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08.18.17

Links 18/8/2017: Wallpaper of Plasma 5.11, Oracle Liberates Java EE a Bit

Posted in News Roundup at 4:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Rust-Written Redox OS Closer To Self-Hosting

    The Redox operating system, the interesting original OS written around the Rust programming language, is closer to self-hosting as a result of this year’s Google Summer of Code.

    The GSoC’s goal has been to get Redox OS self-hosting where it can natively run a compiler toolchain for itself from within Redox rather than needing to build support on another platform.

    This summer has seen Redox OS now running on it GNU binutils, GCC, GNU Make, Dash, Curl, LLVM and Rustc, and more, but with these packages there are some limitations.

  • Podcast: CLUECON SPECIAL REPORT – The open source developer show bringing open source telephony together

    FreeSWITCH is a scalable open source cross-platform telephony platform designed to route and interconnect popular communication protocols using audio, video, text or any other form of media. It was created in 2006 to fill the void left by proprietary commercial solutions. FreeSWITCH also provides a stable telephony platform on which many applications can be developed using a wide range of free tools.

  • What are the differences between SDN open source and vendor products?

    Choosing between SDN open source and vendor-provided options is easier when you know some of the available choices. Industry analyst Lee Doyle lists some of the options.

  • Events

    • Serverless launches open source Event Gateway to tie cloud functions together

      There’s a new open source tool in town for tying different event-driven functions together. Serverless, a startup that builds tools for building applications without having to worry about underlying infrastructure, announced a new Event Gateway project today that provides developers with a platform-agnostic tool for passing events from one program to another.

      Event Gateway combines two different sets of functionality: an API gateway that lets developers monitor and manage connections between different applications, and a publish-subscribe (Pub/Sub) service that is designed to route information from one to another.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Toad in the (open source data toolset) hole [Ed: openwashing proprietary software merely because it "supports" MySQL]

      Systems management and security software company Quest Software has announced its Toad Edge product.

      This is a commercial database toolset for software application development teams and database administrators (DBAs) to develop and manage open source database environments with the first release supporting MySQL.

    • Where are You Running Off To? Open Source GIS and Fitness Route Tracking
    • Juniper Wants OpenContrail to Garner More of the Spotlight

      Juniper Networks is looking to increase its focus on OpenContrail, noting the community around the open source software-defined networking (SDN) controller has been overshadowed by its commercial Contrail platform.

    • Visual Search Goes Open Source

      The Zappen visual search repository is available on Github under the LGPL license at https://github.com/ZappenVDNS. Future planned enhancements include machine learning and integration with the EmerDNS distributed domain name system.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Richard Stallman made me change the name of my music project

      What do music and software have in common, and how far can you apply the principles of the free software movement to the music industry? Those are questions that pianist Kimiko Ishizaka and I set out to answer in 2012 when we released the Open Goldberg Variations and again in 2015 with the Open Well-Tempered Clavier. Now, we are asking for support for our next big Bach project on Kickstarter.com.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Programming/Development

    • Oracle opens up Java EE

      Oracle continues to make progress Java EE 8, the enterprise edition for the Java platform, and moving forward it would like to advance Java EE within a more open and collaborative community. Specifications are nearly complete and the Java team expects to deliver the Java EE 8 reference implementation this summer.

      As the delivery of Java EE 8 approaches, Oracle believes they have the ability to rethink how Java EE is developed in order to “make it more agile and responsive to changing industry and technology demands.”

    • Oracle considers moving Java EE to an open source foundation

      With the finalization of the Java EE 8 platform on the horizon, Oracle on Thursday said it’s considering moving Java Enterprise Edition technologies to an open source foundation.

      The move, Oracle said in a blog post, “may be the right next step, in order to adopt more agile processes, implement more flexible licensing, and change the governance process.”

    • Oracle doesn’t want Java EE any more

      Oracle wants to end its leadership in the development of enterprise Java and is looking for an open source foundation to take on the role.

      The company said today that the upcoming Java EE (Enterprise Edition) 8 presents an opportunity to rethink how the platform is developed. Although development is done via open source with community participation, the current Oracle-led process is not seen agile, flexible, or open enough. ”We believe that moving Java EE technologies to an open source foundation may be the right next step, to adopt more agile processes, implement more flexible licensing and change the governance process,” Oracle said in a statement.

    • Oracle Wants to Open Up Java EE

      Java Enterprise Edition could be leaving the tight control of Oracle and moving to an Open Source Foundation (maybe).

      Sure Java on the client side has had open-source options and sure they has been the Java Community Process (JCP) as well – But what about Java EE?

      Oracle is now openly talking about moving the Java EE process to a more open model that could include moving the whole model to a third party open source foundation.

    • Oracle Is Looking To Offload Java EE To A New Steward

      Oracle is looking to move Java EE off into an open foundation for future development.

      Oracle continues developing Java EE 8 as the Enterprise Edition with the official release expected before the end of the year, but following that, they are looking to move Java EE into some existing foundation to steward the project moving forward.

    • Don’t hate COBOL until you’ve tried it

      COBOL is the Rodney Dangerfield of programming languages—it doesn’t get any respect. It is routinely denigrated for its verbosity and dismissed as archaic. Yet COBOL is far from a dead language. It processes an estimated 85% of all business transactions, and 5 billion lines of new COBOL code are written every year.

      I worked for 10 years as a COBOL programmer, and I don’t think it’s quite as bad as its reputation would lead one to believe. In fact, it’s quite good at handling currency and fixed-format records. But COBOL does have its quirks, many of them rooted in the computing environments of the early days of programming. This is a story of how a punch card ate my program.

    • RcppArmadillo 0.7.960.1.0

Leftovers

  • How to change your email address without losing your friends
  • Sharp sues Hisense over a foreign “gag order”

    The dispute is rooted in a licensing deal gone sour between Sharp and Hisense, a fast-growing Chinese maker of televisions and appliances. In financial stress a few years ago, Sharp sold one of its factories to Hisense, along with the rights to sell televisions under the Sharp brand in the North American market for five years.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Refusing to Learn Lessons from Libya
    • The Barcelona attack

      The air war has used tens of thousands of missiles and guided bombs and after three years the Pentagon reports that the coalition assault has killed at least 60,000 ISIS fighters. This is in itself quite an achievement since the DoD view three years ago was that ISIS had a total force of no more than 30,000. Either the original estimate was wrong or ISIS has had a steady flow of new recruits from the region and beyond, the evidence pointing to the latter.

    • Trump elevates Cyber Command; split with NSA still an option

      President Donald Trump on Friday announced plans to elevate U.S. Cyber Command to the status of a unified combatant command, underscoring the significance of the cyberspace-focused mission on national security.

      In a statement released by the White House, Trump said the move “will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our nation’s defense.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Rundle: more bollocks broadcast about WikiLeaks

      Racing round the world this morning is a fresh “shock horror” WikiLeaks story, which purports to show that even if the organisation isn’t just a bunch of balalaika strumming Cossacks in the pay of Putin, it may as well be.

      “WikiLeaks Turned Down Leaks of Russian Government During US Presidential Campaign” the headline reads to a piece on the Foreign Policy site. Has the smoking AK-47 been found?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • What can be learned from the movement to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline?

      He highlights this recent history of Native American and First Nations civil resistance movements on Turtle Island—the name, from Lenape mythology, that refers to the landmass others call North America—and takes stock of their characteristics, challenges and successes, arguing that nonviolent resistance has been a more effective strategy than violent resistance in defending Native peoples and their “lifeways.”

    • Court Lets Exxon Off Hook for Pipeline Spill in Arkansas Neighborhood

      A federal appeals court has let ExxonMobil largely off the hook for a 2013 pipeline spill that deluged a neighborhood in Mayflower, Arkansas, with more than 200,000 gallons of heavy tar sands crude oil, sickening residents and forcing them from their homes.

      The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday overturned federal findings of violations and the better part of a $2.6 million fine imposed on Exxon’s pipeline unit in 2015 by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The regulator had accused the company of failing to maintain the decades-old Pegasus Pipeline and to prioritize testing of a segment of older, high-risk pipe where a 22-foot gash eventually opened along a metal seam.

      Exxon challenged the violation and fine, arguing there was no proof its actions contributed to the spill and saying it had conducted adequate testing of the pipeline as required by law. The appeals court agreed, saying the company met its legal obligation when it “conducted a lengthy, repeated and in-depth analysis” of the pipeline and its risks.

  • Finance

    • Australia moves to regulate bitcoin exchanges

      Australia has said it will move to regulate exchanges that deal in the cryptocurrency bitcoin, as part of its crackdown on money laundering and terrorist financing.

    • Ericsson is reportedly planning to cut 25,000 jobs in ‘brutal’ response to crisis

      Moreover, the sources say are advanced plans to cut Ericsson’s operations by 80-90 percent in some markets, and centralize several European markets. However, the 14,000 employee-strong Swedish work force is to stay intact – at least all R&D engineers.

    • Trump’s Immigration Plan Will Harm Americans and the Economy

      Claiming that the United States takes in too many low-skill immigrants, president Trump endorsed the RAISE Act on August 2, which would reduce legal immigration by half over the next ten years. At a White House event, he said he wanted immigration policy that “puts America first.” But Trump’s immigration plan does not put America first. If the RAISE Act passes, it will harm the U.S. economy without making Americans safer. Instead of blocking workers from entering the country, the government should expand legal, low-skill immigration.

      Freer flow of labor creates wealth for both migrants and domestic citizens. Immigrants are twice as likely to start a business as natural-born citizens, and they generally fill education gaps rather than displacing workers. An Indiana University and University of Virginia study found that 1.2 jobs are created for every one immigrant that enters the country. They also raise local wages.

      If Trump relaxed immigration laws rather than tightening them, the U.S. would enjoy more of these private sector benefits, more tax revenue, and a healthier economy overall. By shying away from foreign migration, the government will directly deprive U.S. citizens of jobs and prevent businesses from hiring suitable workers. That’s hardly putting America first.

    • Post-Brexit Trade Rules as Murky as Ever for U.K.

      The British government published proposals this week about how the U.K. might go about developing what it called “the freest and most frictionless trade possible in goods” with the European Union after Brexit.

      But they leave British exporters confused as ever about the future of trade across the English Channel, and importers with hints of heavy red tape to come.

      There was one piece of clarity: the U.K. would seek to associate itself temporarily with the EU’s customs union after Brexit. That implies that for some years the U.K. will be willing, if the EU agrees, to apply the bloc’s common external tariff to non-EU goods and zero tariffs on EU goods.

      The big benefit for Britain would be to avoid EU tariffs on goods and rules of origin—which requires exporters to establish and certify where components in their exports come from.

    • Capitalist Economies Create Waste, Not Social Value

      More production means more waste: more waste means more production. Waste is a sign of capitalism’s success. When people throw away a product after using it for a short period of time, in the spirit of planned obsolescence, they will buy a new one, contributing to growth and corporate profits.

    • Americans’ debt level notches a new record high

      Americans’ debt level notched another record high in the second quarter, after having earlier in the year surpassed its pre-crisis peak, on the back of modest rises in mortgage, auto and credit card debt, where delinquencies jumped.

      Total U.S. household debt was $12.84 trillion in the three months to June, up $552 billion from a year ago, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York report published on Tuesday.

      The proportion of overall debt that was delinquent, at 4.8 percent, was on par with the previous quarter. However a red flag was raised over the transitions of credit card balances into delinquency, which the New York Fed said “ticked up notably.”

    • Why There Will Be No 11th Hour Debt Ceiling Deal

      A new milestone on the American populaces’ collective pursuit of insolvency was reached this week. According to a report published on Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, total U.S. household debt jumped to a new record high of $12.84 trillion during the second quarter. This included an increase of $552 billion from a year ago.

      Moreover, this marked the second consecutive record high on a quarterly reported basis for U.S. household debt. Indeed, this is a momentous achievement. From our vantage point, it is significant for several reasons.

      One, it shows U.S. household debt has returned to its upward trend which had previously gone uninterrupted from the close of World War II until the onset of the Financial Crisis in late 2008. Second, it demonstrates that, like the S&P 500, new all-time highs are being attained with the seeming precision of a quartz clock. Is this just a coincidence?

      More than likely, it’s no coincidence at all. More than likely, the mass quantities of central bank liquidity that have been injected into the financial system over the last decade have provided the plentiful gushers of cheap credit that have pushed up both stock prices and household debt levels. But remember, the easy stock market gains can quickly recede while the increased debt must first drown the borrowers before it can be expunged.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • It’s Not Hysterical to Recognize the Threat Trump Poses
    • The State of Trump’s Brain

      In a previous brief publication (Posted on www.counterpunch.org May 17,2017, Diagnostic Conclusions) I discussed the diagnosis “Narcissistic Personality Disorder.” While I mentioned no name (adhering to the psychiatric admonition that one should not diagnose a patient without having completed a direct thorough examination), it was perfectly clear about whom I was referring. I now believe that not only does he fulfill all of the criteria for this disorder to a remarkable degree, but that his behavior has become worse than I thought and that not all of this can be ascribed to his personality disorder, but there is adequate evidence of deteriorating brain function.

      Sharon Begley in a brief but wonderful paper, (MEDPAGE TODAY Neurology-General Neurology, “Does the Way Trump Speaks Reveal an Underlying Problem?” By Sharon Begley, STAT News, May 23, 2017) presents compelling evidence of Trump’s cognitive decline. She bases her opinion on several studies that analyze his previous language productions that were articulate with sophisticated vocabulary and construction as contrasted with his current verbal productions and tweets that are frequently incoherent, often rambling and never, except in reading prepared material, display any of his previous superior use of language. This contrast between past and current functioning is detailed strikingly in this paper and I urge everyone to read it.

    • MSNBC Ranks as No. 1 Cable Network in Total Viewers for First Time Ever

      For Wednesday, Aug. 16, MSNBC averaged 1.52 million viewers for the total day across all of cable, edging out second place Fox News, who averaged 1.5 million. CNN ranked fourth among all cable networks for the day with 1.13 million total viewers. Nickelodeon was third with 1.17 million. However, in the key adults 25-54 demographic, CNN was number one among the cable news networks for the total day, averaging 381,000 viewers in that measure. Fox News was second in the demo for total day with 353,000 viewers, and MSNBC was third with 343,000.

    • Here are all the Republican members of Congress who have called out the president

      President Trump offered support for white nationalists and the Confederacy more than a century and a half after the end of the Civil War Tuesday, blaming the “alt-left” for violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend and saying there were “very fine people” on both sides of the clashes.

      The president’s off-script comments were cheered by white nationalists just one day after he timidly criticized the movement.

      While a number of members of Congress have released statements explicitly condemning white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK following the president’s remarks, just 24 of 292 Republicans in Congress have released statements that call out Trump directly by name or title.

    • Republicans are even avoiding Fox News when asked to talk about Trump and Charlottesville

      Congress is in recess, but Republicans are in hiding, apparently unsure how to answer questions about President Trump’s response to last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville — and unwilling to try.

      “We invited every single Republican senator on this program tonight — all 52,” Chuck Todd said on MSNBC’s “MTP Daily” on Wednesday. “We asked roughly a dozen House Republicans, including a bunch of committee chairs, and we asked roughly a half dozen former Republican elected officials, and none of them agreed to discuss this issue with us today.”

      That’s about 70 rejections altogether, and other news anchors had the same experience on Wednesday — even on Fox News.

    • Texas’ congressional delegation weighs in on Trump’s response to Charlottesville protests

      Several Texans in Congress said they were troubled by President Donald Trump’s response to recent white supremacist-fueled violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

      The Texas Tribune surveyed all 38 Texans in Congress Wednesday, asking if they believed Trump’s response to Charlottesville has encouraged the white nationalist movement.

      In a press conference Tuesday, Trump blamed “both sides” — criticizing both the “alt-left” groups that he called “very, very violent” and the white nationalists who led a protest that left several injured and one dead.

    • Bannon Mocks Colleagues and ‘Alt-Right’ in Interview
    • The New Yorker and The Economist covers blast Trump

      Unless you’ve been hiding in your nuclear bunker, you are probably aware of this week’s huge public backlash against President Donald Trump. For the past few days, Trump has blamed counter-protestors at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., for some of the violence that ultimately led to a young woman’s death. He later on Twitter praised the beauty of the statues honoring Confederate leaders that sparked the rallies in the first place.

    • Democrats in Congress to explore creating an expert panel on Trump’s mental health

      Three congressional Democrats have asked a psychiatrist at Yale School of Medicine to consult with them about forming an expert panel to offer the legislators advice on assessing President Trump’s mental health.

      Yale’s Dr. Bandy Lee told STAT that over the last few weeks members of Congress or their staff have asked her to discuss how members might convene psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals “to review the president’s mental health, and review it on a periodic basis.” The closed meeting is expected to take place in September, she said.

      The request came from three current congressmen and one former member, she said. She declined to name them, saying they told her they did not wish to be publicly identified yet.

    • When Illusion Turns to Delusion

      The year is 2022, and as nuclear warheads start raining down on the streets of New York people are running for their lives, others are staring in the sky witnessing their last moments of life rain down upon them, and then there’s one person shouting a message for all to cling to in their final moments. It’s a message filled with hope and inspires those human beings around them to die with grace.

      The message… “we must keep our eyes on the prize, the elites/mainstream media are doing this to distract us.”

      This opening statement was used as a form of sarcasm but also it holds much truth to it. The earth’s resources we use to maintain this privileged lifestyle are vanishing, flames of violence this country is unleashing on us here and to countries abroad matches the flames of orange on the fox pelt glued to our President’s head, and now the smoking gun we are starting to adopt is what lies underneath the fox pelt glued to the President’s head… his brain.

    • Playing A Symphony On That White Skin

      As the Russian collusion noose tightens around his neck, Trump needs to change the subject in a big way. To capture the dialogue it pays to conjure up a major international threat and/or seize upon a domestic tragedy like a terrorist attack or a sustained civil disorder.

      Trump quickly sensed that threatening nuclear war with North Korea had the power to rally the country around him. Even his hated “fake news” outlets seemed titillated by the ins and outs of ballistic missiles, nuclear warheads, and Guam duck and cover instructions. You could hear commentators saying that maybe Trump is right to stand up so vociferously to those lunatics in North Korea.

      But isn’t coddling Nazi/supremacist rabble a pretty stupid way to capture the news? Maybe not. Trump’s “both sides/Alt-Left” approach could create the kind of internal disorder he needs for his own survival.

    • Trump’s Economic Council Implodes As White House Defends Fash

      Donald Trump’s private and political career has been colored by several accusations of blatant racism, but it was the President’s recent defense of white supremacists and neo-Nazis that forced CEOs to finally distance themselves from the administration.

      Two White House panels, staffed with CEOs of top companies, were abruptly disbanded on Wednesday by President Trump, whose hand was forced by several high-profile resignations in the wake of the President’s reaction to the racist violence in Charlottesville, Va.

      The CEO of the mining company 3M, Inge Thulin, and Campbell’s soup CEO Denise Morrison announced they were leaving Trump’s Manufacturing Advisory Council on Wednesday morning. They were the seventh and eighth business leaders to step down from the panel since the attack in Charlottesville on Saturday.

    • 4 National Publications Call for Trump’s Removal from Office

      President Trump’s equivocating statements about white supremecists, beginning with his deplorable initial response to the Charlottesville terror attack, have drawn condemnation across the political spectrum. Numerous Democrats are calling for his impeachment.

      Now, national publications are running editorials calling for the president’s removal from office. Suggestions for removal include impeachment, forced resignation and invocation of the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    • Erdoğan: prophetic leader or political suicide?

      Last year, Erdoğan publicly encouraged women to bear at least three children, saying that women who are childless are “incomplete”, and this may well be extended to infertile women. Consequently, fertility and motherhood are fundamental bases upon which women are divided socially into ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’, which represents a most atavistic mentality. Furthermore, he reiterated the necessity of having children by asserting that women’s ability to enter the job sector ought not to act as a hindrance to their starting a family.

      Despite his repeated remarks of denial, it is clear that Erdoğan has delusions of grandeur with regards to wishing to be seen as a sultan, especially after he oversaw an extensive revival of Ottomanism, for example hosting the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in his 3.1 million square feet palace surrounded by men dressed as Ottoman soldiers. The president highlighted his intention of hosting world leaders in a similar fashion in the future.

    • Why Trump Could Be Gone Before 2020

      Throw in a financial collapse, major civil disturbances, and/or a significant domestic terror attack (real or “false flag”) and expect that number to go closer to 75 percent if not higher.

      Does it all smell a little fascistic? You betchya!

