Calling Software Patents ‘Devices’ or ‘Computer-Implemented’ to Get Past the Explicit Exclusions

Posted in America, Australia, Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This kind of rebranding strategy is nothing new


Summary: How the term CII, or computer-implemented invention, is used to bypass/avoid a meaningful debate about patents on abstract ideas and algorithms (software patents) even in 2016

TECHRIGHTS was created with software patents in mind. The activism was all along focused on the subject. But some pundits are still dodging the term “software patents” and instead saying “computer-implemented” (like CII). The EPO used to do this a lot. It misleads, sometimes intentionally. This happens a lot in the United States, where the USPTO now receives instructions which are increasingly hostile towards software patents because they are abstract..

“Just ascribing a “machine” (sometimes “device”) to some piece of code or combining code with a general-purpose computer oughtn’t make the algorithms suddenly patentable.”In Australia, in the mean time, efforts continue to achieve the unthinkable and make all software patentable. Mark Summerfield says that the “Australian Patent Office has recently issued two decisions resulting from applicants requesting to be heard following examination objections that their respective inventions did not constitute patent-eligible subject matter, i.e. a ‘manner of manufacture’ under the Australian patent law. Both decisions relate to electronic gaming machines (commonly known as ‘poker machines’ or ‘slot machines’), and both involve the question of whether particular computer-implemented features of such machines are patentable. They differ, however, in the outcome.”

The above says the word “software” not even once (and it’s a long article). It says “implemented” or “implementation” 15 times however.

Just ascribing a “machine” (sometimes “device”) to some piece of code or combining code with a general-purpose computer oughtn’t make the algorithms suddenly patentable. This is the kind of loophole embraced by the EPO and IPONZ, arguably in India as well.

Watch out for these dirty tricks.

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway” —Marshall Phelps, Microsoft

Links 31/7/2016: GNOME Maps Datafeed Back, Xen Vulnerability

Posted in News Roundup at 9:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • ReactOS 0.4.2 Nears With Many Features

    The first release candidate to the upcoming ReactOS 0.4.2 release is now available, the project aiming to be an open-source re-implementation of Microsoft Windows.

  • Events

    • Software Freedom Kosova Conference SFK’16 Call for Speakers

      SKF | Software Freedom Kosova is an annual international conference in Kosovo organized to promote free/libre open source software, free culture and open knowledge, now in its 7th edition. It is organized by FLOSSK, a non governmental, not for profit organization, dedicated to promote software freedom and related philosophies.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Could Equal Pay, Paid Family Leave, and Pregnancy Protections Be the Issues That Bridge the Political Divide?

      The momentum to pass these critical protections for women in the states should serve as both a warning and an inspiration to Congress. Americans – both Democrats and Republicans – care about equal rights for women. So let’s hope the next Congress will pass federal laws mandating equal pay, paid family leave, and pregnancy protections.

    • Olympic Chefs Pledge to Salvage Unused Food and Feed the Hungry With It

      Some of the big-name chefs cooking for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are also activists for the hungry. Knowing full well there will be tremendous food waste at that massive event, the chefs plan to salvage as much as they can. With it, every night of the games, they will feed the hungry.

      Each day, the food preparation staff for the Olympics will have to feed an incredible 60,000 meals to 18,000 athletes, coaches and other personnel. To do that, they need a specially built kitchen that will be as big as a football field. A whopping 460,000 lbs of food will be delivered every day. Meals will be prepared and served as Brazilian, Asian, Halal, Kosher, International and Pasta/Pizza buffets.

    • Dangerous Liaisons: ChemChina’s Bid for Syngenta

      We all love to hate Monsanto. We also know that Monsanto isn’t the only poison-maker trying to pass itself off as a “farmer-friendly producer of food to feed the world.”

      Monsanto belongs to an exclusive club of dominant pesticide makers. That club, which includes Dow, Dupont, Bayer, Syngenta and BASF, is about to get a lot smaller. And a lot more dangerous.

      Bayer has been trying for months to buy Monsanto. Dow and Dupont are in talks to merge. And Switzerland-based Syngenta may soon be owned by ChemChina.

      It’s bad enough that less than a dozen multinational corporations (including Monsanto, Dupont, Bayer and Syngenta) control nearly 70 percent of the global seed market. If these mergers and buyouts go through, that number will shrink even further.

    • Schuette: Workers hid discovery of lead in blood

      Criminal charges leveled Friday against six current and former state employees center around allegations they altered or concealed alarming reports showing high levels of toxic lead in Flint’s water and the bloodstreams of the city’s children.

      Attorney General Bill Schuette’s prosecutors contend much of the cover-up occurred on or around the same day in late July last year.

      At the Department of Health and Human Services, prosecutors allege employees Nancy Peeler and Robert Scott “buried” an epidemiologist’s July 28, 2015, report showing a significant year-over-year spike in blood lead levels in Flint children.

  • Security

    • Xen patches critical guest privilege escalation bug

      A freshly uncovered bug in the Xen virtualisation hypervisor could potentially allow guests to escalate their privileges until they have full control of the hosts they’re running on.

      The Xen hypervisor is used by cloud giants Amazon Web Services, IBM and Rackspace.

      Inadequate security checks of how virtual machines access memory means a malicous, paravirtualised guest administrator can raise their system privileges to that of the host on unpatched installations, Xen said.

    • Xen Vulnerability Allows Hackers To Escape Qubes OS VM And Own the Host
    • The Security of Our Election Systems [Too much of Microsoft]

      The FBI is investigating. WikiLeaks promises there is more data to come. The political nature of this cyberattack means that Democrats and Republicans are trying to spin this as much as possible. Even so, we have to accept that someone is attacking our nation’s computer systems in an apparent attempt to influence a presidential election. This kind of cyberattack targets the very core of our democratic process. And it points to the possibility of an even worse problem in November ­ that our election systems and our voting machines could be vulnerable to a similar attack.

    • Data program accessed in cyber-attack on Democrats, says Clinton campaign [iophk: "Windows still"]

      A data program used by the campaign of the Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, was “accessed” as a part of hack on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that intelligence officials believe was carried out by Russia’s intelligence services, Clinton’s campaign said on Friday.

    • A Famed Hacker Is Grading Thousands of Programs — and May Revolutionize Software in the Process

      “There are applications out there that really do demonstrate good [security] hygiene … and the vast majority are somewhere else on the continuum from moderate to atrocious,” Peiter Zatko says. “But the nice thing is that now you can actually see where the software package lives on that continuum.”

      Joshua Corman, founder of I Am the Cavalry, a group aimed at improving the security of software in critical devices like cars and medical devices, and head of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative for the Atlantic Council, says the public is in sore need of data that can help people assess the security of software products.

      “Markets do well when an informed buyer can make an informed risk decision, and right now there is incredibly scant transparency in the buyer’s realm,” he says.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Ghosts of Direct Action

      In early 2009 I was walking away from a compound a platoon from the Second Ranger Battalion had just assaulted when a staff sergeant I knew held up something in the dark. I couldn’t tell exactly what it was. It was small and he was bragging about it. I tried to make it out but was soon distracted. It wasn’t until I got back to Forward Operating Base Salerno and saw his pictures that I realized that he had been showing me a square piece of flesh that he had cut out of a dead woman’s neck.

      Mutilating the corpse of a female noncombatant was just the final act in a horror show that night put on by this young Ranger. He had killed several people. One was a military-aged male, the rest were women; one looked to be about thirteen.

      Why did they die? Sadly, all too often when people die in Afghanistan that question is a lot harder to answer than it should be. There are as many truths about that mission as there were people on it. But, they didn’t have to die. It could have been avoided. And the war crime that occurred after the deaths gives you an idea of the mentality of the shooter.

    • Trading Places: Swapping the Roles of Police and Military Is Bad for the Republic

      The Dallas police chief defended using the robot-delivered bomb by saying that he would have done anything to avoid more police deaths. That is understandable reasoning but flawed, because although lives of professional law enforcement personnel are very important, the use of such indiscriminate battlefield weapons may unreasonably endanger the lives of the innocent citizens the police are sworn to protect.

      Under the rules of war, militaries are permitted to kill civilians or destroy their property, even if such collateral damage is deemed likely before an attack, if the target is militarily critical. That reasoning is unacceptable for police departments, given their primary mission of protecting the public. The militarization of police with SWAT teams, armored vehicles, etc. is threatening enough to citizens’ liberty without the unnecessary use of military-grade explosives to endanger the civilians whose welfare they are supposed to be safeguarding.

    • New Documentary Pierces the Psychology of Modern Suicide Bombers

      In a scene from Norwegian journalist Paul Refsdal’s new documentary Dugma: The Button, Abu Qaswara, a would-be suicide bomber, describes the sense of exhilaration he felt during an aborted suicide attack against a Syrian army checkpoint. “These were the happiest [moments] I’ve had in 32 years. If anyone had felt exactly what I felt at that moment, Muslims would want to go through the same feeling and non-Muslims would convert just to experience it,” he enthuses to the camera, visibly elated by his attempted self-immolation.

      Abu Qaswara’s attack failed after his vehicle was blocked by obstacles on the road placed by the Syrian military. But speaking shortly after he returned from his mission, it was clear that his brush with death had filled him with euphoria. “It was a feeling more than you can imagine,” he says. “Something I cannot describe, it cannot be described.”


      Only the few Syrians who appear in the film speak at length about their grievances over the crimes of the Syrian government. In contrast, the foreign volunteers appear largely driven by personal motivations. Liberating the local people from oppression appears at best a secondary concern. Perishing in the conflict and reaping the existential rewards of such an end takes precedence. Both Abu Qaswara and Abu Basir gave up comfortable lives to come to Syria, knowing that certain death would be the outcome of that decision. But rather than deterring them, the prospect of a rewarding death was a primary factor motivating their decision to fight.

    • “Eat, Pray, Starve”: Greg Grandin on Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton & the U.S. Role in Honduras

      On Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, delivered a prime-time speech in which he spoke about the nine months he spent with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras in 1980. To talk more about the significance of Tim Kaine’s time in Honduras, we speak with Greg Grandin, professor of Latin American history at New York University. His most recent article for The Nation is headlined “Eat, Pray, Starve: What Tim Kaine Didn’t Learn During His Time in Honduras.”

    • Munich shopping centre and train station evacuated after ‘bomb threat’

      A shopping centre and train station in Munich wereevacuated after police received a ‘bomb threat’ this afternoon.

      The Pasing Arcaden shopping centre and Pasing railway station were both cleared and the area sealed off by police.

      Police are understood to have received an anonymous phone call warning a bomb has been placed in the area and officers are now on the scene.

      The area was evacuated at around 5.30pm local time (4.30pm UK time) and train services were also stopped from passing through the station.

      Police searched the area and later confirmed nothing suspicious was found and there was no threat to the public.

    • Turkey coup attempt: Government cancels 50,000 passports as global concern grows over crackdown

      The Turkish government has cancelled the passports of around 50,000 people to prevent them leaving the country as a crackdown continues following a failed coup.

      Efkan Ala, the interior minister, said more than 18,000 have so far been detained over the attempt to oust President Tayyip Erdogan, while thousands of government staff are under investigation.

      The purges have provoked alarm in the international community, presenting a major stumbling block for Turkey’s campaign to join the European Union.

    • Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism

      The new imperialism differs from the old, classical imperialism in at least four major ways.

      First, contrary to the old pattern of colonial/imperial conquests and plunders, which often proved quite lucrative to the imperium, war and military operations under the new imperialism are not even cost efficient on purely economic grounds, that is, on grounds of national interests. While immoral, external military operations of past empires often proved profitable and, therefore, justifiable on national economic grounds. Military actions abroad usually brought economic benefits not only to the imperial ruling classes and war profiteers, but also (through “trickle-down” effects) to their citizens. Thus, for example, imperialism paid significant dividends to Britain, France, the Dutch, and other European powers of the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. As the imperial economic gains helped develop their economies, they also helped improve the living conditions of their working people and elevate the standards of living of their citizens.

      This pattern of economic gains flowing from imperial military operations, however, seems to have somewhat changed in the context of the recent U.S. imperial wars of choice. Moralities aside, U.S. military expeditions and operations of late are not justifiable even on economic grounds. Indeed, escalating U.S. military adventures and aggressions have become ever more wasteful, cost-inefficient, and burdensome to the overwhelming majority of its citizens.

    • The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit

      On July 28, 2002, the British Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote a memorandum to American President George W. Bush about Iraq. “I will be with you, whatever,” Blair wrote with teenager’s diction. It was a pledge that Blair would keep through the year and into the illegal war against Iraq that the Bush administration prosecuted in 2003. Not only did this war break Iraq—a country weakened by the sanctions regime and its earlier wars—but it also severely threatened the legitimacy of the West in the eyes of the world. It took six years for an inquiry to be opened in Britain.

      Finally, after much delay, the Chilcot Report—all of 2.6 million words—has been released. It tells a great story of deceit. There is no Chilcot inquiry in the United States, where perhaps it is most needed. Both of the major political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, are damaged by their unity on this war. Bush led the way, but Democratic front-runner for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, voted for the war in Congress. Controversy over the lead-up to the war remains in the U.S., but none of the major political parties would like a Chilcot inquiry in the U.S.

      In the U.S., the debate over Iraq has been placed on mute. Hillary Clinton’s vote for the war means that Democrats do not want to make this an issue in the presidential election. Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, had supported the war in 2003. He now says he opposes it. But his entire party bears culpability for the war. In a primary debate, Trump attacked Bush for the war. It was an unusual moment. Bush’s brother Jeb Bush was on the stage then. He defended his brother, and also stood up for his party. Trump has since been silent on the Iraq war.

    • “No More War”: Protesters Disrupt Ex-CIA Director Leon Panetta’s DNC Speech

      Protests on the floor of the convention continued on Wednesday. They reached a peak when former CIA Director Leon Panetta took the stage. While Panetta was criticizing Donald Trump’s appeal to the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, many delegates started chanting “No more war!” We hear Panetta’s remarks and speak to a Bernie Sanders delegate who took part in the protest.

    • Lessons in Activism: Middle School Students Advocate for Syrian Refugees

      For the campaign around Syrian refugees, students learned about the complexities of history, the realities of ISIS and why Syrians are fleeing their country. An effective activism curriculum doesn’t deny these types of realities. Rather, it helps students find ways to defy reality with actions and in the process, learn that even the smallest acts matter. Students learned that the US announced plans to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year, but that this isn’t enough. After the Paris attacks last November, the House of Representatives immediately passed a bill that could severely limit the acceptance of people fleeing from Syria and Iraq. Students discussed the consequences of that legislation in activism class as they depicted and critiqued the SAFE Act bill. “We’d like the representative to oppose the SAFE Act, which lengthens the process for refugees to apply for asylum. We’d also like you to oppose the Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act (HR 4731), which gives the government the power to defund certain refugee resettlement agencies,” wrote Carolina, 13, in one of the talking points she prepared for the class’s lobbying trip to D.C. “We’d also like people in Congress to speak out against Islamophobia and bigotry against Muslims and refugees … they already have a tough life fleeing terrorism and oppressive government,” said Vidar, who is 14 years old.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • ALEC in Indianapolis: ExxonMobil and the #WebOfDenial

      This month, nineteen U.S. Senators called attention to the Web of Denial, a network of front groups that oppose any productive action to combat climate change. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) led the charge, building upon his weekly “Time To Wake Up” speech series on global warming, flagging the front groups that peddle climate doubt for their clients in the oil, gas and coal industries.

      One of the top groups obstructing any form of progress is the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. ALEC convened its annual meeting in Indianapolis this week, where it hooks state politicians up with lobbyists from Koch Industries (and its many nonprofit tentacles), Peabody Energy, tobacco companies, pharmaceutical companies and other industries looking to put pro-business policies in the hands of state politicians.

    • Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino

      On Monday July 18, a seven-year-old boy was shot in the legs in Kaziranga National Park in northeastern India, by park guards. Under the park’s long-established anti-poaching policy, guards are trained to shoot intruders on sight, and given total legal immunity for doing so. At least sixty-two people have been executed there in just nine years.

  • Finance

    • America’s Stateless People: How Immigration Gaps Create Poverty

      They came to America in the 1970s and 1980s as child refugees, members of the Hmong minority in Laos fleeing that country’s new communist government and persecution for helping the CIA in its covert war in Southeast Asia.

      America held the promise of safety and a piece of the American dream.

