is the biggest crisis to erupt in my working life, and the implications are far too daunting to be taken lying down.

      Meanwhile, it is evident from its behaviour so far that the government is all over the place. But one thing is crystal clear: by making immigration the priority over membership of the single market, Theresa May is almost guaranteeing that, in order to offer sops to the Cerberus of burgeoning racism in this country, the economy will suffer.

    • Iran signs off on a radical investment treaty: barring arbitrators from wearing two hats, narrowing protections, and limiting damages awards

      Iran signs off on a radical investment treaty: barring arbitrators from wearing two hats, narrowing protections, and limiting damages awards

      The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Slovak Republic have signed off on a deeply iconoclastic investment treaty – one that bars arbitrators from moonlighting as counsel, protects as “investments” the activities of non-profit development and research organizations, and modifies in myriad ways the boilerplate protections seen in prior treaties.

      The two countries signed the BIT on January 19th of this year [click to view]. Given that Iran has contemporaneously concluded far more conventional BITs, such as the recent Japan-Iran BIT, we suspect that the reform ambitions of the Iran-Slovakia BIT may stem more from the Slovak side of the negotiating table.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Angela Merkel’s CDU ‘suffers Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania poll blow’

      Angela Merkel’s ruling CDU party has been beaten into third place by an anti-immigrant and anti-Islam party in elections in a north-eastern German state, partial results have shown.

      The Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) party took about 21% of the vote behind the centre-left SPD’s 30%.

    • Sanders: Debate threshold ‘probably too high’

      The requirement that presidential candidates average at least 15 percent support in national polls in order to earn a spot on the general election debate stage is “probably too high,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday morning.

      The Commission on Presidential Debates announced its 15 percent threshold last year, and last month it announced the set of five national polls it would use to measure each candidate’s support. The barrier is no problem for Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, but it presents a potentially insurmountable hurdle for alternative candidates like Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

    • Stein: ‘We are living with a couple of nightmare campaigns’
    • Jill Stein: The Only Candidate Serious On Climate Change

      Inspired by a recent article in Time magazine about global warming, I had written a Ted Kaczynski-esque withering assault on modern civilization and advocated a reversal (yes, LOL indeed) of industrialization. It was a thoroughly godawful paper and I have little doubt that George Stewart was the only thing that got me a passing grade on it.

      It was straight from the heart though, and not since then has my interest and passion in what we have done to this planet waned. As someone who tries to keep track of the impact of human-induced climate change, I have always found baffling the lack of importance the issue has received as an electoral issue. There is no greater threat to our safety and well being-no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We are a species that like any other, requires a habitat that can sustain our biological functions and allow the vegetation and animal life necessary to sustain our food supply. The manifest reality of today is that our habitat is under attack from our own creations. We have polluted our air and our oceans. We have doomed to extinction countless species of plants and animals many of whom we may have annihilated before they could be discovered. The earth is warming quicker and sea levels are rising faster than any prediction model foresaw. Literally hundreds of small island communities ― as well as major nations like Bangladesh and Indonesia ― are already losing shorelines and even arable land. In America, with our over 10,000 miles of shoreline, climate scientists predict a rise in sea levels and markedly increased flooding in coastal cities like New York within the next five decades.

      This is not a problem of the future, it is a problem of the here and now and a catastrophe beyond biblical proportions in the making.

    • Ralph Nader: I was not a ‘spoiler’ in 2000. Jill Stein doesn’t deserve that insulting label, either.

      In his Aug. 24 op-ed, “2016’s Ralph Nader?,” Dana Milbank accused Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein of making “more likely the singular threat of a President Trump.” He echoed legions of Democratic Party partisans who never think it is time for a progressive third-party presidential candidate to run because the Republican candidates are always worse. They use politically bigoted words such as “spoiler,” reserved for treating third-party candidates like second-class citizens. Many otherwise-tolerant reporters, columnists and editorial writers are quite okay with smaller candidates being obstructed in many ways, from ballot access to the debates.