      Increasingly, though, one really must wonder if the arch-authoritarian racist idiot Donald Trump will make it to 2020. The supreme madness and evil of the rolling atrocity that is the Insane Clown Trump presidency has just now reached a new level of bizarre and scary-weird ruling-class dysfunction. Just last week, the demented, Twitter-addicted brute in the White House engaged in a reckless game of thermonuclear chicken with North Korea’s dictator Kin Jong-un. The orange-tinted beast threatened “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Trump’s aptly nicknamed war chief Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis threatened “actions that will lead to the end of the [North Korean] regime and destruction of its people.”

    • America Asleep

      There has never been a time when America was good. There was goodness in America, certainly in culture, in art and even in certain movements for social justice. There was the Wobblies and early socialists and union organizers. But the overriding reality has been one of acute racism, both institutional and individual, and of conquest and since WW2 of a rabid all consuming anti communism and quest for global hegemony. The U.S. was founded on the twin pillars of slave labor and the genocide of six hundred indigenous tribes. It is a settler colonial project that has never wavered in support for the Capitalist system. It was founded by rich white men, and that also has never changed.

    • After Charlottesville, Republicans Defend Bills to Protect Drivers Who Hit Protesters

      Following Heather Heyer death on Saturday—killed when a suspected Nazi sympathizer allegedly drove his car into a crowd of people counter-protesting violent white supremacist gatherings in Charlottesville, Virginia—Republican lawmakers have doubled down on proposals that critics say offer immunity from liability to drivers who run down protestors.

      Largely in response to mass demonstrations by Black Lives Matter activists and water protectors protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, this year state legislators in Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Texas introduced bills designed to protect motorists who strike people demonstrating on roads.

      On Sunday, Texas State Rep. Pat Fallon defended his proposal (pdf)—which was recently referred to committee—and accused critics of not knowing “the difference between lawfully protesting in a street and illegally blocking a [highway],” according to a screenshot published by The Intercept (his original posts on Twitter and Facebook have been deleted).

    • Donald Trump’s approval rating sinks to new low, latest poll finds

      Donald Trump’s approval rating has hit a new low and most Americans have an unfavourable view of him, according to a new poll.

      Around 55 per cent of those surveyed said they disapproved of the manner in which Mr Trump is leading the country with just 35 expressing positivity about his performance, the poll by analysts Marist found.

      The clear majority of Americans – 60 per cent – had an unfavourable impression of Mr Trump generally, while just 34 per cent viewed him favourably. It marks the highest negative poll rating Mr Trump has received by Marist during his tenure as president so far.

    • Trump’s evangelical panel remains intact as others disband. Who are his religious cheerleaders?

      Donald Trump was forced to disband two business advisory councils and an infrastructure panel after some of America’s most prominent business leaders fled their posts, protesting against Trump’s statements appeasing white nationalist marchers at the weekend rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

      But the president’s religious evangelical advisory board, a mix of radical born-again preachers, televangelists and conservative political influencers, still stands pristine. Not only have members avoided criticism of the president, while occasionally scolding the violence in general – some have been openly supportive of Trump’s statements assigning blame “on many sides” and slamming those who turned up to oppose the militant neo-Nazis.

    • Tabloid hate is damaging our society. The Sun’s advertisers must help stop it

      Hateful words can have hateful consequences. Experts have repeatedly warned that the drip-drip of negative stories in the UK press about migrants, Muslims and other groups has fuelled hate crime on our streets. The situation has become so extreme that UK newspapers have been called out by the United Nations over their coverage.

      This week, in an article about Brexit and immigration, the Sun columnist Trevor Kavanagh cites the horrific sexual abuse cases in Rotherham to suggest that “Muslims are a specific rather than a cultural problem”. He concludes by asking “What will we do about The Muslim Problem”.

      One of the hallmarks of extremism is a tendency to project guilt onto a whole community for the crimes of individuals within that group. Calling an entire section of our society a “problem” is not just divisive, it risks legitimising hatred towards anyone who happens to be a member of that community. It should go without saying that it’s possible to discuss – and address – the appalling crimes committed in Rotherham, without implying that the Muslim community as a whole is at fault.

    • Live Updates: Trump’s Arts And Humanities Committee Has Resigned In Protest
  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Leak of proposed US law reveals plans for widespread use of multiple surveillance technologies at borders

      Here on Privacy News Online, we often write about the impact on privacy of technologies such as facial recognition, iris scans, DNA databases, and drones. Individually, those powerful and rapidly-advancing technologies all pose different challenges to the protection of our privacy. Imagine how dangerous it would be if they were brought together in a complete, integrated system.

    • Student Privacy Tips for Parents

      The beginning of the school year is right around the corner. Over the summer, your school may have acquired new devices, software, and educational technology (or ed tech) to use in classrooms. Or, your school may have expanded existing technology programs, or may be thinking about adopting new forms of ed tech. Any of these scenarios can mean new privacy concerns and new chances for you to advocate for student privacy.

    • Hortonworks, DLT Team Up to Drive Open Source Analytics at Agencies; Shaun Bierweiler Comments [Ed: Hortonworks calls itself "open source", but it's deep in the mass surveillance business and is connected to the NSA]

      Hortonworks (Nasdaq: HDP) has entered into a partnership with DLT Solutions to help increase public sector adoption of open source analytics technologies in efforts to generate insight from data, ExecutiveBiz reported Aug. 10.

    • Whatever Your Side, Doxing Is a Perilous Form of Justice

      These groups are also changing the scope of doxing, which used to be a digital punishment for digital “crime.” “This is the internet policing the internet, but also outside lives,” Zolides says. “It’s not as bad as mob rule, but it is a kind of surveillance state.” And if stating your beliefs in public becomes a risk not just for you but for your family, and even strangers who look like you, effecting change is going to be a whole lot harder—for everyone.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Chaos in Charlottesville: No One Gave Peace a Chance, Including the Police

      What should have been an exercise in free speech quickly became a brawl.

      It’s not about who threw the first punch or the first smoke bomb.

      It’s not about which faction outshouted the other, or which side perpetrated more violence, or even which group can claim to be the greater victim.

      One young woman is dead because of the hate, violence, intolerance, racism and partisanship that is tearing this country apart, and it has to stop.

      Lawful, peaceful, nonviolent First Amendment activity did not kill Heather Heyer.

    • Pardon Me! High Crimes and Demeanors in the Age of Trump

      In such a global context, our Congress has been eager indeed to sanction the Russians, the Iranians, and the North Koreans for their roles in spreading misery, but who’s going to sanction us? Honestly, don’t you wonder how we got off the hook so easily for the world we swore that we alone would create? Isn’t the U.S. responsible for anything? Doesn’t anyone even remember?

      We now have a president with the strangest demeanor imaginable, a bully spouting a kind of rhetoric that eerily echoes the bellicose threats of North Korea. However, like the spreading terror movements and failed states of the Greater Middle East, he should be seen as a spawn of the actions, programs, and dreams of the sole superpower in its self-proclaimed glory and of its plans for a military-enforced global Pax Americana. By the time he’s done, President Trump may be responsible for high crimes, including nuclear ones, of a sort that even impeachment wouldn’t cover and who, these days, could ever miss his demeanor?

      Blame the evil doers for the devastation visiting this planet? Sure thing. But us? Not for a second.

      And while you’re at it, welcome to the post-American world.

    • Exclusive: Stonewall Jackson’s Great-Great-Grandsons Call for Removal of Confederate Monuments

      As President Trump faces growing outrage over his response to the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, we bring you an exclusive: an interview with the great-great-grandsons of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. At least 1,500 symbols of the Confederacy can be found in public spaces across the country. But now a number of the monuments are coming down. Calls for the removal of the statues are even coming from the descendants of the leaders of the Confederacy. We speak with two of the great-great-grandsons of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. Jack and Warren Christian have just written an open letter to the mayor of Richmond calling for the removal of the Stonewall Jackson statue in Richmond. They write, “Our sense of justice leads us to believe that removing the Stonewall statue and other monuments should be part of a larger project of actively mending the racial disparities that hundreds of years of white supremacy have wrought.”

    • White supremacists take DNA tests, find they’re not so white

      Pure of spirit, pure of thought and, well, pure of blood.

      Surely not many.

      Yet in our fractured times, some want to believe that they are superior because of their pure whiteness.

      A few of these sorts featured in the Charlottesville, Virginia, marches last weekend.

    • Joshua Wong’s mother’s letter to son blasts Hong Kong government’s pursuit of jailed pro-democracy activists

      Imprisoned political activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung’s mother has urged her son to “follow the truth and be courageous”, as she expressed disappointment in the justice department’s decision to seek jail terms for young student leaders.
      Grace Ng Chau-mei said the government’s pursuit of her son and two other prominent activists suggested the city had become “depraved”.
      In a letter written to her son before his sentence was handed down on Thursday, Ng said Wong, 20, had sacrificed personal and family time since first entering political activism in May 2011, for the sake of “building a more beautiful Hong Kong”.
      The letter was posted on Wong’s Facebook on Thursday night.

    • We Must Remove Shrines to White Supremacy From Public Property

      Shrines to white supremacy and racial violence denigrate my existence and that of millions of North Carolinians.

      The resurgence of white supremacy and the violence perpetrated by neo-Nazi terrorists in Charlottesville are painful reminders of how much work remains to challenge and defeat systems of hate and racial oppression in our nation.

      As a Black woman living in a former slave state adorned with monuments to the Confederate cause, I believe that work requires us to confront our own history and ask: What message do we send when we chose to honor one part of history but not others?

      The Confederacy sought to protect slavery, dissolve the Union, and preserve white supremacy. While Confederate armies ultimately failed to achieve those first two goals, the monuments erected in their memory years later under Jim Crow were and remain vile symbols of white supremacy and the terrorization of communities of color.

    • President Trump’s ‘White Blindness’

      By defending “beautiful” Confederate statues, President Trump shows how little he understands about the evils of slavery and the cruelty on lynchings and segregation, but he is by no means alone, writes Robert Parry.

    • Photographing a White-Supremacist Attack

      Some of the most dramatic scenes from last weekend’s neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville — images of white extremists beating a black man in a parking lot — were captured by photographer Zach Roberts who talked with Dennis J Bernstein.

    • Monuments to Treason

      The Mayor of Lexington, Kentucky noted on August 12 that he is taking action with the city council to remove two confederate monuments from a former city courthouse.

      The City of New Orleans in Louisiana took down four Confederate monuments earlier this year, including a large statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in May 2017.

      In Durham, North Carolina, activists toppled over a Confederate Statue on government property this past weekend.

    • CIA ‘torture psychologists’ avoid trial with secret settlement

      Two psychologists who helped design the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation programme settled a lawsuit Thursday by detainees alleging they were tortured.

      The secret settlement in the suit, brought on behalf of two living ex-detainees and one who died of hypothermia after brutal questioning in US custody, avoided what would have been the first public trial of the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of torture on suspected al-Qaeda members.

      The American Civil Liberties Union brought the suit in 2015 against psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who were recruited by the CIA in 2002 to design and help conduct interrogations of War on Terror suspects captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

      The two were paid around $80m for their work, which included helping interrogate Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks by al-Qaeda, and Abu Zubaydah, another top al-Qaeda suspect.

    • South Africa plans to grant immunity to Grace Mugabe, sources say

      The source said the government was anxious to avoid the diplomatic fallout of an arrest that would ensue from Zimbabwe, which has been led for nearly four decades by Robert Mugabe, the 93-year-old president.

    • U.S. Taxpayers May Pay CIA Torture Doctors Legal Bills

      The contractor psychologists who designed the CIA’s torture program earned a $81 million fortune from that brutality. But now that they’ve reached a settlement with some of the agency’s torture victims, taxpayers are likely to be left footing their legal costs.

      On Thursday, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who delivered for the post-9/11 CIA an interrogation regimen modeled on what Senate interrogators called “learned helplessness,” settled a case brought by three survivors of CIA black sites and the family of a man, Gul Rahman, who froze to death in one of them.

      Though the terms of the settlement are not public, and the case was not a criminal trial, both attorneys and human rights advocates consider it a major victory in the long-thwarted effort at imposing accountability for torture. It also could serve as a potential precedent for other torture survivors seeking damages.

    • Against All Decency, the Government Is Indefinitely Detaining a Man It Cannot Deport

      What the government is trying to do to Mamadu Balde is clearly unconstitutional and heartless.

      In its zeal to deport anyone, the Trump administration has jailed a man that the government has tried and failed to deport in the past. Fortunately for those of us who care about constitutional rights — not to mention basic human decency — the Supreme Court has built a wall around the government’s ability to do such a thing.

      In 1999, Mamadu Balde fled Sierra Leone, which was in the middle of a civil war that had started in 1991 and didn’t end until 2002. Mamadu’s hometown was occupied by rebels, the Revolutionary United Front, and his home was burned to the ground. In the fire, he lost all of his personal documentation, and he was separated from his parents and his sister during the occupation.

    • Adam Johnson, Keri Leigh Merritt on Charlottesville

      Many, many Americans are shocked and saddened by the horror of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, the violence and hatred it represented, even before the beating of Deandree Harris and the murder of Heather Heyer. And saddened, if perhaps less shocked, to have a president who can’t bring himself to denounce it. Whether it does more than shock and sadden will depend in part on the quality of the conversations we have about it—and that has something to do with media. How capable and how willing can we expect them to be, of examining the role of US institutions, including their own, in what happened in Charlottesville—what led to it, what could lead away from it?

    • Documenting Hate News Index
    • Track News Stories About Hate With the Documenting Hate News Index

      A Waco, Texas, black Baptist church was vandalized with a swastika and the words “Satan” and “Trump.”

    • Why explaining internal strife in the United States through “Russian influence” is lazy and unhelpful

      On 11-12 August, violent clashes erupted between the far-right Unite the Right movement and anti-fascist counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. One woman died when an alleged neo-Nazi sympathizer rammed a car into a crowd of counter-protesters. There were numerous injuries and a major national crisis erupted in the United States resulting from and inspired by the rapid rise of white nationalist, neo-Nazi and other similar sentiments far to the right of the political spectrum.

    • To See or to Nazi: Trump’s Moral Blindspot is America’s

      We’ve have entered the time of mock outrage. The press was shocked that armed neo-Nazis were marching through the streets of Charlottesville shouting “Blood and Soil” and “Jews will not replace us!” Republicans were aghast that many of these thugs were wearing Trump’s red “Make America Great Again” caps. Democrats were indignant that Republicans didn’t call for Trump’s head on a platter. Everyone felt very good about how bad they felt.

      In this national psychodrama, Trump plays the role of the Great Revealer. Trump has pulled back the curtains on the cesspool of American politics for the inspection of all but the most timid. Trump speaks the forbidden words that many other Americans secretly think. Trump utters these heresies self-righteously and without shame. Therefore he must be punished for putting the system at risk. He must be lashed for his shamelessness. He must be castigated for exposing the sickness at the heart of the American project.

    • Colin Kaepernick Won

      In angering the NFL’s white billionaire owners, the quarterback lost his job but started a movement.

    • In Charlottesville, the Local Jewish Community Presses On

      For half an hour, three men dressed in fatigues and armed with semi-automatic rifles stood across the street from the temple. Had they tried to enter, I don’t know what I could have done to stop them, but I couldn’t take my eyes off them, either. Perhaps the presence of our armed guard deterred them. Perhaps their presence was just a coincidence, and I’m paranoid. I don’t know.

    • Vice News’ Elle Reeve Confirms There Were No ‘Very Fine People’ Among White Supremacists

      “No,” Reeve answered. “Everyone who was there knew what they were doing. They were shouting ‘Jews will not replace us.’ It was very well coordinated. They had an order to the chants. There was no mistaking. There’s no innocent person wandering up and accidentally getting involved in this.”

      Reeve’s 22-minute documentary was heralded as required watching for Americans in 2017 by multiple news organizations, including HuffPost. Reeve focused her coverage on white nationalist leader Christopher Cantwell, and followed events from Friday night’s march to Sunday’s vigils.

    • White House review nears end: Officials expect Bannon firing

      Bannon has felt freed this past week and has told friends that he is ready to go “medieval” on enemies of Trump and his populist agenda both in and out of the White House.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Tattoo Copyright Infringement Suit Dribbles On

        Readers of this blog may remember that Solid Oaks Sketches filed a copyright infringement suit against Take-2 Software, the maker of the NBA 2K video game, claiming that its reproduction of several tattoos worn by famous basketball players was copyright infringement. The case is still ongoing in the Southern District of New York, and defendants filed this month a motion for judgment on the pleadings, where they argue that the use was fair use. HT to the Hollywood Reporter.

      • Artists Protest RIAA for Trampling on Their Moral Rights

        A coalition of several artist groups has sent a letter to the RIAA, accusing the group of ignoring the moral rights of songwriters. In a recent response to a US Government consultation, the RIAA argues that it would be “complex” to always attribute writers for their work, on streaming services for example. However, the artist groups stress that their rights shouldn’t be trumped by metadata concerns.

      • Cloudflare Kicking ‘Daily Stormer’ is Bad News For Pirate Sites

        For several years CloudFlare has stood up to pressure from copyright holders, both in and out of court. The entertainment industry repeatedly urged the company to take action against the Pirate Bays of this world, and Cloudflare refused time and again, stressing that it doesn’t “monitor, evaluate or judge” content on its clients’ websites. That argument is now dead.

08.17.17

Links 17/8/2017: Krita 3.2.0, New Raspbian GNU/Linux OS

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Another Behind-the-Scenes Niche Where Open Source is Winning

    Do you spend a lot of time thinking about Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons? Unless you run a retail store, probably not. But if you do run a store (or stores) along with an e-commerce operation, BLE is a hot new thing you are either using already or thinking about using before long.

    Why? Because the graffiti is on the wall, and it says, “Sales in physical stores are going down every year, and most retailers aren’t seeing enough online sales gains to take up the slack.” BLE may help stop the retail sales slide or at least slow it down. It’s cheap enough, especially with open source beacons, that it’s certainly worth a try.

  • 10 advantages of open source for the enterprise

    In the past decade, adoption of open source software at the enterprise level has flourished, as more businesses discover the considerable advantages open source solutions hold over their proprietary counterparts, and as the enterprise mentality around open source continues to shift.

    Enterprises looking to make smart use of open source software will find plenty of great reasons to do so. Here are just some of them.

  • The Managed Kubernetes Opportunity for MSPs

    Kubernetes, an open source orchestration platform for Docker containers, is an increasingly important part of computing environments.

    But managed Kubernetes services are difficult to find — which creates an opportunity for MSPs.

    A container orchestrator is a tool that automates the provisioning and management of containers.

  • 5 open source alternatives to Slack for team chat

    In any collaborative environment, it’s important to have good tools for communication. What tools work best for you depends a bit on your situation, but might include anything from mailing lists for email communication, Git or Subversion for version control, a wiki or Etherpad for collaborative authoring, a shared task list for organizing workflow, or even a full fledged project management suite.

  • Runtime Awarded Outstanding Contributor by Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF)

    Runtime, open source IoT software provider, announced it was awarded the ‘Outstanding Contributor Award’ for its open source implementation of OIC Core Specification v1.1.0 from the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF). Runtime’s open source, modern environment allows development using open APIs, running applications on sensors that require small footprints and low power requirements, like many IoT and IIoT applications require.

    “The growth and massive deployment of smart cities, agriculture, and other IoT applications require an open, platform agnostic, small footprint software,” said Runtime CEO and co-founder James Pace. “We’re proud to get the recognition of this award and look forward to continuing our work to support the IoT industry.”

  • Events

    • Went to COSCUP 2017

      I joined COSCUP2017 which is held in Taipei from August 5 to 6. ‘COSCUP’ means Conference for Open Source Coders, Users and Promoters, is an annual conference held by Taiwanese Open source community participants since 2006. It’s a major force of Free software movement advocacy in Taiwan.

    • Samsung Hosts ONOS Build 2017 and Fuels SDN Innovation

      The ONOS (Open Network Operating System) community is growing fast in different geographies around the world and it’s time to bring everyone together. In collaboration with the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), Samsung is hosting ONOS Build 2017 at its R&D Campus in Seoul, Korea, on September 20-22.

      The 2nd annual event is poised to unite more than 200 developers and contributors to share, learn, align, plan and hack together. There will be keynote and panel presentations by ONOS influencers, Community Showcase previews where people can present information about their work, an SDN Science Fair for demo presentations and a hackathon.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Canonical Invites You to Test Out the Chromium Web Browser Snap on Ubuntu Linux

        Canonical’s Olivier Tilloy has put out a call for testing for what it would appear to be the very first Chromium Snap package for Ubuntu Linux and other Snappy-enabled distros.

