Patent Lawyers Say It “Remains to be Seen How the EPO Will Limit the Number of PACE Requests an Applicant Can Make”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The right way is the slow way, which is what European SMEs are getting at the moment


Summary: Patent lawyers from Barker Brettell LLP inadvertently reveal that even those who are traditionally close to the EPO can see the obvious problems with PACE (pacing up patent applications’ processing for large corporations, as if the fast lane wouldn’t get clogged up if everyone subscribed/registered for it)

THE EPO‘s PACE programme is a sham because it currently favours only large corporations, most of them not even European corporations. This shatters the myths (of the EPO's dedicated team of myth makers) and clearly interferes with all the PR that the EPO spreads in Twitter, at its own Web site, and various news avenues where the EPO is painted as Europe’s friend and the protector of vulnerable inventors.

“The whole discriminatory régime favours those submitting in bulk, hence it’s inherently beneficial to large corporations.”“The EPO recently published a notification regarding changes to and clarifications of the PACE procedure coming into force this month (January 2016),” wrote Barker Brettell LLP (patent lawyers whose Web site makes their focus rather apparent even in the homepage). They posted some remarks in lawyers’ media about the hogwash that we wrote about in English and later in Spanish (just published the Spanish translation, literally a few minutes ago). The lawyers say that the EPO’s “changes will, in particular, have an impact on applicants who file in volume and who currently request PACE on all applications. It remains to be seen how the EPO will limit the number of PACE requests an applicant can make.”

Well, this isn’t intended to actually work. The whole discriminatory régime favours those submitting in bulk, hence it’s inherently beneficial to large corporations. Later this month we shall share in public more stories from European SMEs who have increasingly been made aware of (and thus complained about) EPO discrimination against those who are small and powerless.

“The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.”

George Bernard Shaw

Oficina Europea de Patentes (OEP) Comienza el Año Nuevo con Disímulo

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Publicado in Europe, Patents at 7:32 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lápiz labial en la Babirusa


Sumario: Horas despues del año nuevo la OEP coomieza a disparar su estrategia de nuevas relaciones públicas (controlar el daño) que da la dudosa ilusión de neutralidad de patentes.

Casi nadie escribe en la mañana del primero de Enero, o va a trabajar. Pero la OEP desesperada por un nuevo comienzo responde al ESCANDALO que envuelve el trato preferencial que otorga a las grandes multinacionales (vea el contexto) al anunciar nuevas reglas cuando nadie supuestamente esta en la ofícina. Ni siquiera los periodistas están alrededor. Lo que parece “control de daños” cuando incluse revivió su Twitter account (después de largo tiempo). No es una automatizada publicación. Alguien está trabajando en eso.

No es difícil de ver para quien la OEP realmente trabaja. Simplemente observen todo su cabildeo por la Corte Unitaria de Patentes, cuya construcción es para BENEFICIAR a los abogados de patentes y sus multi-millonarios clientes (que no son Europeos). Aqui vemos una enorme firma publicando o republicando en otras publicaciones de abogados sus consejos para evitar examinadores/jueces ‘fregados’ (aquellos con capacidad de rechazar aplicaciones de patentes).

“No es difícil de ver para quien la OEP realmente trabaja. Simplemente observen todo su cabildeo por la Corte Unitaria de Patentes, cuya construcción es para BENEFICIAR a los abogados de patentes y sus multi-millonarios clientes (que no son Europeos).”“El 2015 fue un año ocupado para la barra de apelaciones de la OEP,” dicen los abogados de patentes, “con muchas decisiones sobre diferentes areas tecnicas entregadas. Estas incluyeron cuatro decisiones G por la Barra Larga. Aqui hemos proveido un repaso de varias de sus decisiones, incluyendo G and T con una distribucion de codigo C (para los asociados de barra) o más altas (para incluso ser publicados en el Jornal Oficial).”

La Fundacion de Frontera Electronic mientras tanto publico un repaso de los trolles de patentes en 2015 (un asunto creciente en Europa el año pasado, solo para empeorar con la Corte Unitaria de Patentes).

OEP, Te estamos observando este año.

Links 7/1/2016: Linux Mint 18 Previews, Android-based Remix OS

Posted in News Roundup at 3:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • 10 Places To Buy A Laptop With Linux Preloaded

      I want a Linux system without having to pay a Microsoft tax. The hardest part of using Linux is to find out the correct hardware. Hardware compatibility and drivers can be a big issue. But where one can find Linux desktops or Laptop for sale? Here are ten places to buy a preinstalled Linux Desktop and Laptop in alphabetical order.

  • Server

    • IBM’s Watson Now Powers AI For Under Armour, Softbank’s Pepper Robot And More

      From its debut to the world as a Jeopardy champion in 2011, IBM’s Watson has made a name for itself as a powerful artificial intelligence platform for large enterprise applications, from medical research through to finance. Now IBM is aiming to take Watson to the consumer.

    • Microservices are not the same thing as components

      Mention cloud, mention DevOps and it won’t be long before microservices enters the discussion.

      But what is, or are, microservices? The name implies something small – but what? Is it a part of a bigger thing or a piece of discrete functionality? And how are microservices different to application components? And why should we care?

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Fotoxx Open-Source Image Editor Gets Its First Release for 2016 with New Features

      Michael Cornelison or Kornelix, the developer of the Fotoxx open source image editor application for GNU/Linux operating systems proudly announced the release of the first Fotoxx version for 2016.

    • 3 open source personal finance tools for Linux

      With the start of the new year, many people take this time to resolve to get a better handle on their personal finances. Whether this means making and sticking to a budget, reducing unnecessary expenses, or simply getting a better understanding of their financial situation, pretty much any approach to person finance is dependent on having a good idea of the numbers inside their bank accounts, where they come, and where they go.

      Which tools allow you to take the best to approach organizing your finances depends a little bit on your situation. Do you primarily make purchases electronically, or do you rely heavily on cash? Is the archiving and organization of receipts going to be important for you come tax time? Do you operate a small business and need a more powerful tool which can manage the more complex finances of sales, customers, employees, and business expenses? Or do you use multiple currencies (perhaps BitCoin?) and want to keep track of those values as well?

    • Longing to bin Photoshop? Rock-solid GIMP a major leap forward

      Despite its relatively obscure version number, GIMP 2.9.2, released recently, represents a major leap forward for the popular image editing suite.

      Like all odd-numbered GIMP releases, 2.9.2 is considered a technical preview, but the features here will form the base of the stable release GIMP 2.10.

      In the mean time, I’ve found 2.9.2 to be very stable, though you will need to compile it yourself in most cases.

    • ownCloud 9 Will Be a Cool Release, Says Frank Karlitschek

      It looks like the ownCloud developers will have a great year in 2016, as the company’s CTO, Mr. Frank Karlitschek, has just announced on his Twitter account that ownCloud 9 is shaping up really nicely and that it will be a cool release.

    • In Search of a Linux Calendar

      When all is said and done, a calendar app is a calendar app is a calendar app. Except for Sunrise’s propensity for sharing secrets with its cloud based parent calendar, there’s not a nickle’s difference between any of these apps; they all do the same thing in basically the same way. I’ve put my affinity for KOrganizer aside for the time being and have settled in with Lightening, mainly because of its tight integration with Thunderbird. Among other thing, that means I won’t have to remember to open it, as it’ll be there automatically as a tab on Thunderbird, so I might even find myself using it.

      I’m not uninstalling KOrganizer however. I might yet change my mind.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • A Quake 2 Game Might Get Ported To Linux

        Berserker@Quake2 has been around since about 2005, but only supported on Windows. Now though the Russian developer behind this game mod has finally published his code in hopes of someone porting it to Linux.

      • PlayStation 4 Linux Hack Now Supports 3D Acceleration, USB Support Coming Soon

        We reported on the last days of 2015 that a group of talented hackers that go by the name of fail0verflow managed to hack Sony’s PlayStation 4 gaming console to run the Gentoo Linux operating system.

        The hack was made possible due to a broken NOP command on the integrated AMD Radeon GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), something that Sony might not be able to fix anytime soon.

      • Feel like fragging? You can do that in your browser with QuakeJS

        Here’s an interesting thing I stumbled upon while I was looking up ioquake3 stuff. QuakeJS is a port of the ioquake3 engine to Javascript and WebGL and it plays original Quake 3 maps.

      • Oculus Rift Pre-Orders Start, But Linux Support Is Still Halted

        Oculus Rift pre-orders opened up this morning for $599 USD and an anticipated ship date of April. However, the Facebook-owned company isn’t yet back to providing Linux support.

        With today’s pre-order launch, I was curious to see whether they would comment on restoring Linux (and OS X) support, but they have not. Oculus suspended Linux and OS X support last year in order to focus on their Windows support with no timeline for when they planned to come back to providing Linux support. However, now that everything is ready to go, they apparently aren’t yet ready to jump back into the VR scene for Linux gamers. There’s also nothing new with regards to Linux via the Oculus developer area.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • The importance of Keywords for the software center

        So, what do I want you to do? If you have no existing keywords, I would like you to add some keywords in the desktop file or the AppData file. If you want the keywords to be used by GNOME Shell as well (which you probably do), the best place to put any search terms is in the keywords section of the desktop file. This can also be marked as translatable so non-English users can search in their own language. This would look something like Keywords=3D;printer; (remember the trailing semicolon!)

  • Distributions

    • The Linux Setup – Ikey Doherty, Solus

      Ikey is living the dream—he made his own desktop environment. Perhaps even more impressive, he made it for his own distribution! Perhaps most impressive of all, Solus, Ikey’s distribution, is built from scratch, meaning it’s not based upon another distribution. It’s a lot of work, but Ikey doesn’t seem to mind it. Ikey also flags git as his essential tool-of-choice. I’m using git to submit chapters for my book and it’s a pretty amazing piece of software. It’s impacting all kinds of work.

    • New Releases

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • Another look at NetworkManager and Tumbleweed

        I last looked at NetworkManager when it was at version 1.0.0. It is now at version 1.0.6, and with some changes that persuaded me to do some more testing.

        To test, I setup a connection and then did some tests. I repeated this for KDE/Plasma 5, for Gnome and for XFCE. It is also possible to run “nm-applet” and a polkit daemon in Icewm, where configuring the network is similar to what happens with XFCE (which also uses “nm-applet”).

      • Highlights of development sprint 13

        As promised in the previous post on this blog, we’ll try to keep you updated about what is happening in the YaST world. Before Christmas we finished an specially short sprint, interrupted by another successful Hackweek. Although we always reserve some time for bug fixing, the last two sprints has been quite focused in looking into the future, implementing new solutions for old problems and trying to prepare replacements for some legacy stuff we have been carrying on for too long. Here you are the highlights.