      Such discrimination counters a candidate’s civil liberties. Everyone has an equal right to run for public office. What kind of twisted logic insists that smaller-party competitors should forfeit their First Amendment rights to speak, petition and assemble freely? Dissent and resistance that attract voters historically have improved politics and achieved justice in our country.

      Aren’t liberals pleased that earlier third parties — ballot access was easier in the past — and their voters rejected Mr. Milbank’s kind of advice? In 1840, the Liberty Party first opposed slavery. Later, new parties fought the exclusion of women from voting, asserted the rights of farmers and industrial labor and initiated calls for Social Security, unemployment compensation, minimum wages, health care for all and electoral reforms. They first put on the table most of the positive improvements from government.

      Shamefully, the decaying Democratic Party works to block millions of voters from having a choice of progressive third-party candidates. No country in the Western world places more obstacles to third-party and independent candidates getting on the ballot than the United States. Democrats and Republicans built this exclusionary duopoly. As a result, major redirections and reforms, often supported by a popular majority, are excluded from electoral arenas. Without a competitive democracy, our political system cannot attract better candidates. A political monoculture with safe, gerrymandered incumbents serving myopic commercial interests is systematically undemocratic. It helps explain why the Democratic Party has been unable to defend this country from the worst Republican Party in history at the congressional and state levels.

    • FBI Says a Laptop That Held Clinton’s E-Mails Has Gone Missing

      A personal laptop computer used to archive Hillary Clinton’s e-mails when she was secretary of state went missing after being put in the mail, according to the FBI’s report on its investigation into her use of a private e-mail system.

      E-mails that Clinton sent and received through her private server during her tenure were archived on the laptop in 2013 by a person who was an assistant to former President Bill Clinton, the FBI said in its heavily redacted investigative report released Friday.

      Someone whose name was redacted in the FBI report told the agency that he later deleted the e-mails from the laptop but didn’t wipe its hard drive. A computer technician can often recover such e-mails that have been deleted but not permanently erased from a laptop’s memory.

    • Paleologos on the poll: Voters want third-party candidates on debate stage

      Libertarian Gary Johnson did not reach the 15% threshold for inclusion in presidential debates in the latest Suffolk University/USA TODAY national poll. This is a disappointment to voters, 76% of whom believe that third-party candidates like Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein should be able to share the stage with Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump this fall.

    • The Green Party Aligns Itself With the African-American Community

      Green Party presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. last Tuesday, Aug. 23, to address her recent visit to Louisiana, racism in America and her New Green Deal to tackle climate control.

      “We had the honor of being escorted through some of the most — most tragically struck areas of Baton Rouge, where essentially there has been no recovery and almost nothing in the way of services,” Stein said.

    • Democrats used a cheat sheet to deal with Black Lives Matter, leak reveals

      Democrat lawmakers were given their very own “do’s and don’ts” cheat sheet on what to do when approached by a Black Lives Matter activists, according to an internal memo that was leaked from Minority House leader Nancy Pelosi’s server.

      The document, which was obtained and posted online by the mysterious hacker Guccifer 2.0, was sent by Troy Perry, a former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staffer, to the rest of the committee staff in November 2015.

    • Leaked 2015 Memo Told Dems: ‘Don’t Offer Support’ For Black Lives Matter Policy Positions

      “Don’t offer support” for the “concrete policy positions” of Black Lives Matter protesters, the chief organization charged with electing Democrats to the House of Representatives warned its candidates in an internal memo leaked online on Wednesday.

      The document was posted online by Guccifer 2.0, a hacker who has claimed to be responsible for the Democratic National Committee email leak. Guccifer claims the document is from the personal computer of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). A number of cybersecurity firms and Democrats have attributed the leaks to Russian hackers (though Guccifer 2.0 has denied working for the Kremlin).

    • At the Clinton Foundation, you can smell the meat a-cookin’

      With so many journalists spending so much time shaming Donald Trump’s voters so as to protect Hillary Clinton in November, I’m getting mighty worried.

      I’m not worried about Trump. He’s a megalomaniac, and his kind of narcissism will help him blend in quite nicely in Washington if he’s elected president. And I’m not worried about Clinton either. She’s a pathological liar and well-suited to the Washington way, where liars are praised.

