The Open Invention Network Keeps Growing, But It Helps Large Corporations, Not Free/Open Source Software

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, IBM, OIN, Patents, RAND at 6:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Piggy bank OIN

Summary: Free/Open Source software (FOSS) continues to be used as a cover for large corporations (like Google, IBM, NEC, Philips and Sony) to maintain a grip on patent pools and act as gatekeepers with software patents that they openwash (not even cross-license, as Oracle v Google serves to illustrate)

WE were never huge fans of OIN, which is why OIN’s CEO and PR people tried hard to convince us otherwise. I saw first-hand accounts where patent trolls were repelled by OIN, which didn’t quite seem to care (maybe because OIN cannot do anything at all about patent trolls, other than attempt to buy/harvest patents before they’re bought to be used offensively). OIN is basically the world’s biggest legitimiser of software patents. IBM, the main company behind OIN (recall its first head of operations, Jerry Rosenthal from IBM), is a patent bully and a notorious software patents proponent, so how can one honestly expect OIN to be part of a true solution? IBM is demonstrably part of many problems.

“IBM is demonstrably part of many problems.”According to this new article from Fortune, joining OIN makes one “a Patron of Open-Source Software” (what a ludicrous headline). To quote from the article: “It’s called the Open Invention Network, and its other members are Google, IBM, Red Hat rht , NEC nec-electronics , Philips phg , Sony sne , and SUSE (a unit of Britain’s Micro Focus). Fortune is the first to report Toyota’s startling move.

“Formed in 2005, OIN’s mission is to protect and encourage the collaborative development and use of open-source software, like the Linux operating system, which can be freely copied, altered, and distributed, and which no one person or company owns. OIN pursues a variety of strategies aimed at protecting the users and developers of such software against the threat of patent suits by proprietary software manufacturers, like Microsoft and Apple. Such suits, if successful, could deny users the freedoms that make open-source software desirable.

“That Toyota would now join the group reflects the growing importance that software is playing in cars, and the growing number of automakers who believe that open-source software is the best approach to providing many of the needed solutions for its vehicles. Open-source champions say such software is cheaper, more flexible, and of higher quality, because it benefits from the pooled resources of collaborative input.”

Toyota, a very close Microsoft partner (probably more so than any other vehicles maker), claims to have joined OIN, but what good will that do for FOSS? Nothing. Toyota is not even a software company. It’s about as relevant to FOSS as that openwashing campaign from Tesla (and later Panasonic). Total nonsense. It’s about as helpful to FOSS as RAND is and speaking of RAND (or FRAND), this new article from IP Watch speaks about FRAND in relation to Europe, where the term FRAND is typically a Trojan horse (or surrogate) for software patents in Europe.

“Toyota, a very close Microsoft partner (probably more so than any other vehicles maker), claims to have joined OIN, but what good will that do for FOSS?”Going back to OIN, it has done virtually nothing so far to protect FOSS. It’s like bogus insurance plan which does not actually work or cover anything (no matter the circumstances). Where is OIN every time Microsoft blackmails Linux/Android OEMs? Speaking of which, Professor Crouch has this new article about insurance based on patents (or copyright, trademark, and trade secret). He says that “Hammond’s insurance company USLI had refused to indemnify Hammond based in-part upon the intellectual property exclusion found in the policy that specifically excluded coverage for any “loss, cost, or expense . . . [a]rising out of any infringement of copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret or other intellectual property rights.” Agreeing, the court particularly found that the basis for TCA’s attorney fee requests stemmed from the Pennsylvania Uniform Trade Secrets Act as well as the Copyright Act – even though no intellectual property infringement claim had been asserted in the underlying case.”

Look what we have come to. With misnomers like “intellectual property”, which compare ideas to “property” and ascribe physical attributes to them (like insurance traditionally did, covering for damage caused to physical things), no wonder the media says joining OIN is becoming “a Patron of Open-Source Software” (FOSS inherently rejects the notion of patron or owner, except in the copyright assignment sense).

“Fortune is the first to report Toyota’s startling move,” its author wrote, but in reality Fortune is the media partner to peddle Toyota’s marketing/propaganda, along with OIN’s agenda.

Fourth-Busiest Quarter for Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), Which Invalidates Software Patents That USPTO Foolishly or Selfishly Granted

Posted in America, Patents at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The higher, the worse (for USPTO patent quality control)

PTAB graph

Summary: New data from the United States demonstrates that the number of allegedly bogus patents (which should never have been granted in the first place) is in the thousands per year, and those are just the patents that actually come under challenge/reassessment/scrutiny

THE USPTO begrudgingly moves towards a post-software patents era. Where the examiners fail PTAB staff (scientists) step in and typically invalidate bogus patents on abstract ideas. They don’t have a financial incentive to be rubberstampers.

“What is worth noting is that if USPTO actually did its job properly, PTAB would not be necessary.”Michael Loney of MIP has taken some data from Docket Navigator and posted the chart above. This basically shows a certain slowdown in terms of the number of PTAB filings. “Petition filing at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in the first half of 2016 is down on the pace set last year,” he explained. “However,” he added, “filing in the second quarter of the year was up on the first quarter, and the highest since the second quarter of last year.”

What is worth noting is that if USPTO actually did its job properly, PTAB would not be necessary. But systemic malpractice, or the practice of granting patents to about 92% of applicants, led to this chaos which only now gets corrected somewhat. Under Battistelli, the EPO follows the same path.

Meanwhile, looking at this new article about “Subject Matter Jurisdiction”, the author says: “Like I said at the start, there are critical differences between the USPTO rules and many state rules and often those differences tell us whether Bob keeps his license, or not. More often, choice of law becomes an issue in disqualification motions and in legal malpractice cases. Ethical rules like state bar rules and then USPTO rules are are applied in disqualification and malpractice cases. If something is ethical under the USPTO rules, but unethical under state law, choice of law may provide the answer to what’s right — whether a client has a malpractice claim, or a lawyer is subject to disqualification.”

Unless or until USPTO demonstrates that it’s no longer run by a bunch of self-serving corporate lobbyists for rubberstamping of applications from large corporations (see how Battistelli's EPO does this), we’ll just continue to safely assume that the USPTO is central to many of the problems (like patent trolls) and PTAB is part of the solution. The USPTO isn’t breaking any laws and probably not even its internal rules; it sure looks like the rules would be something like, “if in doubt, grant” or “if it’s from a large applicant, grant in bulk” (because that’s what keeps money flowing in).

EPO’s Battistelli Continues to Court Small Countries’ Officials and Spin That as “Small Businesses From These Countries”

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A mega-corporations’ patent regime pretends to be for the ‘small guy/gal’

Empty Administrative Council meeting

Summary: Benoît Battistelli keeps parading in small nations that have Administrative Council (AC) delegates and exploiting these for cheap PR, not just for support in AC meetings

THE EPO is in disarray as talented workers are leaving (brain drain) and based on what we have been hearing (privately) demand for the services too is declining. More businesses now realise that the quality of examination at the EPO is subpar, ignoring the EPO's own mouthpieces.

How can Battistelli still keep his job? People are rather shocked by his ability to survive amid a crisis of his own creation.

“It would help those of us watching aghast at developments to understand whether the representatives to the AC are spineless, or have simply been outmanoeuvred,” one person noted today, having said that “it would still be helpful if someone with personal experience of AC meetings could comment upon the other question that I posed (regarding the setting of the agenda for AC meetings).”

“Under Battistelli and his ‘baby’, the UPC, SMEs are being marginalised further.”Well, remember what the AC (Administrative Council) is and how it functions. Small countries count as much as large ones and here is why this matters; Battistelli can just lobby or distribute money in small countries in order to ‘buy’ their votes, or repel delegates who are not perfectly loyal to him. Based on today’s nonsense (“news”) from the EPO (warning: epo.org link), Battistelli is lobbying small countries again, this time Latvia and Malta. To quote the nonsense: “The EPO signed two agreements at the end of June with the national patent offices of Latvia and Malta to improve conditions for small businesses from these countries seeking to protect their inventions through patents.”

There are even photo ops in there, the hallmark of Battistelli. It’s all about him. He must be viewing himself as some kind of majestic ruler, attracting attention from some of the world's most notorious regimes and never from respected politicians in large European nations. They know better than to associate themselves with this psychopath.

To tackle the nonsense from the EPO very briefly, the EPO is definitely not a friend of SMEs but an enemy of SMEs. Under Battistelli and his ‘baby’, the UPC, SMEs are being marginalised further [1, 2, 3]. As one person put it today (to me and to the EPO [1, 2): “Disallowed access to public services in EU is loss of personal & software freedom when Govt panders to big $$ companies [...] As modern computing increasingly connected to our lives, patent trolls/bullies are the new barbaric oppressors of our humanity” (and UPC helps them even further).

Perhaps we should do a long post about the UPC some time soon. Today was a politically nauseating day in the UK and it looks like Brexit negotiations will leave UPC negotiations in the dust. Poor Lucy won’t have any more reasons to do photo ops with Benoît.

Links 13/7/2016: Microsoft Claims Credit for Skype on Linux After Removing or Ruining It

Posted in News Roundup at 5:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • AT&T to release SDN platform into open source
  • AT&T Releasing Its Network Playbook into Open Source
  • AT&T open sources ECOMP to Linux Foundation, hopes to make it industry’s standard for SDN
  • AT&T Commits Releasing Its Network Playbook Into Open Source
  • UNH-IOL Tackles SDN Interoperability with New Consortium
  • From DevOps to BizDevOps: It’s All About the People
  • DevOps: Chef offers enterprise-wide analytics with Automate tool

    Already know a vendor of software automation tools, Chef software has launched a new tool that combines Chef’s existing software into one, single-interface product.

    Aimed at software development teams the app combines Chef Delivery and Chef Compliance into one tool. According to the company the aim is to speed up the software delivery process.

    Chef Automate includes a new Visibility feature that offers analytics of all the resources managed by Chef through a single interface, the company says, and should help organisations, “safely deploy infrastructure and applications at high velocity and scale”.

  • A survey for developers about application configuration

    Markus Raab, the author of Elektra project, has created a survey to get FLOSS developer’s point of view on the configuration of application.

  • Reduce the cost of virtualization with open source Proxmox

    Thanks to its open source availability and full-featured graphical interface, Proxmox makes for an excellent alternative to more expensive virtualization platforms.

  • Know a rising open source star? Nominate her for a WISE Award

    Christine Flounders, Regional Manager for Engineering at Bloomberg L.P. London tells us about an amazing open (source) opportunity for women – the WISE International Open Source Award.

  • The Merits of the Open Source Philosophy

    Tonight, I sent my fourteen year old daughter a sample from the book “Libertarianism For Beginners.” If she likes it, I’ll gladly buy the full book for her to add to her library. The purchasing process was reasonably painless as there was a clean interface guiding me from product discovery all the way through delivery. As an added bonus, the underlying architecture for the whole thing was Linux. This is what you might call Software As a Service or SAAS. In fact, most of the SAAS systems we rely upon for our most common daily activities utilize the most popular kernel ever created and deployed in the history of computing – Linux.

