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06.02.16

Closer Look at Players in Battistelli’s Information War: Part II (BlueCoat)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

BlueCoat gear

Summary: Rather than invest in a better examination and appeals process, Battistelli wastes a lot of money on censorship and surveillance (to be used against staff like examiners) with Blue Coat Systems, which is notorious for supporting abusive regimes

IN part one we wrote about a rather dodgy company which we shall revisit in part four. Today, for reasons that shall become apparent herein (today’s news), we’ve decided to leap to part two and write about BlueCoat at the EPO. BlueCoat helps Battistelli and his goons with oppression, blocking access to particular views (censorship) and using surveillance to induce fear that leads to self-censorship. BlueCoat is popular among oppressive regimes around the world. It might actually be illegal in particular civilised nations, but Eponia is a special case and Battistelli gets away with anything he decides to do.

We previously wrote about BlueCoat at the EPO in the following posts:

At the bottom we present a document that can help shed light on the nature of the secret contract (amount of money spent is unknown). The interesting thing is that the EPO gives money to a US company (not the first time and this one, “Blue Coat Systems Inc., formerly CacheFlow, is a Sunnyvale, California-based provider,” according to Wikipedia). Unlike the secret contract, the document below does not tell us how much money goes and where exactly. So much for ‘transparency’… as well shall show another day, it’s only the pretense of transparency.

Notice how they put brand names in the requirements, which is a notorious practice that came under fire at the Commission (like specifying “Oracle” or “Microsoft” as requirements in ‘open’ tenders).

One must wonder, where did they get this recommendation? Maybe some of Battistelli’s recent trips to abusive, authoritarian nations (notice date of this document and dates therein) which famously make use of such human rights-incompatible ‘solutions’ that track and disparage dissidents and journalists? “Delivery,” according to the document, is to “Branch office in Rijswijk.” It’s possible that similar equipment exists in Munich and other EPO sites.

All this is worth mentioning not only because it helps demonstrate or verify the EPO’s abuses against staff but also because it shows how Battistelli keeps wasting money while pretending there’s no money for real activities, which involve examination, appeals, renewals (administration) etc.

Consider this new report from today which says:

EPO accused of decreasing power of boards of appeal

Proposed reforms to the boards of appeal at the European Patent Office (EPO) have been slammed in a leaked letter sent by some of the boards’ members.

In the letter, sent late last month and seen by WIPR, EPO president Benoît Battistelli’s proposed reforms were criticised as “decreasing the level of autonomy and independence” of the boards.

As it stands the boards of appeal are classed as a directorate-general of the EPO, meaning they are a specific branch of the office.

The proposals aim to make the boards a separate organisational entity as far as possible without reforming the European Patent Convention (EPC), the framework that created the European Patent Organization, under which the EPO operates.

The above does not say much about what it’s all about: money (or so it's claimed).

Maybe if Battistelli wasn’t so busy wasting millions on stupid (probably political) media charades that involve buying the media, there would be more money left for actual activities that the EPO was actually supposed to be dedicated to. We shall say more about this in part three.


Supplies – 362318-2015
15/10/2015 S200 European Patent Office – Supplies – Contract notice – Open procedure
Germany-Munich: Provision of Blue Coat PacketShaper hardware, Blue Coat PolicyCenter software, and installation, configuration and migration of deliverables including support and maintenance
2015/S 200-362318
OPEN INVITATION TO TENDER

1. Awarding authority:

The European Patent Organisation (EPO), acting through the European Patent Office: Headquarters, Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1, 80469 Munich, Germany, Postal address: EPO, 80298 Munich, Germany.
The European Patent Organisation is an intergovernmental organisation set up pursuant to the European Patent Convention which entered into force in 1977. At present it has 38 Member States (Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom). The executive body of the EPO is the European Patent Office which is charged with the search and examination of European patent applications and granting European patents. It employs approximately 6 700 staff at EPO headquarters in Munich, a branch at The Hague/Rijswijk (NL) and sub-offices in Berlin and Vienna (the number of Member States and staff members indicated may change).
2. Award procedure:
Open invitation to tender with discretionary award of contract.

3. Description of the contract:
(a) Purpose of the contract:
This contract is for the provision of Blue Coat PacketShaper hardware, Blue Coat PolicyCenter software, and installation, configuration and migration of deliverables including support and maintenance.
(b) Division into lots:
Not applicable.
(c) Any deposits and guarantees required:
Not applicable.
(d) Main terms concerning payment:
Purchase: within 30 days of acceptance of the equipment.
Maintenance: payments will be made quarterly in arrears.
(e) Qualifications required by law:
Not applicable.
4. Place and period of performance:
(a) Place at which the contract is to be performed:
Delivery to
Branch office in Rijswijk.
(b) Duration of contract or time limit for delivery or completion of services/work:
The duration of the contract is for 3 years with a right for the EPO to extend this duration twice by 1 year each.

5. Variants:
Proposals for variants, the effect of which would be to reduce significantly the rights and safeguards of the EPO, are not allowed.

6. Requests for the Procurement Documents and receipt of bids:

(a) Name and address of department from which the Procurement Documents and clarification of the Procurement Documents may be requested:
European Patent Office
Central Procurement 4.8 (1955),
Patentlaan 2,
2288 EE Rijswijk,
The Netherlands
E-mail: dhtenderclarifications@epo.org
The Procurement Documents may be requested by letter or e-mail.
(b) Final date for receipt by the EPO of requests for the Procurement Documents:
- 27.10.2015 (12:00), CET
(c) Final date for receipt by the EPO of requests for clarification:
- 6.11.2015 (12:00), CET
- Questions must be submitted by letter or E-Mail.
(d) Final date for receipt of bids/number of copies to be sent:
- 4.12.2015 (12:00), CET
- Bids must be submitted in 2 copies (including the original to be marked as such). The bid shall also be submitted on a USB stick/CD (except for the Offer Forms only to be provided as part of the original copy).
(e) Address to which the requests for clarification and bids must be sent:
As in point 6(a).
Please submit bids by post only and not by fax or E-Mail. Bids submitted by fax or E-Mail will be excluded.
(f) Language or languages in which requests for clarification and bids must be drawn up: English.
The Procurement Documents will be available in English.

7. Legal form of the grouping in the event of a joint bid:
If several bidders submit a joint bid, they must be jointly and severally liable for the performance of the obligations under the
contract. A declaration to this effect, duly signed by all members of the grouping and appointing a representative that is
authorised to act on behalf of all members, must be submitted with the bid.
8. Criteria for assessing bidders’ know-how, capacity and reliability to fulfil the contract:
Bids from bidders who do not fulfil the selection criteria stated in the Procurement Documents and/or whose circumstances are
such as to seriously call into question their financial and professional reliability (see Article 2 of the General Conditions of
Tender, available at www.epo.org) will not be considered for contract award.
Bidders’ know-how, capacity and reliability to fulfil the contract will be assessed on the basis of the information and evidence
submitted in reply to the questionnaire in Annex 1 to the General Conditions of Tender and any additional questionnaire(s)
included in the Procurement Documents.
9. Period during which the bidder is bound by his bid:
6 months following the final date for receipt of bids indicated in point 6(d).

10. Criteria for the award of contract:
The contract shall be awarded to the bidder whose bid is preferred regarding the bidder’s ability to meet the requirements of the EPO which will be measured by:
- In first instance, the technical quality of the support and of the maintenance, and the delivery time (70 %)
- The price and the operation cost (30 %)

11. Other information:
Contract award is expected to take place in the beginning of the 1st quarter of 2016.

Links 2/6/2016: Nextcloud, Arch Linux 2016.06.01

Posted in News Roundup at 3:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 7 Linux Misconceptions Debunked

    I’ll admit, it’s hard to gauge how many users exist. Linux is free to download, and no single company has control. There are no sales figures to go by. TV and print ads aren’t shaping your perception.

    Yet even if most of the people you know may not use Linux, there may be one who does. And many more will have no idea they interact with Linux every single day.

    As it turns out, Linux has millions of users. Know what else it has? Other misconceptions that continue to give people a false idea of what Linux is like.

    Let’s debunk a few, one by one.

  • Voyager Offers a Mostly Smooth-Sailing Linux Adventure

    Voyager’s integration of elements makes it a novel alternative to Xubuntu.

    Branding problems and French language intrusions aside, Voyager Live performs well and offers a look and feel that complements its stellar performance.

  • How to fix any Linux problem

    Everyone has a problem with Linux at some point. The important thing is how quickly that problem gets solved. An amazing element of the open source and computing community is the vast network of help available online in the form of blogs, websites and forums.

    Without doubt this is of huge importance in getting issues known and fixed, and it’s wonderful to see how willing the community is to help out complete strangers and beginners alike. That being said, there’s nothing that beats a bit of prior knowledge.

    To help arm you with the knowledge you need to keep your Linux systems cheerfully ticking over, we’ve taken our years of experience answering all manner of reader questions and distilled this into a rich brew of condensed Linux knowledge, which will target the top issues that Linux users regularly run into.

  • Windows 10 nagware: You can’t click X. Make a date OR ELSE

    Microsoft’s Windows 10 nagware campaign has entered a new phase, with all options to evade or escape an upgrade finally blocked.

    Recently, Microsoft’s policy had been to throw up a dialogue box asking you whether you wanted to install Windows 10.

    If you clicked the red “X” to close the box – the tried-and-tested way to make dialogue boxes vanish without agreeing to do anything – Microsoft began taking that as permission for the upgrade to go ahead.

  • Samsung: “Don’t Install Windows 10 Because We Suck At Making Drivers”
  • Server

    • New CoreOS open source storage system Torus fails to impress

      CoreOS has released a prototype version of Torus, an open source distributed storage system primarily intended for providing storage to container clusters.

    • Containers 101: Docker fundamentals

      Docker started out in 2012 as an open source project, originally named dotcloud, to build single-application Linux containers. Since then, Docker has become an immensely popular development tool, increasingly used as a runtime environment. Few — if any — technologies have caught on with developers as quickly as Docker.

      One reason Docker is so popular is that it delivers the promise of “develop once, run anywhere.” Docker offers a simple way to package an application and its runtime dependencies into a single container; it also provides a runtime abstraction that enables the container to run across different versions of the Linux kernel.

    • Infographic: Companies want flexibility and faster production time from software defined networking. And they get it.

      Results from the latest Tech Pro Research survey reveal why companies are choosing to implement SDN, why they’re choosing not to, and what happens after the implementation is done.

    • The rise of SDDC and the future of enterprise IT

      If you’ve worked in enterprise IT over the last few years, you’ll undoubtedly have heard the phrase ‘software defined’ being bandied around. Whereas software once merely played a support role to the hardware on which it was running, cloud and virtualization technologies have now moved software into the spotlight, with hardware now playing second fiddle.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 4.6 Gets Its First Point Release, Brings F2FS, x86 and ARM64 Fixes

      Today, June 1, 2016, renowned Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman has had the great pleasure of releasing the first maintenance version of the Linux 4.6 kernel.

    • Linux 4.6.1
    • Linux 4.5.6

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.5.6 kernel.

      All users of the 4.5 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 4.5.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.5.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

      http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-st…

      thanks,

      greg k-h

    • Linux 4.4.12
    • Linux 3.14.71
    • Computex 2016: Linux cannot yet use Intel’s Turbo Boost Max 3.0 mode

      Beyond the sheer number of cores on offer in the new Intel Extreme Edition chips announced earlier this week at Computex, one of the other selling points for the processors is an improved Turbo Boost mode.

    • Linux Kernel 4.4.12 LTS Has ARM64, x86, and CIFS Improvements, Updated Drivers

      Immediately after informing the Linux community about the availability of Linux kernel 4.6.1 and Linux kernel 4.5.6, Greg Kroah-Hartman published details about the release of Linux kernel 4.4.12 LTS.

    • Linux Kernel 4.5.6 Arrives for Stable Distros with AArch64 and CIFS Improvements

      After announcing the release of the first update of the Linux 4.6 kernel series, Greg Kroah-Hartman informed the community about the availability of the sixth maintenance build in the Linux 4.5 kernel branch.

      Linux kernel 4.5.6 is now available for select GNU/Linux operating systems that have already adopted a kernel from the Linux 4.5 series, which many popular distributions did, including, but not limited to Arch Linux, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Gentoo Linux, Birds Linux, Webconverger, Sabayon, Fedora, Slackware, and Debian.

    • Ask SN: Help Write it — What do you Want in an Init System?

      Hi, I’m Subsentient, the original author of the Epoch Init System. It’s been around a while, and it does the job I gave it well enough for me, but Epoch has failed to reach its ultimate goal of becoming a viable alternative to systemd. This is for a few reasons, among them being a total lack of parallelism, difficulty for package maintainers to easily set up services, and a codebase even I myself am ashamed to admit I wrote. I got some things right too, like good documentation, powerful service management, lack of dependencies, and unintrusiveness, but it seems it wasn’t quite enough, because the most commonly requested features were true dependency support and parallelism.

      I’m doing a near-complete rewrite of Epoch, save for the few parts of code that were well-written, and it will be called Epoch-ng (next generation). While dependencies, parallelism and easy package manager support are the big things, I think I’d like to get feedback on what Linux users actually want from an init system, and I’ll try to write an init system that does its best to meet everyone’s desires.

    • HPE’s OpenSwitch project gets Linux Foundation backing

      OpenSwitch is an open-source operating system for data center network switches that was first built by Hewlett-Packard Enterprise before being launched last year. The Linux-based OS is designed to power network switches from various hardware vendors. The purpose is to allow enterprises to rapidly build out their data center networks while customizing them for their specific needs. To date, the project has picked up dozens of heavyweight backers, including Arista Networks, Intel Corp., Broadcom Corp., VMware Inc., and Accton Technology Corp., among others.

    • OpenSwitch is now a Linux Foundation project

      The Linux Foundation once again expanded its slate of open source networking projects.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

    • Emacspeak, an audible interface for Linux

      Screen readers such as Orca work by describing the graphical environment to the user. They deconstruct an arbitrary visual environment that’s built on top of an inherently text-based system. On some systems, this is necessary because there’s no access—at least pragmatically—to the OS by any other means than the graphical interface. As most Linux users know, however, a graphical interface on a good Unix system is entirely optional in the first place, so there’s no need to generate one, deconstruct it, and describe it; the computer can just spit out text.

      I am aware of two efforts forging this path: Emacspeak and ADRIANE (on Knoppix). In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the former.

      Emacspeak is an audible interface that allows non-sighted users to interact independently and efficiently with a computer, entirely by way of text input and output. Emacspeak uses “audio formatting” and W3C’s Aural CSS to produce a full audio representation of input and output.

    • FreeFileSync 8.2 Released

      If you have large number of files that you want to compare to find duplicate files or replace or update old files with latest ones then FreeFileSync is a great tool to perform that. FreeFileSync compares two folders and based on what you want it can add, update, mirror files of two folders. FreeFileSync recently released 8.2 which fixes couple of bugs.

    • Nightly builds are now for TESTING only
    • Ardour 5.0 Digital Audio Workstation Makes A Step Closer To Reality

      This Ardoir 5.0-pre0 marking comes as the developers merged two of their development branches and their plans to do this major release to succeed the current Ardour 4.7 stable series. The current nightly builds of Ardour 5.0 are said to be for test-only and should be used with just “throw-away material” as it’s not yet vetted compared to Ardour 4.x versions.

    • Phoronix Test Suite 6.4 Released With Latest Improvements For Open-Source Benchmarking
    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

    • Games

      • Ecotone Linux Version Released

        Developed by Sundae Factory, Ecotone is a platform game with an evolving gameplay which allows brainwork and/or skill phases. The game’s primary focus is to invite the gamer into a new kind of world, and features a unique, dreamlike and mysterious atmosphere. In the strange Ecotone’s world, you will embody a weird little character lacking a real identity. As this character passes each level, he will earn some new skills. But beware, the environment is full of strange creatures and monsters, and some of them may be dangerous.

      • Valve announce over half a million Steam Controllers have been sold

        An awesome milestone for such an interesting device! Valve have stated in an update that the Steam Controller has sold over half a million units!

      • Steam Machines are dead in the water according to Ars, not quite

        Another problem is that the mainstream gaming press has almost never been fond of the idea anyway, and the amount of articles out looking down it probably wouldn’t have helped things. Ars hasn’t exactly been kind about it at all in previous articles. Hell, even certain Linux websites like to use sensationalist article titles talking down Linux popularity on Steam. When actually, it’s doing pretty well all things considered.

      • At Just $35, Now Is A Great Time To Try Out Valve’s ARM-Linux-Powered Steam Link

        Steam Link is Valve’s game streaming solution where when paired with a controller makes for easy gaming from a living room TV. The Steam Link is Linux-based and it does support game streaming from Steam running on SteamOS or any Linux distribution.

      • Steam’s latest Hardware Survey is out, shows Linux at 0.84%

        The key thing to remember is Steam overall is always growing, so a lower overall percentage of Linux users doesn’t necessarily mean there are less Linux users on Steam (it could actually be more, but dwarfed by also having even more Windows users on Steam).

        [...]

        You can make it appear by simply having different hardware or a different operating system. It seems to detect when you change things, as if it knows it needs to check on you again. This is by design of course, as the entire point of it is to show what people are currently using, so if you’ve changed something it wants to know about it and send it along. This is one reason why people keep saying they see it when they boot into Windows after not using it for a while, of course you will, that’s a change in your setup. This is another reason why I dislike it, as that can create an unintentional bias in the results. This bias isn’t against Linux though, as it would work the same the opposite way around of course. This is why I feel the results were actually a lot higher for Linux initially, as it did a survey for a big bunch of Windows/Mac users trying it and submitting it on Linux before moving back to Windows/Mac.

        A good bit of reading was a recent editorial titled “A different approach to calculating the popularity of Linux gaming on Steam” which will help put your mind at ease.

      • Unreal Engine 4.12 Released with Hundreds of Updates, Many New Features

        Today, June 1, 2016, Epic Games has had the enormous pleasure of announcing the release of Unreal Engine 4.12, a massive update it the 4.x stable series of the cross-platform and highly acclaimed game engine.

        Unreal Engine 4.12 comes exactly two months after the release of Unreal Engine 4.11, bringing hundreds of updates, countless bug fixes across all platforms, a multitude of new features, and the initial implementation of some brand-new technologies, such as the Vulkan Mobile Renderer.

      • DOOM 2016 can now be Played on Linux systems: See how
  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Enlightenment DR 0.21.0-rc Release
    • Enlightenment 0.21 Up To RC State With Better Wayland Support

      Mike Blumenkrantz has tagged the release candidate of the upcoming Enlightenment 0.21 release.

      This newest annual update to the Enlightenment desktop features much better Wayland support, a new gadget infrastructure, wizard improvements, and support for video backgrounds.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Transit routing starting to show some life-signs

        Here the departure time was set at approximately the same time as the local time here when I took the screenshots, which then would give you a trip at that time (21:50) in Portland’s timezone (and as can be seen, the gondola lift seems to have ended service for the day).

        Oh, and another thing. I added an option to override the (for now hardcoded to using localhost) URL of the OpenTripPlanner instance. This could be used if you know of some publicly available server, or would like to run your own to test with on another machine (or in a VM).

      • To Polari 3.22 and beyond

        This summer I am co-mentoring Rares Visalom and Kunaal Jain for a Google Summer of Code internship in Polari.

        Kunaal Jain is working on search and Rares Visalom is working on various user experience improvements. In this relation I’ve had the chance to be involved with designing some of the new features.

  • Distributions

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • CENX, Brocade, Red Hat, RIFT.io collaborate to set up SDNFV Innovation Lab

        Canada-based CENX, the global leader of orchestrated service assurance and management solutions for physical and virtualized networks, is collaborating with Brocade, Red Hat, and RIFT.io to showcase end-to-end service management capabilities over hybrid network infrastructure in its SDNFV innovation lab.

      • Cambridge to contribute to cloud computing

        Computer scientists at the University of Cambridge (UK) will contribute to the development of Openstack, an open source cloud computing platform, according to a press release by open source ICT services provider Red Hat.

        The University of Cambridge will contribute high performance computing capabilities to the upstream OpenStack community, Red Hat says in a press release on 29 April.

      • Red Hat’s Release of Ansible 2.1 Supports Network Automation

        Red Hat has announced the general availability of Ansible 2.1, the latest version of the company’s agentless open source IT automation framework. Ansible provides developers with the ability to deploy IT applications and environments by automating routine activities such as network configuration, cloud deployments, and creation of development environments.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Pagure CI

          As my GSoC project one of the first goals is getting CI to Pagure. In my previous post I have been blogging about getting Fedmsg to work, Configuring Jenkins and my favorite Poor Man’s CI. Well, Poor Man’s CI evolved into Slightly Richer Man’s CI and now Pagure CI.

        • Fedora CommBlog Keeps it 100

          Shout-out to all the Fedora CommBlog Contributors who have helped us surpass the 💯 posts milestone!

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 7 Wheezy LTS now supporting armel and armhf

        Debian Long Term Support (LTS) is a project created to extend the life of all Debian stable releases to (at least) 5 years.

        Thanks to the LTS sponsors, Debian’s buildd maintainers and the Debian FTP Team are excited to announce that two new architectures, armel and armhf, are going to be supported in Debian 7 Wheezy LTS. These architectures along with i386 and amd64 will receive two additional years of extended security support.

      • GSoC 2016 Week 1: Reproducible Builds in Debian

        I started working from 28 May as the exams ended. This report is bit late. I started work on –hide=profiles flag.

      • My Free Software Activities in May 2016

        My monthly report covers a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world. I write it for my donators (thanks to them!) but also for the wider Debian community because it can give ideas to newcomers and it’s one of the best ways to find volunteers to work with me on projects that matter to me.

      • My Debian Activities in May 2016

        This month I marked 286 packages for accept and rejected 35. I also sent 13 emails to maintainers asking questions. Apart from this nothing unusual happened this month.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Switches to a Universal Local DNS Resolver Service

            As you might know by now, Ubuntu 16.10 is currently in heavy development these days, and it is getting all sorts of new GNU/Linux technologies and improvements.

          • Creating a Snap is Not Difficult, Here’s How to Package Your Apps for Ubuntu

            Canonical’s Jamie Bennett talks in his latest blog post about how hard is to package your applications for various GNU/Linux operating systems, as well as how easy it to distribute them on Ubuntu via a Snap package.

            Snap is a new secure, isolated technology designed by Canonical for its Snappy Ubuntu Core operating system, which relies on snapd, the snap-based runtime environment, and Snapcraft, the tool anyone can use to package their applications into a Snap for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) and later.

          • QNAP to Use Ubuntu and Snaps for Distributing IoT Apps to Its NAS Solutions

            QNAP Systems, Inc., a Taiwanese corporation known for creating NAS solutions for storage management, file sharing, surveillance, and virtualization applications, announced recently that they are moving to offering IoT apps.