      What worries me is that many — but not all — in my business are spending so much time shaming Trump voters, that they seem to have forgotten some important features of political corruption: what it is, what it looks like, what it sounds like and what it smells like.

    • Letter to the Editor: Support Jill Stein

      University of Georgia at Athens charged $4,488 in tuition and fees in the 2000-2001 school year but charged $10,836 in the 2014-2015 school year. This is an increase of 141 percent. In the same time, the median income in Georgia fell by 14 percent.

      According to Phan Fei at ProPublica, the median income in the U.S. is falling but public college tuition is climbing. In the US as a whole, median income has fallen 7 percent since 2000, while tuition has risen 80 percent during the same time period.

    • Poll: Clinton Unpopularity at New High, on Par With Trump

      Hillary Clinton’s unpopularity reached a new high in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, putting her on par with Donald Trump among registered voters.

      The latest findings solidify their positions as the two most unpopular presidential candidates in polling dating back more than 30 years.

      Among all adults, 56 percent now view Clinton unfavorably, up 6 percentage points in three weeks, compared with 63 percent who say the same about Trump.

      Among registered voters, the two candidates have nearly identical unfavorable ratings: 59 percent for Clinton versus 60 percent for Trump.

    • What the Green Party’s Jill Stein believes in 2 minutes
    • Matt Funiciello and the Giant Sucking Sound Coming Off Lake Champlain

      There is a giant sucking sound coming off Lake Champlain.

      It’s the sound of Bernie Sanders operatives sucking Bernie supporters back into the corporate Democratic Party.

      Take the case of Matt Funiciello.

      Funiciello is the Green Party candidate for Congress in New York’s 21st Congressional district, fifty miles across Lake Champlain from Sanders’ new $600,000 summer home in North Hero, Vermont.

    • [Older] How Presidential ‘Non-Opinion’ Polls Drive Down Third Party Numbers And Facilitate Debate Exclusion

      This week, the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced what polls it will utilize in excluding candidates from its debates.

      The CPD says candidates like the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein must get 15 percent in polls conducted by “five national public opinion polling organizations” — ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News, and NBC/Wall Street Journal.

      Not only — as several have correctly argued — is the 15 percent threshold arbitrary and exclusionary, but these polls don’t actually ask voter preferences at all.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Arab cinema fights censorship at home and hate crime in the West

      In June, Oscar-winning screenwriter David Franzoni announced his upcoming biography of the 13-century Persian poet Rumi, a production he believes will counter the negative portrayal of Muslims put forward in Western films. Yet despite the premise for the film, it was LA-born Leonardo DiCaprio who was tipped to play the lead role, with Robert Downey Jr as Shams of Tabriz, the spiritual guide who led Rumi to enlightenment.

      Following Franzoni’s announcement, almost 7,000 people signed a petition, promoted under the hashtag #RumiWasntWhite, calling for a Middle Eastern actor to be cast as Rumi. Hollywood has drawn on a wealth of Middle Eastern actors to play terrorists, they pointed out, so why should a white man play one of the greatest poets of all time, who was born in present day Afghanistan?

      If this casting goes ahead, DiCaprio and Downey Jr are set to join other white actors who have played people from a range of ethnic backgrounds in Hollywood movies, among them Rooney Mara, who played American Indian Tiger Lily in Peter Pan; Angelina Jolie was cast as the Afro-Cuban Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart; Joseph Fiennes played Michael Jackson; and Ben Affleck was the Mexican-American Antonio J. Mendez in Argo.

    • Kabali and censorship

      Such censorship of films shown in Malaysia is not new. Before this, many scenes were cut from movies because they contained scenes that were too violent or sexual, and sometimes as in the case of Kabali, scenes were cut because of their political, religious or racial nature. Some movies are banned altogether from Malaysia.

    • Silence of the fans: China’s G20 censorship blocks social media praise of first lady Peng Liyuan’s stunning banquet dress

      China’s first lady Peng Liyuan took the limelight at the G20 summit’s welcoming banquet in Hangzhou on Sunday with a stunning qipao-style dress.