        Snap is a universal binary format created by Canonical to allow for easy distribution of third-party, proprietary apps across all supported Ubuntu releases, as well as other GNU/Linux distributions. It also enables users to have the latest version of an app installed on their computers.

  • CMS

    • Moodle Desktop Spawns To Windows, macOS, and Linux’s Ubuntu, Fedora, and Debian

      An official release at moodle.com, following Moodle HQ’s mobile lead Juan Leyva announcement at the Moodle forums, confirms that Moodle Desktop, a native, browser-free version of the open source LMS, is now available across desktop and mobile devices running the most popular commercial and free operating systems available.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Open core, open perimeter, and the future of enterprise software [Ed: So openwashing is the "future of enterprise software"?]

      Today, software development is built around APIs. Instead of embedding a vendor’s product into their application, developers can call an API to consume services from a vendor. The developers don’t need to know what’s responding to their calls on the backend; they simply need to know what the vendor’s API expects from their code and what they can expect to receive back from the API. It is, in many senses, wonderfully non-intimate.

      This is an inversion of the traditional open core model behind many commercial open source strategies for enterprise application layer products. In open core, the product’s core is open source, and in the enterprise edition, vendors provide and support proprietary enhancements. Using the API approach, the product’s core is often not visible in the cloud, and the only way in and out of the product is through the API.

      Because of APIs, we are seeing the differentiation, enhancement, and value in enterprise editions migrating to the perimeter via tools, widgets, and components. These can be closed source and/or open source, but we should see more open source in the perimeter, because many vendors can make money by supporting their core and charging for API calls or transactions. The two best examples of this are Twilio and Stripe.

    • After Cybersecurity Shift, Black Duck Is Growing Fast & Eyeing Deals [Ed: Anti-FOSS company finds that by attacking FOSS it can make money]
    • Understanding the Hows and Whys of Open Source Audits [Ed: Black Duck threw some money at the Linux Foundation and got its anti-FOSS agenda included in the site]
    • Black Duck Streamlines DevSecOps with New Hub Detect Capability [Ed: Here they are selling purely proprietary software]
    • Here’s Why We Need More Open Source Software For Buttplugs
  • Funding

  • Public Services/Government

    • Dutch NCSC publishes PEF network data anonymising tool as open source

      The Dutch National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has published its Privacy Enhanced Filter (PEF) as open source software. The PEF tool is a research prototype that removes privacy-sensitive information from captured internet traffic as much as possible, allowing for threat detection and prevention without compromising privacy. It was developed in collaboration with the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) and the NCTV (National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism) Safety Through Innovation Program.

  • Programming/Development

    • The future of Python: Concurrency devoured, Node.js next on menu

      The PyBay 2017 conference, held in San Francisco over the weekend, began with a keynote about concurrency.

      Though hardly a draw for a general interest audience, the topic – an examination of multithreaded and multiprocess programming techniques – turns out to be central to the future of Python.

      Since 2008, the Python community has tried to reconcile incompatibility between Python 2 and newly introduced Python 3.

      For years, adoption of Python 3 was slow and some even dared to suggest Python didn’t have a future. As late as last year, Zed Shaw, an accomplished developer and author of the popular Learn Python the Hard Way, even ventured to opine, “There is a high probability that Python 3 is such a failure it will kill Python.”

      Despite these unsubstantiated odds, Shaw – a polarizing figure for some Pythonistas – this year released a version of his book for Python 3.

    • When not to use a regex

      A regex is useful for validating simple patterns and for finding patterns in text. For anything beyond that it’s almost certainly a terrible choice.

    • Correctness in Rust: building string

Leftovers

  • Lawsuit revived over Apple retail workers’ pay during security checks

    Should Apple retail workers in California be paid for time spent having their purses, backpacks and other belongings checked to make sure they didn’t steal any of Cupertino’s goods—after they have punched out?

    Ruling in a class-action lawsuit brought by Apple retail workers, a federal judge answered “no”—California law doesn’t require Apple to pay for that time, even though it’s mandatory that employees who bring purses or other bags to work get them searched while they’re off the clock.

  • Science

    • Eclipse of reason: Why do people disbelieve scientists?

      The problem is that we don’t get to pick and choose what scientific facts or consensuses are controversial, and which are not. The same strict laws of science are everywhere.

    • David Byrne: The secret appeal of technology is that it takes away the need to talk to people

      Writing in MIT Tech Review, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne points out the secret and, in retrospect, obvious driving force behind tech: it reduces the often awkward and unreliable process of dealing with people, so you can buy music without asking friends for recommendations, take a cab without talking to a dispatcher, buy your groceries without speaking with a clerk, and get your money out of the bank without seeing a teller.

    • Eliminating the Human

      I have a theory that much recent tech development and innovation over the last decade or so has an unspoken overarching agenda. It has been about creating the possibility of a world with less human interaction. This tendency is, I suspect, not a bug—it’s a feature.

    • How Materials Science Will Determine the Future of Human Civilization

      One of the extraordinary features of the microelectronics revolution is its ability to scale, a featured captured by Moore’s Law. That has led to a rapid and massive increase in computing capacity—today’s top-of-the-range smartphones have the computing power equivalent to the world’s most powerful supercomputers from the early 1990s. Tomorrow’s smartphones will be even more powerful.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Hospitals in Trump Country Suffer as Muslim Doctors Denied Visas to U.S.

      Every March, doctors across the United States and the world eagerly await “Match Day” — the day they find out what residency, internship, or fellowship program they’ve been matched with. By that point, residency candidates have completed medical school and passed a series of rigorous qualifying exams. For those who are not American — about a quarter of all doctors in the U.S. are foreign-born — there’s one additional step: securing a J-1 visa, a nonimmigrant exchange visa conditioned on an individual’s return to their home country for at least two years at the conclusion of the program.

      In the weeks following the March 17 match, dozens of Pakistani physicians had their J-1 applications denied in Islamabad and Karachi, said Shahzad Iqbal, a Pakistani-American physician in New York.

      Jan Pederson has spent the last 30 years of her legal career representing foreign-born physicians coming to the U.S. for residency or fellowship programs. It’s an unheralded but essential line of work, because without foreign doctors, the U.S. healthcare system would simply collapse, with the pain felt most acutely in rural areas. U.S. medical schools don’t produce anywhere near enough graduates to meet the needs of the country, particularly in places where people are reluctant to move to.

    • Meet the women affected by Abkhazia’s abortion ban

      A year and a half ago, the authorities in Abkhazia banned abortions in nearly all circumstances. These women have paid the price.

    • Many Nurses Lack Knowledge of Health Risks for New Mothers, Study Finds

      In recent months, mothers who nearly died in the hours and days after giving birth have repeatedly told ProPublica and NPR that their doctors and nurses were often slow to recognize the warning signs that their bodies weren’t healing properly. Now, an eye-opening new study substantiates some of these concerns.

      The nationwide survey of 372 postpartum nurses, published Tuesday in the MCN/American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, found that many of them were ill-informed about the dangers new mothers face. Needing more education themselves, they were unable to fulfill their critical role of educating moms about symptoms like painful swelling, headaches, heavy bleeding and breathing problems that could indicate potentially life-threatening complications.

    • FDA slams more homeopaths for playing fast and loose with toxic chemicals

      The Food and Drug Administration sent a sharp letter this month to a Canadian-based homeopathic pharmaceutical manufacturer named Homeolab USA. The letter warned of “significant violations” the agency found during a recent inspection and poor quality control of the company’s infant teething products that contain the deadly poison belladonna, aka deadly nightshade.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Company’s dystopian promotional video for drone armed with machine gun
    • Is it fair to punish Manchester in ‘liveability’ survey after its terror attack?

      The former head of global counter-terrorism at MI6 has criticised an assessment that living conditions in Manchester have plummeted as a result of the terror attack in May, calling it unfair and counterproductive.

      The Economist intelligence unit (EIU) published its 2017 ranking of living conditions in 140 cities around the world on Wednesday, with Manchester the fastest-falling. It dropped eight places to 51st, putting it just 0.3% above London in 53rd.

      But with the EIU directly attributing the fall to an increased threat of terrorism in the city following the bombing of the Manchester Arena on 22 May – in which 22 children and adults were killed and more than 250 were injured – questions are being asked over the fairness of the criteria.

    • Trump’s Outdated Hatred for Iran

      Regimes that crave U.S. support in their regional rivalries are apt to strike two different postures that may seem contradictory but really aren’t. They publicly play up the supposed threatening nature and incorrigibility of the rival, to keep Americans thinking that the United States should take sides against the rival. But they also realize that unending hostility and tension are not in their own best interests.

    • Email Shows UAE’s Ambassador Worried About ‘Targeting of Civilian Sites’ in Yemen War

      In the fall of 2015, the United Arab Emirates’s ambassador to the United States, Yousef Al Otaiba, sent a concerned email to a group of high-level officials in his government. The war in Yemen, he said, was becoming a public-relations nightmare.

      The Obama administration, he told leadership back home, remained reluctantly supportive, but the ongoing Saudi-led campaign was harming the U.S.’s reputation and thus putting his own country, an active and eager participant in the war, in a delicate position.

      The September 2015 memo documenting Otaiba’s concerns was sent to a wide set of UAE decision makers. It was originally emailed to Assistant Secretary-General of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Al Shamsi, Crown Prince Court Undersecretary Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, and Syed Basar Shueb, a Pal Technology executive.

    • The North Korea Standoff, Like the Cuban Missile Crisis, Exposes the Reckless U.S. Worldview

      The confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea has cooled off slightly with Kim Jong-un’s announcement that, at least for the time being, he will not attack Guam with an “enveloping fire.”

      So since we have a small breather before Armageddon, let’s take the time to understand what this conflict is all about.

      A good place to start is with the repeated comparisons U.S. politicians have made between the situation with North Korea and the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962.

      For instance, Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, recently said, “This is analogous to the Cuban missile crisis.”

    • Weapons Money Intended For Economic Development Being Secretly Diverted to Lobbying

      The United Arab Emirates created a “slush fund” using money meant for domestic economic development projects and funneled it to a high-profile think tank in the United States, emails obtained by The Intercept show.

      Last week, The Intercept reported that the UAE gave a $20 million grant to the Middle East Institute, flooding a well-regarded D.C. think tank with a monetary grant larger than its annual budget. According to an email from Richard Clarke, MEI’s chairman of the board, the UAE got the money from offset investments — development investments by international companies that are made as part of trade agreements.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange’s unique existence uses SAS fitness to combat takeaway overload and constant fear of slow-working poison brings insomnia and depression

      As the founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange has released thousands of secret documents about the world’s Governments.

      But his crusade has made him a wanted man.

      Living in fear of arrest and extradition following a rape allegation in Sweden, he took the extraordinary decision, five years ago, to seek asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

      He has not set foot outside since.

      The 46-year-old has relied on the outside world to bring him food, clothes, technology to communicate, books for entertainment and visitors for company.

      [...]

      ““It’s like living in a space shuttle.

      “Out of concerns about security, and also perhaps because paparazzi occasionally wait for him on the street, he rarely parts the curtains in the daytime, or stands at the balcony.

      “He lives in a continuous state of hypervigilance, believing that the Embassy could be stormed at any moment.”

      That hypervigilance applies to every element of his life.

    • Assange meets U.S. congressman, vows to prove Russia did not leak him documents

      Julian Assange told a U.S. congressman on Tuesday he can prove the leaked Democratic Party documents he published during last year’s election did not come from Russia and promised additional helpful information about the leaks in the near future.

    • FOIA Lawsuit Filed Over DOJ Data Complainant Is Pretty Sure Doesn’t Even Exist

      Other authors at Lawfare examined the claim in detail, finding that when people extradited to America to face charges were excluded from the count, the ratio of foreign-born terrorism convicts dropped to 18-21% of the total — not anywhere near a “vast majority.”

      Beyond that, there’s likely zero data available to support Trump’s claim. Wittes notes the DOJ doesn’t actually track where convicts are born, and certainly doesn’t do so when foreigners are booted from the country by immigration enforcement, only to be dragged back to face criminal charges.

      Wittes filed a FOIA request for the numbers the DOJ supposedly “provided” to the president. So far, he’s heard nothing back. His requests have been acknowledged but no further processing has been done, not even a determination as to whether he’d qualify for a fee waiver. Now, he’s suing [PDF].

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Oldest Antarctic ice ever found shows climate of 2.7 million years ago

      Antarctic ice cores have recorded an impressive span of climatic history for us, covering the last 800,000 years. But scientists are greedy, always looking to go back just a little further. Climate records based on things like seafloor sediment cores already take us much further back, but ice cores can reveal unique details. Groups are currently searching for locations to drill new ice cores that might provide a contiguous record back to over the million-year mark.

      But another group has been cheating, and this has allowed them to take a big leap past everyone else. Instead of looking at places where the ice at the bottom might be oldest, they’ve been looking at places where that oldest ice has been squeezed up to the surface against high points of bedrock. A few years ago, they published data from samples of ice that came back at right about 1 million years old. At a conference on Wednesday, the researchers revealed the fruits of their second attempt—ice as old as 2.7 million years, blowing away their previous record.

    • Health benefits of wind and solar offset all subsidies

      Wind and solar energy are obviously essential in reducing carbon emissions, but they also have a remarkable side effect: saving lives. As they edge out fossil fuels, renewables are reducing not just carbon emissions, but also other air pollutants. And the result is an improvement in air quality, with a corresponding drop in premature deaths.

      A paper in Nature Energy this week dives into the weeds by trying to estimate the economic benefits of wind and solar power across the whole of the US. Berkeley environmental engineer Dev Millstein and his colleagues estimate that between 3,000 and 12,700 premature deaths have been averted because of air quality benefits over the last decade or so, creating a total economic benefit between $30 billion and $113 billion. The benefits from wind work out to be more than 7¢ per kilowatt-hour, which is more than unsubsidized wind energy generally costs.

  • Finance

    • Tonbridge: Jobs lost as Southern Salads goes out of business

      “Despite successfully producing over 50 tonnes of salad per day for its array of customers, the company faced an unprecedented pressure on cash flow in the immediate aftermath of last summer’s EU referendum vote.

    • ‘A recipe for chaos’: UK Brexit plan provokes alarm along Irish border

      Until last June there was nothing to observe on the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland except a change in the colour of markings on the verge of the road from yellow to white. But 14 months after the UK voted to leave the European Union, giant billboards calling for “no EU frontier in Ireland” and “no hard border” mark the divide between the countries.

      The concern on both sides of the open 310-mile (499km) border is whether the signs represent just the beginning, a change made worse by an air of mistrust of all politicians.

      Hugh Morgan, who has a dairy farm that straddles both sides of the border in Carrickarnon but also runs a fuel business for hauliers in 16 countries, complained that people like him were ignored.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • N.H. Republican headquarters vandalized, ‘Nazis’ painted on wall
    • ‘Terror’ struck Barcelona, according to Trump. Charlottesville? ‘Call it whatever you want.’

      Yet at a news conference three days after a similar episode in Charlottesville, where an alleged Nazi sympathizer drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring 19, the president would not definitely assign the same label.

      “Was this terrorism?” a journalist asked on Tuesday.

      “Well, I think the driver of the car is a disgrace to himself, his family and this country,” Trump replied, “and that is — you can call it terrorism, you can call it murder, you can call it whatever you want.”

    • Donald Trump endorses racist mass murder as an anti-terror tactic, citing fake story

      Returning to the anti-Muslim bigotry that was a hallmark of his campaign, U.S. President Donald Trump once again endorsed a fictional U.S. massacre of Muslim terrorists, with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood, as an example of how to deter terrorism.

      It would be extraordinary even if the story were true: the president of the United States advocating extrajudicial killing, involving explicit religious animus, as an anti-terror tactic.

      But the story is fake. The president was asking the world to “study” an online hoax.

      “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday afternoon. “There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!”

    • Dem to introduce impeachment articles over Charlottesville

      Rep. Steve Cohen (D), a Tennessee liberal, announced Thursday that he will introduce articles of impeachment against President Trump based on his defense of the white supremacists who participated in a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

      “Instead of unequivocally condemning hateful actions by neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Klansmen following a national tragedy, the President said ‘there were very fine people on both sides.’ There are no good Nazis. There are no good Klansmen,” Cohen said in a statement.

    • Jewish Trump Staff Silent on His Defense of Rally With Anti-Semitic Marchers
    • Charlottesville Jews Were Forced Out The Back Door By Neo-Nazi Marchers On Shabbat

      As white supremacists converged on a Charlottesville park for their violent “Unite the Right” rally, some of them menaced the city’s historic Beth Israel synagogue during Shabbat services, standing across from the building with semi-automatic weapons in their hands.

      “Had they tried to enter, I don’t know what I could have done to stop them, but I couldn’t take my eyes off them, either,” wrote Alan Zimmerman, the president of the Reform congregation, about the three neo-Nazis he stared down as congregants prayed inside.

      Zimmerman, in an essay published on ReformJudaism.org, said that neo-Nazis marching past the building shouted hateful slogans like “Seig Heil,” the Third Reich’s “Hail Victory” shout. He added that the synagogue had retained an armed guard, after the Charlottesville police department failed to provide the synagogue with security on Saturday.

      The synagogue took other precautionary measures, due to calls on far-right Web sites for the building to be burned. Zimmerman said that he and the rabbis decided to remove the congregation’s Torah scrolls to a more secure location.

    • White nationalists are flocking to genetic ancestry tests. Some don’t like what they find

      It was a strange moment of triumph against racism: The gun-slinging white supremacist Craig Cobb, dressed up for daytime TV in a dark suit and red tie, hearing that his DNA testing revealed his ancestry to be only “86 percent European, and … 14 percent Sub-Saharan African.” The studio audience whooped and laughed and cheered. And Cobb — who was, in 2013, charged with terrorizing people while trying to create an all-white enclave in North Dakota — reacted like a sore loser in the schoolyard.

      “Wait a minute, wait a minute, hold on, just wait a minute,” he said, trying to put on an all-knowing smile. “This is called statistical noise.”

    • Trump’s Business Councils Disband After CEOs Defect

      Business leaders disbanded two CEO councils created by the White House, a move they said was protesting Donald Trump’s failure to sufficiently condemn racism, marking a dramatic break between U.S. companies and a president who has sought close ties with them.​

      In the hours that followed Mr. Trump’s combative news conference Tuesday—during which he appeared to apportion blame equally between white supremacist groups and counterprotesters for lethal violence in Charlottesville, Va.—executives on two prominent advisory councils started calling each other to discuss whether to stay on.

    • Trump dumps CEOs before more could abandon him

      Some of America’s top CEOs were preparing to issue a statement criticizing the president — so he effectively fired them from a White House council first.

      President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced he was ending two business advisory councils amid a stampede of defections and after one of the groups had decided to disband over the president’s much-criticized response to the weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Va.

      A person close to Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum said the group had already told the White House it had resolved to disband and condemn the president’s Tuesday claims that “both sides” were responsible for violence at a white supremacist and neo-Nazi gathering and that some “very fine people” were among the marchers defending a Confederate statue.

    • What Steve Bannon thinks about Charlottesville

      On Tuesday night, while Gary Cohn was fuming about President Trump’s latest comments, Steve Bannon was excitedly telling friends and associates that the “globalists” were in mass freakout mode.

    • Brexit threat to London’s legal eagles

      Brexit threatens to deal a hefty blow to the U.K.’s lucrative legal profession — and create huge uncertainty for courts across the rest of Europe.

      That’s if Brexit negotiators don’t secure a deal that ensures Britain remains in a decades-old system that allows civil and commercial court rulings in one EU country to be recognized and enforced in another.

    • President Trump’s false claim that counter-demonstrators lacked a permit
    • Trump Comments on Race Open Breach With C.E.O.s, Military and G.O.P.
    • Trump’s stance on Virginia violence shocks America’s allies

      America’s closest allies condemned U.S. President Donald Trump in unusually strong and personal terms on Wednesday after he put part of the blame for violent clashes in the state of Virginia on those marching against gun-brandishing neo-Nazis.

      British Prime Minister Theresa May, widely criticised at home for cultivating close ties to Trump during his first half year in office, spoke out after the president repeated his view that the white nationalists and counter-protesters were both to blame.

    • His future in jeopardy, Bannon attacks administration rivals

      President Trump’s embattled chief strategist Steve Bannon lashed out at his rivals in the administration in a rare interview with the American Prospect, which was published Wednesday.

      Bannon told progressive American Prospect writer Robert Kuttner about his plan to neutralize his opponents, which include top officials and advisers to President Trump.