            It’s a bold move, but even if we don’t realize it yet IoT (Internet of Things) is the future, and like any other corporation out there that wants to survive today’s economy and fast-changing technology landscape it keep up with the latest trends.

          • Ubuntu Touch now supports Convergence over wireless display

            Canonical has just released the latest major update to the Ubuntu Touch mobile OS and it is really a major one, especially for owners of Ubuntu Touch smartphones. While those, particularly the Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition, is more than capable of offering Convergence, it was blocked by the lack of a HDMI out port. With this latest OTA-11 update, that is no longer an issue as Ubuntu Touch now supports connecting to an external display wirelessly, which means smartphone users can even more conveniently use Convergence with no wires in sight.

            As a quick recap, Convergence is a feature of Ubuntu Touch that truly lets your transform your smartphone or tablet into a portable desktop. Unlike Microsoft’s Continuum, users aren’t limited to only a specific subset of apps. As Ubuntu Touch can run both touch-friendly mobile apps as well as regular Linux desktop apps, that theoretically means everything.

          • Verdict and 10 things to know about Ubuntu bq Aquaris M10

            Mobile devices, especially smartphones, are becoming more powerful every year and are practically taking over our computing lives. Instead of bemoaning the death of the desktop, Ubuntu Touch takes the bull by the horns and creates a convergence of both worlds in a single device. It is a future that many other companies and tech pundits have pointed to. We’re definitely not yet there, but the bq Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Touch is definitely a nice first step.

          • Latest Ubuntu OS update brings in Continuum-like functionality

            The latest OTA-11 update for Ubuntu Phone and Tablet saw the light of the day today, bringing in a new convergence experience for Ubuntu device users.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Chitu Okoli on FOSS Business Models

    At the turn of the century, generating positive interest in free and open source software was an uphill battle. These days FOSS practically runs the enterprise and is the subject of many academic studies, including one by Concordia University’s Chitu Okoli.

  • VMware launches Liota, an open source SDK to fight gateway problem in IoT

    VMware recently announced Liota, an open source developer kit for building secure IoT apps that can work across multiple gateways.

  • We are Nextcloud – the future of private file sync and share

    You should have full control over your data. We help you achieve that: a safe home for all your data. Secure, under your control and developed in an open, transparent and trustworthy way. We are Nextcloud.

  • ​OwnCloud founder forks popular open-source cloud

    OwnCloud, a very popular, open-source Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud program, has been forked by its founder Frank Karlitschek. The fork, Nextcloud, will be available in early July.

  • You are Nextcloud, too – what we will do for contributors

    January 2015, I ran a contributor survey to see what the ownCloud community thought about the processes, development focus and our work at the company. I shared the results by the end of April and pushed internally for the feedback to be taken serious. Some of the changes were implemented but many others were left for a future project to push forward. And Nextcloud will.

  • Nextcloud is replacing ownCloud

    So today is the day: we announce that we’re forking ownCloud. We includes project founder Frank and the core ownCloud contributors who publicly quit ownCloud, Inc. over the last weeks – Lukas, Arthur, Morris, Bjoern, Jan-Christoph and quite a few others as well who can’t talk about that yet. As of now, 9 of the 10 top contributors to ownCloud core are joining and of course, we’re very busy hiring and aim to leave no (wo)man behind.

  • OwnCloud Has Been Forked By Former Developers, Founder
  • Coreboot Gains A Hybrid Graphics Driver For Lenovo ThinkPads

    Landing in Coreboot Git this week is a “hybrid graphics driver” that benefits seemingly all Lenovo laptops (except the mux-less models) with dual GPUs.

    This hybrid graphics driver in the Coreboot realm simply allows connecting the display panel to either the integrated GPU or discrete graphics processor. This hybrid driver basically comes down to setting the GPIO pins for the panel LVDS signal so you can route the display to whichever GPU you want from Coreboot.

  • How will open source AI change the tech industry?

    After years in the labs, artificial intelligence (AI) is being unleashed at last. Google, Microsoft and Facebook have all made their own AI APIs open source in recent months, while IBM has opened Watson (pictured above) for business and Amazon has purchased AI startup Orbeus. These announcements have not drawn much media attention, but are hugely significant.

    “In the long run, I think we will evolve in computing from a mobile-first world to an AI-first world,” says Google CEO Sundar Pichai. What does the appearance of AI bots and machine learning on the open market mean for business, IT, big data, and for sellers of physical hardware?

  • Events

    • The Future of Open Source

      Last week in New York, the venture firm Accel held a ninety minute lunch for an audience of financial analysts and equity professionals, a reporter or two and at least a few industry analysts. The ostensible subject for the event was Accel’s Open Adoption Software (OAS) model, but the wider focus was what the future held for open source in general. Accel’s view on this subject, as well as that of the panelists at the event from Cloudera, Cockroach Labs and Sysdig, was that open source essentially has gone mainstream. As Jake Flomenberg, an Accel partner put it, “There is a massive shift going on in the ways technology is bought. Open source has gone from the exception to the rule.”

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.2 Beta Now Available as a Flatpak for Common Linux Distributions

      The upcoming LibreOffice 5.2 open-source and cross-platform office suite has entered Beta stages of development, and a first Beta release is now available for download on supported platforms.

    • LibreOffice Is Now One Of The First Major Linux Desktop Apps With A Flatpak
    • LibreOffice Flatpak’d, Linux Misconceptions, Windows 10 or Else

      Today in Linux news Stephan Bergmann announced LibreOffice’s availability in a Flatpak bundle, bringing convenience and security to distributors. In other news, Microsoft has begun practically forcing Windows 10 upgrades upon their loyal customers while Samsung has advised its customers against upgrading. Martin Gräßlin announced virtual framebuffer support for KWayland and Bertel King, Jr. dispelled some common Linux misconceptions.

    • LibreOffice 5.2 Beta Flatpak

      Flatpak (formerly known under its working title “xdg-app”) is a cool new way of distributing images of Linux applications that run on a wide range of different distros, and run there in a secure way. I have blogged and spoken about making LibreOffice available in this format before in various places (see, e.g., these two previous blog posts and this conference talk).

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Why I Run OpenBSD

      This post is about my journey down the OS rabbit hole and how it landed me in OpenBSD land as a happy and productive user.

      It contains information that is highly opinionated, wildly inaccurate, mostly speculation. It is, after all, on the internet!

    • bsdtalk265 – Sunset on BSD

      A brief description of playing around with SunOS 4.1.4, which was the last version of SunOS to be based on BSD.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Is GIMP the best open source alternative to Photoshop?

      It will be eighteen years this weekend since GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, hit version 1.0 on June 5, 1996, and over twenty since the open source project first became generally available to the public. In that time, it has come a long way in both the expansion of features and in usability, and for many users across Linux, Windows, and Mac machines alike it has become their preferred image editor.

      But is GIMP really a full replacement for Photoshop? It probably depends on both what you need it for, and how rigid you are in your workflow. In many educational programs, designers and artists are often taught a single proprietary option from day one of their training; they aren’t taught design so much as how to use a specific application. Industry completes the cycle by advertising job requirements around a specific tool, and building a whole design workflow around it, making it harder to break in with an open source alternative.

  • Public Services/Government

    • European Parliament continues to promote open source

      The European Parliament continues to emphasise the importance of free and open source software. In resolutions adopted in March and April, on ‘a thriving data-driven economy’ and on ‘gender equality and empowering women in the digital age’ respectively, the EC stresses there is a role for free and open source software.

    • ‘Open source values match municipal public services’

      The values ​​of free and open source software closely match those of municipal public service, says Nicolas Vivant the CIO of the French town of Fontaine, a suburb of Grenoble. Virtues include working with the community, in the public interest, openness and fair pricing, according to the IT director. “The economic benefits are a beneficial side effect,” he says.

    • Fontaine Walks The Talk

      Yet another example of a local government gradually adopting FLOSS on servers and desktops, Fontaine, France, took a decade, saving a bundle and taking full control of their IT. That’s the right way to do IT, GNU/Linux and FLOSS everywhere.

    • Majority of companies in Galicia use open source

      The majority of companies in Galicia, one of Spain’s autonomous regions, uses free and open source software solutions, reports Osimga, the region’s observatory for information society and modernisation. To overcome the remaining barriers, the agency recommends that the government continues to promote the use of this type of software – combining workshops, trainings and advise. The government should also increase its own use of such solutions.

    • FLOSS, Naturally
    • Estonian town of Koigi latest to switch to Delta

      The village of Koigi (Estonia) will start to use Delta, the document management system made available as open source software by the country’s Ministry of the Interior. The village is the most-recent public administration to switch to the open source DMS.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Transforming food service in Singapore with an open culture model

      Darwin Gosal is a visionary technopreneur in Singapore who believes in societal value creation. His company, CryoWerx, developed a smart fridge that allows users to conveniently purchase fresh food. Gosal says the company contributes to open source software projects as part of its work.

      To flatten its structure and maintain agility as it grows, CryoWerx has adopted holacracy as its approach to management. I chatted with Gosal about the impact this had on CryoWerx’s organizational dynamics.

    • Open Access/Content

      • E.U. Pushes for Open Access by 2020

        Europe is adopting a bold new roadmap toward open science: make all publications open access by 2020. Though the goal is ambitious, some European science ministers and open-access advocates are hailing the move as revolutionary. The proclamation came out of a two-day meeting of the Competitiveness Council, which comprises European business, science, and trade leaders, in Brussels. The effort has been spearheaded by the Dutch government, which holds the rotating EU presidency at the moment. “We probably don’t realize it yet, but what the Dutch presidency has achieved is just unique and huge, European science chief Carlos Moedas said during a press conference last week. “The commission is totally committed to help move this forward.”

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • MIT researchers develop xPrint, an open-source modular bio and smart material ready printer

        Shortly after becoming interested in filament based 3D printing someone mentioned to me the similarity between pen-plotters from the 1980s. While I am a product of that decade, this plotting technology – which ultimately became obsolete thanks to laser and bubblejet printers – was initially foreign but ultimately an appropriate comparison upon brief investigation.

  • Programming/Development

    • Van Rossum promises Python 3.6 will move to GitHub

      With the planned Python 3.6 release, the popular scripting language is due for improvements in readability and cryptography. Also on the agenda: Moving the project to GitHub to help contributors participate in the language’s development.

      Code freeze for version 3.6 happens in September with the final release set for Christmastime, said Python founder Guido van Rossum at the PyCon 2016 conference in Portland this week. Version 3.6 currently is an alpha stage of development.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Putting Free Speech out to Pasture: Cartoonist Lost His Job for Poking Fun at Monsanto

      Hard experience teaches that biotech companies, chemical corporations, and other agribusiness giants have no sense of respect for Mother Nature. Now, Rick Friday has learned they have no sense of humor either.

      Friday, a lifelong Iowa farmer, also happens to be a talented, self-taught cartoonist. For 21 years, he supplemented his cattle-raising income by drawing cartoons each week in an Iowa publication called Farm News.

    • Darjeeling Goes Digital

      For more than a century, buyers and sellers shouted out orders for Darjeeling tea at auctions in India before they were shipped to high-end purveyors in Europe, Japan and the U.S.

      Now, the prized black tea is poised to enter the digital age, with Darjeeling trade moving online from June. India harvested 1.19 billion kilograms of leaves in 2015—and less than 1 percent of that was Darjeeling, which is only grown in selected areas, similar to the rules on famed French wines.

  • Security

    • LibreSSL 2.4 Released
    • Security advisories for Thursday
    • Hertz: Abusing privileged and unprivileged Linux containers
    • How LinkedIn’s password sloppiness hurts us all

      Me: “The full dump from the 2012 LinkedIn breach just dropped, so you’re probably not going to see much of me over the next week.”

      Wife: “Again?”

      Yes, again. If you’re just waking up from a coma you would be forgiven for thinking that it’s still 2012. But no, it’s 2016 and the LinkedIn breach is back from the dead—on its four-year anniversary, no less. If you had a LinkedIn account in 2012, there’s a 98 percent chance your password has been cracked.

      Back in 2012, fellow professional password cracker d3ad0ne (who regretfully passed away in 2013) and I made short work out of the first LinkedIn password dump, cracking more than 90 percent of the 6.4 million password hashes in just under one week. Following that effort, I did a short write-up ironically titled The Final Word on the LinkedIn Leak.

    • The Internet of Things

      A common question is whether or not IoT is something new and revolutionary or a buzzword for old ideas? The answer is “yes”…

      Much of the foundation of IoT has been around for quite a while. SCADA systems, or Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition has been around since the 1950’s managing electrical power grids, railroads, and factories. Machine communications over telephone lines and microwave links has been around since the 1960’s. Machine control systems, starting on mainframes and minicomputers, have also been around since the 1960’s.

      The big changes are economics, software, and integration. Microsensors and SoC (System on a Chip) technology for CPUs and networking are driving the cost of devices down – in some cases by a factor of a thousand! Advances in networking – both networking technology as well as the availability of pervasive networking – are changing the ground rules and economics for machine to machine communication.

    • Signal and Google Cloud Services

      I just installed Signal on my Android phone.

      It wasn’t an easy decision. I have been running Cyanogenmod, a Google-free version of Android, and installing apps from F-Droid, a repository of free software android apps, for several years now. This setup allows me to run all the applications I need without Google accessing any of my cell phone data. It has been a remarkably successful experiment leaving me with all the phone software I need. And it’s consistent with my belief that Google’s size, reach and goals are a menace to the left’s ability to develop the autonomous communications systems on the Internet that we need to achieve any meaningful political change.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Launch Nuclear Attack? Insert Disk Seven

      It turns out the DoD systems dedicated to the operational functions of U.S. nuclear forces run on computers that still rely on eight-inch floppy disks. In fact, an IBM Series/1 computer provides the technological brainpower behind this infrastructure. That computer debuted in 1976.

    • DOD, NSA Enter A New World Order: U.S. Is Now Dependent On Foreign Companies For Its Most Sensitive Electronics

      Washington legislators have re-awakened to concerns over the Defense Department’s inability to plan for and deal with what is now the final stage in the shift of American microelectronics production offshore. Congress wants the Pentagon to figure out how it is going to deal with issues associated with purchasing “trusted” electronics for military weapons and national security surveillance systems from foreign and foreign-owned producers.

    • Police monitored Brussels terror suspect’s home months before bombings: media report

      Belgian police began monitoring terror suspect Mohamed Abrini months before he is alleged to have helped carry out the Brussels terror attacks, newspaper Le Parisien reported Wednesday.

      Federal police started investigating Abrini on July 13 last year and his home would have been under camera surveillance due to fears he was radicalized and on his way to Syria, according to the newspaper.

    • UCLA murder-suicide shooting leaves two dead on campus

      Shooter opened fire in engineering building, triggering a campus lockdown and citywide tactical alert by police who responded with helicopters and Swat teams

    • An End to Impunity for Dictators—and Their Backers—Makes the World Safer

      It was a bad week for dictators, and a good one for international justice. Two brutal, U.S.-backed dictators who ruled decades ago were convicted for crimes they committed while in power. Hissene Habre took control of the northern African nation of Chad in 1982, and unleashed a reign of terror against his own people, killing at least 40,000 of them, until he was deposed in 1990. Reynaldo Bignone was a general in the Argentinian military, and was the last dictator of the military junta that ruled that country from 1976 to 1983, the period known as “The Dirty War,” when an estimated 30,000 dissidents were “disappeared,” i.e., killed. Both men will most likely spend the rest of their lives in prison. These verdicts won’t bring back the tens of thousands they tortured and killed, but, hopefully, they will hasten the end of the modern era of impunity for human-rights abusers and their allies.

    • David French and the Cult of the Soldier

      The larger point, however, is that it is not only politicians who deserve scorn and backlash. We needn’t wait for a person with dreadful opinions to win power before expressing horror that they are even considering trying to gain it. The empire’s most ardent fans are not clean, simply because they haven’t signed any drone strike orders personally. Kristol’s first dream of an anti-Trump ticket was Dick Cheney and Tom Cotton, which literally could not be more social conservative and hawkish. So if someone comes Kristol-endorsed, run the other way.

    • The Fanatic and the Opportunist

      Wayne LaPierre is the executive vice president of the NRA and Chris Cox is its executive director for Legislative Action. LaPierre and Cox are typical of NRA stalwarts and we can see them as representative of a good percentage of the organization’s members. On 20 May 2016 both men gave speeches before the NRA convention in Kentucky announcing the association’s endorsement of Donald Trump for president. In his speech Cox spent a lot of time painting a picture of the United States as a place about to lose its “freedoms” if Hillary Clinton gets elected. Here is how he put it: the present political environment in the U.S. is mired in “dishonesty, corruption and contempt for everyday Americans” and the only thing that stands between those “everyday Americans” and “the end of individual freedom in this country” are “gun owners,” who must turn out to vote “in droves this fall.”

      Wayne LaPierre painted a similar crisis picture, again emphasizing that it is only the country’s gun owners who stand in the way of catastrophe. Here is how he put it: “We in this room, we are America’s best hope, and this is our moment. In all of history, there’s always been a time and a place when patriots stand up and rise up against the decree of the elites and shout, ‘No more! Get your hands off my freedom!’… That time and place is now. … The revolution to take America back starts here.”

      Hillary Clinton was characterized as a “corrupt politician” whose “policies and Supreme Court picks would destroy individual freedoms, and therefore destroy the America we all love.” According to Cox, Clinton’s vision of the U.S. is a place “where only law enforcement has guns and everything is free: free meals, free health care, free education.” It seems Cox has a real distaste for free access to anything that does not have lethal potential. He likens a society that provides no-cost availability to the items he lists to a prison.

    • Susan Rice: Too Many Smart White Guys on National Security Team Putting America at Risk

      Actual Black Person and National Security Advisor Susan Rice told graduates at Florida International University in a commencement speech a week or three ago that the presence of too many “white, male, and Yale” personnel in America’s national security agencies she helps staff and run is posing a threat to the very security of the United States.

    • What music are British special forces playing at ISIS to freak them out?

      British special forces troops are “freaking out” Islamic State fighters by blasting Bollywood music at them.

      The psychological warfare strategy is aimed at discrediting the extremists who claim the music is “apostasy” or un-Islamic.

      They came up with the idea after a Pakistani-born army intelligence officer with the British Army told troops Bollywood tunes would annoy ISIS.

      Bollwyood tunes are often referred to as Hindi film songs as they come from northern India and are also followed in neighbouring Pakistan.

      Ultra-conservative parts of predominantly Muslim Pakistan have banned it for being frivolous and un-religious.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Hillary on the Ropes

      Late last week, the inspector general of the State Department completed a yearlong investigation into the use by Hillary Clinton of a private email server for all of her official government email as secretary of state. The investigation was launched when information technology officials at the State Department under Secretary of State John Kerry learned that Clinton paid an aide to migrate her public and secret State Department email streams away from their secured government venues and onto her own, non-secure server, which was stored in her home.

      The migration of the secret email stream most likely constituted the crime of espionage – the failure to secure and preserve the secrecy of confidential, secret or top-secret materials.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Horse Racing’s Shame — And Ours

      One horse was already dead as Pramedya saddled up for the fourth undercard race of the 2016 Preakness Stakes, an annual Triple Crown race held in Baltimore. Unlike Homeboykris, who died of apparent heart failure after winning the first contest of the day, she wouldn’t even reach the finish line.

    • ‘Illegitimate’ Request Denied: GOP Gets Middle Finger for #ExxonKnew Ploy

      Environmental groups that have become targets of a Republican-led effort to insulate ExxonMobil against accusations of fraud and climate science suppression dug in a bit deeper on Wednesday by refusing to submit to a Congressional inquiry on the matter.

      As Common Dreams previously reported, House Republicans with the Committee on Space, Science and Technology sent a letter (pdf) on May 18th to 17 attorneys general and eight environmental organizations—including 350.org, Greenpeace, and the Union of Concerned Scientists—claiming their #ExxonKnew effort amounted to a violation of climate deniers’ First Amendment rights and demanding that they submit communications related to state investigations into Exxon Mobil.

    • They spy on us because they recognise our power, and fear it

      The climate movement has learnt from the Spy Cops scandal; we won’t let it stop us.

    • Led By Solar And Wind, Renewable Energy Grew Like Never Before Last Year

      The world added more renewable energy capacity than ever before last year, despite tumbling prices for fossil fuels, a new report has found.

      An estimated 147 gigawatts of renewable capacity was added in 2015, the largest annual increase ever, the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) said in its most recent report, unveiled Tuesday. For perspective, one gigawatt is enough energy to power Walt Disney World for nearly 17 days.

    • The Trial of Heather Doyle: Md. County Drops the Hammer on Anti-LNG Activist

      Anne Meador: Cove Point LNG isn’t just a huge profit-generator for one corporation. It will have enormous ramifications for the gas industry in the Marcellus Shale. Even though the gas reserves in the Marcellus have been overestimated, probably purposefully, the gas fracked in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia is like a cork ready to pop. Frackers need to get their product to markets where they can get the best price, and that means international markets. The situation has changed since prices plummeted, but it will come back. Dominion Cove Point is the linchpin, the exit point best situated geographically for all this fracked gas to get out of the country where it can make billions in profit for these companies. A lot rides on it.

      And of course for those people opposed to all the terrible effects of fracking — earthquakes, ruined health, poisoned wells and aquifers — and to all the buildout that comes from fracking — pipelines, compressor stations and gas storage — there is a lot riding on Cove Point too. Stop Cove Point, and you can cut off the profit incentive for a lot of fracking and gas infrastructure.

  • Finance

    • Verizon Unions Deliver For American Middle Class

      Verizon is an extremely profitable company. But even with massive, astonishing profits the company was demanding that its workers provide givebacks, allow employees to be separated from families for months at a time and on top of that allow the company to send more and more call center jobs out of the country. The workers are lucky enough to have unions to fight this – The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). They voted to strike, it was a long, hard struggle, and in the end they won.

    • Thinking He Owed $25,000, A Man Spent 5 Months In Rikers. He Only Owed $2.

      Unable to pay $25,000 to bail himself out, a Queens resident languished in New York City’s notoriously overcrowded and abusive Rikers Island jail for approximately five months. According to court documents, he should’ve only paid $2 for bail and been released after one week.

      Aitabdel Salem, an immigrant from Algeria, was detained in November 2014 for fighting a cop who arrested him for theft at a clothing store. He was locked away at Rikers because he was unable to pay the $25,000 bail amount. After his first week behind bars, however, prosecutors on the case were unable to indict him and he no longer owed thousands of dollars. To be released, Salem only had to chalk up two, $1 bail payments for unrelated mischief and tampering charges.

    • “Network” 40 Years Later: Capitalism in Retrospect and Prospect and Elite Politics Today

      It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today!