      However, her fans were not able to flood social media with their admiring comments as they had been able to do in the past because of the heavy online censorship in force during the summit.

      Sunday was also the most censored day on the mainland since August 2015, when two explosions took place in the port city of Tianjin, according to Weiboscope, a censorship index run by the University of Hong Kong.

      About 18 posts were censored on Weibo per ten thousand posts published on Sunday, according to the index. Top censored words included “country”, “summit”, “airport” and “Hangzhou”.

    • YouTube’s “ad-friendly” content policy may push one of its biggest stars off the website

      Prominent YouTube star Philip DeFranco has seen the site undergo enormous changes — from major shifts in its position on copyright to the introduction of its subscription service, YouTube Red — in the 10 years he’s been posting videos to the platform. In that time, the audience for his three channels has ballooned to over 4.5 million subscribers (6 million if you count all his channels) and a staggering 2 billion views.

      DeFranco is known for his candid, often satirical delivery and his willingness to cover everything from celebrity gossip to memes. As his audience has grown, he’s won awards for his informal news series and formed partnerships with major platforms like TMZ and SourceFed.

      [...]

      The demonetization means DeFranco will not be able to run ads (read: make money from ads) on any of those videos, and also means his channel is considered to be in violation of YouTube’s community guidelines.

      Though YouTube says the demonetization is the result of changes to its notification system, and not a reflection of changes in its policies, it’s unclear why DeFranco and other vloggers are just getting flagged on content now even though many of them have been posting similar videos to YouTube for years. DeFranco and his supporters worry the move could have implications for all YouTube creators.

      [...]

      “It seems by covering the real, raw news story and not, like, watering it down, I got in trouble,” he said, adding, “How are you supposed to cover news?” A clearly baffled DeFranco worried that YouTube might be setting a dangerous precedent: “This is a much bigger situation than me.”

    • Censorship, corruption and a commitment to Communism: Inside China’s media landscape

      China is rated near the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index, and Wu has a strong word of warning for Australian media outlets wanting to partner with Chinese counterparts.

    • YouTubers are accusing the site of rampant ‘censorship’
    • YouTube ‘demonetization,’ explained for normals
    • Youtube will never be the same after these policy changes
    • YouTube’s ‘demonetization’ controversy
    • YouTube’s de-monetisation isn’t censorship, but it could transform the site
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • German spies repeatedly broke law, must delete XKeyscore database—watchdog

      Germany’s spies seriously violated the country’s laws multiple times, according to a secret report from its federal data protection commissioner Andrea Voßhoff.

      The legal analysis, leaked to Netzpolitik, was made in July 2015 following a visit by data protection officials to Bad Aibling in southern Germany, in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about surveillance activities there. Bad Aibling is jointly run by Germany’s intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), and the NSA.

    • Parliament’s back for Snoopers’ Charter. Former head of GCHQ talks to El Reg

      Parliament has returned from recess (only for a fortnight before conference season begins) and the House of Lord’s committee stage examination of the Investigatory Powers Bill will resume this afternoon.

      The upper chamber had been waiting for the publication of a review of the bill’s bulk powers, which had been led by the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson QC.

      Anderson’s report was published while the politicians were on their holidays, and although it found that there was no proven case GCHQ needs to engage in bulk hacking missions, it was otherwise overwhelmingly supportive of the bulk powers provided for in the Snoopers’ Charter.

      Anderson made what he called a “single, major, recommendation” — the creation of a Technical Advisory Panel to monitor how developments in technology affect the investigatory powers.

    • Tor’s Branding Pivot is Going to Get Someone Killed

      Collectively, these two policy documents pivot The Tor Project, Inc. from an organization that was foremost about privacy technology to an organization that is foremost about human rights (HR) where privacy technology is the chosen means to the end.