      Many of them chased that dream in California’s Central Valley, slowly, sometimes painfully, building lives in a new country where their language and culture were virtually unknown. Largely from poor rural farming families, they often struggled to adjust to a dramatically different society, with few relevant skills and limited support.

    • How Much Do Shady Financial Practices Cost You, Exactly?

      Average U.S. household loses over $100,000 to destructive activities of bankers and financiers

    • How to pay no taxes at all! (if you’re Apple, Google or Facebook)

      In only 7 minutes, Australian comedy show The Undercurrent explains exactly how companies like Apple, Google and Facebook use offshore registration, transfer payments, debt loading and tax havens to get a lower tax rate than nurses, starving their host countries like Australia of so much money that they’re cutting schools, medicare, public broadcasting, climate change and indigenous services.

    • Ireland jails three top bankers over 2008 banking meltdown

      Three senior Irish bankers were jailed on Friday for up to three-and-a-half years for conspiring to defraud investors in the most prominent prosecution arising from the 2008 banking crisis that crippled the country’s economy.

      The trio will be among the first senior bankers globally to be jailed for their role in the collapse of a bank during the crisis.

      The lack of convictions until now has angered Irish taxpayers, who had to stump up 64 billion euros – almost 40 percent of annual economic output – after a property collapse forced the biggest state bank rescue in the euro zone.

      The crash thrust Ireland into a three-year sovereign bailout in 2010 and the finance ministry said last month that it could take another 15 years to recover the funds pumped into the banks still operating.

      Former Irish Life and Permanent Chief Executive Denis Casey was sentenced to two years and nine months following the 74-day criminal trial, Ireland’s longest ever.

      Willie McAteer, former finance director at the failed Anglo Irish Bank, and John Bowe, its ex-head of capital markets, were given sentences of 42 months and 24 months respectively.

    • Theresa May confirms Crown dependencies will take part in Brexit talks

      Theresa May has written to Britain’s Crown dependencies to assure them they will play a part in negotiations to leave the EU.

    • ‘These Agreements Depend on Secrecy in Order to Pass’ – CounterSpin interviews with Lori Wallach, Peter Maybarduk and Karen Hansen-Kuhn on trade pacts and corporate globalization

      This week on CounterSpin: Few ideas are as hard-wired into corporate media as the notion that so-called “free trade” agreements of the sort we have are, despite concerns, best for everyone—and, anyway, inevitable. Given that the deals are not primarily about trade, and that what freedom they entail applies to corporations and not people, you could say media’s use of the term “free trade” implies a bias—against clarity, if nothing else.

    • Hillary Clinton Talks Tough on Shadow Banking, But Blackstone Is Celebrating at the DNC

      Blackstone, the giant Wall Street private equity firm, will hold an invitation-only reception before the final night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The event, at the swanky Barnes Foundation art museum, includes the usual perks for attendees: free food, drink, and complimentary shuttle buses to the final night of the convention.

      What’s unusual is that the host is precisely the kind of “shadow banker” that Hillary Clinton has singled out as needing more regulation in her rhetoric about getting tough on Wall Street.

      But Blackstone President and Chief Operating Officer Hamilton “Tony” James doesn’t seem the least bit intimidated.

      James has been a stalwart supporter of Barack Obama, holding fundraisers for him at his home, even while other Wall Street titans criticized him — in fact the co-founder of James’s own company, Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, once likened Obama’s push to increase taxes on private-equity firms to a “war,” saying: “It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”

      Last December, James hosted a high-dollar fundraiser for Hillary Clinton that featured Warren Buffett. He’s made six-figure donations to the Center for American Progress, known as Clinton’s White House in exile, and sits on CAP’s Board of Trustees. And he has made no secret of wanting to hold a high-level position in a future Democratic administration, perhaps even Treasury Secretary.

    • No New Charter Schools – NAACP Draws Line in the Sand

      The resolution goes on to oppose tax breaks to support charter schools and calls for new legislation to increase charter school transparency. Moreover, charters should not be allowed to kick students out for disciplinary reasons.

      This goes against the well-funded narrative of charter schools as vehicles to ensure civil rights.

      The pro-charter story has been told by deep pocketed investors such as the Koch Brothers and the Walton Family Foundation. But the idea that a separate parallel school system would somehow benefit black and brown children goes against history and common sense.

      The Supreme Court, after all, ruled separate but equal to be Unconstitutional in Brown vs. Board of Education. Yet somehow these wealthy “philanthropists” know better.

      People of color know that when your children are separated from the white and rich kids, they often don’t get the same resources, funding and proper education. You want your children to be integrated not segregated. You want them to be where the rich white kids are. That way it’s harder for them to be excluded from the excellent education being provided to their lighter skinned and more economically advantaged peers.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Jill’s Line

      Dr. Jill Stein’s popularity surge during the Democratic National Convention led to rumors that she opposes vaccines, but that isn’t the case.

    • Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers

      Last summer you said you would not run as a third party candidate if you did not win the Democratic nomination. You said, “the reason for that is I do not want to be responsible for electing some right-wing Republican to be president of the United States.” This was before the unexpected and unprecedented success of your grassroots campaign where you won 22 states and almost half of the delegates in a primary process that was stacked against you every step of the way.

      We take you as a man of your word and we certainly don’t want Trump to be president either. A Trump presidency would be a terrible step backwards for working people, people of color, immigrants, students, retirees, the LGBTQ community, the environment, and the entire world, which is why more than ever we need you to reconsider the situation and make a third party run.

      Polls show that Hillary Clinton, the official Democratic nominee, is an incredibly weak candidate in the general election. Even after spending $57 million in ads (vs. $4 million by Trump) she is trailing slightly, and Trump is actually leading in several important swing states. Frankly, Hillary Clinton does not have the credibility to take on the dangerous appeal of Donald Trump.

      For a variety of reasons, many justified and some not, people don’t trust her. We are now faced with two of the most disliked presidential candidates in the history of the country. Unfortunately, too many people are disillusioned with politics and the lack of inspiring viable candidates will only hurt voter turnout. If there was ever an opportunity to break the corporate two party duopoly, this is it. So, we respectfully ask you to consider Jill Stein’s offer of a united Green Party ticket.

      A Sanders/Stein campaign would be more popular than Hillary Clinton and more successful against Trump. If polling shows you in the lead before the election, we trust that Secretary Clinton would do the right thing and not be a spoiler.

    • Why Trump Supporters Think He’ll Win

      “You people in the Acela corridor aren’t getting it. Again. You think Donald Trump is screwing up because he keeps saying things that you find offensive or off-the-wall. But he’s not talking to you. You’re not his audience, you never were, and you never will be. He’s playing this game in a different way from anybody you’ve ever seen. And he’s winning too, in a different way from anybody you’ve ever seen.

      “Our convention worked. Donald—I’m not on the payroll, I can call him that—Donald energized his voters: people who are afraid of crime and worried about the mass immigration that’s transforming their country and displacing them. We talk a lot about polls, but you ignore the polls that don’t show what you expect to see.

      “Here’s what’s going to happen. We’re going to run up vote totals like you’ve never seen in places you’ve never been. Not just coal country, either. No, we don’t have what you’d call a proper campaign. What do we need it for? Campaigns spend most of their money on TV ads that do nothing except entertain you on YouTube on your lunch hour—oh, and pay huge commissions to the consultants who make them. It’s all a waste and rip-off. If our message is exciting, our voters will get to the polls on their own. And you have to admit: Our message is exciting!

    • Will Hillary Clinton get a convention bounce in the polls? If not, she’s in deep trouble.

      Last week, halfway through the Republican convention in Cleveland, I wrote that the GOP gathering was so shambolic that it might not give Donald Trump the “bounce” he needed.

      I was right about the convention, but wrong about the bounce.

      Trump undeniably got one. In the average of national polls compiled by RealClearPolitics, Trump was three points behind Hillary Clinton before Cleveland; now he’s one point ahead.

      The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll showed a similar swing with a more striking result: Trump seven points ahead.

      What does that mean for Hillary Clinton, whose convention in Philadelphia was smoother and snazzier? It means she’s virtually certain to get a bounce too.

    • Hillary’s Convention Con

      This immense gap has been the Clinton duo’s con job on America for many years. Sugarcoating phrases, populist flattery, getting the election over with and jumping back into the fold of the plutocracy is their customary M.O.

      An anti-Hillary campaign button sums it up. Imagine a nice picture of Hillary with the words “More Wall Street” above her head and the words “More War” below her head.

      Alert voters could see it coming at the Convention: the militarism for Hillary the Hawk on day four in Philadelphia and the arrival of the corporate fat cats. Or, as the New York Times headlined: “Top Donors Leave Sidelines, Checkbooks in Hand.”

      The best thing Hillary Clinton has going for her is the self-destructive, unstable, unorganized, fact and truth-starved, egomaniacal, cheating, plutocratic, Donald Trump (See my column “How Unpatriotic Is Donald Trump?”).

      That’s where our nation’s two-party political leadership is today. When will the vast left/right majority rise to take over and reverse the eviscerating policies and practices of this political duopoly?

    • She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention

      + First things first. I want to apologize to the Sandernistas for any impolite things I may have written about you in the past 10 months. I especially want to apologize to those of you who rose up after your leader abandoned you, after Bernie wiped out your votes and muted your voices, after he turned you over to the DNC’s thuggish floor managers and security guards, after he sat passively as your brave chants of “No More Drones” were drowned out by the fascist war-cry of “USA! USA!!” I want to apologize for doubting your resolve. I want to apologize without qualification. You didn’t cry when Bernie betrayed you. Not for long. You marched right back into the Wells Fargo Center intent on spoiling the party. You didn’t sour on your ideals. You refused to be domesticated. You pissed on their carpet. You shouted down their war criminals. You made this squalid affair fun for a few precious hours. And that ain’t bad. Somewhere Abbie Hoffman is cracking a smile (though perhaps not at the spectacle of Meryl Streep ripping off his wardrobe during her bewildering performance, an act so incoherent it made one long for the Absurdist theater of Clint Eastwood and his empty chair routine.)

    • Long Live the Queen of Chaos

      Bernie Sanders’ program proposals and Mrs. Clinton’s theorized move Left will be but distant memories.

    • Two (Three, Four?) Data Points on DNC Hack: Why Does Wikileaks Need an Insurance File?

      This detail is important because it says Julian Assange is setting the agenda (and possibly, the decision to fully dox DNC donors) for the Wikileaks release, and that agenda does not perfectly coincide with Guccifer’s (which is presumed to be a cut-out for GRU).

      As I’ve noted, Wikileaks has its own beef with Hillary Clinton, independent of whom Vladimir Putin might prefer as President or any other possible motive for Russia to do this hack.

      Now consider this bizarre feature of several high level leak based stories on the hack: the claim of uncertainty about how the files got from the hackers to Wikileaks. This claim, from NYT, seems bizarrely stupid, as Guccifer and Wikileaks have both said the former gave the latter the files.


      But then there’s this detail. On June 17, Wikileaks released an insurance file — a file that will be automatically decrypted if Wikileaks is somehow impeded from releasing the rest of the files. It has been assumed that the contents of that file are just the emails that were already released, but that is almost certainly not the case. After all, Wikileaks has already released further documents (some thoroughly uninteresting voice mails that nevertheless further impinge on the privacy of DNC staffers).

    • Meet Some Sanders Delegates Who Plan To Turn Anger Into Positive Action

      Luz Sosa came to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia as a disappointed Bernie Sanders delegate. But she is leaving fired up to take on big political fights in her home town of Milwaukee.

      “This election was never about Bernie Sanders. These elections were about issues the American people care about,” such as “families struggling to put food on the table,” said Sosa, who is Latino outreach organizer for Citizen Action Wisconsin and an economics professor at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

      “Bernie Sanders has been the voice of the movement, but the movement has always been there,” she said, and her advise to her fellow Bernie Sanders supporters “is to get involved in the organizations that are already working on the issues that Bernie had mentioned before.”

      Sosa on Wednesday was among a group of convention delegates, most of whom representing Sanders, who gathered at a reception sponsored by People’s Action and its Pennsylvania affiliate, Keystone Progress.

    • Hillary Clinton Will Be Good for Business, Predicts Chamber of Commerce Lobbyist

      When Jennifer Pierotti Lim strode up to the podium on the final day of the Democratic National Convention, she was identified as the co-founder of Republican Women for Hillary, a group of conservative activists supporting Hillary Clinton.

      Lim focused her brief comments on Donald Trump’s history of sexist comments, telling the audience that “Trump’s loathsome comments about women and our appearances are too many to list and too crass to repeat.”

      But what was even more significant is her day job as a top lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; she’s the Chamber’s director of health policy.

      It was the latest indication that the U.S. big-business community may be preparing to back Hillary Clinton, which would be a truly tectonic shift.

    • In the Hillary Clinton Era, Democrats Welcome Lobbying Money Back Into the Convention

      By quietly dropping a ban on direct donations from registered federal lobbyists and political action committees, the Democratic National Committee in February reopened the floodgates for corruption that Barack Obama had put in place in 2008.

      Secret donors with major public-policy agendas were welcomed back in from the cold and showered with access and appreciation at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

      Major donors were offered “Family and Friends” packages, including suites at the Ritz-Carlton, backstage passes, and even seats in the Clinton family box. Corporate lobbyists like Heather Podesta celebrated the change, telling Time: “My money is now good.”

      What was going on inside the convention hall was also reflected outside, at costly events sponsored by the fossil fuel industry, technology companies, for-profit colleges, pharmaceutical companies, and railway companies, to name a few.

    • Both Parties Are Playing the Mexico Card

      While it has been cast mainly as the villain, the unexpected spotlight has sent politicians and activists on both sides of the border seeking to get their message out. If they’ve learned anything from the Trump playbook in the past months, it’s that negative attention is still free publicity.

    • Revealed: AARP Is Funding ALEC

      AARP, the non-profit seniors organization that exists to promote the financial security, pensions and healthcare of those over 50, is secretly funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization whose bills have acted against the interests of ordinary Americans, including retirees and their families.

      The Center for Media and Democracy has learned that AARP has recently joined ALEC, and that it is a named sponsor of the ALEC annual meeting taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana from July 27-29, 2016.

    • Patriot Games, From Watergate to Email Hacks

      There has been a break-in at the Democratic National Committee. Documents were stolen with the apparent intention of manipulating the results of a presidential election.

    • Kshama Sawant vs. Rebecca Traister on Clinton, Democratic Party & Possibility of a Female President

      As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes history by becoming the first woman to accept a major-party presidential nomination, we speak with Rebecca Traister, writer-at-large for New York Magazine who has covered Clinton for a decade. Her most recent article is headlined “Hillary Is Poised to Make the ‘Impossible Possible’—for Herself and for Women in America.” We are also joined by Kshama Sawant, a Socialist city councilmember in Seattle who helped win a $15/hour minimum wage for all workers in Seattle.

    • Trump Gets His Talking Points From White Supremacist Twitter Accounts

      Donald Trump’s call on Russia to hack and release Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails was one of the stranger moments in what’s been one of the stranger campaigns in US history.

      It was a sign that Trump is either stupid or trying to join the Ronald Reagan/Richard Nixon club of Republicans who have betrayed their country to get elected president.

      But as bizarre as it was, Trump’s “Russian request” wasn’t the most interesting part of his press conference yesterday in Tampa, Florida — that came when he accused Vladimir Putin of calling President Obama “the N-Word.”

    • Assange: ‘We have more material related to the Hillary Clinton campaign’

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is boasting about how his group’s release of hacked Democratic National Committee emails is affecting the US presidential election — and says it has unreleased information about Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

      “We have more material related to the Hillary Clinton campaign,” Assange told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “Anderson 360″ Friday night. “That is correct to say that.”

      Assange has been coy about how WikiLeaks came into possession of internal Democratic party cyber information. The FBI and Justice Department are investigating a computer hack of Democratic nominee Clinton’s presidential campaign in addition to its examination of intrusions of other Democratic Party organizations, two law enforcement officials told CNN.

    • Convention Dissent: There’s Less Than Meets the Eye

      Cast your memory back exactly eight years, to the opening night of the Democratic Convention in Denver: Aug. 25, 2008. The story that night was the threat of the “PUMA” which either stood for “People United Means Action” or Party Unity My Ass.” According to Adam Nathaniel Peck writing in The New Republic, “PUMAs appeared dozens of times on cable news to defend Clinton and to promise mischief at the nominating convention and in the general election. Their anger epitomized a wider unrest that has been mostly forgotten as Obama went on to win two general elections”.

