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12.10.16

EPO Protest This Coming Wednesday Strives to Restore the Rule of Law and Freedom of Speech at the Office

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s all about total(itarian) control now

Tough BergotSummary: The level of autocracy at the European Patent Organisation, an institution which has effectively positioned itself above the law with Battistelli and his minions in charge of the Office, faces growing backlash from staff

THE staff of the EPO has had enough. It’s hard not to sympathise considering the management’s pattern of lying, bullying, false accusations and so many other symptoms — clearly of the hallmarks of an autocracy. The modus operandi is, if one does not agree fully with the President (or is perceived as not agreeing deep inside), then that person is considered a potential danger to the President and thus removed using some excuse, like some tale from some years ago that Battistellites (notably Bergot) can distort, then resort to character assassination in the Intranet or the European media (by ‘leaking’ confidential and potentially erroneous intelligence). Whether or not the EPO now uses Parallel Construction or connections with spy agencies to pinpoint sources of dissent inside the Office we don’t know for sure, but it’s not unthinkable, especially after it was revealed that the EPO had hired CRG (actually connected to the Stasi in Germany, through Desa staff, as reported by German media).

“Whether or not the EPO now uses Parallel Construction or connections with spy agencies to pinpoint sources of dissent inside the Office we don’t know for sure, but it’s not unthinkable, especially after it was revealed that the EPO had hired CRG (actually connected to the Stasi in Germany, through Desa staff, as reported by German media).”The EPO is nowadays worthy of comparisons to Stalinist if not Nazi regimes. A more modern analogy would be the regimes in Thailand and in Turkey (many parallels there, including the extreme censorship). SUEPO, the staff union of the EPO, recognises an unjust regime which not only fails the Office on technical grounds but also on human resources grounds, ethical/moral grounds, and legal grounds. We fully support this latest call for protest in Munich on the 14th of December. It’s should be almost imperative to attend (moral imperative), but we suspect those not attending are simply afraid of retribution, not consenting to Battistelli reign of terror.

Here is the announcement from SUEPO, in full:

Actions continue at the European Patent Office: next demonstration on 14 December in Munich

The Administrative Council of the EPO will meet on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 December in Munich. Topics of discussion are likely to include the controversial removal of the EPO Boards of Appeal to Haar and the Office’s reaction to Judgment No. 3785 of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation.

SUEPO Munich organises a demonstration on Wednesday 14 December in front of the Isar building, starting at 12h30.

Our claims remain:

A return to Rule of Law
Freedom of association and freedom of speech
GOOD FAITH negotiation of reforms, and:
Hands off our staff representation !

Quite a few people, perhaps dozens, ought to have their jobs reinstated. It’s not just the named staff representatives who were subjected to injustice, such as dismissals, downgrades and other sanctions.

The Administrative Council cannot undo all the damage done by Battistelli, but the delegates can at least make a start but showing that they recognise the issues and are prepared to take firm action. If Battistelli stays in the Office until 2018, there is almost certainly no future to the Office. Stakeholders are reading up not only about the social issues but also the lack of patent quality, which is related to the social issues (or the atmosphere at the workplace). Based on people we have heard from, a growing number of inventors now make a conscious choice to halt the filing of new applications at the EPO; they turn to their national patent offices instead.

SUEPO is not trying to destroy the Office; it would make no sense for SUEPO to want that since it represents (and is funded by) actual EPO workers who want job security and restored pride in their job. These people recognise that Battistelli leads the Office into a dark place, so rather than stay idle they inform fellow staff and participate in internal processes. The sad thing is, those brave enough to function as staff representatives take all the blows, in the midst of what most certainly is a union-busting campaign.

12.09.16

The EPO is Collapsing. Attacks on Journalists, Interns as Staff, Patents on Plants, and Bureaucratic Red Tape…

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pisa tower

Summary: A look at some of the latest issues surrounding the European Patent Office, whose insistence on denying the problems and instead attacking those who bring up legitimate concerns, will spell its doom

THE Administrative Council must act. It must act fast. Battistelli “will end up standing at the top of a pile of organizational rubble,” The Register said this week, alluding to Battistelli’s ambitions of power at the expense of the integrity of the EPO. WIPR wrote about the subject at least twice this month (so far) and one person noted: “What are the odds that WIPR will get by a DDOS attack soon …”

Well, IP Watch was recently down for a very long time (almost a day) and readers of ours suspected it was due to DDOS, so we asked them about it. Some speculated it may have been DDOS due to their reporting on EPO matters, but they told us this was not the case. As a reminder to all readers, at least 3 sites that regularly write about the EPO or its managers have come under repeated, chronic attacks, so this seemingly flippant response isn’t trivially reducible to paranoia. All those sites also received legal threats from the EPO or its managers.

The EPO is in an agonising process of collapse. It’s sad that it had to come to this and as The Register put it, “organizational rubble” may be the end result. Currently, as we noted earlier this week, the EPO is replacing staff with interns (we gave another example of this yesterday) and here comes the EPO again, reaffirming this belief with a ‘job’ advertisement (not really a job but an internship; warning: epo.org link). “Learning by doing,” they call it, “this programme involves working on actual case files & running prior-art searches…”

Imagine how low the pay will be. The EPO under Battistelli is certainly racing to the bottom, both in Europe and internationally. Patent quality is just one among several aspects of rapid decline and software patents seem to be entering Europe not through national patent offices but through the EPO, which is acting in defiance of European authorities and their clear instructions to the EPO.

Here again is the EPO pushing software patents. To quote: “Looking forward to tomorrow’s [today's] @EPOorg conference on #industry40, #IoT and #patents – Who will be there as well? http://bit.ly/2edht4A pic.twitter.com/EWMtUE37I0″

The software patents proponents are going to this EPO event that promotes software patents (see event’s description) and one of them, Bastian Best (nice person by the way), told his followers: “Looking forward to tomorrow’s @EPOorg conference on #industry40, #IoT and #patents – Who will be there as well? http://bit.ly/2edht4A”

He later told me: “EPOorg joined by many #founders, #entrepreneurs and #companies large&small who protect their inventions with #patents”

Benjamin Henrion corrected him by saying “those are called trolls.” Maybe an exaggeration there, but no doubt the event won’t attract actual developers but those trying to prey on or tax them. As Henrion put it on an earlier occasion, “yet another echo chamber?”

Well, yes, for sure.

Patent scope at the EPO has truly gone bonkers under Battistelli, who measures “production” (a commercial term) not in terms like patent quality, improving reputation etc. He just wants an assembly line manned by drones like interns, who cannot distinguish between novelty and gobbledygook.

Here is another new article from yesterday, about yet another area (not software) where the EPO simply ignores the European Commission/Parliament and patents the craziest things:

LSPN 2016: EPO patent director talks about patentability of plants

Heli Pihlajamaa, director of patent law at the European Patent Office (EPO), yesterday outlined the latest developments in the area of plant patentability.

She was speaking at the Life Sciences Patents Network Europe conference hosted by Life Sciences IP Review in London.

On November 3, the European Commission adopted a notice clarifying certain articles of Directive 98/44 on the protection of biotechnological inventions.

The aspects of the directive concerned have “always been criticised by the European Parliament and by several non-governmental organisations”.

The most important one, according to Pihlajamaa, is the patentability of products obtained by essentially biologic processes. The notice said such products are unpatentable.

Although the notice is a non-binding instrument, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has “followed such notices in their decisions”.

We are not sure why the EPO’s management actually believes this is a good idea. Well, it may be good for “production” in the short term (more patents), but what will people start to think about EPs and their worth? This actually damages anyone who has been granted EPs (European patents) over the past couple of decades.

Speaking of “production”, it looks as though the new bureaucracy — not the scandals — continues to occupy space in legal firms’ blogs/sites. “From 1 November 2016,” one of them has just said, “it is necessary that both the Assignor and Assignee execute an assignment document in order for such document to be accepted as evidence of a transfer. It is believed that this change has been made in response to an acknowledgment by the EPO that the practice to date was not consistent with Article 72 EPC.”

Will those new interns even manage to handle all this? It takes years to train an examiner and as for Patent Administration, this is the department under the most stress (with suicides), so giving them more work is just about the last thing the EPO needs. Does Battistelli intend to try to replace them too with machines? To quote an anonymous person who is familiar with the EPO, “For the state we’re in with EPO, an end would be an incredible progress.”

Ignore the Bristows UPC Echo Chamber, the UPC is Not Happening

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bristows LLP and EPO

Summary: Response to some of the latest UPC promotion, courtesy of some of the usual suspects, who stand to benefit financially if the UPC ever becomes a reality

THE MANY articles we have written about the UPC predate it even being called “UPC”. We’re no beginners and not mere speculators about it. I have personally written about it for many years. I have read thousands of articles about it, including quite a few papers. Over the past fortnight we have posted a 7-part series about the bizarre (totally nonsensical!) developments in the UK, namely:

“I have personally written about it for many years. I have read thousands of articles about it, including quite a few papers.”The last couple of parts are very long. They are also the most important parts because they explain why the UPC cannot practically happen. Yesterday we added to all the above. UPC reassurances in the UK are believed — at least by some — to be a ploy or decoy, as we noted the other day, citing a valuable blog post almost nobody had noticed. After we mentioned this (just a couple of hours later) it quickly grew popular in social media sites (culminating yesterday afternoon) and then IAM too — in spite of being a UPC and Battistelli pusher — spotted this. A short while later it wrote: “Interesting & not beyond bounds of possibility: UK’s UPC ratification announcement a ploy not a commitment …”

Dr. Luke McDonagh, who didn’t buy the latest nonsense from Lucy and May (we quoted him a lot in the 7-part series), wrote: “PM May’s view ‘We’re not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice’ won’t be true for a long time, if ever https://twitter.com/IndyPolitics/status/806814104870682624 …”

Later in the day Annsley Merelle Ward from Bristows, who habitually promotes the UPC at IP Kat (unrestrained optimism and misrepresentation irrespective of what's common sense), asked in her headline: “Will UK industry suffer from Government’s ‘ratify now, repent at leisure’ UPC stance?”

“UPC reassurances in the UK are believed — at least by some — to be a ploy or decoy, as we noted the other day, citing a valuable blog post almost nobody had noticed.”No, because it won’t even ratify. Extremely unlikely. Forget about it.

“The AmeriKat agrees,” she wrote about herself. “Given that the purpose of the UPC is to “enhance legal certainty” in the enforcement of patents (see Recital 5 of the UPCA), it would seem perverse that the UK’s ratification of the UPC would result in increased uncertainty for industry post-Brexit in patent law.”

But therein lies not the main issue. There are much more pressing issues that prevent the UPC from ever coming into force here. An associate of ours spoke to UKIP about it and it’s possible that a petition too will be set up soon. The UPC is not going ANYWHERE. We wish to remind readers that this whole “unitary patent” charade (latest name among many) has been going on for many years and the EPO along with Team UPC (of which Bristows is a key part) lied repeatedly or was being internationally overoptimistic. They want their opposition to give us and descend to defeatism. They want politicians to believe that it’s inevitable and thus they must participate. Truly malicious tactics…

“IP Federation is not “represent[ing] the views of UK industry in IP matters,” as we already noted here twice before.”Speaking of Bristows, a key participant of the UPC echo chamber that lobbies our government, watch this tweet linking to its blog that says: “Following the announcement of the UK’s intention to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement, the IP Federation (which represents the views of UK industry in IP matters) has published its response here. IP Federation recognises the potential benefits of the unitary patent and UPC system for industry and also of London hosting part of the Court’s central division. However, it also recognises that there is uncertainty over what will happen upon Brexit, because membership of the EU may (on one view) be essential to UPC membership, and because of the absence of any exit provisions in the UPCA. It therefore calls upon the UK and other contracting states “to work together urgently to enable the UK to stay in the system after Brexit and to prepare transitional provisions in case this is not possible”.”

Bristows, you are drunk. IP Federation is not “represent[ing] the views of UK industry in IP matters,” as we already noted here twice before [1, 2]. Calling IP Federation anything in relation to “UK industry” is like calling the MPAA representative of actors and RIAA and representative of musicians (rather than mere middlemen who exploit them).

12.08.16

British Media Slams Battistelli for Attempting to Cover Up 2 Years of Juridical Abuses With Help From the Administrative Council of the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Administrative Council of the EPO looks increasingly complicit, like a pack of docile chinchillas led by crooked Kongstad

FIFA coverup
Reference: Fifa accused of cover up as it emerges World Cup bid report to be kept secret (does it have to involve sports and celebrities for mainstream media to care?)

Summary: A growing voice of concern about the integrity of the European Patent Organisation, whose management appears to be in cahoots (overseers/regulators included) so as to cover up its own serious abuses

THE internal and external affairs at the EPO look uglier by the day, if it’s possible at all for things to get any uglier when staff already dies. The EPO crisis fascinates us enough to have already dedicated close to 1,500 articles to it. It won’t stop until justice gets served and the EPO is (hopefully, if not too late) saved.

If the EPO does not fire Battistelli next week (it probably won’t, but it definitely should), then the whole Organisation (which is fed by fees from the Office) will continue to descend to new lows and it’ll definitely harm Europe’s competitiveness. A lot of the corporate media (especially in Germany) does not seem to understand — or maybe does not want to understand — how pressing an issue this is.

Thankfully, some in the British media seem to be more responsive and are paying attention to the pleas of EPO staff. This morning the following article got published by The Register:

Guess King Battistelli’s plan to fix the Euro Patent Office. Yep, give himself more power

The president of the European Patent Office has responded to a formal rebuke of efforts to impose his will on the organization by asking for more power.

The man who last week was called a disgrace to his country in the French National Assembly has been accused of targeting EPO staff who opposed his reforms and of running sham disciplinary hearings as part of a campaign of intimidation.

Some of Benoit Battistelli’s reforms have been enacted, whereas others – especially those that grant the president additional powers and effectively place him above the EPO’s independent review and appeal processes – have been bitterly fought.

Several staff members, including the staff union’s secretary, were placed on administrative leave by Battistelli over a year ago and have been put through what many claim have been a series of illegal and irregular hearings.

In a decision that lent significant weight to the staff’s complaints, those hearings were effectively nullified last week by the International Labour Organization Administration Tribunal (ILO-AT). The ILO-AT found that Benoit Battistelli had delegitimized the EPO’s Appeals Committee (ApC) by inserting two staff “volunteers” on the five-person panel rather than allowing the EPO’s central staff committee to select them. It also found the EPO’s management had mishandled critical aspects of the appeals process.

But, true to form, Battistelli has reacted by doubling down.

[...]

Now that approach – of having two staff volunteers – has also been deemed illegal. So what is Battistelli’s solution? That’s right: to give him the power to appoint people to the Appeals Committee.

In a formal proposal to the EPO’s General Consultative Committee, Battistelli has attempted to reintroduce a change to the EPO’s “service regulations” that he previously put forward, but which was rejected.

Under his “new” proposal, “if the Central Staff Committee fails to make appointments to these bodies, the President shall take appropriate steps to ensure the necessary appointments, such as by drawing lots or calling for volunteers from among all elected Staff Committee members.”

[...]

This approach – where Battistelli tells people what he wants to happen; is told that breaks the organization’s rules; and then attempts to rewrite the rules to give him the power to do it regardless – has become the president’s modi operandi and the reason he has been dubbed “King Battistelli.”

This is a very good article from one who has followed these affairs closely. It’s even a two-page article, for a change. Found in WIPR yesterday [via, top story too] was this article which quotes anonymous EPO insiders. This London-based publication, which targets law firms (unlike The Register, which targets technology firms not only in Britain), said this:

A source close to the Staff Union of the European Patent Office said: “Once more we are sad that instead of fixing what he has broken (namely a functioning internal appeals committee), Battistelli’s new proposal shows that he solely aims to circumvent the central staff committee.”

They added that the staff committee had “solid legal reasons not to nominate staff into the internal committee after two of its members had been downgraded by Battistelli”.

The morally corrupt patent office of Battistelli is more interested in legalising its sheer abuses rather than actually addressing them. Corrupt. Utterly.

What can Battistelli say for himself? The headline from WIPR is far too soft (compared to The Register‘s). It says “Battistelli asks to nominate EPO appeals committee members” as if he’s some gentleman asking for staff participation. While he sharpens his sword maybe…

“Shark asks fish to nominate sacrifices” is the analogy I used yesterday.

Only a fool would want to issue a judgment/call that does not satisfy the monster, Mr. Battistelli. The Liar in Chief, who falsely accuses people along with his buddy’s wife (Bergot), often dismisses them (only after bankrupting them financially and mentally). When they do this they always disguise the real motivation, as Battistelli’s goon did on Dutch television, pretending that the pattern on attacks on staff representative was just an incredible coincidence, not a union-busting effort.