      “They’re wetting themselves,” he said of his adversaries in the administration who disagree with him on trade and economic policies.

      Bannon proceeded to relay how he wants to create an outside group of trade hawks with factions from both the left and the right wings of the political spectrum. Bannon told Kuttner he’s “changing out people at East Asian Defense,” and getting Susan Thornton, the acting head of East Asian and Pacific Affairs for the State Department, “out at State.”

      “That’s a fight I fight every day here,” he said. “We’re still fighting. There’s Treasury and [National Economic Council chair] Gary Cohn and Goldman Sachs lobbying.”

    • A big jump in percentage in favor of impeachment — and other Trump poll horrors

      Moreover, the number of those favoring impeachment has shot up. “Currently, four in ten (40%) Americans believe Trump deserves to be impeached, up 10 percentage points from 30% who expressed support for this action in February. A majority (53%) of Americans do not believe Trump should be impeached and removed from office, a view held by 65% of the public in February.” And this is before we have any report from the special prosecutor or congressional committees. In addition, “Approximately half (49%) of the public believes Trump has violated the Constitution, while nearly as many (43%) disagree.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • What seems like a court’s ‘judgement entry’ ordering removal of my Post item about a previous forged court order

      As I’ve mentioned before, Google will sometimes deindex material — essentially hide it from online searches — when it sees a court order that finds the material to be defamatory. This leads some people to submit forged court orders instead of real ones (and engage in other similar shenanigans).

    • Aspiring Actor Forges Court Order To Delist Content, Gets Busted By Judge, Forges Court Order To Delist Article About Contempt Charges

      Eugene Volokh (along with Public Citizen’s Paul Levy) has made a cottage industry of sniffing out bogus/fraudulently-obtained court orders demanding the delisting of unflattering content. Much of this seemed to be the work of desperate reputation management “gurus,” who had over-promised and under-delivered in the past. Abusing the DMCA process only goes so far. Sometimes you need to lie to judges to get things done.

      Sometimes you just need to pretend you’re the judge. Convicted sex offender Abraham Motamedi forged a court order awarding himself legal fees and the delisting of content indicating he was a convicted sex offender. When called on it, Motamedi claimed he had nothing to do with it while also claiming the order was legit. These two viewpoints cannot be resolved logically. If it was legit, Motamedi would have had to appear in court to obtain them. If it wasn’t legit, then assertions otherwise won’t suddenly make a nonexistent case appear on a Michigan court’s docket.

    • Neo-Nazi Daily Stormer loses its Russian domain, too

      Now the Russians have nixed the Daily Stormer’s new online home, citing the country’s laws against hate speech. According to Radio Free Europe, the Russian company responsible for registering the Daily Stormer’s Russian domain received a letter from Russian authorities asking it “to look into the possibility of register suspension due to extremist content of this domain. So we decided to suspend [the] domain Dailystormer.ru.”

    • Impostor Sending Out DMCA Notices In Chaturbate’s Name Now Targeting Techdirt URLs

      A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a long series of questionable DMCA notices I thought had been issued by online onanism portal Chaturbate. The takedown requests appeared to have been generated by a faulty algorithm with no human vetting involved. Many of those I examined appeared to target names of Chaturbate broadcasters, but without any of the precision one normally associates with the word “target.” Sites named for delisting included geographical research, an Amazon page for a book about the Hadron Collider, track meet records collections, and even Chaturbate itself.

      After some discussion with Chaturbate, it was determined someone is filing notices in Chaturbate’s name, but without Chaturbate’s official blessing. The scattershot, extremely prolific approach was now harming Chaturbate’s reputation, tying it to bogus DMCA notices targeting all sort of non-infringing content. (I have since updated the original post to reflect the my conversations with Chaturbate and offer my apologies for naming the wrong party in the original post.)

    • Once Again, Rather Than Deleting Terrorist Propaganda, YouTube Deletes Evidence Of War Crimes

      It really was just last week that we were discussing the problems of telling platforms like YouTube to remove videos concerning “violent extremism” because it’s often tough to tell the difference between videos that many people think are okay and ones that those same people think are not. But in that post, we also linked back to a story from 2013 in which — after getting pressure from then Senator Joe Lieberman — YouTube started removing “terrorist” videos, and in the process deleted a channel of people documenting atrocities in Syria.

    • In fight for free speech, researchers test anti-censorship tool built into the internet’s core

      When the Chinese government wanted to keep its users off Facebook and Google, it blocked the entire country’s access to the U.S. companies’ apps and sites. And when citizens started using third-party workarounds — like Tor, proxies and VPNs — to get around those blocks, it moved to quash those, too.

      So a handful of researchers came up with a crazy idea: What if circumventing censorship didn’t rely on some app or service provider that would eventually get blocked but was built into the very core of the internet itself? What if the routers and servers that underpin the internet — infrastructure so important that it would be impractical to block — could also double as one big anti-censorship tool?

      It turns out, the idea isn’t as crazy as it might seem. After six years in development, three research groups have joined forces to conduct real-world tests of an experimental new technique called “refraction networking.” They call their particular implementation TapDance, and it’s designed to sit within the internet’s core.

    • Internet turns on white supremacists and neo-Nazis with doxing, phishing

      In the wake of last week’s “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville, Virginia—as well as the vehicular murder of a woman by (probably) a neo-Nazi connected to the event—the quest to identify and out those who marched with white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups last Friday and Saturday is in full swing.

    • Web hosting, CDN companies torn as to how to respond to racist websites

      Some tech companies that provide hosting, domain, and CDN services to many of the most prominent hate groups are now re-evaluating those decisions in the wake of recent far-right violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. However, other firms are holding their course in the name of free speech principles.

      Squarespace, a hosting company, told Ars on Wednesday that it would soon be booting some of its current customers. The company currently hosts numerous extremist sites, including freedomfront.org, identityevropa.com, and npiamerica.org, among others.

    • Racist Daily Stormer goes down again as CloudFlare drops support
    • CloudFlare CEO says his Daily Stormer takedown was “arbitrary” and “dangerous”

      And in an internal company email obtained by Gizmodo, Prince acknowledged that the decision was exactly as arbitrary as it seemed.

    • The Daily Stormer just lost the most important company defending it [iophk: "blocking things companies don't like is different then blocking things that are plain illegal, however the distinction is getting blurred"]

      “This was my decision, I don’t think it’s CloudFlare’s policy and I think it’s an extremely dangerous decision in a lot of ways,” Prince said. “I think that we as the internet need to have a conversation about where the right place for content restriction is…but there was no way we could have that conversation until we resolved this particular issue.”

    • FCC Censorship Rules Vary for Broadcast, Cable, and Streaming

      It’s about halfway through the fifth season of “Orange Is the New Black” when Elizabeth Rodriguez’s recently un-incarcerated, always opinionated Aleida sums up the plight of female-forward broadcast television writers everywhere with one simple, well-crafted exchange.

      “Can I say ‘bitches?’” she asks a local newscaster and then, when she gets the green light, immediately and involuntarily exclaims, “s—.” The journalist, played by Thea McCartan, responds she can’t say that, to which Aleida replies, “What kind of f—ing bulls— rule is that?”

    • Malaysian censorship laws take a hit after refugee films stifled

      FORTIFY RIGHTS has echoed calls from local rights groups for the Malaysian government to repeal the country’s Film Censorship Act, after several films about refugees were censored including one about Rohingya child brides in Malaysia.

      Activists say the Film Censorship Board (LPF) officials came to the Refugee Festival in Kuala Lumpur late last week, subsequently demanding the partial censorship of Bou, a film about trafficked brides from Burma (Myanmar), and total ban on Kakuma Can Dance about refugee hip hop dancers in Kenya.

    • CPI(M) accuses Modi govt of censorship over Tripura CM speech broadcast row

      The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Wednesday accused the Narendra Modi government at the Centre of imposing the worst kind of censorship. It said the Agartala centres of Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR) blacked out Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s Independence Day address to the people of the state.

      The CPI (M) also furnished an internal letter of AIR as evidence that the state broadcasters were unwilling to broadcast the speech unless the “CM agrees to reshape the content (of his speech) making it suitable to the solemnity of the occasion and sentiments of the people of India at large”.

    • The architecture of censorship
    • In Nihalani-free censorship, ‘Babumoshai Bandookbaaz’ cleared with 8 cuts, not 48
    • Anti-censorship campaigner ‘happy’ to have Kevin Myers moderate talk

      “I wouldn’t be much of a free speech advocate if I refused to debate with someone whose views I disagree with,” she said.

    • China cracks down on VPN vendors
    • China targets Alibaba’s Taobao, other e-commerce sites, in VPN crackdown
    • China’s top Internet regulators warn Alibaba over illicit content, VPNs
    • China Tightens Regulations On VPNs Used To Bypass ‘Great Firewall’
    • Censorship Worse Than Hate
    • Keep the Internet’s Backbone Free From Censorship
    • Tech Companies Decide White Supremacists Should Wear Hoods—Which Could Make Them Harder to Track
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Canadian woman banned from US for life after border agent searches phone, finds email to doctor about drug use

      When border officials learned about the incident by taking Chelsea’s phone and reading her email to her doctor, they informed her that she was being issued a lifetime ban from entering the US.

    • DOJ demands 1.3 million visitor IP addresses from protest website: Were you using a VPN?

      This past Monday, Dreamhost unveiled details about their ongoing legal battle with the United States government to protect the IP addresses and therefore identities of the 1.3 million website visitors. Dreamhost first received the search warrant in July and has been fighting vehemently against the government request using the First and Fourth Amendment.

    • The 325,807 Times The Australian Government Was Accessing Metadata

      The revelation comes from the annual Attorney-General’s Department report on the operation of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act that gives Australian law enforcement agencies powers to access the call records and other metadata of every Australian telephone and internet account without a warrant.

      Australian has signed a mutual assistance treaty with China that obliges Australia to hand over “documents, records and articles of evidence” in relation to criminal matters. Similar treaties all over the world help law enforcement authorities share information to help catch criminals in their own country, but it appears that during the 2015-2016 financial year was the first time Australia had ever reported that China had been provided metadata under this scheme.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Thai Activist Jailed for the Crime of Sharing an Article on Facebook
    • Not Rights but Justice: It’s Time to Make Nazis Afraid Again

      The intolerable events in Charlottesville bring new urgency to an old debate: Should we allow neo-Nazis a public platform? Every aspect of the Unite the Right rally—not only its bloody denouement—stands as grounds for a resounding “no.” With torches, swastikas, metal poles crashing into a black man’s skull, and a Dodge Charger plowing into defenseless bodies, the far right has made undeniable what was already clear: They are enemies, not political interlocutors. This makes it all the more crucial to delineate what we do or do not mean when we demand an end to according space for speech and assembly to far-right racists.

      In the last year of Trump-emboldened white nationalism, the debate, largely shaped by the far right, has rested on a fulcrum of First Amendment rights. The right of anyone to speak publicly, the neo-fascists say, is the very freedom that actual fascism would see decimated. And it is a line that has found a comfortable home with the liberal commentariat. This view finds its best iteration in that old quote so regularly misattributed to Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” (It was actually written by British Voltaire biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall.)

    • Listen: Voice recordings of actual black slaves once indentured in the South

      This video of the January 12, 1999 broadcast of Nightline is really quite remarkable. It shares clips of voice recordings made in the mid-twentieth century of black people born into U.S. slavery.

      That’s right, it features the voices of real (former) slaves.

      To get these interviews, folklorists traveled the South in the 1930s and 1940s carrying around 200 lb. “portable” 78 RPM disc recorders.

      The technology to clean up and digitize the scratchy memory-filled discs only became available in the 1990s.

    • How America Spreads the Disease that is Racism by not Confronting Racist Family Members and Friends

      As of today, the mother of the murder suspect who killed at least one person in Charlottesville Virginia during a white supremacist rally, told reporters that all she knew the last time she talked to her son, is that he was going to an “Alt-Right” rally. She had no idea her son was a racist — or did she?

    • Pastor Wants Presidents’ Names Removed From Washington, Jackson Parks Over Ties To Slavery

      A Chicago pastor has asked the Emanuel administration to remove the names of two presidents who owned slaves from parks on the South Side, saying the city should not honor slave owners in black communities.

      A bronze statue of George Washington on horseback stands at the corner of 51st and King Drive, at the northwest entrance to Washington Park.

    • Five Actions Californians Can Take Right Now to Promote Digital Civil Liberties

      Over the next few weeks, EFF and our allies will enter our final push to pass legislation out of the California legislature that would defend and promote civil liberties. With a Democratic super-majority eager to push back against the federal government, our chances have seldom been better to move the ball forward on the state level. We have also seen bipartisan support emerge around issues such as transparency and youth access to technology.

      But we need all Californians who value digital rights to flood their state lawmakers with communications demanding they send these key reforms to the governor’s desk. We’ve set up five simple action pages, covering issues such as police surveillance, broadband privacy, and youth computer rights. Please lend your voice to ensure California is at the forefront of the battle for our rights.

    • After Years of Slammed Doors, Torture Survivors Finally End Impunity Streak

      As an attorney representing victims of torture, one of the most inspiring things I have ever seen is the sheer determination of survivors standing up and publicly confronting those responsible. That’s why I’m so elated that our clients Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and Obaidullah have surmounted so many obstacles in their long pursuit of justice.

      Last week, almost two years after filing their lawsuit, our clients prevailed over the final attempt to keep their claims out of court. And today, these brave men secured a settlement from James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, the two psychologists who designed and implemented the CIA torture program that ensnared two of them and killed a relative of the third.

    • Historic Settlement Reached on Behalf of CIA Torture Victims

      Two victims of the CIA’s torture program have reached a historic legal settlement with the contract psychologists who designed and helped implement it. The U.S. government has never publicly compensated any of the men tortured in CIA custody, and this legal settlement — the terms of which are confidential — is the first of its kind.

      Under former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the Justice Department repeatedly moved to block lawsuits at their early stages, arguing that court cases about government torture in clandestine prisons would reveal state secrets. In 2015, however, the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the two psychologists the CIA paid to create torture techniques.

    • Reflections on the Charlottesville Attacks

      Heavily armed neo-Nazis and Ku-Klux-Klanners descended on Charlottesville,Virginia, last weekend to intimidate the community into reversing a decision to remove a Confederate statue. The violence included one right-wing extremist plowing his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring at least 19 others, the same kind of attack that has occurred in Europe and drawn denunciations as terrorism.

      I spoke with Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, about the recent violence and how the surge in racism is affecting the people whom she represents. Ai-jen Poo was named as one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2012, and a MacArthur Genius Fellow in 2016.

    • The Alt-Right and the 1%

      When President Donald Trump let loose at his Tuesday press conference, equating anti-racism protesters with neo-Nazis, it was a big hit with the men who’d taken part in the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

      But Trump wasn’t just playing to the kind of racist crowd that marches around carrying Tiki torches and waving swastika flags in the streets. He was also sending a signal to those in the executive suites.

      Racism has always permeated this country up and down the income scale. And in our era of extreme concentration of economic and political power, emboldening just a few men at the top can be tremendously dangerous.

    • Charlottesville, Oppression, and the Imperative of System Change

      We are living in deeply troubling times. Our democracy is eroding, wealth and income inequality has skyrocketed, and tragedy and violence seemingly erupt daily around the world. The recent events in Charlottesville, VA are just the latest reminder of the disturbing place we find ourselves in. Yes that incident was about race and hate, but it also connects to something much deeper. Anyone who pays attention to current events should be starting to connect the dots between the myriad problems plaguing our society.

      While we categorize and silo these problems as distinct and separate issues, they are actually interconnected as they arise out of a single dominant worldview that values profit and power over people and planet.

      This extractive, neoliberal, patriarchal, and supremacist world order is literally killing us and killing the biosphere that sustains us. That is the inconvenient truth we must face. It is not enough to make incremental reforms and to push for changes that are politically expedient. We must come to realize the imperative of transforming our system of political economy and our cultural values.

    • Barbarian Left

      By abandoning the revolutionary left—anarchist, antifascist, antiracist, antiwar, autonomist, ecosocialist, Marxist, or other—the opportunistic and disgruntled leftists of the last few decades have played a significant role in suffocating viable leftist opposition against the empire of late capital. Regardless of their intentions, they’ve enabled the almost complete subjugation of those the empire deems to be barbaric, which would be 90-plus percent of the human species.

    • A Stealth History Lesson in Baltimore

      We were all in the dark, on the edge of the wooded park known as Wyman Dell, opposite the Baltimore Museum of Art. It was 2 a.m. Wednesday, and despite the presence of a couple of dozen workers in hardhats, a huge crane, a flatbed truck and a couple of other pieces of heavy machinery, the work site, surrounded by police tape, was remarkably still.

      All of us — the workers, the cops, the mayor, scattered reporters and onlookers — watched the focus of the work, an imposing sculpture of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, each on his horse. The crane lowered a big harness dangling from a red metal hook. One worker clambered up on a ladder to fit the harness around the prodigious girth of the generals’ steeds. There was much adjustment and anticipation.

      Suddenly, with a lurch, up Lee and Jackson went, wrenched loose from the stone base where they had rested for nearly 70 years. They dangled a bit and then came the big swing up into the trees, making their horses look like nothing so much like flying twin Pegasuses with warriors mounted on their backs. And then they dropped to the ground, where, off of their stone base and in the shadow of the trees, the generals really did look awfully life-like, as if they might still be trotting across the battlefield at Chancellorsville.

    • Here Are the Hate Incidents Against Mosques and Islamic Centers Since 2013

      Out of 370 reported incidents, 221 have publicly available reports and news coverage. You can see the news coverage CAIR’s public incident data is based on below. You can see the public reports provided by CAIR below.

    • On Charlottesville: Why the Center Is Okay with Nazis but Hates the Left

      Look, the Charlottsville march of Nazis (they had the swastika and the salute, they’re not alt-right) showed very clearly the difference between how Nazis and left-wingers are treated. Left-wingers march, and the riot police are in their faces. Nazis march, and the police don’t even intervene while they are beating up counter-protestors.

      Then, of course, we have the Nazi who drove his car into the crowd, and much of the media calling it a “clash with counteprotestors” (no) and saying things like “amid violence” rather than “in an act of terrorism.”

      The center, which includes what is laughably called the “center left,” may condemn Nazis, but they certainly prefer them to left-wingers. They can do business with Nazis. The people they hate are those they call the “alt-left” in an attempt to pretend that wanting universal healthcare and cops to not kill blacks is the same thing as being a Nazi.

    • The Story of Charlottesville Was Written in Blood in the Ukraine

      What is the character of racist right-wing politics today? Is it the crazed white supremacist who plows into an anti-fascist demonstration in Charlottesville, VA or can it also be the assurance by Lindsay Graham that an attack against North Korea would result in thousands of lives lost…. but those lives will be “over there”? What about the recent unanimous resolution by both houses of Congress in support of Israel and criticism of the United Nations for its alleged anti-Israeli bias? Would that qualify as racist and right-wing, since it appears that the ongoing suffering of the Palestinians is of no concern? And what about the vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to go even beyond the obscene proposal of the Trump administration to increase the military budget by $54 billion dollars and instead add a whopping $74 billion to the Pentagon budget?

      [...]

      The white supremacy that some of us see as more insidious is not reflected in the simple, stereotypical images of the angry, Nazi-saluting alt-righter or even Donald Trump. Instead, it is the normalized and thus invisible white supremacist ideology inculcated into cultural and educational institutions and the policies that stem from those ideas. That process doesn’t just produce the storm troopers of the armed and crazed radical right but also such covert true believers as Robert Ruben from Goldman Sachs, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Tony Blair and Nancy Pelosi – “decent” individuals who have never questioned for a moment the superiority of Western civilization, who believe completely in the White West’s right and responsibility to determine which nations should have sovereignty and who should be the leaders of “lesser” nations. And who believe that there is no alternative to the wonders of global capitalism even if it means that billions of human beings are consigned permanently to what Fanon called the “zone of non-being.”

    • Right But Wrong: Trump’s Defense of Confederate Symbols and Its Threat to Color-Blind Liberalism

      Obviously angered that he had been pressed earlier to place blame for the violence where it squarely belonged, on the side of the racist alt-right, Trump lashed out at the “alt-left”: “You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent….There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You have just called them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.”

      Trump’s remarks were a firehose of gasoline gushed onto a political firestorm. Almost giddy with the easy political points to score, Democrats rhetorically lashed Trump to the Klansmen and Nazis he defended. Nearly the entire Republican leadership took to Twitter to denounce bigotry, even Senator Orrin Hatch, who had earlier said Trump was “not a racist,” after Trump attacked federal judge Gonzalo P. Curiel’s fairness because of his Mexican heritage, tweeted, “We should never hesitate to call out hate. Whenever and wherever we see it.”