    • Fury as Trump mocks Muslim soldier’s mother Ghazala Khan

      Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has attracted outrage by mocking a dead US Muslim soldier’s mother.

      Ghazala Khan stood silently next to her husband as he attacked Mr Trump in an emotional speech to the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.

      Mr Trump suggested she may not have been allowed to speak.

      Republicans and Democrats said the Republican candidate’s comments were no way to talk of a hero’s mother. Mrs Khan said she was upset by his remarks.

      Last week her husband Khizr Khan told Democrats Mr Trump had sacrificed “nothing and no-one” for his country.

    • Waving the Constitution at Those Who Ignore It

      Khan was confronting Trump about his campaign in which he had noted that “Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country.” (Quotes come from this copy of Khan’s transcript.) Khan then continued, presumably in reference to banning Muslims from the US: “Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.”

    • Trump – Lowlife Scum Sociopath

      Trump is evil scum without human emotions, like a venomous snake. He is not worthy of any respect, certainly not the office of POTUS. Like a venomous snake, people should avoid Trump and stay very far away.

    • Parade of Speakers at DNC Paint Trump as Unfit for Presidency in Every Way, from Billionaire Bloomberg to an ex-CIA Director

      A parade of speakers at the Democratic Convention painted a devastating picture of Donald Trump as the most unqualified, inexperienced and unpredictable nominee in anyone’s memory, urging Americans—including independents—to vote for Clinton or face dire consequences.

    • Intelligence Chief Suffers Intelligence Failure Over His Own Team’s Willingness to Brief Donald Trump

      The country’s top intelligence official, James Clapper, insisted on Thursday that there has been no hesitation within the intelligence community when it comes to giving classified briefings to the presidential candidates, including Donald Trump.

      “Is there any hesitation in the intel community to brief either of these candidates?” CNN’s Jim Sciutto asked the director of National Intelligence at the Aspen Security Forum, eliciting laughter from the audience.

      “No there isn’t,” Clapper said, going on to describe the briefing as a nonpartisan tradition. “We’ve got a team all prepared,” he said.

      But several news reports over the past several months have indicated there was dissension in the ranks when it comes to telling Trump secrets — culminating in a Washington Post story Thursday night that quoted a senior intelligence official saying, “I would refuse.”

      All of which raises the question: How good can Clapper be at ferreting out secrets from foreign adversaries if he doesn’t even know what his own staff is thinking?

      Then again, he could just have been lying. He’s done it before.

    • [Links corrected] “The Two-Party System Is the Worst Case Scenario” — An Interview With the Green Party’s Jill Stein
    • The banality of Golden Dawn

      Golden Dawn remains Greece’s third most popular party. Since 2012, the party has succeeded in maintaining the solidarity and groupness of its voters intact during a series of electoral contests (local, national, and European).

      Nevertheless, Golden Dawn’s leadership is currently standing trial on criminal accusations and this has complicated the operation of the party. The questions addressed here are: How significant is Golden Dawn as a political actor and what does this imply about Greece’s stateness? Does Golden Dawn still manage to attract voters on the basis of its opposition to immigration and how?

    • Michael Eric Dyson vs. Eddie Glaude on Race, Hillary Clinton and the Legacy of Obama’s Presidency

      On Wednesday night, President Obama addressed the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and implored the nation to vote for Hillary Clinton. As Obama seeks to pass the torch to his secretary of state, we host a debate on Hillary Clinton, her rival Donald Trump and President Obama’s legacy between Princeton University professor Eddie Glaude and Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson. Glaude’s most recent book is “Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul,” and he recently wrote an article for Time magazine headlined “My Democratic Problem with Voting for Hillary Clinton.” Dyson is the author of “The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America” and wrote a cover article for the New Republic titled, “Yes She Can: Why Hillary Clinton Will Do More for Black People Than Obama.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Battling Censorship in Lesotho and South Africa

      A newspaper editor is recovering from surgery after being nearly assassinated in Lesotho for an article he published about a high profile army commander. Meanwhile in South Africa, journalists claim victory in their censorship row with the state broadcaster, the SABC.

      The truth is mightier than the guns of darkness, a top rights group has hit out in condemning an assassination attempt on the editor of the Lesotho Times and Sunday Express.

      Lloyd Mutungamiri was attacked by two unknown gunmen on 9 July, in apparent retaliation for his article about an alleged exit package for the country’s army commander, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli.

    • Proposed bill on Contempt of Court will further entrench self-censorship in Singapore

      On 30 July, Community Action Network was invited to speak at an event “Protecting our judiciary and free speech” at the Singapore Management University. This is an excerpt of the speech.

      In the last 5 years, the government has clamped down on freedom of expression in ways which we have not seen since pre-GE (General Elections) 2011. This is no doubt due to the government’s perceived threats of the influence of social media. In the cases where it has relied on case law to deal with contempt of court, it has been arbitrary in how it decided what it was, and what scandalising the judiciary meant. This proposed Bill in our view, codifies this arbitrariness even though it claims it seeks to clarify it.

    • Critics Fear Crackdown on Palestinian Free Speech as Israel Takes Aim at Facebook

      Erdan called Facebook a “monster” because it has become the platform of choice for Palestinians to denounce Israeli rule and broadcast their intention to attack Israelis. Muhammad Tarayra, the 17-year-old Palestinian behind the June 30 knife attack in the settlement of Kiryat Arba, had written on Facebook that “death is a right and I demand my right.” He expressed anger that Israeli soldiers had killed his cousin after he tried to run over them, according to Israeli news reports.

      Now, Israeli officials are seeking to pressure Facebook to take down posts similar to Tarayra’s. On July 13, Erdan and Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s justice minister, submitted a bill to the Israeli Knesset that would empower courts to compel Facebook to remove content deemed violent. And amid Israel’s legislative push against Facebook — including a separate measure that would see Facebook fined if it did not remove content inciting people to terrorism — an Israeli law firm has also filed suit against the social media company in a U.S. court.

      The moves amount to a multi-pronged campaign aimed at Facebook, which has been increasingly drawn into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli ministers have cast Facebook in the role of terror supporter and now want to force the company to police Palestinian speech they say leads to violence.

      But Israeli laws against incitement have also been used to arrest Palestinians whose Facebook posts criticize Israeli rule but do not explicitly support violence. Palestinians say that Facebook does not fuel militant attacks against Israel and that it is Israel’s decadeslong occupation and discriminatory policies against Palestinians that lead to violence.

    • Pakistan decides to contact Facebook over Kashmir posts’ censorship
    • Pakistan to contact Facebook over Kashmir posts’ censorship
    • The Facebook-Kashmir Blocks: Technical Errors, Editorial Mistakes and Invisible Censorship Galore
    • The campaign that ‘shot’ Mark Zuckerberg in the face
    • Abandoning Nuance, Facebook Is Deeming Posts On Kashmir ‘Terror Content’
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • I Con the Record Rolls Out Its 3-Page Intel Collection Efficacy Process

      Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 2.50.04 PMLast year, PCLOB suggested that the intelligence community formalize its process to assess the efficacy of intelligence collection. While it made the recommendation as part of its 702 report, the recommendation itself came against the background of Congress and the IC having decided that the phone dragnet wasn’t really worth the cost and privacy exposure.

    • Federal Judge Rips Uber Apart Over Dirt-Digging Investigation

      In December of last year, Yale environmental researcher Spencer Meyer filed suit against Uber, alleging price fixing by Uber’s drivers and founder in violation of federal antitrust law. Hardly the first person to accuse Uber of corporate malfeasance, Meyer nonetheless became the target of private investigators, working for a security company hired by Uber, who attempted to dig up derogatory information — an act the district judge hearing the case, Jed Rakoff, has now, in a 31-page order, called “blatantly fraudulent and arguably criminal.”

      Emails turned over by Uber on the judge’s instructions and summarized in the order show that on the day Meyer filed suit, Uber counsel Salle Yoo contacted the company’s chief security officer, asking, “Could we find out a little more about this plaintiff?”

      Uber investigations chief Mat Henley then selected a New York-based private investigative firm called Ergo, also known as Global Precision Research, and began working with one of its executives, Todd Egeland, Henley said in a sworn deposition. Egeland’s online bios state openly that he is a 28-year veteran of the CIA with experience in counterintelligence and cyberthreats.

      From the very start, the Uber-Ergo deal was set up to avoid potential scrutiny: Court-obtained documents reveal that both parties used Wickr, a self-deleting messaging app, and encrypted email “to avoid potential discovery issues,” although, as seen in the email message below, from Henley to two Ergo executives, including Egeland, some of the material was eventually discovered.

    • Brazil Freezes $11 Million in Facebook Assets Over WhatsApp Data Dispute

      A court in northwestern Brazil has frozen more than $11 million worth of assets belonging to Facebook, a public prosecutor said Wednesday, following the social media giant’s failure to provide the court with data on users of its messaging service Whatsapp.

      The $11.7 million in funds was frozen after Facebook declined to provide data on Whatsapp users under criminal investigation, prosecutor Alexandre Jabur told Reuters. The funds relate to fines imposed for failing to comply with the Brazilian court order.

    • ‘Deeply Troubling’: Ex-Ambassador, Intel Officials Blast Trump Russia Comments
    • Pressure Grows on Obama to Name DNC Hackers [Ed: the ‘experts’ are Microsoft-connected]

      But six U.S. officials and security experts have told The Daily Beast that the evidence linking Russia to the hack appears conclusive. Obama himself stepped closer to pinning the hacks on Russia when he told NBC News that “experts have attributed this to the Russians” and that it was “possible” the leak was designed to help the Trump campaign.

    • NSA Whistleblowers Doubt DNC’s Claim of Russian Role in Damaging E-mail Leaks

      Anyone listening to the mainstream media is convinced that Russian hackers released the thousands of Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mails made public by WikiLeaks. Even Donald Trump mused about the possibility of Putin’s people being behind the breach.

      Those a little more familiar with the workings of the federal government and issues of cybersecurity wonder if the “The Russians did it!” isn’t a ruse concocted by a coterie of collaborators closer to home.

      Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower currently in exile in Russia, claimed that the NSA could solve the mystery because it assuredly knows who hacked the DNC, and he tweeted on July 25 that “Evidence that could publicly attribute responsibility for the DNC hack certainly exists at #NSA, but DNI [Director of National Intelligence] traditionally objects to sharing.”

    • Hack infects Russian government computers

      Hackers struck the Russian government this weekend, reports said.

      Following data breaches on the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic Party servers that sources blamed on the regime of Vladimir Putin, a computer virus infected the networks of at least 20 Russian governmental organizations, officials with the country’s intelligence service told the BBC Saturday.

      Russia’s Federal Security Service did not say who they believe penetrated Russian networks but revealed the hack was “planned and made professionally” and also targeted defense companies and infrastructure, the report said.

      Meanwhile, the US National Security Agency’s elite hacking unit is likely tracking Russian-government cyber-spies to determine if they are responsible for the breach at the Democratic National Committee, ABC News reported.

      Federal intelligence officials said the NSA is able to “hack back” suspected organizations after an attack.

      The Obama administration has not publicly attributed the cyber attacks to Russia, which has denied involvement.

    • The NSA Is Likely ‘Hacking Back’ Russia’s Cyber Squads [Ed: Trying to make it seem reactionary… puff piece]

      U.S. government hackers at the National Security Agency are likely targeting Russian government-linked hacking teams to see once and for all if they’re responsible for the massive breach at the Democratic National Committee, according to three former senior intelligence officials. It’s a job that the current head of the NSA’s elite hacking unit said they’ve been called on to do many times before.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • 911 Tapes Released in Charles Kinsey Shooting, Pokes Massive Hole in Police Narrative of What Happened

      Last week, online video surfaced of an African-American therapist lying on the ground with his hands in the air moments before he was shot by a North Miami police officer.

      Charles Kinsey, 62, was stretched out beside his autistic patient Arnaldo Rios-Soto, who had wandered away from a local group home, before he was shot in the leg by police. Authorities defended the shooting, which was prompted by a 911 call from a neighbor claiming Rios-Soto had a gun and was attempting to kill himself. Recordings of the harrowing 911 call have since been released, revealing key details missing from the original police narrative.

      In the recording, an unidentified woman can be heard telling the dispatcher that the man with the “gun” looked mentally-ill and that the object he was holding might not be a gun at all.

      “There’s this guy in the middle of the road, and he has what appears to be a gun,” the woman said in a 911 tape released late Thursday by Miami-Dade police. “He has it to his head, and there’s a guy there trying to talk him out of it.”

      “I don’t know if it’s a gun,” she continued. “But he has something the shape of a gun, so just be careful. “But he’s sitting in the middle of the road.”

      The caller also described the men in detail, telling the dispatcher “He’s a Spanish guy, young kid. Spanish guy with gray shorts and gray pants. The guy that’s trying to talk him out of it is green shirt and black shorts. But I think the Spanish guy looks like a mentally ill person.”

      A short time later, SWAT officer Jonathan Aledda fired a single shot at Kinsey, hitting him in the leg. Rios Soto, 26, sat cross-legged next to his caretaker and continued to fumble with what turned out to be a toy truck. Video of the shooting quickly went viral and sparked national outrage over yet another Black man shot at the hands of police. Luckliy, Kinsey survived.

    • Chelsea Manning Faces Charges for Trying to Take Her Own Life

      These new charges, which Army employees verbally informed Chelsea were related to the July 5th incident, include, “resisting the force cell move team;” “prohibited property;” and “conduct which threatens.” If convicted, Chelsea could face punishment including indefinite solitary confinement, reclassification into maximum security, and an additional nine years in medium custody. They may negate any chances of parole.

    • In America, the UN Finds the Rights to Peaceful Assembly and Association Are Being Eroded, and Race Plays a Big Factor

      The U.N.’s special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association completed a 17-day mission to the United States this week, and he drew some concerning conclusions about the state of those rights in this country.

      Maini Kiai covered an impressive 10 cities in 17 days. He observed protests at the political conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia and visited cities rocked by the police killings of Black men, like Baton Rouge, Baltimore, and Ferguson.

    • The NYPD Is Already a Small Army—Now It Is Hyping Terror Threats to Militarize Even More

      The NYPD is already the largest and most well-resourced police force in the United States, with more than 34,000 officers on its payroll and a budget that hovers over $5 billion annually.

      But now, the New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio are invoking the specter of ISIS-style terror and the supposed “war on cops” to spend at least another $7.5 million on military-style gear.

    • What Are the DNC Hack(s) Rated on Obama’s New Cyber-Orange Alert System?

      The question is still more problematic if you try to grade the OPM hack, which has to be far closer to a Level 4 (because of the risk it placed clearance holders under). But do you also lump it in with, say, the hack of Anthem, which is understood to be related?

      I will ask the White House tomorrow if it has ranked the DNC hack(s). But for now, where do you think it would rate?

    • Target of Contested National Security Letter Was a Muslim the FBI Wanted to Turn Informant

      The target of a federal investigation that set off a more than decadelong battle over secret subpoenas called national security letters was a Muslim prison reform advocate the FBI wanted to become an informant.

      Nick Merrill, who fought to make the information public, revealed that information for the first time at a hacker conference in New York City.

      Merrill was the head of an internet hosting company when the controversy began. He had launched a small New York-based internet service provider called Calyx Internet Access in the 1990s, and he also consulted on digital security.

      In 2004, the FBI sent him a national security letter demanding extensive records on one of his customers.

      National security letters are secret subpoenas the FBI can send to internet and technology companies to demand various types of records about their customers’ online behaviors without ever getting a court order. In Merrill’s case, that request was particularly broad — for browsing records, email address information, billing information, and more.

    • Who Would Trayvon Have Been? Becoming a Black Man in the United States

      I don’t remember what I was doing when George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin. I’m sure I was watching the All-Star game, as I had done since I was a kid even younger than Trayvon. I may have even made a snack run to 7-11. I almost certainly was tweeting, or at the very least reading Twitter. I may have been on deadline and convincing myself that watching the game wasn’t procrastinating but all a part of my writing process. I was probably stressing about money. I probably wasn’t thinking about dead black boys.

      I’ve had the opportunity to do a number of things Trayvon will never have the chance to, and the guilt of that weighs heavily on me. Everything Trayvon did that supposedly justified his death — wear hoodies, walk to the store at night, buy Skittles, have tattoos, smoke weed, be suspended from school — I did. I could have been Trayvon. So many of us black boys trying to become black men in America could have been. Knowing that made his death that much harder to stomach.