The EPO is rapidly becoming synonymous with corruption. Yes, corruption. Moral corruption and some tell us fraud, too. Where is the German police? Where are the German authorities? For political/economic reasons they seem to be turning a blind eye to anything that is being presented to them. And rightly so… considering what kind of employers they have paying their salaries. It doesn’t look as though even ILO (or the UN) can compel the EPO to obey the law. Dutch courts, including the highest court in the Netherlands, are the subject of scorn inside Team Battistelli. It’s like the Mafia in Italy, except the Mafia does occasionally have to fight for its corner and corrupt some officials for protection. What Battistelli does to the EPO right now is similar to what France did to Algiers and he sucks everything that’s inside the EPO (decades’ worth of reputation and assets) for short-term personal gain. The FIFA scandal is utterly minuscule compared to this.

To quote some new comments (posted anonymously in IP Kat, which has not yet written a single article on this subject):

New rule to be decided by the Council next week:

“if the Central Staff Committee, despite an invitation to do so, fails to make appointments to these bodies, the President shall take appropriate steps to ensure and make the necessary appointments, such as calling for volunteers or drawing lots from among eligible staff members.”

Attention: “from among eligible staff members” and not “from elected staff representatives”. Deliberately. A very interesting phrase.

Yes, we noticed this the other day. “Following their resignation they have been publically defamed by VP4 and VP5 and then abusively disciplined (both downgraded),” added another comment. To quote:

FACTS
the two staff reps nominees resigned during autumn 2014 (since they could not perform their work as they should have, due to several defficiencies reported to Battistelli and left uncorrected on purpose). Following their resignation they have been publically defamed by VP4 and VP5 and then abusively disciplined (both downgraded).

Facing such appaling situation the CSC did not want to nominate anyone anew before the reported defficencies had been corredted and insurance had been given that the new nominees would not be again pressurized and sanctioned.

As you may imagine Battistelli did nothing to redress the internal appeal system he and his associates had broken. Instead Battistelli “invited” all CSC nominees (read threathened them of disciplinary santions) and the weakest “volunteered”.

So much for independent judicial system at EPO

see here : http://techrights.org/2016/12/05/bunk-justice-at-epo/

“This “mis”management team should all be fired,” added another commenter.

Battistelli wants by all means to circumvent the staff representatives whom he truly hates since they do not wish to bend and praise his glory.

Battistelli’s problem is simple: he is enarque functioning with a software dating back last century. He thinks he knows better only he does not – see the mess he created and he has proven incapable solving?

The accolytes he recruited are no better. They too think they know better but the world outside is laughing at the EPO which they see sinking for the past 3 years.

The new “solution” is likely (once more) not to fly at the ILO-AT. Let’s see next week if the Administrative Council will approve that new pack of low quality legal work produced under the supervision of a German Vice President and a German Principal Directorate.

All this costs money and reputation. This “mis”management team should all be fired.

As we noted here earlier this week, Battistelli hopes to retroactively legalise his abuses. Battistelli is an utter catastrophe never seen in Europe, let aside the EPO. The term “Battistelli” might make the urban dictionaries one day, alongside Microsoft's Elop and Rick Belluzzo. Battistelli seems to be only destroying — not working for — the EPO, yet somehow Battistelli receives a secret salary from the EPO and nobody seems prepared to fire him.

“Thank you for your answers,” one person wrote. “Probably, now the usual EPO policy of changing the law when the judges interpret it in a way you do not like, will be carried out.”

“Further questions,” continued the thread. “Would it be possible for the staff reps who stepped down to come back? Though some have been dismissed, they are still legally elected staff reps appointed by the scs, aren’t they? How is the legal situation on that? If a staff rep gets dismissed, does he automatically cease to be staff rep? But that would necessitate new elections, wouldn’t it? Have those taken place? I do not think so. Anybody?”

Well, Battistelli is crushing anything that resembles a threat to his position and he is apparently immune, as the following comment makes clear:

Sadly it would appear that Article 52 of the EPO Service Regulations does not appear to apply to the President, the Vice-Presidents or to the Legal Services Department of the EPO.

Section 2 – Dismissal by the appointing authority

Article 52 – Professional incompetence

(1) Subject to Article 23 of the Convention, a permanent employee who proves
incompetent in the performance of his duties may be dismissed.
The appointing authority may, however, offer to classify the employee concerned in a lower grade and to assign him to a post corresponding to this new grade.

(2) Any proposal for the dismissal of a permanent employee shall set out the reasons on which it is based and shall be communicated to the employee concerned. He shall be entitled to make any comments thereon which he considers relevant.
The appointing authority shall take a reasoned decision, after following the procedure laid down in regard to disciplinary matters.

(3) Subject to Article 13, a permanent employee shall not be dismissed without notice. The notice shall be calculated on the basis of one month for each year of actual service; it shall not, however, be less than three months, nor greater than nine. The period of notice shall commence on the first day of the month following the date of notification of the decision to dismiss the employee. The period of notice shall be increased by one month for a permanent employee having his home as defined in Article 60, paragraph 2, in a country other than that in which he is employed.

We don’t believe that crooked Kongstad and his chinchillas (the delegates) will fire Battistelli just before Christmas, so we need to keep fighting for justice and we need to expose the serious abuses of the EPO. We continue to invite readers to anonymously send material to us. The more the public knows, the more often journalists all across Europe will need to subject authorities to scrutiny, and the more politicians will push to end the EPO’s tyranny.

Boards of Appeal Still Under Attack From Team Battistelli While the EPO Proceeds to Granting Patents on Carlsberg BEER!

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Good for Denmark, where crooked Kongstad still manages the national patent office

Kongstad beerSummary: The lunacy of the EPO with its patent maximalism will likely go unchecked (and uncorrected) if Battistelli gets his way and turns the EPO into another SIPO (Croatian in the human rights sense and Chinese in the quality sense)

A COUPLE of days ago we warned that the EPO is replacing well paid (and experienced full time) staff with interns. There’s a pattern to it and yesterday (again) the EPO tweeted this: “This programme allows participants to learn by “shadowing” technical board of appeal members…”

These boards have been intentionally understaffed for years (Kongstad and Battistelli didn’t seem to bother advertising to fill up vacant positions) and now they want some temporary workforce to replace skilled staff? This is part of a pattern that staff representatives have been warning about for a while.

“This is part of a pattern that staff representatives have been warning about for a while.”As we noted here last week, the Enlarged Board of Appeal does invaluable work keeping the scope of patents in check (see this latest coverage about its key decision [1, 2, 3, 4]; an article by Julian Asquith of Marks & Clerk was also reposted in another site of lawyers two days ago) and the last thing Battistelli wants right now is a bunch of independent staff stating out in public that he has demolished patent scope. Who would be brave enough to state the obvious, seeing all the ordeals/suffering one judge — along with his wife — has been subjected to for over two years (his salary too got slashed a few months ago)?

Mr. "production" Battistelli strives to only ever demolish the boards, little by little (because his actions are still technically limited by the EPC). It doesn’t take a genius to assess the trajectory of things and deduce that Battistelli wants an Office with no quality control and nothing independent, having already demolished and even shut down some auditory divisions. No king/autocrat wants to have his power questioned, let alone effectively challenged.

We have already written about the exile, the fee hikes, shortened appeal window, the intimidating manner in which Battistelli tries to compel staff to fire a colleague and so on. Marks & Clerk has just produced this this new article about when it will be “too late to file submissions with the Board of Appeal at the EPO” (Battistelli shortened and limited this even further, probably in an effort to further marginalise these boards). To quote this article:

In T 416/12, the Board of Appeal at the European Patent Office (EPO) considered the admissibility of amendments submitted by the patent proprietor made 29 days before the date of oral proceedings. Whilst it is possible for the Board to admit such submissions, it was ruled that the amendments in question should not be admitted since it was too late to fairly deal with the submissions at the impending oral proceedings. The patent was subsequently revoked. This case provides confirmation as to how the relevant regulations may be interpreted regarding the timeliness required for filling submissions before oral proceedings at the EPO.

Well, how much time is left for the BoA (whatever is left of it) to even exist after Battistelli is done burning the whole Organisation to the ground? Time is running out. The other day we saw a new article by BRIFFA about Carlsbergate — a little scandal which we covered here last month [1, 2]. To quote the article:

Are Carlsberg’s New Beer Patents Controversial? Probably …

This year, the European Patent Office (EPO) granted three new patents to Carlsberg (EP2384110, EP2373154 and EP2575433) relating, broadly, to the harvest of kernels from barley plants, the process for brewing and the drinks produced by these methods. European patent law prohibits patents on plant varieties and breeding; however, notwithstanding these prohibitions, the patents have been granted by the EPO.

The European Commission has stated that plants and animals resulting from essentially biological breeding should not be patented. Accordingly, there have been calls for Carlsberg to voluntarily relinquish the three patents on the basis that there should be no patents on beer and brewing barley since the cultivation of plants and beer brewing stems from a tradition that is centuries old. There have also been calls for European governments to bring the EPO under political control.

It remains to be seen whether the EPO will respond to statements made by the European Commission and the European Parliament and whether Carlsberg will respond to calls to voluntarily relinquish the patents.

Well, Kongstad’s high society Danish friends must be happy. Maybe they can have a good laugh (and a drink of Carlsberg!) over this, maybe in his chichillas slaughterhouse this cold winter. Kongstad is evidently uninterested in taking any action amid this EPO crisis, no matter how much pressure comes from politicians, from staff, from stakeholders, from labour rights groups, from ILO/UN, and from people all across Europe. Earlier this year someone passed to him a polite letter from me and suffice to say — as usual from Kongstad — he didn’t even bother replying. He only replies indirectly and by attacking style, not substance. Given that he knows Battistelli’s salary and constantly helps cover Battistelli’s behind, there is no doubt Kongstad is inherently complicit, much as we alleged even back in 2014.

The EPO is so rotten right now that with the help of yeast we can probably make Battistelli intoxicated enough not to see it and maybe we can even patent this method at the Battistelli-led EPO (an EP on a method for making a naked emperor drunk enough not to realise he’s naked).

Memo “Deliberately Leaked to Cover up the UPC” With Its Many Associated Issues Amid Brexit

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Information still required on why Lucy did the unthinkable

Neville-Rolfe and Battistelli

Summary: Some eye-opening updates about the awkward move from Lucy Neville-Rolfe, who made promises (expression of intent) she can neither fulfill nor justify to the British public

THE EPO scandals are so broad and diverse that it’s becoming hard to keep track of them all. What’s also not helping is Battistelli’s latest distractions (warning: epo.org link) which are amplified by the PR team (never ever mentioning anything related to these remarkable scandals, thus leaving applicants in the dark). The real news isn’t some photo op of Battistelli in Belgium (same thing he did with Neville-Rolfe in England to distract from the real news -- a strike!) but unprecedented abuses against staff — a subject we’ll cover separately.

Recently, Battistelli and media which he had paid were spreading misleading talking points (or utter lies) about the UPC. These set the tone for yet more misleading coverage. See this new misleading headline, which is a statement that is untrue and compare this to “Brexit’s Effect on UK Unitary Patent System and Court” — an article that says “UK government intends to ratify the Unitary Patent System and the Unified Patent Court prior to Brexit.”

“The real news isn’t some photo op of Battistelli in Belgium (same thing he did with Neville-Rolfe in England to distract from the real news — a strike!) but unprecedented abuses against staff — a subject we’ll cover separately.”We wrote a very long series about this last week and earlier this week. The UPC won’t happen. Brexit has made the UPC practically impossible, if not just in Britain then in the entire EU (and beyond). Basically, sooner or later there’s the conflict they’re trying to stay blind to, as we explained before (especially in parts 6 and 7 of our series). Valea AB wrote at the end of last month (just bumped up again in news feeds) that “UK Government Confirms it is Proceeding with Ratification of the UPC,” but actually it was only an expression of intent and nothing formal or a legally-binding commitment. It’s truly a shame that a lot of media, not just law firms' biased media, continues to get the story wrong.

A story which was mentioned here in the latest couple of parts (in the section about MIP’s pro-UPC events) reveals one of the reasons the UPC is a horrible idea. Software patents are currently not permitted in Europe, yet experts said that the UPC would likely change that. In fact, as Benjamin Henrion noticed, based on an admission from a British law firm, lawyers too understand that. “Will Cook (Marks&Clerk) noted that first movers may be able to shape UPC jurisprudence in these fields [ICT/software],” he wrote today. “Maureen Kinsler (Marks&Clerk),” he continued, is quoted as saying that “It’s probably easier to get a software-related patent in the EPO than in the US now” (look what crooked Battistelli has done, causing potentially huge damage to Europe’s software industry).

“As we said repeatedly last week, we are eager to receive leaks pertaining to why Lucy did what she did regarding the UPC.”“Interesting read about behind-the-curtain rumours regarding the UK announcement,” wrote one comment in IP Kat, linking to this valuable and belated blog post about something we sure wondered about. The title is “The UK and UPC: is the UK trying to have its cake and eat it?”

“Incidentally,” says the author, “the “accidental” leaking of the “Have cake” memo sounds like a plot straight out of The Thick Of It and therefore, I would venture, probably means it was anything but accidental. It’s a leap too far to suggest it was deliberately leaked to cover up the UPC news (patents are way down the agenda) but that seems to have been the effect nevertheless.”

Read the whole thing. As we said repeatedly last week, we are eager to receive leaks pertaining to why Lucy did what she did regarding the UPC. Certainly some people out there have access to this information; we can be contacted securely and anonymously and we have never compromised a source (in over ten years).

Links 8/12/2016: Korora GNU/Linux 25, SparkyLinux 4.5.1

Posted in News Roundup at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Remembering Linux Installfests

      Ah, yes. I remember the good old days when you had to be a real man or woman to install Linux, and the first time you tried you ended up saying something like “Help!” or maybe “Mommmmyyyyy!” Really, kids, that’s how it was. Stacks of floppies that took about 7,000 hours to download over your 16 baud connection. Times sure have changed, haven’t they?

      I remember Caldera advertising that their distribution autodetected 1,500 different monitors. I wrote an article titled “Monitor Number 1501,” because it didn’t detect my monitor. And sound. Getting sound going in Linux took mighty feats of systemic administsationish strength. Mere mortals could not do it. And that’s why we had installfests: so mighty Linux he-men and she-women could come down from the top of Slackware Mountain or the Red Hat Volcano and share their godlike wisdom with us. We gladly packed up our computers and took them to the installfest location (often at a college, since many Linux-skilled people were collegians) and walked away with Linuxized computers. Praise be!

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation events expand with Open Source Summits

      The Linux Foundation released its 2017 schedule, including an Embedded Linux Conference in Portland on Feb. 21-23 that needs proposal ideas by Dec. 10.

      This year, Linux Foundation events attracted over 20,000 “developers, maintainers, sysadmins, thought leaders, business executives and other industry professionals from more than 4,000 organizations across 85 countries,” and 25,000 are expected in 2017, says the not-for-profit Linux advocacy organization. In truth, the LF is now more of an open source advocacy organization as it spreads into non-Linux projects like Zephyr. Fittingly, the co-located LinuxCon + ContainerCon + CloudOpen events in Japan, North America and Europe have this year combined into new umbrella events called Open Source Summits.

    • Why Is Microsoft Showing So Much Interest In Linux? [Ed: Someone needs to explain to Mathew Lodge what EEE is and how it works. Is the Linux Foundation (including Torvalds as well) still permitted to criticise Microsoft or is it frowned upon internally?]
    • Linux on the Mac — state of the union

      The MacBook Pro introduction in October caused unusually negative reactions among professional users due to the realization that Apple no longer caters equally to casual and professional customers as it had in the past [YouTube video]. Instead, the company appears to be following an iOS-focused, margin-driven strategy that essentially relegates professionals to a fringe group. This has well-known developers such as Salvatore Sanfilippo (of the Redis project) consider a move back to Linux. Perhaps that’s a good moment to look at the current state of Mac hardware support in the kernel. While Macs are x86 systems, they possess various custom chips and undocumented quirks that the community needs to painstakingly reverse-engineer.

    • How well does the Linux kernel support Mac hardware?

      There is an interesting subset of Linux users that prefer to run it on a Mac. Yes, a Mac. That might seem odd given how Apple is known for its closed ecosystems and high cost hardware, but the Linux on Mac folks really do exist out there.

      But how well does the Linux kernel support Mac hardware? LWN.net has a “state of the union” article for Linux on the Mac that could be quite helpful if you are thinking about installing Linux on your Mac.

    • New Kernel Vulnerability Allows Local Root For Unprivileged Processes

      There is yet another new Linux kernel vulnerability being disclosed today that allows for unprivileged processes to gain kernel code execution abilities.

      This new vulnerability is CVE-2016-8655 but it doesn’t seem to be getting too much attention yet. CVE-2016-8655 comes down to a race condition within the af_packet.c code for gaining local root access. The researcher that found it was able to write an exploit to gain root shell on an Ubuntu 16.04 LTS system and defeats SMEP/SMAP protection too.

    • Avoiding CVE-2016-8655 with systemd

      Just a quick note: on recent versions of systemd it is relatively easy to block the vulnerability described in CVE-2016-8655 for individual services.