      • Suse Linux Enterprise 12 Service Pack 1 adds full Docker support and extended availability

        Linux firm Suse has released the first service pack for Suse Linux Enterprise 12, adding full Docker support for operating containerised applications and enhanced capabilities to improve uptime and disaster recovery.

        Suse Linux Enterprise 12 is the most recent version of the firm’s Linux distribution for operating mission-critical applications and services, and the Service Pack 1 (SP1) release is the first major update since it shipped in October 2014.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Why Red Hat, Inc. Gained 20% in 2015

        Of course, Red Hat paved the way toward that touchstone moment by building a strong reputation and rising sales over the years.

      • Agree To Buy Red Hat At $65, Earn 8.9% Using Options

        Investors eyeing a purchase of Red Hat Inc (Symbol: RHT) stock, but tentative about paying the going market price of $81.25/share, might benefit from considering selling puts among the alternative strategies at their disposal. One interesting put contract in particular, is the January 2018 put at the $65 strike, which has a bid at the time of this writing of $5.80. Collecting that bid as the premium represents a 8.9% return against the $65 commitment, or a 4.4% annualized rate of return (at Stock Options Channel we call this the YieldBoost ).

      • Red Hat Inc (RHT) Posts Quarterly Earnings Results, Beats Expectations By $0.02 EPS

        Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) posted its earnings results on Thursday. The open-source software company reported $0.48 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.46 by $0.02, ARN reports. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.42 EPS. The firm earned $523.60 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $521.66 million. The business’s revenue was up 14.8% compared to the same quarter last year. Red Hat updated its Q4 guidance to $0.47 EPS.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 24 Will Likely Be Delayed

          While we are not even up to the alpha release yet of Fedora 24, there’s a call to already push back the entire schedule by up to a few weeks.

          The current schedule puts the alpha freeze / software string freeze / change checkpoint on 16 February, Fedora 24 Alpha on 1 March, Fedora 24 Beta on 12 April, and the final release on 17 May. However, a proposal being pushed to the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee would end up pushing back all of the F24 milestones by a few weeks: up to three or four weeks.

        • It’s Possible To Run Fedora 23 With A Mainline Kernel On A Tegra K1 Chromebook

          While the Tegra X1 is the latest and greatest NVIDIA SoC out there currently, the Tegra K1 is still a beauty and still blows many other ARM boards out of the water. If you happen to have a Tegra K1 Chromebook, it’s possible to get Fedora 23 Linux running on there with a bit of hacking.

          Fedora developer Kushal Das has written a blog post about getting Fedora 23 running on a Tegra K1 Chromebook. The particular Chromebook is the Acer CB5311. With a bit of work and following the Fedora ARM Wiki for Chromebooks, he was able to get the latest version of Fedora Workstation running on the device. He was also able to build a mainline kernel on the Tegra K1 Chromebook itself for getting the wireless support to work.

    • Debian Family

      • 7 Reasons Why Debian is the Dominant Linux Distro

        I first installed Debian sixteen years ago. Since then, I have tried countless other Linux distributions, and even used one or two regularly for several months, but my main distribution has always been Debian, or at least one of its many derivatives.

        Familiarity probably explains some of my preference. However, most of my preference comes from comparing other distributions unfavorably with Debian.

      • In memory of Ian Murdock

        In an entertaining read on his blog Ian recounts how in the winter of 1992 he met Linux

      • Debian Domination, Unstable Fedora, Simple Elementary

        The loss of Ian Murdock is still making the headlines, but not much new has come to light. The police did issue a public statement, but didn’t really say anything new. They acknowledged Murdock’s arrests and subsequent suicide, but claim there is no connection and Murdock’s injuries were self-inflicted. Murdock’s family is still silent and requesting privacy. The Debian project yesterday posted a second memorial (third if you count the mention in last week’s project news) to Murdock, this time remembering his contributions to Linux and the Open Source philosophy.

      • Debian Founder And Open Source Visionary Ian Murdock Dies At 42
      • Debian Project mourns the loss of Ian Murdock

        The Debian Project sadly announces that it has lost the founder of its community and project, Ian Murdock.

        Debian is only a part of Ian’s legacy but perhaps the one that he is most known for.

        Ian was introduced to computers early in his life, and his curiosity turned to familiarity which led him to start actively programming at nine years of age. Later as a young adult at the Krannert School of Management a mandatory programming class rekindled his fascination with computer programming along with an idea and an opportunity to make something better.

        Ian started the Debian Project in August of 1993, releasing the first versions of Debian later that same year. At that time, the whole concept of a “distribution” of Linux was new. Inspired as he said by Linus Torvalds’ own sharing of Linux, he released Debian with the intention that this distribution should be made openly, in the spirit of Linux and GNU.

      • Derivatives

        • Debian-Based DebEX GNOME Linux OS Now Includes MATE 1.12.1 and GNOME 3.18.3

          After announcing the release of a new build for his DebEX KDE GNU/Linux distribution, today, January 6, 2016, Arne Exton informs Softpedia about the immediate availability for download of DebEX GNOME Build 160105.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” to Have a New Look and Feel

              The leader of the Linux Mint project, Clement Lefebvre, has confirmed today that the name Linux Mint 18 will be “Sarah.”

              The information that Linux Mint 18 was going to be named “Sarah” was revealed a few months ago by Clement Lefebvre in one of his monthly updates, but he didn’t say anything after that. Now, the Linux Mint leader decided to confirm the name, but he also talked a little about what’s coming in the new version.

              One of the things we knew for sure, since the launch of Linux Mint 17.x, was that all new major versions of the OS were going to be based solely on Ubuntu LTS versions. The switch was made with the 17.x branch, which used Ubuntu 14.04 LTS as a base. It was obvious that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS was going to be the base for Linux Mint 18.x.

            • Linux Mint 18 details revealed — code name, release date, and more!

              When it comes to desktop computing, I love me some Linux. While Ubuntu is my favorite distro of the moment, I use many others from time to time, such as Fedora, deepin, and Linux Mint. My desktop environment preference is Unity or Gnome, but I understand the love for Mint’s Cinnamon or MATE. If you are coming from Windows, and prefer the “Start Menu” approach as an interface, both of those primary Mint DEs will make you comfortable.

            • Upgrade path to 17.3 now open for all editions

              The upgrade path from Linux Mint 17, 17.1 and 17.2 to Linux Mint 17.3 is now open for all editions (Cinnamon, MATE, KDE and Xfce).

            • Linux Mint 18: Powered By Ubuntu 16.04, Coming This Summer
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 2015 – Year of Open Source explosion

    Open source software – software freely shared with the world at large – is an old idea, dating back to the 1980s when Richard Stillman started preaching the gospel calling it free software. Then Linus Torvalds started working on Linux in the early 1990s. Today, Linux runs our lives. The Android operating system that runs so many Google phones is based on Linux. When you open a phone app like Twitter or Facebook and pull down all those tweets and status updates, you’re tapping into massive computer data centers filled with hundreds of Linux machines. Linux is the foundation of the Internet.

  • Does Open Source Have a Place in DevOps?

    Open source software (OSS) is generally considered to be an integral part of DevOps, and for a couple of good reasons. It has led to the rapid emergence of innovative tools to meet the requirements of those leading the automation charge, and has also made those tools freely available. DevOps practitioners can adopt solutions to try new ideas and approaches without going through the usual investment justification and procurement process, or even seeking management permission.

  • From emergency fix to business backbone

    The words I hear some clients ask when they first see my Linux set up is: “Is it that unix thing?.” If they know it well-enough to ask that question, I’m usually on the verge of going full geek mode.

    Before I impart words of wonder and inspiration, I think about how awesome it will be to open this person’s eyes to the world of possibilities outside proprietary software, and how excited they will be to discover how Linux and open source software are the foundation of the World Wide Web as they know it. As it turns out, its really difficult to sum up why open source is so great in a single sentence.


    Giving back to the open source community is such an important part of what makes open source software amazing and so powerful. Each year we strive to improve our efforts in this area.

  • Mycroft Releases Key AI Component as Open Source

    The Mycroft team has released the Adapt Intent Parser as open source, which is a piece of code that converts natural language into instructions that can be understood by a machine.

    Why is this parser so important? There are at least a couple of reasons why Mycroft chose to release this important piece of code as open source. To make it clearer, the Adapt Intent Parser transforms what the user speaks into something that can be interpreted by an application on a device, like a phone or a desktop.

  • Hour of Code Volunteer: Kids See No Barriers to Open Source Coding

    In December, the Linux Foundation joined many organizations in support of Hour of Code (HoC). This program, which is sponsored by Code.org, provides children with a one-hour introduction to computer science using tutorials designed to explain code in a simple way and show that anyone can be involved. The program offers tools that both teachers and volunteers can use to present basic coding ideas to children. This year’s tutorials aimed to engage young coders using examples from Minecraft and Star Wars, and also featured Anna and Elsa from Frozen.

  • Greenpeace makes 7 shifts toward open

    If you’ve been following Opensource.com and the Open Organization Ambassadors there, then you’ll know that I’ve been working to help Greenpeace internalize the principles of an open ethos. But to do this, we’ve had to distill this ethos into a few concrete principles, actionable items the organization can more easily grasp. On its journey to becoming an open organization, Greenpeace has set seven cultural “waypoints,” some guideposts for its transition to an open organization. In this article, I’d like to explain them.

  • Social Justice Warriors Wreaking Havoc In Open Source Software

    Throughout 2015, social justice warriors were repelled on a number of fronts. Gaming. Sci-fi & fantasy writing. Reddit. One fight that hasn’t been covered yet — but which definitely should be — is the world of open source software development.

  • Two kinds of kernel bugs

    As I am sure many of you are aware, bugzilla generates a lot of email. While the web interface does have some interesting search capability, email is the main method of getting notified of new bugs. The better those initial emails (your bug reports) are worded, the more likely we can have a real understanding of the nature or priority of that bug.

  • NORDUnet announces CrypTech open source web security

    Scandinavian research network NORDUnet has announced the development of CrypTech to improve internet security. It said software developers and electronics designers from around the world are uniting their efforts in the CrypTech project, building open source hardware securing the authenticity of digital content transmitted through the internet. The project allows a maximum donation per donor of USD 100,000 per year to ensure diversity of influence.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla hastily backpedals on SHA-1 ban after impact larger than thought

        The impact of Mozilla’s decision to depreciate SHA-1 at the start of 2016 with the release of Firefox 43 turned out to be larger than it anticipated. As a result, Mozilla hastily released an update on Wednesday that re-enabled support for SHA-1 certificates as it seeks to better evaluate how many users might be affected.