    • Police Incitement Against Black Lives Matter Is Putting Protesters in Danger

      From the floor of the Republican National Convention to the online pages of the Blue Lives Matter Facebook community, it is now commonplace for public officials, police and first responders to openly declare war on Black Lives Matter — the civil rights movement of our times.

      In some cases, this climate has given way to overt intimidation, with the captain of the Columbia, South Carolina fire department fired earlier this month for threatening to run over Black Lives Matter protesters, followed by the termination of three other first responders for related offenses. According to the count of Sarah Kaplan, reporting for The Washington Post, those South Carolina officials “are among at least a dozen public employees who have lashed out against protesters on social media and been punished for it.” Yet, many more appear to have faced no consequences at all.

    • Buddhist temples attacked in Sumatra

      Indonesian authorities detained seven people in northern Sumatra island on Saturday on suspicion of attacking several Buddhist temples the previous night, officials said.

      A spokeswoman for North Sumatra provincial police said the seven had led a mob that damaged at least three temples and other property in the town of Tanjung Balai, near Indonesia’s fourth-biggest city, Medan. No one was injured.

      Indonesia is a Muslim-majority nation but has a sizable ethnic Chinese minority, many of whom are Buddhist. The country has a history of anti-Chinese violence, most recently in the late 1990s amid the political and economic crisis that brought down Suharto.

      But police officials denied Friday’s attack was aimed at the Chinese community.

    • Make Love Not Porn founder Cindy Gallop: Emma Watson was wrong to call for feminist alternatives to porn

      “Like women in many other endeavours; journalism, publishing, advertising, film-making, television, there are a whole other hosts of feminists and women making amazing work, plugging away who never get showcased in mainstream media, who can’t get people to come to their sites and pay them money for what they’re doing. So when Emma Watson goes, ‘there should be this and there should be this’, no wonder those women feel very, very upset. I completely empathise.”

      Gallop has even tried to get in touch with a contact at the UN (where Watson is a GoodWill Ambassador for women) to meet the Harry Potter actress.

    • Father ‘who kept British daughter in cage in Saudi Arabia for four years’ loses legal bid to gag media

      An academic at the centre of family court litigation after being accused of imprisoning his 21-year-old daughter at their home in Saudi Arabia has failed in a bid to limit reporting of the case.

      Amina Al-Jeffery – who grew up in Swansea and has dual British and Saudi Arabian nationality – says her father, Mohammed Al-Jeffery, locks her up because she “kissed a guy”.

      Lawyers representing Miss Al-Jeffery have taken legal action in London in a bid to protect her.

      They have asked Mr Justice Holman to look at ways of coming to her aid.

    • Security Territory And Population Part 3: Security As The Basis For Governing

      Security is connected to liberalism as a form of government. This last difference helps us see the nature of liberalism as a political ideal. It promises more freedom of action, more freedom of response to realty.

    • Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford on Why the Clintons Won Over Black America

      Despite her dogged support of her husband’s bills on welfare “reform” and mass incarceration—policies that devastated black America—and her past reference to urban black youths as “superpredators,” black Americans favored Hillary Clinton generously in the 2016 Democratic primary.

    • What We Wear: Another Way to “Vote”

      For more than two decades, more and more Americans have become aware of the exploitation and violence associated with much of the globalized garment industry producing more than 95 percent of our clothes. A series of media exposures, including the 1996 revelation that TV host Kathy Lee Gifford had endorsed a clothing line produced by Honduran children in sweatshop conditions, spurred a growing consciousness of labor abuses in many countries.

    • Despite Clinton Endorsement, Bernie Lays Foundation to Carry On “Revolution”

      Sanders has started a “social welfare” 501(c)(4) advocacy organization, to support progressive groups seeking to coach and vet those who want to run for office. He touted the group, called “Our Revolution,” in an email sent to supporters earlier this week.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Google Enchances Its Security By Enabling HSTS Encryption For Google.com

      Google had revealed its latest intentions to enhance encryption level of its domains. The same will be done by enabling HSTS encryption across various products preventing users from being redirected to unsafe links wrapped in the secure shell of HTTPS protocol.

    • If Theresa May wants to improve productivity, she needs to start with our broadband

      We hear a lot of talk from politicians about the urgency of improving the UK’s poor productivity. Upgrading digital connections is plainly a vital element of delivering that. How can we encourage more people to set up businesses if they cannot get reliable and fast broadband?

    • Big Telecom Wants a DC Circuit Net Neutrality Review. Here’s Why That’s Unlikely

      The nation’s largest cable and telecom industry trade groups on Friday asked a federal court for a rare “en banc” review of last month’s decision upholding US rules protecting net neutrality, the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible to consumers.

      The industry petitions come six weeks after a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a landmark ruling affirming Federal Communications Commission rules barring cable and phone companies from favoring certain internet services over others.

      Friday’s petitions, which request a hearing by the full DC Circuit Court of Appeals, were filed by USTelecom, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the American Cable Association, and wireless trade group CTIA, which collectively represent the nation’s largest cable and phone companies.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Top 10 Free Movie Download Websites That Are Completely Legal

        You’ll be surprised to find The Internet Archive sitting at the top of our free movie download websites. It like a goldmine for the fans of movies, music, and books. From The Internet Archive, you can download hundreds of movies for free in the form of torrents.


Actions by Team Battistelli Against the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the Role Played by Željko Topić in Crushing Opposition

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Patents at 11:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ILO case of Appeals Committee

Summary: An unresolved complaint that says “both directors and examiners were negatively affected by the instruction to intervene in the decision-taking process of the Examining Division” and the Appeals Committee was stacked

TECHRIGHTS will soon present more and more evidence of dysfunction at Battistelli’s Office, which is turning from hero to zero in just a few years because of Battistelli’s misguided policies that severely damage patent quality and basically attack resistors at the cost of their human (and labour) rights.

We are still working on ‘examination’ of individual ILO cases, in order to help highlight what Battistelli has done to the EPO since staging a coup, leaving casualties wrestling for a place in ILO’s long queue. Over 80% of determinations end up against Battistelli, based on the latest round of decisions. We previously wrote about one’s assignment to a bogus role after elimination of auditory rolesa Željko Topić classic!

“For those wanting to see the ILO decisions,” wrote one person “go to http://www.ilo.org/dyn/triblex/triblexmain.showList?p_lang=en&p_session_id=122

“3694 and 3699 are worth looking at. ”

“Over 80% of determinations end up against Battistelli, based on the latest round of decisions.”“Judgements 3694 and 3699 actually show the problem with ILO,” wrote a person in response to this. “We have one administrator who was harassed and sacked for displeasing Battistelli… he got less than a month salary in damages. We have a problem with the internal appeal committee which composition is lacking, the office can redo the work. Consequence? Personal must wait another 4-6 years for a decision. The judgements are victories… but Pyrrhic ones. ”

We decided to reproduce the text below and add some highlights to it. We don’t know who T. C. (the complainant) is, as there’s nobody with the initial T. C. among the signatories here, so either the person is not in SUEPO/Central Staff Committee or is no longer at the EPO (after the infamous purges).

Organisation internationale du Travail
Tribunal administratif

International Labour Organization
Administrative Tribunal

C. (No. 3)

122nd Session

Judgment No. 3694


Considering the third complaint filed by Mr T. C. against the European Patent Organisation (EPO) on 18 May 2015 and corrected on 27 October 2015, the EPO’s reply of 11 January 2016, the complainant’s rejoinder dated 25 April, corrected on 9 May, and the EPO’s surrejoinder of 13 May 2016;

Considering Articles II, paragraph 5, and VII of the Statute of the Tribunal;

Having examined the written submissions;

Considering that the facts of the case may be summed up as follows:

On 21 June 2012 the staff of the European Patent Office – the secretariat of the EPO – were informed of the entry into force as from 20 June 2012 of new Internal Instructions concerning the patent granting procedure. On 19 September 2012 the complainant, in his capacity as staff representative, together with other staff members, wrote to the President of the Office appealing the Internal Instructions on the ground that both directors and examiners were negatively affected by the instruction to intervene in the decision-taking process of the Examining Division. He contested in particular Article 2.4 of Section IC-VIII of the Instructions concerning the role of directors.

The Chairman of the Appeals Committee decided that his appeal would be dealt with in a summary procedure, pursuant to Article 9 of the Implementing Rules for Articles 106 to 113 of the Service Regulations for permanent employees of the Office. In its opinion of 16 December 2014 the Appeals Committee, composed of the Chairman and the two members appointed by the President of the Office (the two members who should normally be appointed by the Staff Committee had not been appointed), recommended rejecting the appeal as manifestly irreceivable as the complainant was challenging a general decision which did not directly and immediately affect him or the staff whose rights he sought to protect.

By a letter of 18 February 2015 the complainant was informed that the Vice-President of Directorate-General 4, acting with delegation of power from the President, had decided to endorse the Appeals Committee’s recommendation. That is the decision the complainant impugns before the Tribunal.

The complainant asks the Tribunal to declare both the opinion of the Appeals Committee and the impugned decision null and void. He asks the Tribunal to refer the appeal back to the Appeals Committee and to order it to “treat the appeal newly ab initio and in a new [...] composition”, without any of the members having taken part so far in the procedure. He also claims 50,000 euros in moral damages, plus costs. As “auxiliary requests”, he asks the Tribunal to order the EPO to declare that “interventions in the tasks vested to the Examining Divisions and Opposition Divisions by the [European Patent Convention], in particular any tasks of examination, are illegal”, and to require directors to withhold from actions that are ultra vires. He also asks the Tribunal to order the EPO to withdraw Article 2.4 of Section IC-VIII of the contested Internal Instructions, or subsidiarily that the EPO makes “available said Section to the public for example by publishing it in the official journal of the EPO”. He further claims moral damages in the amount of 100 euros for each director and examiner to whom the Internal Instructions apply.

In his rejoinder he modifies some of his claims and asks the Tribunal not to refer his case to the Appeals Committee, but to treat the case “newly from the beginning” and grant him an oral hearing. He also

asks to be given “another possibility for a rejoinder for providing evidence which could not have been submitted in the appeals procedure before the [Appeals Committee], as it did not treat the case substantially”.

The EPO was instructed by the President of the Tribunal to confine its submissions to the issue of the composition of the Appeals Committee. The EPO argues that the decision of the Appeals Committee to pursue its activity in a reduced composition was legal and legitimate.


1. The complainant filed an appeal with the President of the Office on 19 September 2012 against the Internal Instructions on the patent granting procedure, contesting in particular Article 2.4 of Section IC-VIII of the Instructions concerning the role of directors. He was informed on 15 October 2014 that his appeal would be dealt with in a summary procedure, without hearing the parties, pursuant to Article 9 of the Implementing Rules for Articles 106 to 113 of the Service Regulations. The Appeals Committee was composed of the Chairman and the two members appointed by the President, as at that time the Staff Committee had not appointed the two members and two alternates as provided for in Article 111 of the Service Regulations and Article 5 of the Implementing Rules for Articles 106 to 113 of the Service Regulations. In the present complaint the complainant impugns the decision of the Vice-President of Directorate-General 4, acting with delegation of power from the President, to endorse the Appeals Committee’s recommendation to reject his appeal as manifestly irreceivable. The EPO was requested by the Tribunal to limit its reply to the issue of the composition of the Appeals Committee.

2. The complainant asks the Tribunal to set aside the impugned decision endorsing the Appeals Committee’s opinion, refer the appeal back to the Appeals Committee with a new composition and award the complainant moral damages and costs. The complainant also makes an auxiliary request that the EPO be ordered to withdraw Article 2.4 of Section IC-VIII of the Internal Instructions. He presented new claims

in his rejoinder, asking the Tribunal not to refer his case to the Appeals Committee but to examine it on the merits. However, the EPO was instructed to confine its submissions to the issue of the composition of the Appeals Committee. Consequently, these claims will not be considered.

As to the complainant’s request for oral proceedings, the Tribunal notes that the parties have presented their case extensively and comprehensively in their written submissions, which are sufficient to enable the Tribunal to reach a reasoned and informed decision on the only issue that must be determined at this stage. The request for oral proceedings is therefore rejected.

3. The grounds for complaint are that the Appeals Committee was improperly composed, as it did not include two members appointed by the Staff Committee, and that the Appeals Committee unlawfully applied the summary procedure retroactively, infringing the complainant’s right to be heard. In his rejoinder the complainant contested the merits of the Internal Instructions.

4. In its opinion dated 16 December 2014, the Appeals Committee recommended rejecting the appeal as irreceivable and held that the complainant could not appeal instructions which did not directly and immediately affect him or the staff whose rights he wished to protect as a member of the staff representation. The Appeals Committee attached to its opinion a “Decision on the composition of the Appeals Committee” in which it noted inter alia that the Chairman and the two members appointed by the President had decided to sit in a reduced composition because the Central Staff Committee, elected in June 2014, had not fulfilled its obligation under Article 36(2) of the Service Regulations and Article 5(4) of the Implementing Rules to Articles 106 to 113 of the Service Regulations to appoint its members to the Appeals Committee, which the Staff Committee was supposed to do by 1 October 2014 at the latest according to Article 17(1) of Administrative Council’s decision CA/D 2/14. Despite numerous written requests, this was not done. It further stated that “[w]ith a view to the non-appointment of members by the Central Staff Committee, the Appeals Committee in its aforementioned composition decided to nonetheless continue dealing with appeals.

Considering its ongoing responsibility to provide a means of legal redress, the Appeals Committee [felt] obliged, in the interest of the entire staff of the EPO, to continue hearing and deliberating appeals brought before it. The Appeals Committee [did] its utmost to shorten the length of proceedings and therefore [found] it legally unacceptable to suspend its work for an unknown duration.” The Appeals Committee cited Judgments 1838, under 16 and 17, 1767, under 12 and 13, and 1565, under 8, noting that the Tribunal had held that the refusal of staff representatives to participate in the work of a consultative committee neither disqualified that committee nor invalidated its recommendations, and that the refusal of the staff representatives to participate may not result in a veto right. The Appeals Committee, in its reduced composition, thus decided to continue to sit in order to hear appeals until a better solution could be found.

5. The Central Staff Committee, in a letter dated 3 October 2014, informed the President that appointing nominees to the Appeals Committee was “for the moment, [...] neither appropriate nor desirable”. It went on inter alia to “challenge the legality of changing the rules mid-term, with the specific purpose of causing replacement of the members nominated by the Staff Representation before their mandate expire[d]”; “challenge the legality of asymmetric appointments”; and to note “severe dysfunction in the way the [Appeals Committee’s] work is managed and the cases handled”. It also mentioned other issues of contention and requested a meeting with the President to discuss those issues.

6. The Tribunal notes that none of the cases cited by the Appeals Committee dealt with the composition of an internal appeal body. It also observes that considering the quasi-judicial functions of the Appeals Committee, its composition is fundamental and changing it changes the body itself. While it is true that the fundamental functions of that body must not be paralysed, it is also true that the body itself cannot be changed through a changed composition. The balance sought to be achieved by the composition of this body, which includes members appointed by the Administration and the staff representation, is a fundamental guarantee of its impartiality. That balanced composition is an essential feature

underpinning its existence. Without it, it is not the Appeals Committee. The case will therefore be sent back to the EPO so that the Appeals Committee, composed in accordance with the applicable rules, may examine the appeal. In the specific circumstances of this case, no award of moral damages will be made. The question of costs shall be reserved.


For the above reasons,

1. The case is sent back to the EPO so that the Appeals Committee, composed in accordance with the applicable rules, may examine the appeal.

2. The claim for moral damages is dismissed.

3. The question of costs is reserved.

In witness of this judgment, adopted on 19 June 2016, Mr Giuseppe Barbagallo, Vice-President of the Tribunal, Mr Michael F. Moore, Judge, and Sir Hugh A. Rawlins, Judge, sign below, as do I, Andrew Butler, Deputy Registrar.

Delivered in public in Geneva on 6 July 2016.


There are dozens more like the above complaint (and far more pending outcome, which can take years), but we are going to produce a summary/overview and deal with them in turn based on relevance, urgency, priority etc.

The Illusion of Patents as Necessary for Maintaining Western Dominance Increasingly Debunked

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, Patents at 11:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Asia’s growing economy has turned the patent system against its creators

China dragon

Summary: The giveaway of patents to the East, combined with the opportunistic (for patent lawyers) opening to patent litigation from the East, contradicts the very notion of patents as guardians of science and technology in the Western world

LIKE the EPO, here in the UK we have UK-IPO (or just IPO for short), whose record on software patenting we wrote a lot about 8 years ago, particularly in relation to a case of Nokia (or Symbian at the time). It often feels like the policy at the IPO is steered not by British interests but by a bunch of greedy patent lawyers, who are conveniently besieging the British industry for money derived from legal fees, not innovation, development and so on.