    • We took a stand against corporate power

      The strike by 39,000 Verizon workers–members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)–ended after 45 days with a tentative agreement announced late last week. Only partial details are available as union members prepare for a ratification vote. But strikers believe they’ve won a victory on balance–one made all the more significant by Verizon’s pre-walkout arrogance in its demand for drastic concessions, and also by the widespread support for the strike that clearly put pressure on the company to fold on key demands.

    • Union Membership Is Declining, and More
    • Dodgin’ Donald’s Hiding Something in Those Unreleased Tax Returns

      Donald Trump scorns traditional presidential candidate standards. The Donald doesn’t do what’s expected. And he certainly doesn’t do what he tells other candidates they must do.

      If Donald doesn’t feel like debating, he stiffs his opponents and grabs attention doing something different. If he finally realizes there’s no way to force Mexico to pay for that “big, beautiful wall” he promised ad nauseam, he converts it to a virtual barrier, a mere video-game blockade.

      And when he pledges to release his tax returns, then changes his mind, he simply comes up with an excuse not to do it. That’s Dodgin’ Donald. Donald Trump is a rich guy, a billionaire 10 times over, or so he claims. And rich guys in America don’t follow the rules that working guys must. In fact, fat cats like Donald celebrate breaking the rules. And that’s why he won’t release his income tax returns. What Dodgin’ Donald doesn’t want workers to find out from those forms is that while they paid the IRS every week, he paid nothing. Or next to nothing.

    • It’s Official: US International Trade Commission Predicts Negligible Economic Benefits From TPP

      Techdirt has written hundreds of stories about TPP over the years. So many of those have revealed troubling aspects of the deal that it’s hard to single out the worst. But there can be no doubt that one of the most extraordinary facts is that the US and the other TPP nations were negotiating for eight years the biggest so-called trade deal in history with only the sketchiest idea about its likely benefits. Instead, politicians and supporters simply assured the public that it would all be great, honest. And yet when the rigorous econometric studies began to appear, they consistently showed that TPP would produce almost no benefits whatsoever.

      Upon hearing that a planned course of action designed to bring financial gains would do nothing of the kind, most rational people in ordinary life would try something else. But not the politicians and TPP negotiators, who carried on despite these clear signs that TPP was simply not worth the effort. They either ignored these studies completely, or at most said that the only reliable predictions worth considering were the official ones, which would come from the US International Trade Commission (USITC) once TPP’s text had been finalised.

    • Jeremy Corbyn and Labour comes out against TTIP

      Today Jeremy Corbyn announced that the Labour Party will oppose the EU-US trade deal TTIP “in it’s current form” at a rally in central London.

    • TTIP and the NHS

      The proposed EU-US trade deal known as TTIP might have implications for public services, but EU officials want to include wording designed to keep governments free to run services like the NHS. This should stop the NHS from having to be opened up to US companies, although it may still mean that undoing NHS privatisation in future is more expensive. That would depend on what an international court makes of the agreement, which is still being negotiated.

    • Western Financial System Looting Greece
    • How the Big Banks Can Be Beaten

      One of these loopholes lets private equity and hedge fund managers pay a 20 percent capital gains rate on the bulk of their income — just half of the nearly 40 percent top rate the wealthiest Americans normally owe. As a result, billionaire financiers pay a lower tax rate than millions of our country’s teachers, firefighters, and nurses.

    • Uber’s Drive-By Politics

      Until earlier this month, Karl G. was an avid driver for Uber and Lyft in Austin. After the companies failed to leverage popular support against a new law requiring their drivers to pass fingerprint-based background checks in a vote on May 7th, they followed through on their promises and ceased operations in the city, claiming the requirement was too onerous. That left Karl and roughly 10,000 drivers upended. “It wasn’t necessary,” he said.

      But for the global e-hail companies, an exit was, clearly, necessary. The companies have argued that fingerprinting-based background checks are flawed, time-consuming, and antithetical to their business model: scaling massively requires an aggressive minimization of on-boarding costs, including time, to ensure access to the largest possible pool of drivers.

    • What Uber’s Massive New Investment Really Means
    • Now that’s surge pricing: Saudi Arabia invests $3.5bn in Uber
    • Saudi Arabia just invested a historic amount of cash in Uber
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Lazy Pundit’s Guide to Which Candidate’s Lies You Shouldn’t Care About

      The Donald Trump portion of the column mainly illustrates the laziness of a wealthy pundit looking forward to beach season. Friedman explains to Trump why “we can’t carpet-bomb the terrorists without killing all the civilians around them”—forgetting, or not caring, that carpet-bombing terrorists was Ted Cruz’s line, not Trump’s.

      He demands an explanation from Trump: “On Mexico, please tell me why it would pay for a multibillion-dollar wall on our border and how we would compel our neighbor to do so.” Trump has been claiming since last year, at least, that he could force Mexico to pay for the wall by blocking immigrant workers from sending home money—but Friedman seems not to have heard about it.

    • In California, Hillary Clinton’s Strategy Depends on Black Voters

      The mall on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard is in the heart of Los Angeles’ African-American community. Its most influential leaders were at a rally there on Saturday to stir up support for Hillary Clinton in the June 7 California presidential primary. But their task extended far beyond Los Angeles, to the suburbs east of the city, now home to thousands of black families.

      “We have to go to San Bernardino, to Riverside, to Perris,” Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters told the several dozen men and women in front of the Clinton campaign’s South Los Angeles headquarters. The communities she mentioned are part of the vast area known as the Inland Empire. “Many folks have moved out,” she said. “They’re not connected. We’re going to connect them.”

      Motivating turnout for Clinton to defeat Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary is the challenge Waters faces. At 76, she is on the campaign trail, where she has been since the mid-’70s when she was elected to the California State Assembly. She has represented her South L.A. district in the House since 1991. In that long tenure, she has become Los Angeles’ most influential African-American political leader with a network of allies that extends throughout the state and nation.

    • Former Bill Clinton Adviser Thinks Hillary Won’t Be the Democratic Nominee

      He then goes on to say that at the Democratic National Convention, Sanders will most likely introduce a rule change “requiring superdelegates to vote for the candidate who won their state’s primary or caucus.” This too, he argues, would hurt Clinton’s chances.

      He also covers the new polling numbers that show Sanders as a stronger competitor against Trump than Clinton, and he brings up the mounting legal issues Clinton faces. He ends by pondering potential new nominations. “John Kerry, the 2004 nominee, is one possibility. But the most likely scenario is that Vice President Joe Biden—who has said that he regrets ‘every day’ his decision not to run—enters the race.”

    • Clinton Might Not Be the Nominee

      There is now more than a theoretical chance that Hillary Clinton may not be the Democratic nominee for president.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein on the Feminist Case Against Hillary Clinton

      Hillary Clinton’s plan to win the White House relies heavily on winning the support of women voters. And she shouldn’t have much problem doing that: Not only does she have the endorsements of many marquee women’s organizations — EMILY’s List, NOW and Planned Parenthood, for example — she’ll likely face Donald Trump, a candidate who is despised by women at historic rates. (A recent poll found seven out of ten women voters have unfavorable views of him.)

    • Jill Stein Believes the Green Party Is Better for Women Than a Hillary Clinton Presidency

      A piece by Tessa Stuart published last week by Rolling Stone explains how the Green Party’s platform is better for women in many (perhaps unexpected) ways.

    • ‘Victory for Voting Rights’: Illinois Poised to Pass Automatic Voter Registration

      In a development heralded as a win for democracy, Illinois lawmakers on Tuesday passed legislation to enact automatic voter registration.

      It marks “a landmark victory for voting rights,” according to the Brennan Center for Justice’s Jonathan Brater, who adds that the move “in the nation’s fifth most populous state is a big deal in a year when the media spotlight is focused on new burdens voters will face at the polls in 2016.”

    • Donald Trump Actually Does Not Know What Brexit Is

      In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday morning, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared to be flummoxed by a question about the United Kingdom’s upcoming vote on a potential split from the European Union.

      The Reporter’s Michael Wolff asked Trump about Brexit, the shorthand term referring to the UK leaving the European Union, but the candidate had no idea what that was.

    • Sanders Urges ‘Revolutionaries’ to Join Him as California Democratic Primary Vote Nears

      Bernie Sanders and his California supporters not only expect to win big in next Tuesday’s primary, but say Democrats will not pick their nominee until July’s national convention.

    • AUDIO: Robert Scheer Speaks With Nomi Prins About the Connection Between Washington and Wall Street

      In this week’s “Scheer Intelligence”—the Truthdig editor-in-chief’s podcast on KCRW—author, journalist and former investment banker Nomi Prins explains the culture of Wall Street and its influence on government.

      Prins worked as a managing director at Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs for several years before leaving the financial sector around the time of the Enron crisis to become one of its sharpest critics. She has written several books about the relationship between Washington and Wall Street, including “All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power” and “Other Peoples’ Money: The Corporate Mugging of America.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Dreams of Control: Israel, Global Censorship, and the Internet

      While Israel’s central justification for its often reactionary policies is couched in hyper-exceptionalist rhetoric, current interest in censoring the Internet is far from exceptional.

      Like a machine of justification against its critics and its enemies, Israel enlists various projects under the banner of the remarkable and precious, when it is simply accomplishing what other states have done before or since: the banal and ordinary. All states want to limit expression, control criticism and marginalise the sceptics. Some do it more savagely, and roughly, than others.

    • Shahid Kapoor on Udta Punjab’s censorship issues: It’s time we allowed content that the audience wants to see

      Having lived with and survived the reputation of a ‘limited actor’, Shahid Kapoor has come a very long way. The actor is matured and evolved; well, his recent choice of films is a big testimony to that. And his next, ‘Udta Punjab’ is no exception. The actor, who is ready to welcome fatherhood soon, chats with Timesofindia.com and bares his heart about his colourful, obnoxious character in the film, difficulties in becoming Tommy Singh, why he was scared to take up the role of a drug addict, controversies about the film and issues with censorship.

    • Periscope trolls to face ‘instant jury’

      Periscope is to put its users in charge of policing offensive comments with a crowd-sourced post moderation system.

      Comments flagged as inappropriate by one person will be instantly sent to others for review, and could result in a ban for the original poster.

      The Twitter-owned video streaming app said “people in a broadcast are best suited to determine what’s okay and what’s not”.

    • Free speech has met social media, with revolutionary results

      “IT’S confusing the public, it’s impoverishing political debate…the public are thoroughly fed up with it.” That was the verdict last week by the chairman of the UK’s Treasury Select Committee on the war being waged over the country’s European Union membership, which he says has become an “arms race of ever more lurid claims and counterclaims”.

      As in any war, the first casualty has been truth. Much dissembling of information has taken the form of “mathswash”, presenting vague estimates as firm predictions with nary a caveat or error bar in sight. Other claims are misleading but catchy – designed to spread faster than efforts to debunk them.

      The net result is that the UK’s forthcoming vote on “Brexit” probably won’t be decided on the basis of level-headed arguments, but by the cognitive shortcuts we turn to when we’re clueless about the right thing to do (see “Brexitology: What science says about the UK’s EU referendum“).

    • EFF fights to end prior restraint against MuckRock

      EFF on Wednesday asked a Washington state trial court to lift its order that forced the public records website MuckRock to take down documents one of its users had lawfully obtained.

      The motion EFF filed on behalf of MuckRock and its co-founder, Michael Morisy, argues that the court order requiring the site to de-publish these public records was an unconstitutional prior restraint.

    • ADL’s Challenge to Pro-Peace & Justice Groups

      On Monday morning NPR’s Tom Gjelten reported the Anti-Defamation League’s recent challenges interfacing with peace and justice groups in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson and Black Lives Matter movement. According to Gjelten, the Anti-Defamation League arose in 1913 to “put an end forever to unfair and unjust discrimination against…any sect or body of citizens.” ADL stood alongside the NAACP to end discrimination against African Americans in the South, which was the focus of NPR’s story. The ADL’s new President, Jonathan Greenblatt, a former special assistant to President Obama, wants to rekindle the spirit of solidarity encapsulated in a photo he frequently shows of Dr. Martin Luther King, Robert F. Kennedy and the heads of the ADL and NAACP in a Rose Garden snapshot with LBJ just before the famous March on Washington.

    • BDS a Bigger Issue After Israel’s Rightward Shift

      40 years after the US formally criminalized the participation of US citizens in economic boycotts of the state of Israel, Americans remain strongly divided on the question of the BDS movement, which seeks to protest Israeli behavior in the occupied territories through boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.

      While there were some ad-hoc boycotts against Israel even in the years before its formal founding, including a 1945 Arab League call to boycott anything that might lead to the realization of the Zionist ambition, the BDS movement began growing in earnest around the 1967 war, and 1973 Yom Kippur War.

    • Nikki Sloane: Dark Erotica vs Corporate Censorship

      Nikki Sloane’s Latest Novel, Sordid, Has Been Banned By Corporate Giant Amazon.

    • ‘I Am Cait’ Removed From Nigerian Cable Network After Customers Revolt
    • Caitlyn Jenner’s Reality Show Pulled From The Air Across Africa
    • I Am Censored: Caitlyn Jenner yanked off the air in Africa
    • Motion Pictures with Chidumga: Should there be censorship on TV?
    • LGBT Censorship by South African Broadcaster Complicit in Nigerian Bigotry
    • Uganda’s Covert Censorship
    • South African minister supports decision
    • Motsoeneng defends #SABCcensorship
    • Motsoeneng: SA media ‘censors’ good news
    • SABC urges investors to come to 90% local content party
    • Icasa says parties are allowed to buy airtime with broadcasters
    • LETTER: Free speech cuts both ways, liberals

      I have no patience with many so-called liberals in the media in particular who, when it suits them, will denounce the SABC’s latest stunt, the speaker ruling opposition MPs out of order for making statements about the governing party and so on, but, in a politically correct witch-hunt, see no contradiction in shutting down free speech with unfair and intemperate racism accusations.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • You Don’t Need JavaScript for That!

      Tooltips are great for showing helpful information that isn’t necessary to a user’s experience. There are a few JavaScript plugins that give us this behavior, but if you don’t feel like adding that weight to your site, we can take care of it with plain ol’ CSS.

    • Study of 1 million sites shows just how closely we’re watched

      THE web is watching you. Chunks of code hide inside every website, tracking your online behaviour.

      Now, a pair of computer scientists have published their attempt to spy back. They audited 1 million of the most popular websites for tracking behaviours – more than anyone has looked at before. Their investigation gives new insight not only into what sites might know about you, but how they’re figuring it out.

      Studying a million websites is hard. To do it, Arvind Narayanan – who heads the Web Transparency and Accountability Project at Princeton University – built a tool called OpenWPM with graduate student Steven Englehardt. OpenWPM can visit and log in to websites automatically, taking more than a dozen measurements of each one. It took two weeks to crawl through the top million websites, as ranked by web traffic firm Alexa.

      Narayanan and Englehardt discovered that many trackers are sharing the information they gather with at least one other party, sometimes dozens of times. The audit also revealed several previously unknown “fingerprinting” techniques that sites are using. Here, the website asks the browser to perform a task that is hidden from the user. The site then fingerprints individual machines based on slight differences in their performance. Trackers used to do this by watching how the browser draws a graphic; now, they check what fonts are installed or how the browser processes audio. A couple of trackers even gathered the device’s battery level.

    • Prisoners’ code word caught by software that eavesdrops on calls

      SAY it out loud and the machines will know. Search engines are moving beyond the web and into the messy real world. And they’re finding some odd things.

      Every call into or out of US prisons is recorded. It can be important to know what’s being said, because some inmates use phones to conduct illegal business on the outside. But the recordings generate huge quantities of audio that are prohibitively expensive to monitor with human ears.

      To help, one jail in the Midwest recently used a machine-learning system developed by London firm Intelligent Voice to listen in on the thousands of hours of recordings generated every month.

    • ​The UK Is Using Bulk Interception to Catch Criminals—And Not Telling Them

      UK authorities are collecting and analysing data in bulk to identify suspected child exploitation offenders on the dark web, but are not informing defendants of how they were caught.

      The practice starkly highlights the UK government’s stance on not including intercept as evidence in court. This, according to Eric King, a surveillance expert and director of activist group Don’t Spy On Us, leaves suspects “totally in the dark.”

      “The right to a fair trial relies on the fact that material being used against the defendant is shown to them, so they can answer to it and explain it,” King said.

    • GCHQ ‘routinely’ intercepting MP emails

      Emails of members of the UK Parliament, as well as their peers, have been ‘routinely’ intercepted and accessed by the GCHQ intelligence agency, as well as the American National Security Agency (NSA), Computer Weekly discovered recently.

      GCHQ managed to intercept and read who’s sending an email, to whom and with which subject line, Computer Weekly said in a long and detailed post about the matter.

    • GCHQ and NSA routinely spy on UK politicians’ e-mails—report

      GCHQ and the NSA have reportedly been spying on e-mail exchanges between MPs and their constituents as a matter of course for the last few years.

      Documents released by spook whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 revealed details of the top secret Tempora scheme, which allowed the British intelligence agency to intercept data travelling on backbone Internet cables crossing the Irish Sea and English Channel. Bulk storage of this data by the UK’s eavesdropping nerve centre GCHQ is allowed under current law.

      According to a Computer Weekly report, co-written by acclaimed investigative journalist Duncan Campbell, parliament’s switch to Microsoft e-mail cloud services (Office 365) in 2014 means that even UK-to-UK communications often travel via Redmond’s data centres in Ireland and the Netherlands. That’s the conclusion of a study carried out by the IT publication. It tracked the path of hundreds of MPs’ e-mails, and found that 65 percent of those messages were routed overseas.

    • Whistleblower Protections

      Former US Attorney General, Eric Holder, has softened his stance on the Edward Snowden case and has tacitly admitted there should at least be a public interest legal defence for intelligence whistleblowers.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • STOP BULLYING AMOS YEE: WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU S’POREANS – MUST EVERYONE LOVE & ADULATE LKY?

      His pleas went unheard as the crowd simply looked on. The person filming the video even said, “Just a regular day at Jurong Point” before sniggering.

    • This Egyptian Author’s Dystopian Novel Has Become Reality

      When Basma Abdel Aziz wrote her latest novel The Queue, Egypt had just experienced the first phase of a revolution that overthrew the three decade rule of dictator Hosni Mubarak and resulted in the first democratically elected president in Egypt’s modern history. The country was riding a wave of democratic euphoria, but where Egyptians saw prosperity, Abdel Aziz noticed that the country’s powerful military was still lurking in the background — exactly as it had during the Mubarak era.

    • The Evidence About Prostitution That The New York Times Ignored

      On May 5, Emily Bazelon, staff writer for The New York Times, published an article— “Should Prostitution be a Crime”—that had been months in the making. I know this because Bazelon interviewed me for it during an hour-long phone call and an exchange of more than 30 emails.

      What strikes me now is her reaction when I mentioned that the women in my movement often have to deal with journalists who come to the issue of prostitution with their biases intact and their objectivity fragmented.

      “I am not biased,” she snapped.

      “I am not suggesting you are,” I replied. It occurred to me, however, that she probably had a reason for being defensive, and, sure as night follows day, it turned out she did.

    • In Wake of Coup, Should Brazil’s Olympics Be Moved or Become a Site of Protest?

      In early August, more than 10,000 athletes across the world will convene in Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic City for one of the most widely watched sporting events of the year. This comes as Brazil is battling an economic recession, a massive Zika outbreak and its worst political crisis in over two decades. Protesters have vowed to flood the streets during the Olympics, using the global spotlight to highlight a raft of domestic grievances including threats to social services, police violence, forced displacement and the recent ouster of democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff. We speak to Dave Zirin, author of the book “Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy,” and Jules Boykoff, author of “Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics.”

    • DOJ Says Judge Can’t Order Its Lying Lawyers To Attend Ethics Classes

      Federal judge Andrew Hanen recently benchslapped the DOJ for lying about the central element in an ongoing lawsuit between twenty-six states and the US government over changes to immigration policies. The strongly-worded order (which, despite its accusations, never once used the word “lie”) chastised DOJ lawyers for hiding information about the processing of certain immigrants — something that happened over 100,000 times even as (a) the DOJ said no such processing would take place until February 2015, and (b) the states had obtained a temporary restraining order against this processing until the courts could sort it out.

    • Appeals Court Doubles Down On Dangerous Ruling: Says Website Can Be Blamed For Failing To Warn Of Rapists

      Back in late 2014, we wrote about a case where the somewhat horrifying details were likely leading to a bad result that would undermine Section 230 of the CDA (the most important law on the internet). Again, the details here are appalling. It involves two guys who would use other people’s accounts on a website called “Model Mayhem” to reach out to aspiring models, then lure them to their location in South Florida, drug them, and then film themselves having sex with the drugged women to then offer as online porn. Yes, absolutely everything about this is horrifying and disgusting. But here’s where the case went weird. A victim of this awful crime decided to sue the large company Internet Brands, who had purchased Model Mayhem, arguing that it knew about these creeps and had failed to warn users of the service. Internet Brands had argued that under Section 230 it was not liable and the appeals court said no. The case was then reheard en banc (with a large slate of 9th Circuit judges) and they’ve now, once again, said that Section 230 does not apply.

      This case has been a favorite of those looking to undermine Section 230, so those folks will be thrilled by the results, but for everyone who supports an open internet, we should be worried. The rule here is basically that sites are protected from being held liable of actions of their users… unless those users do something really horrible. Then things change. It’s further important to note that the two sick creeps who pulled off this scam, Lavont Flanders and Emerson Callum, weren’t actually members of the Model Mayhem site. They would just use the accounts of others to reach out to people, so the site had even less control.

    • The Dalai Lama says ‘too many’ refugees are going to Germany

      Speaking to German reporters in the de facto capital of Tibet’s exiled government, the Dalai Lama apparently said that “too many” refugees are seeking asylum in Europe.

      “Europe, for example Germany, cannot become an Arab country,” he said with a laugh, according to AFP, which quoted from an interview the spiritual leader gave to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a German newspaper. “Germany is Germany. There are so many that in practice it becomes difficult.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T Falsely Blames The FCC For Company’s Failure To Block Annoying Robocalls

      Caring about the customer in this way just isn’t in AT&T’s corporate DNA. Remember, this is a company in the last few years that has been fined for ripping off programs for low-income families, settled a lawsuit for helping scammers rip off IP relay services for the hearing impaired, and paid an $18 million settlement to the government after it was found to be making bills intentionally harder to understand to help crammers. This isn’t the kind of company to give a damn whether robocall blocking technology is blocking legitimate calls, unless there’s some undisclosed financial and marketing/robocall relationships at play that benefit AT&T.

    • Breaking Up Is Hard—Especially With Your Cable Company

      Over the last few years, the cost of cable has gone through the roof. As a result, people are looking for cable TV alternatives, and cord cutting is on the rise. But as with most relationships, the breakup isn’t as simple as saying “I’m done” and walking away.