      Since systemd release v211 there’s an option RestrictAddressFamilies= for service unit files which takes away the right to create sockets of specific address families for processes of the service. In your unit file, add RestrictAddressFamilies=~AF_PACKET to the [Service] section to make AF_PACKET unavailable to it (i.e. a blacklist), which is sufficient to close the attack path. Safer of course is a whitelist of address families whch you can define by dropping the ~ character from the assignment. Here’s a trivial example:

    • The Best Features Of The Linux 4.9 Kernel
    • Another nasty Linux kernel bug surfaces [Ed: Did you know that local priv. escalation is a “nasty” bug? CVE isn’t so sexy. Give it a logo, name, and Web site maybe? Look what a disgusting thing the security ‘industry’ and reporting have become…]
    • Don’t have a Dirty COW, man: Android gets full kernel hijack patch
    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux Distributions vs. BSDs With netperf & iperf3 Network Performance

        With now having netperf in the Phoronix Test Suite as well as iperf3 for the latest open-source benchmarks in our automated cross-platform benchmarking framework, I couldn’t help but to run some networking benchmarks on a system when trying out a few different Linux distributions and BSDs to see how the performance compares. The operating systems ran with these networking benchmarks included Debian 8.6, Ubuntu 16.10, Clear Linux 12020, CentOS 7, and Fedora 25. The BSDs tested for this comparison were FreeBSD 11.0 and DragonFlyBSD 4.6.1.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Kali Alternative: BackBox Linux 4.7 Arrives With Updated Hacking Tools

      BackBox Linux is an Ubuntu-based operating system that’s developed with a focus on penetration testing and security assessment. If you take a look at our list of top 10 ethical hacking distros, BackBox ranks in top 3.

      This alternative of Kali Linux operating system comes with a variety of ethical hacking tools and a complete desktop environment. The software repositories of the hacking tools included in BackBox Linux too are frequently updated. Earlier this year in May, we witnessed the release of BackBox Linux 4.6 that was based on kernel 4.2 and Ubuntu 15.10.

    • New Releases

      • SparkyLinux 4.5.1 MinimalGUI

        There is an update of Sparky 4.5.1 MinimalGUI available to download.

        The Sparky Advanced Installer doesn’t work as it should in the MinimaGUI edition, if you are trying to install an additional desktop. The installer calls a ‘desktop-installer’, but it does not coming back to the main installer with right privileges after. It used to do before, but not any more.

      • SparkyLinux 4.5.1 MinimalGUI ISO Respin Improves the Sparky Advanced Installer

        Only four days after the official release of the Debian-based SparkyLinux 4.5 operating system, the development team published an update MinimalGUI ISO image dubbed SparkyLinux 4.5.1.

      • Kodi-Based LibreELEC 8.0 “Krypton” Sees New Alpha Powered by Linux Kernel 4.8.12

        The development of the open-source and platform-independent LibreELEC (Libre Embedded Linux Entertainment Center) operating system based on the latest Kodi media center software received a new Alpha milestone on December 6, 2016.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Announcing openSUSE’s GPG Key Server – keyserver.opensuse.org

        Does it happen to you, too, that there are moments where you ask yourself why others want something from you that is there already since a while? Exactly this happened with https://keyserver.opensuse.org/: the original machine was set up a long time ago to make it easier for people attending the openSUSE GPG key-signing parties, but it looks like nobody officially announced this “new service” for our users…

        …and so here we are: the openSUSE Heroes team is pleased to announce that keyserver.opensuse.org is up and running as public GPG keyserver. We are of course also part of the official keyserver pool, which means that some people might already noticed us, as they got redirected to our server with their requests. (And for those who are interested to setup their own SKS keyserver: we have also written a nice monitoring plugin that helps you keeping an eye on the pool status of your machine and the ones of your peers.)

      • OpenSUSE Ends Support For Binary AMD Graphics Driver

        Bruno Friedmann has announced the end to AMD proprietary driver fglrx support in openSUSE while also announcing they don’t plan to support the hybrid proprietary AMDGPU-PRO stack either.

        Friedmann wrote, “Say goodbye fglrx!, repeat after me, goodbye fglrx… [In regards to the newer AMDGPU-PRO stack] I will certainly not help proprietary crap, if I don’t have a solid base to work with, and a bit of help from their side. I wish good luck to those who want to try those drivers, I’ve got a look inside, and got a blame face.”

    • Slackware Family

      • Absolute 14.2.2 released

        The update is for the 64-bit version. Updated kernel and Xorg, as well as taking care of security and functional fixes (such as tweaks to pulse audio, network manager, battery management.) Installer also updated to correct error of sometimes not finding drives for autoinstall. All Slackware updates in current included and several programs recompiled to keep up with dependency changes.

    • Red Hat Family

      • New CloudLinux 7 Kernel Released, Rebased to Red Hat’s OpenVZ Linux 3.10 Kernel

        CloudLinux’s Mykola Naugolnyi announced the general availability of an updated kernel package for the enterprise-ready CloudLinux 7 operating system based on the freely distributed sources of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

        CloudLinux is the operating system of choice for hosting providers and data centers, powering over 20 million websites. It’s a super-platform designed for stability, security, and efficiency in shared hosting by isolating each occupant and giving them allocated server resources.

        A new kernel version, tagged as build 3.10.0-427.36.1.lve1.4.26, has been announced earlier for those who are using the CloudLinux 7 release on their server infrastructures, and it’s now available for installation from the updates-testing repository. It’s been rebased on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7′s OpenVZ rh7-3.10.0-327.36.1.vz7.18.7 kernel.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 25: Bleeding edge and bloody brilliant

          I honestly never thought I’d consider Fedora a rock solid enough distribution to serve as a daily driver for anything but developing and testing. This came with good reason: Fedora was always released as a bleeding edge platform, a playground for testers and developers.

          That was the Fedora of old. What they have created with their 25th iteration is some sort of magical confluence of bleeding edge and bloody brilliant.

        • Developers Discuss Future Of CD/DVD Optical Images For Fedora

          With more laptops abandoning DVD drives, USB-based flash drive installers being well supported and widely-used, and CD/DVDs just being far less popular these days, Fedora developers are discussing the future of the official status for optical images in future Fedora releases.

          While Fedora developers continue discussing the possibility of making their release cycles longer, the latest post-F25 topic is the official state for the optical Fedora images. In particular, Fedora QA wondering about future requirements given the significant time requirements spent on testing Fedora CD/DVD images.

        • Korora 25 ‘Gurgle’ Fedora-based Linux distribution now available for download

          I regularly try many Linux-based desktop operating systems on my computers, just so I can be familiar with them. Ultimately, I always return to my favorite — Fedora. While that distribution is very good, it can also be a bit difficult to use — for some. Don’t get me wrong, it functions well ‘out of the box’, but once a user begins needing some non-free packages, it can be tough going. In other words, setting it up can sometimes be a chore.

        • Elections 2016: Nominate community members to Fedora leadership

          With Fedora 25 out the door a couple of weeks ago, Fedora is once again moving ahead towards Fedora 26. As usual after a new release, the Fedora Elections are getting into gear. There are a fair number of seats up for election this release, across both the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo) and the Fedora Council. The elections are one of the ways you can have an impact on the future of Fedora by nominating and voting. Nominate other community members (or self-nominate) to run for a seat in either of these leadership bodies to help lead Fedora. For this election cycle, nominations are due on December 12th, 2016, at 23:59:59 UTC. It is important to get nominations in quickly before the window closes. This article helps explain both leadership bodies and how to cast a nomination.

        • Endless Sky now available on Fedora

          Endless Sky is a 2D space trading and combat game similar to Escape Velocity. The game sets you as a beginning pilot, just having made a down payment on your very first starship. You’re given a choice between a shuttle, a freighter or a fighter. Depending on what ship you choose, you will need to figure out how to earn money to outfit and eventually upgrade your ship. You can transport passengers, run cargo, mine asteroids or even hunt pirates. It’s an open-ended game that blends the top-down action of a 2D space shooter with the depth and replayability of a 4X.

        • Analysis is confusing

          I’ve known of affinity mapping, and even tried to use sticky notes to figure out some of my data in the first UX project I did. Unfortunately, as I found out at the time, analysis of the data I get in UX research doesn’t really lend itself to being done alone. Much like statistics, I suspect. I’m not at all sure how UX consultants do their analyses, given this!

        • Korora 25 Linux Released, Based on Fedora 25 Ships with Cinnamon 3.2, MATE 1.16

          On December 7, 2016, the development team behind the Fedora-based Korora Linux operating system proudly announced the release and general availability of Korora 25.

        • Remembering a friend: Matthew Williams

          One of the things about working in open source software communities is that you are always moving forward. It’s hard not to get a sense of momentum and progress when it seems you are constantly striving to improve and build on the work you and others have done before.

          But sometimes you have to pause to reflect, because sometimes there is loss.

    • Debian Family

      • Day trip in Cape Town, part 2

        Let me get some interesting tit-bits not related to the day-trip out-of-the-way first –

        I don’t know whether we had full access to see all parts of fuller hall or not. Couple of days I was wondering around Fuller Hall, specifically next to where clothes were pressed. Came to know of the laundry service pretty late but still was useful. Umm… next to where the ladies/gentleman pressed our clothes, there is a stairway which goes down. In fact even on the opposite side there is a stairway which goes down. I dunno if other people explored them or not.

      • Derivatives

        • Second Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 “Nev” Preview Out Now with Linux Kernel 4.4.35 LTS

          Today, December 7, 2016, the development team behind the Debian-based Parsix GNU/Linux operating system have announced the release of the second preview version of the upcoming Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 “Nev” distribution.

          Still based on the Debian GNU/Linux 8 “Jessie” repositories, Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 “Nev” Test2 is here one and a half months after the previous development release, and ships with more recent technologies and Open Source software projects, including the latest GNOME 3.22.2 desktop environment and Linux 4.4.35 LTS kernel.

        • Welcome to Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15-TEST-2 Release Notes
        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • This $90 Kit Converts an ODROID board into a Touchscreen Ubuntu PC

            We’ve seen what the Raspberry Pi can do when you throw in some extra hardware, and we recently heard about what the Pine64 is going to do once it’s inside a laptop casing.

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-14 Released, This Is What’s New

            Ubuntu OTA-14, the latest over the air update to Ubuntu phone and tablet, has begun to roll out to supported devices. “This time not so many changes released in overall but with the goal of introducing less regressions,” says Canonical’s Lukasz Zemczak in the release announcement mailing list post.

          • How Do You Install Ubuntu: USB, or DVD?
          • What New Is Going To Be In Ubuntu 17.04 ‘Zesty Zapus’

            Right on the heels of Ubuntu 16.10 ‘Yakkety Yak’ is Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus. Ubuntu 17.04 is currently scheduled for release on April 13, 2017 but know that this is only an estimate. One thing to know is that all things being equal, it is going to be released in April 2017. Ubuntu Zesty Zapus will be supported for only 9 months until January 2018 as it is not a LTS (long term support) release.

          • Ubuntu Core has the keys to IoT security

            In October, a DDoS attack on Dyn’s infrastructure took down a big chunk of the internet, making sites like Amazon and Twitter inaccessible. It was the first major attack involving IoT (internet of things) devices. Fortunately, it was also a benign attack: no one got hurt, no one died.

            However, the next attack could be catastrophic. No one knows when it will happen. No one knows the magnitude.

            There are billions of IoT devices out there: web cameras, thermostats, doorbells, smart bulbs, refrigerators, heaters, ovens, and much more. IoT devices are low hanging fruits for cybercriminals because for all theoretical and practical purposes a majority of these IoT devices are insecure by design, they are insecure by default. It should be called IIoT: insecure internet of things.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Zorin OS 12 Ubuntu-based Linux distribution now available — a Windows 10 alternative

              Windows 10 is a really great desktop operating system, but it is not for everyone. For those that care deeply about security and privacy, an open source Linux-based operating system is a wise alternative. The problem? Learning a new user interface can be hard for some. If you have always used a Windows OS in the past, moving to a desktop environment like GNOME or Unity can be confusing and scary.

              Luckily, for those that have difficulty with change, there are some Linux-based operating systems that are designed for Windows-switchers. One fairly popular such offering, Zorin OS, has now reached version 12. It is designed to be familiar to former users of Microsoft’s OS. While the company does charge for an “Ultimate” version, the “Core” edition of Zorin OS 12 is entirely free.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Communicating To The World: Why Open-Source Could Help Your Small Business

    Just as groundbreaking advancements in technology in the ‘90s and 2000s have fundamentally changed the way film, music and television are produced and distributed today, more recent tech innovations have also provided entrepreneurs with the tools they need to compete in the global marketplace. Here is a look at some of the open-source solutions that you can use in order to realize your entrepreneurial ambitions.

    [...]

    The rise of high quality open-source web utilities has made it possible for anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of web design to make a quality site. In fact, open-source content management systems like WordPress are so easy to use and comprehensive, companies like Best Buy and Xerox use them to maintain their web presences. Additionally, open-source business management and accounting program Solegis, customer relationship management app ConcourseSuite and e-commerce solution Zen Cart all exist to empower entrepreneurs with limited resources.

  • What lies ahead for open source technology in 2017?

    2016 has been a polarising year. A year when the unexpected and largely unpredicted has occurred, shocking people worldwide. We have lurched into a post-truth era, where emotion transcends logic, and maintaining the status quo is no longer a given.

    Change is inevitable and there are vast swathes of global society who are disappointed and apprehensive about what lies ahead. In times of uncertainty, an increased focus on collaboration and community is appealing and desirable.

    The internet has long been a polarising force, a connecting platform that allows individuals to find kindred spirits they might not have been able to find before, regardless of their allegiances and views.

  • Financial tech-ops chief: open source is a recruitment talent imperative

    Developers don’t want to take what companies tell them at face value: they want to look under the bonnet, and assess the quality and design of the code for themselves. If you want to win credibility among the developer community and encourage the right people to your brand, you need to share your work and demonstrate best practice, not just talk about it.

    The benefits to an open source approach don’t end with the positive impression it can help foster among developers.

  • Speaking in Tech: Did an open source guru just ask us to join Amazon?
  • FOSS DOS for 21st Century Hardware

    The founder and coordinator of the FreeDOS Project writes about FreeDOS 1.2, which is scheduled for a Christmas Day release. There is good news for classic gamers and nostalgia buffs: this one’s got games.

  • 4 open source drone projects

    Over the past few years, interest in both civilian and commercial use of drones has continued to grow rapidly, and drone hardware sits at the top of many people’s holiday wish lists.
    Even just within the civilian side of things, the list of unmanned aerial devices which fit the moniker of drone seems to be constantly expanding. These days, the term seems to encompass everything from what is essentially a cheap, multi-bladed toy helicopter, all the way up to custom-built soaring machines with incredibly adept artificial intelligence capabilities.

  • Lenovo Cloud Director: Open Source Technologies Are The Glue That Binds The Hybrid Cloud

    Hardware giant Lenovo is banking on a future where both public and private clouds are critical in driving IT innovation, and the glue binding those hybrid environments is mostly open source technologies.

    Dan Harmon, Lenovo’s group director of cloud and software-defined infrastructure, encouraged solution providers attending the NexGen Cloud Conference & Expo on Wednesday to explore opportunities to engage Lenovo as its products stock the next generation of cloud data centers.

    Both public and private clouds are growing rapidly and will dominate the market by 2020, Harmon told attendees of the conference produced by CRN parent The Channel Company.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • A Look At Async/Await JavaScript For Firefox 52

        While Chrome 55 has JavaScript async/await support, the Firefox support isn’t coming until the Firefox 52.0 stable release in March while currently it’s available in the latest Firefox Developer Edition and early alpha builds.

        Mozilla developer Dan Callahan wrote a post today on hacks.mozilla.org for the async/await support in Firefox and can be used if you are running the latest Firefox Developer Edition. Check it out if you’re interested in JavaScript async await support for more asynchronous programming for the web.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Cloudera Ratchets Up its Training for Top Open Source Data Solutions

      Recently, we’ve taken note of the many organizations offering free or low cost Hadoop and Big Data training. MIT and MapR are just a couple of the players making waves in this space. Recently, Cloudera announced a catalog of online, self-paced training classes covering the company’s entire portfolio of industry-standard Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark training courses. The courses, according to Cloudera, allow you to learn about the latest big data technologies “in a searchable environment anytime, anywhere.”

      Now, Cloudera has announced an updated lineup of training courses and performance-based certification exams for data analysts, database administrators, and developers. The expanded training offerings address the skills gap around many top open source technologies, such as Apache Impala (incubating), Apache Spark, Apache Kudu, Apache Kafka and Apache Hive.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Microsoft Office, Google Docs beware: This open-source startup is after your users

      “That was one of the reasons why we chose an open-source model. We want be open, want people to trust us, want to overcome that barrier they have in mind, those strong beliefs that there’s nothing but Microsoft Office, that nothing better could be created. We won’t change our mind about open source.”