“It often feels like the policy at the IPO is steered not by British interests but by a bunch of greedy patent lawyers, who are conveniently besieging the British industry for money derived from legal fees, not innovation, development and so on.”Based on a sponsored ‘report’ from IAM the IPO gave a Patent Prosecution Highway to China, where patent quality is notoriously poor (probably worse than even at the USPTO). But don’t worry; when Chinese companies start going after British companies (as they increasingly do in the US and especially in Texas) the patent lawyers will be the ones pocketing lots of money.

Much of what we saw Battistelli doing with SIPO (China’s, not Croatia’s) is going to cost Europe a lot in the long run. As is apparent from Battistelli’s policies in a variety of areas, short-term thinking and temporary gains are a priority right now (must be ENA ‘logic’) as he won’t be around to pick up the pieces as everything start to rattle and break.

Looking at IAM this past week, patent armament is becoming somewhat of a thing and Asian countries (other than China) are now buying the West’s patents as a matter of strategy/policy. As IAM put it: “It is hard to think of a better example of the ‘transition state’ described by Komiya than Softbank’s recently announced $23 billion takeover bid for UK-based chip designer ARM. Here is a massive investment by a company which started as a traditional telecom into a foreign business that is built entirely on developing and licensing intellectual property. It has also been framed by Softbank chief Masayoshi Son as a major push into the Internet of Things, an area highlighted by Komiya in his address as an “urgent challenge” for Japanese companies to adapt to if they want to remain competitive in the high-tech space. [...] Whether in the form of IP-focused acquisitions like the ARM deal or licensing campaigns like that pursued by IP Bridge, the gradual shift in the Japanese IP environment looks set to continue.”

“Huawei (China) is already using its patents to go after companies in the US, not just in Korea.”ARM makes a lot of its money from licensing, not production. So we can expect money to flow to Asia, not only for production but also for patents. Where does this leave the bubble or the illusion that using patents we can still maintain economic might (while outsourcing all production to the East)? According to Neil Wilkof, patent litigation is becoming somewhat a branding tool. Citing the Huawei v Samsung case (Wilkof’s colleague, Darren Smyth, wrote about Hospira v Genentech, which is less relevant to us), he writes: “Provided that the U.S. law suit does not go the way of the Apple-Samsung dispute, and Huawei is viewed as overplaying its IP hand, or otherwise is seen in a negative light, there is the potential for substantial upside in brand recognition of its smartphones in the vast U.S. market. Indeed, such a benefit may ultimately be much more significant for the company than matters of injunctions and monetary damages. Indeed, patent litigators might consider taking a program or two at their local school of management to learn more about the dynamics of brand-building, and how patent litigation can contribute to this process.”

Huawei (China) is already using its patents to go after companies in the US, not just in Korea. Apple’s patent feuds with Samsung have just made headlines in Western media, saying that “Apple Inc (AAPL.O) on Friday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to clear the way for the iPhone maker to secure hundreds of millions in damages from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) in a case over smartphone design patents.

“The world’s top smartphone rivals have been feuding over patents since 2011, when Apple sued Samsung in a northern California court alleging infringement of the iPhone’s patents, designs and trademarked appearance.”

“We need to reassess the motivation/s of patent maximalism and rethink the laws; the same goes for copyright in the Internet era, but for different reasons.”Apple’s market share in phones has just fallen more than 20% (see our daily links). Apple distracts from that by stating it sold a billion ‘i’ phones, but numbers suggest that Android OEMs like Huawei and Samsung is where most of the action (even growth) is. Whether Western companies can at all remain competitive — even with lots patents at hand — remains questionable. Asia is now turning the West-leaning patent system against the West, so patent maximalism in its own right won’t be sufficient for maintaining Western dominance. Only patent law firms would gain. I am not personally prejudiced against east Asia (my wife in fact is east Asian), but repeating the old talking points about the essence of patents for “countering Asia” is doing a disservice to truth itself. We need to reassess the motivation/s of patent maximalism and rethink the laws; the same goes for copyright in the Internet era, but for different reasons.

As is noted in more and more sites, China is now exploiting the same loopholes previously enjoyed mostly by patent trolls. This will only get worse in years to come.

Continued Erosion of Software Patents in the US and With It a Demise in Abusive Litigation by Patent Trolls

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 9:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

~90% of technology patent lawsuits are said to involve patent trolls

Summary: Encouraging signs of patent scope tightening/improvement at the US patent system, bolstered by inter partes reviews which crowdsource (or crowdfund) so as to defang serial abusers that rely on dubious software patents

Unified Patents, which showed that patent trolls with their software patents dominate the scene, took unprecedented action several days ago, aided by PTAB’s inter partes reviews. This is delightful progress and a move in the right direction.

PTAB, especially post-Alice, is one of the best things to happen to the USPTO in recent history. The combination of these two things 2 years ago presently facilitates the systematic crushing of software patents in the US, whether or not these patents are being asserted in a court of law. Patently-O has this new article titled “Inter Partes Review Statistics” and it says upfront: “This post summarizes data on inter partes review proceedings and appeals from the Patent Office. Although the office publishes a monthly Patent Trial and Appeal Board Statistics packet, the narratives contained within that packet can create confusion as discussed in Michael Sander’s guest post earlier this year. Below are some of the charts that I’ve developed based on the publicly available information to attempt to get a better handle on what’s going on in terms of case flow and outcome.”

This is a very detailed post and a helpful one, too. Patently-O is quite a decent source of scholarly information on the state of affairs in the US and nowadays it is quite neutral/impartial on most data.

In various Web sites earlier this week we have begun seeing positive coverage of Unified Patents and its good fight. BoingBoing, for example, said that “Unified Patents raises money from companies that are the target of patent-trolling and then uses it to challenge the most widely used patents in each of its members’ sectors: now it’s going for the gold.

“Unified is challenging three patents at once: Shipping & Transit’s patent on bus-tracking (the basis of 500+ lawsuits, most against cities’ transit authorities); Uniloc’s patent on DRM; and Sportbrain Holdings’ patent on wearable health monitors.”

Uniloc is a particularly nasty patent troll, which basically denies being a troll and uses rather dubious software patents to make money out of nothing. Michael Loney, writing for MIP from New York, wrote:

Unified Patents has filed inter partes review (IPR) petitions at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to challenge patents asserted by this year’s three most prolific patent litigants. The challenges to Shipping and Transit, Sportbrain Holdings, and Uniloc USA are part of Unified’s efforts to protect its members in technology areas from non-practicing entities (NPEs).

These three NPEs have sued more than 200 companies combined in 2016, accounting for almost 15% of patent cases filed against high-tech companies.

“Unified is the only company that refuses to pay off NPEs, instead disrupting and deterring them by challenging poor-quality patents,” Unified said in a blog post.

In a separate new article, Loney looked at recent litigation statistics, whereas at IAM there was only reminiscing of “the busiest month of patent litigation on record” (more to do with a filing cutoff/deadline). As even IAM admits: “Last November saw a huge spike in new patent case filings… 570 of those 847 have been terminated” (and more will probably be terminated soon). “Overall, though,” IAM notes, “what the November stats may tell us is that plaintiffs were looking for predictability. No one knew back then (and probably few know fully now) how the new regime was going to work. By getting in by the 30th November plaintiffs were making sure that they would be operating within a regime that they understood.”

That was the end of an era. No longer can patent trolls enjoy the same trolls-friendly platform which is tolerant and full of software patents. A new article by Daniel Nazer from the EFF (copied to TechDirt) speaks of one such software patent and explains it as follows:

Another month, another terrible patent being asserted in the Eastern District of Texas. Solocron Education LLC, a company whose entire “education” business is filing lawsuits, owns U.S. Patent No. 6,263,439, titled “Verification system for non-traditional learning operations.” What kind of “verification system” does Solocron claim to have invented? Passwords.

The patent describes a mundane process for providing education materials through video cassettes, DVDs, or online. Students are sent course materials, take tests, and, if they pass the tests, are allowed to continue on to the next part of the course. At various times, students confirm their identity by entering their biographical details and passwords.

Solocron did not invent distance education, encryption, or passwords. The patent doesn’t describe any new technology, it just applies existing technology in a routine way to education materials. That should not be enough to get a patent. Unfortunately, the Patent Office does not do enough to prevent obvious patents from issuing, which is how we get patents on white-background photography or on filming a Yoga class.

Such patents are no longer likely to withstand the scrutiny of a court other than perhaps in the Eastern District of Texas, which markets itself as trolls-friendly. Another case of software patents in their full ‘glory’ can be seen here, as “AGIS claims all require a “symbol generator” to track mobile phone user location” (sounds like surveillance patents with artistic terminology designed to mislead examiners/judges*) and according to this patent attorney, we can expect more of the same. “According to the S.Ct.,” he wrote, “this Alice Bank patent claims abstract subject matter: US5970479″ (the title of this patent is “Methods and apparatus relating to the formulation and trading of risk management contracts”).

We’re at the cusp of change right now because litigation numbers (on the decline) serve to indicate reduced certainty about the potency of software patents in the US, especially at the court which got them all started, the Federal Circuit.
* As Professor Dennis Crouch notes: “On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed the indefiniteness finding under its strict means-plus-function approach. The appellate panel first held that the “symbol generator” element should properly be interpreted under 35 U.S.C. 112 ¶ 6 as claiming a means for performing a specified function without reciting (in the claims) the supporting structure. Under 112 ¶ 6, means-plus-function claim elements are However, the statute requires that MPF claim elements be tightly construed to cover only “the corresponding structure . . . described in the specification and equivalents thereof.” Further, the Federal Circuit has repeatedly held that MPF claim elements that are not supported by corresponding structure within the specification are indefinite and thus invalid.”

EPO Crushed the Boards of Appeal (i.e. Quality Control) and Insiders Explain Why

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This “represents a complete and utter corruption of the patent system in Europe”

MoU signed by Bergot

Summary: Team Battistelli has made a complete mockery of the EPO and also serves to devalue EPO patents, which in the long term can doom the whole system

STAFF of the EPO is rightly afraid of retribution, having seen what happened to vocal colleagues. A lot of the staff still comments in IP Kat, which has become a de facto forum following the end of SUEPO’s forums (we might say more about that one day in the future).

Looking at IP Kat these past few days, we find one commenter who “can also [fore]see a lot of users looking for ways to recoup wasted costs from the EPO.” We are aware of several such users and will write about them in the future. To quote the comment in full:

I now realise that I had made a potentially unjustified assumption that the building in Haar would be used for oral proceedings. However, it now appears that my assumption was correct. In fact, if your prediction regarding “overbooking” is also correct, it may even be a lot worse than I feared.

Is it really envisaged that participants in OPs will be “sent home” on the day scheduled for the proceedings? If so, I can envisage a lot of users (quite understandably) getting pretty incandescent with rage if and when that starts to happen. I can also see a lot of users looking for ways to recoup wasted costs from the EPO.

Not that I disbelieve you, but do you have any figures upon the number of rooms available (both in the current and new buildings) for oral proceedings? If there is any kind of planned decrease, then that would hardly be consistent with the stated aim of “improving efficiency”!

As one person put it a couple of days ago, “for Battistelli “independent” means “you rubber-stamp whatever the investigation unit has written”.” The following comment also speaks about ILO, where many cases are dismissed without even opening the case for judgment. “2 years ago,” says the comment, “Battistelli visited ILO in Geneva to improve relationships.” One might call this lobbying. Here is the comment in full:

With the decision of the elarged board of appeal that is the subject of this article, Battistelli has made his policy clear. He will not change the text of the law, he will simply change the signification of the individual words. It took everybody a long time to understand, because we are not used to words having new meanings completely opposite to what they used to have. It’s newspeak.

Just read the decision of the enlarged board: for Battistelli “independent” means “you rubber-stamp whatever the investigation unit has written”. Can you interpret “no independent fact finding” in another way?

With that in mind, reread all what the Office has published in the past 3 years. With that in mind, consider what “independent board of appeal” means. To help you, I’ll give you an example of an independent tribunal: 2 years ago, Battistelli visited ILO in Geneva to improve relationships. Since that day, the ILO tribunal decided for the Office in 100% of the cases but one or two of little consequences. The majority of the cases are summarily dismissed without a decision on the merits. Check it if you don’t believe me: the judgements are public. THAT is what “independent tribunal” means in newspeak. That is what is coming for DG3 (and probably DG1 as well).

Now tell me how I could still work for DG3 and look at myself in a mirror.

The comment in its entirety is worth reading carefully, as is the comment about soaring costs at the appeal stage (so as to discourage appeals):

It should also be borne in mind that, as the appeal fees approach the stratosphere, and as quality is gradually streamlined out of existence in examination and opposition, the numbers of appeals will quickly fall away. Quod erat expurgandum.

PTAB analogies are brought up (correctly) as follows:

Rather than send parties away from the Haar building, it is more likely that the BoAs will be forced to introduce a concept for oral proceedings along the lines of the PTAB/CAFC with strictly controlled time allowances for pleadings (possibly not quite their ridiculous 15 min. limit though).

About the foreseen process:

I have no numbers myself, but I know from DG3 members who are discussing the matter with facility management that, at present, not enough rooms have been planned. Overbooking was seriously proposed as a solution, given that many ex parte oral proceedings take place in the absence of the appellant, so there should usually be enough rooms available. It is however still thinkable that we manage to get more rooms, or that some oral proceedings take place in the Isar building (which would make the move to Haar look even more ridiculous).

And in response to this one person wrote:

Thanks for the clarification.

So if I understand correctly, the building settled upon by the EPO management is not only in a location that will be very inconvenient for the users (compared to current facilities) but is also too small to accommodate the expected workload.

Is that correct? If so, then I reiterate my comments from 25 July. I would also add that, as well as making no sense from any objective viewpoint, BB’s decision now looks to be totally incompetent. This is because any accountant can see that squeezing the Boards into a building that is too small for them whilst paying to keep a larger (and considerably more expensive) building under-utilised is just utter nonsense. It will be interesting to see how the AC’s Budget and Finance Committee squares that particular circle!

New BoA facilities would be “too small to accommodate the expected workload.” Well, that’s just how to kill them softly. “Increasing the profitability of the EPO (whilst forgetting why the EPO exists)” is the way this person put it. In full: “It is correct (unless the plans are changed). Financially, it does make sense, if parts of IT and administration are moved from the Pschorrhöfe to the Isar building, and the planned overcapacity in examiner staff that will be recruited is then located in the newly created space in the Pschorrhöfe. At some point, of course, the EPO will need somehow(!) to get rid of the excess examiners and will sell the space that again becomes available. This will then bring a nice profit since it is office space in the city centre. Increasing the profitability of the EPO (whilst forgetting why the EPO exists) seems in any case to be one BB’s main goals.”

One person asked: “Weren’t the last IT people driven out of Isar at the time of the great asbestos abatement?

“Anyway, I think the room freed up could be used to house more BB cronies in the PR department.”

Another person referred to the ILO decisions we alluded to the other day and said: “I was not aware of the results of the last session of ILO yesterday. Apparently, the tribunal can be more independent than I thought. Good news, but I wonder how Battistelli will react. As to building rent: the Office evacuated the rented buildings in the west of Munich last years, and concentrated examiners in smaller rooms. Rent was not considered to be an option at the time.”

Published on July 28th was the following analysis by Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP. It’s about Battistelli rushing the whole process (uncertainty and certainty as euphemisms) and it said: “The European Patent Office (EPO) recently announced a new, streamlined procedure for oppositions under its ‘Early Certainty for Oppositions’ initiative. In particular, from 1 July 2016, straightforward opposition cases should now be decided at first instance within 15 months from the end of the nine-month opposition-filing window. This not only represents a shortening of the opposition procedure by around a year compared with current average timescales, but also benefits third parties by helping to provide legal certainty in a more timely manner. It, however, places additional pressure on patent proprietors who may need to prepare their defenses more quickly.”

This, suffice to say, is total hogwash. What Battistelli wants is a rushed process which favours large corporations and has no effective mechanism for quality control (examiners overruled). Here is someone quoting SUEPO about it:

I did not need to wait a long time to know what newspeak means for DG1. There is a new article from SUEPO. I will just cite the beginning:

Getting there faster, a case of unclarity?

An Efficiency Presentation has been given in a number of administrative directorates in Berlin during the recent weeks. It was based on a power point presentation titled “Getting there faster” and was further complemented by individual remarks by administrative as well as examining staff.