    So what does the book have to do with SAAS? There’s a reason I shared a book about Libertarian philosophy with Eliza and it wasn’t just because it’s a book with pictures. It’s because she recently stumbled onto watching the Atlas Shrugged movies and was intrigued by the clear way the characters present their thoughts. She could understand how individualism benefits society and how forced charity can lead to destruction. It’s not a philosophy that everyone reading this agrees to, nor should they, but it’s neat to see a young lady become infatuated with ideas instead of boys, fashion, or makeup.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Fedora 25 Planning For Proper Rust Support

        There are some new feature proposals to talk about for Fedora 25, which will be officially released around November.

        The latest self-contained change that is proposed for Fedora 25 is Rust compiler support. In particular, the hope is to package up the LLVM-based Rust compiler and its Cargo build system and offer them via the main Fedora repository. The current plan is for packaging Rust 1.10 and Cargo 0.11.

      • Mozilla Will Begin “Rusting” Of Its Firefox Browser On August 2

        Mozilla is all set to launch multi-processing functionality in the new update. The new version–Firefox 48–is scheduled for a release on August 2. Firefox 48 will have some of its components coded in Rust, a programming language developed by Mozilla.

      • Mozilla begins process of letting Firefox rust

        Mozilla has announced it has taken a small step towards replacing much of Firefox’s C++ code with its safer alternative language, Rust.

        When Firefox 48 ships on August 2, it will contain a Rust-built mp4 track metadata parser that will be available on Windows and 32-bit Linux desktops for the first time. Users of Mac OS X and 64-bit Linux have had the new parser available since Firefox 45.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Mirantis Embracing Kubernetes and Containers for OpenStack Cloud

      The world of containers and OpenStack clouds are increasingly coming together, as organizations of all sizes look to become more agile. While the idea of running containers inside of OpenStack is one option, a powerful idea that is now taking shape is to run OpenStack itself as a set of containers, which is then managed by the Kubernetes container orchestration system.

      Among the vendors that are working on enabling OpenStack to run as a set of containers is Miranits, which is currently developing a new version of its Fuel platform to make use of Kubernetes. To date, Fuel has heavily relied on Puppet configuration management technology to help enable many functions. Moving forward, Puppet will still be a part of future Fuel releases, though not quite in the same depth as before.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Better networking with open-source EtherCAT [Ed: openwashing as it has nothing to do with OSS]

      Semiconductor manufacturers and their suppliers – both process tool vendors and providers of sub-fab systems – are looking to an open-source industrial networking methodology, EtherCAT, developed by Beckhoff Automation (Verl, Germany; m.beckhoff.com) to address the increasingly stringent control requirements of emerging high-precision processes.

      During SEMICON West, early adopters are promoting EtherCAT as a next-generation real-time Ethernet control solution, with a variety of attributes: it is fast (good for controlling ever-more precise process recipes), open source, and extendable to many more nodes than existing networking protocols. Those attributes make EtherCAT attractive to tool makers such as Applied Materials, Lam Research, and Tokyo Electron Ltd., as well as sub-systems suppliers such as Edwards (Crawley, England).

  • Public Services/Government

    • EU-FOSSA needs your help – A free software community call to action

      The EU-FOSSA project’s mission is to “offer a systematic approach for the EU institutions to ensure that widely used critical software can be trusted”. The project was triggered by recent software security vulnerabilities, especially the Heartbleed issue. An inspired initiative by EU parlamentarians Max Andersson and Julia Reda, the pilot project “Governance and quality of software code – Auditing of free and open source software” became FOSSA. Run under the auspices of DIGIT, the project promised “improved integrity and security of key open source software”. I had been interviewed as a stakeholder by the project during work package 0 (“project charter, stakeholder interviews and business case”), and later worked with the FSFE group that provided input and comments to the project to EC-DIGIT. While I believe that the parliamentary project champions and the people involved in the project at EC-DIGIT are doing great work, I am worried that the deliverables of the project are beginning to fall short of expectations. I also think the free software community needs to get more involved. Here is why.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why I Chose Sterilization at 31

      There are several reasons why I’m getting sterilized. The first one is: I don’t ever want to be pregnant again. The only time I have been pregnant was horrible: all-day nausea, unable to eat anything but crackers and ginger ale, basically stuck in bed for two weeks before my abortion. I was unable to work or to do much more than watch TV and sleep all day.

    • Farmers Rebel After Organic ‘Elites’ Throw Support Behind Sham Label Law

      The Stabenow-Roberts GMO labeling bill, which the House of Representatives is expected to vote on this week, has deepened a rift within the organic industry as farmers and other dedicated opponents of genetically modified (GM or GMO) agriculture are breaking ties with those who support the legislation (pdf), which is backed by both Monsanto and the powerful Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).

      The farmer-controlled Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) announced Wednesday that it has withdrawn its membership from the influential Organic Trade Association (OTA).

      The decision was made by a unanimous vote by the group’s Board of Directors and was prompted by what OSGATA describes as “duplicity towards organic farmers and consumers” when OTA signed off on the bill, despite the fact that it “would immediately preempt existing strong state GMO labeling laws that are widely supported by the Organic community and ninety percent of consumers.”

  • Security

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Download This Security Fix Now — All Versions Of Windows Operating System Hackable

      As a part of its monthly update cycle, Microsoft has released security patches for all versions of Windows operating system. This update addresses a critical flaw that lets an attacker launch man-in-the-middle attacks on workstations. This security vulnerability arises as the print spooler service allows a user to install untrusted drivers with elevated privileges.

    • The Truth About Penetration Testing Vs. Vulnerability Assessments

      Vulnerability assessments are often confused with penetration tests. In fact, the two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are worlds apart. To strengthen an organization’s cyber risk posture, it is essential to not only test for vulnerabilities, but also assess whether vulnerabilities are actually exploitable and what risks they represent. To increase an organization’s resilience against cyber-attacks, it is essential to understand the inter-relationships between vulnerability assessment, penetration test, and a cyber risk analysis.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Why America needs a truth commission

      In the United States, gun deaths over the last three decades far exceed those reported in truth commissions and civil wars around the world in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

    • Between a Rock and a Hard (South China) Place

      What transpired in The Hague certainly won’t solve the riddle, asargued here. Beijing had already made it very clear, even before the ruling, it would fiercely reject all findings.

    • Is Kerry Right? Are Freemen of Syria and Army of Islam Radical Terrorists?

      In his opinion piece, Rogin characterizes what Kerry said as a gaffe that yielded to the Russian position that all rebels against the al-Assad regime in Syria are terrorists. Rogin also defended Ahrar al-Sham (Freemen of Syria) as not an al-Qaeda affiliate or in the line of command of al-Qaeda, though he admitted that it is Salafi and wants a radical Muslim dictatorship.

      I’m not sure why the State Department officials who anonymously blasted Kerry think that Freemen of Syria are good guys just because they aren’t al-Qaeda.

      And the fact is that they are in fact in a formal political and military coalition with al-Qaeda. I.e. they are playing Mulla Omar and the Taliban to al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri (the 9/11 mastermind to whom the Syrian Nusra Front reports).

    • China may dispute South China Sea verdict, but it’s a huge setback
    • China told: World is watching you
    • Beijing warns against ‘cradle of war’ in South China Sea

      China warned rivals Wednesday against turning the South China Sea into a “cradle of war” and threatened an air defence zone there, after its claims to the strategically vital waters were declared invalid.

      The surprisingly strong and sweeping ruling by a UN-backed tribunal in The Hague provided powerful diplomatic ammunition to the Philippines, which filed the challenge, and other claimants in their decades-long disputes with China over the resource-rich waters.

      China reacted furiously to Tuesday’s decision, insisting it had historical rights over the sea while launching a volley of thinly veiled warnings at the United States and other critical nations.

    • Taiwan sends warship to South China Sea after ruling

      A Taiwanese warship set sail for the South China Sea on Wednesday “to defend Taiwan’s maritime territory”, a day after an international tribunal ruled China has no historic rights in the waterway and undermined Taipei’s claims to islands there.

    • South China Sea ruling won’t stop plundering of ecosystem, experts say

      An international tribunal’s ruling that China has caused severe harm to coral reefs and endangered species in the South China Sea will not stop further damage to an already plundered ecosystem, scientists and academics said.

      The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled on Tuesday that China did not have historic rights to the South China Sea and that it had breached Philippine sovereignty by endangering its ships and fishing and oil projects in the energy-rich waters.

    • Beijing accuses UN judges of taking bribes from the Philippines after they ruled against national claim to the South China Sea
    • Chinese Official On Tribunal Ruling: ‘It’s Nothing But A Scrap Of Paper’

      After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing’s claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

    • China Slams the South China Sea Decision as a ‘Political Farce’

      Beijing has made it clear that it has no intention of heeding an international tribunal decision that rejects China’s claims to the contested South China Sea

    • Clinton vetting ex-NATO military chief Stavridis for vice-president – report

      The Clinton camp is reportedly vetting retired four-star Admiral James Stavridis as a potential vice presidential running mate. The former NATO brass served as the DoD’s top adviser during the Iraq War and has speculated on nuclear war with Russia.

      Retired Admiral James G. Stavridis, who is now dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, is being considered as a possible running mate by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a source familiar with the matter told the New York Times on Tuesday.

      The source said Clinton would probably have “someone with military experience” on her vice-presidential shortlist, and Admiral Stavridis would “fit the description.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Hillary Clinton, Her Email and a Body Blow to the Freedom of Information Act

      Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey announced that his agency is recommending no charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of an unclassified personal email server while secretary of state. Comey offered that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against Clinton.

      The implications of these statements, and what happened before and after the announcement, represent what most likely represent the virtual end of the 2016 election cycle. Come November votes will be counted but the single, major, unresolved issue standing in the shadows behind Clinton is now resolved in her favor.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • This Is Why You Could Lose Your Life Protecting Honduras’ Environment

      On Thursday, news broke first in Honduras and then in the international press: Urquía’s family had found the activist leader dead in a municipal landfill. It was a gruesome sight. Urquía, a sympathizer of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), and a vocal opponent of hydroelectric development in the La Paz region, was dumped on top of trash bags. According to authorities, her head showed signs of massive trauma done with a blunt object. Police said they suspected it all stemmed from a bike robbery, though COPINH quickly attributed the killing to her activism.

    • A massive heat wave is poised to envelop the U.S. from coast to coast next week

      Following on the heels of the hottest June in the history of the lower 48 states, an extended, intense and widespread heat wave is likely to develop next week.

      The heat wave will start in the Plains states and parts of the intermountain West, eventually spreading to the West Coast, South and Midwest by Thursday, July 21. The heat wave is also likely to seep northward into southern Alberta and Ontario.

      Cities like Dallas, Denver, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Chicago, Minneapolis, Fargo and eventually New York City and Washington, D.C. may experience sizzling heat and stifling humidity by the end of the week.

    • Why These Parents and Grandparents are ‘Fasting for the Future’

      Upwards of 30 parents and grandparents are fasting outside Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s office this week, calling for a stronger and more ambitious Clean Air Rule ahead of a Thursday evening hearing on the issue.

      A group of 19 people began the fast at 8 am Tuesday morning; they were joined by 15 additional supporters on Wednesday.

      “It is no wonder we are here,” said great-grandparent Judy Bea-Wilson, who joined the action on Wednesday. “There is nothing stronger than a parent’s love for their child and, right now, with this weak draft rule, both our Governor and the Dept. of Ecology are failing our children in an unforgivable manner.”

      The hearing on Thursday concerns the state’s draft Clean Air Rule, which aims to cut carbon emissions from 70 of Washington’s biggest polluters by 1.7 percent a year. Completion and adoption of the rule was court-ordered, thanks to a group of intrepid young people who fought in court for their rights to clean air and a stable climate.