      Bannov says he ultimately sees OnlyOffice becoming a firm that provides consulting, technical support and remote managed services to companies using its open-source products.

    • Collabora Online 2.0 Puts LibreOffice In the Cloud, Adds Collaborative Editing

      Today, December 7, 2016, Collabora Productivity, through Michael Meeks, is proud to inform Softpedia about the general availability of the long anticipated Collabora Online 2.0 office suite based on the LibreOffice, Nextcloud, and ownCloud technologies.

      After being in development for the past six months, Collabora Online 2.0 is finally here as the powerful cloud-based office suite that promises to protect users’ privacy and freedom of expression while editing various documents formats online. Collabora Online is mainly targeted at the enterprise world, hosting and cloud businesses.

  • CMS

    • Family Farming and Open Source Wireless Networking

      Open source methods are being covered more often on television and radio these days, as witnessed by this recent story posted Monday on YouTube by CNBC that mentions Drupal-based Farm OS and covers the story of Dorn Cox, an organic grain grower at Tuckaway Farm in Lee NH; the Director of Green Start, an organization working towards food and fuel security; and co-founder of Farm Hack, an open source community for resilient agriculture.

    • WordPress 4.7 Provides Improved Customization

      WordPress 4.7 was released on December 6, providing the tens of millions of internet users that rely on it, with a long list of new features.

      As always with every new major WordPress milestone, there is a new theme. For WordPress 4.7 the new theme is Twenty Seventeen, which provides users with video headers and features images.

  • Education

    • High School’s Help Desk Teaches Open Source IT Skills

      The following is an adapted excerpt from chapter six of The Open Schoolhouse: Building a Technology Program to Transform Learning and Empower Students, a new book written by Charlie Reisinger, Technology Director for Penn Manor School District in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. In the book, Reisinger recounts more than 16 years of Linux and open source education success stories.

      Penn Manor schools saved over a million dollars by trading proprietary software for open source counterparts with its student laptop program. The budget is only part of the story. As Linux moved out of the server room and onto thousands of student laptops, a new learning community emerged.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • City of Rome: all new software should be open source

      The city of Rome, the fourth-largest city in the European Union, will increase its use of free and open source software, it decided in October. All new software solutions should be based on open source, and the city is to consider replacing existing proprietary solutions by open source alternatives.

    • Dutch govt should consider sharing all its software

      The Dutch government is to create a vision document on how all software developed for and by public administrations can be made available as open source. On Tuesday, the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament agreed that sharing software developed for or by the government has significant benefits, including information security, efficiency and openness.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Open Compliance in the Enterprise: Why Have an Open Source Compliance Program?

      Traditionally, platforms and software stacks were implemented using proprietary software, and consisted of various software building blocks that originated as a result of internal development or via third-party software providers with negotiated licensing terms.

      The business environment was predictable and companies mitigated potential risks through license and contract negotiations with the software vendors. It was very easy to know who was the provider for every software component.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Why You Should Have a Personal CI Server

      As a developer, I rely on a CI server to take care of the day-to-day routine of building, testing and deploying software…so much so that I often find myself committing code after every new class or group of methods as a “fire and forget” signal to the CI server to go ahead and run my tests, check my code for style violations, and push a new version to the dev server. When I have finished my train of thought, I can jump into the CI server and either be greeted with a green tick or have a handy (and more importantly authoritative) list of issues to be addressed.

      However, for all the convenience that a central CI server brings, there are times when this environment lets me down. Maybe my jobs are at the end of the queue, I can’t deploy to the dev servers during a certain time frame, or the configuration of the build just doesn’t quite do what I want it to do but I don’t have the authority to change it.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • First Time Anywhere: 12 Biggest Tech/Media Platforms by Audience Reach, aka the 2 Billion Plus Club

    Time to publish another first, as the first ever source for a statistic related to tech, mobile, media and advertising. As I do my various workshops and seminars, my clients invariably love my numbers and the one they have most asked for, was a comparison of the different media and communication platforms. Because there wasn’t one. And it was a difficult task to try to do. Now I have done it. We have the 12 tech and media with largest reach.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • No Decision On WTO Plain Packaging Dispute Before May 2017

      The much-awaited decision of the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Body on Australia’s law requiring that tobacco products be sold in plain packages, challenged by four countries, has been postponed and is now expected “not before May 2017.”

    • UNAIDS Board Considers Recommendations On Access To Medicines

      The Board of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) this week is considering a report calling for the 11 cosponsor agencies of the programme to follow the recommendations of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines to improve policy coherence, and to produce reports on the use of intellectual property at country and regional levels, including the use of flexibilities.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • There’s a new DDoS army, and it could soon rival record-setting Mirai

      For almost three months, Internet-of-things botnets built by software called Mirai have been a driving force behind a new breed of attacks so powerful they threaten the Internet as we know it. Now, a new botnet is emerging that could soon magnify or even rival that threat.

      The as-yet unnamed botnet was first detected on November 23, the day before the US Thanksgiving holiday. For exactly 8.5 hours, it delivered a non-stop stream of junk traffic to undisclosed targets, according to this post published Friday by content delivery network CloudFlare. Every day for the next six days at roughly the same time, the same network pumped out an almost identical barrage, which is aimed at a small number of targets mostly on the US West Coast. More recently, the attacks have run for 24 hours at a time.

    • Open source Roundcube webmail can be attacked … by sending it an e-mail

      The developers of open source webmail package Roundcube want sysadmins to push in a patch, because a bug in versions prior to 1.2.3 let an attacker crash it remotely – by sending what looks like valid e-mail data.

      The authors overlooked sanitising the fifth argument (the _from parameter) in mail() – and that meant someone only needed to compose an e-mail with malicious info in that argument to attack Roundcube.

      [...]

      Roundcube posted a patch to GitHub at the end of November, and issued a version 1.2.3 here.

    • Open Source Flaws Found in Security Software

      Yet another industry survey has flagged open source software that according to one estimate accounts for half of the global code base as a growing security threat. Moreover, a review released by Flexera Software also found that the very security products designed to protect IT infrastructure are themselves riddled with vulnerabilities embedded in open source software.

    • Latest Android security update fixes Dirty COW, GPS vulnerabilities
    • News in brief: DirtyCOW patched for Android; naked lack of security; South Korea hacked
    • Millions exposed to malvertising that hid attack code in banner pixels

      Researchers from antivirus provider Eset said “Stegano,” as they’ve dubbed the campaign, dates back to 2014. Beginning in early October, its unusually stealthy operators scored a major coup by getting the ads displayed on a variety of unnamed reputable news sites, each with millions of daily visitors. Borrowing from the word steganography—the practice of concealing secret messages inside a larger document that dates back to at least 440 BC—Stegano hides parts of its malicious code in parameters controlling the transparency of pixels used to display banner ads. While the attack code alters the tone or color of the images, the changes are almost invisible to the untrained eye.

    • Backdoor accounts found in 80 Sony IP security camera models

      Many network security cameras made by Sony could be taken over by hackers and infected with botnet malware if their firmware is not updated to the latest version.

      Researchers from SEC Consult have found two backdoor accounts that exist in 80 models of professional Sony security cameras, mainly used by companies and government agencies given their high price.

      One set of hard-coded credentials is in the Web interface and allows a remote attacker to send requests that would enable the Telnet service on the camera, the SEC Consult researchers said in an advisory Tuesday.

    • I’m giving up on PGP

      After years of wrestling GnuPG with varying levels of enthusiasm, I came to the conclusion that it’s just not worth it, and I’m giving up. At least on the concept of long term PGP keys.

      This is not about the gpg tool itself, or about tools at all. Many already wrote about that. It’s about the long term PGP key model—be it secured by Web of Trust, fingerprints or Trust on First Use—and how it failed me.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Email cache proves Turkish oil minister’s links to Isis oil trade, WikiLeaks claims

      WikiLeaks has released a cache of thousands of personal emails allegedly from the account of senior Turkish government minister Berat Albayrak, son-in-law of the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which it says shows the extent of links between Mr Albayrak and a company implicated in deals with Isis-controlled oil fields.

      The 60,000 strong searchable cache, released on Monday, spans the time period between April 2000 – September 23 2016, and shows Mr Albayrak had intimate knowledge of staffing and salary issues at Powertrans, a company which was controversially given a monopoly on the road and rail transportation of oil into the country from Iraqi Kurdistan.

      Turkish media reported in 2014 and 2015 that Powertrans has been accused of mixing in oil produced by Isis in neighbouring Syria and adding it to local shipments which eventually reached Turkey, although the charges have not been substantiated by any solid evidence.

    • Wikileaks: Turkish Energy Minister Indirectly Involved In ISIS Oil Trade

      WikiLeaks published on Monday a searchable archive of nearly 58,000 emails from the private email account of Berat Albayrak – Turkey’s incumbent energy minister and son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – revealing the influence Albayrak has in Turkey and his correspondence regarding Powertrans, a company implicated in oil imports from ISIS-controlled oil fields.

      The emails encompass 16 years between April 2000 and September 23, 2016. A search by the ‘Powertrans’ keyword in the published WikiLeaks emails returns 32 results, including emails sent to Albayrak regarding personnel and salary issues at Powertrans.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Exclusive: ‘He will fight to the last breath’: Julian Assange’s mother speaks out six years after his arrest

      Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s mother Christine has told SBS News she feels “angry” but she’s still fighting six years after her son was arrested in relation to sexual assault allegations.

      Assange handed himself in to police in London on December 2010 and was released on bail.

      However, in June 2012 he broke his bail and sought asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London over fears he would be extradited to the US to face possible espionage charges.

      Since then police have kept the embassy surrounded, preventing him from leaving to Ecuador.

    • Pressure Builds for UK and Sweden to Release WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been in confinement for over 2,100 days without being charged with a crime. Since 2012, Assange has been under asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after he faced extradition to Sweden for questioning related to sexual offenses against two women, which Assange has consistently denied. Assange feared that if extradited to Sweden, he would subsequently be extradited to the United States, where he would likely face criminal charges for his work at WikiLeaks.

      Since its founding in 2006, WikiLeaks has published millions of documents exposing corruption in governments around the world, most notably the United States. WikiLeaks has shown light on the mass surveillance conducted by the NSA, torture in Guantanamo Bay, civilian deaths at the hands of the U.S. military, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) rigging the primaries for Hillary Clinton, and many other revelations. This has, in turn, provided WikiLeaks and Assange a despised reputation among the United States government officials implicated in their releases.

      The New York Times and Washington Post, who previously coordinated with WikiLeaks to publish documents, assisted in propagating a narrative that Assange was a Russian ally due to the damage resulting from the leaks of DNC and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails. Assange and his allies affirm that the abrasive attitude toward WikiLeaks from U.S. officials have been a primary cause of Assange’s prolonged detention by the U.K. and Sweden.

    • On Assange, Following the Rules or Flouting Them?

      It should not have been terribly surprising to Sweden or the United Kingdom that the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that the various forms of confinement suffered by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange violate his human rights. The Working Group has many times warned that it is unlawful to force someone to choose between liberty and a fundamental right, such as asylum, which Assange now enjoys only so long as he stays inside the walls of the Ecuadorean embassy.

      What is news are the deplorable rhetorical parries from the UK and Swedish governments, who both stated not just disagreement, but that the Working Group opinion would have absolutely no effect on their actions. This is not what one expects from democratic governments who usually support the UN mechanisms and international law.

    • Assange’s mother pleads for his release

      The mother of Julian Assange has pleaded with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to secure her son’s release, six years to the day after he was arrested.

      Christine Assange made phone calls to the PM’s and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s offices on Wednesday to ask for their help in releasing the WikiLeaks founder from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, six years after he was arrested in the UK on December 7, 2010.

      ‘Today he has been detained six years without charge,’ Ms Assange told AAP on Wednesday. ‘It’s time for the Australian government to stand up for my son’s human and legal rights.’

    • Julian Assange defies Swedish prosecutors by releasing rape statement

      Julian Assange has thumbed his nose at Swedish investigators, who he says have robbed him of his freedom for six years, by releasing the answers he gave to them under questioning in Ecuador’s London embassy last month.

      The decision to issue the statement, which contains for the first time a detailed account by the WikiLeaks founder of his encounter with a woman in August 2010 who made rape allegations against him, marks a fresh twist in a case in which Assange claims an early leak of information from the Swedish police has shaped opinion.

    • Julian Assange’s Defence Statement

      Julian Assange has published his statement given to the Swedish prosecutor. I give it in full below. I do implore you to read it. This is the first time his defence has been made public, although the media have been delighted to report the leaked allegations against him in detail.
      His defence will not be given in the same detail in the media.

      It is worth noting that under Swedish law the identity of both the accuser and the accused ought to be protected, but that did not prevent Swedish police and prosecutors leaking details to a complicit media, or the women concerned selling their story to the tabloids.

      You really do owe it to yourself, to justice and to personal honesty to read Julian’s side of the story.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s choice to lead the EPA, is a literal stenographer for the oil and gas industry

      Sometimes we say that so and so is a “mouthpiece” of some special interest, meaning that they’re in cahoots, that they express their views. Or maybe we say someone’s a “puppet” of industry. Most of the time these are metaphors.

      But sometimes they’re literal. Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s pick to head the EPA, is a mouthpiece and a puppet of the fossil-fuel industry. He’s a stenographer.

      How do we know this? We know this because in 2014 Pruitt sent a letter to that same EPA in his capacity as attorney general of Oklahoma. The letter argued that the agency was dramatically overstating how much pollution new gas wells in his state were causing.

    • Climate Deniers’ Top 3 Tactics

      Climate deniers don’t just want to deny global warming and its danger. They want you to deny it too.

      But man-made climate change is real, the danger is extreme, so they have to use guile to persuade you otherwise. There are three tried-and-false tactics they use often, and to great effect. Let’s take a close look at these misdirection methods, so you can arm yourself for defense against the dark arts.

    • Met Police is still running Windows XP on 19,000 PCs [Ed: I wrote about this before [1, 2, 3]. iophk says, “still running Microsoft at all is a problem”]

      THE METROPOLITAN POLICE SERVICE (MPS) is still running Microsoft’s now-defunct Windows XP operating system on 19,000 PCs.

      This figure, confirmed to the INQUIRER’s sister site V3, marks a decrease of 7,500 from the 27,000 MPS PCs that were running Windows XP in August.

      This means a total of 15,500 machines have been upgraded from XP, although only to Windows 8.1, rather than Microsoft’s newer Windows 10 platform.

    • Trump taps Oklahoma attorney general to lead EPA

      President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate Scott Pruitt, the Republican attorney general of Oklahoma and a frequent legal adversary to President Obama, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a transition official told The Hill.

      If confirmed by the Senate to oversee the 15,000-employee agency, Pruitt would take the lead on dismantling the EPA regulations that Trump targeted throughout his campaign as job killers that restrict economic growth.

      Reuters first reported the news Tuesday.

  • Finance

    • Boeing Sweats Under Trump Spotlight as SoftBank Feels Warmth

      First came Ford and Carrier. Now Boeing and SoftBank are experiencing the power of Donald Trump’s Twitter feed.

      The president-elect jumped into corporate affairs again Tuesday, tweeting first to criticize one company and then to hail another. He began at 8:52 a.m. New York time by calling out Boeing Co. over costs to develop new Air Force One jets. Just over five hours later he celebrated a $50 billion investment in the U.S. by Japanese telecommunications firm SoftBank Group Corp.

      The tweets, coming after Trump last week announced a deal with United Technologies Corp. to cancel plans to close a U.S. factory, dominated news and moved markets even as details in both cases remained sketchy and the impacts unclear. Trump again showed a willingness to use his bully pulpit to criticize or congratulate companies over actions affecting American workers and government spending.

    • British workers living in poverty ‘at a record high’

      The number of workers living in poverty has reached a record high as the UK’s housing crisis fuels growing insecurity, a think tank has warned.

      Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) showed that 3.8 million workers, or one in eight, live in poverty.

      Low wages are regularly cited as the cause of in-work poverty, but the rising cost of rented housing is also pushing working people into extreme financial difficulty. A total of 7.4 million people, including 2.6 million children, are living in poverty despite being in working households, the report claims.

    • Sports Direct hits out at ‘extreme campaign’ as profits fall 25%

      Sports Direct’s chairman has accused the media, unions and politicians of a damaging “campaign” against the company amid its working practices and governance crisis.

    • The big money behind Trump’s tech deal is from Saudi Arabia

      Donald Trump has taken credit for a Japanese tech conglomerate’s plan to invest $50 billion in America.

      True, Masayoshi Son, the billionaire founder and CEO of SoftBank (SFTBF), pledged Tuesday to invest the huge sum in U.S. startups. But that’s only part of the story.

      In reality, a big chunk of the cash is likely to come from the Saudi government.

      In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Son said the source of the investment would be a $100 billion fund SoftBank launched in October with Saudi Arabia.