      Naïve observers may see little difference, but this pivot has deep ramifications. In western liberal democracies (where Tor is overwhelmingly based, and by raw numbers, largely serves) human-rights advocacy has better optics than privacy. But the opposite is true in the regions that Tor aims to serve. Privacy empowers the individual. Empowering the individual naturally dovetails with human rights, so its plausible that greater human rights is a natural byproduct of privacy advocacy. However, Tor’s pivot from “Privacy Enthusiasts” to “Human Rights Watch for Nerds” substantially increases the risk of imprisonment to those operating a Tor relay or using the Tor Browser Bundle from less HR-friendly regions.

      For example, in Singapore (where I live), the government absolutely does not care for what they term “Western human rights” and views them, at best, as a handicap in maximizing GDP, and at worst, as cultural imperialism. But despite their dim view of human rights, Singaporean authorities top-to-bottom are fanatical about reducing corruption. Most importantly, Singapore’s love of anti-corruption exceeds its apprehension about human-rights-laden privacy enhancing technologies. Singapore’s attitude here is representative of the cultural terrain from China to Indonesia, which constitutes >30% of the world population.

    • How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone

      Want to invisibly spy on 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge? Gather their every keystroke, sound, message and location? That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group. You can spy on more people if you would like — just check out the company’s price list.

      The NSO Group is one of a number of companies that sell surveillance tools that can capture all the activity on a smartphone, like a user’s location and personal contacts. These tools can even turn the phone into a secret recording device.

      Since its founding six years ago, the NSO Group has kept a low profile. But last month, security researchers caught its spyware trying to gain access to the iPhone of a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates. They also discovered a second target, a Mexican journalist who wrote about corruption in the Mexican government.

      Now, internal NSO Group emails, contracts and commercial proposals obtained by The New York Times offer insight into how companies in this secretive digital surveillance industry operate. The emails and documents were provided by two people who have had dealings with the NSO Group but would not be named for fear of reprisals.

      The company is one of dozens of digital spying outfits that track everything a target does on a smartphone. They aggressively market their services to governments and law enforcement agencies around the world. The industry argues that this spying is necessary to track terrorists, kidnappers and drug lords. The NSO Group’s corporate mission statement is “Make the world a safe place.”

    • What is your phone telling your rental car?

      When I rent a car, it’s fun to get all the bells and whistles – like navigation, hands-free calls and texts, streaming music and even web browsing. But did you know that cars with these features might keep your personal information, long after you’ve returned your rental car? Here are some things to keep in mind when renting a connected car.

      What happens when you rent a connected car? When you use the car’s infotainment system, it may store personal information. It may keep locations you entered in GPS or visited when travelling in the rental car – like where you work or live.

      If you connect a mobile device, the car may also keep your mobile phone number, call and message logs, or even contacts and text messages. Unless you delete that data before you return the car, other people may view it, including future renters and rental car employees or even hackers.

    • FTC warns consumers of rental car data theft risk

      The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers to beware of new ‘connected car’ features that allow rental car customers to connect their mobile phone or other devices to in-vehicle infotainment systems.

      “If you connect a mobile device, the car may also keep your mobile phone number, call and message logs, or even contacts and text messages,” the FTC said in an advisory released on Tuesday. “Unless you delete that data before you return the car, other people may view it, including future renters and rental car employees or even hackers.”

    • Extra Bacon? Yes please, even though this Cisco bug’ bug of this name is bad for you

      Tens of thousands of Cisco ASA firewalls are vulnerable to an authentication bypass exploit thought to have been cooked up by the United States National Security Agency (NSA).

      The “Extra Bacon” exploit was one of many found as part of an Equation Group cache leaked by a hacking outfit calling itself the Shadow Brokers.

      Equation Group is thought to be an offensive NSA Tailored Access Operations unit. The leaked exploits and the tools stolen by Shadow Brokers are thought to have come from a compromised command and control staging server.

      Cisco has rushed out patches against the Extra Bacon exploit, while researchers extended the attack to compromise more modern ASA units.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Security Forces Attack Dakota Pipeline Protesters with Dogs

      The day before, activists at Red Warrior Camp stopped construction by tying themselves to heavy machinery.

      Private security forces attacked anti-Dakota pipeline activists on Saturday with dogs and pepper spray during a nonviolent action, according to activists there, who said six people were bitten and 12 maced.