      But environmentalists say the proposal is just business as usual.

  • Finance

    • Abe seeks TPP approval in autumn

      Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has suggested that he will seek approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal at an extra session of the Diet this year.

      Abe was speaking to business leaders including Sadayuki Sakakibara, the chair of Japan’s largest business federation, Keidanren.

      Japan and 11 other countries signed the TPP last year but none has completed domestic procedures needed for the deal to take effect.

      Abe suggested that Japan take the initiative to raise momentum for implementing the TPP soon so that it will produce results as early as possible.

    • TPP Opponents Take Aim at Pelosi: Let’s Build a Firewall of Resistance

      Social change network CREDO Action has amplified its call to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), calling for “an onslaught of grassroots opposition” coupled with a “firewall” of Democratic resistance in the House of Representatives to prevent the trade deal from being rammed through Congress.

      In a video released Wednesday, CREDO combines footage of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) speaking out against the TPP, and urges viewers to sign a petition that calls on House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to help stop a “lame-duck” vote on the TPP.

      The footage of Clinton is from her joint rally with Sanders on Tuesday, when she got his endorsement.

      She says in the video: “And we’re going to say no to attacks on working families and no to bad trade deals and unfair trade practices, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

      The footage of Reid shows the senator saying the TPP “puts us at a disadvantage. So the answer is not only no, but hell no,” while Warren—already featured in a separate anti-TPP video released last week by CREDO—says the deal “would tilt the playing field even more in favor of multinational corporations and against working families.”

    • Free Trade and a Textile Fire Tragedy

      So-called “free trade” in textiles has led retailers to seek out the cheapest labor and to neglect safety measures, factors in a devastating Bangladesh fire in 2013 that killed more than 1,000 workers, recalls Dennis J Bernstein.

    • Denmark Seeks EU Fix To ‘Div-Arb’ Deals

      A Danish politician is asking the European Commission to examine stock loan deals that drain the country and many of its neighbors of tens of millions of dollars in forgone tax revenues.

      The request, made by Jeppe Kofod, a Danish member of the European Parliament, could open a new front in lawmakers’ efforts to stamp out the deals, which help large shareholders avoid paying their share of taxes on dividends paid out by corporations in Denmark and elsewhere.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • When our watchdog becomes a bloodthirsty attackdog, be wary

      Jeremy Corbyn has been variously described in the British press as unelectable, comic and highly dangerous. How should a healthy democracy respond to politicians pursuing a different kind of democracy?

    • Bernie Sanders Abandons the Revolution

      Bernie Sanders’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton has hugely disappointed millions of his supporters. Many of those inspired by his call for a political revolution had held out hope, even until now, that he would refuse to endorse Wall Street’s favored candidate.

      But those hopes have come crashing down.

      Not only did Sanders endorse his neoliberal opponent, he has begun to campaign for her, even before the Democratic National Convention, where he had previously committed to continue the fight. Appearing at her rally in New Hampshire, he signaled his intention to further accompany her on the campaign trail.


      Instead, Bernie’s endorsement will be used in an attempt to prop up that same rotten establishment, including the corporate-owned leadership of the Democratic Party which has fought against him at every step, and which just booed him in the last week. Further, if Jill Stein were not running, or received little support, polls already show that the two right-wing candidates, Libertarian Gary Johnson, and Republican Donald Trump, would be the beneficiaries of the anti-establishment vote – helping to grow the base for right-wing populism.

      Sanders endorsement of Clinton is a fundamental failure of leadership. Sanders has the trust of millions of the most dedicated, committed workers and young people. They are looking to him. He has a responsibility to lead them in the way forward, not into a political dead end.

      While my organization, Socialist Alternative, and I actively supported Sanders’s campaign by launching Movement4Bernie, we always openly disagreed with his decision to run in the Democratic Party primary. But we also said that this mistake could be corrected as experience clarified the deeply hostile character of the Democratic Party to progressive politics. We urged Bernie if he was defeated within the (un)Democratic primary, as we expected, to continue running as an independent or Green, and launched a petition that has been signed now by nearly 125,000 people.

    • The UK’s New Prime Minister Is Walking Onto The Glass Cliff

      On Wednesday, Theresa May will become the next prime minister of the UK, taking over after former Prime Minister David Cameron resigned in the wake of his country’s vote to exit the European Union. She will be the country’s second female prime minister in all of its history.

      That this historic turn of events comes at a time of high political turmoil, however, is likely no coincidence.

      The UK’s vote to leave the European Union — which has come to be known as its “Brexit” — immediately roiled financial markets and has continued to leave a big imprint on the British economy. Businesses are saying that the decision to leave the union is making them tighten their purse strings and consider cutting jobs. Credit Suisse is already predicting that the country will fall into a recession next year thanks to the economic impact of the exit.

    • Farewell, David Cameron, It’s Theresa May’s Turn to Mess Things Up Now

      Britain bid farewell to David Cameron on Wednesday as the reign of Prime Minister Theresa May began.

      Over the six years he was installed at 10 Downing Street, Cameron—who resigned in the wake of the Brexit referendum—drew criticism over his support for austerity policies, disregard for the environment, callous approach toward refugees, and hawkishness on the bombing of Syria.

    • Amazing Brexit: Identity and Class Politics

      Metaphorically speaking, in the genetically racist United States, “race” operates a strange alchemy on portions of the liberaliat and the compatible left. When it comes to bombing people in the darker corners of the earth, they are silent or compliant; when, however, it comes to sporting the anti-racist colors in a comfortably conformist context, they sing like parrots. This is liberal imperialism. None other than the by now politically compromised George Orwell confessed the hypocrisy behind the imperialist liberal mindset. In his psychologically penetrating essay, “Shooting an Elephant” (1936), using himself as a representative of the liberal anti-imperialist class, he concedes that theoretically he was all for the “natives” freeing themselves from the yoke of British imperialism. At the same time, he admits that nothing would have given him a greater pleasure than “to stick a bayonet in a [troublesome] Buddhist priest’s guts.” These conflicted feelings, he wrote, were the by-product of imperialism.

    • Bernie Sanders Endorses Hillary Clinton, Candidate of Wall Street and Corporate Power

      Bernie Sanders threw in the towel today in his epic campaign to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, standing on a stage in Portsmouth, New Hampshire beside the woman he had spent the whole primary season denouncing as a tool of the corporate elite and especially of the Wall Street banking cabal, and saying he endorsed her as the party’s candidate for president of the United States.

      The event marked the sad, if widely predicted, end to what for a brief time had electrified millions of young and working class voters: a major party candidate for president openly calling himself a socialist, proudly harking back to his days as a radical civil rights activist instead of trying to hide his past and his arrest record, and unabashedly condemning the greed, corruption and lust for power of the nation’s ruling elite.

      I confess to having been inspired by Sanders’ quixotic campaign myself, and while I’m disappointed that he has ended it in such a dismal and humiliating manner, I’m not sorry he ran. Thanks to Bernie Sanders, the word “socialism” is no longer a pejorative in American politics. It is a political philosophy to which millions of young people are now drawn. That is something that can and will be built upon. For at least two generations it was not possible to call one’s self a socialist and be taken seriously in the United States of Capitalism. Of course, Sanders didn’t achieve this breakthrough by himself. His campaign built directly upon the struggles of the Occupy Movement, which in 2011 gave us “We are the 99%!” and made it clear that it is the 1% of the nation’s wealthiest people who basically own and run the country.

    • 6 Ways The RNC Platform Is Already Shaping Up To Be Crazy

      The Republican National Committee is meeting this week to finalize the document that will lay out the party’s vision for the future — which, if the first day is any indication, includes a lot of “traditional” families, conversation therapy, and Bible study.

    • Et Tu, Bernie?

      What an embarrassment for Bernie Sanders and those, myself included, who thought he would not descend so cravenly into the swamp of political sellout.

      It is one thing to hold one’s nose and vote for Hillary Clinton as the lesser evil. It is quite another to suddenly absolve the Clintons and other top Democrats who have, as Sanders repeatedly pointed out during his campaign, contributed so much to the national crisis.

    • Theresa May Is Britain’s New Prime Minister After David Cameron’s Resignation

      Theresa May took office as Britain’s prime minister on Wednesday afternoon, after her predecessor, David Cameron, tendered his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.

      At Buckingham Palace, the queen asked Ms. May, who had been home secretary, to form a government. Ms. May, 59, is the queen’s 13th prime minister; the first was Winston Churchill.

      Ms. May arrived at the palace moments after Mr. Cameron left. In his final remarks as Britain’s leader, Mr. Camerons spoke briefly outside 10 Downing Street in London, joined by his wife, Samantha, and their three children.

      “It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve our country as prime minister over these last six years, and to serve as the leader of my party for almost 11 years,” Mr. Cameron said. “My only wish is continued success for this great country that I love so very much.”

    • ‘We will build a better Britain not just for the privileged few’: Prime Minister Theresa May issues statement of intent
    • The Sanders Endorsement and the Political Revolution

      But the sentiment is real. The Sanders insurgency was fueled by a revolt against the big-money politics that Clinton personifies. Clinton delivered one of her most populist speeches in response to the Sanders endorsement, but doubts about her commitments are widespread, even among those intending to vote for her.

    • Impeachment Effort May Fail in Brazilian Senate

      Some press reports on the crisis in Brazil seem to imply that the removal of President Dilma Rousseff, re-elected in 2014 for a four-year term, is a done deal. Of course the interim government is acting as though they are the product of some huge electoral victory, even though the elected president is merely suspended pending her upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate. Beginning with a cabinet of all rich, white males, in a country where more than half identify as Afro-Brazilian or mixed race descent, they have tried to create the impression that they are the new government that will rule at least until there are new presidential elections in 2018. But the chances that they will be gone before September are increasing every day.

    • Billionaires in Brazil: Understanding How Extreme Wealth and Political Power Overlap Everywhere

      Alex Cuadros spent years covering the billionaire class of Latin America for Bloomberg. A Portuguese-speaking American journalist who spent years based in Brazil, he has now written a highly entertaining and deeply insightful book about the particularly powerful, flamboyant, assertive, and often-crazed class of Brazilian billionaires. Entitled Brazillionaires: Wealth, Power, Decadence, and Hope in an American Country, his new book was released yesterday.

    • An Interview With Michael T. Flynn, the Ex-Pentagon Spy Who Supports Donald Trump

      Flynn is now taking his message to the biggest stage possible: the 2016 presidential election. Last week, the New York Post reported that Flynn, a registered Democrat, was being considered as a running mate for Donald Trump on the Republican ticket. In the days since, Flynn has been making the media rounds praising the GOP frontrunner.


      For Flynn, the decision to step into public life preceded the rise of Trump and boiled down to two core issues: perceived lies peddled by the Obama administration and his self-imposed duty to confront them. “I watched our own government lie to us about a number of things,” Flynn told The Intercept.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Privacy Critics Raise Alarm over Pokémon GO’s Collect-It-All Power

      Sen. Al Franken questioning “extent to which Niantic may be unnecessarily collecting, using, and sharing a wide range of users’ personal information”

    • FBI Created Child Porno Website Playpen, Defends Its “Good” Malware In Court

      In order to catch child pornography watchers, FBI created a website Playpen and hosted it on the dark web. Later in the case, the judges ruled out evidence due to lack of a proper warrant. FBI has filed a petition that the malware created by them shouldn’t be considered as malicious.