    • Opting Out of Uber’s Forced Arbitration (The Clock is Ticking)

      You have until December 21st. That’s it. But you can opt out.

      Here’s the deal: Uber changed its terms of service to force people into arbitrations, taking away consumers’ rights to sue the ride sharing company if something goes wrong. Like plow into another car because the driver was looking at his phone to see where his next right might come from.

      That kind of thing.

    • Excellent, deep series on Uber’s Ponzi-scheme economics

      For the past week, Naked Capitalism has run a series of articles by transportation industry expert Hubert Horan on the economic shenanigans of Uber, which cooks the numbers it shows investors, drivers and the press to make it seem like something other than a black box that uses arrogance and lawlessness to make a bet on establishing a monopoly on transport in the world’s major cities.

      Horan started with four articles on Uber’s economics: Understanding Uber’s Bleak Operating Economics; Understanding Uber’s Uncompetitive Costs; Understanding False Claims About Uber’s Innovation and Competitive Advantages and Understanding That Unregulated Monopoly Was Always Uber’s Central Objective — today, he finishes (?) up with a fascinating Q&A with the commentators who’ve followed the series.

    • How to Expose Trump’s Dastardly Bait-and-Switch

      Trump is not an economic populist, he’s just playing one on TV.

      [...]

      Trump’s opening speech of his “thank you tour” in Ohio laid out the bait. While putting forth his “action plan to make America great,” Trump dished out nationalist and populist themes with a characteristic mix of racist signaling. Trump promised to put America first: “There is no global anthem. No global currency. No certificate of global citizenship. We pledge allegiance to one flag and that flag is the American flag. From now on it is going to be: America First,” Trump said. “Never anyone again will any other interests come before the interest of the American people. It is not going to happen again.”

      Trump echoed Bernie Sanders with his focus on the “forgotten” American worker. Trump felt their pain, and indicted trade deficits and flight of manufacturing jobs. He promised good jobs. He will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and take on China. He bragged about the Carrier deal, and pledged a 35 percent tariff on companies that offshore jobs and try to ship products back into the United States.

      Like Sanders, Trump proposed a major plan to rebuild America, including “our inner cities.” His plan will have “two simple rules”: “Buy America” and “Hire America,” phrases that too many Democrats would choke on.

      The conservative core of his program—corporate tax cuts, deregulation, reviving coal and oil, repealing Obamacare—is wrapped in this populist gauze.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Donald Trump just insulted a union leader on Twitter. Then the phone started to ring.

      Jones, a union leader in Indianapolis, represents the Carrier workers whose jobs Donald Trump has pledged to save. He said the sudden attention from the country’s next leader didn’t feel real.

      “My first thought was, ‘Well, that’s not very nice,’ ” he told The Washington Post on Wednesday night. “Then, ‘Well, I might not sleep much tonight.’ ”

      Jones, president of the United Steelworkers Local 1999, told The Post on Tuesday that he believed Trump had lied to the Carrier workers last week when he visited the Indianapolis plant. On a makeshift stage in a conference room, Trump had applauded United Technologies, Carrier’s parent company, for cutting a deal with him and agreeing to keep 1,100 jobs that were slated to move to Mexico in America’s heartland.

      Jones said Trump got that figure wrong.

    • Michigan election officials refuse to count ballots from black counties

      In Michigan, where Donald Trump won by just 10,704 votes, election officials are refusing to recount ballots in counties Hillary Clinton won handily.

    • U.S. judge reverses order requiring vote recount in Michigan

      A federal judge in Michigan on Wednesday revoked his order requiring a recount of the state’s presidential vote sought by Jill Stein, siding with a state appeals court that found the Green Party candidate had no grounds to mount the challenge.

      U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith’s ruling has the effect of halting the recount in Michigan, at least for now, following conflicting rulings a day earlier by federal and state appeals courts.

      The Michigan Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered the recount stopped, while the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Goldsmith’s earlier decision and said the process should proceed. The dueling rulings had both sides claiming victory but left the future of Stein’s bid unclear.

      Goldsmith, in deferring to the Michigan appeals court, said Stein had not presented valid reasons for him to override that court’s decision, which found that she was not an “aggrieved” candidate with standing to demand a recount.

      The Stein campaign said in a statement following Goldsmith’s ruling that it had appealed again, to the Michigan Supreme Court, and sought to disqualify two justices there because they had been mentioned by Republican President-elect Donald Trump as potential nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    • US judge reverses order requiring vote recount in Michigan

      A federal judge in Michigan on Wednesday revoked his order requiring a recount of the state’s presidential vote sought by Jill Stein, siding with a state appeals court that found the Green Party candidate had no grounds to mount the challenge.

      US District Judge Mark Goldsmith’s ruling has the effect of halting the recount in Michigan, at least for now, following conflicting rulings a day earlier by federal and state appeals courts.

      The Michigan Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered the recount stopped, while the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Goldsmith’s earlier decision and said the process should proceed. The dueling rulings had both sides claiming victory but left the future of Stein’s bid unclear.

    • As it spreads online and off, Pizzagate gets weirder and more dangerous

      This past Sunday, a man fired a rifle into Comet Ping Pong, the Washington, DC pizza place at the center of an internet conspiracy theory dubbed Pizzagate that claims, in part, that the restaurant is a haven for a child abuse ring. The gunman surrendered to police after he realized there were no children being illegally harbored in the restaurant. What should have been an end to one of the internet’s strangest conspiracy theories appears to be just another moment in its convoluted timeline.

      This week, conspiracy theorists have named other pizza parlors as willing participants in the cover-up. DNA Info reports that New York pizzeria Roberta’s in Brooklyn received a threatening phone call last week after the restaurant was linked to Pizzagate.

    • Colorado electors sue state in effort to block Trump

      Two Democratic electors from Colorado filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday, challenging a state law that requires they vote for the winner of the state’s popular vote, the Denver Post reports.

      Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich had pledged to support Democrat Hillary Clinton, the winner of Colorado’s nine electoral votes.

      But now they are joining so-called “Moral Electors” in other states and say they’ll shift their Democratic votes to a consensus Republican pick — if one emerges.

      The “Moral Electors” want to persuade Republican electors in other states to vote for a third-party candidate, the Post reports, in an attempt to keep Donald Trump from receiving 270 electoral votes.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Women in Lebanon protest law allowing rapists to marry their victims to escape punishment

      Women in Lebanon are protesting for the removal of a law that allows rapists to escape punishment for their crimes as long as they marry the survivor.

      The outdated statute from the 1940s currently says that rape is punishable by up to seven years in prison. The penalty for raping a minor or someone with mental or physical disabilities is higher – but Article 522 of the law creates a loophole which says that criminal prosecution is suspended if the two people involved get married.

      The law is up for debate on Wednesday after it was raised by a member of parliament. Lebanon’s diverse Christian and Muslim political representatives are currently energised by the election of a president after a more than two-year-long paralysis which meant legislation could not be passed – and activists are optimistic something can be done.

    • Five Afghan teenagers are arrested after a boy is gang-raped at knifepoint for more than an hour in a forest in Sweden

      Five Afghan teenagers have been arrested after a boy was gang-raped at knifepoint in a forest in Sweden, it has emerged.

      The victim, who is under 15, was filmed during the attack, which happened in woodland in Uppsala, south east Sweden.

      He was beaten and dragged out to the forest at knifepoint before being subjected to an ordeal lasting more than an hour, prosecutors say.

    • Obama Leaves Trump a Mixed Legacy on Whistle-Blowers

      Back in 2008, Senator Barack Obama promised that, if elected, he would run the most transparent Administration in history and would champion the cause of whistle-blowers. “Such acts of courage and patriotism . . . should be encouraged rather than stifled,” Obama said of whistle-blowers during his campaign.

      Eight years later, these words ring hollow to admirers of dissenters such as Edward Snowden and Thomas Drake, two of eight national-security “leakers” who have been charged with violating the 1917 Espionage Act during Obama’s Presidency. His Justice Department has prosecuted more such cases against whistle-blowers than all previous Administrations combined, setting a precedent that some fear Donald Trump will invoke—and drastically build upon—to further muzzle dissent.

    • ‘The Moms’ co-host Denise Albert, who is battling cancer, says she felt ‘violated’ during TSA search

      A breast-cancer patient said she felt violated and humiliated in a public TSA search at Los Angeles International Airport Sunday after two security agents put her through what she called an aggressive pat down.

      Denise Albert, a frequent guest on the PIX11 Morning News and co-host of “The Moms,” was traveling through LAX security when two TSA agents pulled her aside for a manual search because she was trying to bring a necessary medical cream with her on her flight, Albert said.

      “I always let them know I have a medical port and that I am wearing a wig,” says Albert.

    • The Person Who Deciphered the Order to Shoot at Kent State

      Stuart Allen died on November 22, 2016. I learned of his death by way of an email from Laurel Krause, whose sister Allison was gunned down by the National Guard on May 4, 1970, just after the noon hour during a demonstration against the U.S. incursion into Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

      Stuart Allen would not like to be called a hero, although he certainly was one. Stuart was both an audio and video expert, with degrees in both fields and worked out of his lab and business in New Jersey that offers expert analyses of that kind of data. Stuart often worked for law enforcement, including the Justice Department and the FBI.

      In 2010, both Stuart and another forensic audio expert, Tom Owen, provided information at the request of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (“New analysis of 40-year old recording of Kent State shootings reveals that Ohio Guard was given an order to prepare to fire,” May 9, 2010) about a new analysis of the famous Strubbe tape, a recording of the events that led up to the death of four students and the wounding of nine others during a demonstration against the U.S. incursion into Cambodia.

      The tape that Stuart analyzed, and the results with which Tom Owen concurred, yielded dramatic new information. Using state-of-the-art forensic audio tools, one of which was developed by the Soviet KGB prior to the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Stuart found that a sequence of orders was given to the National Guardsmen as they reached the top of Blanket Hill on the campus of Kent State University, turned in unison, and fired 67 times at unarmed student demonstrators below the hill.

    • How a Muslim Group Shut Down Christmas Celebrations in Bandung

      A Christmas celebration led by preacher Stephen Tong at Sabuga Building in Bandung, West Java, on Tuesday (06/12) was forced to end after a Muslim hardliner group disrupted services.

      The group, identifying as Defenders of Ahlus Sunnah (PAS), forced organizers to end the event and claiming the religious service should be held in a church, not a public building.

    • Arrest of leading Egyptian feminist Azza Soliman sparks anger

      Human rights activists in Egypt have reacted angrily to the arrest of prominent women’s rights advocate Azza Soliman, saying it marked a “chilling escalation” of pressure on civil society organisations.

      Soliman, the founder of the Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA), is one of a number of activists, lawyers and journalists to have been prevented from leaving Egypt in the past month.

      The rights lawyer and leading feminist said last week that she had been turned back on 19 November at Cairo airport. Soon after, Soliman discovered that her personal assets and those of her group had been frozen. On Wednesday, her foundation and a security source said she had been detained by police.

    • Tensions are rising, there are cracks in the façade, and change is in the air. When and how will things snap?

      Tensions between the industrial-age establishment and the networked people-at-large have been rising for years, if not for two decades. Politicians and elites striving to paint themselves on moral high horses are seen as increasingly isolated from the real world, enriching themselves at the expense of everybody else – not just expense in a monetary sense, but even more so in a liberty sense. With a perceived establishment increasingly insisting on their worldview, using an increasing amount of political violence and in contrast with people at large, major changes are inevitably in the cards.

      There are many signs that the political establishment is losing touch with reality – basically, losing touch with everything that happened since the Internet. The political structures they’re a part of were built to solve the problems of a different era, and those organizations are institutionally incapable of realizing that today’s conflicts are completely different from those that defined the industrial age. Therefore, politicians do two things – they keep hammering home messages that come across as increasingly irrelevant, while at the same time strengthening their own reality bubble where they are denying that the world is changing, has already changed, around them.

      [...]

      The UK is preparing for ten years in prison for teenagers who share music and movies directly, as people have always done but in violation of the copyright distribution monopoly, on the basis that they theoretically may have caused somebody to not earn as much money as they feel they should have. This is a prime example of a “let them eat cake” moment: in a referendum, would such a draconian measure even get a single percentage point of support?

      [...]

      When I can’t walk home safely, I just get angry when the taxation money I’ve worked hard for is being spent on things like gender pronoun awareness campaigns and parental leave bonuses within the administration instead of on fixing basic security and foundational liberty in the streets. The elites are now so far isolated from the common people, they’re not even aware that they’re working at the utterly wrong level of the Maslow Pyramid of Human Needs: politicians and establishment are operating at level five (self-emancipation) with society at large at level two (basic safety concerns).

    • Federal judge kills recount effort in Michigan

      A federal judge has stopped the hand recount of nearly 5 million ballots in Michigan, a decision that seems to secure Donald Trump’s narrow victory in the traditionally blue state.

      U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith, who effectively ordered the recount to begin Monday, sided with a state appeals court Wednesday in halting the effort, ABC News reported.

      On Tuesday, a Michigan appeals court ruled 3-0 that Green Party candidate Jill Stein should not have been allowed to demand a recount because she is not an “aggrieved candidate.” Goldsmith, after hearing arguments from the state Republican Party and GOP attorney general, agreed.

      “Because there is no basis for this court to ignore the Michigan court’s ruling and make an independent judgment regarding what the Michigan Legislature intended by the term ‘aggrieved,’ plaintiffs have not shown an entitlement to a recount,” Goldsmith said.

      The Stein campaign’s lead lawyers in Michigan said they were “deeply disappointed” with the ruling.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Court: Usenet Provider is Not Liable for Piracy

        After several years, the appeals court has reached a final decision in the case between anti-piracy group BREIN and Usenet provider NSE. The court ruled that the Usenet provider is not liable for the copyright infringements of its users. However, it also requires the service in question to offer a fast and “effective” takedown procedure.

      • YouTube’s $1bn royalties are not enough, says music industry

        YouTube has said it has paid the music industry $1bn (£794m) in royalties this year – but record companies have responded by claiming it is not enough.

        The spat began on Tuesday, when YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl posted a blog highlighting the site’s contribution to the industry.

        He said YouTube had distributed $1bn in advertising royalties alone, arguing that “free” streaming was as important as subscription sites like Spotify.

        But record labels were not impressed.

      • IFPI Sneers at YouTube’s $1 Billion Music Industry Revenue Payout

        Google has just announced that during the past 12 months, YouTube paid out $1 billion to the music industry from advertising alone. However, the IFPI remains unimpressed, accusing the platform of taking advantage of artists and producers. YouTube exploits loopholes in the DMCA, the industry group argues, while calling for legislative change to address the “value gap.”

      • Proposed EU Commission Copyright Reform Detrimental To Authors, CEIPI Says

        The opinion explains that recent empirical evidence from national implementation of publishers’ neighbouring rights confirmed a negative impact on small publishers. However, news aggregators might have a positive effect on online news sites, they said.

12.07.16

Links 7/12/2016: ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Plasma 5, Ubuntu Touch OTA-14

Posted in News Roundup at 7:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • NIPS conference: Google releases open-source, AI, 3D game-development project

    Today, on the opening day of the marquee AI conference Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference in Barcelona, Google announced in a blog post the release of its DeepMind Lab project available to the AI community under open source licensing terms.

    Artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) are the next two computing platforms. DeepMind Lab is a 3D AI platform for building virtual games that bring these two platforms together in multiple dimensions. DeepMind Lab uses a special kind of AI, called machine learning (ML). And within the field of ML, it uses an advanced form of machine learning called deep reinforcement learning (DeepRL).

  • 7 cool little open source projects that stood out in 2016

    In the early days of the open source movement, a lot of the attention was on operating systems, and later on large content management systems. These days, containers are mentioned regularly even in mainstream news outlets. The big tech stories are great, but they miss the other great activity in the niches of the open source space. I’ve rounded up seven interesting lesser-known projects from the past year. You can see more articles about projects like this in my Nooks and Crannies column.

  • The most in demand skills you need for an open source job

    With coding and software development in serious need of talent, it’s essentially a graduate’s market, but you still need the right combination of skills and attributes to beat the competition. When it comes to open source and DevOps, a deeper understanding is essential.

  • Why the Open Source Cloud Is Important

    To this end, foundations such as the Cloud Foundry Foundation, Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and Open Container Initiative (OCI) at The Linux Foundation are actively bringing in new open source projects and engaging member companies to create industry standards for new cloud-native technologies. The goal is to help improve interoperability and create a stable base for container operations on which companies can safely build commercial dependencies.

  • AI Platforms Welcome Devs With Open Arms

    Two leaders in the field of artificial intelligence have announced that they’re open-sourcing their AI platforms.

    After investing in building rich simulated environments to serve as laboratories for AI research, Google’s DeepMind Lab on Saturday said it would open the platform for the broader research community’s use.

    DeepMind has been using its AI lab for some time, and it has “only barely scratched the surface of what is possible” in it, noted team members Charlie Beattie, Joel Leibo, Stig Petersen and Shane Legg in an online post.