        Firefox 43 was supposed to ratchet up security for its users as part of Mozilla’s roadmap by dropping support only for new SHA-1 certificates, while continuing to support older SHA-1. The rationale behind this move was to present a clear disincentive for certificate providers to move away from SHA-1 without penalizing – as yet – existing SHA-1 certificates that are already in use.

      • Firefox’s ban of SHA-1 certs causing some security issues, Mozilla warns

        Mozilla has warned Firefox users that its decision to reject SHA-1 certificates has caused an unfortunate side effect: some man-in-the-middle devices, such as security scanners and antivirus products, are failing to connect to HTTPS sites.

        The browser maker advised any netizens affected by the interference to install the latest version of Firefox, which reinstates support for SHA-1.

      • Firefox 43.0.4 Fixes Folder Creation on Linux and Brings Back SHA-1

        Mozilla has released a new version of Firefox, 43.0.4, which is just a maintenance release that happens to have an important fix for the Linux platform.

      • Mozilla: 40 Percent of Firefox Users Don’t Have Add-Ons Installed

        According to an internal analysis, Mozilla staff estimates, based on anonymous telemetry data, that around 40% of its userbase does not have add-ons installed on their browser.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • ProphetStor Leverages Mellanox Tech for Next-Gen Cloud Computing

      Today ProphetStor Data Services rolled out a reference cloud computing platform with Mellanox based on the open-source projects OpenStack and Ceph. The solution leverages each company’s respective strength in software-defined-storage, state-of-the-art server hardware, and high-speed networking. Based on ProphetStor Federator SDS, this joint project addresses the key issues of OpenStack’s storage management solution as well as improving the functionality and performance of Ceph, the de facto storage backend for OpenStack.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.1 Arrives in February with Awesome New Features, Here’s What’s New

      The Document Foundation non-profit organization teased users on Twitter about the upcoming features of the LibreOffice 5.1 open-source office suite, due for release in the first week of February 2016.

    • LibreOffice Bug Hunt Organized for Major 5.1 Update

      The LibreOffice community is preparing for the launch of the first major update for LibreOffice 5.x, and they are organizing a bug hunt.

      The LibreOffice bug hunts are done before the launch of each big update for the office suite. They are a sort of development sprint which allows devs to concentrate on the biggest problems or to fix some of the easy-to-identify issues.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 4.4.1 Updates for XSS (and 52 other issues)

      The first WordPress update of 2016 is out and like many other incremental updates, it is being triggered by a security vulnerability. The single security issue being patched in WordPress 4.4.1 is a cross site scripting vulnerability that could have potentially enabled a site compromised.

      From a general usability and bug perspective there are 52 bugs that WordPress developers are addressing in the 4.4.1 update that spans multiple area of the popular open-source content management system including.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Foundation Takes Right Steps

      First things first: I’m the new kid on the BSD block. While in the process of still figuring things out on PC-BSD — dang that Synaptics! — and finding a place to contribute in the community, I have no real handle on the nuances of the inner workings of the wider BSD community. To my self-promoting credit, I am a quick study and the learning curve is not as difficult as I imagined. On the whole, I like what I see in those contributing to BSD, especially in the way of eagerness to help new users.

      However, when Randi Harper decided to bail on participation in FreeBSD as she outlined in her blog, it raises the question, “Where have we seen this before?” Taking a step back, it raises the question, “Why does this keep happening in FOSS communities?”

      Before we begin to answer those questions — and answers to those questions extend far beyond this commentary — I’m less interested in the “he said, she said” of the past than in finding workable solutions to permanently removing the 500-pound gorilla in the room — the quarter-ton simian of harassment and lack of proper channels to adequately address it.

    • LLVM 3.7.1 Released, Restores API/ABI Compatibility With LLVM 3.6/3.8

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Textbook of the future: Free, open, remixable

        Recently the Office of Educational Technology of the United States Department of Education stated that it believes “creating an open education ecosystem involves making learning materials, data, and educational opportunities available without restrictions imposed by copyright laws, access barriers, or exclusive proprietary systems that lack interoperability and limit the free exchange of information.” What’s more, according to the FCC, “the U.S. spends more than $7 billion per year on K-12 textbooks, but too many students are still using books that are 7-10 years old, with outdated material.”

    • Open Hardware

      • Richard Sapper, Designer Of IBM ThinkPad, Has Died

        Richard Sapper passed away at the age of 83 on New Year’s eve. While this German-born Italy-based industrial designer created a variety of products ranging from household goods to cars, he was best known for designing the first IBM ThinkPad in 1992. He served IBM as the chief design consultant for many years.

      • Open-Source Firmware for a Mini Quadrotor

        The Eachine H8 is a typical-looking mini-quadcopter of the kind that sell for under $20. Inside, the whole show is powered by an ARM Cortex-M3 processor, with the programming pins easily visible. Who could resist? [garagedrone] takes you through a step-by-step guide to re-flashing the device with a custom firmware to enable acrobatics, or simply to tweak the throttle-to-engine-speed mapping for the quad. We had no idea folks were doing this.


  • Wall Street thinks Twitter’s 10,000 character plan is ‘desperate’ and so do you

    Good news, Twitter: you’ve finally accomplished the impossible, getting Wall Street and your user base to agree about something.

    Bad news: they both agree you’re acting desperate.

    Twitter is reportedly planning to move beyond the 140 character limit that has defined the social network for nearly a decade as part of a continued effort to re-think its fundamentals and reverse its flailing user numbers. The move was first reported by Re/code on Tuesday and seemingly confirmed later by cryptic (and lengthy) comments by CEO Jack Dorsey.

  • Apple’s Wi-Fi Assist feature blamed for teen’s $2,000 phone bill

    Ashton Finegold didn’t think much of the text message he received from his mobile phone service saying that he was nearing his data limit.

    But the San Francisco teen was shocked when he received a phone bill totaling $2,021.07.

    “I thought my dad was going to kill me,” he told CBS News.

    “It’s usually $250 a month — and this was over $2,000,” the teen’s father, Jeff Finegold, said.

    The outrageous overcharge was due to “Wi-Fi Assist,” a new feature on Apple’s IOS 9 operating system. Wi-Fi Assist automatically switches the phone to draw on cellular service when a user is in an area with a weak Wi-Fi signal.

  • Does Donald Trump Think Paris Is In Germany?

    Presidential hopeful Donald Trump seemingly flunked geography if his latest Twitter gaffe is anything to go by.

    The Republican candidate for the top job was reacting to the news that a man wearing a fake suicide belt was shot dead in Paris while running towards a police station.

    But his rant seemed to mistake the capital of France for another country altogether.

  • Hardware

    • ​CES 2016: Fasetto Link, 2 TB NAS in the palm of your hand

      We all know that there are a lot of silly gadgets at CES. Sometimes, though, we stumble over a small company with a big idea. That was the case with me with Fasetto and its tiny, 48 by 23 millimeter Network Attached Storage (NAS) device, Link.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • This Controversial Pesticide Is Harming Honeybees

      The Environmental Protection Agency has finally begun to answer a major question on honeybee health.

      This week, the EPA released its first findings on neonicotinoids, a widely-used class of pesticides that many think play a role in the staggering honeybee losses over the last few years. The agency examined imidacloprid — one of four neonic pesticides that the EPA plans to assess, and the most commonly-used neonicotinoid in the United States — and found that it is harmful to bees when applied to certain crops, like cotton or citrus, but not when applied to others, like corn and berries.

      That’s because, the assessment found, the main thing that mattered when determining whether or not the pesticide would harm bees was the concentration of the pesticide in the nectar the bees brought back to their hives. If bees returned to their hives with nectar that contained more than 25 parts per billion (ppb) of imidacloprid, it negatively impacted the hive — meaning, as the AP reports, fewer bees and less honey. But if the concentration was less than 25 ppb, the bees fared OK. Some crops contained nectar with higher concentrations than others — while others produce no nectar at all — which explains the difference in danger from crop to crop.

    • Toxic chemical discovered in San Francisco’s fog

      Scientists who studied the fog along the coast of California found that it deposits a neurotoxin called monomethyl mercury — at a concentration about 20 times that of rain — as it sweeps across the city.

      The scientists said the finding reveals a new pathway to land of a compound that comes largely from burning coal and other fossil fuels.

  • Security

    • Twitter Community Helps Create Improved Linux Encoder Ransomware

      November 2015 saw the emergence of Linux.Encoder.1, the first piece of ransomware to target vulnerable Linux web servers. A programming flaw allowed Bitdefender researchers to obtain the decryption key and provide victims with a free recovery utility.

    • Plain cruelty: Boffins flay Linux ransomware for the third time

      Probably the world’s most tragically determined blackhat developers have had their revitalised Linux.Encoder ransomware pwned again by meddling BitDefender whitehats.

      The third iteration of the Linux.Encoder ransomware was unleashed on the world, infecting a paltry 600 servers before a crack team of security analysts returned to rip it apart.

    • Windows and Linux Malware Linked to Chinese DDoS Tool

      Similar-looking malware targeting both Linux and Windows computers has been linked to a DDoSing toolkit sold by Chinese hackers via the ddos[.]tf service, Malware Must Die! reports.

      The malware, codenamed Linux/DDOSTF (or Linux/MrBlack) targets mainly Linux machines running Elasticsearch servers, but it also attacks and infects Windows systems, particularly older Windows XP and Windows 2003 Server instances.

    • Exploiting Silent Circle’s Secure Blackphone

      The highly secure device could have been exploited, were it not for the responsible disclosure by a security researcher.

      Any modern device is made up of multiple hardware and software components, any one of which could represent a potential risk. That’s a reality that secure mobile phone vendor Silent Circle has learned with its Blackphone, thanks to the responsible security disclosure from Tim Strazzere, director of mobile research at SentinelOne.

    • Severe Silent Circle Blackphone vulnerability lets hackers take over

      Researchers have revealed a severe vulnerability in Silent Circle’s Blackphone which could allow attackers to take control of the device’s functions.

      Silent Circle’s Blackphone, born after former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden exposed the intelligence agency’s spying practices on the global stage, is a phone peddled to the privacy-conscious. The Blackphone grants users complete control of app permissions and includes encrypted services such as Silent Phone and Silent Text, designed to prevent surveillance and eavesdropping.

      The device runs on PrivatOS, a custom Android build with a set of security-focused tools.

    • Security Notification and Linode Manager Password Reset

      The entire Linode team has been working around the clock to address both this issue and the ongoing DDoS attacks. We’ve retained a well-known third-party security firm to aid in our investigation. Multiple Federal law enforcement authorities are also investigating and have cases open for both issues. When the thorough investigation is complete, we will share an update on the findings.