      When you finally make up your mind that it’s time to end it, you have to get up the nerve to make the call (sorry, no texting Comcast). But don’t expect it to be a quick one.

      “I called them to cancel, and they transferred me to the retention department where I went in circles with the agent for 30 or so minutes,” Joseph Teegardin told Motherboard. And that seems to be the best case scenario, as others experience trouble even getting that far.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Caribou Coffee Learns That Even When You Win As A Trademark Bully, You Can Still Lose

        Whenever we talk about trademark bullies, especially those aggressively pursuing smaller businesses on shaky claims of brand confusion, a common question arises: what can we do to make this kind of thing stop? There are potentially several answers to this question, but one of the most simple is to behave in a way that makes trademark bullying a bad business decision.

        [...]

        So, the question is whether this trademark bullying was worth it for Caribou Coffee. We can dispense with any debate over the validity of the company’s legal action, I think. Pimping some kind of customer confusion between the massive retailer and a local coffee shop and diner is beyond silly. The company trotted out the tired excuse claiming that trademark law required them to do all of this, which isn’t true. So, in light of all that, and in light of what has been a pretty clear public backlash from the very people whom it claimed would be confused, was the bullying worth it for Caribou Coffee?

Closer Look at Players in Battistelli’s Information War: Part I

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Team Battistelli plays morale games and manipulates (or pays) the media, still…

Information warfare
Reference: Demoralization (warfare)

Summary: Having just paid large media organisations, Battistelli and his private contractors produce more misinformation with which to indoctrinate the public and manufacture consent for the Battistelli regime

THERE’S material about the EPO in circulation as many people are truly concerned about the Office and want the Organisation to save/redeem it. We published 6 articles about the EPO yesterday and there’s a lot more on the way. In the coming days we shall focus on some of the misinformation from Battistelli and his goons. It’s not about the distractions (like Battistelli’s alleged bicycle and the upcoming extravaganza in Lisbon) but about the so-called ‘studies’ which Battistelli intends to use for lobbying the media, politicians, etc. These Battistelli-funded (and commissioned) ‘studies’, as per the neoliberal model where even science is just a business, aren’t more legitimate than Monsanto-funded ‘studies’ and these need to be scrutinised perpetually. Battistelli is fighting an information war. He also compares his critics to Nazis and criminals when speaking to politicians.

“Battistelli is fighting an information war.”Alluding to the latest Technologia survey, this one person wrote: “here the appalling results of the Technologia staff survey on psycho social risks [...] they illustrate Battistelli’s mandate (2010 to 2016) and speak for themselves” (showing the role that Battistelli himself has played, by comparing different time points).

Battistelli is trying to commission a bogus survey from a rather dodgy company (Wellkom). It’s supposed to distract from his abuses and shift blame.

“Battistelli is trying to commission a bogus survey from a rather dodgy company (Wellkom).”“Regarding Wellkom,” one reader wrote to us, “for whatever it’s worth I looked up “Andrea Jutta Phillips” — which is a rather uncommon combination of German given names and an English surname — and came up with the following. It is a teaser from a Spanish legal information site, providing an excerpt of the Official Journal of the Spanish Region of Murcia. The name appears in the faded part of the page. The full page is available with a trial registration. The title of the notice is: “Citación a contribuyentes en ignorado domicilio, o por no saber, o haberse negado a firmar cédula de notificación, para ser notificados por comparecencia.” No date is given. These are public summons for truant taxpayers, a measure of last resort when there is no known address for service, or the party refuses to accept notification. It seems like a local council was intending to auction off some property for settling unpaid taxes. A consequence of the great Spanish real estate bubble? Neither one of the Phillips spouses seems to have a large footprint on the Internet, to say the least.”

Stay tuned for part 2 as we are going to show the lack of transparency in this whole process.

06.01.16

Links 1/6/2016: Wine-Staging 1.9.11, Unreal Engine 4.12

Posted in News Roundup at 6:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Now, draw sketches to search for images, videos!

    Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland have developed a system known as vitrivr, which allows a search for images and videos by means of a sketch.

  • Vitrivr is an open source engine that lets you search for videos with a sketch

    The vitrivr system is open source and freely available on GitHub.

  • This open source software dominates the web, but what is Apache?

    The importance of the web shouldn’t be underestimated, it has helped to open up the world, democratise information and is one of the greatest ever inventions.

    While it has had a profound influence on the world, the web is made up of numerous different elements, such as web server software.

    Apache, an open source software that is available for free, is the most widely used web server software and is developed and maintained by the Apache Software Foundation.

  • ownCloud Gets Its’ Own Foundation

    Contrary to the common trend of bringing an open-source project like ownCloud into an established model, like the Linux Foundation’s Collaborative Project approach, where the Cloud Foundry Foundation, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, node js foundation, OpenDayLight and so many other now live, ownCloud is building its own Foundation.

  • Hyperledger Work on Its Open-Source Footing

    Taking a bootstrapped initiative to a healthy open-source project is difficult. But when there’s only approximately 100 developers in the world that have a deep understanding of the technology, such as blockchain, the difficulty increases dramatically.

  • Events

    • LibrePlanet forever! Watch sessions from 2016 online

      That’s right, you can now watch the keynote conversation with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and 32 more sessions from LibrePlanet 2016: Fork the System on the Free Software Foundation’s (FSF) GNU MediaGoblin instance, including:

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Open Source Speech Recognition

        I’m currently working on the Vaani project at Mozilla, and part of my work on that allows me to do some exploration around the topic of speech recognition and speech assistants. After looking at some of the commercial offerings available, I thought that if we were going to do some kind of add-on API, we’d be best off aping the Amazon Alexa skills JS API. Amazon Echo appears to be doing quite well and people have written a number of skills with their API. There isn’t really any alternative right now, but I actually happen to think their API is quite well thought out and concise, and maps well to the sort of data structures you need to do reliable speech recognition.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Why open source will be critical to the future of SDDC

      OpenStack, the leading solution for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), is currently being used by various organizations for their own on-premises private cloud, for hybrid cloud deployments, or for offering public cloud services to their clients. Through Nova, the compute module of OpenStack, various other components can be controlled, such as networking, block and object storage, disk imaging, identity management, key management, DNS, and search, among others. The entire deployment can be managed using the Horizon dashboard software.

      While OpenStack, itself, does not attempt to emulate the API design of popular public cloud providers, compatibility layers are being developed that provide compatibility with Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, and Google Compute Engine.

    • The Rise of Deep Learning in the Tech Industry

      Tech analysts love trending topics. In fact, that’s their job: forecast and analyze trends. Some years ago we had “Big Data”, more recently “Machine Learning”, and now it s the time of “Deep Learning”. So let’s dive in and try to understand what‘s behind it and what impact it can have on our society.

  • Databases

    • The Limitations of NoSQL Database Storage: Why NoSQL’s Not Perfect

      NoSQL databases have emerged as a leading new data storage technology. But they’re not perfect. Here’s a look at the limitations and drawbacks of NoSQL storage.

      To be sure, NoSQL offers a lot of advantages over traditional data storage techniques. But NoSQL is not a uniformly better storage solution.

      SQL-style storage systems, like MySQL, come out ahead in some contexts. In others, there’s not yet any ideal storage platform.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • How to get started with LibreOffice

      If you use your Mac or PC for word processing, creating and editing spreadsheets or putting the finishing touches on a slideshow presentation, you need a suite of office applications that come with all the tools you need to create some impressive documents, and LibreOffice is one of the best options.

      The Microsoft Office suite is near ubiquitous, but even though Mac version of Office 2016 released last year, it’s still relatively expensive.

      While iWork has become free, it lacks some of the features that come with other office suites. LibreOffice, however, is not only completely free, but it’s constantly updated with improvements and new features, and contains a host of tools that you’d expect in an expensive software collection.

  • CMS

    • How to Select the Best Open Source CMS

      In this article, I’m going to get into minute detail with you on all of the major aspects of open source CMS and the things you should consider to make an informed decision. This is my “how to select the best open source CMS” guide.

      When it comes to selecting a CMS, there’s no doubt that the process of doing so is overwhelming (hey, it’s why this site exists!) but it doesn’t have to be.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Gnuisance 4.0, Plasma Features, Augmented Reality

      gNewSense 4.0 was released at the beginning of May and today blogger DarkDuck said it’s still a gnuisance due to the lack of drivers. Elsewhere, LinuxConfig.org looked at the features of KDE Plasma and Linux Laptop leader System 76 CEO Carl Richell used Linux to augment reality. The Linux Setup interviewed Korora contributor Jim Dean and Matt Hartley sent another love-letter to Ubuntu.

    • gNewSense: past 5 years, same nuisance

      The documentation says the distribution name gNewSense came from Gnuisance, the RMS’s GPG key. Is it true? Or the whole system is just a g-nuisance? Let’s check.

  • Public Services/Government

    • North American Cities Slow to Adopt Open Source Software

      The move to open source is inevitable as open source communities of developers continue to work on 1000′s of applications & as more software development companies invest in open source models to allow for greater flexibility & lower end user prices than existing proprietary competitors. Europe has more than a decade head start on North American cities. The quality of available open source software has improved so much in that decade that the transition can be far easier for cities starting now.

    • Cities And FLOSS

      Obviously there are huge savings in licensing fees to be had by cities migrating to FLOSS solutions from the desktop OS to the servers. On the other hand there is time/money/effort required to make changes happen but these are mostly one-time costs. Cities in Europe have been adopting GNU/Linux and FLOSS steadily for more than a decade. It’s about time North American cities did the same.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Announcing the Open Source License API

      Over the last 19 years, the Open Source
      Initiative (OSI) has been the steward of the Open Source Definition (or
      OSD), establishing a common language when discussing what it means to be an
      Open Source license [1], and a list of licenses which are known to be
      compatible with the OSD.

    • New API helps open-source developers ‘become license-aware’

      The Open Source Initiative (OSI), the steward of the Open Source Definition (OSD), announced today it has created a machine readable publication of OSI approved licenses.

      According to the organization, the API will allow third parties to “become license-aware”, giving businesses everywhere the means to determine if a license is open source or not.

      The Open Source Initiative considers this the next “logical step” and quite important, knowing all the copyright and license legal battles going on nowadays, and how expensive they can be.

      Open Source Lead at GitHub, Brandon Keepers offered, “A canonical, machine-readable source of license metadata is a great step towards enabling developers to build tools around open source licensing and compliance. We can’t wait to see what the community does with it”.

    • Oracle’s Lead Lawyer Against Google Vents That The Ruling ‘Killed’ The GPL

      Except, of course, tons of copyright experts predicted exactly this result (and many more argued that APIs should not be subject to copyright at all). Famed copyright scholar Pam Samuelson has been writing extensively about the case, focusing both on why APIs should not be covered by copyright (and, why basically every other court has agreed) as well as why, even if it is covered, it’s fair use. Hell, she even wrote a response to the Hurst piece, explaining why Hurst was wrong. It’s weird for Hurst to take a position that actually seems at odds with a huge number of copyright experts, and then state that none would take the position that many did.

      [...]

      Once again, this shows a rather unfortunate ignorance of how coding works. It’s not about a desire to “copy freely.” It’s about building amazing and innovative services, and making use of APIs to increase interoperability, which increases value. Copying an API structure is also just much more about making developers comfortable in using new environments. You know, like how Oracle copied SQL from IBM. Because lots of people understood SELECT-FROM-WHERE and it made little sense to create a relational database that didn’t use that structure. It’s not about copying freely. It’s about interoperability.

      And, really, the idea that an Oracle lawyer is “concerned” about the future of the GPL is fairly laughable. Thankfully, many people have weighed in in the comments — including plenty who are quite familiar with the GPL and software development to explain to Hurst why she’s wrong. Somehow, I think she has some fairly strong reasons to ignore those responses.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Munich Open Government Day, 27 October 2016

      On 27 October, the German City of Munich is organising the fourth edition of its annual Open Government Day. This year’s theme is ‘openness, participation and digitisation — impulses for a modern community’. The day provides an opportunity for discussion and exchange of experiences with Open Government.

    • Open Access/Content

      • New open source science journal launched by Consumer Wellness Center: the Natural Science Journal

        A new science journal that focuses on food and environmental science has just been launched by the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center. Called the “Natural Science Journal,” the new peer-reviewed journal focuses on independent science pursued by laboratories and scientists who have no financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, agribusiness giants or government funding sources.

      • Open access should be the norm for EU by 2020, say research ministers

        EU research ministers have published a commitment to make “open access to scientific publications as the option by default by 2020.” The decision was taken during a meeting of the Competitiveness Council, which is made up of ministers from the EU’s member states. In addition, ministers agreed “to the best possible reuse of research data as a way to accelerate the transition towards an open science system.”

        The formal “conclusions” of the meeting define open access to publications as “free availability on the public Internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers.” This is taken from the key Budapest Open Access Initiative that helped to define open access back in 2002—an indication of how slow progress has been so far.

      • Harvard and MIT teamed up for this open-source online education platform

        It’s often said that the internet makes it possible for anyone to get educated on any subject. But just as in offline modes of education, the many models of online teaching and learning are far from perfect, with plenty of room for improvement and innovation.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • The story of Ultimaker: 3D printers with open source DNA

        For those who have been immersed in a capitalist society, open source thinking can seem counterintuitive. For the last three decades wealth has been determined through ownership and property rights. Businesses have been valued and financed based on the patents they own and the applications of their intellectual property. But open source, a term originating from software code being open for other developers to use, has started to change the prevailing capitalist mentality. Innovation is essential to their survival, and companies are seeing open source thinking, like sharing and collaborating, as a methods towards that goal.

  • Programming/Development

    • PHP 5.3 Through PHP 7.1-dev Tests Along With HHVM On Ubuntu 16.04

      With preparing for the upcoming release of Phoronix Test Suite 6.4-Hasvik I’ve been running through my validation tests on all supported versions of PHP going back to PHP 5.3 as well as HHVM. As part of that testing, I’ve been running my self-hosted tests of the major PHP release series once again up through PHP 7.1-dev. Here are those results if you are curious about some fresh PHP CLI benchmarks.

      The results in this article are of PHP 5.3 through PHP 7.0.7 and PHP 7.1-dev (as of this morning in php-src Git) plus Facebook’s HHVM PHP implementation via the Ubuntu 16.04 package repository. I also tested PHP 7.0.4 as currently packaged in Ubuntu 16.04 compared to my freshly built 5.3.29 / 5.4.45 / 5.5.36 / 5.6.22 / 7.0.7 / 7.1.0-dev that are basically stock builds with ensuring ZIP / XML / JSON / PCNTL support is enabled. (Basically, part of what I do for each quarterly Phoronix Test Suite release to ensure compatibility and a good out-of-the-box experience going back still to PHP 5.3.)

    • HPE targets DevOps and agile with new application lifecycle management software

      The platform makes use of common toolsets and frameworks, such as Jenkins, GIT, and Gherkin, while also providing insights to developers and application testers. This could potentially help enterprises deliver those applications more quickly, without having to cut corners in the vetting process.

    • US computer-science classes churn out cut-n-paste slackers – and yes, that’s a bad thing

      Computer science (CS) students in the US aren’t being taught properly, and their classes are too limited in scope, says one IT think-tank.

      The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) says that its most recent study [PDF] of curriculum in the US has found that not enough schools are offering computer science classes, and those that do aren’t going in-depth enough.

      As a result, the ITIF says, many universities are failing to produce the diverse, well-trained graduates that companies seek to hire.

      “There is the possibility that interest in the field could again wane like it did in 2003 following the burst of the tech bubble,” ITIF warns.

      “To maintain the field’s current momentum, the perception of computer science needs to shift from its being considered a fringe, elective offering or a skills-based course designed to teach basic computer literacy or coding alone.”

      The report found that at the high school level, dedicated computer science classes are mostly limited to affluent schools, and when the courses are taught, girls and minority students are rarely enrolled.

    • LLVM Looks At Moving From SVN To Git Via GitHub

      While there have been Git mirrors available of LLVM and its sub-projects (including Clang) for some time, this open-source compiler infrastructure project has relied upon SVN as its cental development repository. The LLVM project is now looking at finally transitioning to Git for development and quite likely utilizing GitHub for hosting.

      GitHub anyone? was spawned today on the LLVM developer mailing list about shifting their development practices from SVN to Git. In particular, utilizing GitHub for hosting and potentially using other GitHub services for managing bug reports, pull requests, etc.

    • “Stop Designing Languages. Write Libraries Instead.”

      I had a friend tell me recently that all programming languages seem very similar to each other. They all have variables, and arrays, a few loop constructs, functions, and some arithmetic constructs. Sure, some languages have fancier features like first-class functions or coroutines, but he doesn’t consider himself an expert programmer anyway and doesn’t use those features.

      What really makes a programming language productive for him, he says, are the libraries it comes with. For example, he got into programming by using the popular Ruby on Rails web framework. There is no way that he could have written a full database-driven web stack by himself, nor is he interested in doing so. But thanks to Ruby on Rails, he doesn’t have to! So he said that he has no particular opinion about the Ruby programming language, but he absolutely loves Rails. The vast majority of programmers are non-experts, like himself, and the largest gains in productivity for non-experts come from having a wide spectrum of easy-to-use libraries. Subtle language features like first-class functions, and object systems, are lost on them because they don’t really use them anyway. Computer scientists should really be spending their time developing new libraries rather than inventing new programming languages.

    • Open Source Is the Secret Sauce of DevOps
    • The Symbiotic Relationship of DevOps and Open Source

      DevOps depends heavily on open source software, and–to a lesser extent–open source projects leverage DevOps as well.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • European Commission Eyes Update Of EU Standards-Setting Policy

      As standardisation increasingly takes place at the global level, Europe needs a speedier, more streamlined way to set the technical specifications that define requirements for products, production processes, services and test methods, the European Commission said today. As part of its single market strategy, the EC announced plans for a joint initiative on standardisation (JIS), guidance to boost the development of European standards, and an annual reporting system among EU institutions on how the standardisation policy is working and contributing to competitiveness, jobs and growth.

    • HSA 1.1 Brings Multi-Vendor Support & More

      The HSA Foundation today announced version 1.1 of the Heterogeneous System Architecture.

      Heterogeneous System Architecture 1.1 most notably brings multi-vendor architecture support for allowing IP blocks from different vendors to “communicate, interoperate and collectively compose an HSA system.”

Leftovers

  • Brexit referendum folly

    The consequences of the Brexit referendum are bad for both Europe and Britain, regardless of the result.

  • Science

    • Organic Farmers Are Not Anti-Science but Genetic Engineers Often Are

      At one of the public brainstorming sessions for the New York Organic Action Plan, an organic farmer made an impassioned plea for support for “independent science” and told us that with 8.5 billion mouths to feed by 2050, we will need genetic engineering to prevent starvation.

      I would like to examine these words carefully to decipher what they mean, how those words are used by this farmer and by others, and suggest how the movement for locally grown organic food in this country should respond.

  • Microsoft

    • Windows 10 Surface Book: Microsoft Keeps ‘Sleep of Death’ bug

      It seems like Microsoft will not be fixing the ‘Sleep of Death’ bug, even though most of the Surface Book users face the problem.

      During the recent quarterly earnings report, Microsoft pointed out that the Surface line is getting popularity in the market. Microsoft also said that it has turned out to be the growth leader in its More Personal Computing line of business.

      At the event, the company said that the device has brought 61 percent growth.

    • How The World Of IT Has Turned

      Now Samsung is telling owners not to install “10” because drivers don’t work. Samsung should suggest Debian GNU/Linux instead.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WHO-Led Study: Hepatitis C Treatment Unaffordable Globally, Threatens Health Systems

      According to a new study by experts at the World Health Organization, prices of hepatitis C treatments are unaffordable globally and put a major strain on national health systems. Hepatitis C can cause liver cirrhosis and cancer, and with an estimated 80 million people affected in the world, if untreated, the sickness could lead to 700,000 deaths per year worldwide, the study said, suggesting that governments and industry stakeholders should develop and implement fair pricing frameworks.

    • The Unique Risks of GM Crops: Science Trumps PR, Fraud and Smear Campaigns

      The purpose of this piece is to draw readers’ attention to an important chapter from a document by Aruna Rodrigues that discusses the unique risks associated with GM crops. Contrary to what supporters of GM often claim, it shows that criticisms of this technology are based on credible concerns, sound logic and solid science.

      However, some background information and context might first be useful to indicate that, while critics rely on science, the pro-GMO lobby is mired in duplicity and engages in the debasement of science.

    • New and Old Vaccines Still Out of Reach for Many

      While long-awaited new vaccines for malaria and dengue may finally be within reach, many of the world’s existing vaccines have remained unreachable for many of the people who need them most.

      The recent outbreak of yellow fever in Angola shows how deadly infectious diseases can return when gaps in vaccination programs grow.

    • Big Pharma Hobbling Federal Efforts to Rein In Dangerous Opioids

      Even as a new study suggests opioid painkillers may in fact make chronic pain worse, Big Pharma continues to work against efforts to stem the national opioid crisis, according to reporting at The Intercept on Tuesday.

      The study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) showed that addictive opioids like morphine appear to paradoxically cause an increase in chronic pain in lab rats.

      Led by Colorado University-Boulder professors Peter Grace and Linda Watkins, the study showed that “just a few days of morphine treatment caused chronic pain that went on for several months by exacerbating the release of pain signals from specific immune cells in the spinal cord,” according to a news release. The results suggest that the recent escalation of opioid prescriptions in humans may be a contributor to chronic pain, as Grace noted.

    • Big Pharma in the Crosshairs: Senator Seeks Fed Investigation of OxyContin Long-Term Pain Relief Claims

      A U.S. senator has called for a federal investigation of Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, in the wake of reports that the money-making pain reliever wears off early in many patients, leaving them exposed to pain and increased risk of addiction.

    • ‘GMO Crops Are Tools of a Chemical Agriculture System’

      Anti-Monsanto rallies in 400 cities in 48 countries around the world failed to draw much US media attention, despite hundreds of thousands of people, from Dhaka to Paris to Cape Town, literally yelling out their opposition to the biotech giant’s products and practices, and the disturbing impact of their increasing control over the food supply.

    • Industry Influence Clouds New GMO Report

      New National Research Council study trumpets the safety of GMOs, but how much confidence can we have in these findings given the many conflicts of interest involved?

    • Nonprofit Hospital Stops Suing So Many Poor Patients: Will Others Follow?

      A story by ProPublica and NPR and a Senate investigation prompt a Missouri nonprofit hospital to change its policies and forgive thousands of patients’ debts. But without similar scrutiny, it’s unclear if other hospitals that sue the poor will change.