    • Watch out, Theresa May! Max Schrems is coming for your planned spy law

      Max Schrems, the man who brought down Safe Harbour, has told Ars that although he sees huge problems with Privacy Shield, he probably won’t be the one to challenge it. Instead he’s looking towards the UK, following its vote to leave the European Union.

      “Basically it would be a very similar case to the Safe Harbour one and the thrill isn’t there any more,” he joked. “But I really hope someone else will challenge it,” he added. That similarity is at the core of most of the criticism of Privacy Shield.

      Safe Harbour—the deal struck between the EU and the US to facilitate the transfer of European personal data to the US—was necessary because the US otherwise doesn’t meet EU adequacy requirements for data protection. However, following Edward Snowden’s disclosures of National Security Agency spying, Austrian law student Schrems launched a case against Facebook for not sufficiently protecting his data. Last year his case ended up in the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which ruled that the Safe Harbour framework invalid.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • FBI Greenlights Crackdown on Black Lives Matter Protesters

      The FBI is using the actions of a lone gunman as a pretext to attack the Black Lives Matter movement.

    • Police Officers Working WNBA Game Walk Out After Players Wear ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-Shirts

      On Saturday night, four off-duty Minneapolis police officers walked off their jobs working security at a WNBA Lynx game when the players wore T-shirts with the phrase “Black Lives Matter” and held a press conference focusing on healing the divide between law enforcement and the black community.

    • Just One Year Ago, Robot That Killed Suspected Dallas Shooter Was Used to Deliver Pizza

      After using a robot to kill armed suspect Micah Johnson early Friday morning, the Dallas police were hesitant to release the robot’s make and model, and justifiably so. Johnson is the first civilian to be killed by a U.S. police robot, which raises some ethical questions.

    • Charge Abu Zubaydah With a Crime or Free Him

      “High-value detainee” Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Husayn—better known as Abu Zubaydah—described to his attorney in a 2009 statement, only recently released to the public, details of the torture he underwent at the hands of the CIA at a secret site overseas.

    • Gestapo America

      FBI Director James Comey got Hillary off the hook but wants to put you on it. He is pushing hard for warrantless access to all of your Internet activity.

      Comey, who would have fit in perfectly with Hitler’s Gestapo, tells Congress that the United States is not safe unless the FBI knows when every American goes online, to whom they are sending emails and from whom they are receiving emails, and knows every website visited by every American.

    • Baton Rouge: “Put Those Damn Weapons Down!”

      “Put those damn weapons down. I’m not going to tell you again, goddamn it. Get those goddamn weapons down.” That was the first command of one of Louisiana’s most revered figures, General Russell Honore, when he arrived in New Orleans in 2005 to direct the military recovery after Hurricane Katrina. The General’s directions have not been followed in Baton Rouge.

      Since the police killing of Alton Sterling, thousands of people in Baton Rouge have been non-violently protesting day and night all over the city. There has been no arson in Baton Rouge, no looting, no burning cars, no windows broken, and no people beaten. Police report that a rock or other material was thrown at them but there is no video of such action nor have there been any arrests for such actions.

    • UN Human Rights Expert to Visit Baton Rouge, Ferguson, and Convention Host Cities

      With the nation in angst about impending protests at the conventions and deadly police shootings, he’ll have his hands full.

      In the first visit of its kind, the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association began a 16-day trip across the U.S. to monitor the status and protection of assembly and association rights in our country. With much of the nation in angst about impending protests at political conventions and deadly police shootings, the special rapporteur will undoubtedly have his hands full.

      Maina Kiai, a Kenyan lawyer and renowned international human rights expert, was appointed as the U.N.’s special rapporteur in 2011 following strong advocacy by the United States to create the mandate. His mission to the United States will culminate in a report that will be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council next year and will address gaps in First Amendment protections between U.S. law and policy and international standards.

      The report will be an important test of the United States’ reputation and self-perception as a human rights champion. Ever since protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, the U.S. has been under international scrutiny because of its failure to hold police accountable for the killing of unarmed Black men and the use of excessive police force against protesters. Kiai’s visit comes at a time when local police departments across the country are gearing up for further confrontation with protesters, especially after five Dallas police officers were killed during a nonviolent protest against the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

    • Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, Dallas

      A thick strand in the history of U.S. policing is rooted back in the slave patrols of the 19th century. Patty rollers were authorized to stop, question, search, harass and summarily punish any Black person they encountered. The five- and six-pointed badges many of them wore to symbolize their authority were predecessors to those of today’s sheriffs and patrolmen. They regularly entered the plantation living quarters of enslaved people, leaving terror and grief in their wake. Together with the hunters of runaways, these patrols had a crystal clear mandate: to constrain the enslaved population to its role as the embodiment and producer of massive wealth for whites and to forestall the possibility that labor subordinated to the lash might rebel at the cost of white lives.

    • Still Second-Class Citizens

      An infamous Supreme Court ruling once denied African Americans any and all rights as human beings. Has anything changed?

    • A Wake-Up Call for White Progressives

      The night after Alton Sterling was killed by police, I got home from work late. When our three children were asleep, my wife and I finally had a moment together.

      The first thing she said, as if she had been sitting on it all day, was: “I feel like we need to get a Black Lives Matter sign for our yard. I know it would be unusual in our neighborhood.”

      We live in Chevy Chase, D.C., in one of the wealthiest Zip codes in the city. There are about 30 houses on my block, and only one African-American family that I know of. But it didn’t surprise me that my wife wanted a public display of solidarity. In 1990, when she was 16, her classmate Phillip Pannell was shot in the back and killed while fleeing police at the elementary school they had attended in Teaneck, New Jersey. It molded her thinking on race and justice.

    • Assassination by Robot: Denying Due Process in Dallas

      Due process is an integral part of our legal system, and protects US citizens from over-zealous authorities. For that reason, it is especially important to apply due process protections to suspects when it is most difficult to do so.

      Unfortunately, that’s not what happened in Dallas this morning. The Dallas police department violated Micah Johnson’s right to due process under the law in the wake of his rampage through the city.

      Johnson’s attack on downtown Dallas claimed the lives of five police officers and wounded seven more people, including two civilians participating in a protest march for a recent spate of murders perpetrated by the police.

      Police negotiated with Johnson, an Army veteran, for hours as he holed up in a Dallas parking garage. Eventually they sent in a robot armed with a bomb to kill him.

      The Dallas Police Department’s decision to send in an armed robot is understandable from a certain point of view. Johnson said he wanted to kill as many officers as possible. This was unmistakably a life-threatening situation.

    • On The Passing of David Margolis, the DOJ Institution

      Sally Yates is spot on when she says Margolis’ “dedication to our [DOJ] mission knew no bounds”. That is not necessarily in a good way though, and Margolis was far from the the “personification of all that is good about the Department of Justice”. Mr. Margolis may have been such internally at the Department, but it is far less than clear he is really all that to the public and citizenry the Department is designed to serve. Indeed there is a pretty long record Mr. Margolis consistently not only frustrated accountability for DOJ malfeasance, but was the hand which guided and ingrained the craven protection of any and all DOJ attorneys for accountability, no matter how deeply they defiled the arc of justice.

    • Leaked Data Reveals How the U.S. Trains Vast Numbers of Foreign Soldiers and Police With Little Oversight

      At 9:30 a.m. on a gray winter Monday, the State Department officials began certifying the names at a rate of one every two minutes and 23 seconds.

      In rapid succession, they confirmed that 204 police officers, soldiers, sailors, and airmen from 11 countries had committed no gross human rights violations and cleared them to attend one of more than 50 training efforts sponsored by the U.S. government. The programs were taking place at a wide variety of locations, from Italy, Albania, and Jordan to the states of Louisiana and Minnesota.

      Thirty-two Egyptians were approved for instruction in, among other things, Apache helicopter gunship maintenance and flight simulators for the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk. Azerbaijanis were cleared for a U.S. Army course on identifying bio-warfare agents in Maryland and underwater demolition training with Navy SEALs in San Diego. Thirty-three Iraqis were certified to attend a State Department training session for bodyguards, held in Jordan. Bosnians were bound for Macedonia to prepare for deployment to Afghanistan. Ukrainian police were selected for peacekeeping training in Italy. Romanians would study naval operations in Rhode Island and counterterrorism in Skopje.

      This was only the beginning of one day’s work of vetting security personnel for U.S. training. A joint investigation by The Intercept and 100Reporters reveals the chaotic and largely unknown details of a vast constellation of global training exercises, operations, facilities, and schools — a shadowy network of U.S. programs that every year provides instruction and assistance to approximately 200,000 foreign soldiers, police, and other personnel. The investigation exposes the geographic and political contours of a U.S. training system that has, until now, largely defied thorough description.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Verizon Tries To ‘Debunk’ News Reports Pointing Out Its New Wireless Plans Stink

      Last week, we noted how Verizon had unveiled some new wireless data plans intended to be a competitive response to T-Mobile. In very Verizon-esque fashion, the new plans involved first and foremost raising already-industry high data prices another 17%, then scolding media outlets that called it a rate hike. The new plans also involved taking a number of ideas T-Mobile and other carriers had implemented years ago, then somehow making them worse.

      For example, Verizon belatedly introduced a “Carryover” rollover data option. Under most implementations of this idea (as with T-Mobile), you’re allowed to take any unused data at the end of the month and store it in the bank for future use. But under Verizon’s implementation, this data only lasts one month — and you have to burn through your existing allotment of data before it can even be used. This is Verizon’s attempt to give the illusion of offering an innovative and competing service, but saddling it with caveats to make it incredibly less useful.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • France Might Allow NGOs To Sell Public Domain Seeds To Non-Commercial Buyers. Might?

      When Techdirt has written about seeds in the past, it tended to be in the context of patents, and how Big Agribusiness is trying to use multiple layers of intellectual monopolies to prevent patented seeds from entering the public domain. By contrast, seeds that are already in the public domain — that is, owned by no one and thus everyone — ought to be unproblematic.

    • Opposition To Kenyan “Anti-Innovation” ICT Bill Grows

      A bill introduced in Kenya’s parliament intended to streamline, govern and regulate the country’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector has been met with opposition from different quarters over fears that it could put ICT technicians out of practice and stifle the country’s innovation capacity if passed into law.

    • New Book On Price-Reducing Strategies For Essential Medicines Under IPRs

      A new book and website released today examine the impact of intellectual property rights on access to new essential medicines and call for measures used to reduce prices of patented HIV medicines to be applied in the case of essential medicines.

    • Gilead’s Use Of Patents For $10B Tax Dodge Could Ignite Move For Policy Change

      Gilead is the US company whose use of patents to charge $1000 per pill for a hepatitis C medicine in the United States helped make high drug prices a developed country household issue and fodder for elected officials seeking change. Now the company has come under further fire after being found to have moved some US$10 billion overseas to avoid US taxes – even after having received US taxpayer support for its activities – which it orchestrated by moving its patent rights overseas. A new report detailing the company’s tax dodge includes a proposal for a way to clamp down on this type of patent activity.


      The company appears to have begun the process by shifting its economic rights to the US patent for Sovaldi over to Ireland in 2013. This “most likely” created a patent licensing arrangement allowing it to report lower US profits and therefore pay much less in taxes, Americans for Tax Fairness said.