    • How Hackers Invaded 30 Million Web Servers On The Internet With A Poem

      From an IP address associated with 32nd Chaos Communication Congress (32c3) taking place in Germany, some unknown hackers sent a poetic message to all the IPv4 addresses on the Internet who left with their web servers port open. Later, the hackers said that they didn’t mean to harm anybody and wished to remind the people the importance of keeping the Internet open and decentralised.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Politicians Use North Korea H-Bomb Fears to Pitch Wasteful Missile Defense Projects

      Republican politicians responded almost reflexively to the North Korean nuclear test on Tuesday by demanding more spending on missile defense programs that have historically proved ineffective at preventing an enemy strike — but are built by companies that have lavished policymakers with campaign cash and political support.

      Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., released a statement calling for the country to “reinvest in missile defense and our military presence in the Pacific.” Mike Rogers, R-Ala., called for Obama to “dramatically enhance trilateral missile defense” and declared that Obama should deploy a Lockheed Martin missile defense system in South Korea. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are among his top donors. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Tex., issued a statement specifically calling for spending on that same program; Lockheed Martin is by far his biggest donor over the course of his congressional career.

      Since the early 1990s, politicians of both parties have cited the threat of North Korea to demand funding for an array of missile defense programs that quickly became monumental examples of government waste. Meanwhile, the contractors involved in these projects, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon, among others, have manipulated the politics around these programs by funding politicians, pundits, think tanks, and lobbyists behind the never-ending spiral of taxpayer spending.

    • Why North Korea’s Nuclear Test Isn’t Business as Usual

      There’s still plenty of doubt about whether North Korea did in fact detonate a sophisticated hydrogen bomb on Wednesday local time, or if the explosion that triggered a 5.1-magnitude earthquake was a nuclear test more akin to previous ones in 2006, 2009, and 2013. Even as the UN Security Council held an emergency session on Wednesday, the White House said initial US findings were “not consistent with North Korean claims of a successful hydrogen bomb test”—something that would have represented a major ramp-up in North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

      But this test was not business as usual for North Korea in one important way, believes Charles K. Armstrong, a leading expert in Korean history and politics at Columbia University: “It’s not clear that they are really interested in using this as a negotiating tactic.”

    • South Korea says it will resume anti-North broadcasts

      South Korea on Thursday said it will resume cross-border propaganda broadcasts, after its northern neighbor claimed it successfully tested its first hydrogen bomb.

      Seoul said the broadcasts, which North Korea considers an act of war, will begin Friday.

      Cho Tae-yong, deputy chief of South Korea’s presidential office of national security, told reporters that the test is a “grave violation” of a deal reached between the two neighbors in August to defuse tensions after a landmine at the border injured two of the South’s soldiers.

    • FBI Turns 18-Year-Old With An IQ Of 51 Into A Terrorist; Dumps Case Into Laps Of Local Prosecutors

      County Judge Alan Furr set Pruitt’s bail at $1 million and refused to lower it, despite evidence surfacing that the young man is developmentally-disabled (IQ estimated at 52-58, last tested at 51) and the total amount of “support” was “less than $1,000″ — a Class C felony, which normally results in much lower bail amounts. (The guidelines in the state’s criminal procedure rules suggest a $5,000-$15,000 range, although judges are free to depart from this recommendation.)

      Judge Alan Furr must not like alleged terrorist sympathizers. Two accused murderers and a teacher charged with sexual misconduct involving a student who previously faced Judge Furr combined for less than half the amount set for Pruitt ($450,000).

    • Ruqia Hassan Mohammed: The activist and citizen journalist that Isis murdered – and then posed as for three months on social media to entrap other opponents

      Isis jihadists hijacked the Facebook account of a captured female activist in Raqqa in a bid to lure other opponents into a trap, according to a member of Syria’s most prominent anti-Isis resistance group.

      It has emerged that Ruqia Hassan Mohammed, a vocal Isis opponent with a dry sense of humour, was killed by the jihadists three months ago in punishment for her outspoken social media posts. But they continued to operate her social media accounts until very recently.

    • Saudi Arabia funds and exports Islamic extremism: The truth behind the toxic U.S. relationship with the theocratic monarchy

      “Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.” So advised world-renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky, one of the most cited thinkers in human history.

      The counsel may sound simple and intuitive — that’s because it is. But when it comes to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. ignores it.

      Saudi Arabia is the world’s leading sponsor of Islamic extremism. It is also a close U.S. ally. This contradiction, although responsible for a lot of human suffering, is frequently ignored. Yet it recently plunged back into the limelight with the Saudi monarchy’s largest mass execution in decades.

    • Why Experts Doubt That North Korea Tested a Hydrogen Bomb

      North Korea claimed on Wednesday that it had tested a hydrogen bomb, the most powerful kind of nuclear weapon. Related Article

      But the yield, or total energy released by the weapon, was close to that of North Korea’s previous three tests of atomic bombs, which are simpler.

      It is possible that North Korea tested a boosted atomic bomb, a weapon whose destructive power is increased by injecting tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen. This would be an advance in the country’s nuclear capabilities.

      But a boosted atomic bomb has nowhere near the destructive power of a hydrogen bomb, and it is not considered a thermonuclear weapon. Here is the energy released by two large hydrogen bombs.

    • The single most important fact for understanding North Korea

      North Korea: There is probably no other country on Earth that draws such obsessive fascination from Americans yet is so widely misunderstood.

      You can see it in the (many) portrayals of North Korea in American popular culture. The country and its leader, Kim Jong Un, are almost always presented either as comically ridiculous cartoon villains or as certifiably insane. But neither really makes sense: Cartoon villains and crazy people don’t hold on to power for decades while ruling over a broken economy, a miserable population, and a weak military surrounded by enemies.

      The North Korean system and leadership, as popularly portrayed, would seem to be impossible and doomed. But clearly it’s survived for some time. So what’s going on?


      That fact is this: While we typically talk about North Korea as a holdover of Soviet-style hard-line communism, and sometimes we indulge North Korea’s own propaganda that claims it follows a bizarre and unique ideology known as “juche,” neither of those is really correct. In fact, the country is best understood as a holdover of 1930s-style Japanese fascism, left over from Japan’s early colonization of the peninsula.

    • One Map That Explains the Dangerous Saudi-Iranian Conflict

      The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia executed Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr on Saturday. Hours later, Iranian protestors set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran. On Sunday, the Saudi government, which considers itself the guardian of Sunni Islam, cut diplomatic ties with Iran, which is a Shiite Muslim theocracy.

      To explain what’s going on, the New York Times provided a primer on the difference between Sunni and Shiite Islam, informing us that “a schism emerged after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632” — i.e., 1,383 years ago.

    • Ending the Gun Lobby’s Con Game

      The apologists for the weapons industry—they pass themselves off as the gun rights movement—demonstrate their intellectual bankruptcy by regularly contradicting themselves with a straight face.

    • Knife-wielding man shot dead at Paris police station

      A man wielding a knife and wearing a purportedly fake explosives vest was shot dead by officers Thursday at a police station in Paris on the one year anniversary of the terror attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, French officials said.

      Luc Poignant, a police union official, said the man cried out “Allahu Akbar” or ‘God is great’ in Arabic, as he tried to enter the station in the 18th arrondissement in northern Paris. the Associated Press reported.

      The attack occurred only minutes after French President Francois Hollande, speaking at police quarters in another district, had paid homage to police officers killed in the line of duty, including three police shot to death last January during the Charlie Hebdo attack.

    • Meat cleaver-wielding man shot dead after trying to attack Paris police station
    • Charlie Hebdo anniversary: Paris police shoot man dead

      French officials say the man shouted “Allahu Akbar!” (God is Great) outside a police station in Goutte d’Or, near Montmartre, where police shot and killed him.

    • Kosovo: NATO’s Success Story?

      The argument is entirely fallacious. One obvious difference between the NATO bombing of Kosovo in 1999 and the British bombing of Syria today is the contrast in their stated aims. NATO were ostensibly bombing Yugoslavia to achieve a limited goal – the secession of Kosovo. In Syria today, however, the ostensible aim of airstrikes against ISIS is the destruction of ISIS. In other words, whilst the first aimed to force a concession from the force it was targeting; the other apparently aims at the total elimination of its target. Whilst enough punishment might persuade someone to concede a demand, it will not persuade anyone to agree to their own eradication. There is, thus, no parallel in the logic behind the two campaigns, and anyone trying to draw one is being entirely disingenuous.

    • Why Is David Brooks So Very Afraid?

      The conservative columnist and the whole GOP field can’t stop wildly exaggerating the threat of terrorism.

      For 21st century conservatives, “fear” is not an authentic feeling of actual concern for your safety, but an ideological pose struck to justify the darker, more sadistic urges that motivate the Republican base.

      In our day and age, declaring you want war for the pleasure of conquest or that you support racist policies out of unvarnished bigotry is socially unacceptable. So fear is donned as a costume to conceal the hate. The shivering coward is a more sympathetic figure than the snarling bigot, and so no matter how laughably implausible their posture of fear is, conservatives will strike it.

    • Academic activism against the Arms Fair

      Every two years, DSEi sets up shop at London’s ExCel centre, not just tolerated but also explicitly welcomed by the British government, who provide the event with both financial and personal support. This September, 32,000 arms dealers descended on East London for what TripAdvisor reviewer Ian W, giving a mark of 4 out of 5, describes as the ‘Largest display of Big Boys Toys around!’. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon rather more soberly described DSEi as ‘a truly global event… [one that] ensure[s] that the nations represented here can continue to prosper’.

    • Ghost Squad Hackers Hack Ethiopian Websites In Response To Killing Of Protesting Students

      Ghost Squad Hackers group has taken down multiple .gov websites in Ethiopia. The collective has blamed the government for killing “students for opposing the ‘master plan’ to expand the main city Addis Ababa”. Talking to fossBytes, the group has said, “we need the government to stop this madness or we will hack more sites.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • In pictures: Snow in Scotland through the years

      With snow forecast for parts of Scotland tonight, we take a look back at the country’s bigger snowfalls over the years

      There are plenty of jokes made about Scotland and snow, given the country’s reputation as a cold place. But there are also some quite astonishing facts.

    • Police Scotland have issued a warning to Perthshire residents to only travel if it’s essential, as another amber weather warning hits the big county

      Police have advised Perthshire residents in flood affected areas to only travel if it’s absolutely essential, as the area prepares for another period of adverse weather.

      Heavy rain is forecast to fall until around 8am on Friday January 8, with temperatures expected to drop in the next few days.

    • A single gas well leak is California’s biggest contributor to climate change

      The single biggest contributor to climate change in California is a blown-out natural gas well more than 8,700ft underground, state authorities and campaign groups said Monday.