  • Security

    • Doing a ‘full scan’ of the Internet right now

      I’m scanning at only 125kpps from 4 source IP addresses, or roughly 30kpps from each source address. This is so that I’ll get below many thresholds for IDSs, which trigger when they see fast scans from a single address. The issue isn’t to avoid detection, but to avoid generating work for people who get unnecessarily paranoid about the noise they see in their IDS logs.

    • A Hacker Is Selling Dangerous Windows Exploit, Making All Versions Of OS Hackable

      A hacker is selling a dangerous zero day vulnerability on a Russian cybercrime website. This exploit is said to be affecting more than 1.5 billion Windows users as it works on all version of Windows. The hacker wishes to sell the complete source code and demo of the exploit to any person who pays him $90,000 in bitcoin.

    • Microsoft warns of self-propagating ransomware

      The new ransomware, which Microsoft has dubbed Ransom:Win32/ZCryptor.A, is distributed through spam emails. It can also infect a machine running Windows through a malware installer or fake installers like a Flash player setup file.

      The ransomware would run at boot and drop a file autorun.inf in removable drives, a zycrypt.lnk in the start-up folder and a copy of itself as {Drive}:\system.exe and %APPDATA%\zcrypt.exe.

      It would then change the file attributes to hide itself from the user in file explorer.

    • Allwinner Leaves Root Exploit in Linux Kernel, Putting ARM Devices at Risk

      Running a Bitcoin node on your ARM single board computer? Fan of cheap Chinese tablets and smartphones? Maybe you contributed to the recent CHIP computer Kickstarter, or host a wallet on one of these devices. Well, if any of these applies to you, and your device is powered by an Allwinner SoC, you should probably wipe it and put an OS on it with the most recent kernel release. Why? Allwinner left a development “tool” on their ARM Linux kernel that allows anyone to root their devices with a single command. This oversight has serious security implications for any Allwinner powered device, especially so for those of us hosting sensitive data on them.

    • 5 steps to reduce cyber vulnerabilities

      The National Vulnerability Database (NVD) — the U.S. government’s repository of standards-based vulnerability management data — says 2015 was another blockbuster year for security vulnerabilities with an average of 17 new vulnerabilities added per day.

      While IT managers can somewhat breathe a collective sigh of relief that the total number of vulnerabilities actually decreased from 7,937 in 2014 to 6,270 in 2015, there’s no time to relax. According to NVD data, 37 percent of vulnerabilities reported in 2015 were classified as highly severe, up from 24 percent in 2014.

    • How to Get an Open Source Security Badge from CII

      Everybody loves getting badges. Fitbit badges, Stack Overflow badges, Boy Scout merit badges, and even LEED certification are just a few examples that come to mind. A recent 538 article “Even psychologists love badges” publicized the value of a badge.

    • 4 Steps To Secure Serverless Applications

      Serverless applications remove a lot of the operational burdens from your team. No more managing operating systems or running low level infrastructure.

      This lets you and your team focus on building…and that’s a wonderful thing.

    • How the Top 5 PC Makers Open Your Laptop to Hackers [iophk: "Windows again"]
    • Google plans to replace smartphone passwords with trust scores [iophk: "if you have to travel unexpectedly, you'll probably get locked out."]

      Goodbye, Password1. Goodbye, 12345. You’ve been hearing about it for years but now it might really be happening: the password is almost dead.

      At Google’s I/O developer conference, Daniel Kaufman, head of Google’s advanced technology projects, announced that the company plans to phase out password access to its Android mobile platform in favour of a trust score by 2017. This would be based on a suite of identifiers: what Wi-Fi network and Bluetooth devices you’re connected to and your location, along with biometrics, including your typing speed, voice and face.

      The phone’s sensors will harvest this data continuously to keep a running tally on how much it trusts that the user is you. A low score will suffice for opening a gaming app. But a banking app will require more trust.

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Defeating the Islamic State will take more than gunpowder

      With the beginning of separate offensives against the Islamic State (IS) in Fallujah and Raqqa, many analysts are highlighting that this is the beginning of the end of IS, with Mosul next in sight. However, there is one key issue with this analysis; these offensives do nothing to address the structural failures in both Iraq and Syria that led to IS’ rise. Moreover, there is no valid plan for the governance of the people being ‘liberated’ from IS. Without addressing these issues, history will repeat itself and IS will either return or morph into another radicalised entity looking to represent marginalised Sunnis.

      The offensive in Fallujah happens as the prime minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi, is under pressure to show action against IS, due to scores of suicide bombs in Baghdad and his failure to implement reforms. The position of Abadi – and the central government of Iraq in general – optimises the chaos in Iraq, further highlighting the difficulty of implementing a successful post-IS solution.

    • The Only Way to Honor Veterans is to Stop Producing Them

      I also deplore focus on America’s war dead rather than the far, far greater numbers America has killed in our nearly continuous wars of choice. The aggregate death toll in Southeast Asia in the 1970s inflicted by direct, indirect and proxy US aggression and political destabilization in Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia was approximately 7,650,000. The US death toll was 58,220, a ratio in our favor of 132/1. In our gratuitously justified “War on Terror” in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Physicians for Social Responsibility estimated 1.3 million Muslims killed while some 6,800 Americans have died, a ratio of 191/1. And that estimate excluded our destruction of Libya and ongoing proxy war on Syria with an American death toll limited to four in Benghazi and probably a few Special Forces “advisers” in Syria. Our victims deserve at least six to ten months of continuous memorial days to one day of ours, and our appropriate national mood should be not grief but remorse.

    • MSF Excoriates US, Russia, UK Over Complicity in Hospital Bombings

      On the heels of a World Health Organization report documenting pervasive—and often deliberate—attacks on medical facilities in conflicts, a humanitarian specialist with Doctors Without Borders is stressing that the world’s major powers are themselves complicit in such attacks.

      Speaking to the Guardian, Michiel Hofman directed his sharp criticism at four of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council—France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—which provide arms, intelligence, and logistical support to forces which have conducted these often deadly attacks.

    • Building Trust in Afghanistan

      Glancing upward at one of the six U.S. manufactured aerostat blimps performing constant surveillance over Kabul, I wonder if the expensively high-tech giant’s-eye view encourages a primitive notion that the best way to solve a problem here is to target a “bad guy” and then kill him. If the bad guys appear to be scurrying dots on the ground below, stomp them out.

    • What Happened to Netanyahu?

      Instead of the comfortable and pleasant partner, Netanyahu chose a devious bully who does not even bother to hide his deep contempt for him. Avigdor Lieberman does not hide his hopes to succeed Netanyahu at the first opportunity either. A partner who the entire world views as a dangerous man. Why? There is no explanation. No logical reason. To bring Lieberman into the government is a suicidal act. To hand the Defense Ministry to him is an insane act.

    • Libya: How to Bring Down a Nation

      French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s eagerness to support a military intervention with the purported aim of protecting the civilian population contrasts with the reception offered to the Libyan president, Muammar Gaddafi, when he visited Paris in December 2007 and signed major military agreements worth some 4.5 billion euros along with cooperation agreements for the development of nuclear energy for peacetime uses. The contracts that Libya seemed no longer willing to pursue focused on 14 Dassault Rafale multirole fighter jets and their armament (the same model that France sold or is trying to sold to Egypt´s General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the self-proclaimed marshal), 35 Eurocopter helicopters, six patrol boats, a hundred armored vehicles, and the overhaul of 17 Mirage F1 fighters sold by Dassault Aviation in the 1970s[2].

    • Turkey marks Constantinople ‘conquest’

      Turkey on Sunday marked the 563rd anniversary of the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul with huge parties and a fireworks show in the former Byzantine imperial capital once known as Constantinople.

      Around a million people were expected for a giant party in the city to mark its capture in 1453 by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, nicknamed “the Conqueror”.

      The Air Force aerobatics team was to perform a fly past prior to an evening fireworks display with Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım due at the festivities in the Yenikapi district in the European half of the city.

    • 5 Things You See Notifying The Families Of Dead Soldiers

      In many military movies, the arrival of a green-clad soldier at a family home with a folded flag in hand often signifies both the fall of a hero and motivation for the rest of the characters. You don’t stop to think about the guy whose job it is to deliver the worst news possible to family after family. If you’re trying to find a candidate for Worst Fucking Job in the World, that definitely has to be in the top three.

      Those guys are known as Casualty Notification Officers, and we interviewed one who served during the Iraq War, when he unfortunately got plenty of on-the-job experience. He says …

    • Imperial Exceptionalism: a Cause Worthy of Defeat

      Rather than accept the onset of multipolarity demanded by the emergence of Russia and China as major strategic, military and/or economic powers, Washington and its proxies are determined to increase military, economic, and geopolitical pressure on both with the objective of returning them to their ‘rightful place’ in service to US hegemony.

    • Hillary’s Role in Honduran Coup Sunk US Relations With Latin America to a New Low

      When former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat down with the New York Daily News editorial board in April, she was asked what must have been a surprising and unwelcome question. In the years since the 2009 coup in Honduras, there has been remarkably little scrutiny in the major media of how Clinton’s State Department handled it, and she has had to answer few questions about it.

      But Juan González asked why she resisted cutting off aid to the coup regime and instead brokered a deal for new elections. Clinton controversially doubled down on defending the coup, outrageously suggesting that the oligarchs and generals who had forced President Manuel Zelaya out had a legal justification. Worse, she suggested that Honduras emulate Plan Colombia: the U.S.-funded war on drugs and guerrillas that sparked the biggest internal refugee crisis in the world outside of Syria, involved the deliberate killing of thousands of innocent civilians by Colombian armed forces, and fostered death squads now poised to stick around even as the country nears an end to its civil war.

    • The Ongoing Rape of Japan

      When President Obama went to Hiroshima, the American media focused on what he would – or wouldn’t – say about Harry Truman’s horrendous war crime against the Japanese people. Would he apologize? Leaving aside how one apologizes for such a monstrous act – short of committing seppuku – as it turned out he just spoke in harmless generalities about the dangers of nuclear weapons, expressing a commendable albeit vague wish to rid the world of them. What the pundits mostly ignored, however, was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s outrage at the latest murderous sex crime committed by an American soldier stationed on Okinawa; the brutal murder of 20-year-old Rina Shimabukuro by a US military contractor.

    • ISIL counter-attack in Fallujah: can Iraqi Forces maintain momentum?
    • Isis faces likely defeat in battles across Iraq and Syria – but what happens next?

      In the second of a four-part series examining Isis, Patrick Cockburn says the terror group may be under threat, but regaining the terrority it captured would not necessarily stabilise the region

    • At Least 4,164 People, Including Americans, Killed in Iraq During May

      During May, at least 4,164 people were killed and 2,396 were wounded in Iraq. These figures should be considered very low estimates. Heavy fighting at the Fallujah and Mosul frontlines prevents independent verification of any reports, but we do know there is heaving fighting going on. In April, 4,609 were killed and 1,772 were injured.

    • Turning Blind Eye to Brazilian Coup, OAS Targets Venezuela’s Maduro

      Secretary General invokes Democratic Charter at the behest of Venezuela’s right-wing opposition at the same time Brazil faces an overt crisis of democracy

    • Imperial Blues: On Whitewashing Dictatorship in the 21st Century

      Hillary Clinton’s support for the “Promesa” bill should not be at all surprising. Clinton has time and again trampled on Puerto Rico. The Democratic Party’s Clintonista wing’s preferred scare-tactic revolves around a Donald Trump presidency, but Trump is a symptom of current political indolence, the product of McCarthyism, the Red Scare, and Fox News. Clinton is a vector of transmission of this disease. She is against the release of our political prisoner, Oscar López Rivera. She represents the most reactionary conservative elements of her party and is inexcusably tied to the neoliberal agenda of Wall Street. Is it at all surprising that she would support a bill that seeks to impose a neocolonial Congressional dictatorship on Puerto Rico?

    • Preparing for the Next Memorial Day

      Memorial Day weekend was replete with parades, American flags, and tributes to our war dead, but little reflection on war, particularly the tragic fact that the United States has fallen into the death trap that President Eisenhower warned us about: the military-industrial complex.

      Instead of defending our nation as the Constitution stipulates, since the 9/11 attacks the U.S. military, CIA, and military contractors have been waging aggressive wars or interfering by proxy in other nations’ internal affairs.

    • Senate Looks To Cut Defense Spending By Taking Money Out Of Troops’ Pockets

      The Senate Armed Services Committee wants to save money by cutting back on housing benefits for armed service members, potentially costing individual military members hundreds of dollars a month.

      Currently, armed service members who live off-base in the United States receive a flat-rate stipend called the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), which is calculated based on their family status, rank, and cost of living by zip code. If they find housing for less than the allotted benefit or live with a working spouse or roommate, how they use the extra money is up to them.

    • Don’t Trip on Those Milestones Strewn Across America’s Wars

      Barack Obama called the drone assassination on May 21 of Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, “an important milestone.”

      It might turn out to be. But I doubt it. My advice is every time you hear an American official use the term “milestone,” run the other way.

      For example, back in September 2014 Secretary of State John Kerry claimed the formation of a new Iraqi government then was “a major milestone” for the country. But on the same day that Obama was proclaiming his own milestone, protesters stormed the Green Zone in Baghdad seeking the end of that previous milestone government.

    • Trump Threatens Neocon Policies
    • Pentagon: Special Ops Killing of Pregnant Afghan Women Was “Appropriate” Use of Force

      An internal Defense Department investigation into one of the most notorious night raids conducted by special operations forces in Afghanistan — in which seven civilians were killed, including two pregnant women — determined that all the U.S. soldiers involved had followed the rules of engagement. As a result, the soldiers faced no disciplinary measures, according to hundreds of pages of Defense Department documents obtained by The Intercept through the Freedom of Information Act. In the aftermath of the raid, Adm. William McRaven, at the time the commander of the elite Joint Special Operations Command, took responsibility for the operation. The documents made no unredacted mention of JSOC.

    • How Teenagers Got Police to Back Down and Remove Military-Grade Weaponry From Their High Schools

      Los Angeles high school students and organizers forced police to remove grenade launchers and M-16s from their arsenals.

    • Part 2: In Wake of Coup, Should Brazil’s Olympics Be Moved or Become a Site of Protest?

      We continue our conversation with Dave Zirin, author of the book “Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy,” and Jules Boykoff, author of “Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics.” In early August, more than 10,000 athletes across the world will convene in Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic City for one of the most widely watched sporting events of the year. This comes as Brazil is battling an economic recession, a massive Zika outbreak and its worst political crisis in over two decades.

    • A US Hand in Brazil’s Coup?

      The ouster of Brazil’s left-of-center president was the latest right-wing victory in Latin America, but was this “quiet coup” driven by local politics or part of a broader U.S. strategy to reclaim dominance over its “backyard,” asks Ted Snider.

    • Inside the Perilous Journey Out of Syria

      Matthew Cassel has reported on the Middle East for over a decade, including a five-year stint covering the Arab world for Al Jazeera. Living and working in Istanbul, he saw the rising tide of refugees making their way to Europe in 2014. But as he noted in an interview with Field Notes, traditional news outlets were slow to recognize the gravity of the crisis. While coverage existed, media attention didn’t intensify “until Alan Kurdi, who was the young poor kid from Kobaní, inside Syria, washed up on the shore in Turkey — if you remember that iconic image from September of 2015,” he said. “But there were people who were dying, people who were struggling to get to Europe before that.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Waiting for California and the FBI

      Some Democratic leaders are privately scouting around for someone to replace Hillary Clinton if she stumbles again in California and/or the FBI detects a crime in her email scandal, reports Robert Parry.

    • Emailgate: the Clinton Spin Doctors In Action

      The IG report does not make pretty reading for the avid Clintonite. It dismisses a core claim that using government servers was not standard practice during her tenure, pointing to departmental protocols dating back to 2005.

    • Just How Unprofessional IS the Trump Campaign – When Hillary In Trouble, Trump Hogs Limelight?

      So we get to see some remarkable insights into the two campaigns. (obviously this is again a blog article about the US election, not about digital/mobile/tech). Hillary had her worst days this year, from the middle of last week when the Inspector General of the State Department found she had broken rules about emails and was at fault. For a pro campaign and very seasoned veteran politician, Hillary’s campaign had a disastrous moment (every campaign has some of those) and it was clearly her worst moment of the year so far (don’t fall for any of the Bernie ‘moments’ her victory was never in doubt so they were never that bad for her). And like a pro in a pro campaign, she went immediately onto the talk shows, put out as much of the fires as possible, then went to lay down low, riding out the rest of the news cycle. Her best hope is for other news stories to overtake this bad news email story, and that it won’t grow to be any bigger than it now is.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Cleaning up mercury a must in Grassy Narrows

      The federal and provincial governments cleaning up the Wabigoon River will show a new era has dawned in our relationship with indigenous peoples

    • Passing Ban, Scottish Parliament Declares: ‘No Ifs, No Buts, No Fracking’
    • Federal Agencies Find That Fracking In The Pacific Would Have No ‘Significant’ Environmental Impacts

      A Center for Biological Diversity investigation into chemicals used in California’s offshore fracking operations found that at least 10 of the chemicals routinely used in fracking could be lethal to marine animals. Some of the chemicals have also been shown to break down into nonylphenol, a toxic substance that can lead to intersex fish species and bioaccumulate in animals further up the food chain, like in already-threatened sea otters.

    • Amazon Tribes Resist US Anthropologists’ Attempt to Forcibly Contact the Uncontacted

      Fighting back against the notion, put forth by American academics, that isolated tribes must be forced into contact with the modern world, Amazonian Indians are warning of another potential Indigenous “genocide” if such ideas come to pass.

      U.S. anthropologists Kim Hill, a professor at Arizona State University, and University of Missouri associate professor Robert Walker, have argued that in order to ensure the survival of the most remote tribal people they must be “contacted in a controlled way.”

    • North America Failing Dismally on Ocean Protection, Groups Warn

      North America is falling woefully behind on public promises to protect surrounding oceans from fishing, oil and gas development, and other harmful human activities—and those promises are paltry, found a joint report from Canadian and American conservation groups.

      The cooperative venture from the Marine Conservation Institute (MCI) and Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) discovered that while Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. have promised to protect 10 percent of the continental ocean estate—”defined as the territorial sea plus exclusive economic zone, which together extend 200 nmi from each country’s shoreline”—by 2020, currently only .89 percent is protected.

    • EU never used power to scrutinise emissions labs

      The European Commission wants new powers to oversee the way new cars are approved before they are sold, but it has never used a key scrutinising power it has had for more than eight years, the EUobserver has learned.

      Under current rules, the commission can ask a member state to submit assessments of the test facilities that carry out certification tasks including emissions testing.

    • All the World’s a Stage: Thoughts on the Death of Harambe, the Cincinnati Zoo Gorilla

      As I write, the zoo’s Gorilla World page still shows a bio of Harambe, along with the bios of several remaining gorillas. They, captive and unable to safely return to their lands, should not be exhibited, but should instead be offered private refuge. No captive breeding. No public viewing or cognitive research.

    • Dear Internet Experts on Gorillas and Parenting: Save Your Outrage—There’s No ‘Justice for Harambe’
    • A Zoo Story: From Harambe to Human Bondage

      Every so often, our society — which proves daily how little it values animal life — erupts in an uproar about the tragic death of an individual animal. Whether it’s a case of lethal cruelty to a domestic animal, the high-profile shooting of a majestic lion, or more recently, the shooting of a gorilla named Harambe at the Cincinnati Zoo, public outrage typically isolates a human target and flares until a particular hashtag has exhausted itself on Twitter.

    • 2015 Saw Renewable Energy Boom, Led by Developing Nations

      Renewable energy boomed in 2015, a year that saw fossil fuel prices plummet and ended with a historic climate agreement hammered out in Paris.

      In fact, investments in renewables such as wind and solar were more than double the amount spent on new coal and gas-fired power plants in 2015, according to the Renewables Global Status Report (pdf) from REN21, an international non-profit association based at the United Nations Environment Programme in Paris, France.

      An estimated 147 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity was added in 2015—the largest annual increase ever—while renewable heat capacity and biofuels production also increased. Indeed, the world now adds more renewable power capacity annually than it adds (net) capacity from all fossil fuels combined, the report states. Furthermore, employment in the renewable energy sector rose in 2015 to an estimated 8.1 million direct and indirect jobs.

    • Dam backup plan for glacier ice loss

      Summer water shortages caused by the reduction of glacier ice mass could be alleviated by dams being constructed to contain springtime runoff from melting snow.

    • Here’s What Actual Climate Scientists Think Of Trump’s New Energy Plan

      If Donald Trump is elected president, America’s approach to energy and the environment will be drastically different than it is today.

      Trump made that clear last week, when he laid out his full energy policy proposal for the first time in Bismarck, North Dakota. In that speech, Trump said he would roll back president Obama’s climate change regulations, build the Keystone XL pipeline, and “cancel” the landmark Paris climate agreement. In a nutshell, Trump promised to undo almost every major policy developed in the last decade intended to slow human-caused global warming.

      What Trump did not do in his speech, however, was mention the words “climate change.” He did not say whether he believed the phenomenon was occurring, and he didn’t speculate on how his policies would solve or worsen the problem.

    • The Nuts And Bolts Behind How The World Will Deploy A Massive Amount of Clean Energy

      Energy ministers from 23 countries and the European Commission, representing 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 90 percent of worldwide renewable power investments, will convene June 1-2 in San Francisco to encourage a new drive toward clean energy deployment, and further hasten the growing movement away from coal to the increasing use of green power.

    • Job Losses Expected As Maryland Governor Stuns Solar Industry With Clean Energy Veto

      For the past 12 years, Maryland has had a highly successful program requiring utilities to use more renewable energy. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s own Dept. of Environment last fall said the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) was creating thousands of jobs and would create billions in economic activity by 2020. In April, the governor signaled his own commitment to clean energy, signing the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act.

    • Climate activists and blacklisted workers face the same struggle against surveillance

      The climate movement and trades union movement need to come together to stop repressive corporate/state spying.

    • An American Fukushima May Be Closer Than You Think

      The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was horrific to watch unfold. It will take decades — and billions of dollars — to clean up, as more problems seem to emerge by the minute.

      Most recently, Tepco announced that it’s still missing a large amount of spent fuel — in part because radiation remains so high that robots and other devices cannot function inside the plant to give workers a better picture of what’s going on.

    • Justice For the Gorilla, And Never Mind the Humans

      We mourn the loss last weekend of Harambe, the 17-year-old Western lowland silverback gorilla killed while either entertaining and/or threatening a four-year-old who somehow slipped away from his mother and fell into the gorilla’s enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo as onlookers screamed, which likely didn’t help. Zoo officials, determining a tranquilizer gun might further agitate Harambe and endanger the boy, made the controversial and difficult decision to shoot Harambe. Defending the move, Zoo director Thane Maynard declared it “a sad day all the way around,” but insisted, “The right choice was made.”