      “Gilead claimed that despite booking two-thirds of its revenues here and charging higher drug prices than anywhere else in the world, it made only about one-third of its profits in the United States,” says the report.

      “How could that be possible? The most likely explanation is transfer pricing,” it said. “This accounting trick involves sending valuable assets—such as the license to use prescription drug patents—to a company’s offshore subsidiaries. Those subsidiaries can then impose large licensing fees on the U.S. parent company for the right to sell the patented medications in America. The fee costs reduce the reported U.S. profits and resulting taxes, while the fee income goes offshore where it is taxed lightly or not at all.”

      “In early 2013, Gilead’s chief financial officer announced on a conference call with stock analysts that the formula for Sovaldi had been “domiciled” in Ireland, a well-known tax haven, which she said would allow the company’s tax rate to “decline over time.”

      “This meant that Gilead had transferred the economic rights to its Sovaldi patent to an Irish subsidiary and created a patent licensing arrangement that would enable it to report lower U.S. profits and, therefore, pay much less in federal taxes,” it continued.

      “Of course, the drug was actually developed in the United States with all the attendant, taxpayer-funded benefits: supported with federal research money, studied and approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and granted an American patent, which receives the full protection of the U.S. legal system.”

    • Copyrights

      • Google Issues Its Latest ‘Stop Blaming Us For Piracy’ Report

        Google is big and successful. Some legacy entertainment companies have been struggling. For whatever reason, many of those companies have decided that Google’s success must be the reason for their downfall, and they’ve been blaming Google ever since. It’s pervasive and it’s deeply ingrained. A few years ago, I ended up at a dinner with a recording industry exec (and RIAA board member) who was so absolutely positive that Google was deliberately trying to destroy his business that it was reaching delusional levels. Of course, these legacy players have been banging on this drum for so long that they’ve convinced some others that it must be true, including some content creators and politicians. They all believe that the correlation of Google’s success and their own struggles must be about Google, and not their own failures to innovate. And their number one argument seems to be (ridiculously) that Google “profits” from piracy and therefore Google encourages piracy.

        As this drumbeat has gotten louder and louder, Google has felt the need to respond. The company has, for many years, actually done plenty to try to stop piracy, rather than encourage it, and it’s reached the point where Google is (stupidly, in my opinion, though perhaps politically necessary) actively appeasing the legacy industries, sometimes actively making its own search product worse. And, of course, as you would expect, these efforts are never enough for those industries. So now Google has taken to putting out a semi-regular report on how it fights piracy.

      • American Medical Association Claims False Copyright Over President Obama’s Journal Article

        Whatever you might think of the President’s health care policy, you should absolutely appreciate the willingness to publish data and details like this — and to make it freely available online. But there’s something that’s still problematic here. And it has a lot more to do with the American Medical Association than the President. And it’s that — in typically idiotic closed access medical journal fashion — JAMA is claiming the copyright on the article. There’s a copyright permissions link in the righthand column, and if you click on it, you get taken to a page on Copyright.com, a site run by the Copyright Clearance Center, claiming that the copyright for this document is held by the American Medical Association…

      • Misuse of CC-licensed photo leads to apologies, recovery of legal costs

        A CC-licensed photo that was incorrectly used in an Italian festival’s promotional materials has led to a public apology by the organisers for not respecting the terms of the licence, and the reimbursement of legal costs incurred.

        The picture in question was taken by Niccolò Caranti, who is a professional photographer and an active member of the Wikipedia community—nearly 900 of his images are available on Wikimedia Commons. The photo was used by the Festival delle Resistenze 2016, held in Trentino-Alto Adige, in northern Italy.

Links 13/7/2016: SPI 2015 Annual Report, Rust in Firefox

Posted in News Roundup at 5:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Comparing the DevOps and Open Source Movements

    DevOps has emerged as one of the next big things in the channel. But in many ways, the DevOps story is a replay of the history of open source software over the past several years. Here’s what the DevOps and open source movements have in common.

    The term DevOps refers to new methods of developing, delivering and deploying software. It prioritizes modularity, collaboration and continuity across all parts of the development process.

  • OnlyOffice: A FOSS Office Suite for the Cloud

    OnlyOffice is a web-based open source productivity suite for document collaboration, sharing, and management, project management, client relations management, and email, events, and tasks.

  • Why open source is a draw for job candidates

    The tech surge that revived the ailing HealthCare.gov website serves as a tool for recruiting top IT professionals from outside — and within — the government.

    Joseph Castle, director of the General Services Administration’s Digital Service, said he looks for talent in the public and private sectors.

    “It can be a struggle to get people to come to GSA,” he said during a July 12 panel discussion on Open Source Market Disruption hosted by FCW sister publication Washington Technology. “My ace in my pocket is to tie myself to the U.S. D

  • SPI 2015 Annual Report

    Software in the Public Interest has announced its 2015 Annual Report (PDF), covering the 2015 calendar year.

  • How ‘The Things Network’ Built IoT Data Network in Amsterdam
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Shipping Rust in Firefox

        It’s hard to believe it’s been almost seven years since Mozilla Research first began sponsoring the development of Rust, at the time little more than an ambitious research experiment with a small but devoted community. Remarkably, despite a long history of inventions and discoveries, Rust’s key principles have remained constant. The Rust core team’s original vision—a safe alternative to C++ to make systems programmers more productive, mission-critical software less prone to memory exploits, and parallel algorithms more tractable—has been central to Mozilla’s interest in backing the Rust project and, ultimately, using Rust in production.

      • Firefox 48 Will Take The First Rust Code Into Production

        Mozilla will be taking their first Rust programming language code into production with Firefox 48.

        Beyond the Servo/Browser.html tech preview that’s now shipping nightly, another goal of Mozilla developers for 2016 has been to ship at least one Servo/Rust component within the Gecko engine / Firefox. With Firefox 48, they are stepping along on that crusade with shipping their first Rust production code.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Thinking about Big Data — Part Three (the final and somewhat scary part)

      There is an irony here that when we tend to believe the wrong Big Data it usually concerns money or some other manifestation of power, but we have an equal tendency to not believe the right Big Data when it involves politics or religion. So Big Scientific Data often struggles to gain acceptance against unbelievers — those who deny climate change, for example, or endorse the teaching of creationism.

    • Mirantis OpenStack 9.0 Targets the Private Cloud

      Mirantis, one of the leaders in the OpenStack arena, is out with Mirantis OpenStack 9.0, which is targeted to make launching and running private clouds much easier. Based on the Mitaka Openstack release, version 9.0 of Mirantis’ platform includes many features aimed to simplify lifecycle management of OpenStack.

      Here is what’s found under the hood.

      “The improvements in Mirantis OpenStack 9.0 are based on real-world production deployments of Mirantis OpenStack, including our collaborations with AT&T and Volkswagen,” said Boris Renski, co-founder and CMO of Mirantis. “The improvements we made — largely in the area of post-deployment operations — integrate Mirantis’ services expertise into the software so that we can deliver better business outcomes. Mirantis OpenStack 9.0 will be a valuable asset to Mirantis as we help customers build and operate private clouds.”

  • Databases

    • Why Open Source Graph Databases Are Catching on

      All of the major social networks use open source graph databases. Twitter created the open source FlockDB for managing wide but shallow network graphs. Google’s Cayley was inspired by the graph database behind Freebase and its Knowledge Graph, the knowledge base behind its search engine. Facebook uses Apache Giraph, which was built for high scalability.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Libocon 2016: travel info

      LibreOffice Conference 2016 is less than two months away and people are starting to look for information how to get to and around Brno. We’ve prepared a page with extensive information how to get to Brno.

  • Chef


    • GIMP 2.10 Development Continues, GIMP 2.9.4 Lands New Features After 8 Months

      A few hours ago, the GIMP development team released a new development version towards GIMP 2.10, the next major update of the popular free and open-source image manipulation software coming later in the year.

    • GIMP 2.9.4 Is Their First Development Release Of 2016 With Many Improvements

      GIMP 2.9.4 was tagged this afternoon as the newest development version of this popular open-source image manipulation program.

      GIMP 2.9.4 succeeds the GIMP 2.9.2 release from last November. The GIMP 2.9.4 release features significant work on color management of images and related to that various color profile additions, improved file magic matching, various core improvements, GUI enhancements, new themes, various tooling improvements, updated screenshot handling for Wayland/X.Org, various plug-in additions, and much more.

    • Lonely Cactus: Pip-Boy like terminal application in Guile, part 4: the terminal

      As a side note, Guile has had a complete set of bindings to the multimedia enving GStreamer, which I wanted to use, but, it appears to be in need of some maintenance. I did look at it so see if I could patch it up, but, the binding is related to the Glib binding, and I didn’t want to take the time to understand all that right now. Pulseaudio is much lower level, but, also much simpler. I had code lying around from some old game engine attempt.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Wellcome Trust to Launch Open-Access Platform

        The London-based Wellcome Trust last week (July 6) announced that it will launch a free, open-access publishing platform for work that the organization supports.

        “This really is a potential game changer for a major funder to be taking control of the research output,” Paul Ginsparg, the founder of the preprint server arXiv, told Science.

        In contrast to traditional subscription-based outlets, the publishing platform will be freely accessible. Authors will also be able to submit work often considered less palatable to established publishers: negative results.

        Wellcome Open Research will begin posting as soon as this fall, according to the Wellcome Trust. The initiative aims to expedite the publication process, which can take months or even years. With the new platform, scientists will instead be able to share their results immediately.

        F1000 Research will run the Wellcome Trust venture, which will include transparent peer review. If an article passes, it will be indexed in major bibliographic outlets and deposited in PubMed Central and Europe PMC, according to a statement.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development


  • 8 ways to get your swag on

    Recently, a client of mine asked me if I had any experience in how to optimize how they send swag out to people. The scenario was a common one: the company made T-shirts, stickers, mugs, and other merchandise that they wanted to ship to deserving community members, but actually getting it there was turning out to be a massive pain in the rear-end.

  • Ad blocking: yes, its war now

    idnes.cz: they put moving advertisment on that their web, making browsers unusable — they eat 100% CPU and pages lag when scrolling. They put video ads inside text that appear when you scroll. They have video ads including audio… (Advertisment for olympic games is particulary nasty, Core Duo, it also raises power consumption by like 30W). Then they are surpised of adblock and complain with popup when they detect one. I guess I am either looking for better news source, or for the next step in adblock war…

  • Health/Nutrition

    • New EEOC Rules Allow Employers to Pay for Employees’ Health Information

      The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions for employee wellness programs give employers the power to reward or penalize their employees based on whether they complete health screenings and participate in fitness programs. While wellness programs are often welcomed, they put most employees in a bind: give your employer access to extensive, private health data, or give up potentially thousands of dollars a year.

      Sadly, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) new regulations, which go into effect in January 2017, rubber stamp the ACA’s wellness programs with insufficient privacy safeguards. Because of these misguided regulations, employers can still ask for private health information if it is part of a loosely defined wellness program with large incentives for employees.

  • Security

    • New Report Shows Healthy Growth in Open Source Usage, but Security is Not Locked Down
    • Tuesday’s security advisories
    • Security staff should talk to end users more

      IT security departments need to improve their relationships with their users by going out and talking to them, Red Hat’s security strategist Josh Pressers has advised.