      The broken well at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage site has released more than 77,000 metric tons of the powerful climate pollutant methane since the rupture was first detected on 23 October, according to a counter created by the Environmental Defense Fund.

    • Dear Gov. Snyder: You Have to Go to Jail

      Thanks to you, sir, and the premeditated actions of your administrators, you have effectively poisoned, not just some, but apparently ALL of the children in my hometown of Flint, Michigan.

      And for that, you have to go to jail.

      To poison all the children in an historic American city is no small feat. Even international terrorist organizations haven’t figured out yet how to do something on a magnitude like this.

    • Snyder may request federal aid for Flint water crisis

      Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in Flint because of its contaminated drinking water, setting the stage for a possible request for federal assistance in the city’s crisis.

      Snyder’s declaration makes available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery operations and authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division to coordinate the state’s efforts.

    • Oklahoma Fracking Company Defies Plan To Reduce Earthquakes

      Wastewater is an issue across the industry. During fracking, chemical-laced water is injected at high pressure into the ground, allowing pockets of trapped oil and gas to loosen and be captured. The process creates a huge amount of wastewater, which cannot be reused due to the chemical content and contamination from elements in the ground, often including oil itself. It is possible to truck the water to treatment plants, but it is more expensive.

      The SandRidge case could spark the first real test of the earthquake-fracking connection. Another case, in which a homeowner is suing another natural gas company for injuries she sustained in an earthquake, has not yet been heard.

      Some say that finding the companies at fault for damages would be devastating for Oklahoma’s fracking industry, but the industry’s official position is that it supports the commission’s attempts to protect the public.

    • TransCanada Announces It Will Sue U.S. Over Keystone XL Denial

      TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, announced Wednesday it is filing a claim under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying that the project’s permit denial was “arbitrary and unjustified.” TransCanada is seeking $15 billion in costs and damages due to the denial, and has also filed a separate lawsuit against the U.S. in federal court.

      Under NAFTA, companies can sue governments that put investments at risk through regulation. If it proceeds, the case will go in front of an international tribunal. (A U.S. company sued Montreal in 2013 over a fracking ban, using the same rationale). The tribunal cannot overturn the permit denial, but it can force payment of damages.

  • Finance

    • 10 More Reasons Wall Street Will Hate Bernie Sanders

      Some of Sanders’ suggestions: Break up banks. Tax speculators. Cap interest rates.

      Bernie Sanders has declared war on the biggest players in Wall Street’s financial sector. He says they are overrun with “greed, fraud, dishonesty and arrogance,” and criticizes his top rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, as being naïve about what needs to happen to create a financial system that “works for all Americans.”

      On Tuesday, he upped the ante. “To those on Wall Street who may be listening today, let me be very clear,” Sanders said in a midtown Manhattan speech. “Greed is not good. In fact, the greed of Wall Street and corporate America is destroying the fabric of our nation. And here is a New Year’s resolution that I will keep if elected president: If you do not end your greed, we will end it for you.”

      Sanders laid out a 10-point program to deeply change the nature of the financial sector, while occasionally digressing to emphasize how much more sweeping his proposals are compared to Clinton’s. As always, he started by recounting how the “20 richest people own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans”—and said the finance industry has spent “billions” to get Congress and federal agencies to deregulate almost all areas of the financial industry while weakening consumer protection laws.

    • Bernie Sanders Attacks Hillary Clinton’s Refusal to Take On Wall Street

      In a fiery speech detailing his plan to break up “too big to fail” banks, Sen. Bernie Sanders issued his sharpest criticism of Hillary Clinton yet, pointing to the large fees she has collected giving speeches to a financial industry she is conspicuously reluctant to regulate.

      “My opponent says that as a senator, she told bankers to ‘cut it out’ and end their destructive behavior,” Sanders said of Clinton. “But, in my view, establishment politicians are the ones who need to cut it out. The reality is that Congress doesn’t regulate Wall Street. Wall Street and their lobbyists regulate Congress. We must change that reality, and as president, I will.”

    • Bernie Sanders Attacks Hillary Clinton Over Regulating Wall Street

      Mr. Sanders said that Mrs. Clinton was “wrong” to oppose his plan to reinstitute the Glass-Steagall Act, which would legally separate commercial banking, investment banking and insurances services. And the senator implicitly criticized Mrs. Clinton for being a patron of bankers when he pointed to their huge campaign donations and noted that they “provide very generous speaking fees to those who go before them.”

    • Sen. Elizabeth Warren Cheers Bernie’s Fight to “Hold Big Banks Accountable”

      Sen. Bernie Sanders got a shout-out from big bank critic Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday a day after the presidential hopeful gave a policy speech laying out his tough on Wall Street stance.

    • Ex-Obama Aide Known As “Hedge Funds’ Secret Weapon” Assails Bernie Sanders’ Wall Street Overhaul

      But Goolsbee is hardly an unbiased observer. Since leaving government, he’s become a valuable tool for Wall Street.

      Here are some of his tweets:

      Goolsbee is now a partner at 32 Advisors, a financial strategy and government relations firm that works with Wall Street. He touts, on his company’s website, a 2014 CNBC profile where he was dubbed “hedge funds’ secret weapon.”

    • George Osborne warns of ‘dangerous cocktail’ of economic risks

      George Osborne has re-found his gloomy boots. After a relatively positive Autumn Statement, in which the Chancellor said that the UK was “growing fast”, Mr Osborne will today lay out a litany of risks the UK economy faces over the next 12 months.

      And a Happy New Year to you all, you can almost hear him saying.

      Tensions in the Middle East, slowing growth in China, low prices for commodities such as oil and copper are all weighing on global confidence, he will say in a speech.

    • Iceland Has Jailed 29 Bankers. Why Can’t the UK and US Do the Same?

      Just before Christmas, the former CEO of Iceland’s Glitnir bank and two other senior bankers were sentenced to jail terms of up to five years for market manipulation and breach of fiduciary duties. This brings the total number of senior Icelandic bankers so far sentenced for crimes in the run-up to the 2008 banking crash to 29.

      By contrast not a single senior banking executive in the US or the UK has been jailed for their role in the financial crisis. Whilst banks – such as the five found to be rigging the Libor rate – have been hit with substantial fines, the individual bankers behind the fraud, market rigging and irresponsible lending that led to the economic meltdown have all avoided time behind bars.

      On top of this came news last week that Britain’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, has shelved a planned inquiry into the culture of banking. Whilst this inquiry was never going to hold the guilty to account, it was hoped that it might at least provide a level of transparency and analysis to help shape more rigorous future regulation.

    • [Older] Three Icelandic Bankers to Prison

      Former CEO of Glitnir bank Lárus Welding was sentenced yesterday to five years in prison for breach of trust in the so-called Stím Case, RÚV reports.

      Jóhannes Baldursson, former director of capital markets at Glitnir, received a two-year prison sentence, and Þorvaldur Lúðvík Sigurjónsson, former head of Saga Capital, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, both for breach of trust. The sentences were announced in the Reykjavík District Court. The defendants are also to pay defense costs.

    • Detroit Public Schools Face Bankruptcy: ‘We’re Running Out Of Money In April’

      A little over a year after the city emerged from the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history, Detroit’s public schools are still so mired in debt that they are redirecting nearly half of the money they get for students toward paying back creditors.

      And unless something changes soon, even that radical redistribution of cash won’t be enough to save the Motor City’s schools from going broke by the time the class of 2016 graduates.

      In February, the school system must begin paying $26 million per month to service over $260 million in loans taken out to keep schools open over the the past few years. That’s a giant jump from the roughly $15 million in monthly debt payments the district faced last year, according to the Detroit News. It also only covers a sliver of the system’s total debts: $1.5 billion or more that would become Michigan’s responsibility if the school district goes bankrupt.

    • Why Bernie Sanders Deserves More Attention Than Hillary Clinton

      Have the media stopped feeling “the Bern”? Or has the Democratic Party, which should probably be renamed the Clintoncratic National Committee, extinguished the fire?

      It’s both.

      Sen. Bernie Sanders deserves far more attention than he’s getting. The 74-year-old frowzy-haired Democratic Socialist from Brooklyn by way of Vermont raised $33 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. That’s just $4 million less than Hillary Clinton.

      People vote with dollars, as any tearful hater of money in politics will tell you. When it comes to Sanders, lots of folks throw in small amounts of cash. So when he raises $33 million in three months, it means a lot of people care.

      Beyond the fundraising, poll numbers in early primary states justify a much brighter spotlight on Sanders than the media shine.

    • Poor People Really Get Screwed By Ben Carson’s Tax Plan

      There’s still no reason to care about this since Carson is obviously doomed to return to the book promotion racket at this point. Still, just for the record, I figure this deserves a chart to memorialize it for posterity. So here it is.

    • Carl Icahn’s Utterly Dishonest Case for Big Corporations Not to Pay Taxes They Owe

      Corporate predator Icahn is crying poverty for poor superrich chieftains of profiteering giants.

      Carl Icahn, noted corporate predator and takeover specialist who made billions of dollars in corporate deals, has recently begun pushing a charitable cause involving a group of people who, through no fault of their own, are being forced out of America. Syrian migrants who’ve lost everything, you ask? Or maybe Central American children fleeing the horrors of drug wars? Nope, none of those foreign sob stories for Icahn. Rather, he weeps for the incomprehensible suffering of a small tribe of Americans, namely: the CEOs of several U.S.-based multinational corporations.

      You see, Carl is fronting for CEOs of a small group of huge multinational conglomerates who are demanding that Congress drastically slash the taxes they owe on foreign sales of their products. This “reform” would let them escape paying most of the $600 billion in taxes that U.S. law assesses on some $2.6 trillion in profits they’ve been hiding in foreign bank accounts and offshore tax havens. Three-fourths of these hidden profits belong to only 50 enormously profitable corporations.

    • George Osborne warns mortgage holders: Be prepared for interest rates rise this year

      George Osborne has hinted that interest rates could soon rise and warned that the UK must be prepared for the prospect of the first increase since 2007.

    • Why George Osborne is wrong about household debt

      This morning George Osborne, amidst warnings about the ‘dangerous cocktail’ of threats faced by the British economy, claimed this is ‘not a debt fuelled recovery’ and ‘overall levels of household debt have fallen in our country over the last five years’.

      This is not true. A number of reports point to increases in the UK household debt burden over recent years, from the Centre for Social Justice’s report which outlines the ‘growing issues of problem debt’ to the Money Charity’s December 2015 Debt Statistics, which claimed that ‘people in the UK owed £1.456 trillion at the end of October 2015… up from £1.42 trillion at the end of October 2014 – an extra £706.71 per UK adult’.