      Hah, said a furious, sanctimonious, all-knowing and – once it was determined the family was black – racist Internet mob of animal lovers, mom shamers, dad blamers, parenting and/or gorilla experts, and thousands more with axes to grind. Quick as you can say “Get a life,” the outrage had fueled “Prayers for Harambe” and “Justice For Harambe” Facebook pages (130,000 likes) to “raise awareness of Harambe’s murder,” a petition (400,000 names) urging city officials to investigate the child’s “home environment,” another petition (140,000) calling for passage of a new Harambe’s Law to punish anyone harming or killing an animal, a charge by PETA that “Harambe paid with his life for others’ negligence,” a memorial, a protest, a call for a boycott, and a hit piece on the child’s father, who wasn’t even there but it turns out had a criminal history before turning his life around.

    • Did Donald Trump Deny The California Drought Because He’s Lost Touch With Reality?

      Many credible sources have said that Donald Trump has lost touch with reality. Even so, I won’t say it.

      We all have a responsibility to be judicious with words — as Trump himself explained in January, “I was going to say ‘dummy’ Bush; I won’t say it.”

      Yes, it’s true that an actual headline Friday from CBS in Sacramento was, “Donald Trump Tells California ‘There Is No Drought’ As Drought Continues.” And yes, it’s true that scientists report that 86 percent of California is still in a “moderate drought,” 61 percent in a “severe drought,” 43 percent in an “extreme drought,” and over one-fifth of the state (21 percent) is in an “exceptional drought.”

    • Celebrate the Ocean

      Join us as we celebrate and learn about our world ocean during National Ocean Month.

  • Finance

    • Trump Has a $100 Million Conflict of Interest

      This candidacy brought to you by Deutsche Bank.

    • Guess Which Presidential Candidate Top CEOs Prefer? Hint: It’s Not Trump.

      A majority of chief executives of the world’s biggest companies say they would support Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump for president, according to a new survey that upends the usual Republican leanings of corporate CEOs.

      Fortune magazine in May sent a poll to all of the executives on its 500 list asking them to rank their preference between the two candidates. (No other options were given.)

      Of those who responded, 58 percent said they would choose Clinton, while 42 percent said they favored Trump.

    • The Big Banks Can Be Beaten

      Working families are turning their anger at Wall Street into action.

    • ‘We need to be in the EU in order to beat TTIP’
    • Authoritarian Britain is made freer by the EU

      The idea that the EU undermines English liberty is nonsense: it has helped curtail the British state’s repressive surveillance.

    • It’s not just Brexit — Greece, Spain, France are also on the brink

      Last week, a research wing of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) came out with a report admitting that neoliberalism has been a failure. The report, entitled “Neoliberalism: Oversold?” is hopefully a sign of the ideology’s death. They were only about 40 years late. As Naomi Klein tweeted about the report, “So all the billionaires it created are going to give back their money, right?”

    • Our Poverty Myth

      The illusion that people are to blame for their own poverty goes back centuries in our culture.

    • University of Helsinki to introduce tuition fees of €13,000–18,000 for non-EU/EEA students

      The University of Helsinki has announced its decision to impose tuition fees of 13,000–18,000 euros on its postgraduate degree students from outside the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA).

    • Once Homeless Student Who Worked 4 Jobs To Support Family Graduates College

      After persevering through trying times, one college student wore her cap and gown with pride.

      Bianca Jeannot, a 22-year-old who attended the College of New Rochelle in New York, has been through a lot. She has experienced homelessness and also had to work multiple jobs to support and care for her brothers while attending college, ABC News reported.

      Recently, the student saw her hard work come to fruition as she graduated from the school with honors, WABC reported.

    • Cuts blamed as London fire deaths rise by 20 per cent

      Fire deaths across the capital have gone up by 20 per cent in the last year, according to figures released by the London Fire Brigade (LFB).

      A total of 36 people died from fires in London in 2015/16, compared with 30 in the previous year.

    • ‘Employers Have an Incentive to Work People Long Hours’

      It’s no secret that those Americans who are working are working more hours for less pay than in decades–and suffering for it. And while it’s true wealthy people may be finding new clandestine ways to tuck money away, some of the core causes of working people’s problems are more out in the open, in the demonstrable erosion of worker wage protections.

      This, our next guest’s group says, is a fixable problem. And one step in that direction came recently with the Labor Department’s issuance of a new rule raising the salary threshold below which salaried workers are automatically eligible for overtime pay.

      Here to talk about the overtime rule, the pushback against it and where it fits in broader efforts to fight inequality is Ross Eisenbrey. He’s vice president of the Economic Policy Institute. He joins us now by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome to CounterSpin, Ross Eisenbrey.

    • A Legal System That Supports Businessmen
    • ‘Days of Revolt’: Chris Hedges, Lynne Stewart and Ralph Poynter on the Evolution of Radicalism

      In this week’s episode of teleSUR’s “Days of Revolt,” Truthdig contributor Chris Hedges sits down with guests Lynne Stewart and Ralph Poynter, both veterans of the 1960s civil rights movement. Stewart, a former civil rights attorney, and Poynter, a human rights activist and Stewart’s husband, have a long history of community organizing.

      The two met while working at a school in Harlem in the early 1960s—she as a librarian and he as a teacher. Hedges interviews them about their role in the civil rights and anti-war movements, before moving on to ask them whether our society has lost the political consciousness it had in the 60s and 70s.

    • OECD is Latest Economic Bigwig to Question Austerity’s “Loop of Doom”

      Less than a week after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expressed reservations about neoliberal policies like austerity, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is urging governments to increase spending in order to “make good on promises to current and future generations.”

      Not doing so, OECD chief economist Catherine Mann told Reuters, deprives youths of job opportunities and means the elderly will not get the healthcare and pension benefits they expect. “We are breaking promises to young people and old people,” she said.

      In its twice-yearly Global Economic Outlook, the 24-nation body said the world is stuck in a “low-growth trap” that will only get worse under status quo policies like quantitative easing.

      Indeed, the OECD said “almost all countries have room to reallocate spending and taxation towards items that offer more support to growth” like investments in infrastucture as well as education.

    • After Empowering the 1% and Impoverishing Millions, IMF Admits Neoliberalism a Failure

      Last week a research wing of the International Monetary Fund came out with a report admitting that neoliberalism has been a failure. The report, entitled, “Neoliberalism: Oversold?” is hopefully a sign of the ideology’s death. They were only about 40 years late. As Naomi Klein tweeted about the report, “So all the billionaires it created are going to give back their money, right?”

      Many of the report’s findings which strike to the core of the ideology echo what critics and victims of neoliberalism have been saying for decades.

      “Instead of delivering growth,” the report explains that neoliberal policies of austerity and lowered regulation for capital movement have in fact “increased inequality.” This inequality “might itself undercut growth…” As a result, the report states that “policymakers should be more open to redistribution than they are.”

    • Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe Took $120K From a Chinese Billionaire—But the Crime Is That It Was Legal

      When news broke that Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was under investigation by the Justice Department and that his campaign had taken $120,000 directly from a Chinese-owned business, it may have seemed liked an open-and-shut case.

      But federal law doesn’t preclude foreign-owned businesses from making political donations, and Virginia law doesn’t limit their size. So amazingly enough, if there was something illegal here, that wasn’t it.

    • Wednesday’s papers: Plan to scrap health centres, police speed camera claims challenged, and what to do with a six-minute longer workday?

      Negotiations over a plan to lengthen the working day by six minutes – as well as cut holiday benefits and freeze pay net year – are wavering at the last hurdle, but there’s still chance of a deal this week, the papers report. Elsewhere, there’s a proposal to replace Finland’s health centres with bigger clinics offering more under one roof, and police claims that speed cameras have made a Helsinki highway safer come under scrutiny.

    • Walmart, Gap, H&M Called Out for Global Worker Exploitation and Abuse

      Some of the world’s biggest retailers, including Walmart, Gap, and H&M, have failed to improve workplace safety three years after the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh killed more than 1,100 people and turned a spotlight on dangerous labor conditions faced by some of the world’s poorest workers.

      A series of new reports released Tuesday by the Asia Floor Wage Alliance, a coalition of rights groups and trade unions, finds that tens of thousands of laborers in Bangladesh are still making garments in buildings without proper fire exits, while pregnant workers in Indonesia and India face discrimination and wage theft.

    • Why the Verizon Worker’s Victory is A Big Deal

      On Friday, May 27, the six-and-a-half-week Verizon strike came to an end with a tentative contract agreement.

      The Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the unions that represent the Verizon workers, hailed the contract as a victory, citing its creation of 1300 new call center jobs along the East Coast, first-ever contracts for Verizon wireless store employees in Brooklyn and Everett, Massachusetts, and raises of nearly 11 percent over the life of the contract. The workers beat back demands from the company to cut pensions, transfer workers out of state for up to two months, and proposed cuts in disability and accident benefits.

    • France’s Nuit Debout Movement’s White, Middle Class Problem

      When the Nuit Debout youth movement erupted in Paris to protest the most significant reform to the country’s labor code in decades, it made headlines both nationally and globally as it was immediately compared to other upsrisings such as Spain’s Indignados and Occupy Wall Street. However, as the movement occupying Paris’ Republic Square approaches its two-month anniversary on Tuesday, it is still struggling to evolve into a more diverse and inclusive movement, as activists say it must do more to involve France’s marginalized communities, especially from the suburbs, who have been struggling against unemployment, police violence and state racism for decades.

    • Treasury’s New So-Called Transparency about Saudi-Held US Debt

      More likely, the vehicle of exchange and secrecy set up in 1974 were renewed when the US and Saudis signed the similar Technical Cooperation Agreement in 2008, which got extended in 2013 until 2023. Which would suggest Treasury has a reason to show us the old-style debt holdings, but not whatever they have going on now.So in the interest of “transparency” (that is, in the interest of avoiding any panic as the Saudis threaten to dump US debt if we start releasing information the Kingdom’s role in sowing terrorism) Treasury has revealed the old-style arrangement, but not whatever is the core of what we’ve got going on now.

      In other words, what Treasury’s so-called transparency actually tells us is the larger part of Saudi holdings (they threatened to dump $750 billion in US debt) are stashed somewhere even more secret than the original holdings. And they likely rolled out that even-more-secret stash in 2008, long after we knew they were sponsoring terrorism around the world.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Common Sense on the Democratic Presidential Race

      Clinton surrogates and operatives are pounding on Bernie Sanders to get out of the race, claiming they want to unify the party even as they excoriate Sanders and scorn his supporters. Perhaps it is time for a little common sense about the campaign.

    • How the Internet Is Empowering the Grass Roots and Transforming Democracy

      In the next week alone—the last before the June 7 primary in California—Sanders supporters in Los Angeles will host nearly 200 small-scale events in homes, businesses, and public parks from Burbank to Compton.

    • Write-In Voting and Political Protest

      With the increasingly likelihood of a presidential contest between the generally despised Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, millions of angry voters are considering protesting the lineup by either sitting out the election or writing in alternatives. With almost one-third of all eligible voters already failing to participate in elections, a greater abdication of voting responsibility in an election between the lesser of two evils could lead to a tyranny of the minority. On the other hand, by carefully writing in the names of their true choices, voters can exercise the only power available to them. If sufficiently widespread, such a protest could have a lasting effect on the course of the Nation, including the abandonment of the two major political parties and the emergence of new—more relevant—alignments.

    • Thanks for the Memories, Stephen Harper

      As former PM Stephen Harper quits parliament, his legacy is more of a gift to Conservatives than to Canadians.

      There’s no question that Stephen Harper, Canada’s former prime minister, will be leaving a legacy when he quits parliament this summer.

      A political mastermind, he united the country’s fractious right in 2003 when his Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) was born. In 2006, he led it to the first of its three successive electoral victories. Canada was his for nine years – at least until Justin Trudeau’s Liberals trounced his government last October.

      The party is still holding together seven months after he stepped down from the party leadership. Canadians are united as well – in celebrating his departure.

      So Harper’s legacy is more of a gift to Conservatives than to Canadians.

    • DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz Faces Criticism for Bias & Opening Up DNC to Lobbyists

      As the Democratic National Convention approaches, some Democrats are considering pressuring DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has long accused Wasserman Schultz of being biased toward Hillary Clinton. Wasserman Schultz has also quietly repealed ethics rules implemented in 2008 by President Obama preventing federal lobbyists from donating to the DNC. The opposition from Capitol Hill Democrats comes as Wasserman Schultz is also in a tight race against progressive challenger Tim Canova for her own congressional seat in Florida. In an unusual move, Sanders has backed Canova. For more, we’re joined by Lee Fang, investigative reporter for The Intercept.

    • It’s Not Just the Speeches: Hillary Clinton Questioned over Son-in-Law’s Ties to Goldman Sachs

      The California primary is just over one week away, and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are in a dead heat. Hillary Clinton has changed this week’s campaign schedule to add more California stops in order to try to reverse Sanders’ growing momentum. Yet multiple issues have continued to dog Clinton’s campaign, including the question of her connection to Goldman Sachs. The Wall Street giant paid Clinton $675,000 in 2013 to give three speeches. And now new questions are being raised about the ties between Goldman Sachs and Hillary’s son-in-law, Marc Mezvinsky. Mezvinsky worked at Goldman for eight years and then formed a hedge fund in part with help from Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein. For more, we’re joined by Intercept investigative reporter Lee Fang. His recent piece is headlined “Hillary Clinton Won’t Say How Much Goldman Sachs CEO Invested with Her Son-in-Law.”

    • Hillary Clinton’s Memoir Deletions, in Detail

      As was reported following the assassination of prominent Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres in March, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton erased all references to the 2009 coup in Honduras in the paperback edition of her memoirs, “Hard Choices.” Her three-page account of the coup in the original hardcover edition, where she admitted to having sanctioned it, was one of several lengthy sections cut from the paperback, published in April 2015 shortly after she had launched her presidential campaign.

      A short, inconspicuous statement on the copyright page is the only indication that “a limited number of sections” — amounting to roughly 96 pages — had been cut “to accommodate a shorter length for this edition.” Many of the abridgements consist of narrative and description and are largely trivial, but there are a number of sections that were deleted from the original that also deserve attention.

    • Trump: A Fool and a Fraud

      As Trump showed the world, it is relatively easy to run for president if you are willing to say or do anything to get attention and you believe in nothing except your own self-inflated myth. His reality-television-style campaign overwhelmed a badly fractured Republican Party. But the act is getting harder to pull off because now his words, often chosen for their shock value, have real consequences.

    • Trump University Documents Expose Presumptive Con-Man-in-Chief
    • Trump Self-destructing

      He’s also had a feud with the judge of Art Cohen v. Donald J. Trump, about Trump University fraud. He criticized the judge publicly, accusing him of being “Mexican” etc. Rather than finding Trump in contempt, the judge just decided to release Trump’s “playbooks”, recipes for roping in “students”, actually high-pressure sales tactics. It seems rather than teaching dealing in real estate, TU was applying such tactics to students and not delivering much of value, certainly not hand-picked-by-Trump instructors. The “playbooks” also showed an intense interest in the wealth of students rather than their aptitude for success…

    • Inside the Trump University ‘playbooks’

      And some of the material offers a potential counterweight to claims that Trump University’s aim was just to sell someone on the highest-priced course. For example, the 2007 sales playbook tells staffers, “you are here to meet the needs of your client, not to push product.” And the 2010 version advises that one should “sell for a relationship, not a commission.”

    • Opportunist Trump Meets Fanatical NRA

      By accepting the NRA’s presidential endorsement, Donald Trump bought into the gun lobby’s paranoid view of government and its distorted interpretation of the Second Amendment, writes Lawrence Davidson.

    • 4 Shady Business Practices That Trump University Used To Target Students

      Documents detailing exactly how Trump University convinced students to enroll in its real estate classes were made public on Tuesday after a federal court ordered their release.

      The business, which began operating in 2005 and is now defunct, was actually never an accredited university. Instead, students paid thousands of dollars for advice from professors whom they believed were handpicked by Trump. In reality, the professors were not chosen by Trump, something the real estate mogul has admitted in depositions.

    • WATCH: A retired veteran tells CNN how Trump University scammed him out of $26,000

      We’re going to be hearing a lot more about Trump University in the coming days, especially after a judge whom Trump had bashed for being a “Mexican” recently ordered the release of several internal Trump U. documents that will be out by the end of the week. CNN spent some time talking with some former Trump University students who described how the “university” took $26,000 of his money and gave him almost nothing in return.

    • Another Kind of Warrior—Bernie Sanders—Fires Up the Golden State Faithful

      There was a palpable thrill in the air as some 20,000 supporters stood in lines that stretched for blocks to hear Bernie Sanders speak Monday in Oakland, Calif. Hundreds of supporters were turned away in the name of security at the event, which marked one of Sanders’ campaign stops before the state’s crucial primary election on June 7.

    • [Column] Donald Trump: Joker’s Wild

      Since Trump has never been a politician – and presents himself as an anti-politician — his campaign has been nothing but a series of gestures. To have a platform and well thought-out positions would bring him too much into the realm of real politics. Trump rolls out proposals – building a wall in the southwest and getting Mexico to pay for it, banning all Muslim immigrants, bringing back waterboarding – as a network executive might introduce a new season of TV shows. They’re meant to generate headlines, capture attention, and create a loyal following. They’re not meant to add up to anything larger.

    • Ahead of Election, Native Americans Rise Up Against Repressive Voting Laws

      Refusing to be silenced by restrictive new voting laws, Native Americans across the western U.S. are taking their fight to the courts, arguing that tribal communities have become even further disenfranchised by rules passed in the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark voting rights ruling.

      An in-depth report published by Reuters on Tuesday highlights revisions to a North Dakota law that “eliminated a provision that had allowed people without proper identification…to vote if they were recognized by a poll worker or if they signed an affidavit swearing to their identity.”

    • Stoking the Fires: Trump and His Legions

      Looking back at the 1932 U.S. presidential election is instructive. Herbert Hoover, the Republican incumbent, bore the blame for the Great Depression. It had happened on his watch. Armies of the unemployed moved into shantytowns, which they named Hoovervilles. Hoover’s main Democratic opponent, Franklin D. Roosevelt, came from establishment stock. Roosevelt’s main plank was to shrink the government and expand U.S. trade with the world. These were policy positions much favored by the elite. During the election, there was little sign that Roosevelt would expand the U.S. government and use state spending to enhance economic activity. The tone of the campaign was ugly, with Hoover calling Roosevelt (correctly as it turned out) a “chameleon in plaid” and Roosevelt responding that Hoover was a “fat, timid capon” (a capon being a rooster). Hoover felt that Roosevelt was “very badly informed and of comparably little vision”. Roosevelt was elected to three consecutive terms. He died in office.

    • Trump, Sanders and the Exhaustion of a Political Model

      Bernie Sanders, in a way, is the perfect opposite of Trump and both embody the exhaustion of the American people.

    • Cenk Uygur Warns Mainstream Media: Don’t Underestimate Impact of Libertarian Candidate

      44 percent of voters want a third-party option come November.

    • Troubles of Anti-Trump/Clinton Write-ins

      Distraught over the likely choice of Trump or Clinton, many Americans are thinking about third parties or write-ins, but the process is harder than one might expect, like much else about the U.S. electoral system, notes William John Cox.

      [...]

      Under state laws, political parties must “qualify” for their candidates to be listed on the ballots and counted. The two major parties are qualified in every state, but the Libertarian Party candidates will appear on the ballots in only 33 states, the Green Party in 21, and the Constitution Party in 13.

    • Clinton, media still counting superdelegates despite DNC pleas

      On April 28, Luis Miranda, communications director for the Democratic National Committee, did an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper to formally clarify the official position of the Democratic Party on when superdelegates are, and are not, supposed to actually count in public vote tallies.

      What he said shocked the hell out of me and should shock the hell out of you — in part because not a single media outlet or the Hillary Clinton campaign has paid one bit of attention to it before or since. Since election season began, networks, newspapers and pundits have included superdelegates in their tallies, but the DNC emphatically said that was wrong over a month ago.

    • Trump Rejects Hitler Comparison But Has A Few Alternatives

      On MSNBC and in the New York Times, he’s been likened to segregationist George Wallace. Louis CK and Glenn Beck have compared him to Adolf Hitler.

    • Bernie Sanders Fights On: The Rolling Stone Interview

      Even at this late date, with the threat of a Donald Trump presidency looming, Sanders pulls no punches against Hillary Clinton. His stump speech links her to a “rigged economy” – highlighting “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in contributions to the Clinton campaign by a member of the Walton family, whose Wal-Mart fortune, Sanders says, is richer than the combined wealth of the “bottom 40 percent” of the American people. Transforming jeers into cheers, Sanders demands of the billionaire clan, “Instead of making large campaign contributions to Secretary Clinton, pay your workers a living wage!”

    • Make Presidential Race About Issues, Not a Spitball Fight

      Donald Trump has now won the delegates needed to give him the Republican presidential nomination. The Bernie Sanders surge continues — he may even win California — but Hillary Clinton apparently has the superdelegate support needed to give her the nomination. We’re headed to a presidential race with two candidates burdened with record levels of disfavor.

    • Vast Majority of Democrats Want Sanders to Stay in Race: Poll

      A new poll released Wednesday found that a majority of registered Democrats want presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders to stay in the race.

      The national survey of 2,001 voters by Morning Consult found that 57 percent of all Democrats polled want Sanders to keep running, while 33 percent want him to drop out. Ten percent have no opinion.

      The findings contradict the pressure from prominent Democratic politicians and centrist pundits on Sanders to drop out of the presidential race—some of whom even argue that he’s already lost—despite the fact that several states (including delegate-rich California) and U.S. territories have yet to hold their primaries. (Polls also show Sanders and Clinton in a dead heat in California, which votes on June 7.)

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Stung By Yelp Reviews, Health Providers Spill Patient Secrets

      Burned by negative reviews, some health providers are casting their patients’ privacy aside and sharing intimate details online as they try to rebut criticism.

      In the course of these arguments — which have spilled out publicly on ratings sites like Yelp — doctors, dentists, chiropractors and massage therapists, among others, have divulged details of patients’ diagnoses, treatments and idiosyncrasies.

      One Washington state dentist turned the tables on a patient who blamed him for the loss of a molar: “Due to your clenching and grinding habit, this is not the first molar tooth you have lost due to a fractured root,” he wrote. “This tooth is no different.”

      In California, a chiropractor pushed back against a mother’s claims that he misdiagnosed her daughter with scoliosis. “You brought your daughter in for the exam in early March 2014,” he wrote. “The exam identified one or more of the signs I mentioned above for scoliosis. I absolutely recommended an x-ray to determine if this condition existed; this x-ray was at no additional cost to you.”

    • Google voice search records and keeps conversations people have around their phones – but the files can be deleted

      Google could have a record of everything you have said around it for years, and you can listen to it yourself.