      Pressers warned that in order to stop the spread of ‘shadow IT’ within the enterprise, security professionals need to make a bigger effort to understand staff in other departments, warning that “we don’t listen very well”.

      Shadow IT has become an increasing problem for corporate IT managers, as employees use non-approved tools and technologies at work, rather than the systems provided by the in-house team.

    • Every version of Windows hit by “critical” security flaw [Ed: Microsoft Zack (Zack Whittaker, formerly Microsoft UK) on the latest back/bug door in Windows]

      Microsoft has patched a security vulnerability found in every supported version of Windows, which if exploited could allow an attacker to take over a system.

      The software giant said in a bulletin posted Tuesday as part of its monthly release of security fixes that the the “critical” flaw could let an attacker remotely install malware, which can be used to modify or delete data, or create new accounts with full user rights.

      The “critical”-rated flaw affects Windows Vista and later — including Windows Server 2008 and later.

      Those who are logged in as an administrator, such as some home accounts and server users, are at the greatest risk.

    • Dependency CI reviews potential vulnerabilities for open-source projects

      Dependency CI can test a project after every commit for deprecated, unavailable, unmaintained and unlicensed dependencies. In the future, it will be able to test for insecure, bus factored, conflicting and outdated dependencies.

      Dependency CI currently supports dependency checks from 21 package managers. Some examples include Julia, Maven, NPM, NuGet, PyPI and RubyGems. It’s free for open-source projects, and there is a 14-day free trial for checking private GitHub repositories.

    • Posing as ransomware, Windows malware just deletes victim’s files

      There has been a lot of ingenuity poured into creating crypto-ransomware, the money-making malware that has become the scourge of hospitals, businesses, and home users over the past year. But none of that ingenuity applies to Ranscam, a new ransom malware reported by Cisco’s Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group.

      Ranscam is a purely amateur attempt to cash in on the cryptoransomware trend that demands payment for “encrypted” files that were actually just plain deleted by a batch command. “Once it executes, it, it pops up a ransom message looking like any other ransomware,” Earl Carter, security research engineer at Cisco Talos, told Ars. “But then what happens is it forces a reboot, and it just deletes all the files. It doesn’t try to encrypt anything—it just deletes them all.”

      Talos discovered the file on the systems of a small number of customers. In every case, the malware presented exactly the same message, including the same Bitcoin wallet address. The victim is instructed:

      “You must pay 0.2 Bitcoins to unlock your computer. Your files have been moved to a hidden partition and crypted. Essential programs in your computer have been locked and your computer will not function properly. Once your Bitcoin payment is received your computer and files will be returned to normal instantly.”

    • Webpages, Word files, print servers menacing Windows PCs, and disk encryption bypasses – yup, it’s Patch Tuesday

      Microsoft will fix critical holes in Internet Explorer, Edge, Office and Windows with this month’s Patch Tuesday security bundle. Meanwhile, Adobe has patched dozens of exploitable vulnerabilities in its Flash player.

      Redmond’s July release includes 11 sets of patches, six rated as “critical” and five classified as “important.” The highlights are: a BitLocker device encryption bypass, evil print servers executing code on vulnerable machines, booby-trapped webpages and Office files injecting malware into PCs, and the usual clutch of privilege elevation flaws.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • French trawler accidentally catches Portuguese submarine

      A French trawler has caught a rather big fish – a Portuguese submarine taking part in a training mission off the British coast, maritime authorities reported.

      This may sound like a silly idea for revenge following France’s loss to Portugal in the Euro finals, but the Portuguese submarine Tridente really did get stuck in the nets of the French trawler Daytona on Tuesday, Portugal’s Armed Forces General Staff said.

      The incident occurred in the British waters, about 55 kilometers (34 miles) southeast of Lizard Point, southwestern England.

    • We Are The Empire

      Perhaps you’ve heard the expression: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Cartoonist Walt Kelly’s famed possum, Pogo, first uttered that cry. In light of alien disaster movies like the recent sequel Independence Day: Resurgence and America’s disastrous wars of the twenty-first century, I’d like to suggest a slight change in that classic phrase: we have met the alien and he is us.

      Allow me to explain. I grew up reading and watching science fiction with a fascination that bordered on passion. In my youth, I also felt great admiration for the high-tech, futuristic nature of the U.S. military. When it came time for college, I majored in mechanical engineering and joined the U.S. Air Force. On graduating, I would immediately be assigned to one of the more high-tech, sci-fi-like (not to say apocalyptic) military settings possible: Air Force Space Command’s Cheyenne Mountain.

      For those of you who don’t remember the looming, end-of-everything atmosphere of the Cold War era, Cheyenne Mountain was a nuclear missile command center tunneled out of solid granite inside an actual mountain in Colorado. In those days, I saw myself as one of the good guys, protecting America from “alien” invasions and the potential nuclear obliteration of the country at the hands of godless communists from the Soviet Union. The year was 1985 and back then my idea of an “alien” invasion movie was Red Dawn, a film in which the Soviets and their Cuban allies invade the U.S., only to be turned back by a group of wolverine-like all-American teen rebels. (Think: the Vietcong, American-style, since the Vietnam War was then just a decade past.)

    • Putin’s “Threats” to the Baltics: a Myth to Promote NATO Unity

      Why Latvia? Shirreff is not alone in trying to depict Latvia and the other Baltic states (Estonia and Lithuania) as immanently threatened by Russia. The stoking of Baltic fears of such are a principle justification for NATO expansion.

    • 8,124 Murders by Firearm in US vs. 29 (144 equiv.) in UK

      The United States continues to be peculiar in handing out powerful magazine-fed firearms to almost anyone who wants one and not requiring background checks on private purchases even if these are made at gun shows. 80% of civilian-owned firearms world-wide are in the US, and only Yemen vaguely competes with us for rates of firearm ownership; Yemen is a violent mess with Shiite insurgencies, al-Qaeda taking over cities from time to time, tribal feuding, southern separatism and US drone strikes. And even it has fewer guns per person than the USA.

      It has gotten to the point where the increasing epidemic of mass shootings now threatens law enforcement, with the deaths of 5 policemen in Dallas at the hands of an unhinged Black ultra-nationalist.

    • Is Religion Really Driving Middle East Violence?

      What Pew is actually saying is that in the Middle East and North Africa, people are four times as likely to act out their ethnic violence by attacking religious symbols as in the rest of the world. It isn’t saying they are four times as likely to be religious fanatics.

    • China Rejects Hague’s South China Sea Ruling as “US-Led Conspiracy”

      An international tribunal at the Hague overwhelmingly rejected China’s claims to the South China Sea on Tuesday, in a move that observers say is likely to stoke tensions between the Asian powerhouse and its primary rival, the United States.

    • US Senator: “We Have Never Done Anything More Loathsome or Despicable Than What We’re Doing in Syria.”

      Senator Richard Black and Janice Kortkamp discuss the shameful situation in Syria, where the US government is actively arming and funding Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) and “conduits” (“moderates”), blending them together, and then using this model to exterminate the Syrian population.

      It should be noted that the mass media machine is seemingly losing its effect, as more and more prominent and senior figures (e.g Robert Fisk) are calling a spade a spade, or a “moderate” a terrorist. It just goes to show that you can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but never all of the people all of the time.

    • Syria’s Assad Blasts Western-Supported Terrorism, Russia Steps Up Strategic Bombing

      In March, Obama’s naked aggression on Syria entered its sixth year. Endless conflict rages because he wants war, not peace. Claims otherwise are head-fake deception.

      US plans call for forcibly ousting Assad, destroying Syria’s sovereignty, partitioning the country for easier control, looting its resources, exploiting its people and creating dystopian chaos and human misery.

      Assad defends his country and people heroically, his leadership and mission entirely opposite of how he’s portrayed in the West, by Israel and other regional rogue states.

      Conflict can only end when terrorism is defeated, he said. It continues because these groups have foreign backers. Otherwise they wouldn’t exist.

      All armed elements waging war on Syria and its people are terrorists, he stressed. America is infamous for creating geopolitical problems it doesn’t solve.

      Endless violence, chaos and disaster stalk every country where it shows up. None enjoy peace, stability and tranquility. Slow-motion genocide affects millions of Syrians, US imperialism killing a nation.

    • Iraq War, an Unaccountable Crime

      Last week’s Chilcot report on Britain’s role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was as polite and guarded as a proper English tea party. No direct accusations, no talk of war crimes by then Prime Minister Tony Blair or his guiding light, President George W. Bush. But still pretty damning.

      Such government reports and commissions, as was wittily noted in the delightful program “Yes, Prime Minister,” are designed to obscure rather than reveal the truth and bury awkward facts in mountains of paper. And beneath mountains of lies.

    • California Grounds Two Bad Drone Bills

      EFF strongly believes that police should obtain a warrant anytime they want to use a drone (with narrow emergency exceptions), but A.B. 1820 would only have required a warrant when police wanted to use a drone to surveil private property.

    • ‘You Cannot Use Military Force to Wipe Out Terrorism’ – CounterSpin interview with Phyllis Bennis on ISIS attacks

      Early in the morning of Sunday, July 3, a truck bomb exploded in a shopping district in Baghdad. Many of the more than 200 people killed were children shopping for new clothes for Eid Al-Fitr. The group ISIS claimed responsibility.

      That was two days after militants claiming fealty to ISIS killed 22 people in Dhaka, Bangladesh, after an 11-hour siege on a cafe. It was five days after at least 42 people were killed in Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport. And it was the day before three separate bomb attacks across Saudi Arabia, including one in the holy city of Medina near a site sacred to Muslims, the mosque where the prophet Mohammed is believed to be buried.

      That Americans will have heard more about some of those attacks than others is meaningful, not just because it’s always disheartening and distorting to see some victims presented as more human than others. It’s especially frustrating when the evident aims of an organization include sowing enmity, division and resentment.

      But the US response to ISIS fails on levels even more fundamental than a resistance to acknowledging that Muslims are its primary victims. It has to do with what is meant by “fighting” ISIS or “fighting” terrorism to begin with.

    • Key Area of Dispute on Drone Numbers: Number of Strikes

      As Micah Zenko pointed out, there is a very big discrepancy between the numbers of total strikes counted by NGOs and the government. Effectively, the Administration doesn’t count 18% of the known air strikes as their own (based off the NGO average).

      It’s easy to see where a disagreement about individual casualties, and of what type, would come from, but not of airstrikes themselves. Unless airstrikes generally assumed to be US airstrikes are being counted as someone else’s.

    • Accused American ISIS Plotter Was “Set Up,” Family Says

      A criminal complaint unsealed last week and widely publicized revealed that Jalloh had been speaking for months with a government informant, who recorded conversations in which Jalloh seemed to support acts of violence. The informant solicited Jalloh’s help in procuring money and weapons that he said would be used in support of ISIS. At one point, Jalloh was provided with a mobile messaging application to help him send $500 to an undercover FBI agent posing as an ISIS member abroad.

      After Jalloh attempted to purchase a rifle at a local gun store, he was placed under arrest.

    • Behind the Dhaka attack: radical secularisation and Islamist terror in Bangladesh

      The gruesome Dhaka cafe attack earlier this month has been viewed mostly through the lens of ISIS’s perceived increasing footprint in Bangladesh. But this ignores the sliding political legitimacy of a government – Sheikh Hasina’s supposedly secular Awami League – that has assumed the task of stemming terrorism in a country split along religious and secular lines since its very birth in 1971. If you want to understand the Dhaka massacre, you need to trace the ambiguous and contested domain of political legitimacy and religion in Bangladesh, which is largely responsible for the extremist violence the country is witnessing now.