      The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicts that these increases will continue over the current parliament, and by 2020 household debt is set to have risen to 167% of household income.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Trump Amazes WaPo Columnist by Drawing 60% Fewer People Than Sanders

      The headline of Cillizza’s Sanders crowd piece is: “20,000 People Came to See Bernie Sanders in Boston. Why Aren’t We Talking More About It?” That’s a good question. Like, why aren’t we talking about it when we’re getting excited three months later about Trump drawing 60 percent fewer people?

      I guess the answer to that is implicit in a piece Cillizza posted a little more than a week later (10/14/15), headlined “Why Bernie Sanders Isn’t Going to Be President, in Five Words.” The five words, if you’re wondering, are “I am a democratic socialist.” And that makes you ineligible to be president, in Cillizza’s view, since only 3 in 10 people say they have a favorable opinion of socialism and 61 percent express an unfavorable opinion of it.

      As it happens, those were almost exactly the favorable/unfavorable numbers for the Republican Party the last time CBS polled about it (10/4-8/15)—32 percent favorable, 59 percent unfavorable—but nobody says that means it’s impossible for a Republican to be elected president.

      The beyond-the-pale status of “socialism” does mean, however, that Sanders comes up in relation to Trump’s crowd numbers only as a reason not to get too excited about Trump’s crowd numbers: “After all,” writes Cillizza (1/5/16), “if crowd size at rallies was determinative, Bernie Sanders, not Hillary Clinton, would be the heavy favorite to be the Democratic presidential nominee.”

    • Fox’s Katie Pavlich: If Obama Wants To Do Work On Guns, He Should Work With NRA [Ed: well…]
    • The difficulty of ‘neoliberalism’

      This is not a new critique. ‘Neoliberalism’ is a term that has attracted a remarkable degree of frustration and fury, in politics, the media and within academia. Journalists such as Independent columnist John Rentoul and Newsnight policy editor Christopher Cook have expended some energy on twitter and in print dismissing the term as vacuous. Orthodox economists, who do not encounter the term in their microeconomics training, dismiss it as useless. In academia, ‘neoliberalism’ has been criticised by historians and some social scientists as over-determined. Since Jeremy Bentham, the English tradition of positivism has rested on the notion that only acutely defined terms are politically valid – a premise that can quickly flip into the idea that if I don’t know exactly what you mean, then you are talking nonsense.

  • Censorship

    • Serbia: Independent media increasingly targeted as spies

      It was a Wednesday morning in early November when investigative journalist Slobodan Georgijev opened Informer, one of Serbia’s notorious tabloids. He had just arrived at his office, the newsroom of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), one of Serbia’s few independent media outlets. When he turned the page he was shocked by what he saw; a picture of his own face amongst two others, in an article calling three media outlets known for critical reporting of the Serbian government, including BIRN, “foreign spies”.

      “It was funny and unpleasant at the same time,” Georgijev recalled, speaking to Index on Censorship. “Funny because I knew that this is just a campaign by Informer to undermine the credibility of independent journalists.” More importantly, he had begun worry about his own safety. “It’s also unpleasant because you never know how people will interpret such defamations.”

    • Stories On Cologne Assaults Face Censorship On Reddit

      Moderators on the link-sharing and discussion site Reddit deleted dozens of links and comments about immigrant gang violence and sexual assault in Cologne, Germany in an apparent attempt to clamp down on “vileness.”

    • German mayor blames victims for sex attacks by 1,000 Muslims: Media coverup

      The Mayor of Cologne, Germany, blamed the victims of a mass sexual assault/rape, saying they should follow a “code of conduct” to ensure they don’t get raped again. Over 90 women have filed police reports so far, saying they were attacked by 1,000 Muslim men of “Arab or North African origin” at a New Year’s Eve celebration in the Cologne city square.

    • Art says rationale for censorship a ‘load of bullshit’

      Lawyer says the Film Censorship Board’s decision to mute the word “binatang” in a documentary for fear it could be a security threat is insulting to Malaysians.

    • Malaysian Censorship Board says good reason to mute word in Singaporean documentary

      The Malaysian Censorship Board (LPF) says the decision to mute the words binatang-binatang (animals) from a scene in a Singaporean documentary was taken to avoid turning it into a controversy.

      LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid said the censorship board’s decision was in accordance with the Film Censorship Guidelines.

    • Poet Yang Lian: ‘There are cracks and holes in China’s censorship’

      In Hong Kong publishers are going missing, while a book that cannot be published in Beijing may appear in Shanghai. In an interview with DW, Chinese poet Yang Lian discusses the current fight for freedom of expression.

    • US Copyright Office is taking comments about how well the DMCA is working

      The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act is the law that allows content owners to remove copyrighted material from the Internet, and it’s made just about no one happy. Content owners are bitter that their material tends to keep popping up, even when they’ve asked for it to be removed hundreds or even thousands of times. Internet platforms that host large amounts of user-generated content must cope with millions of infringement allegations, mass-produced by software. When those algorithms make mistakes, it’s often users who pay the price—told they’re copyright scofflaws because there was background music in their home video or they shared a photo of a toy they bought.

    • The Charlie Hebdo Massacre: One Year Later, Still Misunderstood

      Christine Boutin, the head of France’s conservative Christian Democrat Party felt “this tragedy deserved better” than to be sullied by Charlie Hebdo’s current cover art depicting an old, bearded white guy (supposedly depicting the Euro-centric representation of God) strapped with a Kalashnikov rifle, blood on his hands and clothes, crouching beneath the words “One year on: The assassin is still out there.” Boutin wrote that Hebdo’s hostility to religion is “becoming an obsession.”


      In both the immediate aftermath of the massacre and throughout the year, the slain journalists were both lionized as free speech martyrs and also vilified as racists and Islamophobes because of their usage of crude and ribald imagery, particularly when it came to the Prophet Muhammad.

    • The truth about Charlie: one year after the 7 January attacks

      Meanwhile, the campaign to support the presentation of the PEN award to Charlie Hebdo was led by Salman Rushdie, who is of Muslim heritage, and whose name is derived from a great 12th century Andalusian Muslim philosopher Ibn Rushd who likely would not have been terribly troubled by provocative cartoons, and whose own books on philosophy and theology were burned by Muslim fundamentalists while his Christian followers were slain by the Inquisition.

      So, we must remember that January 7, 2015 was one in a long line of far right attacks on creativity, and part of a history of fundamentalist assaults against artists and intellectuals who have defied them. And, sadly, it was only one of the first armed Islamist salvos of 2015 which will be remembered as the year of endless, expanding jihad. Charlies and Ahmeds, Ceciles and Samiras died in many regions of the world at the hands of those seeking a free ticket to paradise.

    • Charlie Hebdo attack survivor says ‘Je suis Charlie’ slogan has been ‘misused’ in year since atrocity

      One of the cartoonists who survived the Charlie Hebdo massacre has said the slogan that united the world in the aftermath of the atrocity has been “misused”.

      Corinne Rey, known as Coco, said “Je suis Charlie” was originally used to express solidarity but has lost its way.

      “It’s a phrase that was used during the march as a sign of emotion or resistance to terrorism,” she told France Inter radio.

    • Permanent State of Emergency? France Seeks Alarming Expanse of Police Powers

      Citing last year’s Paris attacks as justification, the French government is seeking to expand police powers permanently—relaxing rules around the firing of weapons, enabling nighttime raids, and loosening restrictions on searching and detaining suspected terrorists, according to a draft bill seen by the newspaper Le Monde.

    • Occupy-linked DJs dumped as Hong Kong broadcaster RTHK rejects censorship accusations
    • A threat to whom? Some implications of the rise of “extremist rhetoric”

      It is through the use of the nebulous term “extremism”, which remains undefined in the Bill itself, that the oppressive policy logic of the Prevent strategy is grounded. Extremism is identified vaguely in the original Prevent guidance as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”. Building on this troubling definition, the guidance goes on to propagate that extremism is not always violent, and not always illegal. In fact, the crux of its argument is that non-violent and legal extremism is what needs to be tackled first and foremost. In fact, the crux of its argument is that non-violent and legal extremism is what needs to be tackled first and foremost. This assertion then provides the rationale for those employed in the education and community sectors to act as an arm of government surveillance. Under the Bill, those working in schools and universities have a duty to “create an environment where extremism cannot operate” and as such to report any students suspected to be “at risk”, with the threat of legal penalties for individual employees if they cannot prove that they are taking steps to do this.

    • One Year After Charlie Hebdo, More Censorship Than Ever In Europe

      It took a week for German authorities to admit Muslim rape gangs were running wild in the streets on New Year’s Eve, and the police are still mumbling about having insufficient resources to follow up on leads, but apparently they’ve got infinite resources to crack down on “hate speech” against the new occupants.

    • Charlie Hebdo anniversary: free-speech groups unite in defence of ‘right to offend’
    • On the anniversary of the attack on Charlie Hebdo we must defend the right to blaspheme
    • On the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo massacre
    • The Mystery Of The Disappearing Book Publishers

      If Chinese authorities kidnapped Lee from Hong Kong, they will have encroached on its independence. Since 1997, Hong Kong and China have been ruled by a “one country, two systems” principle which affords those in Hong Kong civil liberties that those in China do not enjoy. Chief among them is the freedom of expression, which is why many Chinese tourists stocked up on Causeway Bay Bookstore’s scandalous titles while on the island.

  • Privacy

    • NSA Did Not Spy On Congress Members During Iran Nuclear Debate, Top Intel Officials Say: Report

      Top U.S. intelligence officials told the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday that the National Security Agency (NSA) did not spy on Congress members during last year’s Iran nuclear debate, CNN reported. The testimony came in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report that alleged that the NSA had maintained surveillance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other U.S. allies, even though two years ago President Barack Obama had promised to end the practice. It also purported that communications between Congress members and Netanyahu might have also been inadvertently picked up.

    • House Committee to Consider Safeguards for Handling Communications Intercepted by NSA

      The U.S. House Intelligence Committee will consider whether new safeguards are needed for handling communications intercepted by the National Security Agency that involve U.S. lawmakers or other Americans, the top Democrat on the panel said on Wednesday.

    • First on CNN: Top intel officials say NSA didn’t spy on members of Congress

      Top U.S. intelligence officials told the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday that the National Security Agency did not spy on any members of Congress during last year’s contentious Iran nuclear debate.

    • Fingerprints For Food: Venezuela Shows How Not To Use Biometrics

      Venezuela is clearly the country to watch if you want to see how not to use biometrics.

    • Your fingerprint for a kilogram of flour: biometric and privacy in Venezuela

      In Caracas or Maracaibo’ supermarkets and drugstores, buying a kilogram of grain or a pack of cookies has become a complex procedure: it’s required for you to deliver an ID, full name, phone number, address, date of birth and to slide both thumbs in a device: the emblematic “fingerprint scanner”; a device which usage by stores was originally voluntary, but which evolution, months afterwards, is one of omnipresent machinery, kind of a necessary toll for the acquisition of a simple pack of gum in any chain store.