  • Open source is so much more than free code

    In 2011, the Department of Veterans Affairs officially moved its most critical software, the VistA electronic health record system, into open source by establishing the Open Source Electronic Health Record Alliance (OSEHRA). Along the way, VA officials solicited and followed advice from numerous open source experts, including Red Hat, Carnegie Mellon University and the Industry Advisory Council.

  • Events

  • Databases

    • SQL Server on Linux signals Microsoft’s changing development landscape [Ed: This headline is wrong. There is no SQL Server on Linux; it runs on a Windows compatibility layer and it's entirely proprietary.]
    • Exploring the Trend Towards Open Source Database Management Systems

      The popularity of open source DBMSs, as measured by the DB-Engines Ranking, has reached a new record. So, we’re going to analyze the underlying details.

      We have 154 open source systems in our ranking, slightly less than the 156 commercial systems. If we add up the popularity scores of all the open source systems, we get 46% of the overall scores, whereas 54% goes to commercial systems.

    • Cloud convenience is killing the open source database

      Open source has never been more important or, ironically, irrelevant. As developers increasingly embrace the cloud to shorten time to market, they’re speeding past open source, making it even harder to build an open source business.

      After all, if open source were largely a way for developers to skirt legal and purchasing departments to get the software they needed when they needed it, the cloud ups that convenience to the nth degree. In Accel’s annual business review, the vaunted venture capital firm writes: “‘Product’ is no longer just the bits of software, it’s also how the software is sold, supported, and made successful.” The cloud is changing the way all software is consumed, including open source.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, More: Keeping Up With Open Source CMS

      Due to its organic nature, the world of open source software is in constant flux, which makes it difficult to keep tabs on.

      To keep you in the loop, I’m kicking off a monthly roundup of open source CMS news, starting today.

      Here are your latest open source CMS highlights.

    • 4 open source peer-to-peer marketplaces

      What happens if your startup can’t afford one of these proprietary solutions or you need customized features? You go look for an open source alternative that could open the space for new solutions and modules. Here are four peer-to-peer marketplaces that are working to become the WordPress or Prestashop of their kind.

    • WordPress 4.7 “Vaughan”

      Version 4.7 of WordPress, named “Vaughan” in honor of legendary jazz vocalist Sarah “Sassy” Vaughan, is available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard. New features in 4.7 help you get your site set up the way you want it.

  • Education

    • Pencils down: Why open source is the future of standardized testing

      Administering standardized tests online is trickier than it sounds. Underneath the facade of simple multiple choice forms, any workable platform needs a complex web of features to ensure that databases don’t buckle under the pressure of tens of thousands of test takers at once. On top of that, it also needs to ensure that responses are scored correctly and that it’s impossible for students to cheat.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Why your teams may be failing at the collaboration game

      When we think about skills needed to build open structures and establish open mindsets, collaboration jumps to mind immediately. In order to collaborate effectively, communication—or rather, clear communication—is imperative to making it all work.

      Communication can be defined as a transfer of information from one space or person to another—but it can look like dialogue, conflict resolution, listening skills, or even a knowledge commons. In open organizations, we look for timely transfers of information to all members so that they may do their jobs effectively and efficiently.

    • Open Data

      • Portugal’s AMA publishes two open data guides

        The Portuguese Agency for Administrative Modernisation (Agência para a Modernização Administrativa, AMA) has published two national open data guides.

        As its title implies, the ‘Open Data Introduction Guide’ is aimed at the general public or those interested in learning about the subject.

        The ‘Open Data Guide’ is the official government publication on the subject of public sector data openness. It addresses theoretical issues and practices relevant to the development of open data in Portugal. The topics include open movements, the potential of data openness, processes of opening information, ways of reuse, and an introduction to technical issues. This document is aimed at the various stakeholders in the Portuguese open data ecosystem, such as public agencies, researchers, journalists, citizens and companies interested in reusing or analysing public sector information.

      • Poland looking for new Digital Services and Open Data director

        The Polish Ministry of Digital Affairs is looking for a new director for its Department of Development of Digital Services and Open Data. The director is expected to be a “creative and proactive person who will set out the directions and lead the way for the most important and boldest changes in the state administration”.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Accelerating Innovation: Michigan Tech patent database/app promotes open-source hardware

        Open-source innovation is making the traditional patent system obsolete. Michigan Technological University associate professor Joshua Pearce and his team work with what is called open-source hardware development.

        “What that means is sort of developing technologies that don’t rely on patents,” Pearce said. “We work collaboratively with engineers and scientists all over the world, and (it’s) fairly successful. And the reason it’s successful is because if you have thousands of people working on something, it tends to get pretty good pretty fast.”

        Pearce said the concept began some time ago with open-source software.

      • Non-profit creates open-source drinking water filter for 1/10th of the cost

        The high-tech vision of open-source software meets low-tech design at non-profit organization OHorizons, an international coalition of innovators working to solve persistent global challenges. The team’s most recent invention is the open-source Wood Mold, designed to allow even the least experienced person to create a BioSand Filter that can deliver clean water at 1/10th of the cost of the traditional method. The Wood Mold is designed to be accessible by anyone who has the DIY, open-source construction manual that OHorizons offers for free online.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • The Operating System Fountain of Youth: iOS

    When I returned to the store this week, the display was gone. Still, the idea is in the air, the two individuals mentioned didn’t know about the Microsoft product.

    The Microsoft implementation might be too kludgy, or immature, or the concept itself could just be a doomed Rube Goldberg fantasy. Back to reality, we’re likely to pick up fresher clues on iOS direction when new iPads show up, probably next quarter.

  • 15+ Stunning Satellite Photos That Will Change How You See Our World

    Every single day, Grant shares one satellite photo from Digital Globes to change the way we see our planet. “With a focal length 16 times longer than a standard DSLR camera, the cameras are so powerful that you can take a picture of a beach ball on the Golden Gate Bridge in full resolution…from Los Angeles,” Grant told Bored Panda. “I try to present the images with no bias and let people decide what these altered landscapes mean, based on the facts and the visual evidence in the frame. I believe that this perspective is a means to start a conversation about the condition of our planet and how we can better protect it.”

  • Science

    • Teachers’ union ‘concerned’ over Pisa results

      Finland has slipped down the Pisa rankings in recent years, and that trend continued in the latest set of the OECD educational charts released on Tuesday. Although Finland was the only country where girls outperformed boys in science, the number of poor performing students was up and there were fewer high-achievers.

      Finland’s teaching union, the OAJ, says it is concerned about the development in Finnish Pisa results.

      “Finnish results have declined clearly when compared to previous years,” said OAJ expert Jaakko Salo. “The biggest concern in this is that our cornerstone—equality in education—looks to be crumbling.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why is a banned pesticide that harms bees actually being used more?

      Goulson called it “sinister” last week when made aware of the silence, but now concludes it was probably an innocent error. Bob Maurer, chairman of the show, told me the event has never received any sponsorship from the big chemical companies that manufacture neonicotinoids. He believes an accidental “technical hitch” by the video producer was responsible.

      Concern over this coincidence can be dismissed as a conspiracy theory, but what cannot be dismissed is the solid scientific evidence that Goulson is helping to produce, showing how neonicotinoids harm bees and other insects.

    • Civil rights commission to discuss Flint water crisis report

      The Michigan Civil Rights Commission will discuss an early version of its report about the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint at its next meeting.

      The commission, which meets Monday morning at the University of Michigan Detroit center, is expected to check on progress and provide feedback. The report is scheduled to be released next month.

    • California bill would require reporting of ‘superbug’ infections, deaths

      A California state senator introduced a bill on Monday that would mandate reporting of antibiotic-resistant infections and deaths and require doctors to record the infections on death certificates when they are a cause of death.

      The legislation also aims to establish the nation’s most comprehensive statewide surveillance system to track infections and deaths from drug-resistant pathogens. Data from death certificates would be used to help compile an annual state report on superbug infections and related deaths.

      In September, a Reuters investigation revealed that tens of thousands of superbug deaths nationwide go uncounted every year. The infections are often omitted from death certificates, and even when they are recorded, they aren’t counted because of the lack of a unified national surveillance system.

      “The (Reuters) story highlighted some of the problems that have come from the lack of information, the lack of reporting, especially deaths,” said state Senator Jerry Hill, who introduced the bill. “I wasn’t aware that on death certificates, antibiotic-resistant infections have never been called out.”

      Because there is no federal surveillance system, monitoring of superbug infections and deaths falls to the states. A Reuters survey of all 50 state health departments and the District of Columbia found that reporting requirements vary widely.

  • Security

    • HP shutting down default FTP, Telnet access to network printers

      Security experts consider the aging FTP and Telnet protocols unsafe, and HP has decided to clamp down on access to networked printers through the remote-access tools.

      Some of HP’s new business printers will, by default, be closed to remote access via protocols like FTP and Telnet. However, customers can activate remote printing access through those protocols if needed.

    • Google Chrome 55 Fixes Flaws, Blocks Flash
    • Cyberattacks are going to get a lot worse, former NSA official says

      The face of cybercrime is changing. Healthcare has gone from a declared mission of stealing personal data to much more disruptive issues. In fact, healthcare has seen the largest jump in ransomware attacks than in any other industry.

      When Joel Brenner opened the HIMSS Privacy & Security Forum in Boston Monday morning, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology research fellow – who focuses on cybersecurity, privacy and intelligence policy – and former senior counsel at the National Security Agency, didn’t sugarcoat the state of healthcare security.

      The government isn’t going to sort out that problem until we suffer some great losses, Brenner said.

    • Chrome 55 Now Blocks Flash, Uses HTML5 by Default

      Chrome 55, released earlier this week, now blocks all Adobe Flash content by default, according to a plan set in motion by Google engineers earlier this year.

      Back in May, Google’s staff announced that starting with Q4 2016, Chrome would use HTML5 by default, while Flash would be turned off.

      While some of the initial implementation details of the “HTML5 By Default” plan changed since May, Flash has been phased out in favor of HTML5 as the primary technology for playing multimedia content in Chrome.

    • Google Debuts Continuous Fuzzer for Open Source Software

      A new Google program aimed at continuously fuzzing open source software has already detected over 150 bugs.

      The program, OSS-Fuzz, currently in beta mode, is designed to help unearth programming errors in open source software via fuzz testing. Fuzz testing, or fuzzing is when bits of randomly generated code is inputted into programs as a means to discover code and security flaws.

    • Google Opens Up a Powerful FOSS Security Tool

      Back in 2014, public exposure of the OpenSSL Heartbleed security bug created a stage for security experts and commentators to field opinions on the open source error that left an estimated two thirds of the internet unsecured. We followed up back then with a guest post for OStatic from Eren Niazi, founder of Open Source Storage, where he discussed the security implications for the open source community.

    • Google Finally Patches ‘Dirty COW’ Linux Vulnerability With December Android Security Update [Ed: Google patches don’t matter to news sites until there’s some stupid brand with logo and Web site]
    • Google patches Dirty Cow vulnerability in latest Android security update
    • Docker CEO: Docker Already Is a Security Platform (with Swarm, That Is)

      In a reinforcement of his company’s marketing message that containerization as an architecture is more secure by design, Docker Inc. CEO Ben Golub [pictured right above, with HPE Executive VP Antonio Neri] told attendees at HPE’s Discover London 2016 event last Tuesday morning that the Docker platform addresses and ameliorates its users’ security concerns just by its very architecture.

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • On CVE-2016-4484, a (security)? bug in the cryptsetup initramfs integration
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste

      The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.

      Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.

      The report, issued in January 2015, identified “a clear path” for the Defense Department to save $125 billion over five years. The plan would not have required layoffs of civil servants or reductions in military personnel. Instead, it would have streamlined the bureaucracy through attrition and early retirements, curtailed high-priced contractors and made better use of information technology.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange defies Swedish prosecutors by releasing rape statement

      Julian Assange has thumbed his nose at Swedish investigators, who he says have robbed him of his freedom for six years, by releasing the answers he gave to them under questioning in Ecuador’s London embassy last month.

      The decision to issue the statement, which contains for the first time a detailed account by the WikiLeaks founder of his encounter with a woman in August 2010 who made rape allegations against him, marks a fresh twist in a case in which Assange claims an early leak of information from the Swedish police has shaped opinion.

      The transcript of a police interview with the woman was leaked to media in December 2010, which the Australian, who has not been charged with any crime, says helped to establish an aura of guilt around him.

      Since then, Assange has repeatedly asked to be allowed to tell his side of the story to prosecutors, but until recently they insisted he come to Sweden for questioning. Assange has been confined to Ecuador’s cramped London embassy since June 2012, after claiming asylum to avoid extradition over the allegations.

    • Julian Assange says texts show he is ‘entirely innocent’ of rape; WikiLeaks founder criticises Swedish prosecutor

      The ABC has obtained a copy of the statement the WikiLeaks founder gave prosecutors from his refuge inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London on November 14.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • A threat to rainforests in Indonesia: Big banks

      In early 2015, scientists monitoring satellite images at Global Forest Watch raised the alarm about the destruction of rain forests in Indonesia.

      Environmental groups raced to the scene in West Kalimantan province, on the island of Borneo, to find a charred wasteland: Smouldering fires, orangutans driven from their nests, and signs of an extensive release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

      “There was pretty much no forest left,” said Dr Karmele Llano Sanchez, director of the non-profit International Animal Rescue’s orangutan rescue group, which set out to save the endangered primates. “All the forest had burned.”

    • Republicans Vow to Finish the Dakota Access Pipeline Under Trump

      This weekend the Army Corps of Engineers said Dakota Access Pipeline won’t go through as planned since it could have destructive environmental consequences. But, as activists know, that doesn’t mean Republicans are done fighting for the oil pipeline.

      President-Elect Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan were among pipeline supporters who emphasized their commitment to the project, and promised to approve the project in the next term. Trump has suggested in prior speech he would push an oil pipeline through during his first 100 days in office, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    • Five things to watch in Dakota Access pipeline fight

      The Obama administration halted construction on the Dakota Access oil pipeline Sunday, saying it would hold off on granting the final easement for the project while it conducts a thorough environmental review.

      Both the developer and President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team have vowed to finish construction, while protesters say they could bring the conflict to court.

      Here are five things to watch in the unfolding fight.

      Trump’s strategy

      When Trump and his administration take office, approving Dakota Access probably won’t be as simple as signing a piece of paper.

      The Army Corps of Engineers ordered an environmental impact statement for the project Sunday. Experts say that because of that, Trump’s administration will have to either complete the yearslong process or find a way to remove the requirement for testing the environmental impact. Doing the latter, however, would be a rare move that could subject the pipeline to a lawsuit.

    • Melting Permafrost Could Affect Weather Worldwide

      Melting permafrost is causing significant changes to the freshwater chemistry and hydrology of Alaska’s Yukon River and could be triggering global climate impacts, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report released yesterday.

      Researchers say the study, which analyzed more than 30 years of data, sheds light on how climate change is already affecting the Arctic.

      According to the report, the Yukon River and one of its major tributaries have accumulated increasing levels of calcium, magnesium and sulfates over the last three decades due to thawing permafrost.

    • Standing Rock protesters asked to ‘go home’ by Sioux leader

      The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe has asked the thousands of “water protectors” gathered in encampments along the Missouri river to “go home” after the US Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the Dakota Access pipeline to drill under the river.

      In a video statement Dave Archambault thanked the thousands of Native American and environmental activists who travelled to North Dakota to help the tribe fight back against the pipeline, which they feared would contaminate their water source and destroy sacred sites.

      But after the “huge victory” of the Army Corps decision, Archambault said: “There’s no need for the water protectors or for anyone to be putting ourselves in unsafe environments.

    • Indonesia takes new step to combat loss of forests, fires

      Indonesia has strengthened its moratorium on converting peat swamps to plantations in a move a conservation research group says will help prevent annual fires and substantially cut the country’s carbon emissions if properly implemented.

      President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s amendment to the moratorium regulation, which was issued on Monday, expands it to cover peatlands of any depth and orders companies to restore areas they’ve degraded.

      Indonesia’s move was welcomed by Norway, which in 2010 pledged $1 billion to help the country stop cutting down its prized tropical forests but has released little of it. As a result of the expanded regulation, Norway said it would give $25 million to Indonesia to fund restoration of drained peatlands and another $25 million once an enforcement and monitoring plan is ready.

      Draining of peat swamps by palm oil and pulp wood companies is a big contributor to destruction of tropical forests in Indonesia and the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The land conversion worsens annual dry season fires that release huge amounts of carbon stored in the peat. Many of the fires are deliberately set to clear land of its natural vegetation.

    • Britain could slash environmental and safety standards ‘a very long way’ after Brexit, Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg says

      Britain could slash environmental and safety regulations on imported products after it leaves the EU, a Tory MP has suggested.