      The company quietly records many of the conversations that people have around its products.

      The feature works as a way of letting people search with their voice, and storing those recordings presumably lets Google improve its language recognition tools as well as the results that it gives to people.

    • Thailand Government Wants To Undermine Website Encryption, Hold ISPs Responsible For Third-Party Content

      Thailand’s government has never been considered a friend of internet services or users, thanks to its interest in suppressing dissent/ensuring its king remain unoffended. It has often claimed it has no interest in censoring the internet — sometimes in statements delivered while shutting down livestreams of discussions with ISPs on how to better censor the internet.

      Unsurprisingly, it’s not a fan of encryption. The Thai government is currently amending its Computer Crimes Act in hopes of updating its censorship abilities. In addition to codifying ISP compliance with government demands, it’s also looking to destroy anything standing between it and full control of internet activity.

    • MPs’ private emails are routinely accessed by GCHQ

      Computer Weekly investigation reveals the extent of interception of MPs’ and peers’ email communications and data

      GCHQ and the US National Security Agency (NSA) have access to intercepted emails sent and received by all members of the UK Parliament and peers, including with their constituents, a Computer Weekly investigation has established.

    • Guardian of the GPL: Online advertising is becoming “a perfect despotism”

      Time is running out to prevent complete totalitarian dictatorship until the end of human civilisation, Eben Moglen, the guardian of the GPL, told Ars in an interview.

      But let’s rewind a bit. Earlier this month, Moglen and Mishi Choudhary, both of the Software Freedom Law Center, told a packed crowd at the Re:publica conference in Germany about the worrying outlook for Homo sapiens.

      “This is the last generation in which the human race gets a choice,” Moglen said during the duo’s opening keynote for the media and technology conference. “Most of the human race doesn’t know what the choice is, and if we here, who do know, do not help them understand,” he said, “if we don’t give them proof of concept plus running code, the revolution becomes impossible.”

      Moglen is a Columbia law professor and a well-known stalwart of the free software movement. As general counsel to the Free Software Foundation for many years, he helped Richard M. Stallman draft the GPLv3. He received the EFF’s Pioneer Award in 2003, and is the author of The dotCommunist Manifesto, among many other works. Choudhary is the SFLC’s legal director and previously practised as litigator before the High Court and Supreme Court in India.

    • 4th Circuit Appeals Court Rolls Back Its Warrant Requirement For Cell Site Location Info

      The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals was one of the few appeals courts to rule on the constitutionality of obtaining cell site location info without a warrant. And it was — was — the only appeals court to find warrantless access violated the Fourth Amendment. The decision was limited to the collection of historical cell site data for extended periods of time (the court appeared to believe anything beyond two weeks was questionable), mainly because there was a good chance the records would contain considerable detail about a person’s movements in private places.

    • Cops can easily get months of location data, appeals court rules

      A full panel of judges at the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals has now overturned last summer’s notable decision by the standard trio of appellate judges, which had found that police needed a warrant to obtain more than 200 days’ worth of cell-site location information (CSLI) for two criminal suspects.

      In the Tuesday en banc decision, the Fourth Circuit relied heavily upon the third-party doctrine, the 1970s-era Supreme Court case holding that there is no privacy interest in data voluntarily given up to a third party like a cell phone provider. That case, known as Smith v. Maryland, is what has provided the legal underpinning for lots of surveillance programs, ranging from local police all the way up to the National Security Agency.

    • Federal Appellate Court Strikes Potential Death Blow to Privacy in New Cell Site Location Information Case
    • Privacy Takes Major Hit as Court Rules No Warrant Needed for Cell Location Data

      In a major setback for privacy advocates, a U.S. appeals court on Tuesday ruled that cellphone location data is not protected by the Fourth Amendment and can be collected without a warrant.

      By a 12-3 vote, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia upheld what is known as a third-party doctrine, which states that consumers who willingly give information to outside parties—like telecommunications companies—have “no reasonable expectation of privacy” for that data, regardless of what it reveals. The case is United States v. Graham, in which two defendants were tracked by police without warrants for several months in 2010 and 2011 as part of an armed robbery investigation.

      The ACLU discovered in 2015 that the collected data revealed information that went beyond the scope of the case—including that the wife of defendant Aaron Graham was pregnant.

    • The FBI Wants to Exempt Massive Biometric Database From the Privacy Act

      A broad coalition of 45 signatories, including civil liberties, racial justice, human rights, and privacy organizations, published a letter Tuesday strongly condemning a proposal by the FBI to exempt its massive biometric database from certain provisions of the Privacy Act. Known as the Next Generation Identification system, or NGI, the FBI database houses the world’s largest collection of fingerprints, DNA profiles, palm prints, face images, and other biometric identifiers. The letter, signed by groups such as La Raza, Color of Change, Amnesty International, National LGBTQ Task Force, as well as the companies Uber and Lyft, criticized the agency’s May 5 proposal on the grounds that the “system uses some of the most advanced surveillance technologies known to humankind, including facial recognition, iris scans, and fingerprint recognition.”

    • FBI Wants to Remove Privacy Protections from its Massive Biometrics Database

      Since 2008, the FBI has been assembling a massive database of biometric information on Americans. This database, called Next Generation Identification (NGI), includes fingerprints, face recognition, iris scans and palm prints—collected not just during arrests, but also from millions of Americans for non-criminal reasons like immigration, background checks, and state licensing requirements. Now the FBI wants to exempt this vast collection of data from basic requirements guaranteed under the federal Privacy Act—and it’s giving you only 21 business days to object.

    • Appeals Court Delivers Devastating Blow to Cellphone-Privacy Advocates

      Courts across the country are grappling with a key question for the information age: When law enforcement asks a company for cellphone records to track location data in an investigation, is that a search under the Fourth Amendment?

      By a 12-3 vote, appellate court judges in Richmond, Virginia, on Monday ruled that it is not — and therefore does not require a warrant.

      The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld what is known as the third-party doctrine: a legal theory suggesting that consumers who knowingly and willingly surrender information to third parties therefore have “no reasonable expectation of privacy” in that information — regardless of how much information there is, or how revealing it is.

      Research clearly shows that cell-site location data collected over time can reveal a tremendous amount of personal information — like where you live, where you work, when you travel, who you meet with, and who you sleep with. And it’s impossible to make a call without giving up your location to the cellphone company.

    • Anonymized Data Really Isn’t Anonymous: Vehicle Data Can Easily Be Used To Identify You

      Companies increasingly hoover up larger and larger oceans of consumer data, promising that security and privacy aren’t much of a worry because data is “anonymized.” But as research has shown time and time again, anonymous data isn’t all that anonymous — since it takes only a modicum of effort to either analyze the data — or cross reference it with other data — to ferret out personal identities. It doesn’t really matter whether we’re talking about NSA surveillance troves or social networking data: anonymous data just isn’t anonymous.

    • William Binney: NSA Surveillance Takes a Page From Nazi Germany

      With the Obama Administration’s unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers, Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear speaks with National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower William Binney about the growing American police state.

      “They [the NSA] don’t care what they do, they feel that they have the right to do anything that they feel necessary, and they will cover up crimes and procedures and violations of regulations that they’ve done to achieve whatever their ends are,” Binney tells Loud & Clear host Brian Becker.

    • Facebook using people’s phones to listen in on what they’re saying, suggests professor

      Facebook could be listening in on people’s conversations all of the time, an expert has claimed.

      The app might be using people’s phones to gather data on what they are talking about, it has been claimed.

      Facebook says that its app does listen to what’s happening around it, but only as a way of seeing what people are listening to or watching and suggesting that they post about it.

      The feature has been available for a couple of years, but recent warnings from Kelli Burns, mass communication professor at the University of South Florida, have drawn attention to it.

    • Advertisers Might Already Be Using Your Phone’s Hardware to Track You

      Your phone is like your best friend. It holds all of your secrets, and there’s a bond of trust—at least, you hope that there is. Advertisers may already be exploiting this trust and turning your phone against you, by using its tiny quirks to track you across the web.

      Because people are becoming savvy to advertisers’ bag of tricks, the usual methods of following folks around online just aren’t paying off like they used to. Now and in the future, advertisers may track you with “fingerprinting”—identifying a particular device by, say, tracking its screen dimensions and plugins, alongside lots of other personalized information which is then communicated and collected through a browser before being sent to advertisers.

      Recent research has pointed to a method of device fingerprinting that uses the miniscule, unique imperfections in each phone’s accelerometer and gyroscope—basically, its hardware—to create a profile of that phone that can be used to track its user’s activities across the web, without her knowledge. Unlike location data, most sites don’t ask for permission to access a phone’s motion sensors.

    • Iran orders foreign messaging apps to store data within its borders

      Iran has ordered foreign messaging apps to store all data on its citizens within the country’s borders, Reuters reports, giving the companies one year to comply. Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace announced the measures on Sunday, saying they are based on the “guidelines and concerns of the supreme leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the local IRNA news agency.

      “Foreign messaging companies active in the country are required to transfer all data and activity linked to Iranian citizens into the country in order to ensure their continued activity,” the council said.

    • Snowden slams Clinton and Trump, but leaves Sanders unscathed
    • Edward Snowden Criticizes Hillary Over Violation of Classified Laws
    • Snowden Slams US for Ignoring Hillary Clinton’s Email Controversy
    • Should Consideration be Given When Sentencing a Criminal if the Crime Led to Positive Changes?
    • NSA leaker Edward Snowden performed a ‘public service’: Editorial
    • President Obama, pardon Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning
    • Why Obama Is Wrong About Snowden
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • New Jersey Officer Leaked Mugshots Of 14-Year-Old Gunned Down By Police

      Shortly after 14-year-old Radazz Hearns was shot seven times in the legs and buttocks by Trenton, New Jersey police, an officer used a juvenile court database to find and leak the teenager’s mugshots.

      Last August, a state trooper and an officer from Mercer County were responding to gunfire near an apartment complex in Trenton when they saw a group of three teenagers, including Hearns, in the area of the reported shots. When they exited their unmarked patrol car and ordered the teenagers to put their hands up, Hearns tried to flee. According to the police, the teenager pointed a gun in their direction, so they gunned him down in self-defense. But one eyewitness claimed Hearns was trying to pull up his pants, and findings by the state attorney general’s office differed from the officers’ account of what happened.

    • The U.S. Senator Who Thinks We Need More Incarceration

      Freshman U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a firebrand darling of the extreme right, thinks the United States has a problem with incarceration—underincarceration, that is. That’s right.

      Cotton criticized congressional efforts to reform the country’s broken prison system, arguing instead that federal and state governments ought to be building more prisons and jailing even more Americans, rather than fewer.

      According to The Sentencing Project, the U.S. leads the world in incarceration, with 2.2 million people in prison or jail, a 500 percent increase over the last 40 years.

    • Hearing Thursday Could Clear Path to Freedom for ‘Guantánamo Diary’ Author

      Mohamedou Slahi has been unlawfully detained for 14 years at Guantánamo Bay and is the author of a best-selling book about the ordeal he suffered there. A hearing Thursday could result in his freedom.

      After years of waiting and litigation, Slahi will finally receive a Periodic Review Board hearing. President Obama ordered PRB hearings for the men at Guantánamo five years ago. The board is made up of senior officials from military and intelligence agencies who are tasked with determining whether a detainee poses a “significant threat” to the United States or can be cleared for release. A PRB does not determine whether the initial detention was justified — that is a task for the federal courts deciding habeas corpus challenges. In Slahi’s habeas case, a federal court judge — still the only neutral person to have reviewed all the evidence — found in 2010 that Slahi’s detention was unlawful and ordered him released. But the Obama administration appealed, and the federal habeas case languishes still.

    • Singaporean Activists Harassed by Police for ‘Breaching’ Election Rules

      It’s a worrying state of affairs when expressing your political opinions on Facebook on a particular day is all it takes for police to gain access to all your data without a warrant or court order.

      Last Friday Singapore’s Elections Department announced that its Assistant Returning Officer had lodged police reports against news website The Independent Singapore and two individuals, Roy Ngerng and Teo Soh Lung, for breaching election rules relating to Cooling-Off Day during the Bukit Batok by-election held earlier this month.

    • Dalai Lama says ‘too many’ refugees in Europe

      The Dalai Lama said in an interview published Thursday that Europe has accepted “too many” refugees, and that they should eventually return to help rebuild their home countries.

      “When we look into the face of every single refugee, especially the children and women, we can feel their suffering,” said the Tibetan spiritual leader, who has himself lived in exile for over half a century.

    • Freedom From Violence: Lessons From Black Prisoner Organizing

      Collective rebellions are episodic. Expanded technologies of control and limited leftist movements on the outside have made such rebellions even rarer in prisons. But the long-standing black critique of the American criminal justice as a system of racial dominance continues, aided and abetted by the existence of resurgent opposition to prisons beginning in the late 1990s and with added ferocity since the economic collapse of 2008. In 1998, two organizations formed with direct connections to the previous generation of prison protest. Bo Brown, who spent seven years in prison for her involvement with the Seattle-based clandestine George Jackson Brigade, and Angela Davis were part of the intergenerational founding collective of Critical Resistance (CR). CR helped popularize a systemic analysis of prisons as part of a wider organization of the political economy — a prison-industrial complex. Alongside feminist antiviolence organizations such as Incite!: Women of Color against Violence, CR has worked to reengage a politics of (prison) abolition that updates 1970s innovations.

    • Man allegedly pooped on Kroger U-Scan machine

      A Cincinnati man was jailed after he allegedly stripped naked in front of an employee at the Kroger store in Hyde Park and defecated on a U-Scan machine.

      Colin Murphy, 23, was charged with public indecency and disorderly conduct for his actions, which took place on Sunday, according to police.

      According to a court affidavit, Murphy smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and staggered walk.

    • Russian cyber-espionage group hits Sanoma

      Yle has obtained new evidence of cyber-attacks on Finnish targets by a cyber-espionage group linked to Russian state intelligence. The group, known as Sofacy or Pawn Storm, has attempted to hack into data communications of Finland’s largest group, Sanoma, as well as of a Finnish member of Bellingcat, an international group investigating the Ukraine conflict.

    • Effort to Expose Russia’s ‘Troll Army’ Draws Vicious Retaliation

      Seeking to shine some light into the dark world of Internet trolls, a journalist with Finland’s national broadcaster asked members of her audience to share their experience of encounters with Russia’s “troll army,” a raucous and often venomous force of online agitators.

      The response was overwhelming, though not in the direction that the journalist, Jessikka Aro, had hoped.

      As she expected, she received some feedback from people who had clashed with aggressively pro-Russian voices online. But she was taken aback, and shaken, by a vicious retaliatory campaign of harassment and insults against her and her work by those same pro-Russian voices.

      “Everything in my life went to hell thanks to the trolls,” said Ms. Aro, a 35-year-old investigative reporter with the social media division of Finland’s state broadcaster, Yle Kioski.

      Abusive online harassment is hardly limited to pro-Russian Internet trolls. Ukraine and other countries at odds with the Kremlin also have legions of aggressive avengers on social media.

    • Smugglers Made $6 Billion From Refugee Crisis in 2015: Interpol

      People smugglers capitalizing on the refugee crisis created by the Syrian conflict gleaned some $6 billion from those attempting to reach the European mainland in 2015, according to a report released by world policing bodies Tuesday.

      Interpol and Europol, the international and European cross-border crime agencies, issued a report on “Migrant Smuggling Networks” that showed that 90 percent of the influx of refugees into the European Union is facilitated by smuggling networks in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

    • EU naval mission is ‘MIGRANT MAGNET’: Damning verdict on Brussels plan ‘helping smugglers’

      THE European Union’s flagship naval mission to crack down on migrant crossings has today been branded a spectacular failure which has HELPED the people smugglers.

    • Muslim in Eastern Uganda Kills Christian Wife for Leaving Islam, Relatives Say

      A Muslim in eastern Uganda strangled his wife to death this month for leaving Islam, relatives and neighbors said.

      Awali Kakaire, 34, early in the morning on May 8 killed Mariam Nakirya for embracing Christianity in Mbaale village, Imanyiro Sub-County, Mayuge District, the area residents told Morning Star News. She was 30.

    • Florida Prosecutors Drop Charges Against PINAC Reporter Jeff Gray – Again

      For the fifth time since 2010, Florida prosecutors were forced to dismiss criminal charges against PINAC reporter Jeff Gray before even going to trial, proving once again what we have known all along.

      That his arrests are always unlawful and unconstitutional; nothing but an attempt to keep him from doing his job.

    • Vietnam vet claims guards at El Paso VA clinic used “excessive force” against him

      Jose Oliva, 71, went to the El Paso Veterans Affairs Clinic for a check up. But what happened that afternoon still has him shaken up three months later.

      Oliva says he was attempting to enter the VA clinic. But his interaction with the guards went horribly wrong leaving him in cuffs and, he says, with injuries.

      “You know, they could have killed me,” Oliva said.

      Oliva, a Vietnam vet, said he’s had shoulder and throat surgery after what happened at the VA clinic on Feb. 16.

    • Former Miss Turkey gets suspended sentence for insulting Erdogan

      Turkey sentenced a former beauty queen to 14 months in prison on Tuesday, deepening concerns that the country is swaying toward an increasingly authoritarian form of rule.

      An Istanbul court found Merve Buyuksarac, 27, guilty of insulting a public official, after she shared a poem on her Instagram account in 2014 that was deemed insulting to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country’s president.

    • Fresh third party video of Amos Yee being assaulted in Jurong Point emerges

      Youtube user Jhan DABOMB who witnessed the recent assault of Amos Yee in Jurong Point and has released his video footage of the incident. He said that when he saw one youth chasing another in Jurong Point, with a girl in tow, it looked to him like a case of molestation. Only when Amos was dragged out of NTUC Fairprice did the Youtube user realise that it was Amos Yee.

    • Israeli Company Claims Its Software Can Look At Your Face And Determine If You’re A Terrorist Or Murderer

      There is a regular experience I have that I assume is common for anyone that operates within the technology industry: I will often hear non-technical people make claims about a specific kind of technology that are wildly overstated. To clarify, I am technically proficient in the barest sense, mostly meaning that I have enough of an understanding of the underlying process by which things work that I can explain them, but not implement them. To those without even that barest understanding, I can understand how technology can simply seem like magic. That can open the doors for others who know better to try to take advantage of this.

      Enter into the conversation Israeli startup company Faception, which claims its facial recognition software can look at your features and then determine if you’re a terrorist, pedophile, or criminal.

    • Fired for Speaking Out on Guantánamo, Former Prosecutor Settles With Library of Congress

      In a small but significant victory for free speech, Col. Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor at Guantánamo Bay, announced a $100,000 settlement Tuesday in his lawsuit against the Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service.

      Davis was fired from the CRS in 2009 for authoring two opinion pieces (one in the Wall Street Journal, the other in the Washington Post) that criticized President Obama for prosecuting some terror suspects in federal courts and others in military commissions — what Davis called a “dangerous legal double standard.”

      Davis became an assistant director at CRS after retiring from a 25-year career as an Air Force lawyer in 2008.

      The ACLU sent a letter to CRS in 2009 asking for Davis’s reinstatement, noting that his work at CRS had nothing to do with Guantánamo Bay. When CRS refused, the ACLU sued on Davis’s behalf.

    • 9/11 Suspect Calls for U.S. Judge to Step Down, Citing Evidence Destruction

      The U.S. military judge overseeing the trial of the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks should step down and the case should be scrapped because he effectively conspired with prosecutors to destroy evidence, defense lawyers said in a court filing.

      The motion said Judge James Pohl, an Army colonel, and prosecutors had tainted the case against Pakistan-born Khalid Sheikh Mohammed by keeping defense lawyers from learning that the evidence had been destroyed.

    • Judge ‘manipulated’ 9/11 attacks case, court document alleges
    • Gitmo Judge Allowed Destruction of Evidence in 9/11 Case: Report

      The judge in charge of military tribunals at Guantánamo Bay allegedly colluded with prosecutors to hide evidence that supported the defense of suspected 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, “irreparably” harming his case, according to a court document obtained by the Guardian on Tuesday.

      The accusation could be the impetus to reform the highly controversial tribunals at the U.S. military prison in Cuba altogether, according to Karen Greenberg, the director of Fordham University Law School’s Center on National Security.

      “This may well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in underscoring the unviability of the military commissions,” Greenberg told the Guardian.

      According to the recently unsealed defense filing, Army Colonel James Pohl “in concert with the prosecution, manipulated secret proceedings and the use of secret orders.”

    • Europe’s War on Refugees is Repeating the Mistakes of the War on Drugs

      On 19th April 2015, the sinking of a single refugee boat off the coast of Lampedusa led to the drowning of over 700 people. By the end of the month, an estimated 1300 had drowned in the same way, making it the deadliest month on record in the Mediterranean refugee crisis. The tragedy was the direct result of a successful British-led campaign to end the Italian search-and-rescue operation Mare Nostrum, which had prevented such mass drownings before its closure in October 2014. Those events led to a public outcry and pressure to restart search-and-rescue operations; but resisting such pressure, on 23rd April 2015 the European Council instead adopted a British-drafted resolution vowing to “undertake systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy [refugee] vessels”. The EU was giving notice that its response to the refugee crisis would no longer be based on humanitarian commitments, but on military force. It was, not coincidentally, a proposal originally made by the British fascist Nick Griffin five years earlier.

    • Chile’s Robocops

      Robocop is not only a movie. It’s real life in Chile where grown men, disturbingly silly, dress up in armored uniforms, similar to the movie Robocop (Orion Pictures, 1987) bashing peaceful demonstrations of students wearing blue jeans.

      Yes, they beat up and intimidate kids, which is a glaring example of a world gone mad! Ruled by horrifying neoliberal principles of financial domination, controlled by elitist, kicking the daylights out of teenagers. The whole affaire is simply one more example of the spirit of meanness from which neoliberal principles pit the elite class against all others.

    • Democrats Targeted for Creating, and Now Ignoring, Mass Incarceration Disaster

      A new petition released Tuesday calls on Democratic Party leadership to make ending mass incarceration a core part of the party platform.

      “So far, both [parties] have fallen short,” reads the petition created by non-partisan public policy institute the Brennan Center for Justice. “Even Democratic Party platforms haven’t merely been silent; they have actually called for policies creating more imprisonment.””

    • Why is Obama Ignoring Pleas to Release Political Prisoner Oscar López Rivera?

      Two and a half months ago, asked by award-winning playwright Lin-Manuel Mirandaabout imprisoned Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar López Rivera – whose only crime, according to Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is “conspiracy to free his people from the shackles of imperial justice” – President Barack Obama told the Hamilton creator that he “had [the case] on his desk.” Miranda, whose parents hail from Puerto Rico, used his invitation to the White House to bring up the issue of López Rivera’s continued incarceration, which is of tremendous importance to Puerto Ricans. Both on the island and in the diaspora, freedom for the 73-year-old political prisoner enjoys overwhelming popular support and has united people across the political spectrum.