    • Pioneer In Internet Anonymity Hands FBI A Huge Gift In Building Dangerous Backdoored Encryption System

      I first came across cryptography pioneer David Chaum about a decade ago, during the debates about online voting. Many in the technology world were insisting that such things were impossible to do safely, but Chaum insisted he had come up with a way to do online voting safely (he’d also tried to do electronic money, DigiCash… unsuccessfully). Many people disagreed with Chaum and it led to some fairly epic discussions. It appears that Chaum is again making moves that are making many of his colleagues angry: specifically creating a backdoored encryption system.

    • TOR Anonymity: Things Not To Do While Using TOR

      TThe internet is awe-inspiring, but it has its nightmares for the ones who get stalked and harassed in the digital world. They can’t really get away from the predicament, one possible recourse is to go anonymous while using the internet with the help of various tools available. Name it, VPN, TOR, or you can use a proxy server for your anonymity needs.

      Apart from all these available options, clearly, TOR stands out first in the line when we compare the level of anonymity provided by sundry tools. The Onion Router project has been regarded as the best cloak for those people who want to hide on the internet. Edward Snowden, who came into light after he acted as the whistleblower and exposed NSA’s unethical surveillance activities, used TOR browser in order to do so. He was also inculpated by the federal agencies that his disclosure of confidential information was the impetus behind the Paris death massacre.

      The Onion Router has the forte to protect you and hide you from all those stalkers and malevolent minds, who follow you on the internet. Even if you want to be another Edward Snowden, you can very well do so, by using TOR browser. But you just can’t turn a blind eye on the fact, little of your mistake will contribute to divulging your identity on the internet, no matter how secure do you consider yourself. TOR doesn’t magically read your mind and prevent any of the foolish activities that you may perform. So, there are a few things you need to keep in mind and it will help you to be anonymous online.


      Don’t use TOR with Windows

      Microsoft’s Windows is the world’s most used operating system for desktops, but it doesn’t seem to do well when you would like to use TOR browser on it. The credits are bagged by the vulnerabilities that exist on the operating system and may reveal your identity even if you are using the TOR to access the internet.

      Linux systems will serve you well for this purpose. Linux distributions like Tails and Whonix are pre-configured with TOR or you can configure it manually on any distribution you may like.

    • Former NSA Official Tells UK Politicians Mass Surveillance Risks Citizen Safety

      What if mass surveillance was not only ineffective, but a potential danger to the safety of citizens?

      That’s the argument made by one former intelligence official. As the UK’s proposed new surveillance law looms, several evidence hearings with experts, government officials and activists have taken place in front of the Joint Select Committee that is vetting the draft Investigatory Powers Bill. In one session on Wednesday, retired NSA technical director turned whistleblower William Binney argued that mass surveillance, and particularly forms of it executed by the US and British governments, is fundamentally flawed, and may even result in the loss of life.

    • Former NSA Whistleblower Bill Binney Warns UK Lawmakers Mass Surveillance Will ‘Cost Lives In Britain’
    • Microsoft shows off just how much data it’s collecting from Windows 10 users

      “The statistics indicate that Microsoft may be collecting more data than initially thought,” writes Brinkmann. “While it is unclear what data is exactly collected, it is clear that the company is collecting information about the use of individual applications and programs on Windows at the very least.”

    • DHS Issues Process and Privacy Guidance on State and Local Drones

      One of the most timely aspects of the best practices is their recognition of the value of encryption. Despite self-serving claims by intelligence officials that encryption represents a threat to national security, DHS’ 2015 guidance on drones explicitly advises local and state authorities to employ encryption to ensure the security of data they collect and retain.

      By recognizing that encryption enhances security, the DHS guidance could undermine half-baked FBI proposals to subvert encryption by mandating back doors for intelligence agencies and instead reinforce a common sense consensus uniting the tech community and privacy advocates.

    • Do you own your phone or does it own you?

      Turning it off is a powerful act of showing who is in charge. If you feel you can’t live without it, then you are putting your life in the hands of the people who expect an immediate answer of their calls, your phone company and the Silicon Valley executives who make all those apps you can’t stop using.

      As security expert Jacob Appelbaum puts it, cell phones are tracking devices that also happen to make phone calls. Isn’t that a chilling thought to reflect on the next time you give one as Christmas gift?

    • NSA ‘confident’ in new system at center of Rubio-Cruz fight

      The National Security Agency said on Thursday that it was “confident” in its powers under a new phone records collection scheme, in a claim that backs up assertions from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

      In a post on the influential legal blog Lawfare, NSA general counsel Glenn Gerstell addressed the operations of the spy agency’s new program, which began in November following a tough congressional fight last summer.

    • Top Democrat says no evidence of NSA spying on US lawmakers

      A key House Democrat said Thursday there is no evidence the intelligence community was spying on members of Congress, following a report that the National Security Agency swept up some conversations with lawmakers in the course of spying on Israel.

  • Civil Rights

    • Judge Doesn’t Buy CBP’s Argument That Dog Can ‘Smell’ The Difference Between Concealed And Unconcealed Humans

      If there’s an unreasonable, warrantless search happening, there’s a good chance Deputy (literal) Dog is on the case. Cops love their K9 buddies, mainly because nearly any motion or noise a police dog makes can be construed as an “indication” or an “alert.” It’s a blank permission slip, signed with a paw print.

    • Oregon Militia
    • Cologne New Year gang assaults: Mayor says women should have code of conduct to prevent future assault

      The Mayor of Cologne said today that women should adopt a “code of conduct” to prevent future assault at a crisis meeting following the sexual attack of women by 1000 men on New Year’s eve.

      Mayor Henriette Reker attended an emergency meeting with Chief of Police Wolfgang Albers and Wolfgang Wurm to discuss how to deal with the attack, where dozens of women were repeatedly touched and groped, with one case of alleged rape in the center of town.

    • IBM union calls it quits

      After trying since 1999 to turn IBM into a union shop, the Alliance@IBM, a Communications Workers of America local, is “suspending” its organizing efforts.

      “Years of job cuts and membership losses have taken their toll,” said the Alliance in a statement Tuesday.

      The Alliance, which had 400 dues-paying members at its peak, now has about 200. But this figure doesn’t tell the real story about the Alliance’s accomplishments.

    • More religion?

      It is an error for politicians and institutions to invite British Muslims to think about extremism as Muslims, rather than as citizens.

    • An Act of Terror: Deporting a Kurdish Activist Back to Turkey

      In the quaint tourist town of Harbert, Michigan sits an unassuming restaurant that has been owned and operated by a man who is considered a pillar of his community. Cafe Gulistan is owned by Ibrahim Parlak. He is, by almost all appearances, a classic example of the immigrant success story. There is just one problem: The U.S. government is trying to deport him to Turkey, where he has a well-founded fear of imprisonment, torture and possibly death. After a quarter of a century here in the United States, he now has about 75 days left to fight deportation.

      Parlak is Kurdish, born in the region of Turkey called Anatolia, in 1962. His childhood was marred by increasing government repression of Turkey’s Kurdish ethnic minority. Turkey banned the Kurdish language, Kurdish cultural expression, and attempted to forcibly assimilate the Kurdish people to destroy their heritage. Resistance to that assimilation included protests and grass-roots organizing, but also, by the 1980s, armed resistance from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. In the late 1970s, Parlak, as a teenager, was jailed for three months for engaging in peaceful protests. He then moved to Germany to avoid further repression from the Turkish government. He remained active in the movement for Kurdish autonomy, hosting cultural events and raising funds for the political, nonmilitary wing of the PKK, known as the National Front for the Liberation of Kurdistan. After seven years in Germany, Parlak decided he could better support the Kurdish cause back home.

    • Keys Case Spotlights Flaws of Computer Hacking Law

      Old laws can cause confusion and unduly harsh consequences, particularly when courts confront situations Congress did not anticipate. This is particularly true for the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030—the federal “anti­hacking” statute prompted in part by fear generated by the 1983 techno­thriller “WarGames.” The CFAA was enacted in 1986, and the government’s current prosecution of journalist Matthew Keys—who faces sentencing on Jan. 20 for three counts of violating the CFAA—illustrates the 30-­year­-old statute’s many problems.

      The CFAA makes it illegal to intentionally access a “protected computer”—which includes any computer connected to the Internet—”without authorization” or in excess of authorization. But the CFAA does not define “without authorization.” This has given overzealous prosecutors broad discretion to bring criminal charges against individuals for behavior that simply doesn’t rise to the culpability Congress had in mind when it passed this serious criminal law, such as doing something on a computer network that the owner doesn’t like. (There is currently a circuit split on whether violations of employer­imposed use restrictions can give rise to CFAA liability, with the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Second, Fourth and Ninth Circuits finding that they cannot, and the First, Fifth, Seventh and Eleventh finding that they can.)

      The Keys case centers on behavior that essentially amounts to Internet vandalism. After being fired from the Tribune Company, Keys shared the username and password of the Tribune Company’s content management system in an online chat room. Another individual then used the credentials to log into the CMS and make some juvenile but relatively innocuous changes to a Los Angeles Times article, including modifying the title of the article to read “Pressure builds in House to elect CHIPPY 1337″ (from “Pressure builds in house to pass tax­cut package”). The changes were live for only about 40 minutes, after which the Tribune Company restored the original article and effectively blocked outside access to its CMS.

    • State Trooper Who Arrested Sandra Bland Indicted on Perjury Charge

      Brian T. Encinia, the Texas State Trooper who made the initial and violent arrest of Sandra Bland during a routine traffic stop just days before she was found dead in a jail cell last summer, was indicted on charges of perjury by state prosecutors on Wednesday for making false statements regarding his behavior during the incident.

    • BREAKING: Officer Who Arrested Sandra Bland Charged For Lying In His Police Report

      Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday for perjury, based on a statement he made in his report on his encounter with 28-year-old Sandra Bland.

      Encinia’s traffic stop and arrest of Bland went viral after she was found hanging in her cell three days later. Video of the arrest showed Encinia pointing a Taser at Bland yelling “I will light you up!” after he pulled her over for failing to signal a lane change. Encinia got more and more heated after Bland refuses to put out her cigarette, at one point trying to pull her out of the car. Bland can be heard saying “you knocked my head in the ground and I got epilepsy.” “Good,” Encinia responds.

      Before the video went public, Encinia claimed that Bland had assaulted him by swinging her elbows at him and kicking him in the shin. The perjury charge reportedly stems from his statement that he pulled Bland out of her car in order to continue the investigation.