    • This Group Has Successfully Converted White Supremacists Using Compassion. Trump Defunded It.

      Life After Hate is a Chicago-based nonprofit that does path-breaking work. Founded by former white supremacist leaders in 2011, it studies the forces that draw people to hate and helps those who are willing to disengage from radical extremist movements.

      In June, the Department of Homeland Security revoked a grant to the nonprofit, telling The Huffington Post that it wants to focus on funding groups that work with law enforcement.

      This comes at a time when government agencies have warned about rising membership in far-right organizations, and the nation reels from the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

      The Intercept interviewed Life After Hate executive director Sammy Rangel about his organization’s work and the approach they take that has successfully convinced dozens of white nationalists to leave the movement.

    • Court sends Hong Kong activists to prison

      A court has overturned the earlier sentences of young Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong and two other student leaders and sentenced them to prison in connection with huge pro-democracy protests in 2014.

      Last year Wong and student leader and disqualified lawmaker Nathan Law were sentenced to community service for leading or encouraging an illegal rally in September 2014. A third activist, Alex Chow, was given a suspended three-week prison sentence.

      A three-judge panel on Thursday decided to stiffen those sentences and send all three to prison. Law was sentenced to eight months, Chow to seven and Wong to six.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Crowdfunded Billboards Shame Politicians For Selling You Out On Net Neutrality

      Earlier this year you might recall that lawmakers voted along party lines to kill consumer broadband privacy protections. The rules, which large ISPs whined incessantly about, were relatively basic; simply ensuring that ISPs couldn’t collect or sell your personal data without being transparent about it and providing working opt out tools. The rules were only proposed after ISPs repeatedly showed they weren’t able to self regulate on this front in the face of limited competition, from AT&T’s plan to charge more for privacy, to Verizon getting busted for covertly modifying wireless packets to track users without consent.

    • FCC giving special help to right-wing TV news company, Democrats allege

      Among other things, Pai’s FCC rolled back broadcast TV station ownership limits, which could help Sinclair complete an acquisition of Tribune Media Company that would let Sinclair reach 72 percent of TV-owning households in the US. The Democrats’ letter focused on that and several other actions taken since Pai became chairman in January. [...]

    • Hurricane Electric Achieves IPv6 Milestone

      In February 2011, ICANN held an official ceremony marking the handover of the last IPv4 address blocks to the five global Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). It took four and a half more years until ARIN (American Registry of Internet Numbers) announced that it had exhausted the last of its free pool of IPv4 addresses.

    • Wall Street Merger Mania Is Driving Us Toward One Single, Horrible ISP – Probably Named Comcast

      Many consumers are still reeling from a Charter, Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable merger that left users with slower speeds, worse service, and higher prices. Other broadband consumers are still struggling with a bungled Frontier acquisition of Verizon assets that left users with prolonged outages and even worse customer service than the shitshow they already enjoyed. As we’ve seen for decades, this kind of mindless consolidation traditionally only benefits the companies involved, particularly in a market where real competition is in short supply.

      This growth for growth’s sake is one of the major reasons Comcast — and its horrible customer service (which didn’t scale with the company’s expansion because that would have cost money) — exists. And Wall Street’s relentless thirst for growth at all costs is a major reason these companies can’t simply focus on being the best “dumb pipes” possible, instead focusing their attentions on expanding into markets they have little expertise in (see Verizon’s ingenious plan to hoover up failed 90s brands and pander to Millennials). When they can’t succeed because they’re out of their depth, they try to tilt the playing field (killing net neutrality).

    • Former FCC Commissioner Tries To Claim Net Neutrality Has Aided The Rise Of White Supremacy

      When last we checked in with former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth, he was rather grotesquely using the Manchester bombing to try and launch a completely bizarre attack on net neutrality over at the Forbes op-ed pages. Furchtgott-Roth, who served as an FCC Commissioner from 1997 through 2001, now works at the Hudson Institute, which not-coincidentally takes money from large incumbent broadband providers. The Hill, Forbes and other similar outlets then publish not-so-objective “analysis” from such individuals without really disclosing the money or motives driving the rhetoric.

    • AT&T’s attempt to stall Google Fiber construction thrown out by judge

      AT&T has lost a court case in which it tried to stall construction by Google Fiber in Louisville, Kentucky.

      AT&T sued the local government in Louisville and Jefferson County in February 2016 to stop a One Touch Make Ready Ordinance designed to give Google Fiber and other new ISPs quicker access to utility poles. But yesterday, US District Court Judge David Hale dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, saying AT&T’s claims that the ordinance is invalid are false.

      “We are currently reviewing the decision and our next steps,” AT&T said when contacted by Ars today.

      One Touch Make Ready rules let ISPs make all of the necessary wire adjustments on utility poles themselves instead of having to wait for other providers like AT&T to send work crews to move their own wires. Without One Touch Make Ready rules, the pole attachment process can cause delays of months before new ISPs can install service to homes.

      Google Fiber has continued construction in Louisville despite the lawsuit and staff cuts that affected deployments in other cities.

    • FCC’s claim that it was hit by DDoS should be investigated, lawmakers say

      Two Democratic members of Congress today called for an independent investigation into the Federal Communications Commission’s claim that it suffered DDoS attacks on May 8, when the net neutrality public comments system went offline.

      “While the FCC and the FBI have responded to Congressional inquiries into these DDoS attacks, they have not released any records or documentation that would allow for confirmation that an attack occurred, that it was effectively dealt with, and that the FCC has begun to institute measures to thwart future attacks and ensure the security of its systems,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) today. “As a result, questions remain about the attack itself and more generally about the state of cybersecurity at the FCC—questions that warrant an independent review.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Freedom of panorama in Portugal: content and scope of the exception

        Until fairly recently, freedom of panorama within Article 5(3)(h) of the InfoSoc Directive was a relatively little-known copyright exception within those available to Member States under EU law.

        With proposals that would make this exception mandatory for EU Member States to adopt and recent national legislative reforms (eg in Belgium and France), this is no longer the case.

      • As A Streaming Future Looms, ESPN Is Damned If It Does, Damned If It Doesn’t

        So for years we’ve examined how executives at ESPN completely whiffed at seeing the cord cutting revolution coming, and personified the industry’s denial that a massive market (r)evolution was taking place. As viewers were beginning to drift away from traditional cable and erode revenues, ESPN executives were busy doubling down on bloated sports contracts and expensive Sportscenter set redesigns. Only once ESPN lost 10 million viewers in just a few years did executives finally acknowledge that cord cutting was a problem, though they subsequently have tried to downplay the threat at every opportunity.

      • The MPAA Narrative About Piracy Flips To Danger From Pirate Sites Now That It Has Lost The Moral Argument

        For years, years, the MPAA’s public fight against piracy has chiefly consisted of a moral argument against it. Proclamations of the end of movies, the downtrodden future of filmmakers, and claims about piracy being equatable to outright theft were the tools of a Hollywood lobbier that itself exhibited the most underhanded sort of tactics in its attempts to get the internet to stop being the internet. It seems facile to state that this moral argument failed to find any purchase with the public, as filesharing went mainstream anyway. The reasons for this should be rather obvious: the arguments the MPAA made and the dooms it foresaw for itself and its industry were provably false. File sharing and piracy are a thing, yet movies still make gobs of money, allowing the MPAA to pay its executives the sort of handsome sums reserved for successful agencies. Still, Hollywood kept to its talking points. Piracy is wrong. Morally wrong.

Corruption at the European Patent Office and Systematic Bullying That Leads People to Suicide/Bankruptcy

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Patents at 1:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO, quite unsurprisingly, likes to legally bully (and potentially bankrupt) its critics

Gawker bullied
When multi-billion dollar operations/individuals simply litigate their critics into oblivion

Summary: A look back at 3 years of intensive EPO coverage and what’s coming up next (suppression of truth behind closed doors in the courtrooms)

TECHRIGHTS started its special EPO coverage almost exactly 3 years ago and is now in the process of preparing another EPO series, this time coming from Croatia. As readers may have already noticed, earlier this month we felt more liberated/comfortable to simply label the EPO corrupt and openly accuse it of corruption. The evidence is simply overwhelming.

We are also exploring, more so at the moment, some Dutch affairs which would leave the EPO red-faced once made public. Both the story from Croatia and the story from Holland require access to court documents. This is why they take a long time to write about. We also haven’t forgotten about ILO, whose latest judgments require careful analysis of courts’ (or tribunals’) decisions.

SUEPO is on the right side of history. EPO management is rather lucky that nobody among it (at least not yet) is in prison. The chief of the Organisation is leaving at the end of next month and the chief of the Office has only 10 months left. They will probably never be held accountable for anything. Immunity goes a long way…

“SUEPO doesn’t care about [patent] quality,” said this comment from yesterday, “it cares about the social and financial benefits of the workers…”

This comment overlooks the fact that those two things can be inherently connected/correlated. SUEPO probably recognises that examiners wish to be intellectually challenged (like whenever examining papers or doing peer review) and don’t want to be reduced to assembly line workers who issue invalid (to later be invalidated) patents — patents that are soon to be used for frivolous litigation that’s against the public interest.

Here is the full comment: “The elite of very well paid and full of benefits public servants is discontent, but now interestingly they seem worried about “quality” of their job. If they do the job, they are fully responsible for such quality. SUEPO doesn’t care about quality, it cares about the social and financial benefits of the workers, and that’s legitimate. My question: who cares about the public interest in this “war”? Answer: as always, no-one!”

Actually, as a programmer myself, for me it was always about software patents and the interests of software developers, who want none of these software patents in Europe. It’s universally true that programmers reject software patents and there are good reasons for that.

It’s no secret that over the years we heard from many patent examiners. A lot of what we heard we never published (for risk of exposing the messenger). But we keep record of everything and shall the need or relevance arise, these issues will be aired responsibly.

Years ago we learned about some truly appalling stories which involve not only examiners but also staff representatives at the EPO. One particular story remained in our minds. We had begun working on a story which we still believe can be broken down as follows:

  1. EPO fires SUEPO person, without even notifying the person, and without telling the public
  2. EPO took advantage of illness in the family
  3. EPO showed hypocrisy on cancer

A lot of EPO workers are aware of this story. There are quite a few famous cases and this is probably one of them. A lot of these cases involve the exploitation of illness/injury, in the same way some farms in Florida are right now (as per today’s news) getting rid of staff. It’s not only illegal; it’s morally corrupt. But that’s what the EPO has become and since it’s immune to lawsuits it does not fear accountability.

From our understanding, there are various people who are notorious for their mistreatment of ill staff. Yann Chabod, chief of HR directly under Elodie Bergot, is one of these people. There is much to be said also about the things done by Bergot and Željko Topić in relation to this. We never heard of anything even remotely like it at the USPTO.

How can anyone get away with it? Threats to cut pensions? Exploiting people’s illnesses?

Off the record we often discuss why people are committing suicide at the EPO and what EPO management has done to these people. People out there wrongly assume that staff can simply choose the leave the EPO and go somewhere else, but it’s not that simple. As one person once put it, “the Office might still be tempted to retaliate, maybe cutting my pension or similar.”

This can be like a death knell to older employees, who will be able to sustain themselves financially without a pension (and often exhaust their savings on legal cases).

As someone once explained it to us, There are “cases that so far have afflicted the staff, some unknown to most, some others already known to public, including the suicide cases.”

We would not be surprised if there are more suicides on the way. How many more people need to lose their lives due to legal bullying and systematic harassment by the EPO?

Supreme Court Decision on TC Heartland v Kraft Food Brands Group Already Vacates the Eastern District of Texas

Posted in America, Patents at 11:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cat runawaySummary: Patent trolls are losing their mojo as patent lawsuits drop 21% in the Eastern District of Texas and this collapse is expected to accelerate

THE US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) dealt a blow not just to patent trolls but also to decades of USPTO leniency. Earlier this summer in TC Heartland v Kraft Food Brands Group the Justices decided that the trolls’ carnival at the Eastern District of Texas must end. It certainly looks as though these Justices managed to give an effective blow to patent trolls (and it’s only the beginning!) because according to this article the decline is a double-digit decline (almost a quarter):

Patent lawsuits drop 21 percent in the Eastern District of Texas as SCOTUS ruling brings new era

The decision, TC Heartland v. Kraft Food Brands Group, is “ushering in a new era for the place America has gone to settle disputes about inventions,” Texas Lawbook (sub. req.) reports. The Eastern District of Texas is considered a plaintiff-friendly jurisdiction and was the top jurisdiction for patent infringement suits.

The May 22 decision interpreted a venue statute and narrowed the locations where patent infringement suits can be filed. The ruling said the word “resides” requires suits filed under that prong of the statute to be filed in the state where the company is incorporated. The patent law also allows businesses to file patent suits in a district where a company being sued has a regular and established place of business.

A week ago Reason explained “How to Stop Patent Trolls”.

“Trolls camp out on piles of weak and frivolous patents,” it said and typically they go to Texas. Patent troll Personal Audio LLC (which never even did a podcast) resorted to attacking lots of people who actually did produce podcasts.

We have covered this before, several times in fact after the troll lost. The patent microcosm sidled with the troll, as usual, but Reason took the side of the EFF:

It’s been a bad year for patent trolls, from a Supreme Court decision squelching their ability to funnel lawsuits to East Texas to this week’s ruling that Personal Audio LLC can’t claim it owns a patent on the entirety of podcasting. In the latest Mostly Weekly, Reason’s Andrew Heaton explores what patent trolls are, the damage they do, and the next step in driving them out of courtrooms and back into dank caves.

Trolls camp out on piles of weak and frivolous patents, hoping to one day sue inventors and businesses. Many of the patents they register or buy are vague, representing novel ideas only insofar as trolls are innovative at finding things they didn’t invent to claim legal ownership of. It doesn’t matter that these patents wouldn’t hold up in court, because a business is more likely to pay off a troll than to hire an expensive attorney to fight them. Trolls suck more than twenty billion dollars out of the economy each year.

Remember that this too is an Eastern District of Texas case.

It won’t be long before many of these trolls are discouraged from even attempting litigation. The Eastern District of Texas is a lot less reachable now and as another new article puts it [1, 2] (behind paywall), even Blue Spike finds it hard to attack legitimate companies, blackmailing them using patents over in Texas (we covered Blue Spike’s trolling before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]). From the summary:

A federal judicial panel will hear arguments next month on whether to coordinate about a dozen patent infringement lawsuits brought by the same company into multidistrict litigation, the first such request since a pivotal U.S. Supreme Court decision this year changed venue rules.

Hopefully, some time by the end of a year the number of filings in the Eastern District of Texas will be no different than the rest of the country. That alone would cause a collapse in the number of troll cases.

Media Dominated by the Patent Microcosm Spreads Myths and Defends Patent Trolls, Collectors

Posted in America, Patents at 11:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nikola Tesla vs. Thomas Edison: Who Was the Better Inventor?

Reference: Nikola Tesla vs. Thomas Edison: Who Was the Better Inventor?

Summary: Popular culture myths, such as Edison being a prolific inventor, and what we all ought to know about an actual patent epidemic (vast increase in the number of patents granted, bringing the total to over 10 million in the US)

THERE are some famous myths surrounding patents, e.g. that they are a property or about innovation. These myths are perpetuated by self-serving revisionists. Even the USPTO joins in and spreads the mythology.

Yesterday, Managing IP was repeating that famous old lie that Edison (a patent troll) invented rather than ripped off and then trolled over light-related inventions. Thankfully, a lot of people already know the truth about it (we wrote quite a few articles about Edison being a troll about half a decade ago). “Since it was invented by Thomas Edison in 1879,” Managing IP wrote, “the incandescent filament lamp had played the leading part in the illumination field for more than a century.”

The problem is, the assertion above is based on a popular myth.

There are many other myths out there, e.g. that the more patents one has, the more inventive a person/company is. Consider this this article titled “Japanese Man Sets World Record For Holding Over 11,000 Patents” (infeasible for one person to even handle this many applications).

When we saw this yesterday we called it “proof that many patents are rubbish and meritless,” not just because that shows a culture of overpatenting but also an issue pertaining to assignment. As the article reveals (below the headline), it’s actually his employees who wrote the patents and then comes that myth about Edison again:

Even with a whopping 1,093 patents to his name, American inventor Thomas Edison falls short of being the most prolific patent-holder ever; that title currently belongs to Shunpei Yamazaki, who entered the Guinness Book Of World Records with a mind-boggling 11,353 patents on June 30th, 2016.

Guinness Book Of World Records.

Yes, they treat this as some kind of a sport now. In Sun, as some employees revealed under a decade ago, people used to compete over how dumb a patent one could get granted by the USPTO. They actually mocked the ease/simplicity of the process and just helped their employer stockpile lots of low-quality patents (now bought by Oracle, which is a patent aggressor).

It’s sometimes frustrating to see these myths repeated endlessly in the media. The religion of “patentism” sure is spreading through the press and the only thing that stops such glorification of patents are negative-sounding labels such as “patent trolls”.

Apparently, as Watchtroll said a couple of days ago, someone was so insulted to be called a patent troll that there’s a lawsuit over it. A patent troll does not like being grouped/lumped together with other patent trolls, so there’s a legal action claiming defamation. Here comes the myth of Edison again (first paragraph):

For the better part of the nearly 250 years of the existence of the United States of America, the U.S. patent system has been one in which inventors could be reasonably sure that their private property rights covering technological innovation would be respected and enforced. Giants of American innovation such as Thomas Alva Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and others not only successfully commercialized their patented inventions, they also protected their competitive advantage by taking patent infringing parties to court. What happened to that illustrious history?

Constitutionally-protected private property rights have been under assault for more than a decade. Over these past 10 years, an insidious narrative regarding “patent trolls” has been allowed to infiltrate the U.S. patent system, a system which currently ranks 10th, tied with Hungary. America is rapidly losing its edge in free enterprise – seemingly willing to surrender all innovation to China instead.

That’s that same old myth about China — one that we debunked here many times before.

The bottom line is, rather than protect sole inventors the patent system now serves a lot of opportunists who invented nothing at all and oftentimes simply ripped off someone else (who could not bother with the patent system). Let’s not walk away from suitable labels such as “patent trolls” even if the accused loathes such labels.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board Squashes Many Software Patents (Abstract) and §101 Seems Safe From Lobbying by the Patent Microcosm

Posted in America, Patents at 10:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red displaySummary: The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), together with the Alice-inspired §101, is an efficient eliminator of bogus patents on software and there is no end to that in sight

THE WORD “PTAB” has become a trigger warning to patent lawyers. It’s so often that once PTAB is invoked (through “IPR/s”) that a patent/s will end up invalidated. Not everything which gets granted by the USPTO has merit and trolls often rely on patents not being challenged (at all) inside courts.

The reality of the matter is, shallow/bogus patents are destroying practicing companies in the US. The main victims are small companies that we may never hear about (even in the media). They’re quietly destroyed by a bunch of malicious trolls (serial litigators who prey on the weak).

“The reality of the matter is, shallow/bogus patents are destroying practicing companies in the US.”Curiously enough, yesterday there was this article about serial litigators . It spoke about “infringement of Prism’s patents generally covering network security systems that provide for secure transactions on unsecured systems” (i.e. software patents). The one reprieve that most small companies can afford is PTAB. It gets the job done without having to spend much money and the courts (e.g. CAFC) typically swiftly and effortlessly agree with PTAB upon appeal (if any is filed).

Things aren’t all rosy though; as we noted recently, a relatively small company that’s being bullied by Cisco had an embargo against it (because of patents which were deemed invalid). We wondered why the ITC cannot obey the law and respect PTAB's decisions. Yesterday we found this update on the case:

The U.S. International Trade Commission has declined to rescind remedial orders blocking importation of products found to infringe two patents that were recently found invalid by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

This is pretty serious because they are acting as though PTAB has no legal authority. Moreover, they persist with a radical measure like an embargo. What ever happened to due process?

“This is pretty serious because they are acting as though PTAB has no legal authority. Moreover, they persist with a radical measure like an embargo. What ever happened to due process?”It’s time to recognise if not accept that parts of the system may be in the pockets of large corporations, which means that legal processes can magically be bypassed. Yesterday, as this tweet put it, IBM (patent aggressor) lost another patent at PTAB, which apparently cited Alice. The tweet said: “IBM now 0 for ∞ in PTAB cases, loses another! 101 case: https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2015006311-08-15-2017-1 … reserving computer resources is now “abstract idea” too…”

IBM’s friends at Watchtroll have also published an article about “§101 Rejection” (“Abstract Idea”) on the very same day. They’re part of that malicious effort to derail PTAB and change §101. They are doing this alongside PTAB foes like Patently-O, which incidentally, just days ago, ended up picking one of the ~20% of cases (not even a software patent) where a PTAB decision is overturned by CAFC.