It has come to the Berlin staff committee’s attention that some parts of this presentation appear to have been misunderstood by many technically qualified examiners in Berlin who felt that those parts of the presentations in their respective directorate lead to undue interferences, be it from interested circles outside or inside the Office, with the responsibilities directly vested by the Contracting States in Examining Divisions (Articles 15 and 18 EPC) to which these examiners are administratively assigned. The title as well as some remark was understood as a prompt to ignore some of the Examining Divisions’ responsibilities in order to more quickly grant patents on European patent applications. Apparently, the following messages were perceived:
(a) the requirements under Article 84 EPC, especially clarity, were often less essential for the quality of the granted patent
(b) the description and figures should be employed, together with the claims, to determine the subject-matter for which protection is sought with the procedure up to grant
(c) clarity of the claims was no ground for opposition, and lack of clarity as such should thus not be the basis to refuse a European patent application
(d) the procedure up to grant should be a co-operative and an interactive process involving essentially the entrusted examiner and the applicants’ representatives as partners, preferably via telephone conversations instead of oral proceedings
(e) a benefit of the doubt on the part of the entrusted examiner should lead to a proposal to grant
(f) the other members of the divisions should follow the entrusted examiners’ proposals to grant
(g) the proposal to grant should promptly be signed by the other members when their own merely administrative checks have been done, i.e. without their own assessments of the requirements e.g. for patentability.

(citation end)

Expect management to deny everything. Newspeak only works as long as it is not translated.

…and the new DG1 policy is the final nail in DG3 coffin. If DG1 never refuses any patent there won’t be any appeals.

What Battistelli has done “represents a complete and utter corruption of the patent system in Europe,” said this commenter:

If what you report is accurate, then this represents a complete and utter corruption of the patent system in Europe.

The provisions of the EPC are not there merely for decoration, they serve a very important purpose (namely, ensuring an appropriate balance between the interests of patentees and the interests of the general public in Europe). The requirements for patentability, including support / clarity, cannot be ignored. Indeed, the fact that Article 84 is not a ground of opposition makes it more (not less) important that examination on that ground is taken seriously.

Further, encouraging a “rubber-stamping” approach means nothing less than the elimination of an important quality control checkpoint.

And don’t get me started on the policy of “if in doubt, grant”. Why should the general public have to go to the trouble of revoking a patent to subject matter that has never been proven (to the reasonable satisfaction of an examiner) to be patentable in the first place?

Is there any verifiable evidence that the presentation in question took place? If not, then I guess that (in view of EPOnia not being part of Europe) making freedom of information requests regarding internal policies would not elicit that evidence either. Which highlights yet another possibility for corruption that the founding fathers of the EPC did not foresee, namely the possibility for “internal policy” to be crafted that is completely at odds with the black letter law of the Convention. What a mess!

A response to this (today) said:

I don’t know any more than what I have written. This is the text directly from the suepo Berlin site, I just cut the rest, where suepo explains all this is against the EPC, but readers of ipkat already know that. And I don’t expect that anything will ever be published officially. This is typical for our new management: tell the staff about the new policy in a meeting. If people ask for written instructions or object that the policy is inconsistent with written regulations, management will consider that they belong to the people “against”. Which is a recipe for early retirement ( McGinley) or even dismissal, as exemplified recently by 4 staff representatives, one board member, one press spokesman and probably more we don’t know. Expect directors and examiners to quickly apply that new policy. People don’t resist for long after a meeting with their superior in recent times.

The same kind of methods were applied by other ENA graduates at France Telecom. It’s in the French press, some managers were found guilty. But of course Battistelli has immunity. Nevertheless, he is not going to put anything in writing.

I don’t see how the new policy can be avoided. Consider the EPO to be a registration system within a year.

Commenting on patent quality, one person noted: “Well, there would still be appeals for opposition cases, where there one side must do less well than the other.

“At least as long as this “business” isn’t carved away from the EPO to make the UPC a “success”…”

The UPC won’t happen (at least any time soon, especially not in the UK), so it’s irrelevant to Battistelli’s argument. Battistelli is killing not only the boards of appeal. The entire European patent system is in imminent and inevitable state of collapse because of him; those who dare say it out loud (without anonymity) are punished and then defamed (to discredit or distract from their message).

Academic Discussion About Patents’ Harm and Good, Pushers of Software Patents Still Upset at Alice Decision

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, Patents at 11:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Those who haven’t chips in the game against those whose entire game is contingent upon them

Manchester UniversitySummary: In light of the Alice case, large monopolies and their messengers moan about patent quality control, whereas here in Manchester people have an open debate about the potential harms of over-patenting

THE world is becoming a safer place for software developers because business method/software patents are dying in their country of origin. According to one of the most pro-software patents sites out there (IAM), patent “application numbers [for Visa] are down post-Alice” and “[t]his may well reflect the much tougher environment that patent owners now face in the US thanks to the popularity of post-issuance reviews and the general uncertainty around patent eligible subject matter since the Supreme Court’s Alice decision was handed down.”

Later in the weekend we intend to report on other trends which suggest the same thing, in spite of endless FUD from patent lawyers who profit from software patents. “Patentism is a religion and should be treated as such,” Benjamin Henrion wrote the other day. “Only believers.” Henrion — like myself — is a software developer fed up with patent maximalism which expanded patent scope to just about anything in software, irrespective of any evidence that suggests it would speed up development. He responded to this new article about an event right here in Manchester and told them: “It is a religion and should be treated as such.”

The article or event was titled “The Great IP Debate: Do patents do more harm than good?” To quote:

Patents have been with us since the 17th century. In exchange for disclosing one’s invention, the state grants a limited, legal monopoly over exploitation. In theory, the system encourages more innovation, for the good of society. But recently, voices of dissent have been rising. Legal costs are high. Specialists game the system to their advantage. Life-saving innovations get priced beyond the means of the poor.

On July 26 in Manchester, UK, at Euroscience Open Forum, Europe’s biggest biennial science conference, Science|Business Editor-in-Chief Richard L. Hudson organised a formal pro- and anti-patent debate among four experts, moderated by Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester. Herewith, his paraphrase of the arguments, so you can judge for yourself.

I know some of the people in there and I very much doubt they can make compelling arguments about the problems with patent maximalist. The University (which is where I did my studies and also worked) is quite keen not only on patent maximalism but copyright maximalism as well.

Sadly, there’s a strong lobby for software patents out there and it comes through all sorts of media, including the above (IAM). Speaking of IAM, watch this pro-software patents site promoting not innovation but patent trades, composed by one who was “recognized as one of the world’s most foremost IP strategists by Intellectual Property Magazine (IAM),” i.e. sponsored nonsense.

The latest shameless self-promotion by patent lawyers comes even from India (“Patenting For Success” is the title and it is not objective at all; recall the situation in India) and MSF, in the mean time, expresses “patent opposition in March in India to prevent Pfizer from patenting a pneumonia drug” (to deny poor people access to essential generic drugs).

Techrights is NOT against patents but against patent maximalism or — put another way — in favour of patent quality. The patent industry (or microcosm) doesn’t care about quality; to them it’s just an obstruction to business (theirs) and, accordingly, we need to counter their selfish desires.

Links 30/7/2016: Sysadmin Day, Stardew Valley on GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 10:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Student survey data shows Open Source training uptake amongst women and young people remains extreme

    Future Cert, the UK and Ireland representative for the LPI (Linux Professional Institute), is calling for more awareness of Open Source software training amongst the under 21s and especially women, which the industry is so desperately in need of.

    New figures from a recent Future Cert student survey reveals that the number of women and young people taking LPI Certification in Open Source computing remains extremely low.

    Of those questioned, 98% were male, and just 2% were female, taking an LPI exam. This figure is significantly less than an already low figure of around 15% to 17% of women in IT careers in general. It raises the question, what does the industry need to do to make an Open Source career attractive to women?

  • Quality in open source: testing CRIU

    Checkpoint/Restore In Userspace, or CRIU, is a software tool for Linux that allows freezing a running application (or part of it) and checkpointing it to disk as a collection of files. The files can then be used to restore and run the application from the point where it was frozen. The distinctive feature of the CRIU project is that it is mainly implemented in user space.

    Back in 2012, when Andrew Morton accepted the first checkpoint/restore (C/R) patches to the Linux kernel, the idea to implement saving and restoring of running processes in user space seemed kind of crazy. Yet, four years later, not only is CRIU working, it has also attracted more and more attention. Before CRIU, there had been other attempts to implement checkpoint/restore in Linux (DMTCP, BLCR, OpenVZ, CKPT, and others), but none were merged into the mainline. Meanwhile CRIU survived, which attests to its viability. Some time ago, I implemented support for the Test Anything Protocol format into the CRIU test runner; creating that patch allowed me to better understand the nature of the CRIU testing process. Now I want to share this knowledge with LWN readers.


    The CRIU tests are quite easy to use and available for everyone. Moreover, the CRIU team has a continuous-integration system that consists of Patchwork and Jenkins, which run the required test configurations per-patch and per-commit. Patchwork also allows the team to track the status of patch sets to make the maintainer’s work easier. The developers from the team always keep an eye on regressions. If a commit breaks a tree, the patches in question will not be accepted.

  • Open-source Wire messenger gets encrypted screen-sharing

    Chat app Wire has been rapidly adding feature as of late as it looks to gain some traction against the myriad of competitors out there. The latest trick in its arsenal is screen sharing.

    Now you can click on the new screen-sharing button to, well, share your screen during a call (if you’re on a desktop, that is). It works during group chats too and, as with all Wire communications, is encrypted end-to-end. Wire believes it’s the first messaging app to include end-to-end encryption.

  • SPI board election results are available

    Software in the Public Interest (SPI) has completed its 2016 board elections. There were two open seats on the board in addition to four board members whose terms were expiring. The six newly elected members of the board are Luca Filipozzi, Joerg Jaspert, Jimmy Kaplowitz, Andrew Tridgell, Valerie Young, and Martin Zobel-Helas. The full results, including voter statistics, are also available.

  • Events

    • SFK 2016 – Call for Speakers

      Software Freedom Kosova is an annual international conference in Kosovo organized to promote free/libre open source software, free culture and open knowledge, now in its 7th edition. It is organized by FLOSSK, a non governmental, not for profit organization, dedicated to promote software freedom and related philosophies.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • GIMP 2.9.4 and our vision for GIMP future

      So you may have heard the news: we recently released a new development version of GIMP, version 2.9.4 (as well as a bugfix release 2.8.18, but this is not as awesome).

  • Licensing/Legal

    • On the boundaries of GPL enforcement

      Last October, the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) and Free Software Foundation (FSF) jointly published “The Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement”. That document described what those organizations believe the goal of enforcement efforts should be and how those efforts should be carried out. Several other organizations endorsed the principles, including the netfilter project earlier this month. It was, perhaps, a bit puzzling that the project would make that endorsement at that time, but a July 19 SFC blog post sheds some light on the matter.

      There have been rumblings for some time about a kernel developer doing enforcement in Germany that might not be particularly “community-oriented”, but public information was scarce. Based on the blog post by Bradley Kuhn and Karen Sandler, though, it would seem that Patrick McHardy, who worked on netfilter, is the kernel developer in question. McHardy has also recently been suspended from the netfilter core team pending his reply to “severe allegations” with regard to “the style of his license enforcement activities”.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Big Food’s Win Over GMO Labeling Bill Shows Failure of Democracy

      In 2014, Vermont passed the first legislation in the U.S. to require labeling of foods containing genetically engineered ingredients. A year earlier, Connecticut and Maine passed GMO labeling bills though these were dependent on several other states passing similar laws.

    • Did Their Backs Hurt Your Knives?

      For the first-time ever, the platform of a major political party includes an explicit call to repeal the Hyde Amendment, a federal law that has denied eligible poor and low-income women coverage for abortion care for nearly four decades. This has anti-abortion democrats saying they have been betrayed.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Finland beefs up arms exports to Middle East

      Over the last 18 months, Finland’s Ministry of Defence has awarded domestic companies 50 permits to sell weapons to countries in the Middle East. Finland is currently supplying arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, for example, both of which have recently bombed civilian targets in Yemen.

    • U.S. Awards $1.7 Billion Contract to Buy Radios for Afghan Army

      I always found myself giggling during the Democratic debates when Hillary would ask Bernie how he was going to pay for things like healthcare or college tuition, and then Bernie stammering to find an answer.

    • Do Civilisations Really Have to Clash?

      We are living in a world when it is normal to think that civilisations are incompatible and have to clash with each other. But this is a perversion of the truth as Dr. Paul Craig Roberts points out.

    • Hillary Clinton and Her Hawks

      Focusing on domestic issues, Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech sidestepped the deep concerns anti-war Democrats have about her hawkish foreign policy, which is already taking shape in the shadows, reports Gareth Porter.

    • The Fallacy of ‘Regime Change’ Strategies

      “Regime change” or destabilizing sanctions are Official Washington’s policy options of choice in dealing with disfavored nations, but these aggressive strategies have proved harmful and counterproductive, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Intervention Fail: ISIS Makes Bloody Gains in Post ‘Liberation’ Afghanistan

      Shortly after the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in 1996 (their rise to power itself a result of the 1979 Soviet intervention in Afghanistan), we began to hear endless stories of the horrors of this student movement turned governing power. They ruled by Sharia law, they treated women badly, they even blew up ancient statues!

      The US rhetoric against the Taliban began long before the attacks of 9/11 (which were carried out largely by Saudis who trained in Afghanistan with the knowledge of the Taliban). But it was the 9/11 attacks that opened the door to a direct US intervention in Afghanistan.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • From Kalamazoo to Husky, Parallel Pipeline Disasters

      There are many parallels between last week’s heavy oil spill from a Husky Energy pipeline in Saskatchewan and the Enbridge pipeline rupture in Kalamazoo Michigan almost exactly six years ago.

      Both ruptures occurred while control room staff were restarting the flow in the pipelines.

      In both cases, “anomalies” were indicated by computers systems monitoring the pipelines.

      In both cases, the companies failed to interpret the “anomalies” as leaks.

      In both cases, significant periods of time elapsed before the companies were made aware of the leaks by members of the public seeing the oil floating down river. 17 hours for Enbridge, 14 hours for Husky.

      In both cases, diluents had been added to the pipeline to facilitate pumping.

      In both cases, emergency responses were inadequate to deal with the quantity spilled and the conditions on the rivers the spills flowed into.

    • David Perry on Disabilities and Police Violence, Harvey Wasserman on Nuclear vs. Renewables
  • Finance

    • Hedge-Fund Money: $48.5 Million for Hillary Clinton, $19,000 for Donald Trump

      Hedge funds are playing a far bigger role in 2016 than in past elections—and Hillary Clinton has been the single biggest beneficiary.

    • Facebook could face extra $5bn tax bill after US investigation

      Facebook could be liable to pay between $3 to $5bn in extra US tax after an extensive investigation by the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) into the way the tech company transferred assets to Ireland.

      The tax agency has been exploring whether Facebook deliberately deployed complex financial processes designed to minimize the amount of US tax it paid.

    • Amazon boss Bezos becomes world’s third richest

      Strong earnings from Amazon and a boost to the company’s stock have made its founder, Jeff Bezos, the world’s third richest person, according to Forbes.

      Mr Bezos owns 18% of Amazon’s shares, which rose 2% in trading on Thursday. Forbes estimated his fortune to be $65.3bn (£49.5bn).

    • Why Make Something When Nothing Sells Just as Well?

      It’s a fundamental law of nature… or at least nature legislation: For every action that the government takes to protect the natural environment, there is a cleverly corrupt reaction. An investigation by Bloomberg Businessweek profiled an extraordinary case of fraud that exploited the Renewable Fuel Standard program, which President George W. Bush signed into law in 2005. That’s what he gets for trying to lessen our dependence on foreign oil… sucker!

    • Challenges and opportunities of the unbanked and under-banked

      Talking about access to appropriate and affordable finance is one thing but what happens when people reject those banks? What happens if some consumers never feel banks can provide for them?

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Jill Stein is not Ralph Nader 2.0; she is much, much better. She can win. Here’s why

      Progressives in America aren’t happy. In fact, for the first time in recent memory, progressives are finally good and angry at the political establishment. Leak after leak, lawsuit after lawsuit, the facts just keep rolling in like so many punches, again and again exposing how the DNC methodically shut out and shut down the first candidate many of them had gotten excited about in years. Thousands of man hours and millions of dollars, many of those dollars pinched from the tightest of household budgets, poured into what turned out to be a totally rigged election. Ouch.