      Jacob Rees-Mogg said regulations that were “good enough for India” could be good enough for the UK – arguing that the UK could go “a very long way” to rolling back high EU standards.

      The idea, floated at a hearing of the Treasury Select Committee, was immediately rejected by an economist, who said such a move would likely cause “quite considerable” difficulties.

  • Finance

    • The Soviet Union collapsed overnight. Don’t assume western democracy will last forever

      Below the medieval citadel in Kazan, two vast frozen rivers turn the landscape white. On a Saturday afternoon there are a few hardy locals shuffling through the icy sludge to take selfies against the mosque, the Christmas lights and the Soviet-era statues.

      It’s 25 years since I was last in Russia, trying and failing to revive the left during the chaotic first days of Boris Yeltsin’s economic reforms. Half a lifetime later I am here to address a room full of people who want to talk about replacing capitalism with something better – and suddenly we have something in common: now we both know what it’s like to see a system that once looked permanent collapsing.

      Since I’ve been here, almost everyone who has chosen to come and hear me is involved in either contemporary arts or philosophy. The journalists who want to interview me – a public critic of Putin’s policy in Syria and Ukraine – mainly write for cultural magazines. These, if not exactly the new rock’n’roll, are the safest intellectual spaces in which critical thought can take place.

    • Tar Heel heist: How the charter school industry is hijacking public education

      If the American Dream is still alive – the one that includes a good job and a house with a yard, kids, and a two-car garage – you can see it taking shape in Wake County in the heart of the state of North Carolina. Signs of surging prosperity are everywhere this morning as I make my way to West Lake Middle School in Apex, NC, on the outskirts of Raleigh.

      What were once sleepy two-lane country roads are now teaming with impatient commuters, school busses, and mini-vans. New housing developments, shopping centers, and office buildings are transforming the rolling Piedmont landscape.

    • TPP May Be Dead – But Its Impact Lingers

      Despite the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being – to all-intents-and-purposes – dead in the water, pursuit of some of the most egregious objectives of the corporate interests driving the TPP agenda rolls on. Pharma is persisting in its push for countries to adopt not just TRIPS-Plus, but in some cases even TPP-Plus intellectual property rules – presumably groundwork for the later emergence of a ‘son-of-TPP’ agreement.

    • India ready to resume BTIA talks with EU without preconditions

      Government is committed to an early and balanced outcome of India-EU Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) negotiations and is willing to resume talks without any preconditions, Parliament was informed today.

      “The European Union (EU) has expressed willingness to re-engage with India in India-EU Broad based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) negotiations subject to certain conditions.

    • The Mafia State

      The list of financial titans, including Trump, who have profited from a rigged financial system and fraud is endless. Many in the 1 percent make money by using lobbyists and bought politicians to write self-serving laws and rules and by forming unassailable monopolies. They push up prices on products or services these monopolies provide. Or they lend money to the 99 percent and charge exorbitant interest. Or they use their control of government and the courts to ship jobs to Mexico or China, where wages can be as low as 22 cents an hour, and leave American workers destitute. Neoliberalism is state-sponsored extortion. It is a vast, nationally orchestrated Ponzi scheme.

      This fevered speculation and mounting inequality, made possible by the two ruling political parties, corroded and destroyed the mechanisms and institutions that permitted democratic participation and provided some protection for workers. Politicians, from Reagan on, were handsomely rewarded by their funders for delivering their credulous supporters to the corporate guillotine. The corporate coup created a mafia capitalism. This mafia capitalism, as economists such as Karl Polanyi and Joseph Stiglitz warned, gave birth to a mafia political system. Financial and political power in the hands of institutions such as Goldman Sachs and the Clinton Foundation becomes solely about personal gain. The Obamas in a few weeks will begin to give us a transparent lesson into how service to the corporate state translates into personal enrichment.

    • We don’t need a charter-school lobbyist as education secretary: Stephen Henderson

      In Detroit, parents of school-age children have plenty of choices, thanks to the nation’s largest urban network of charter schools.

      What remains in short supply is quality.

      In Brightmoor, the only high school left is Detroit Community Schools, a charter boasting more than a decade of abysmal test scores and, until recently, a superintendent who earned $130,000 a year despite a dearth of educational experience or credentials.

      On the west side, another charter school, Hope Academy, has been serving the community around Grand River and Livernois for 20 years. Its test scores have been among the lowest in the state throughout those two decades; in 2013 the school ranked in the first percentile, the absolute bottom for academic performance.

    • Jill Stein Takes Long-Shot Recount Campaign to Trump Tower

      Jill Stein went to Trump Tower on Monday to press her case for long-shot recounts in three closely contested states in last month’s presidential election.

      Ms. Stein, the Green Party presidential nominee and now the leader of the recount campaign, appeared emboldened by an early morning federal court ruling that ordered Michigan elections officials — over the protests of President-elect Donald J. Trump and his allies — to begin a recount by noon Monday.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Republican ‘faithless elector’ says he will not cast his vote for Donald Trump as he is ‘unfit for presidency’

      A REPUBLICAN presidential elector has issued the shock claim that he will not cast his vote for Donald Trump in an attempt to block his path to the White House.

      Christopher Suprun said in an article for the New York Times that he could not approve Mr Trump in good conscience as he felt the president-elect was unfit for public office.

      “Mr Trump urged violence against protesters at his rallies during the campaign,” he wrote. “He speaks of retribution against his critics.”

      “I owe no debt to a party. I owe a debt to my children to leave them a nation they can trust.”

    • Trump’s lawyer suggests the president-elect’s fraud claim isn’t true

      As you’ve probably heard, there are progressive efforts underway to force recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania – three traditionally “blue” states where Donald Trump narrowly prevailed. Had these three states, where literally every independent poll showed Hillary Clinton ahead in the months leading up to Election Day, voted Democratic, Trump would’ve lost.

    • Jill Stein charges ahead with recount efforts

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is vowing to move ahead with recount efforts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, despite legal setbacks and growing opposition from Republicans and other Donald Trump allies in each state.

      “We will not give in to intimidation, to legal maneuvering and to bureaucratic obstruction,” Stein said at a news conference outside of Trump Tower on Monday.

      Her vow came as Stein’s campaign on Monday morning filed a federal lawsuit in Pennsylvania — an attempt to revive the push there after Stein and other Pennsylvania voters dropped a state-based lawsuit to try to force a recount. They gave up on the state-based lawsuit when a judge raised the bond to $1 million, a price Stein panned as exorbitant .

      But even as she railed against the roadblocks in Pennsylvania, Stein lauded developments in Michigan, which was to begin its recount by noon Monday.

    • Trump’s Threat to the Constitution

      On July 7, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, met privately with House Republicans near the Capitol. I was present as chief policy director of the House Republican Conference. Mr. Trump’s purpose was to persuade the representatives to unite around him, a pitch he delivered in a subdued version of his stream-of-consciousness style. A congresswoman asked him about his plans to protect Article I of the Constitution, which assigns all federal lawmaking power to Congress.

      Mr. Trump interrupted her to declare his commitment to the Constitution — even to parts of it that do not exist, such as “Article XII.” Shock swept through the room as Mr. Trump confirmed one of our chief concerns about him: He lacked a basic knowledge of the Constitution.

    • Michigan recount begins, as Jill Stein’s legal battle moves to Pennsylvania

      Presidential candidate Jill Stein’s fight to force presidential recounts in three states focuses Monday on Pennsylvania, where her Green Party is seeking an emergency federal court order for a statewide recount, and Michigan, where a federal judge has ordered a hand recount to begin by noon.

      The recount is underway in Wisconsin.

      President-elect Donald Trump narrowly defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in all three states. The recounts were not expected to change enough votes to overturn the result of the election.

      Stein says her intent is to verify the accuracy of the vote. She has suggested, with no evidence, that votes cast were susceptible to computer hacking.

    • The Frankfurt School Knew Trump Was Coming

      Shortly after the Presidential election, a small piece of good news came over the wire: the Thomas Mann villa in Los Angeles has been saved. The house, which was built to Mann’s specifications in the nineteen-forties, went on the market earlier this year, and it seemed likely to be demolished, because the structure was deemed less valuable than the land beneath it. After prolonged negotiations, the German government bought the property, with the idea of establishing it as a cultural center.

      The house deserves to stand not only because a great writer lived there but because it brings to mind a tragic moment in American cultural history. The author of “Death in Venice” and “The Magic Mountain” settled in this country in 1938, a grateful refugee from Nazism. He became a citizen and extolled American ideals. By 1952, though, he had become convinced that McCarthyism was a prelude to fascism, and felt compelled to emigrate again. At the time of the House Un-American Activities Committee’s hearings on Communism in Hollywood, Mann said, “Spiritual intolerance, political inquisitions, and declining legal security, and all this in the name of an alleged ‘state of emergency.’ . . . That is how it started in Germany.” The tearing down of Mann’s “magic villa” would have been a cold epilogue to a melancholy tale.

    • 9 Things Obama Can Do Before Leaving Office to Prepare for the Trump Takeover

      In less than seven weeks, President Barack Obama will hand over the government to Donald Trump, including access to the White House, Air Force One, and Camp David. Trump will also, of course, inherit the infamous nuclear codes, as well as the latest in warfare technology, including the Central Intelligence Agency’s fleet of killer drones, the National Security Agency’s vast surveillance and data-collection apparatus, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s enormous system of undercover informants.

    • Why is Donald Trump delegitimizing an election that he won?

      On the other hand, what he DOES is important. When he settled the Trump University for 25 Million, despite prolonging it for multiple years and putting all of the plaintiffs through years of frustration and debt, the news stories lasted less than 12 hours before being drowned by the Hamilton Tweets. My own reaction to the tweet was reflexively the same as others: Our President-elect is so sensitive that anything even slightly negative is considered an insult. But, you have to work HARD to find a story today talking about the settlement (or the fact that some are contesting it), but the fallout from the tweets lasted days. Looking back, more than once a fundamental issue concerning Trump was obscured by Tweet reactions. Nude underage beauty contestants, Manafort Russian connections, a debate that clearly showed Trump unprepared, unpresidential, and unhinged turned immaterial as the world reacted to his tweets about Alicia Machado.

    • Jill Stein On What’s Next With the Recount Effort in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has initiated recount efforts in three states — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan — where Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by a combined margin of 103,519 votes. (A fourth, partial recount is underway in Nevada, by independent presidential candidate Roque De La Fuente).

      Though considered an “extreme long shot” by the New York Times, Stein’s campaign raised her initial goal of $7 million — twice as much as she raised in her failed campaign bid — in just a matter of days. Clinton’s campaign has cooperated with the effort.

    • Bob Dole’s Law Firm Was Paid $20,000 A Month To Lobby For Taiwan

      The Taiwanese representative office in Washington paid the law firm of former Sen. Bob Dole $20,000 a month to advance its interests in Washington, public filings show. Dole said on Monday his firm helped broker a controversial phone call between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

      Dole told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that his law firm “may have had some influence” on the phone call, which broke decades of diplomatic precedent, but has been widely praised by China hawks for the tough signal it sends to Beijing. An unnamed Trump transition team official told the paper that Dole had arranged the call.

    • US Power Will Decline Under Trump, Says Futurist Who Predicted Soviet Collapse

      Johan Galtung, a Nobel Peace Prize-nominated sociologist who predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union, warned that US global power will collapse under the Donald Trump administration.

      The Norwegian professor at the University of Hawaii and Transcend Peace University is recognized as the ‘founding father’ of peace and conflict studies as a scientific discipline. He has made numerous accurate predictions of major world events, most notably the collapse of the Soviet Empire.

    • Half of Detroit votes may be ineligible for recount

      One-third of precincts in Wayne County could be disqualified from an unprecedented statewide recount of presidential election results because of problems with ballots.

      Michigan’s largest county voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but officials couldn’t reconcile vote totals for 610 of 1,680 precincts during a countywide canvass of vote results late last month.

      Most of those are in heavily Democratic Detroit, where the number of ballots in precinct poll books did not match those of voting machine printout reports in 59 percent of precincts, 392 of 662.

    • Mismatched numbers means Mich. precincts can’t be recounted

      A single missing ballot was enough to scuttle the recount of a Michigan precinct Monday.

      The computerized poll book in Rochester Hills precinct 11 listed the names of 848 voters who cast ballots there, but the ballot box contained just 847 ballots. So where is the other ballot? The poll workers’ notes offered no explanation.

      “It didn’t match on the canvass and it doesn’t match now,” said Joe Rozell, Oakland County’s director of elections. “This precinct is not recountable.”

      Two Michigan counties began the recount process Monday, hours after a federal judge ordered the immediate start of the presidential recount. Six counties are expected to start the recount process Tuesday, with the last batch of counties to start Dec. 12.

    • How the Electoral College Really Started
    • Florida voters sue for recount

      Three central Florida voters are mounting an unlikely bid to overturn the presidential election result in the Sunshine State.

      In a lawsuit filed Monday in Leon Circuit Court, they assert that Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, actually won Florida. The plaintiffs, who live in Osceola and Volusia counties, say the state’s official election results were off because of hacking, malfunctioning voting machines and other problems.

      They’re asking for a hand recount of every paper ballot in Florida, at the expense of defendants including Trump, Gov. Rick Scott and the 29 Republican presidential electors from Florida.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • 3 Tips for Teachers to Help Teens Distinguish Fact From Fiction

      The rise in websites dispensing false information has become a problem for Facebook. But for one high school teacher, having students take misinformation at face value is nothing new – though it’s gotten worse.

      “I’m constantly got kids coming to me, ‘Did you know?’ insert whatever conspiracy theory,” says Dave Stuart Jr., who teaches world history at Cedar Springs High School in Michigan. “Ranging from the Apollo missions to the moon never happened, to current events-related stuff.”

      The Common Core standards focus strongly on skills that should prepare students to detect fake news – the standards emphasize the need for students to write and read arguments using and looking for strong reasoning and evidence, says Dana Maloney, an English teacher at Tenafly High School in New Jersey.

    • Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube team up to stop terrorist propaganda

      Four of the largest tech companies—Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and YouTube—are coming together to stop the spread of terroristic content on social media.

      The plan is to create a shared database and track the digital fingerprints of accounts who share propaganda for terror networks helping them identify the content and easily remove photo or videos from their sites.

      “Our companies will begin sharing hashes of the most extreme and egregious terrorist images and videos we have removed from our services — content most likely to violate all of our respective companies’ content policies,” the companies announced in a joint statement Monday night.

    • Pakistani Cinema’s Censorship Problem

      Actor Hameed Sheikh, known for his phenomenol performance in Jami’s Moor, spoke about the difficulty he faced while trying to release the movie

    • Hacker News calls for “political detox,” critics cry censorship

      Can social media even exist without political debate? What about trolls? Hacker News, the social news site run by Y Combinator, is trying to find out.

      The head of the Hacker News community since 2014, Daniel Gackle (whose HN handle is “dang”) on Monday initiated a site-wide “Political Detox Week.”

    • With a new Star Trek TV series incoming, we revisit the show’s long history of censorship at the BBC…

      Star Trek is not a franchise you’d normally associate with controversy. Nevertheless, between 1969 and 1994, four episodes of the original series – Empath, Whom Gods Destroy, Plato’s Stepchildren and Miri – were not aired on the BBC, and other episodes were heavily redacted.

    • Internet giants will join forces to stop online sharing of terrorist material

      Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube have announced that they will be working together to curb the dissemination of terrorist material online. The Web giants will create a shared industry database of hashes—digital fingerprints that can identify a specific file—for violent terrorist imagery and terrorist recruitment materials that have previously been removed from their platforms.

      According to a statement the four companies have jointly released, the hope is that “this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online.”

    • I’m a Journalist and I Was Stopped From Covering Standing Rock

      It was an assignment that I barely prepared for. I didn’t think I had to.

      For most reporting trips I have made in the last decade, I would think long and hard about where I was going and what the variables were. If I was heading to a conflict zone, I would need body armor and a trauma kit. If it was a natural disaster, I would bring a satellite phone and spare food. If I was heading to an authoritarian country where journalism was not allowed, I would need a mix of burner phones, encrypted hard drives and a disposable laptop. I felt I was prepared for every eventuality. But I never thought that I would have to think about these things so close to home.

      For my recent assignment heading from Canada to the U.S. to cover the anti-oil pipeline protests in Standing Rock for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, I didn’t prepare for anything extraordinary. But at the border, after handing over my Canadian passport I was taken aside. I wasn’t worried. Why should I be? I had nothing to hide, and I felt like it was the one border in my travels where I could proudly proclaim that I was a journalist to safe ears.

    • Ahead of 2022 World Cup, Qatar doubles down on internet censorship and blocks independent news website

      Last week, an independent news website in Qatar, Doha News, discovered that they had been blocked in Qatar. While there has been no official news on why this block has happened, Doha News stated that they suspect that the block happened at the behest of the government. The news site has a reputation for toeing the line in Qatar, and had previously done such “unprecedented” things in the emirates such as publishing an anonymous article by a homosexual Qatari man. Ahead of the 2022 World Cup, it is more than possible that this is just the first of many censorship actions by Qatar. Another famous international media site that is based in Qatar is none other than Al Jazeera.