To quote Patently-O:

In a split opinion, the Federal Circuit rejected the PTAB’s IPR validity judgment favoring the patentee Whirlpool — holding instead that the challenged claims are invalid as anticipated. Patent No. 7,581,688; IPR No. IPR2014-00877. Judge Dyk penned the opinion joined by Chief Judge Prost. Judge Newman wrote in dissent.

The underlying claimed invention is an automatically pulsed blender cycle. The basic idea is to occasionally go through a “deceleration phase” that slows the cutter blade down to a reduced “predetermined settling speed” before accelerating the blade back to the normal operating speed. The claims require that the settling speed be “indicative of the items in the container having settled around the cutter assembly.”

Why does Patently-O not cover all those other cases where CAFC endorses PTAB’s decisions? Bias by omission?

“§101 is largely supported by the technology sector and is widely opposed only by law firms that are trying to tax this sector.”What PTAB makes clear is that it matters not whether the USPTO will grant some patents on software but whether courts will accept them (they almost certainly won’t).

Recently, the USPTO issued a report on §101 and it was dominated by the patent microcosm. Here is what one law firm says about this report this week:

On July 24, 2017, the USPTO issued a 48-page report on Patent Eligible Subject Matter. The report summarizes key court decisions interpreting and applying 35 USC § 101, international views on eligible subject matter, and public comments and recommendations for addressing recent changes in this foundational issue of U.S. patent jurisprudence. While some have criticized the USPTO Patent Eligible Subject Matter report for failing to take a position on the issues or suggest any solutions, others have commended the concise summary of where things stand today.

It’s hard to believe that anything will change for the worse; §101 is largely supported by the technology sector and is widely opposed only by law firms that are trying to tax this sector. It certainly looks like even politicians now understand this.

Ericsson Hired From the World’s Largest Patent Troll and Became a Massive Troll in Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ericsson troll

Summary: Ericsson’s patent aggression campaign (even in Europe) carries on; it turns out the person behind this strategy came from Intellectual Ventures

IT’S BAD enough that USPTO-granted patents are being used/leveraged by trolls. Recently, as we have been showing, the EPO too became part of this problem. Nowadays the EPO fuels trolls and doesn’t seem to have any qualms about it.

“IAM helps them both (Ericsson and Intellectual Ventures), along with other fans of patent parasites.”Ericsson, a European company, is now a patent troll which also operates through satellites proxies e.g. Openwave Computing LLC/Unwired Planet — a tactic similar to that of Intellectual Ventures, which is said to have literally thousands of proxies. According to this new puff piece, “Former Intellectual Ventures executive Roy Maharaj [is] now vice president of global patent licensing at Ericsson,” which we did not know. It explains or says quite a lot about Ericsson’s transition into patent trolling; it hired a “patent licensing” (euphemism for shakedown) Vice President from the world’s largest and most notorious patent troll. IAM helps them both (Ericsson and Intellectual Ventures), along with other fans of patent parasites. Earlier today IAM took a break from its summer break just to write that “Ericsson brings lawsuits against French smartphone maker as CIPO targets free riders”. Ericsson does a lot trolling in Europe these days (via Unwired Planet), so this is more of the same:

Ericsson filed patent infringement lawsuits in Mannheim and Dusseldorf on Monday against Wiko after, the Swedish telecoms giant claimed, four years of licensing negotiations had failed to produce a deal. The lawsuits accused Wiko of infringing ten patents that relate to 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technology and include a number of standard essential patents (SEPs).

Like Nokia after the Microsoft ‘takeover’, Ericsson is now little more than a Scandinavian troll basking in its past glory to justify such behaviour.

08.16.17

Links 16/8/2017: Ardour 5.11, 24th Birthday of Debian

Posted in News Roundup at 7:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Army reaps benefits of open-source policy

    The Army’s decision to formalize its open-source software development policy is paying off. At least two major projects have benefited from the policy announced this spring, with open source helping to speed development and save taxpayer dollars, according to officials from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

  • Hortonworks’ Shaun Bierweiler: Open Source Tech to Support Gov’t Cultural Shift Toward Data-Driven Ops [Ed: In all these recent puff pieces and "sponsored content" from Hortonworks this NSA-connected firm is openwashing mass surveillance]
  • Minoca OS 0.4 Has X.Org Support, Available As A Coreboot Payload

    The Minoca operating system is a “general purpose operating system written from scratch” but has a POSIX-like interface and is SMP-ready, network-capable, event-driven, and other modern features.

    Minoca OS so far supports some x86 hardware and ARM SBC boards. At the end of June marked the Minoca OS 0.4 release to not a lot of attention. Minoca OS 0.4 added support for X.Org as well as fceux as a Nintendo NES emulator.

  • Fraunhofer HHI releases update to open-source radio channel model QuaDRiGa

    The open source MATLAB / Octave implementation is freely available at http://quadriga-channel-model.de

  • Power-packed — and open source — project management tools for enterprises

    Project management is a tough nut to crack. Multilevel tasks, complicated methodologies, large team sizes, geographically separated resources, office politics (have you seen the show “The Good Wife”?), progress tracking, reporting, analytics, planning – you get the idea. Intuitive and simplified project management tools were never such necessary arrows in the quiver of project managers.

  • Events

    • The Need for Connection: Building Habit-Forming Open Source Products

      With the increasing use of connected devices and the growing presence of online distractions, it’s important to understand the ideas behind habit-forming technologies. Nir Eyal, author of the best-selling book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, will be delivering a keynote presentation based on his book at Open Source Summit in Los Angeles.

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

  • CMS

    • Ghost, the open source blogging system, is ready for prime time

      Four long years ago John O’Nolan released a content management system for bloggers that was as elegant as it was spooky. Called Ghost, the original app was a promising Kickstarter product with little pizazz. Now the app is ready to take on your toughest blogs.

      O’Nolan just released version 1.0 of the software, a move that updates the tool with the best of modern blogging tools. You can download the self-hosted version here or use O’Nolan’s hosting service to try it out free.

      “About four years ago we launched Ghost on Kickstarter as a tiny little prototype of an idea to create the web’s next great open source blogging platform,” said O’Nolan. After “2,600 commits” he released the 1.0 version complete with a new editor and improved features.

    • SerenataFlowers.com and Hipper.com Extend Support to Open Source through OSI Sponsorship

      SerenataFlowers.com’s Managing Director, Martin Johansson, emphasized the company’s investment, “We actively use a large number of open source software in our website front-end and back-end development. Examples include, Snowplow Analytics, Metabase, Joomla, foundation framerwork, MySQL, and many others.” Johansson added, “Open source software is one of the cornerstones upon which our business is built. We believe open source software is both more secure and more efficient than their closed-source counterparts and we are actively looking to replace as many closed-source technologies for open source equivalent technology.”

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Where does our money go?

      Each year, the FSFE spends close to half a million Euro raising awareness of and working to support the ecosystem around free software. Most of our permanent funds come from our supporters — the people who contribute financially to our work each month or year and continue to do so from month to month, and year to year. They are the ones who support our ability to plan for the long term and make long term commitments towards supporting free software.

Leftovers

  • Google is paying Apple billions per year to remain on the iPhone, Bernstein says

    Google will pay Apple about $3 billion this year to remain the default search engine on iOS devices, Bernstein says.

    The licensing payments make up a large bulk of Apple’s services revenue.

  • Reynolds: Google needs a new CEO, but dumping Sundar Pichai is not enough

    Various people (most of whom, as The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf noted, seem not to have read Damore’s actual memo, but rather to have been responding to an imaginary document instead) demanded that Damore be fired. CEO Sundar Pichai complied and gave Damore the boot. For this egregious piece of mob-induced misjudgment, Pichai must go. But that’s the least of the problems for Google, and Silicon Valley.

  • Dirty NYC dwellers are using AirDrop to send unwanted wang shots to women

    The report notes that the dirty trend was first spotted in London in 2015, but has since made its way to New York.

  • The Snopes Fight Is Even Way More Complicated Than We Originally Explained

    If you read our post a few weeks ago about the very messy legal fight between Snopes and Proper Media, you may recall that we spent many, many words explaining how the story was way, way, way more complicated than most in the media were portraying it. And significantly more complicated than how Snopes was portraying it. And we thought we did a pretty good job explaining all of that. Indeed, one of our commenters noted: “Wow. This couldn’t possibly get any messier.”

    He was wrong. It turns out it’s even messier. And it involves accusations of tax scams and shell companies, none of which came out in the last discussion on all of this. So, buckle in.

  • Science

    • Implication of our technological species being first and early

      Here we argue that this suggests that the typical technological species becomes extinct soon after attaining a modern technology and that this event results in the extinction of the planet’s global biosphere.

    • [Older] By convicting an honest statistician, Greece condemns itself

      Georgiou’s prosecution also raises questions about the integrity of Greece’s institutions. Four times in the past four years, public prosecutors have concluded Georgiou is innocent of charges raised against him, and yet these rulings have been discarded and the trials have continued. That suggests the possibility of some degree of political interference in the judicial system — something potential foreign investors will be watching with concern.

    • A Greek Statistician’s Cautionary Tale
    • What Developers Need to Consider When Exploring Machine Learning

      There are many reasons why startups might struggle to fulfill their potential for financial and technological success. Among the many unique challenges they face from initial concept through to expansion, a lack of scalability can be one of the most difficult to overcome. In this section, we’ll focus on the capabilities and practical application of machine and deep learning, the frameworks and technologies you need to know about, and the ways that the community can help from the very beginning.

    • A Dangerous Nuclear Ignorance

      Writing in a publication by scientists, read by many scientists and lovers of science, Shermer is indeed apologizing for war crimes and providing a method for other scientists to treat this as a non-scientific issue. Decades of aftermath of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki sufferings tell us otherwise, and demand better from scientists. Currently, American denial of climate destruction and nuclear warfare are endorsed at the highest level of government. The US State Department is openly considering changing its stated priorities from “democracy” to “security, prosperity and interests of the American people globally”. American scientists cannot take a backseat and claim moral indifference. The species depends on it.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Oregon Lauded as Progressive Model for Reproductive Healthcare Reform

      As Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed on Tuesday a law that bans state insurance providers from covering abortion, pro-choice advocates celebrated a bill signed by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown that proponents are calling the nation’s most progressive reproductive healthcare policy.

    • Racism and Capitalism: the Barriers to Decent Health Care

      Capitalism exists to make profits. This is not a moral statement, but the underlying mechanism of the system, for a business must be successful at not only making, but maximizing profits, or it will lose out to competitors. Profits are derived from the difference between the value of goods produced and the investment in the means of production, ie labor, machinery, advertising, etc. It is the cost of labor where the major flexibility lies, and wages depend on the costs of maintaining the worker in working condition, providing training, and replacing workers lost to disability or retirement. Thus a low-skilled worker in a time of high unemployment, when he or she can be easily replaced, is much less valuable and is paid less than a highly trained one with scarce skills.

    • CBO: Trump’s Plan to Sabotage ACA Would Skyrocket Premiums

      The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Tuesday that premiums for many Americans would go up by 20 percent in 2018, should President Donald Trump follow through on his threats to stop paying the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing subsidies to insurance companies.

      The subsidies allow insurance companies to reduce costs for low-income Americans who rely on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Following the Republican party’s failure to pass a bill repealing the healthcare law, Trump has said he may end the payments in order to allow the ACA to collapse.

      According to the nonpartisan CBO, doing so would seriously hurt people who rely on the plans covered by the law and harm the U.S. economy as well. The loss of the $7 billion payments would cause the federal deficit to rise by $6 billion in just one year, and $195 billion over the next decade.

    • Donald Trump Could Personally Cost Americans Thousands of Dollars in Bigger Health Care Bills
    • Deadly drug-resistant fungus sparks outbreaks in UK—and it’s stalking US

      More than 200 patients in more than 55 UK hospitals were discovered by healthcare workers to be infected or colonized by the multi-drug resistant fungus Candida auris, a globally emerging yeast pathogen that has experts nervous.

      Three of the hospitals experienced large outbreaks, which as of Monday were all declared officially over by health authorities there. No deaths have been reported since the fungus was first detected in the country in 2013, but 27 affected patients have developed blood infections, which can be life-threatening. And about a quarter of the more than 200 cases were clinical infections.

    • “Alternative” medicine’s toll on cancer patients: Death rate up to 5X higher

      Unproven alternative treatments are clearly risky. Some carry the risk of direct harms, such as improperly diluted homeopathic tablets, blinding stem cell injections, contaminated supplements, or tainted placenta pills. And others, such as magic healing crystals and useless detoxes, may risk indirect harm by taking the place of evidence-based treatments.

      However obvious the risks, measuring them has been tricky. For one thing, patients aren’t always eager to provide data, let alone admit to their doctors that they’ve ditched conventional therapies. But, by digging into the National Cancer database, researchers at Yale have finally quantified one type of risk for cancer patients—the risk of death. And the results are grim.

    • New Drone Footage Exposes the Scale of Factory Animal Farming Like Never Before

      The animal agriculture industry spends millions on deceptive advertising to persuade consumers that farmed animals roam freely on bucolic pastures. But I’ve been piloting drones over animal agriculture facilities for several years, and the video I’ve captured tells a far different story. Nearly all animals raised and slaughtered for food in the U.S. live in factory farms––facilities that treat animals as mere production units and show little regard for the natural environment or public health. Instead of creating widgets, these factories confine, mutilate, and disassemble animals who feel pain and pleasure just like our dogs and cats.

      Aerial views of the first factory farms I visited—pig facilities—didn’t capture grass and rolling hills, but instead exposed rows of windowless metal buildings. Each confined thousands of intelligent, sensitive pigs who spent their lives on concrete floors in crowded pens. The footage also reveals what appear to be red lakes but are in fact giant, open-air cesspools. Waste falls through slats in the pigs’ concrete flooring and is flushed into these massive pits, which sometimes have the surface area of multiple football fields. To lower the levels of these cesspools, many facilities spray their contents into the air where they turn into mist and drift into neighboring communities.

  • Security

    • How to configure your Chromebook for ultimate security
    • Government Changes Its Tune about MalwareTech

      Marcus Hutchins, AKA MalwareTech, just plead not guilty at his arraignment in Milwaukee, WI. After the hearing, his attorney, Marcia Hofmann, called him a “hero” and said he would be fully vindicated.

    • NHS cyber-defender Marcus Hutchins back online

      He must surrender his passport and will be tracked in the US via GPS during his release.

      [...]

      He added: “I’m still on trial, still not allowed to go home, still on house arrest; but now i am allowed online. Will get my computers back soon.”

    • Marcus Hutchins pleads not guilty to FBI malware charges

      British security researcher Marcus Hutchins, who came to prominence after he inadvertently stopped the spread of the WannaCry ransomware in May, has pleaded not guilty to writing the code that was used to create the banking trojan Kronos.

    • WannaCry ‘hero’ Marcus Hutchins pleads not guilty to Kronos malware charges

      Hutchins is now out on bail awaiting trial. Under his bail conditions, he will not be allowed to leave the US or to use the internet. He will also have to wear a GPS tag and, as a non-US national, won’t be allowed to work, and will therefore be reliant on family and charity to sustain himself.

    • WannaCry ‘saviour’ Marcus Hutchins pleads not guilty to malware charges

      His trial has been scheduled to start in October. If Mr Hutchins is convicted he could face 40 years in prison.

    • 2016 Open-Source Repo Continues to Fuel the PHP Server Ransomware Scene [Ed: How Catalin Cimpanu associates FOSS with crime]

      A PHP ransomware project open-sourced on GitHub is still spawning active threats, more than a year after it was released in early 2016.

      The project, unimaginatively named “Ransomware,” is the work of an Indonesian hacker who goes by the name of ShorTcut (or Shor7cut), a member of two hacking crews named Bug7sec and Indonesia Defacer Tersakiti.

    • New Data Security Network Launches to Champion and Promote Data Sanitization Best Practices
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Red Hat Secures Networking Flaws in OpenStack, the Linux Kernel

      Red Hat has fixed an important vulnerability in the OpenStack subsystem that’s used to manage network connectivity to and from virtual machines. If left unpatched, it could allow an attacker to access network resources from virtual machines.

      The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2017-7543 in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database, is located in openstack-neutron, a “pluggable, scalable and API-driven” component of the Red Hat OpenStack Platform that’s used to provision networking services to virtual machines.

    • Atomicorp Releases First Kernel-Level Docker Security and is Available Today Through AWS, Azure and Direct
    • Shadow Brokers Eternal Exploits expected to remain effective

      The Shadow Brokers also leaked exploits such as EternalRomance which is similar to EternalBlue but targets Windows 7 SP1 machines using SMBv2 and targets a vulnerability in the process of handling SMBv1 transactions, EternalSynergy which uses a packet type confusion vulnerability, and EternalChampion which takes advantage of a race condition in transaction hand.

    • Shadow Brokers EternalPulsar malware: All you need to know about the leaked NSA SMB exploits

      Cylance researchers said the DoublePulsar backdoor, which experts previously said had successfully infected around 100,000 computers shortly after the exploit was leaked in April, functions as a backdoor providing hackers with secret access to Windows systems.

    • IoT Security for Developers

      Previous articles focused on how to securely design and configure a system based on existing hardware, software, IoT Devices, and networks. If you are developing IoT devices, software, and systems, there is a lot more you can do to develop secure systems.

      The first thing is to manage and secure communications with IoT Devices. Your software needs to be able to discover, configure, manage and communicate with IoT devices. By considering security implications when designing and implementing these functions you can make the system much more robust. The basic guideline is don’t trust any device. Have checks to verify that a device is what it claims to be, to verify device integrity, and to validate communications with the devices.

    • Powerful backdoor found in software used by >100 banks and energy cos. [Ed: Yet more back doors in proprietary software on Microsoft Windows]

      For 17 days starting last month, an advanced backdoor that gave attackers complete control over networks lurked in digitally signed software used by hundreds of banks, energy companies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, researchers warned Tuesday.

      The backdoor, dubbed ShadowPad, was added to five server- or network-management products sold by NetSarang, a software developer with offices in South Korea and the US. The malicious products were available from July 17 to August 4, when the backdoor was discovered and privately reported by researchers from antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab. Anyone who uses the five NetSarang titles Xmanager Enterprise 5.0, Xmanager 5.0, Xshell 5.0, Xftp 5.0, or Xlpd 5.0, should immediately review posts here and here from NetSarang and Kaspersky Lab respectively.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Media monsters: militarism, violence and cruelty in children’s culture

      Who would ever have thought that there would be torture scenes in G and PG-rated children’s films, or that video games would allow someone to feel the rush of killing, or that the Disney corporation would try to trademark ‘SEAL Team 6’ so that they could use it for toys, Christmas stockings and snow globes after this elite military group had killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani compound?

      Who could have imagined that a child would write a few loving words on her desk and then be arrested in front of her classmates, or that the U.S. government would torture real children in the ‘war on terror?’ Alexa Gonzalez, a 12-year old girl from Queens, doodled “I love my friends Abby and Faith. Lex was here. 2/1/10,” adding a smiley face for emphasis. The next thing she knew she was escorted from school in handcuffs and detained for hours.

      And what of 14-year old Mohammed El-Gharani, who was subjected to sleep deprivation and hung from his wrists while a U.S. soldier threatened to cut off his penis with a knife? Welcome to the new face of childhood in America.

    • A Ukraine Link to North Korea’s Missiles?

      U.S. intelligence analysts reportedly have traced North Korea’s leap forward in creating an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking U.S. territory to a decaying Ukrainian rocket-engine factory whose alleged role could lift the cover off other suppressed mysteries related to the U.S.-backed coup in Kiev.

      [...]

      Kolomoisky, who has triple citizenship from Ukraine, Cyprus and Israel, was eventually ousted as governor of Dnipropetrovsk (now called Dnipro) on March 25, 2015, after a showdown with Ukraine’s current President Petro Poroshenko over control of the state-owned energy company, but by then Kolomoisky’s team had put its corrupt mark on the region.

      At the time of the Kolomoisky-Poroshenko showdown, Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, chief of the State Security Service, accused Dnipropetrovsk officials of financing armed gangs and threatening investigators, Bloomberg News reported, while noting that Ukraine had sunk to 142nd place out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s Corruptions Perception Index, the worst in Europe.