    • Protests Erupt in San Juan as Obama Forms Unelected Control Board to Run Puerto Rico

      President Obama has appointed seven members to a federal control board that will run the finances of Puerto Rico’s nearly bankrupt government for at least the next five years and restructure nearly $70 billion in debt. The board is made up of three Democrats and four Republicans who will not only approve any budgets created by the island’s politicians, but also attempt to negotiate with the island’s nearly 20 creditors. On Wednesday, hundreds of protesters in Puerto Rico blocked a street in front of a hotel where bankers and business executives were gathering for a conference hosted by the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce. Meanwhile, a new report from the ReFund America Project has revealed firms like UBS, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital have collected $1.6 billion in underwriting fees from Puerto Rico since 2000 just for refinancing bonds to pay interest and fees on older bonds.

    • Brazil: Police use tear gas at anti-Temer protest

      Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Brazil to demonstrate against the government.

      Organisers said 50,000 people – a record number – turned out in Sao Paulo alone for a seventh day of protests against the new President Michel Temer.

      Mr Temer took office after Dilma Rousseff was removed from the presidency in an impeachment trial.

      The rally began peacefully but police used tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon as clashes broke out at the end.

      They said they had been forced to take the measures to avoid vandalism.

      Several people were reportedly injured including a BBC journalist.

      Some protesters responded by throwing bottles and stones at riot police, and building and setting fire to barricades.

    • Soccer Star Rapinoe Kneels During National Anthem

      U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe knelt during the national anthem Sunday night before the Seattle Reign’s game against the Chicago Red Stars “in a little nod” to NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

      Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem to protest racial injustice and minority oppression came to public notice when he remained seated on the bench before a preseason game against Green Bay. On Thursday night in San Diego, he and safety Eric Reid knelt during the anthem before a game against the Chargers.

      “It was very intentional,” Rapinoe told American Soccer Now after Seattle’s 2-2 tie in the National Women’s Soccer League game. “It was a little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he’s standing for right now. I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t. We need to have a more thoughtful, two-sided conversation about racial issues in this country.

      “Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it. It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don’t need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that’s really powerful.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Warner Brothers reports own site as illegal

        Film studio Warner Brothers has asked Google to remove its own website from search results, saying it violates copyright laws.

        It also asked the search giant to remove links to legitimate movie streaming websites run by Amazon and Sky, as well as the film database IMDB.

        The request was submitted on behalf of Warner Brothers by Vobile, a company that files hundreds of thousands of takedown requests every month.

        Warner Brothers has yet to comment.

      • Copyright extortion letters

        The unpleasant practice of sending extortion letters to file sharers / downloaders seems to be spreading. The latest example is Sweden. And it all seems to be loosely built on the German model.

      • Copyright trolls come to Sweden: A deeper analysis

        This week, copyright trolls in Sweden announced they’ll start sending extortion letters later this year to people who have been sharing music and movies. It follows an all too familiar pattern from other countries, where these fraudsters have eventually had to give up their scheme as plain unprofitable. But beyond the press releases and posturing from the copyright industry, what does the legal and practical situation look like?

        Assuming the holder of an exclusive right can show that somebody else has performed the action they have a monopoly on – in cleartext, shared music and movies in violation of the copyright monopoly – then that holder of the exclusive right has, under the current legal framework, right to damages. The morality of this is highly questionable and dates back to suppression of freedom of speech in the 1550s, but let’s leave that part aside for now.

        So there are two things needed in this equation for damages to come into play: the holder of the exclusive distribution right must be able to identify the person sharing, and they must show that this person actually did share. Usually, what the holders have are IP addresses and nothing more.

        Let’s see how this plays out in the legal landscape of Sweden, now that the copyright industry has announced their intention to start sending speculative invoices.

      • Copyright reform: Could EU Commission do worse?

        A few days ago, an impact assessment and a draft EU directive leaked, exposing the plans of the EU commission on copyright reform. After years of prevarications, the Commission remains stuck in a vision of copyright revolving on defending of cultural industries. Its proposals are still very much out of touch with the need to adapt to digital practices, and even table a couple of dangerous proposals.

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