    • Trump: A vote for the Green Party helps me
    • Democratic National Committee Claims That Wikileaks Has ‘Malware Embedded Throughout The Site’

      We’ve seen various organizations impacted by Wikileaks come up with all sorts of excuses and claims about why people shouldn’t use the site, but “the site is embedded with malware” is a new one. It also seems hellishly unlikely. It’s the kind of thing that someone would discover and it would destroy whatever credibility Wikileaks has left. I guess anything is possible, but this sounds like the DNC freaking out over the leaks and trying to spread bogus rumors in the hopes that it will get people to stop looking at their leaked files.

    • Julian Assange: We have more material on Clinton

      WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange speaks with CNN’s Anderson Cooper about his organization releasing hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee.

    • Cool Catchphrase, Hillary, But Science Isn’t About Belief

      On Thursday night, Hillary Clinton made history when she became the first woman to lead a major presidential ticket. In a speech filled with reminders of her experience and her plans for reform, one remark stood out: “I believe in science!” she said, chuckling. “I believe climate change is real, and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good paying clean energy jobs.”

      Delegates filling the convention hall in Philadelphia roared in approval. Pockets of Twitter, too. Just as quickly, though, reactions turned cynical: How awful it is, in this day and age, that a presidential candidate must say she believes in science? In the retelling, Clinton’s laugh became a nod to the absurdity of the moment.

    • How a cooked Assange quote ended up media gospel

      Wikileaks, the clearing house for state secrets, seems more about founder Julian Assange’s grudges these days: especially the one for Hillary Clinton. Much fuss was made over a quote—that he had “enough evidence” to guarantee an indictment of her—that was widely attributed to him. It turns out, though, that the quote doesn’t check out: most point to a mangled interview on the UK’s ITV where it isn’t even said. Jesse Singal set out to track down a source that no-one bothered to verify. It’s a surprisingly tantalizing and teasing journey, but the tl;dr seems to be that the quote was originally fabricated by the blog Zero Hedge.


      The Democratic Party that once was concerned with workers’ rights, the elderly, civil rights, and the constitutional protections of America liberty no longer exists. As the just completed Democratic presidential primaries and the Democratic presidential convention have clearly demonstrated, the United States now has two Republican parties in service to the One Percent.

      The organized Democrats–the Democratic National Committee–have shown themselves to be even more venal and corrupt than the Republicans. Leaked emails document that the Democratic National Committee conspired with the Hillary campaign in order to steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders. It is clear that Sanders was the choice of Democratic Party voters for president, but the nomination was stolen from him by vote fraud and dirty tricks.

      The DNC and the media whores have tried to discredit the incriminating emails by alleging that the leaked emails resulted from a plot by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in behalf of “Putin’s American agent,” Donald Trump. “A vote for Trump is a vote for Putin,” as the presstitute scum put it.

    • Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!

      Leading up to Monday’s Democratic Party convention, Hillary chose Blue Dog Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia as her VP. This was followed by the Wikileaks release of Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mail files showing it acting as the Clinton Campaign Committee even to the point of using the same lawyers as her own campaign to oppose Bernie Sanders.

      The response across the Democratic neocon spectrum, from Anne Applebaum at the Washington Post to red-baiting Paul Krugman and the Sunday talk shows it was suggested that behind the Wikileaks to release DNC e-mails was a Russian plot to help elect Trump as their agent. Former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul lent his tattered reputation to claim that Putin must have sponsored the hackers who exposed the DNC dirty tricks against Bernie.

      The attack on Trump was of course aimed at Sanders. At first it didn’t take off. Enough delegates threatened to boo DNC head (and payday-loan lobbyist) Debbie Wasserman Schultz off stage if she showed her face at the podium to gavel the convention to order. The down-note would have threatened the “United Together” theme, so she was forced to resign. But Hillary rewarded her loyalty by naming her honorary chairman of her own presidential campaign! If you’re loyal, you get a pay-off. The DNC was doing what it was supposed to do. No reform seems likely.

    • Sheriff Arpaio Paved the Way for Trump

      Before there was Donald Trump and his promise of a “beautiful wall” across the U.S.-Mexican border there was Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Arizona who pushed cruel treatment of illegal immigrants and other Latinos, reports Dennis J Bernstein.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • How California’s Identity Fraud Law Has Been Interpreted To Criminalize Defamation, Publicity Rights Violations And More

      Eugene Volokh has a somewhat terrifying look at how very broad interpretations of California’s identity fraud law, California Penal Code § 530.5(a) has been so broadly interpreted by the courts that it, in effect, creates a crime out of things that were normally considered, at best, civil offenses. This includes defamation, publicity rights infringements and disclosure of private facts. He discusses a few cases, but focuses on a key one that we’ve mentioned: the state of California’s recent legal win over Kevin Bollaert, a revenge porn creep. In our writeup, we were mainly concerned with how the ruling seemed to run against Section 230′s protections, but as Volokh makes clear, it’s much, much worse than that.

    • The West Kowtows to China Through Self-Censorship

      Human rights lawyer Teng Biao was commisioned to write a book reflecting on his 11 years as a rights activist in China for the American Bar Association in 2014. Last year, the ABA informed Teng that they would not be publishing the book over “concern that we run the risk of upsetting the Chinese government.” The ABA subsequently denied that as the reason for the cancellation, leading to protest from the China-focused legal rights community.

    • Melbourne graffiti artist Lushsux’s Instagram account deleted in ‘politically-motivated censorship’

      MARIBRYNONG City Council has declared that a large mural depicting US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a skimpy stars and stripes bathing suit must go.

      The huge mural is on the side of the Mr Mobility store in Footscray.

      The owner is away but a friend looking after his small business, Mitch, said she strongly disagreed with the council’s stance.

      “It’s art,” she said.

      “I can’t see any problem with someone expressing themselves with art. I think it’s a wonderful thing.”

      Mitch said far more offensive images could be found on the streets, yet they were not removed.

      “I’m a woman and I’m not offended by it. It’s just a one piece bathing suit with large breasts but the nipples and private parts are covered.”

    • Removal of Repeal the Eighth mural shows that censorship cuts both ways
    • New Tool to Help Notify Users When Their Content is Taken Offline

      When user content is threatened with removal from the Internet, it’s unlikely that anyone is going to put up more of a fight than the user who uploaded it. That’s what makes it so critically important that the user is informed whenever an Internet intermediary is asked to remove their content from its platform, or decides to do so on its own account.

      Unfortunately this doesn’t consistently happen. In the case of content taken down for copyright infringement under the DMCA or its foreign equivalents, the law typically requires the user to be informed. But for content that allegedly infringes other laws (such as defamation, privacy, hate speech, or obscenity laws), or content that isn’t alleged to be illegal but merely against the intermediary’s terms of service, there is often no requirement that the user be informed, and some intermediaries don’t make a practice of doing so.

      Another problem is that even when intermediaries do pass on notices about allegedly illegal content to the user who uploaded it, this notice might be inaccurate or incomplete. This led to the situtation in Canada where ISPs were passing on misleading notices from US-based rightsholders, falsely threatening Canadian users with penalties that are not even applicable under Canadian law.

    • OPINION: Why Taylor Swift’s Instagram Censorship COULD Be A Problem For Free Speech

      But first, a caveat. The tweet was slightly misleading. It may have implied that Taylor Swift was herself somehow violating the law on free speech, which, I agree, would be odd and not really possible within our current legal system. But I said ‘violate free speech principles’ for a reason. Principles are not law. In this context, they are the idea behind a law, the reason that law exists, while not being legally enforceable themselves.

    • Te Bitcoin Subreddit Censorship Debate Reignited by Roger Ver?
    • Coinbase and Reddit CEOs Discuss Removal of Theymos as Moderator of Bitcoin Subreddit
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The RCMP Is Trying to Sneak Facial and Tattoo Recognition Into Canada

      In November of 2015, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had a problem.

      At the time, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had been using its massively controversial database of biometric information—photos of people’s faces, tattoos, iris scans, and more—at “full operational capacity” for about a year. The RCMP, on the other hand, was stuck with a national fingerprint database that didn’t allow officers to scan and search people’s faces or other body parts. Canada’s federal police force was falling behind its southern counterpart.

      The RCMP had “no authority” to support new capabilities for its nationwide Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS, according to an internal presentation from November 24 of 2015 that Motherboard obtained through an access to information request. Still, the police felt a pressing need to improve “interoperability with international partner systems”—in other words, to make sure their system meshed with what police in other countries were doing—but lacked an opportunity to do so.

      Undeterred, the RCMP went ahead and began working to procure a new AFIS system that could analyze and capture faces, fingerprints, palm prints, tattoos, scars, and irises—all without clear authorization or approval by the country’s federal privacy watchdog, or even a plan to implement it.

      So, yeah, the RCMP is trying to bring biometric identification to Canada without anybody noticing.

    • How synced can (and should) NSA and CIA be on cyber? [Ed: Loaded headline from this Microsoft-connected propaganda network]
    • ExpressVPN protects your on-line anonymity and privacy

      This post reviews ExpressVPN, a hosted Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. A hosted VPN service is a paid subscription service. With a VPN, all your Internet communication is encrypted and passed through a secure proxy (the VPN server) before continuing to the intended destination. To the rest of the world, the Internet traffic appears to come from the VPN server, not your home computer.

    • Smartwatch Shipments Slipped in Q2 Amid Slowing Demand [Ed: mass surveillance/mass collection devices/facilitators]
    • Enterprise Wearables: 35 Top Picks
    • Smartphone Market Flattens Out
    • IoT Security and Privacy: An Afterthought?

      Security and privacy are widely identified as major concerns for the Internet of Things (IoT), but few people discuss them in any detail.

      An exception is Jim Hunter, chief scientist and technology evangelist at Greenwaves Systems, a provider of IoT software and services. Holding several IoT-related patents and a co-chair on the Internet of Things Consortium, he works regularly with the security and privacy concerns that are often acknowledged only in passing.

      While security and privacy are often discussed in the same breath, Hunter views them as at least partly separate. According to Hunter, security concerns center on how software and hardware are designed. Too often, security is an afterthought — or as Hunter puts it, “it’s not baked into the product, but is instead sprinkled on top.”

      By contrast, he says privacy problems exist “because of the ‘I’ in Iot. “When I put information into my web browser, it brings value to someone else — this is the way that the Internet runs and the agreement we have with it. By keeping ‘Internet’ in front of ‘Internet of Things, we’re enabling companies to think things will continue to work in the same way. Companies are taking your information to the cloud and then using it to make their product(s) better or selling it to other people. The mentality that your data doesn’t have value is where the problem exists.”

      Both security and privacy problems could have been foreseen, Hunter continues — and in some larger companies, they were. But smaller companies often overlook them. “The industry itself hasn’t really been educated to the importance of security,” he says, although he adds that “the tide is turning,” partly because of platforms that offer secure infrastructure, such as Parse on Facebook and Fabric on Twitter.

    • 75 Top IoT Devices
    • 20 Russian high-profile organizations attacked by spy malware in coordinated op – FSB

      Computer networks of some 20 Russian state, defense, scientific and other high-profile organizations have been infected with malware used for cyberespionage, the Russian Security Service (FSB) reported, describing it as a professionally coordinated operation.

      “The IT assets of government offices, scientific and military organizations, defense companies and other parts of the nation’s crucial infrastructure were infected,” the FSB said in a statement as cited by the Russian media.

      The security agency said that all the cases are linked and appear to be part of a well-coordinated attack requiring considerable expertise. The coding of the malware and vectors of attack are similar to those used in previous cyber-offensive operations against targets in Russia and other nations, the report stated.

    • NSA Whistleblower Skeptical of US-EU Privacy Shield to ‘Paper Over’ Spying

      NSA whistleblower Mark Klein said that the latest US-EU agreement aimed at protecting European data privacy standards may appear to be a reform, but will unlikely change expansive US surveillance practices.

    • British Spies Used a URL Shortener to Honeypot Arab Spring Dissidents [iophk: "url shorteners, sock-puppet Twitter accounts"]

      A shadowy unit of the British intelligence agency GCHQ tried to influence online activists during the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests and the 2011 democratic uprisings largely known as the Arab Spring, as new evidence gathered from documents leaked by Edward Snowden shows.

      The GCHQ’s special unit, known as the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group or JTRIG, was first revealed in 2014, when leaked top secret documents showed it tried to infiltrate and manipulate—using “dirty trick” tactics such as honeypots—online communities including those of Anonymous hacktivists, among others.

      The group’s tactics against hacktivists have been previously reported, but its influence campaign in the Middle East has never been reported before. I was able to uncover it because I was myself targeted in the past, and was aware of a key detail, a URL shortening service, that was actually redacted in Snowden documents published in 2014.

    • LulzSec Member Reveals More Details About GCHQ Covert Operations

      Mustafa Al-Bassam, aka tFlow, co-founder of the LulzSec hacking crew, published today more details about how the GCHQ used the covert Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) to attack hacktivism crews, but also that they tried to influence elections in Iran and boost and help the Arab Spring uprising in Syria.

    • WhatsApp Forensic Artifacts: Chats Aren’t Being Deleted

      To test, I installed the app and started a few different threads. I then archived some, cleared, some, and deleted some threads. I made a second backup after running the “Clear All Chats” function in WhatsApp. None of these deletion or archival options made any difference in how deleted records were preserved. In all cases, the deleted SQLite records remained intact in the database.

      Just to be clear, WhatsApp is deleting the record (they don’t appear to be trying to intentionally preserve data), however the record itself is not being purged or erased from the database, leaving a forensic artifact that can be recovered and reconstructed back into its original form.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Attorney for Man With Autism Urges DOJ to Investigate North Miami Police Shooting

      An attorney for a man with autism who was placed in a psychiatric unit after witnessing another man get shot by a police officer is urging the Department of Justice to investigate the North Miami Police and state of Florida.

      Matthew Dietz, the attorney for Arnaldo Rios, wrote a letter Monday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, claiming that Rios was placed in a facility “inappropriate for his needs” after the shooting. The Arc, a national organization that advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, sent a letter to the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division on Thursday in support of Dietz’s request for an investigation. Arc said “it is vital that Mr. Rios secures an appropriate community placement as soon as possible.”

    • After Cracking Down On Tens Of Thousands Of Enemies, Erdogan Says He’s Dropping His 2000 Lawsuits Over Insults

      For the last few months we’ve poked fun at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has ridiculously thin skin. As we noted, he had filed upwards of 100 lawsuits per month against people for “insulting” him — and this included things as ridiculous as posting a meme on social media that compared Erdogan to Gollum.

      Of course, more recently (as you’ve heard) there was a coup attempt in Turkey, which failed, and Erdogan has spent the last few weeks basically using the coup as an excuse to crush all his enemies.

    • NYPD Dodges Another Legislative Attempt To Inject Accountability And Transparency Into Its Daily Work

      Law enforcement officers are pretty used to being able to stop nearly anyone and demand to know who they are and what they’re doing. Sure, there are plenty of laws that say they can’t actually do that, but the public is generally underinformed about their rights, and this works in cops’ favor. As a recent Appeals Court decision pointed out, citizens are “free to refuse to cooperate with police before a seizure.”

      Obviously, this perfectly legal act of noncompliance just won’t do, and it certainly won’t be cops pointing out to citizens the rights they have available to them. New York City legislators thought they could force this transparency on the NYPD.

    • Security Researchers Sued For Exposing Internet Filtering Company’s Sale Of Censorship Software To Blacklisted Country

      Rather than meet the situation head on, Netsweeper chose to hang back and lob a lawsuit at Citizen Lab after it published its report. Fortunately for the security researchers, Netsweeper has chosen to drop its lawsuit entirely, possibly because pursuing the questionable defamation claims would have put it up against Ontarios’s version of anti-SLAPP laws: the Protection of Public Participation Act.

      The world of security research is still a dangerous place. When researchers aren’t being arrested for reporting on their findings, they’re being sued for exposing security flaws and highly-questionable behavior. It’s a shame there aren’t more built-in protections for researchers, who tend to receive a lot of legal heat just for doing their job.

    • Yavuz Baydar: Tough times ahead for Turkey

      The latest journalist arrested in Turkey is Arda Akın, a young reporter with the Hürriyet daily, part of the “mainstream” Doğan Media Group. Arda was in the “first” arrest list, issued on Monday, which mainly consisted of investigative reporters. In May, he was among those who won the European Union Investigative Journalism Award 2016, a prestigious prize delivered every year in six Balkan countries and Turkey. In his award-winning article, Akın told of corruption related to ruling Justice and Development Party figures.