      Doha News confirmed that Qatar’s two ISPs, Ooredo and Vodaphone, have blocked Doha News. The independent news source tried to create a new domain name to get past the block but that new website was quickly blocked as well. Doha News’s editor, Shabina Khatri was forced to use a different Medium to communicate after the block.

    • Facebook reportedly testing new tool to combat fake news

      Facebook appears to be testing a tool designed to help it identify and hide so called “fake news” on the social network, in an attempt to quell increasingly vocal criticism of its role in spreading untruths and propaganda.

      The tool, reported by at least three separate Facebook users on Twitter, asks readers to rank on a scale of one to five the extent to which they think a link’s title “uses misleading language”. The articles in question were from reliable sources: Rolling Stone magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Chortle, a news site which reports on comedy.

    • Facebook and Google make lies as pretty as truth

      If you asked Google who won the popular vote just after the election, there’s a chance you would have been sent to a conspiracy blog with bogus results. And the site is likely to have looked as legitimate as any other.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA’s best are ‘leaving in big numbers,’ insiders say

      Low morale at the National Security Agency is causing some of the agency’s most talented people to leave in favor of private sector jobs, former NSA Director Keith Alexander told a room full of journalism students, professors and cybersecurity…

    • Who Are The NSA’s Elite Hackers?

      Last week, a mysterious group calling itself The Shadow Brokers dumped online a series of hacking tools associated with the NSA. The leak provided an unprecedented look into the actual tools that the NSA uses to hack its targets, and in the process, put the spotlight on a little-known team that works inside the spy agency—its elite-hacking unit.

      Known as Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, its existence was barely—if at all—discussed in public until 2009, when intelligence historian and author Matthew Aid described it in his book about the history of the NSA as a “super-secret” unit that taps into “thousands of foreign computer systems” and accesses “password-protected hard drives and email accounts of targets around the world.”

    • Appeals Court to Hear Argument in ACLU Challenge to NSA Internet Surveillance

      A federal appeals court will hear oral argument Friday in Richmond, Virginia, in the case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a broad group of organizations challenging the National Security Agency’s mass interception and searching of Americans’ international internet communications.

    • German Investigation Committee ‘Protracting’ Inquiry Into NSA Spying Scandal

      WikiLeaks published 2,400 documents on the NSA spying affair, according to which Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) was involved in the creation of the spy software that was later used by the NSA to tap top-ranking officials. It was also said that BND used the software in its work.

    • Court upholds warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens under Section 702

      The U.S. federal appeals court has ruled in United States v. Mohamud, a case that began with a 2010 holiday bomb plot and will end with unique implications for the private digital communications of American citizens.

      Digital privacy advocates had hoped that the appeals case might prompt reform for a contentious portion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) known as Section 702. The provision accommodates U.S. surveillance of foreign targets located abroad, although its many detractors argue that Section 702 allows the U.S. government to collect the bulk communications of Americans in the process.

    • United States v. Mohamud
    • No Appeal For US Man Believed Convicted With Warrantless NSA Evidence

      A U.S. man convicted after his emails were revealed by the NSA’s PRISM program, the first public case of its kind, will not have his case overturned, an appeals court has found.

    • German spy agency penetrated by ISIS

      My recent interview about the German domestic spy agency, the BfV – the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, ironically – being allegedly infiltrated by ISIS.

    • Canada Wants Software Backdoors, Mandatory Decryption Capability And Records Storage

      The new Canadian government is looking to further expand its surveillance powers by requiring decryption capabilities for all services, mandatory storage of both internet and phone records for service providers, backdoors that allow interception, and warrantless access to basic subscriber information.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Saudi journalist banned from media after criticising Trump

      Saudi authorities banned journalist Jamal Khashoggi from writing in newspapers, appearing on TV and attending conferences, the Alkhalij Aljadid reported in Arabic.

      This came after Khashoggi’s remarks during a presentation he made at a Washington think-tank on 10 November in which he was critical of Donald Trump’s ascension to the US presidency.

      Two weeks ago, an official Saudi source was cited by the Saudi News Agency as saying that Khashoggi did not represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in his interviews or statements.

    • Michael Coe, associate of hate preacher Anjem Choudary, jailed for 28 months

      An associate of hate preacher Anjem Choudary has been jailed for 28 months for knocking a schoolboy unconscious because he cuddled his girlfriend in the street.

      Michael Coe, a Muslim convert, has a long record of violent offences starting when he was 16, including assaults, burglary, robbery and violent disorder.

      The married father of two was convicted in August of attacking the boy after he took exception to the 16-year-old cuddling his teenage girlfriend in Newham, east London, in April.

    • Coincidence? German Stats Show Surge in Sex Crime Rate Around Refugee Centers

      A group of German activists have carried out a study which found that rates of sexual offenses increase significantly in the vicinity of asylum reception centers, Germany’s Journalistenwatch news portal reported.

    • Afghan migrant woman ‘hunted down to Europe by abusive husband’

      Forced into marrying a man 25 years her senior after he had allegedly raped her, this 23-year-old Tajik woman from Kabul is now in a Greek camp for migrants.

      But Lina told the BBC that the abusive husband she ran away from is now following her, threatening to kill her for disobeying him.

      Her story was corroborated by volunteers for a Spanish refugee charity.

      Lina’s husband is one step behind her and her two small children, having reached the Greek island of Lesbos shortly after she was transported to mainland Greece.

    • Muslims are failing to integrate because men keep marrying abroad, major report warns

      Muslim communities remain isolated even after decades in the UK because men keep marrying foreign wives, a Government adviser has warned.

      Dame Louise Casey said that there is a “first generation in every generation” phenomenon in Muslim communities which is acting as a “bar” to integration.

      The review also accuses Labour and local authorities of having “ignored or even condoned” harmful cultural traditions for fear of being branded “racist or Islamaphobic”.

      It reports concerns that Sharia Courts in the UK have been “supporting the values of extremists, condoning wife-beating [and] ignoring marital rape”.

    • British ‘subjects’ did not deserve legal equality with their colonial masters: Interview with Marieme Helie Lucas on Sharia Courts in Britain

      Today, the British law of the land applies to all citizens, be they Catholics, Protestants, atheists, etc. Not one single citizen is beyond the law. Except for the former ‘natives’, be they actually British citizens or migrants: those – and those only – are, once more, entitled to laws of their own, because, beyond their official citizenship, they are still seen as ‘different’ from – and inferior to – the (former?) colonial master. ‘Let them have their own customs, it is their way’.

      ‘Proper’ British citizens are ruled by laws they have voted on, that they can change if they come together and press their MPs. How can ‘Sharia laws’ be changed by the will and vote of citizens? A significant proportion of British citizens are now under supposedly religious laws that they have neither voted for, nor can change through a democratic process. Democracy for ‘proper’ British citizens but unchangeable ‘tribal native customs’ for others?

    • European Union Directive on counterterrorism is seriously flawed

      European Union Member States must ensure that a new effort to standardise counterterrorism laws does not undermine fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, a group of international human rights organisations said today.

      Amnesty International, the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), European Digital Rights (EDRi), the Fundamental Rights European Experts (FREE) Group, Human Rights Watch (HRW), the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF) are warning that the overly broad language of the new EU Directive on Combating Terrorism could lead to criminalising public protests and other peaceful acts, to the suppression of the exercise of freedom of expression protected under international law, including expression of dissenting political views and to other unjustified limitations on human rights. The Directive’s punitive measures also pose the risk of being disproportionately applied and implemented in a manner that discriminates against specific ethnic and religious communities.

    • Amber Rudd says EU nationals in post-Brexit UK will need ‘form of ID’

      More than 3 million European Union citizens living in Britain after Brexit will have to be issued with “some form of documentation”, the home secretary has said.

      Amber Rudd told MPs she would not yet set out the details for any new EU ID card, but said: “There will be a need to have some sort of documentation. We are not going to set it out yet. We are going to do it in a phased approach to ensure that we use all the technology advantages that we are increasingly able to harness to ensure that all immigration is carefully handled.”

      The home secretary’s statement came in response to Labour’s Hilary Benn, who told MPs that EU citizens already in the UK would need to be documented so that employers and landlords could distinguish them from EU citizens arriving after Brexit.

      During Home Office questions in the Commons, Rudd also said she was aware of the need to continue the seasonal agricultural workers’ scheme after Brexit, but again ruled out demands to remove international students from the annual net migration target.

    • Diverse yet divided: UK is growing apart, Casey report finds

      The UK is becoming more divided as it becomes more diverse, a Government-commissioned review has claimed.

      In the report by Dame Louise Casey, it is revealed that the ‘pace of immigration in some areas has been too much’.

    • Theresa May’s government condemned for driving ‘more austerity and more racism’ after integration review

      Campaigners have condemned a review of integration for “adding to the politics of racism and scapegoating” after it called for immigrants to swear an oath to the UK and children to be taught “British values” in schools.

      Dame Louise Casey’s review, which was commissioned by the Government, found the country is becoming more divided amid growing “ethnic segregation” and that Muslim women in particular were being marginalised by limited English language skills.

    • Sorry, Louise Casey, but Muslim women are held back by discrimination

      Despite the fact that more British Muslim women than men are getting degrees, we are the most disenfranchised group in the country. Not only are we subject to high levels of unemployment and poverty, but discrimination on the basis of our faith, gender and ethnic background hinders our entry into the labour market.

    • Governor Vetoes Bill That Would Have Allowed Agencies To Withhold Names Of Officers Who Deploy Deadly Force

      Last month, Pennsylvania legislators wrapped up a little gift for the state’s law enforcement agencies: a bill that would have allowed agencies to withhold the names of officers involved in deployments of deadly force for at least 30 days. This was just the mandatory withholding window. The bill never stipulated a release date past that point, meaning “never” was also an acceptable time frame.

      The normal concerns for “officer safety” were given as the reason for the new opacity. Rather than see disclosure as an essential part of maintaining healthy relationships with the communities they served, law enforcement agencies saw disclosure as just another way to hurt already very well-protected officers.

      The DOJ itself — often a defender of entrenched police culture — recommended a 72-hour window for release of this information. State legislators, pushed by local police unions, felt constituents would be better served by being kept in the dark. Given the back-and-forth nature of public sentiment, it was unclear how Governor Tom Wolf would react to the passed proposal.

    • Theresa May urged to raise human rights concerns on Gulf visit

      Theresa May has been urged to confirm she will put human rights reform on her agenda when she meets Saudi and Bahraini leaders on Tuesday, after announcements on her two-day trip to the Gulf were squarely focused on trade and security.

      Rights campaigners in Bahrain argue that although the UK has been assisting Bahrain with judicial and police reform since 2012, current levels ofengagement on rights issues have not prevented crackdowns on journalists and pro-democracy activists in the country.

      May said: “I think the UK has always had the position, and we continue to have the position, that where there are issues raised about human rights, where there are concerns, we will rightly raise those.

    • The terrible human rights records of the countries Theresa May is having dinner with tonight

      Theresa May is visiting Bahrain to meet with leaders of Gulf states, who are in the country for a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

      She will attend a dinner with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman on Tuesday, before addressing the plenary session of the summit on Wednesday.

      The Prime Minister will use the visit to announce a new working group with regional nations to combat the financing of terrorists. The UK will provide three specialist cyber experts to the Gulf states to help deal with extremism.

    • Please, Theresa May, save my husband from death in Bahrain

      In 2014 Mohammed was arrested at Bahrain’s airport where he worked as a police officer. My husband believes in human rights, democracy and transparency. He attended peaceful marches in Bahrain calling for our government to respect these values. As a state employee, he knew that it was risky for him to go to these protests. But he believes in reform and so he went anyway.

      After Mohammed was taken into custody, our family heard nothing for four days – we had no idea where he was, or even if he was alive. Eventually, two weeks later, we were allowed to see him, but only with three guards watching us on a surveillance camera. As soon as we saw him, it was clear that Mohammed had been tortured by the security services.

      Mohammed seemed weak and exhausted, and his body was trembling; this suggested to us that he had been subjected to extreme torture. But no one would tell us the reasons for his arrest or the charges against him.

    • Angela Merkel Calls for Ban on Full-Face Veils in Germany

      To loud applause, Chancellor Angela Merkel told her party members on Tuesday that Germany should ban full-face veils “wherever legally possible” and that it would not tolerate any application of Shariah law over German justice.

      Accepting her party’s nomination as its candidate for another four-year term, the chancellor used the moment to broaden her stance on banning the veil, trying to deflect challenges from far-right forces that have made some of their deepest gains since World War II.

      In welcoming nearly one million asylum seekers to Germany a year ago, Ms. Merkel emerged as a powerful voice for tolerance across a Europe gripped by anxiety over waves of arriving migrants and fears of terrorism.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Will Donald Trump Dismantle the Internet as We Know It?

      Talking about net neutrality is so boring, the comedian John Oliver once quipped, that he would “rather listen to a pair of Dockers tell me about the weird dream it had” than delve into the topic.

      So it’s unsurprising that Donald Trump—an entertainer with a flair for the dramatic and little interest in wonky details—has stayed away from the issue almost entirely.

      If you want to captivate a nation, discussing thorny telecommunications policy is generally a terrible way to do it. (For those who have managed to avoid reading up on net neutrality thus far, the term refers to open-web principles aimed at curbing practices that give certain companies competitive advantages in how people access the internet. The FCC formally established rules last year that allow the agency to regulate broadband the way it oversees other public utilities. Those rules ban internet service providers from throttling—or slowing—connections to certain content online, and prohibit providers from offering faster connections to corporations that can afford to pay for premium web services. The rules also discourage zero-rating—in which an internet service provider subsidizes a consumer’s cost of going online but often does so in exchange for a competitive advantage.)

    • Millions in US still living life in Internet slow lane

      Millions of Americans still have extremely slow Internet speeds, a new Federal Communications Commission report shows. While the FCC defines broadband as download speeds of 25Mbps, about 47.5 million home or business Internet connections provided speeds below that threshold.

      Dealing with speeds a bit lower than the broadband standard isn’t too horrible, but there are still millions with speeds that just aren’t anywhere close to modern. Out of 102.2 million residential and business Internet connections, 22.4 million offered download speeds less than 10Mbps, with 5.8 million of those offering less than 3Mbps. About 25.1 million connections offered at least 10Mbps but less than 25Mbps.

      54.7 million households had speeds of at least 25Mbps, with 15.4 million of those at 100Mbps or higher. These are the advertised speeds, not the actual speeds consumers receive. Some customers will end up with slower speeds than what they pay for.

  • DRM

    • W3C at a crossroads: technology standards setter or legal arms-dealer?

      The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an amazing, long-running open standards body that has been largely responsible for the web’s growth and vibrancy, creating open standards that lets anyone make web technology and become part of the internet ecosystem.

      Since 2013, the W3C has been working on a very different kind of standard: Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), designed to enable DRM for streaming video, is more than a technology standard. Thanks to US-propagated laws that give DRM makers the right to sue people who break DRM, even for legal purposes, EME will — for the first time in W3C history — give its members the power to sue security researchers, accessibility toolmakers, and competitors who improve EME implementations, regardless of whether these improvements enable copyright infringement or other illegal outcomes.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay Blocking Case Heads Back to Court in Sweden

        In 2015, a coalition of copyright holders lost a court case which demanded an ISP blockade of The Pirate Bay in Sweden. A year later and Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music and Nordisk Film are back, hoping for a victory in a brand new court that could open the floodgates for widespread website blocking.

      • Court: ‘Falsely’ Accused ‘Movie Pirate’ Deserves $17K Compensation

        An Oregon District Court has sided with a wrongfully accused man, who was sued for allegedly downloading a pirated copy of the Adam Sandler movie The Cobbler. According to the court’s recommendations, the man is entitled to more than $17,000 in compensation as the result of the filmmakers “overaggressive” and “unreasonable” tactics.

      • Wild Boys Sometimes Lose It: Duran Duran fail to reclaim their US copyright

        A few weeks after his eighteenth birthday, Duran Duran co-founder Nick Rhodes signed a music publishing agreement assigning his existing and future copyrights to a publisher, as did the other band members. None of them was aged more than 21 at the time.

      • Aussie Celebrities Join Campaign to Oppose Fair Use

        A campaign has been launched in Australia to prevent proposed changes to copyright law and the introduction of a “fair use” doctrine. Australia currently has a “fair dealing” provision but the royalties and anti-piracy group APRA AMCOS and its celebrity supporters are opposing rules that would provide more freedom.

      • Ten Years in Jail For UK Internet Pirates: How the New Bill Reads

        The Digital Economy Bill is currently at the report stage. It hasn’t yet become law and could still be amended. However, as things stand those who upload any amount of infringing content to the Internet could face up to 10 years in jail. With the latest bill now published, we take a look at how file-sharers could be affected.

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