    • The Texas Trooper Who Pulled Over Sandra Bland Was Just Indicted

      Trooper Brian Encinia pulled over Bland in Prairie View on July 20, citing an improper lane change. Dash cam footage later released by county officials showed that the encounter quickly escalated after Encinia ordered Bland out of her car. In the video, Encinia can be heard saying, “I’m going to drag you out of here,” as he reached into Bland’s vehicle. He then pulled out what appeared to be a Taser, yelling, “I will light you up!” Encinia eventually forced Bland to the ground as she protested the arrest. Encinia arrested Bland for “assault on a public servant” and booked her into the Waller County jail, where she was found dead three days later.

    • DHS Immigration Raids Reverse Policy of Deporting Felons, Not Families

      Despite Donald Trump’s ignorant comments to the contrary, it is not possible to detain and deport every undocumented immigrant. It’s not even a simple matter to determine who is deportable and who isn’t – evinced best, perhaps, by the overworked dockets of immigration judges across the country. That’s why there must be sensible prioritization of removals.

    • Oregon Tribal Leaders Say Militant Group Needs To ‘Get The Hell Out’

      The Oregon tribe that once inhabited the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge has made its stance clear on the militant group now occupying refuge headquarters: They’re not welcome.

      “We as Harney County people can stand on our own feet,” said Jarvis Kennedy, a member of the Burns Paiute Tribal council. “We don’t need some clown to come in here and stand up for us.”

      Kennedy joined other tribal leaders at a Wednesday press conference representing the 200 tribal members living on the Burns Paiute Reservation, located 30 miles from the refuge.

      “They say they don’t want to bother the community,” he said. “But you know what? Our kids are sitting at home right now when they should be in school.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • With Fixed Costs And Fat Margins, Comcast’s Broadband Cap Justifications Are Total Bullshit

      For a while Comcast tried to pretend that its slowly-expanding usage cap “trials” were about managing network congestion. At least until leaked Comcast documents, the company’s top engineer, and the cable industry’s top lobbyist all confirmed that justification was bullshit (caps don’t really help manage congestion anyway). Since then, Comcast has veered away from any hard technical explanation for the glorified price hike, instead focusing on the ambiguous claim that these new “flexible” pricing models bring “fairness” to the broadband industry.

    • What you need to know about IPv6 in 2016

      Right now, a lot of content and services are only available on IPv4. Content providers haven’t seen demand and they’ve actually been worried about making user experience worse by making content available over IPv6. As IPv6 support in operating systems and applications has increased, and as networks devices start to support it, devices obtain IPv6 addresses automatically. So-called “dual stack” devices with both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses are more common, but just because a device has an IPv6 address doesn’t mean that it can reach everywhere on the IPv6 Internet. In these early deployment days, sometimes IPv6 works only on the local network because the ISP or larger enterprise network doesn’t support IPv6. In such scenarios, an application can receive an IPv6 address in a DNS response and try to connect, only to frustrate users with timeouts or other failures.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • UN Initiative On Access To Medicines Calls For Contributions

      The United Nations Secretary-General’s newly formed High Level Panel on Access to Medicines launched a call for contributions by stakeholders at the end of December, in an effort it says could transform millions of lives.

      The High-Level Panel seeks to address “one of the greatest public health challenge of our time,” which is “how to promote innovation and increase access to medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and related health technologies in low-, middle-, and high-income countries,” according to a press release.

    • How 3-D Printing Threatens Our Patent System

      Patents will have even more trouble with 3-D copies than copyright law had with digital music sales

    • Copyrights

      • Monkey selfie case: judge rules animal cannot own his photo copyright

        A federal judge in San Francisco has ruled that a macaque monkey who took now-famous selfie photographs cannot be declared the copyright owner of the photos.

        US district judge William Orrick said in a tentative opinion Wednesday that while Congress and the president can extend the protection of law to animals as well as humans, there is no indication that they did so in the Copyright Act.

        The lawsuit filed last year by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sought a court order allowing Peta to administer all proceeds from the photos for the benefit of the monkey, which it identified as six-year-old Naruto.

        The photos were taken during a 2011 trip to Sulawesi, Indonesia, by British nature photographer David Slater, who asked the court to dismiss the case. He says the British copyright obtained for the photos by his company, Wildlife Personalities Ltd, should be honored worldwide.

      • Judge In Nutty PETA Monkey Copyright Trial Skeptical Of PETA’s Argument, But Let’s Them Try Again

        We’d been covering the story of that selfie for years, since first noting that it was almost certainly in the public domain, as copyright law only recognizes human authors. This discussion spurred not one, but two, separate legal threats made against us by representatives of David Slater, the guy whose camera the monkey used. It’s also gotten Wikipedia involved (after Slater asked the site to not allow the image to be used, while Wikipedia agreed with us that the image is public domain).

      • Ninth Circuit Appeals Court Decision On Fair Use And Right Of First Sale Fails To Budge The Needle On Either Issue

        A ruling on fair use, the right of first sale and the limits of trademark protection has been handed down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel. Normally, I’d proceed the word “ruling” with an adjective like “important,” or “terrible,” or “wonderful.” But this ruling is none of those. It’s a ruling, and I suppose it does set some sort of precedent, but thanks mainly to Adobe’s inept handling of the case, it does very little to clarify any of the above issues.

      • Richard Prince Finally Sued (Again) For Copyright Infringement Over His ‘Instagram’ Art

        Remember Richard Prince? He’s the well-known “appropriation artist” who was involved a few years ago in a key fair use case concerning his artwork. That case involved him taking photographs taken by another photographer, Patrick Cariou, of a bunch of Jamaican Rastafarians, and adding some minor modifications, blowing the images up and selling them as “art.” Whether or not you appreciate Prince’s art, the lawsuit raised some serious questions about whether or not it’s appropriate for judges to determine what is art and what is not. A district court determined that the works were infringing, but, thankfully, the appeals court overturned most of that ruling, declaring that the majority of Prince’s artowrk was fair use. Unfortunately, before the case could go any further, the case settled, so there was some murkiness over the precedent.

Diseño de Patentes (Cerrojos) Se estan Convirtiendo en un Problema Como las mismas Patentes de Software.

Posted in America, Microsoft, Patents at 5:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Publicado en America, Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 8:15 pm por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

El copyright ya cubre muchos diseños, así que para qué extender la llamada protección al vasto ámbito de patentes?

Slide to unlock
Abre el Cerrojo: ponlo en una computer y aparentemente eres un genio, mereciendo una patente.

Sumario: Una fina demostracion de cuan estupidas se han convertido muchas patentes en los Estados Unidos, incluyendo el “diseño¨ de patentes que pertencen a lago abstracto en infórmatica (patentes de software)

EN ALGÚN sentido, muchas patentes de diseño son inherentemente patentes de software como esquemas diagramados para patentar las aplicaciones que a menudo sirven para demostrar. Personalmente he revisado algunas patentes, así que sé como algunos abogados particulares son — no los programadores — quienes intentan dar una ‘vida’ (o forma) a ALGORITMOS por dibujar cosas. Doodles No SON algoritmos*. Son a menudo un espurios presentaciones que intentan dar una forma física a algo cuál es INHERENTEMENTE ABSTRACTO. Pueda extraviar a examinadores y jueces, presumiblemente intencionalmente. Simplemente observen los muchos correo-Alicia artículos compuestos por abogados de patentes; observen simplemente en los consejos que se están dando a uno otro. Ellos se incriminan a si mismos.

“Doodles No SON algoritmos. Son a menudo un espurios presentaciones que intentan dar una forma física a algo cuál es INHERENTEMENTE ABSTRACTO.”Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols llamo al Microsoft ataque de patente de perfil más alto “guerras de patente del diseño” y dijo que la “Fundación de Frontera Electrónica ha declarado que la “Interfaz del Usuario para una Porción de Pantalla de Exhibición” ser la patente mas estúpida de este mes. Muestr qué esta realmente sucediendo en entre Microsoft y Corel por la ribbon patente de diseño de Ofice.”

Escribimos sobre este en la cobertura de última semana con respecto a Corel. “La FFE nombró la patente de diseño de Microsoft para un slider como su Patente Estúpida del Mes,” una persona escribió a nosotros, justo sobre una semana después de que él todo pasó. Pero de hecho, es más de una patente de software, o opaca línea/s entre diseño y software (como el elementos de interfaz).

“Simplemente porque uno toma algo de aquello ha existido por miles de años antes que los ordenadores (como el metal de una puerta/de valla o cerradura de madera) y dibujarlo encima un ordenador con algún callback función/s no (o tener que no) lo hace mágicamente digno de ser patentado, tan solo hacer algo “en el Internet” no hace ideas viejas y triviales patente-elegible.”Considere el punto de vista de los abogados de patentes [1, 2] Acerca de los ataques de Apple contra Samsung, los cuales incluyen la nefario patente de deslizamiento-para-abrir (slider otra vez, entre otras patentes). Y hablando de deslizamiento, qué sobre el “artículo de DERRUMBE” mencionado por Patently-O Today? “Y como asunto de política más grande,” dijo el autor, “es cuestionable si la disección de reclamación verbal es deseable o apropiado en el contexto de patentes de diseño. La aproximación mejor puede ser, cuando Chris Carani argumentó en el artículo de DERRUMBE mencionó encima, a sencillamente instruir jurados “que patentes de diseño sólo protegen el aspecto del diseño global descrito en los dibujos, y no atributos muy funcionales, los propósitos o las características encarnados en el diseño reclamado.””

Escribimos bastante acerca del llamado ¨diseño¨ de patentes de Apple (en principio patentes de software) más de mitad de una década cuándo la guerra de patentes de Apple contra Androide/de Linux empezó. Cuándo los autores mencionan terminos como “diseño de patentes” sólo sería justo de leer o interpretar esto como patentes de software, o una subclase particular de estas. Estas patentes no aluden a cualquier cosa física como una barra que desliza, sólo una abstracción del mismo. “Simplemente porque uno toma algo de aquello ha existido por miles de años antes que los ordenadores (como el metal de una puerta/de valla o cerradura de madera) y dibujarlo encima un ordenador con algún callback función/s no (o tener que no) lo hace mágicamente digno de ser patentado, tan solo hacer algo “en el Internet” no hace ideas viejas y triviales patente-elegible.” Entonces de nuevo, es lo que la Oficina De Patentes y Marcas de los Estados Unidos (USPTO) trajo con su reíble control de calidad.
* Soy un profesional de software con experiencia como programador así como investigador, habiendo revisado papeles para revistas internacionales superiores del mundo (incluso en mi veintes)), lo cual significó la necesidad de identificar arte previo (existente/búsqueda publicada) en a áreas como visión de ordenador y aprendizaje de máquina.

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