    • Last Year Was ‘Mr. Robot,’ This Year It’s ‘Shooter’: USA Postpones Episode In Wake Of A Shooting

      A new series on USA, Shooter, will premiere a week later than planned. The sniper drama stars Ryan Phillippe as a military veteran attempting to clear his name after being accused of a crime he didn’t commit; it is based on the 2007 film of the same name, which starred Mark Wahlberg. And it reportedly begins, as one might expect a show called Shooter to do, with the sounds of gunfire. Scenes of real incidents of gun violence flash across the screen as the gunshots sound.

      Shooter was slated to premiere on July 19, but USA pulled it, citing sensitivity to the attack at a protest in Dallas at which five police officers were killed. The shooting, which shattered a previously peaceful protest, was an act of senseless violence at a rally against acts of senseless violence that had devastated the country just days before. USA released a statement on Monday explaining the scheduling change: “In light of recent tragic events and out of respect for the victims, their families and our viewers, we have decided to postpone the premiere date for the upcoming USA Network series Shooter to July 26.”

    • China denied: What Tuesday’s ruling means for Beijing’s maritime ambitions

      An international court in The Hague has dealt a major blow to China’s claim of sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, ruling on Tuesday that Beijing had “no historical rights” over the resource-rich and hotly disputed waters.

      The decision sparked fears of escalated military tensions in East Asia, as Beijing signalled it would ignore the ruling and China’s Defense Ministry declared that “Chinese armed forces will firmly safeguard national sovereignty” regardless of the verdict. The official Xinhua news wire quoted President Xi Jinping saying “China will not accept any proposition or action based on the decision.”

    • The Antiwar Tradition in American Letters

      President Obama, for his part, has overseen regular bombings throughout the Middle East, including in Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, and Somalia; ordered US military intervention in Libya; increased US troop levels in Afghanistan and escalated US military operations there; and urged Americans to support US military involvement in Syria. These positions are ironic in light of his warning, in his piece in this collection, against traveling “blindly” down “that hellish path” to war.

    • The OAS Needs New Leadership

      Luis Almagro, the current Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) has abused his position and authority more flagrantly and outrageously than any predecessor in recent years. In his lack of judgment and disregard for political and diplomatic norms he resembles Donald Trump. And like Trump, he is increasingly seen as an embarrassment within the organization for which he is the standard bearer.

      The OAS has been manipulated by Washington many times over the years in the service of regime change.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • France aims to set carbon price of at least €50 by 2030

      France has confirmed it will introduce a floor price for carbon emissions from coal power stations, which will increase from around €20 in 2020 to €50 in 2030. EurActiv’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports.

    • China’s eco-civilization plan calls for 23% forest cover by 2020

      Besides the United States, China has done more than any other country to contribute to climate change. But while China’s greenhouse gas emissions are rapidly warming the planet, the Asian nation is quickly shifting its focus to climate change mitigation to ensure a sustainable biosphere for future generations. According to a new United Nations report, China plans to build an “ecological civilization” that could be a model for the rest of the world. The project includes an initiative to cover nearly one quarter of the country with forests by 2020.

    • The Republican Party’s Platform Says Coal Is ‘Clean’ Energy

      For the Republican Party, internet porn is a “public health crisis.” Coal, however, is perfectly “clean.”

      That’s at least according to the party’s official draft platform, which is being crafted ahead of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. On Monday, the GOP’s platform committee unanimously voted to declare coal “an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource.”

      Environmentalists reacted swiftly to the decision, essentially calling Republicans delusional.

    • The EIA needs to play its part for the climate

      The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Conference begins today. It’s a two-day Washington energy wonk binge that is dominated by fossil fuel industry heavyweights and technocrats.

      While a few of the conference sessions will deal with climate change and renewable energy, there remains a clear bias towards discussions of a continued status quo of fossil fuel energy dominance. Further, no renewable energy industry representatives will keynote at the conference, while two oil industry executives will address the plenary alongside government representatives. Given the imperative presented by the climate crisis to move away from fossil fuels and the rapid surge underway in renewable energy, this omission is a striking one.

    • In the Aftermath of the Murder of Berta Cáceres: Squashing Indigenous Resistance and Discrediting International Observers in Honduras

      Cáceres saw the conflict over the Agua Zarca and other such projects in the context of the support shown by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the 2009 coup against the government of Manual Zelaya. The coup is widely blamed for ushering in the current era of rampant resource extraction, violence, and repression in Honduras. In Hard Choices, Clinton writes that she advocated swift recognition of the coup and the post-coup government as an exercise in “clear-eyed pragmatism,” even as most of the hemisphere’s governments withheld recognition and demanded the restoration of the elected Zelaya government.

    • Historic Petition Demands Obama ‘Turn Off the Carbon Pollution Spigot’

      Hundreds of groups filed what they called a “historic” petition to President Barack Obama on Tuesday, urging the administration to end all fossil fuel leases on federal lands.

      More than 250 climate, community, and tribal organizations filed the legal petition to remind Obama of the commitments the U.S. made by signing the landmark Paris agreement calling on nations worldwide to keep global warming below 1.5°C.

      “If there’s any chance of preventing the worst impacts of climate change, we must keep coal, oil and gas in the ground,” said May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, which signed the petition. “But we can’t do that if the Obama administration continues to sell that ground to the highest bidding fossil fuel companies. Now President Obama has a choice to make: expand oil and gas drilling indefinitely, or join us in doing what’s best for communities and the climate.”

    • If Elected, Trump Would be Only Global Leader to Let World Burn

      If Donald Trump were elected president, he would be the only world leader who does not believe in climate change—or even in calling for action on global warming.

      That’s what the Sierra Club found in a comprehensive analysis of verifiable quotes, statements, and actions from global heads of state, released Tuesday, which also warns that the presumptive Republican nominee’s steadfast denial of climate science could threaten relationships between the U.S. and its allies.

    • Climate change killed Europeans in 2003 heat

      British researchers say climate change was responsible for the deaths of more than 60 people in London in 2003, and over 500 in Paris. In a rare instance of direct attribution of human mortality to warming temperatures, they say that year’s European heatwave raised the risk of heat-related death by 20% in London, and in Paris by 70%.

      Using both climate and mortality data, they estimate that 315 deaths in Greater London and 735 in central Paris can be strongly linked to the 2003 heatwave, which broke records across Europe, with about 64 (± 3) deaths attributable to climate change from human causes in London and 506 (± 51) in Paris.

      They say their study is the first to link an estimate of human activity to an estimate of mortality for the 2003 heat wave – and in fact for any heat wave. With potentially lethal heatwaves predicted to become likelier across more of the globe unless greenhouse emissions are soon cut drastically, the research is likely to be relevant far beyond western Europe.

    • On the Precipice: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Lead Fight for Energy Independence

      According to a new study by NASA, rising temperatures and melting ice sheets are responsible for a redistribution of the Earth’s weight, causing a shift in the way the planet wobbles on its axis.

      Warming ocean temperatures, now considered unstoppable, are responsible for unpredictable severe weather patterns, heat waves, drought, floods and reduced food supplies.

  • Finance

    • CEOs At Corporate Powerhouses Got Paid 276 Times The Typical American Worker’s Salary Last Year

      Policymakers have plenty of levers they can pull to combat these macro trends. It will likely take some mix of carrots — tax incentives for companies that commit to profit-sharing with workers and other structures that combat short-termism, for example — and sticks like higher income tax rates and bespoke tariffs on inherently abusive Wall Street schemes.

    • Corporate CEO Pay Was 276 Times the Average Worker’s Income Last Year

      CEO pay is up 46.5 percent since a relative low point in 2009, following the 2008 market crash. “Amid a healthy recovery on Wall Street following the Great Recession, CEOs have enjoyed outsized income gains even relative to other very-high-wage earners,” EPI observes.

    • Factbox: Theresa May’s plans for a Brexit ministry and who might lead it

      Theresa May, who will take over as Britain’s prime minister on Wednesday, has said she plans to set up a new government department to lead the process of withdrawing the country from the European Union.

      Here is what she has said about the department, some information on likely candidates to run it and frontrunners to take over from George Osborne as finance minister.

    • Denmark Is Big Victim Of Wall Street Tax Avoidance Deals

      Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and other international banks have profited for years by arranging short-term loans of stock in Danish companies, a maneuver that has helped shareholders but deprived Denmark of substantial tax revenues.

      With the banks’ help, stock owners avoid paying Danish authorities the dividend taxes they would otherwise owe on their holdings of companies like Maersk, Novo Nordisk, Danske Bank, Tryg and Carlsberg, among others.

      They do so by lending the shares to banks that temporarily transfer them to other investors with low or no tax obligations around the time when the dividend is paid. The terms are hedged and arranged months in advance. After dividend time, the borrowed shares are returned, and the tax savings are shared among the investors and banks that arranged the trades.

    • In Bill, Lawmakers Propose New Limits for Seizing Workers’ Pay Over Old Debts

      For the first time in nearly 50 years, a new federal bill seeks to lower how much lenders and collectors can seize from debtors through the courts, revisiting caps set in 1968 by the landmark Consumer Credit Protection Act.

      The Wage and Garnishment Equity (WAGE) Act of 2016, sponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., would substantially reform protections for debtors by exempting many lower-income workers from garnishment and reducing what collectors can take from the paychecks and bank accounts of others.

      As ProPublica has reported in a series of articles over the past three years, consumer debts such as medical or credit card bills result in millions of garnishments every year. But the scale of the seizures and their consequences for the poor have largely been ignored by lawmakers, in part because no one tracks how often they happen.

    • No country for young men?

      Conversations with people on the street in Wales help clarify why Britain voted for Brexit. Why weren’t MEPs having those conversations all spring?

    • Eric Holder’s Longtime Excuse for Not Prosecuting Banks Just Crashed and Burned

      Eric Holder has long insisted that he tried really hard when he was attorney general to make criminal cases against big banks in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis. His excuse, which he made again just last month, was that Justice Department prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to bring charges.

      Many critics have long suspected that was bullshit, and that Holder, for a combination of political, self-serving, and craven reasons, held his department back.

      A new, thoroughly-documented report from the House Financial Services Committee supports that theory. It recounts how career prosecutors in 2012 wanted to criminally charge the global bank HSBC for facilitating money laundering for Mexican drug lords and terrorist groups. But Holder said no.

      When asked on June 8 why his Justice Department did not equally apply the criminal laws to financial institutions in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis, Holder told the platform drafting panel of the Democratic National Committee that it was laboring under a “misperception.”

      He told the panel: “The question you need to ask yourself is, if we could have made those cases, do you think we would not have? Do you think that these very aggressive U.S. attorneys I was proud to serve with would have not brought these cases if they had the ability?”

      The report — the result of a three-year investigation — shows that aggressive attorneys did want to prosecute HSBC, but Holder overruled them.

    • GOP Uses Debt They Created As An Excuse For Program Cuts

      Republicans are already ringing the alarm about a supposed debt crisis even though the country’s financials are stable.

    • Greater Manchester ‘to lose out on’ £320m over Brexit

      Greater Manchester is set to miss out on £320m after the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU), a report leaked to the BBC has warned.