      Even earlier in Kolomoisky’s brutal reign, Dnipropetrovsk had become the center for the violent intrigue that has plagued Ukraine for the past several years, including the dispatch of neo-Nazi militias to kill ethnic Russians who then turned to Russia for support.

    • Among the Racists

      But, like those crude black-and-white mosquito-Jew cartoons, the Final Solution never changes. Hanging them from lamp-posts. Gassing them with Zyklon B. (Arcane debates about the efficacy of various gaseous poisons are common.) Rendering them into lampshades. It’s a nonstop tape-loop of race-hatred and genocide-dreams. And this is where the outsider—no matter how well-versed in the rhetoric, no matter how he steels himself against it—begins to falter. I was an eager infiltrator, but this is where I lost heart. Because to live through that ongoing conversation–and not just to endure it, but to be a laughing participant in it–is something that my nervous system was not wired for. The synapses of any faintly decent human being are wired to short out and shut down at this point. You have to keep kick-starting your brain. And in the end it’s too exhausting.

    • Charlottesville: Outrage, Hypocrisy & Obama’s Betrayal

      It is simply untrue to claim that the United States has a problem with white supremacy. It is untrue because the United States is synonymous with white supremacy; it is a nation founded and established by white supremacists, whose constitution was written by white supremacists, and in which white supremacy is wedded into the cultural and social fabric, not forgetting its very institutions.

      While it may be tempting to dismiss 500 knuckle-dragging racists marching through Charlottesville waving Confederate flags as unrepresentative of a nation that takes pride in values of tolerance and racial equality, it would be wrong. Those who took part in those ugly scenes are the reality rather than the myth of America. They know that the American exceptionalism which Obama, while president, declared he believed in with every fiber of his being, is in truth white exceptionalism – ‘white’ in this context being not only a racial construct but also an ideological construct.

    • Pentagon Ready for “Full Range” of Options, Despite South Korea Pleas to Rule Out War

      The highest-ranking US military officer again warned that the Trump administration stands ready to attack North Korea, despite pleas for peace from South Korea.

      Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Joseph Dunford on Monday said that the Pentagon is prepared “to use the full range of military capabilities to defend our allies and the US homeland.” Dunford made the comments in Seoul while meeting with South Korean civilian and military officials.

      South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday urged the sabre-rattling to stop, declaring “there must not be another war on the Korean Peninsula.”

      President Moon also vowed to work with the US “to safeguard peace,” according to the AP, and told Pyongyang to “stop issuing menacing statements and provoking.”

      “Whatever ups and downs we face, the North Korean nuclear situation must be resolved peacefully,” Moon also stated.

    • In the Wake of Charlottesville, Let’s Call for Structural Transformation

      Critiques of Trump focused on his days-long inability to reference Neo-Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan, eventually forcing him to deliver a new statement. But what is the point of pushing Trump to denounce white supremacists, when he clearly does not have the moral authority to criticize them? Trump helped popularize birtherism, which offered a basis for Republican Party obstructionism during the Obama era. Trump-fueled birtherism also helped delegitimize certain policies, such as the Affordable Care Act.

    • Taking Nuclear War Seriously

      With remarkably little public debate, the U.S. government has raised the risk of a nuclear conflagration with face-offs against Russia and now North Korea, an existential issue that Dennis J Bernstein discusses with journalist John Pilger.

    • Cataclysmic Risks of North Korean Crisis

      A lot of people in Congress were very concerned about Trump’s remarks. That was true around the world, as well. Moon Jae-in won the election based on his policy of wanting to engage again with North Korea. The last two presidents had rejected engagement and the situation had become very tense because of their hard-line policies.

    • The Agony of ‘Regime Change’ Refugees

      European nations have been thrown into a political crisis by the hundreds of thousands of migrants coming north from the Middle East and Africa. The number has grown in recent years, due to a mix of wars and poverty, resulting in a visible increase of the influx of foreigners across Europe, and a popular backlash that has political institutions scrambling to find a way to stem the flow and lessen the sense of emergency.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Stories Claiming DNC Hack Was ‘Inside Job’ Rely Heavily On A Stupid Conversion Error No ‘Forensic Expert’ Would Make

      While we wait for the Mueller investigation to clearly illustrate if and how Russia meddled in the last election, there’s no shortage of opinions regarding how deep this particular rabbit hole goes. While it’s pretty obvious that Putin used social media and media propaganda to pour some napalm on our existing bonfires of dysfunction, just how much of an impact these efforts had on the election won’t be clear until a full postmortem is done. Similarly, while Russian hackers certainly had fun probing our voting systems and may have hacked both political parties, clearly proving state involvement is something else entirely.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • At ITC hearing, two US solar manufacturers ask for tariffs on imported cells

      A US-based solar-panel components maker called Suniva filed a petition with the International Trade Commission (ITC) this spring, alleging unfair trade practices after the company declared bankruptcy. It was later joined in its petition by SolarWorld America, another US-based solar cell manufacturer. Today, the two companies pleaded their case (PDF) in front of the ITC and are asking for tariffs to be placed on solar-panel materials imported to the US.

    • Trump Has Broad Power to Block Climate Change Report

      Earlier this month, someone involved in the government’s latest report on climate change provided The New York Times with a copy of the version submitted to the Trump administration for final approval. The main intent of the leak, according to several people tracking the report, was to complicate any attempt to suppress the study or water down its findings.

      Publication of the document inflamed an already-fraught debate about climate change. Administration officials and Republican lawmakers accused the leaker and journalists of manufacturing a dispute. They said the report, which was required by law, was moving through a normal process of White House review.

    • Ignoring Threat of Rising Seas, Trump Eliminates Flood Risk Standards

      Reuters, New York Times, and the Washington Post reported that Trump’s order “revoked an Obama-era executive order that required strict building standards for government-funded projects to reduce exposure to increased flooding from sea level rise and other consequences of climate change.”

    • Trump Signs Order Rolling Back Environmental Rules on Infrastructure
    • Does Game of Thrones Contain a Stark Warning About Climate Change?

      Many people who care about climate change often complain that although the issue may get discussed in the inside pages of serious news publications it rarely cuts through to popular culture. For something as momentous as humans threatening the habitability of the only planet suitable for human habitation, climate change hasn’t really had the airtime one would expect.

      However, scratch under the surface and we can see that one of the biggest small screen blockbusters of the last few years, Game of Thrones, is an almost perfect metaphor for the politics of the climate crisis.

      The popular adaptation of author George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire has been showing its potential as a modern-day climate fable, but it really hit home last week.

      In the seventh season’s third episode, “The Queen’s Justice,” hero Jon Snow, asks Tyrion Lannister: “How do I convince people who don’t know me that an enemy they don’t believe in is coming to kill them all?” Well quite Jon. We environmentalists feel your pain.

  • Finance

    • From supply chain to equity: real-world uses of the blockchain today

      A blockchain is a digital ledger that is available for all parties to see, providing transparency across the chain – and businesses in financial trading, insurance, and supply chain management are all taking notice.

    • Bitcoin, Fake News, and the Illusion of Money

      Bitcoin’s value is an illusion of money. But so is all governmental money, all central-bank money. All governments always knew that the value of money is an illusion: they could just not fathom a day would come when they would no longer be in complete control of that illusion.

    • Pro-EU activists to stage ‘stop Brexit’ march during Tory conference

      Pro-EU campaigners are planning to stage one of their biggest “stop Brexit” marches outside the Conservative party conference this autumn.

      Campaigners said their aim was to make the party “face up to the reality of Brexit” when they march to the conference centre to make sure their voices are heard by delegates inside.

      Thousands are expected to turn out for the rally, starting in Platt Fields in Manchester on the first day of the conference – the same day as the traditional anti-Tory and anti-austerity protests held outside the gathering, which begins on 1 October.

    • As Billionaire Apple Heiress Laurene Powell Jobs Buys the Atlantic, Will Her Fierce Charter School Advocacy Be on the Agenda?
    • Gates Makes Largest Donation Since 2000 With $4.6 Billion Pledge [iophk: "retain control while avoiding tax"]

      Gates has made the majority of his donations to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the charity he and his wife use to direct their philanthropic {sic} efforts.

    • Labour calls for benefit shakeup to be halted after £3,100 a year impact on single parents revealed

      Ministers should halt the rollout of the Government’s flagship welfare reform, Universal Credit, Labour warned today.

      Hard-up families could have lost huge amounts of cash are being switched onto the benefit, which rolls six working-age handouts into one payment, a report warned.

      Analysis from the House of Commons Library shows falling incomes for both public and private sector workers, with real wages stagnating and a reduction in in-work support.

    • The government’s customs union plan is an absolute dog’s breakfast

      It’s hard to know where to start with the customs union position paper. It is such a mess, such a full-spectrum catastrophe of ineptitude and wishful thinking, that it’s honestly quite difficult to choose which bits of it to single out for criticism.

      On Sunday, Phillip Hammond and Liam Fox wrote a joint piece for the Sunday Telegraph agreeing that the UK would not stay in the customs union during transition. There is no particular reason to do this, except for the religious zeal of hard Brexiters. Staying in would allow British business to enjoy certainty and consistency as we left the EU and reduce the amount of work the UK government has to do before Brexit day. But regardless, that is not happening, so now we are full steam ahead to leave, even in the transition period.

      [...]

      The streamline option recognises that the UK and the EU would be third parties, but tries to simplify customs arrangements so that they are as frictionless as possible. This is done through continuing “some existing arrangements”, “reducing or removing” other barriers, and a variety of highly optimistic IT solutions. There’d be a waiver on entry and exit requirements, a mutual recognition agreement for authorised economic operators, technology-based solutions for roll-on-roll-off ports, and some other initiatives. Lastly, and with no small hint of irony, the UK would join the Common Transit Convention, a transit procedure used between the EU and the Efta states which Britain refuses to join for transition.

      [...]

      Through it all, one question sticks with you: Why the hell are we doing this? This is not even about Brexit. It’s about leaving the customs union, which is a frankly insane thing to do. Officials defending these plans say that leaving the EU means leaving the customs union. It does not. That is a choice taken by the British government. This dog’s breakfast is the result. Imagine what else we could be doing with our time.

    • Irish border pulls UK toward softer Brexit

      The key thing to understand about the British stance on the Northern Ireland border, set out in a new position paper Wednesday, is the extreme importance the government is attaching to maintaining the peace process.

      The border was a conflict zone within the lifetime of most of the people now making decisions about its future. Avoiding a return to those days is a responsibility not borne lightly by any serious British politician.

    • In rare rebuke of Trump, PM May says leaders must condemn far-right views

      British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday there was no equivalence between fascists and those who opposed them, a rare rebuke of U.S. President Donald Trump by one of his closest foreign allies.

      Trump inflamed tensions after a deadly rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, by insisting that counter-protesters were also to blame, drawing condemnation from some Republican leaders and praise from white far-right groups.

      “There’s no equivalence, I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them and I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them,” May told reporters when asked to comment on Trump’s stance.

    • Lenin Moreno, Rafael Correa and the bull in the China shop

      As a consequence the governing party’s candidate in the last presidential elections, Lenin Moreno, barely scraped over the line, and did so principally because he was not Rafael Correa. He promised a different style of government. And after the first two months we can clearly say that we have exactly that. Strangely, that has made a lot of people within the governing Alianza País unhappy. Moreno has been called a traitor, weak, a liar, a neoliberal, a sellout to the Right, and all this by those who are his own side, including the ex-president himself. Correa has actively gone after his successor, taking a leaf out of Donald Trump’s book, twittering on a daily basis and causing a great deal of damage by blundering about in his own china shop.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • ‘Bernie Bros’ and ‘Alt-Left’ Are Propaganda Terms Meant to Disempower

      The 2016 Presidential Primaries ended more than a year ago, but the divisive and destructive rhetoric that was developed during it remains prevalent. During the battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the Bernie Bros narrative, a resurfacing of the Obama Boys narrative used during the 2008 Primaries by Clinton supporters, became a novelty for political opponents of Bernie Sanders. It served as an easy smear campaign that could be exploited and touted without citing any actual evidence to corroborate the claims behind it.

    • Trump Inner-Circle Privately “Appalled” and “Disgusted.” Publicly? Dead Silent

      While the New York Times’ Glenn Thrush reported he had it from “three people with knowledge” that Gary Cohn, chair of President Donald Trump’s National Economic Council, was “upset” and “disgusted” with his boss’s defense of white supremacists during an “unhinged” performance at a Tuesday press conference, Cohn has yet to speak publicly about such feelings.

      In response to Thrush, many people asked why, if Cohn felt the way he did, would he remain silent or continue to stand with the president? “So he’s resigning…” begged one. “That’s nice,” quipped another. “The exits are clearly marked and not hard to find.”

      Cohn’s private feelings were also reported by Axios on Wednesday, where journalists Mike Allen and Jonathan Swann were “told” that Cohn’s reaction to Trump’s remarks were “somewhere between appalled and furious.”

    • The Racism at Charlottesville is a Symptom of a Nation Built on White Supremacy

      The racism and white supremacy that were on full display at the Charlottesville white supremacist rally is symptomatic of a United States culture that has whitewashed its history, ignored it’s rampant human rights abuses and stowed away the darkest corners of its past to formulate a distorted view of American exceptionalism predicated on white supremacy. America was built on slavery, genocide, violence, and white male supremacy that exploited others for profit and power for centuries, and still do to this day. The moral high ground of American exceptionalism that some people have taken to condemn the rally’s hate, with claims of “this is not America,” demonstrate a historical obliviousness or refusal to accept responsibility for this history.

    • After Charlottesville

      Racism, exposed once more in the terror visited on Charlottesville, Va., still scars America. Hundreds of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, klansmen and other fervid racists gathered — some armed with assault rifles, wearing camouflage. They marched with lit torches, yelling Nazi slogans, looking for trouble. They provoked the violence, terrorized a city, and took the life of Heather Heyer and injured many more. In the reaction to those horrors, character is revealed.

    • Antifa: A Look at the Anti-Fascist Movement Confronting White Supremacists in the Streets

      President Trump is facing widespread criticism for his latest comments on the deadly white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. Speaking at Trump Tower on Tuesday, Trump said the violence was in part caused by what he called the “alt-left.” President Trump’s comment were widely decried. Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wrote on Twitter, “No, not the same. One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes.” We look at one of the groups who confronted the white supremacists in the streets: the anti-fascists known as antifa. We speak to Mark Bray, author of the new book, “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook.”

    • A Call for Self-Defense in the Face of White Supremacy

      In order to self-defend, groups targeted for violence by white supremacists have to first acknowledge in ourselves that we are worthy of defending. Those of us who experience the daily damages of white supremacy and desire its end deserve a world without it.

    • ‘Embarrassing’ for US, Trump Defense of Neo-Nazi Rally Stuns People Worldwide

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) charged President Donald Trump with “embarrassing” his own country during a press conference on Tuesday—and the overnight evidence suggests he’s exactly right.

      President Donald Trump’s defense of last weekend’s violent neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was met with shock across the country and around the world on Wednesday, with some of the strongest criticism coming from his hometown of New York City.

      A day after Trump was greeted by hundreds of his former neighbors chanting “New York hates you,” and as protesters gathered outside Trump Tower for more demonstrations, the New York Daily News and New York Post offered clear summations of the city’s position on the president.

    • Centrist Pundits Paved Way for Trump’s ‘Alt-Left’ False Equivalence

      President Donald Trump sparked outrage Tuesday afternoon after he equated Nazis and counter-protesters in Charlottesville. To do so, he referred to the anti-racist activists as the “alt-left,” with the implication that they were the equivalent of the “alt-right,” two sides to the same coin, showing there was, in his words, evil “on both sides.”

      It’s important to remember that the “alt-left” rhetorical gambit—deliberately equating leftists with the alt-right, itself a euphemism for internet-savvy racism—was popularized by centrist pundits and Democratic Party apparatchiks in an attempt to stigmatize and smear those challenging the center-left establishment. As it turns out, there’s no way to suggest that unruly leftists are as bad as neo-Nazis without suggesting that neo-Nazis are no worse than unruly leftists.

    • ‘This Is a Company That Is Essentially Producing Trump TV’

      Sinclair Broadcasting Group is already the largest owner of television stations around the country, with some 173. But it’s looking to increase that dominance by taking over Tribune Media, which owns stations in key markets like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The deal would mean Sinclair would own more than 220 stations, reaching some 72 percent of US TV households.

    • Reactions to the Charlottesville White Nationalist Rally

      President Donald Trump doubled down on his comments that there are “many sides” to blame for the violence in Charlottesville during an Aug. 15 press conference at Trump Tower.

    • Trump Asks, ‘What About the Alt-Left?’ Here’s an Answer
    • Trump blows up damage control as he blames ‘both sides’ for Charlottesville

      It took President Donald Trump two days to explicitly call out the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who engaged in violent protests over the weekend that resulted in the death of a 32-year-old Charlottesville woman.

      It took him less than 24 hours to undo the damage control that had been foisted upon him by teleprompter-wielding, crisis-managing aides.

    • Everyone working for Trump knows his Charlottesville response is an abomination

      Now that President Trump has reverted to his earlier position that “many sides” are to blame for the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, the dismay of senior people very close to him is suddenly getting smuggled out to the rest of the world, as if by magic. We are told that Gary Cohn, a top economic adviser to the White House, was “disgusted” and “upset.” We learn that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have been urging moderation. We are informed that Trump’s top aides were “stunned” by Trump’s comments, and that new chief of staff John F. Kelly was “very frustrated” by them.

      At yesterday’s presser, the president adamantly defended his original statement that the fault lies with bigotry on “many sides” and reiterated that “there’s blame on both sides” for what happened. He said that the rallying white supremacists and Nazis had been treated “unfairly” by the media, and that there “were very fine people on both sides.” No doubt, many of the top officials around Trump are deeply disturbed or horrified by all of this.

    • Intel CEO is the latest to leave Trump’s manufacturing council

      Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has become the third top business leader to step down from President Trump’s manufacturing council on Monday.

      He follows the chiefs of Merck (MRK) and Under Armour (UA), who announced their decisions earlier Monday amid the fallout over Trump’s response to violence over the weekend at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

      “We should honor — not attack — those who have stood up for equality and other cherished American values. I hope this will change, and I remain willing to serve when it does,” Krzanich wrote in a blog post on the Silicon Valley company’s website late Monday.

    • Donald Trump’s failure in Charlottesville wasn’t political — it was moral

      Donald Trump is who we thought he was.
      After a campaign gestated in birtherism, Trump was slow to condemn the likes of white supremacist David Duke, routinely spoke in coded racial language to energize a segment of people angry about the changing face of the country and condoned violence against those who disagreed with him, Trump, over the last four days, has proven that he is that same person as president.
      And that person is the opposite of a leader. And that person is dangerous to this country’s well-being.

    • Treason And Other High Crimes And Misdemeanors Demand Trump Be Impeached
    • Repugnant

      Make no mistake about it; today’s statement was deliberate. Trump’s entry into the political fray was as a leader of the so-called birthers, questioning Barack Obama’s citizenship. His announcement of candidacy was a full-throated anti-immigrant stance, which he never moderated and has not changed.

      Yes, previous American presidents have been racist, some of them proudly so. But since the Civil War we have not seen — until today — a president of the United States throw his political lot in with white nationalists and neo-Nazis. Good people voted for this man, hoping that he would shake things up in Washington. Good people cannot stand by statements such as Trump made today.

      It is time for the Congress to censure this President. The statements made today are morally bankrupt, and are intolerable. Good people do not march with neo-Nazis, and good people cannot let statements such as those made today, stand.

    • Trump Ends C.E.O. Advisory Councils as Main Group Acts to Disband
    • ‘Shame! Shame!’: New Yorkers Surround Trump Tower to Protest President’s Return

      Protesters on Fifth Ave. in New York City shouted “Shame! Shame! Shame!” as President Donald Trump returned to Trump Tower Monday night for the first time since he took office in January. Thousands of people—and an inflatable rat designed to resemble Trump—filled the streets of Midtown letting the president know “New York hates you!”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • A.B. 375, California’s Broadband Privacy Act, Very Close to Becoming Law
    • Proposed Law Would Turn US Borders Into Unblinking Eyes With A Thirst For Human DNA

      Some senators are looking to turn US borders into the equivalent of London: cameras everywhere and a host of new incursions into travelers’ and visitors’ privacy. Cyrus Farivar of Ars Technica “outed” the not-yet-introduced bill — titled “Building America’s Trust Act” [wtf] — since the supporting lawmakers have yet to formally announce their plans to make the US a worse country to live in, much less visit.