    • Samantha Power, Former Human Rights Journalist, to Receive Award From Henry Kissinger

      In her 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” Samantha Power lambasted former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for his role in genocidal foreign policy. “[T]he [Ford] administration had very little credibility,” she wrote. “Kissinger had bloodied Cambodia and blackened his own reputation with past U.S. policy.”

      Now, in an ironic twist, Power is set to receive The American Academy of Berlin’s Henry A. Kissinger Prize—and it will be presented to her from Kissinger himself. The award is given “annually to a renowned figure in the field of international diplomacy.” Power, a “human rights celebrity,” began her career as a journalist reporting from war-torn regions such as “Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.” She eventually became a member of President Obama’s administration when he made her the United States’ youngest U.N. ambassador.

    • Samantha Power, Obama’s Atrocity Enabler

      A new documentary called “Watchers of the Sky” tells the moving story of Raphael Lemkin, Polish lawyer and resistance fighter who spent his final years seeking to secure legislation against the crime of genocide at the United Nations. Lemkin’s struggle to guarantee a legal order capable of preventing the slaughter of civilians is brought to life through the narration of Samantha Power, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and famed diplomat who earned renown with her 2002 book, “A Problem From Hell,” documenting the international community’s failure to stop genocide in Rwanda.

    • Boston to Protestings Students: You’re Not Worth it.

      The student protest outside of Boston City Hall was winding down. Of the 1,000 students who’d walked out of their schools for the second time this spring, about 100 were left, waiting to get inside in hopes of testifying before a City Council committee against proposed school budget cuts. First, though, the students had to pass through a metal detector, a process as inefficient as an airport TSA line. “This is what democracy looks like,” they chanted, a protest staple that for once felt almost true. “The whole world is watching,” they shouted, amplified by the hulking architecture of City Hall.

    • Jessica Williams, 29: Another Black Woman Gunned Down By Police

      Oscar Salinas, from the Amor for Alex coalition [formed after police fired 59 shots killing Alex Nieto while he was eating a burrito], gave a strong message of solidarity from the Black and Brown alliance that is fighting police impunity.

    • Happy Sunday, Welcome to Rikers

      Anna has made the trip to Rikers hundreds of times in the nearly six years her son has been awaiting trial. Each time, a friend picks her up early in the morning near her apartment in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and drives her out through the city, past the brick houses and manicured lawns of northwestern Queens. They park near the Q100 bus stop and sit silently in the car until the bus pulls up.

    • Blair government’s rendition policy led to rift between UK spy agencies

      British involvement in controversial and clandestine rendition operations provoked an unprecedented row between the UK’s domestic and foreign intelligence services, MI5 and MI6, at the height of the “war on terror”, the Guardian can reveal.

      The head of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, was so incensed when she discovered the role played by MI6 in abductions that led to suspected extremists being tortured, she threw out a number of her sister agency’s staff and banned them from working at MI5’s headquarters, Thames House.

      According to Whitehall sources, she also wrote to the then prime minister, Tony Blair, to complain about the conduct of MI6 officers, saying their actions had threatened Britain’s intelligence gathering and may have compromised the security and safety of MI5 officers and their informants.

    • MI5 Chief ‘Right to Be Disgusted’ over MI6 Involvement in CIA Rendition & Torture
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Factually Challenged Op-ed Insists Google Greed Is Behind FCC’s Desire For More Set Top Box Competition

      So wait, just so we’re clear, your ingenious solution for the cable industry’s aggressive walled garden anti-competitive stranglehold over set top box hardware is — to regulate Google? And for years we’ve pointed out that the idea of “search neutrality” is bullshit. Throughout the net neutrality debate it was the cry of a telecom sector and its various policy tendrils, all pretending to be willfully oblivious to why physical, last mile services without competition (broadband) aren’t regulated exactly the same as Internet services that users can choose not to use.

      And buried under the Op-ed’s conflations and bizarre omissions, that’s just the thing the editorial intentionally misses — quite painfully. Increasing set top box competition means that consumers would have a choice of set top boxes. As such, they could choose one that doesn’t rely on Google technology if this is really such a concern for them. Of course it isn’t — the great Google set top antitrust albatross is a giant red herring being pushed by cable operators via an endless number of similar editorials. All of them carry the same message: don’t open up the stagnant cable set top box market to competition or Google will run away with your daughter and pee on your azaleas.

      Again it’s a bunch of nonsense intended to misdirect the public from a central truth of the set top box debate: the cable industry is absolutely terrified of losing a central pillar in its quest to ensure cable remains a closed, walled garden ecosystem. Opening the set top box market to competition not only kills $21 billion in captive annual revenues, it suddenly opens the door to cheaper, better, more open hardware platforms — built by companies with no qualms about pushing traditional cable customers toward alternative streaming options.

  • DRM

    • Author Sues Publisher For Portraying eBook Licenses As ‘Sales’ To Pay Out Fewer Royalties

      If you’re a consumer, that piece of digital wordsmithery you purchased probably isn’t worth the paper it isn’t printed on. Like most digital media available for “purchase,” ebooks are often “sold” as licenses that allow the publisher to control use of the product indefinitely, whether through DRM or by simply attaching EULAs no one will ever read to every download.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • PDF Poland 2016: Is civic tech a good solution?

      “Civic tech is a great potential solution, but it is a solution that is vulnerable to being monopolised by elites if we don’t try to push the service beyond its traditional user base.”

      [...]

      Should be accessible to all citizens

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • 10 Years Ago Hollywood Awoke The Pirate Bay ‘Beast’

        Ten years ago today The Pirate Bay was raided by the Swedish police. While the entertainment industries hoped that this would shut the site down once and for all, they inadvertently helped to create one of the most resilient websites on the Internet.

      • MPAA Lobbyist / SOPA Sponsor to Draft Democratic Party Platform

        The Democratic Party has appointed a committee tasked with drafting the party’s platform. The 15-member panel includes MPAA lobbyist Howard L Berman, an attorney and former U.S. Representative who not only co-sponsored SOPA and tried to enshrine P2P network sabotage in law, but has also been funded by Hollywood throughout his career.

      • Re-Mixing Protected By Freedom Of Arts Fundamental Right, German Court Rules

        The German Constitutional Court today ruled in favour of the “freedom to sample” – or freedom to remix – in a case between the singer/songwriter Sabrina Setlur and the band Kraftwerk.

        The latter had filed complaints against the sampling of two seconds of rhythm from its 1977 song “Metall auf Metall” in Setlur’s 1997 “Nur mir”. The Federal High Court and several lower courts ruled in favour of Kraftwerk, pointing to German copyright legislation underlining the difference between re-using snippets from the original recording medium to re-performing them.

      • Police Target 50 Streaming Sites, Detain Five Suspects

        Police in Italy are reporting the execution of a large operation against a network offering live sports, movies and TV shows online without permission. The Guardia di Finanza say they targeted 50 sites running on 41 servers located on three continents. Five suspects were detained in what police estimate to be a 40 million euro business.

Save the Boards of Appeal to Save the EPO From Battistelli’s Neoliberal Vision and Recipe for Disaster

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NASCAR sponsorsSummary: The ENA or Battistelli school of thought poses an unprecedented danger not just to the Office but the entire Organisation and unless people fight back, the whole of Europe will suffer

Edward Bray from Marks & Clerk (software patents pushers) seems to conveniently ignore the fact that software patents are not allowed in Europe. Why are patent lawyers from Marks & Clerk surprised at all that such claims are not patent-eligible? As it turns out, based on Bray’s new writeup, the determination came from the Technical Board of Appeal, whose function is essential for keeping software patents out of the EPO, in the face of strong/intense pressure from boorish neoliberals like Battistelli. To quote Bray: “In T 1370/11, the Technical Board of Appeal of the EPO considered a patent application directed to a method for determining values of objects in a program by performing a calculation based on properties of those objects and using the result of the calculation to determine if a cache required updating. [...] The Board held in paragraph 10 of the decision that “the argument that a computer program or computer-implemented method is inventive because it is faster than an earlier one is on its own insufficient to establish an inventive step. More specifically, the improved speed of a computer program is by itself not a technical contribution to the art.” [...] “This case provides useful guidance for those hoping to patent quicker, more efficient computer programs. It is clear that a reduction in computing time is, by itself, not a technical contribution and cannot be relied on to support inventiveness. Inventors and claim drafters should instead consider what “further” technical effect their invention provides in order to satisfy the EPO examiners that a technical, inventive contribution is provided over the state of the art.”

We sure hope that the Boards of Appeal will all survive. They’re quality controllers. Battistelli is so clueless (and completely non-technical) that he's not aware of sharp quality decline and if he gets his way (demolishing the Boards of Appeal), things will get a lot worse pretty fast. There will be even less oversight and fewer controls, not just over Battistelli himself but also the technical process where increased pressure and nepotism already limit the exhaustiveness of prior art search and provide an incentive to grant, not to reject. Looking at some of the latest comments from The Register, one person makes the FIFA comparison (again): “So, get your mates to set you up in Office, then turn it into a fiefdom. Sounds like standard practice to me (FIFA, EUFA, International Olympic Committee etc.)”

Another person compares Battistelli to Mugabe by saying: “Narcissus? ;-)

“We sure hope that the Boards of Appeal will all survive.”“Pretty scary stuff this. The EPO agents should have complete autonomy, otherwise the President basically becomes a version of Robert Mugabe (without all the evil things Mugabe has done).

“If I had a vote, I’d vote El Presidente out immediately and call for form. Oh, but wait: the EU isn’t a democracy ;-)”

The EPO is not an EU institution though. “I guess you could always write to your local MEP,” one person jokingly added. “You know, the one you voted for in the last European elections, remember? ;)”

Well, they are not effective enough as the EPO is unhinged from the EU. Eponia is quite a crazy place. The best comment was this sarcastic one: “I think Benoit Battistelli is doing an excellent job… of highlighting all the flaws in the current appointment and employment process.

“The only thing left is to test the forced exit procedure, and from what I can read, he’s hard at work to ensure he gets to test that too. I just hope he able to sample the exit-in-disgrace process in full instead of forcing a test of business continuity process that should kick in if he’s run over by a bus due to failing bike brakes.”

“Sarcasm aside, I would like to know of the moron who ever approved an operating model like that. It must have been someone who saw this as a nice cushy retirement job. The only flaw in the plan must have been Battistelli not leaving.”

“Eponia is quite a crazy place.”The problem is, some of these flaws he himself has created by removing oversight and attacking critics, hiring old buddies, and even their family members. We have been writing about this for years. We showed the ‘paper trail’, so to speak.

“The Register article about an AMBA letter to the AC regarding the proposed reforms,” noted one person at IP Kat, giving people a link to it. “If that is true, then our President follows his targets to the minimum letter. He has been told to consult. check. Nobody told him to listen to the arguments and come to an agreement regarding a proposal during these consultations.

“I wonder what DG3 would say if I came to Oral Proceedings in Examination or Opposition and have the decision already on the table. Efficient procedure, yes. But….

“I would be doing what our President is doing. yet I could be charged with professional incompetence and be fired over this.”

Another person then said: “An Appeal Board that is funded from patent renewal fees is clearly not financially independent, hence not independent. The law of unintended consequences should make everyone careful over what they wish for.”

Yes, this is in fact a design flaw, perhaps dating back to the EPC. One person wrote:

As good as half a lifetime ago
Conscientious examiners at the EPO
Were proud to do a job well done
To serve the European public as one
but now are hindered to do so.

Well, there’s a lot of money at stake and mistakes cost a lot to society. To quote this new example from IP Kat, watch the royalty rates. To quote: “This technology was the subject of European Patent No EP 0173 177 53, issued on 22 April 1992 (‘patent EP 177’), as well as two patents issued in the United States on 15 December 1998 and 17 April 2001 (‘patent US 522’ and ‘patent US 140’, respectively). On 12 January 1999, the European Patent Office revoked EP 177.”

So patents do get revoked (admission of errors), but boards won’t have the opportunity to revoke anything under Battistelli. It’s not only expensive but it’s also unclear if any staff will be left inside the boards.

Another IP Kat post (a little older) contains a very long discussion about sanctions imposed on those choosing to leave their EPO job. One person has just said that:

The problem with the proposal, as usual, is that it lacks checks and balances. If someone leaves the Office or is fired and seeks another occupation, even without pay (say being the head of the local Union…), the President can say no. He just has to say it is against the interest of the Office. The person can only complain to the ILO-AT tribunal In Geneva who, in practice, only checks whether formal conditions are met. ILO-AT will then obviously agree with the decision, as all recent jurisprudence shows.

Furthermore, in the new system, the personal member getting a new job must first inform the President and wait two months before accepting a new job. In the present system, there is no such obligation.

There is a new paper about the Paris criteria explaining that the Office will hire massively in the next 3 years, creating redundant examiner posts once the backlog is processed. I understand that hundreds of “redundant” examiners will be fired then. All this is very worrying.

Truthfully, it is worth reading comments prior to this as well. We chose not to focus on this due to lack of time, but it helps highlight just how deep a trap people fall into when they choose to sign an employment contract with the EPO.

Where can such people find employment if just about everywhere that looks for patent expertise is out-of-boundaries for existing (or departing) EPO staff? Battistelli entraps them.

“Battistelli is ruining the EPO pretty fast and if his so-called ‘reforms’ become a reality, the whole Organisation (not just the Office) may become irreparable, making Europe a lot less competitive.”Kingsley Egbuonu of MIP is currently ‘advertising’ the UPC (job ads) even though it’s still just a hypothetical thing. To quote the summary: “Part-time and full-time UPC judges wanted; new features of the UPC case management system and EPO’s software for Unitary Patent released; more member states preparing for ratification; Preparatory Committee discuss remaining aspects of the UPC; our latest UPC scenario on challenging a non-opted out European patent relating to a pharmaceutical product during the transitional period” (putting aside the fact that the UPC can still be called off).

Not too long ago there was a long discussion about why (or why not) board members (from the Boards of Appeal) can/cannot take such jobs. When it comes to the UPC, many comments about it in IP Kat reveal confusion and uncertainty even from insiders (the whole thing is a mess, as even patent attorneys habitually tell me) and to make matters even worse, the UPC helps bring software patents to Europe. Would there be any Boards of Appeal to antagonise this? Probably not. This is why the Boards of Appeal need to be guarded and the UPC antagonised. Battistelli is ruining the EPO pretty fast and if his so-called ‘reforms’ become a reality, the whole Organisation (not just the Office) may become irreparable, making Europe a lot less competitive. It’s all about serving billionaires, in lieu with TTIP, TPP, and what used to be called ACTA. Watch what Microsoft has just done to Xiaomi and recall what Microsoft did to TomTom (medium-sized Dutch company) using software patents.

As Bavarian Parliament Expresses Disdain Over EPO Leadership’s Abuses German Media Listens and Staff Union Releases New Survey

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bavarian media informed politicians, who now feed information back into the German media

Technologia summary

Summary: Staff of the European Patent Office manages to get its collective voice heard in spite of truly wasteful white-washing ‘studies’ and ‘surveys’ that Battistelli and his circle commission to mischaracterise and badly portray the situation

BACK in March we published slides from a staff survey conducted by Technologia with help from SUEPO members. This survey indicated that, based on thousands of respondents, Battistelli is trusted by nobody at all. It was a damning if not unbelievable outcome, as this suggests that not even ‘moles’ (infiltrators) have snuck into the union. Earlier today SUEPO released more of the same, under the banner “Results of the 2016 European Patent Office Staff Survey”.

Here is the full thing with links to all the corresponding PDFs.

The results of the 2016 EPO Staff Survey by Technologia are now available. With a participation rate of 39% this third edition allows to assess reliably the current situation and the development of psychosocial risk among EPO staff under Mr Battistelli’s presidentship. The situation and the trend are worrying.

Most important findings are available in the “Executive Summary” (also available in German, French and Dutch). Other relevant information has been gathered in a summary presentation (also available in German and French).

The raw results to all questions (compared with the results of the 2010 and 2013 editions) are also available in three languages:  English, German and French.

In the mean time, despite the fact that SUEPO says nothing about it and there is no coverage in English, German media writes about yesterday afternoon’s debate about the EPO’s debacles at the Bavarian Parliament (we could use translations of these articles about it [1, 2]). With the data above they should be able to assess the situation; Battistelli now engages in information war with help from dodgy firms and PR giants from the United States. It’s an extraordinary waste of money. SUEPO took note of another bit of coverage from German media, but again, without English translation there’s not much we can publish herein.

FFPE-EPO Going Ad Hominem Against FICSA, Brings Nationality Into It

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The Team Battistelli-leaning union, FFPE-EPO, responds to criticism in the worst possible way

“STAY CLASSY,” goes the famous saying. Well, having received this letter from FICSA several weeks ago, Sam van der Bijl sends out an internal response to the few people who can call themselves FFPE-EPO members.

“From the (in)famous EPO pro-management union FFPE,” told us our source, came the following new text (earlier today).

“Another piece of very noble prose,” the source added. Before even reading any of the accompanying remarks I was rather appalled to see nationality brought into it. Our source later added “see at the end that illustrates the essence of what FFPE truly is” (indeed so)…

Reply to those who deny our right to sign an MoU

Submitted by S van der Bijl on Wed, 01/06/2016 – 12:29

In the past month FFPE EPO received to scandalous letters. On of the came from USF and other from FICSA. The content of these two letters to which we will not officially reply is that FFPE EPO is a minority union and should shut up and listen to decisions taken by a bigger union. It is true that an international organisation is not a democracy but however that des not mean that certain democratic principles do not apply. One of the pillars of any democracy is the rights of minorities to express their opinions and beliefs and to defend their interests. This is exactly what FFPE EPO is doing. We are a minority union which has different values, different tactics, different beliefs and even a different composition of members. Our members have interests and ideas and it is the role of the FFPE EPO committee to defend as well as we can these interests and ideas. I don’t see at all why non members should have any say at all in the decisions that FFPE EPO takes. The only people who have the legal right to tell the committee what to do and not to do are the members in a general assembly. Our members vote for our committee and it’s policy. For the members of other unions, the message is therefore mind your own business! As for mr. Diab Tabari from FICSA who signed this shameful letter, I think he did not read very carefully what he signed. How would he, as a worker for UNWRA in Libanon, like it if the majority leader of for example Libanon wrote a letter to the refugees to tell them to shut up because they are a minority?

“Libanon” should be Lebanon, but never mind that, it’s not Sam’s first language.

“Remember that union whose chairman was elected by NINE (9) members,” our source reminds us. We covered this whole affair before, e.g. in:

  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

With ‘unions’ like these, who needs union busters?

Microsoft Extortion Against Android OEMs (Even Chinese Companies) Continues in Spite of Departure of Horacio Gutierrez

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Patents at 6:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Xiaomi patent settlement

Summary: Microsoft reminds us that it is still engaging in patent extortion by signing yet another patent settlement deal which requires surrendering to Microsoft

JUST over a month ago Microsoft officials made it clear that the patent war against Android was still on. Now it’s confirmed by actions.

Today’s post is reactionary, as usual, and it will be about Microsoft extortion. We shall provide some background information to help explain why European regulators should put Microsoft on trial instead of taking Microsoft’s lobbying in Europe seriously, imposing fines on Google and acting as Google watchdogs.

Microsoft’s patent extortion against companies in China isn’t entirely new. Remember what it did to ZTE 3 years ago. Chinese authorities got visibly irritated by Microsoft’s patent shakedown and released a previously-secret list of patents Microsoft uses to extort companies in China, compelling them to obey Microsoft’s demands so as to avert costly litigation. Xiaomi is the latest victim, but to Microsoft the high-prized deal would be with Huawei, which is a growing force and dominant OEM in the Android domain. Huawei, based on reports we mentioned in past years, doesn’t surrender.

“Xiaomi is the latest victim, but to Microsoft the high-prized deal would be with Huawei, which is a growing force and dominant OEM in the Android domain.”More patent extortion from Microsoft serves to remind us that there is no strategic change at Microsoft. Microsoft cannot coexist with Linux and leave it alone/live in peace; it cannot help itself, it’s a scorpion (riding on a tortoise/turtle as per the famous parable) and it just keeps pinching that which it’s exploiting for a free ride (Android in this case) while relying on regulators — through lobbying — to prevent defensive reaction from Google. Horacio Gutierrez may be gone, but nothing substantial happened or changed. Don’t believe for a second that just because Microsoft’s patent Mafia don has left it somehow means the extortion strategy stopped. Microsoft never rescinded or withdrew this, except on April 1st (as a prank).

For those who are not sure what Microsoft is doing here, how it misleads the media, and what it means in practical terms, see this article about Acer. The above is repetition of the same strategy. They are putting lipstick on a pig again.

“This has nothing to do with access to services, it’s just how they dress up patent extortion and the coercion which comes with it.”In short, Microsoft tells Xiaomi, “do what we say or we’ll sue you with patents.” In other words, Microsoft threatens litigation and gives a “get out” clause (make Android become just a Microsoft platform). Having just killed Windows on mobile, this is all Microsoft has left. It uses blackmail tactics to impose its malware/spyware on potentially billions of phones. The ‘official’ announcement says this:

Microsoft Corp. and Xiaomi Inc. have expanded their global partnership to provide innovative user experiences on mobile devices. As part of the agreement, Xiaomi will ship Microsoft Office and Skype on Xiaomi Android smartphones and tablets. As a result, tens of millions of consumers and business customers in China, India and around the world will have new ways to work, collaborate and communicate. The companies’ new collaboration also includes a cross-license and patent transfer agreement.

Don’t be misled by “cross-license and patent transfer agreement.” It’s a settlement basically. The FFII’s President responded to this as follows: “Microsoft is the biggest patent troll.”

This has nothing to do with access to services, it’s just how they dress up patent extortion and the coercion which comes with it. And they tell us Microsoft “loves Linux”… does anybody still believe that? Not even Microsoft’s marketing staff should be gullible enough to believe it.

Update: Based on updates given to relatively high-profile reporters (and those who updated their puff pieces accordingly), Microsoft managed to get ‘protection’ money too, albeit not in the traditional form. Xiaomi has just been pressured to have paid (unless it just wanted to pay) Microsoft for useless patents; this is either a novel way to disguise another case of blackmail against Linux or part of Xiaomi’s patent hoarding efforts. Either way, it’s starting to become apparent that Xiaomi paid Microsoft, one way or another (the amount is not known). “The Wall Street Journal reports that Xiaomi will purchase 1,500 patents from Microsoft as part of the deal,” says one writer, citing an article that says “Xiaomi Corp. has agreed to purchase around 1,500 patents” (the term “agreed to purchase” suggests that it came from Microsoft, not from Xiaomi).

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