    • Body-camera video shows fatal police shooting in Ariz.

      Body-camera footage released by the city of Winslow on Wednesday shows the seconds leading up to the fatal shooting of a 27-year-old Navajo woman by a Winslow police officer, with the woman advancing toward the officer with a pair of silver scissors in her left hand.

      The video footage from March 27 shows the encounter between Loreal Tsingine and Officer Austin Shipley. Tsingine’s death on Easter Sunday drew an immediate outcry in the city and strained relations between the city and Native Americans. The Navajo Reservation borders Winslow.

      A shooting investigation was conducted by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, which was reviewed by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. He announced Friday that no charges would be filed against Shipley.

      The footage released Wednesday does not have audio initially. It shows Shipley leaving his patrol vehicle to encounter Tsingine, who is a suspect in a convenience-store shoplifting that had occurred minutes before. His hand movements indicate that he is giving her orders to stop and to turn around.

      He attempts to grab her hands when she turns back to face him, and Shipley takes Tsingine to the ground. As she gets up, a pair of silver scissors can be seen in her left hand.

    • ‘It’s Been Harrowing’: Alleged Hacker Lauri Love Awaits Extradition Decision

      Early in the evening of 25 October 2013, a man dressed as a UPS delivery guy arrived at Lauri Love’s family home in Suffolk holding a box. When Love’s mum answered the door, she was told that only her son could sign for the delivery. She called him downstairs, and when he emerged wearing his dressing gown, he was told that the man was in fact an officer of the National Crime Agency, and that he was being arrested on suspicion of hacking into a long list of systems, including those controlled by the US Federal Reserve, NASA, and the FBI. Love asked if he still got to keep the box.

      Almost three years later, on 25 July 2016, 31-year-old Love and his parents were at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London for the final arguments in his extradition hearing. Judge Nina Tempia is hearing the case, and will rule on 16 September as to whether the UK will allow Love to be extradited to the US where he would face three separate trials in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia.

      “It’s been harrowing, this whole process,” said Love, speaking to me a couple of days later. “The US didn’t even really make any arguments, they were just casting doubt on the evidence from us.”

    • YouTubers use FGM ‘cuts’ to help raise awareness

      There are at least 200 million women and girls alive today in 30 countries that have undergone female genital mutilation.

      44 million of those who have undergone the procedure, typically performed on children under the age of five, are still younger than 14.

      The procedure is rooted in patriarchal notions of purity, modesty and appearance; but health effects include infections, chronic pain, infertility, complications during menstruation and childbirth and potentially fatal vaginal bleeding.

      Only a third of British adults are aware of these long-term effects according to new research by ActionAid UK and ActionAid Kenya.

    • Mix and Match Cyber-Priorities Likely Elevates Gut Check To National Level

      The PPD integrates response to cyberattacks with the existing PPD on responding to physical incidents, which is necessary (actually, the hierarchy should probably be reversed, as our physical infrastructure is in shambles) but is also scary because there’s a whole lot of executive branch authority that gets asserted in such things.

      And the PPD sets out clear roles for responding to cyberattacks: “threat response” (investigating) is the FBI’s baby; “asset response” (seeing the bigger picture) is DHS’s baby; “intelligence support” (analysis) is ODNI’s baby, with lip service to the importance of keeping shit running, whether within or outside of the federal government.

    • When Black Lives Surely Didn’t Matter

      Many whites counter the Black Lives Matter movement with the rejoinder “all lives matter,” a way of ignoring the ugly American history of torturing, shooting and lynching blacks, as Gary G. Kohls recalls, citing two notorious cases.

    • We, The Heart of Our Democracy

      If you just couldn’t watch Hillary – and we get it – you might have missed the electrifying call by Rev. William Barber, head of North Carolina’s NAACP and leader of its Moral Mondays, to embrace “a moral revolution of values” and continue fighting for progressives causes. Barber urged his audience to take action to stop gun violence and police brutality, to support voting rights and Black Lives Matter, to make universal health care and a $15 minimum wage a reality for all. “Some issues are not left versus right or liberal versus conservative – they are right versus wrong,” he said. Pointedly citing Jesus, “a brown-skinned Palestinian Jew” – and only briefly referencing Clinton – Barber proclaimed, “We must shock this nation with the power of love. We must shock this nation with the power of mercy. We must shock this nation and fight for justice for all. We can’t give up on the heart of our democracy. Not now, not ever.” He left the crowd, lit up and on its exhilarated feet, with, “Lead with love…Find the glory.” Amen. And no, it’s not over.

    • Report: Fox News Allegedly Paid $3.15 Million Settlement to Woman Claiming Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Her

      Over the course of the last three weeks, a steady stream of women have come forward detailing their accounts of alleged sexual harassment at the hands of former Fox News chief Roger Ailes. Ailes, who has firmly denied all allegations of wrongdoing, stepped down from his top position at the network last week, after longtime host Gretchen Carlson sued him for what she claimed was years of inappropriate behavior and retaliation for not complying with his advances.

      A number of women followed suit, sharing accounts of alleged interactions with Ailes that occurred over the span of the last half-century. Most notably, Fox News star Megyn Kelly reportedly told investigators hired by 21st Century Fox that Ailes had sexually harassed her a decade ago when she was just starting out (Ailes denied this, as well, saying that he helped her career tremendously).

      The most recent alleged account of sexual harassment by Ailes is particularly disturbing. On Friday afternoon, New York published a story about a former Fox News employee that details more than 20 years of what she called “psychological torture,” including allegations that Ailes paid her for sex, that he taped their encounters as a means of keeping her silent, and that he used promotions within Fox News as a way to keep their relationship secret.

      Laurie Luhn, who served as Fox News’s director of booking, told New York that she got in touch with the law firm conducting 21st Century Fox’s investigation, claiming that she had been harassed by Ailes since 1991 and that Fox News executives were not only aware of their relationship, but also helped cover it up.

    • ‘A Travesty’: Chelsea Manning Faces New Charges After Suicide Attempt

      U.S. whistleblower Chelsea Manning may face additional charges and solitary confinement relating to a suicide attempt earlier this month, according to her attorneys.

      The charges include “resisting the force cell move team,” “conduct which threatens,” and “prohibited property,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Thursday. If convicted, Manning could face an additional nine years on her sentence, indefinite solitary confinement, and placement back into maximum security. She may also lose any chances of parole.

      Manning is currently serving 35 years at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas military prison for helping WikiLeaks expose classified government and U.S. military documents in 2010. She confirmed her suicide attempt on July 8 after several days of being kept out of contact with her defense team.

    • Trump’s Bigotry Reminds US Media of Anywhere but Home

      Donald Trump is an objectively terrifying candidate. He’s a racist, a xenophobe and a misogynist (in a surprisingly underrated manner). He dabbles in antisemitism and mocks his opponents like a middle school bully.

      However, in their effort to critique Trump in a way that is “relatable” and generates clicks, corporate media all too often turn to lazy orientalist tropes and patriotic schlock to “other” him without having to do the messy work of ideological analysis, or running the risk of offending America’s nationalist sensibilities…

    • Technical Response to Northpointe

      Northpointe asserts that a software program it sells that predicts the likelihood a person will commit future crimes is equally fair to black and white defendants. We re-examined the data, considered the company’s criticisms, and stand by our conclusions.

    • ProPublica Responds to Company’s Critique of Machine Bias Story

      Northpointe asserts that a software program it sells that predicts the likelihood a person will commit future crimes is equally fair to black and white defendants. We re-examined the data, considered the company’s criticisms, and stand by our conclusions.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast: The Economics Of Offering Cheaper, Better Streaming TV Service ‘Unproven’

      As cable operators consolidate and AT&T and Verizon continue to hang up on millions of unwanted DSL customers they don’t want to upgrade, cable’s monopoly control over the U.S. broadband market is actually stronger than ever. In most markets, cable broadband’s “competition” still consists of either a cash-strapped telco incapable of offering speeds greater than 6 Mbps, or no competition at all. That’s why we’ve seen Comcast rush to impose usage caps on many of these captive markets; an effort to protect legacy TV revenues from Internet video — a move only made possible by a lack of competition.

      Despite this lack of competition, Comcast has at least flirted with the idea of adapting to streaming competition and offering a cheaper, more flexible streaming TV option of its own. About a year ago the company launched a product creatively-dubbed “Stream,” which for $15 a month offers Comcast broadband customers access to its traditional cable service. But despite the company’s promise that every market would see this service by the end of 2016, the rollout of this product appears to have stalled, in large part because it appears Comcast only wanted to appear innovative.

    • Comcast’s Still Not Sure There’s Any Money In This Whole “Streaming” Thing

      You might have heard that it’s 2016, and streaming your TV via the internet is all the rage. And yet despite being just as susceptible to cord-cutters as anyone (everyone) else, Comcast is still not thinking the whole streaming-TV thing is a moneymaker.

      In the company’s quarterly investor call this week (transcript), Comcast executives faced many questions about over-the-top (broadband) TV. And they were… less than enthusiastic.

      Neil Smit, the CEO of Comcast Cable (as opposed to the whole Comcast company), told investors that, “We haven’t seen an OTT model that really is very profitable for us.”

    • Blizzard withdrawing support for IPv6?

      It seems that once again Blizzard have their IPv6 connectivity for World of Warcraft not working properly. I opened a ticket and explained the issue in detail. The connectivity issue is entirely in their network. My guess is, as they seem to be using SLAAC addresses, they have simply failed to update addresses when they changed hardware and MAC. That is only a guess though.

      The impact – I could not log in to play the game for several days. I assumed they had a fault or were busy and to be honest, given that I use IPv6 for almost everything I do (google, Facebook, all A&A web sites and internal systems) and have done for about 14 years, it did not even occur to me to check if turning off IPv6 would fix it for a while. These days I rarely play, but have been off ill for a few days and though I may have a game or two.

    • Mysterious firm pays £135m for .web domain

      A MYSTERY BUSINESS called Nu Dot Co has paid a rather sizeable $135m for the right to the .web generic top-level domain (gTLD).

      The firm beat off competition from the likes of Google and web registry firms Afilias, Radix and Donuts, so it clearly means business.

      The auction went ahead despite calls from others involved that the mystery surrounding Nu Dot Co meant that ICANN, the organisation selling the gTLD, could not satisfy the condition that it must know who, or what, controls the gTLD after auction.

      However, ICANN hurriedly dismissed the claim and proceeded with the auction.

      Akram Atallah, president of ICANN’s Global Domains Division, explained that the auction process was the fairest way to allocate the domain.

      “New gTLD Program auctions are the community-established, last resort method to help determine which applicant will have the opportunity to operate a particular new gTLD when multiple entities vie for the same or confusingly similar domains,” he said.

      “We look forward to seeing the community’s recommendations for the use of these proceeds.”

    • First Aereo, Now FilmOn: Another Fight for Innovation and Competition in TV Technology

      For over four years, major TV producers like Comcast, Viacom, Fox, Time Warner, and Disney, along with TV station owners like Comcast, Fox, Disney, and Sinclair, and cable companies like–well, Comcast–have fought in court to shut down new services that deliver local broadcast TV via the Internet. In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that one of those services, Aereo, performed a function that was so similar to a traditional cable system that, like a cable system, it needed permission from copyright holders for the TV programs it transmitted.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Mr Justice Arnold refers questions on Article 3(b) SPC Regulation to CJEU

      What do you do if your patent is about to expire, but despite notice that Member States have agreed to grant your marketing authorization (MA) under the decentralized procedure, a MS has not yet taken the step to actually grant it? You still make your SPC application, of course.

    • Trademarks

      • Book Review: Trade Secret Protection

        As Cook notes in the introduction, “Trade secrets have only grudgingly started to form an accepted part of the world intellectual property order since TRIPs.” I’m really pleased to see more work on trade secrets. Certainly this book will appeal to the reader eager to access synopses of trade secret protection in key jurisdictions, and in particular non-English speaking ones where information may be less readily accessible. There isn’t an index, which I would have liked to have seen as it would enable cross-country comparison. However, most readers will be looking for jurisdiction-specific information, and the book’s standard chapter format and organisation by country will satisfy that need.

    • Copyrights

      • BitTorrent is fifteen years old. What would a file sharing technology developed today look like?

        BitTorrent was developed in 2001: today’s file-sharing technology predates the launch of Facebook, Twitter, and the iPhone. In those fifteen years, surveillance and repression technologies have advanced massively. If we designed file sharing today to keep up with these developments, sharing technology would be an uncensorable, untrackable, and unidentifiable peer-to-peer mesh network between mobile devices.

        Ten years ago, activists argued that file sharing was unstoppable and would adapt to any threat using mobile transmissions. However, this innovation hasn’t taken place, maybe out of a lack of urgency. Let’s examine how such a technology could work.

      • Gotta catch ‘em all without infringing copyright: Pokémon and Freedom of Panorama

        Pokémon Go requires players to search for Pokémon in the real world, a revolutionary move in the gaming industry. Pokémon are randomly generated by the game software, using GPS tracking technology. When a player is near to a Pokémon, it will appear on her phone screen in camera mode and allow her to ‘throw’ a Pokéball at it to ‘catch’ it. The screen shows the Pokémon in the surrounding environment, making it a life-like experience. While photographs of the capture are not saved to the game, players have the option of saving the photos to their phone, thereby reproducing any surrounding works of architecture or sculptures.

      • The Selfie-Taking Monkey Who Has No Idea He Has Lawyers Has Appealed His Copyright Lawsuit

        Welp. Here we go again. For many, many years, we’ve been tracking the insane legal situation of the selfie-taking monkey, whose name we were told only recently is “Naruto.” Early on in this saga, back in 2011, our focus was on how the photographer whose camera was used, David Slater, had no legitimate claim to the copyright in the image, in large part because the copyright goes to whoever took the photo, and the copyright cannot go to a monkey, because copyright law is limited to “persons.” Every so often Slater would pop up somewhere or somehow and yell about this — twice representatives of his even threatened us with completely bogus legal action.

        However, things took a turn for the even more bizarre a year ago when PETA, an organization that sometimes appears to focus more on professional trolling rather than on the “ethical treatment of animals” as its name suggests, claimed to represent the monkey (Naruto!) and sued Slater himself for falsely claiming the copyright. While we agree that Slater doesn’t hold the copyright, neither does the monkey, because no one holds the copyright.

        Amazingly, PETA, claiming to represent the interests of an Indonesian monkey, somehow secured the services of a really big name law firm, Irell & Manella, whose name should always be associated with the fact that it took this insane case. Irell & Manella (again, somehow, this is considered a respected law firm) took the nutty position that there must be a copyright in the image, and thus the monkey deserves to get it. It completely ignores the fact that not everything gets a copyright. It’s as if the lawyers at Irell & Manella don’t even understand how copyright law works.

      • Sony Hack Results in Lawsuit Over Failure to Prevent Movie Piracy

        Movie distributors obviously don’t like piracy, but a new lawsuit raises the question of whether they have any obligation to curtail it.

        On Wednesday, Sony Pictures was hit with a complaint in Florida federal court by Possibility Pictures, the producer of To Write Love on Her Arms, starring Kat Dennings and Rupert Friend. The film, which had Justin Bieber’s mother Pattie Malette serving as an executive producer to help out with marketing, was based on a true story about the treatment of a teenager suffering from depression and addiction and the launch of a non-profit to help others similarly afflicted.

      • Irony: Sony Pictures Sued For Failing To Stop Piracy

        For many years now, the MPAA and the various studios that make it up have filed various lawsuits against various internet platforms for not waving a magic wand and making piracy disappear. This also appears to be their big complaint against Google, which has bent over backwards trying to appease the industry and it’s still not enough (of course, that may be because what the industry really wants from Google is money, not stopping piracy). But now the shoe is somewhat on the other foot as Sony Pictures is being sued for failing to stop piracy. Really.

        The case stems from the infamous Sony hack from a year and a half ago, where all of Sony Pictures’ emails were released onto the internet. Possibility Pictures is suing Sony claiming the hack created a breach of contract in its failure to stop piracy of its film, To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA), a 2012 movie starring Kat Dennings, based on the true story of the struggles a woman went through leading to the founding of her charity (which goes by the same name as the movie). While most people focus on the emails from the hack, it should be noted that before those emails were released, the hackers released some pre-release films… including TWLOHA. And that, Possibility claims, is a breach of Sony’s contract.

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