      The one-pager [PDF] for the bill [PDF] (which is 186 pages long) makes it clear what the objective is: more surveillance, more boots on the ground, and green lights for law enforcement agencies located anywhere within 100 miles of the nation’s borders. The bill calls for more judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and inspectors, as well as walls, levees, fences — whatever might further separate the US from its bordering neighbors (but only the southern one, apparently).

    • Trump DOJ Wants Info on Every Person Who Visited Anti-Trump Protest Site

      Decrying it as “investigatory overreach” and a “clear abuse of government authority,” web hosting provider DreamHost is challenging a request it received from the Justice Department for information about visitors to a client’s site used to organize protests against President Donald Trump on his Inauguration Day.

      In a blog post titled “We Fight for the Users,” the DreamHost wrote on Monday evening that the DOJ had demanded personal information of more than 1.3 million people who visited disruptj20.org, where they could find information about where anti-Trump events were taking place on January 20.

    • A Sweeping Search Warrant Targets Anti-Trump Website in Clear Threat to the Constitution

      One of the core principles enshrined in the Fourth Amendment is a prohibition on general searches — meaning, the government cannot simply go fishing for a wide range of information in the hope that some kind of useful evidence will turn up. But that’s exactly what the government appears to be doing with a newly revealed search warrant seeking reams of digital records about an Inauguration Day protest website that could implicate more than 1 million users.

      We first learned yesterday that within days of President Trump’s inauguration, the web server hosting company DreamHost received a subpoena from the government seeking records about a website hosted on its servers. Now the government has followed up that initial demand with a search warrant seeking a huge array of records “related to” the website. Those records would include the IP addresses of over 1.3 million visitors to the site.

    • Letter to Metropolitan Police: Scrap Notting Hill Carnival automated facial recognition plans

      We are writing to express our concern regarding the Metropolitan Police’s plans to use mobile facial recognition at this year’s Notting Hill Carnival.

      We are calling on you to scrap plans to use automated facial recognition at Notting Hill Carnival and to urgently start a dialogue with civil society and Parliament about the use of this technology.

    • Tech companies, law profs agree: The Fourth Amendment should protect data

      A group of prominent tech companies and lawyers has come together in new friend-of-the-court filings submitted to the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The group is arguing in favor of stronger legal protections for data generated by apps and digital devices in an important privacy case pending before the court.

      The companies, which include Apple, Google, and Microsoft among many others, argue that the current state of the law, which distinguishes between “content” (which requires a warrant) and “non-content” (which does not) “make[s] little sense in the context of digital technologies.”

    • Don’t let Trump get his hands on our data – Sign now!

      “I have made it clear in my campaign that I would support and endorse the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.” – Donald Trump, 15/2/2016

      President Trump now has unrivalled access to data collected by UK intelligence agencies. And thanks to the UK’s Investigatory Powers Act, the UK is collecting huge amounts of data about all our lives in Britain and around the world – in bulk.

      Trump has threatened to use torture, ban Muslims from entering the US, and expand use of the death penalty. He plans to ban most refugees and suspend visas for people coming from majority-Muslim countries.

    • Trump’s NAFTA Renegotiations Could Put Canadians’ Personal Data At Risk

      Canada and the US are getting ready to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—something president Trump has been vocal about changing—and on the table are rules defining where online information will be stored. Privacy experts are concerned American law enforcement or spy agencies could get access to Canadians’ sensitive information, while others point out that Canada already shares plenty of data with the US.

    • Real people don’t (just) need encryption

      Because real people don’t just need encrypted messaging apps that offer end-to-end protection, they also need end-point security — the kinds of thoughtful design and expedient updating and transparent code that enables them to defend their devices from attackers who gain access to their messages by compromising their phones and computers.

    • End-to-end encryption isn’t enough security for ‘real people’

      Government officials continue to seek technology companies’ help fighting terrorism and crime. But the most commonly proposed solution would severely limit regular people’s ability to communicate securely online. And it ignores the fact that governments have other ways to keep an electronic eye on targets of investigations.

    • Justice demands 1.3M IP addresses related to Trump resistance site

      “In essence, the Search Warrant not only aims to identify the political dissidents of the current administration, but attempts to identify and understand what content each of these dissidents viewed on the website,” the company’s general counsel, Chris Ghazarian, said in a legal argument opposing the request.

    • Court orders web host to hand over IP addresses of anti-Trump website visitors

      A search warrant, dated 12 July from a District of Colombia court, said that visitors to the disruptj20.org site, hosted by Dreamhost, must be available as they constitute “the individuals who participated, planned, organized, or incited the January 20 riot,”.

    • We Fight for the Users

      At the center of the requests is disruptj20.org, a website that organized participants of political protests against the current United States administration. While we have no insight into the affidavit for the search warrant (those records are sealed), the DOJ has recently asked DreamHost to provide all information available to us about this website, its owner, and, more importantly, its visitors.

    • Uber settles claims that it mishandled private information about users and drivers

      “Uber failed consumers in two key ways: First by misrepresenting the extent to which it monitored its employees’ access to personal information about users and drivers, and second by misrepresenting that it took reasonable steps to secure that data,” said FTC acting chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen in a statement. “This case shows that, even if you’re a fast growing company, you can’t leave consumers behind: you must honor your privacy and security promises.”

    • Google, Facebook ask Supreme Court to protect cellphone data under Fourth Amendment [iophk: "they want to retain their monopoly on that access"]

      Apple, Facebook, Google and other major technology companies asked the Supreme Court late on Monday night to rule that their users’ data should be protected from warantless search and seizure by the government.

    • Americans Love Ordering Pizza on Facebook

      TGI Fridays’ Perdue joined the company earlier this year from Taco Bell, which was a pioneer in letting customers order with their phones. Now, TGI Fridays has become the first restaurant chain to let people pay with their Amazon accounts — a new wrinkle in the convenience wars. Rather than fumbling with wallets and finding credit cards, customers use the Amazon app on their phones.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Julian Assange, a Man Without a Country

      Still, his legal circumstances had barely changed. Scotland Yard was maintaining an arrest warrant for him, based on the violation of his bail. Assange was fighting the warrant, but he told me that even if it was dropped immediately he would not walk out. What he wanted, it seemed, was immunity: a guarantee that he would never be called to the United States to face any trial. Without it, he was going to stay put.

    • Twitter User Sparks Controversy for Outing Virginia Protesters

      So far, at least two people who attended the protest have been revealed and one lost his job, according to the Twitter feed. Critics on the right and left said it was too easy to identify a photo incorrectly and ruin someone’s reputation.

    • Saudi Government Looking To Jail More Citizens For ‘Harming Public Order’ With Their Religious Tweets

      The internet may be an amazing communication tool, but it’s also a handy way for governments to keep an eye on their citizens. Saudi Arabia uses the internet for multiple things — mainly monitoring dissent and controlling communication.

      An expansive cybercrime law, coupled with longstanding statutes outlawing criticism of the official religion, have made it easy for the Saudi government to jail critics and cut off communications platforms. Bloggers have been imprisoned and encrypted services asked for technical details presumably in hopes of inserting the government into private conversations.

    • American accused of faking eBay sales to fund US terror pleads guilty

      A 32-year-old American man accused of using an eBay account for fake computer-printer transactions to raise funds for a US terror plot pleaded guilty to federal terrorism-related charges Tuesday.

      Mohamed Elshinawy, whom the government said pledged allegiance to ISIS, told the authorities that the up to $8,700 he received via PayPal was to be used for “operational purposes” (PDF) in the US, like conducting a terror attack. However, he also told the authorities, according to court documents, that he was just ripping off overseas ISIS operatives and had no intention of carrying out an attack in the US.

    • The Joe Arpaio I Knew

      The former Maricopa County sheriff made his name in part by targeting immigrants — even after a judge ordered him to stop. As President Trump considers a pardon, it’s worth remembering precisely what Arpaio did in his decades in law enforcement.

    • They Got Hurt at Work. Then They Got Deported.

      How insurance companies use a Florida law to get undocumented immigrants arrested and deported when they get injured on the job — and what it means in Trump’s America.

    • “Honour killings” in Russia’s North Caucasus

      “You can’t say that Sultan Daurbekov ended his daughter’s life, that he killed her.” This is how Ilyas Timishev began his defence of his client. “What you have to say is that he took her away from life, so that she couldn’t bring shame to herself, her father and her entire family. That’s the correct description.” Timishev’s client, Sultan Daurbekov, a resident of Chechnya, was on trial for the murder of his daughter, Zarema. In April 2015, this “honour killing” case, held in Grozny’s Staropromyslov District Court, was drawing to a close, and the public prosecutor had already requested an eight year sentence in a high security prison colony.

      According to witnesses, Zarema Daurbekova “led an immoral life”. Reflecting on whether Zarema’s father deserved to be punished for killing her, Timishev remarked that the man was being judged under laws which belonged in a different cultural tradition.

      “Our lawmakers are, in general, members of the Russian-speaking population. They will find this father’s actions unacceptable. Why is this?’ asked the defending counsel before immediately answering his own question: “Because they don’t have any traditions.”

    • Equality, Justice and the First Amendment

      While the events of this weekend — with white supremacists holding lit torches — frightened and outraged many Americans, we can never underestimate the impact of these images on African-Americans. That rally reflected this nation’s history of slavery, racial violence, and terrorism, which has left an indelible mark on our democracy to this day. As employees, members, or supporters of an organization dedicated to racial justice, we are all affected. Many of us are even more directly affected because we and our family members are the direct targets of the white supremacists. I know that speech alone has consequences, hurtful and deep, and that’s why I believe it’s important to place the ACLU’s representation of white supremacist demonstrators in Virginia in the broader context of the values and principles that have guided this organization for nearly a century.

    • Our Fight Against Fascism

      When editor-in-chief of the Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg asserted that “the struggle in Charlottesville is a struggle within our own civilization, within Trump’s own civilization,” and that in the wake of such events “an American president should speak up directly on behalf of the American creed, on behalf of Americans who reject tribalism and seek pluralism, on behalf of the idea that blood-and-soil nationalism is antithetical to the American idea itself,” who, exactly, can place his logic?

      It reads nicely, and it seems a conscionable thought to have after a woman dies fighting Nazis on American soil. But, really, what history books has Mr. Goldberg been reading?

      “Our civilization’s” ongoing genocide against indigenous groups and the violently enforced systematic oppression of Black Americans notwithstanding, the US government – of which Trump is now Commander-in-Chief – has a storied and bloody history of assassinating foreign heads of state precisely because, democratically, a body of citizens or voters “seeking pluralism” elsewhere in the world had commenced down an antifascist political path that did not suit Washington’s interests.

    • Trump and Charlottesville

      There was a time in the United States when a violent gathering of neo-Nazis and their cohorts would have been condemned from the highest offices in the land. The Ku Klux Klan, white supremacists and others of their ilk would hardly dare to march publically, and if they did, every politician in government would weigh in with criticism, if for no other reason than to get their name in the news.

      How times have changed! All it takes is the election of one of their own, for racism to become fashionable again. As a candidate, Donald Trump did nothing to temper his feelings of hostility towards most people who didn’t fit into the white-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant mode. Of course, with a Jewish son-in-law, he did make some exceptions. But for Blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, gays, transgender people, women – the list of those he holds in disdain is endless.

    • ‘This Is Sick’: Unscripted and Unhinged Trump Reverts to Defending Neo-Nazis

      After largely sticking to the script on Monday, President Donald Trump “showed his true colors” once again at an impromptu press conference Tuesday at Trump Tower, where he suggested that white supremacists and counter demonstrators were both to blame for the deadly violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, and argued that torch-wielding neo-Nazis were merely expressing peaceful disagreement with the planned removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

    • Ahead of Charlottesville, Trump Cut Funds for Group Fighting White Supremacy

      A few weeks before Heather Heyer was murdered and many others were injured after a coalition of hate groups gathered violently in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Trump administration—under guidance from trusted aides such as Katharine Gorka—revoked a $400,000 federal grant from a U.S. nonprofit dedicated to rehabilitating former white supremacists and other extremists.

      Just before President Donald Trump took office in January, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that Life After Hate would receive funding from the $10 million appropriated by Congress for the department’s Countering Violent Extremism Grant Program (CVE).

    • Ta-Nehisi Coates on How Cities & Municipalities Are Winning Reparations for Slavery at Local Level

      The white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend came after thousands of neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and other white nationalists descended on Charlottesville to protest the city’s plan to remove a Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee. The effort to remove this statue was spurred in part by the African-American city Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy, who convinced his fellow city councilmembers not only to vote to remove the statue, but also to create a “reparations fund” for Charlottesville’s African-American residents. For more, we speak with award-winning author and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, who in 2014 penned the influential piece for The Atlantic, “The Case for Reparations.”

    • Overcrowding in Nebraska’s Prisons Is Causing a Medical and Mental Health Care Crisis

      Nebraska’s prison conditions are inhumane and unconstitutional, and ultimately, they hurt public safety. We can’t reduce recidivism rates among former prisoners if, instead of being given rehabilitation opportunities, they have been horribly traumatized during incarceration.

      According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Nebraska’s prison system is one of the most crowded in the nation. All but one of our state prisons are over capacity — some are at 200 percent of capacity, and one is at more than 300 percent. The system is supposed to house approximately 3,275 people and is currently housing 5,228 people.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • GOP lawmakers shamed on billboards for trying to repeal net neutrality rules

      Pro-net neutrality activist group Fight for the Future has put up a series of billboards shaming Republican members of Congress who want to eliminate the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules and classification of broadband providers as common carriers.

      The billboards in the lawmakers’ home states urge people to contact their elected officials and say that a net neutrality repeal will lead to “slower, censored, and more expensive Internet.” The signs were paid for by hundreds of small donations, the group said. Broadband providers Comcast, Verizon, and Charter get shoutouts on the billboards as well.

    • Billboards target neutracidal congresscreeps
    • Net neutrality activists launch crowdfunded billboards targeting key members of Congress during August recess

      Billboards in six states single out lawmakers who support the FCC’s plan to gut key safeguards preventing ISPs from charging new fees, slowing traffic, or blocking websites

    • Google is eating the open internet [iophk: "IIRC only 3 other search engines exist, the others are meta engines"]

      The benefits of operating within a regulated walled garden are obvious. The open web tends to be a wild and messy place, whereas closed platforms allow companies to control, track, and potentially monetize every part of their user experience and behavior.

    • FCC Begins Weakening The Definition Of Quality Broadband Deployment To Aid Lazy, Uncompetitive ISPs

      You may be shocked to learn this, but like most U.S. regulatory agencies, the FCC’s top Commissioner spots are occassionally staffed by individuals that spend a bit too much time focused on protecting the interests of giant, incumbent, legacy companies (usually before they move on to think tanks, consultant gigs, or law firm policy work financed and steered by those same companies). In the telecom market these folks usually share some fairly consistent, telltale characteristics. One, they’re usually comically incapable of admitting that there’s a lack of competition in the broadband market.

      Two, they go to great, sophisticated lengths — usually via the help of economists hired for this precise purpose — to obfuscate, modify, and twist data until it shows that broadband competition is everywhere and the market is functioning perfectly. After all, if the data shows that there’s no longer a problem — you can justify your complete and total apathy toward doing anything about it.

    • “I closed my eyes and waited for the bullet”

      A month later, on 15 September 2012 we were near the koppie with Paulina Masuhlo, an ANC councillor and our good friend. The police had weapons and fought the mine workers near the koppie. They killed Paulina. I don’t know how I (Primrose) survived because I was next to her. I just took my hood and closed my eyes and then I waited for the bullet. We took Paulina to hospital where she died.

      After Paulina’s death, we met again as women and formed an organisation called Sikhala Sonte (We Cry Together). We organised as women in solidarity with those who died. They were brothers, fathers, friends, they were related to us. As women, we gathered together in the hospitals, funerals, prisons and courts.

      Sikhala Sonke is now a registered non-profit organisation and last year filmmaker Aliki Saragas approached us about documenting our community’s struggle for justice. We are in the UK to show the finished film, called Strike a Rock, and to represent the mine workers, widows, orphans and everyone in our community. We are demanding action from Lonmin because they promised to help the widows, to compensate them, to compensate Paulina’s family, but they’ve said nothing about her since.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Whispers From the Void – When nothing is going on in tech, a few brief observations on the occasional news tidbits

      Talking of Nokia, haha, this is the ‘real’ Nokia not HMD – Apple reached settlement to pay $2B yes BILLION in royalties to Nokia out of iPhone patent infringements and a long-running lawsuit. Yes. Apple admits by this action (while not admitting in public) that it had been stealing from Nokia intellectual property {sic} for YEARS.

    • Aarhus University and industry open patent-free playground

      Along with a number of leading Danish industrial companies, Aarhus University has opted out of the rat race in a new collaboration on industrially relevant basic research. Researchers and companies from all over Denmark publish all their results and data on the innovative Open Science platform, where the information is available free of charge to everyone interested.

    • Trademarks

      • Ninth Circuit Holds that “Reverse Confusion” Need Not Be Pled with Specificity

        A plaintiff seeking to prevail on a trademark infringement claim needs to establish that there is some likelihood of confusion between its mark and that of the defendant. Generally, a plaintiff establishes that there is “forward” confusion by showing that customers believed they were doing business with plaintiff but because of a confusion in their respective marks, were actually doing business with the defendant. Sometimes, however, a plaintiff will seek to establish “reverse confusion” in that a customer believing they were doing business with a defendant actually ends up doing business with the plaintiff. The Ninth Circuit, in the case Marketquest Group v. BIC Corp. (decided July 7, 2017), was faced with the issue as to whether a plaintiff seeking to prevail under a theory of “reverse confusion” is required to plead that theory with specificity.

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Needs Radical Reform

        Copyright is back in the news in Europe. In the UK, the Digital Economy Bill proposes to increase the maximum prison sentence for online copyright infringement to ten years. Meanwhile, an extensive modernisation of copyright for the EU is also in progress, with a goal of making the treatment of copyright the same across Europe, especially in relation to digital media.

        None of the proposals I have seen address the most significant issue we face today; that copyright was never meant to apply to things you and I routinely do. It was a law made in the context of the end of general censorship and the rise of the printing press. It was intended to protect the weak from the powerful and the powerful from each other. It never applied to people who read printed works, only to those who printed them. That’s why the penalties associated with infringement are so disproprotionate; they are meant to influence magnates, not minnows.

        We’ve seen the immense harm that’s resulted from the semantic sleight-of-hand that justifies the violation of our rights because the phrases “war on drugs” and “war on terror” includes the word “war”. A similar, more cunning sleight-of-mind observes that every enjoyment of a work in the digital age requires a “copy”. Use of that word is taken to mean copyright law applies, and thus a license is required by the consumer to waive the monopoly which copyright grants.

      • Spinrilla Refuses to Share Its Source Code With the RIAA

        Spinrilla, a popular hip-hop mixtape site and app, is refusing to share its source code with the RIAA. The major record labels want to use the code as evidence in their ongoing piracy lawsuit against the company. Spinrilla notes, however, that handing over its “crown jewel” goes too far, while stressing that the RIAA’s piracy claims are overblown.

      • Court rejects LinkedIn claim that unauthorized scraping is hacking

        The case pits a business analytics startup called hiQ against the Microsoft-owned behemoth LinkedIn. HiQ scrapes data from publicly available portions of the LinkedIn website, then sells reports to employers about which of their employees seem to be looking for new jobs. LinkedIn sent hiQ a cease-and-desist letter warning that continued scraping could subject hiQ to liability under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the anti-hacking legislation Congress enacted in 1986.

      • U.S. judge says LinkedIn cannot block startup from public profile data

        A U.S. federal judge on Monday ruled that Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) LinkedIn unit cannot prevent a startup from accessing public profile data, in a test of how much control a social media site can wield over information its users have deemed to be public.

      • Court Says CFAA Isn’t Meant To Prevent Access To Public Data, Orders LinkedIn To Drop Anti-Scraper Efforts

        Some good pushback against the CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) has been handed down by a federal court. LinkedIn, which has frequently sued scrapers under both the CFAA and DMCA, just lost an important preliminary round to a company whose entire business model relies on LinkedIn’s publicly-available data.

        hiQ Labs scrapes LinkedIn data from users whose accounts are public, repackages it and sells it to third party recruiters and HR departments, allowing companies to track employee skills and get a read on which employees might be planning to jump ship.

        LinkedIn didn’t care much for another business piggybacking on its data (and likely cutting back ever so slightly on the number of third parties it sells this data to), so it sued hiQ, alleging the scraping of publicly-available data violated the CFAA. This has completely backfired. hiQ has obtained an injunction preventing LinkedIn from blocking its scraping efforts. [h/t Brad Heath]

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