      The report by Manchester City Council’s chief executive said EU funding up to 2020 “would no longer be forthcoming”.

      Sir Howard Bernstein’s briefing note was sent to council leaders on 30 June, a week after the Brexit vote.

    • NYT Lets $27 Million Man Brag About What He’s Doing for Income Inequality

      How nice of the Times to give one of our corporate overlords a chance to let us know he’s doing the right thing!

      Chase is the largest bank in the United States, and in 2015 it made $23.9 billion in after-tax income. You may have gotten the (intended) impression from Dimon’s op-ed that Chase has 18,000 employees; in fact, it has 241,000. That means for each one of its employees, the company is making $99,000 in profit. By comparison, the prospect of a $1.85-an-hour raise for 7 percent of them over three years is rather small potatoes.

      Dimon himself made $27 million in compensation in 2015. Right now, the lowest-paid full-time Chase employee makes 0.08 percent as much as the CEO; for those who get the pay raise, after it goes through, it’ll be 0.09 percent—assuming that Dimon doesn’t get a pay raise of his own in the next three years. So not much of a blow against income inequality—a problem that is in large part driven by the financial industry’s soaring profits.

    • Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Can’t Pass a Basic Test of Financial Literacy

      Apparently the message of the financial crisis didn’t get across

      Quick: If you take out a $1000 loan that has a 20% rate, how much will you owe a year in interest?

      Answer: $200. But if you got that wrong, you’re not alone. Nearly two thirds of Americans can’t calculate interest payments correctly, according to a new study. About a third said they didn’t even know how.

      One of the silver linings of the financial crisis was that it was supposed to have taught many Americans a lesson, albeit painful, about the dangers of debt, and financial issues in general. Apparently, the message, though, didn’t get across.

      All told, a new study, which was released today, estimated that nearly two-thirds of Americans couldn’t pass a basic financial literacy test, meaning they got fewer than four answers correct on a five-question quiz. Worse, the percentage of those who can pass the test has fallen consistently since the financial crisis to 37% last year, from 42% in 2009.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • ratfucked

      The 2008 election was a big turning point. Obama won big, and “down-ballot” Democrats won big with him. The Republicans lost, and the Republican Party was lost. What to do? Devise a plan and take back control. Redraw the maps to maintain control. In short, ratfuck the Democrats. We’re only few pages into the introduction when the author contradicts his own subtitle. This wasn’t a secret plan. “It’s legal, it’s breathtaking, and much of it happened in plain sight.”

      “The simple truth is this: America is the only major democracy in the world that allows politicians to pick their own voters.”

    • Japan’s Election Results Usher in War . . . and a Glimmer of Hope?

      The recently passed “Security Law” that designates information that might undermine government and corporate efforts to sidestep the law and the constitution as “state secrets”, has mobilized a robust youth movement to counter this encroaching fascism. It’s hard to say if these mostly middle-class university student who formed SEALDS (Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy) will maintain their activist impulses in the wake of Emperor Abe’s most recent mandate-affirming coronation. It will take a fearless and sustained effort to endure the raised to ’11’ volume blasting from the right wing unarmored tank brigade, particularly now as it has gained steam from yesterday’s electorally foregone conclusion.

    • Is the Real Scandal the Clinton Foundation?

      Well, lo and behold, the military-industrial complex is one of the big contributors the Clinton Foundation, as is Saudi Arabia, and many of the parties who are directly affected by her decisions. Now, my guess is what she didn’t want people to find out, whether on Freedom of Information Act or others, are the lobbying she’s doing for her own foundation, which in a way means her wealth, her husband’s wealth, Bill Clinton’s wealth, and the power that both of them have by getting a quarter billion dollars of grants into the foundation during her secretary of state.

    • The Icelandic Pirate Party and the Search for a New Democracy

      Inside a modernist warehouse alongside the ocean in Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital city, four men sit around a table discussing the country’s drug policies. A skull-and-crossbones flag adorns the wall and a cheap blow-up sword hangs over one door frame. Though they aren’t wearing eyepatches or hunting for treasure, these Icelanders call themselves Pirates, and they are drafting policy for a new, insurgent political party, the Pirate Party.

      Started as a Swedish movement in 2006, the Pirate Party advocated for copyright reform and freedom of access to information. It championed whistleblowers and defended WikiLeaks. After expanding its platform to include civil liberties and direct democracy, the party grew: it now boasts chapters in approximately 60 countries.

    • How the Media Overthrew Party Politics

      Media and politics historically have operated in a kind of uneasy alliance in which the media push and the political system responds. As Harvard historian Jill Lepore wrote in a recent New Yorker essay, almost every innovation or mutation in the media — from the highly partisan press of the nation’s early days to the yellow press of the 1890s to radio and television and now social media — has contributed to new party processes and even realignments.

    • Special interests look to influence political conventions — discreetly

      Protestors will shout. Delegates may revolt. Factions will haggle over rules and platform proposals.

      But come later this month, no amount of friction will stop corporations, unions and special interests from spending tens of millions of dollars to bankroll nonstop partying at the Democratic and Republican national conventions. Thank federal campaign finance rules that allow unlimited contributions to support them.

    • One “Dinner with Donald” contest leads to another — and one for Hillary, too

      One PAC offering a dinner with Donald Trump has risen from the dirty dishes of another — and spawned a Hillary Clinton copycat in its wake.

      American Horizons has spent the past month advertising a contest for two individuals to win a dinner with Trump, including a flight and hotel stay. But while the organization, which is a hybrid of a conventional PAC and a super PAC, wasn’t established until mid-June, the contest has roots going back to November. It was originally the brainchild of a separate group, Recover America, that was publicly called out by the Trump campaign for promoting the prize without the knowledge or consent of the candidate. The group’s website, DinnerWithTrump.org, soon went dark as Recover America’s treasurer, Michael Williams, dealt with the fallout.

    • Dem Platform Includes Plank to Close Notorious School of the Americas

      Although the Democratic Party’s latest draft platform has received a mixed reception from progressives, human rights advocates on Tuesday called attention to one long-awaited demand that made it into the manifesto: Closing the controversial military training facility known as the School of the Americas.

      The measure, introduced by committee member Marcos Rubenstein—who was elected by Bernie Sanders delegates—calls for the closure of the school, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC) to support the progressive belief that “democracies and civilian governments in the Western Hemisphere…should never be involved in the political process.”

      The SOA/WHINSEC plank was accepted by both Sanders’ and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns in the first time that such a measure has been included in the Democratic party platform.

      SOA Watch, a grassroots group that has organized around the closure of SOA/WHINSEC since 1990, noted Tuesday that “[w]hile the platform is nonbinding, grassroots activists, who have been concerned about the hawkish stands of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton towards Latin America, will push the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign to adhere to the platform’s call.”

      The group’s national organizer Hendrik Voss said, “In order to create real change, we can’t rely on politicians to make it happen for us. We have to organize to build broad-based grassroots power, and hold those who are making decisions that affect our lives accountable.”

      SOA/WHINSEC has become a notorious symbol of U.S.-backed human rights abuses in Latin America. The taxpayer-funded school—which many opponents have nicknamed “School of the Assassins”—educated several dictators from the region, as well as their military officials, and included torture, extortion, and execution in its curriculum.

      The new platform measure is particularly important as questions continue to rise over Clinton’s role in the U.S.-led coup in Honduras in 2009, which led to increased militarization and human rights abuses, the group said.

    • Jeremy Corbyn wins NEC vote over right to stand again for Labour leadership

      Jeremy Corbyn has narrowly survived a row over Labour Party rules that could have seen him ousted from the leadership without party members getting another chance to vote over his future.

      The ruling makes it highly likely that Mr Corbyn will win the leadership contest triggered by Angela Eagle’s announcement that she is standing against him.

      Mr Corbyn’s backers had feared that the executive would force him to find 50 Labour MPs or MEPs – a fifth of the parliamentary party – prepared to sign his nomination papers before his name could go on to the ballot paper. The leader’s support among fellow MPs has hit such a low point that it is unlikely that he would be able to find that many supporters in the Commons.

      But after a six hour meeting, the executive accepted Mr Corbyn’s claim that he had an automatic right to stand again.

    • Victorious Corbyn Survives Another Day as Labour Says He Will Appear on Ballot

      In what was described as “a victory for common sense and democracy,” the UK Labour party has said Jeremy Corbyn’s name must appear on the ballot in the upcoming leadership contest.

      Corbyn, who was the target of what some were calling a post-Brexit coup, said he was “delighted” at the decision by Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC). Shadow chancellor John McDonnell, a key ally of Corbyn, said on Twitter: “Jeremy on the ballot. Democracy prevails. We will use leadership election to sign up even more members and prepare ground for general election.”

    • The GOP Platform Draft: The Stuff Nightmares are Made Of

      Draft platform includes language that disavows the rights of women, same-sex couples, trans people, Palestinians, immigrants, and more.

    • Truthdig Sits Down With the Green Party’s Jill Stein (Video)

      The Green Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Dr. Jill Stein, met with Truthdig staff on Tuesday for a live discussion, broadcast on Facebook, about the 2016 election and American politics.

      Watch the entire discussion below, although the first video is cut off early because of Facebook’s time limit. The second segment, while much shorter, is a sign-off from Stein and the Truthdig staff.

    • Jill Stein: ‘Bernie hearts are breaking’

      Likely Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein lamented Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton Tuesday, tweeting, “many Bernie hearts are breaking right now.”

      “It sounds like the only good thing Bernie can say about Hillary is that she’s not Donald,” Stein tweeted, one of more than a dozen tweets she sent while Sanders and Clinton hosted a joint rally in New Hampshire where he officially endorsed the presumptive nominee. “That’s what most of her supporters like about her.”

    • Brilliant Bernie Burns It Down

      Bernie Endorses Hillary.

      How disgusting is that?

      Not surprising. Predictable in fact. But disgusting nonetheless.

      Not proud to admit that, over the past couple of months, I have preyed on naive liberal friends who actually believed that Bernie was going to act independently, take it to the convention, wreak havoc on the corrupt Democratic Party.

    • Iron Ladies: The False Choices of Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom

      During the contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for the nomination for Democratic candidate, MSCNBC journalist Irin Carmon wrote, “The conventional wisdom in 2008 was that Clinton ceded the history-making argument to Obama and should have made more of her gender.” The Clinton campaign more than compensated for this in 2015, almost going so far as to suggest that Democrat voters should make their decision solely on the basis of gender. When asked how she would be different from President Obama, Clinton replied: “Well, I think that’s pretty obvious. Being the first woman president would be quite a change from the presidents we’ve had, including President Obama.”

      During the Labour leadership election last year, Yvette Cooper’s campaign borrowed heavily borrowed from Clinton’s playbook. Nominating Cooper was presented not just as a progressive choice, but one so radical that it outdid Jeremy Corbyn’s three-decade opposition to mainstream politics. Cooper said: “”What is more radical? A Labour party after a century of championing equality and diversity which turns the clock back to be led again by a leader and deputy leader, both white men. Or to smash our own glass ceiling to get Labour’s first elected woman leader and woman prime minister too. Who’s the real radical? Jeremy or me?” (The answer is Jeremy.)

    • Revolution Undermined: On Bernie Sanders’s Endorsement of Hillary Clinton

      I join millions of Americans who see Hillary Clinton’s campaign as the opposite of what they and Bernie Sanders have fought for. Despite her penchant for flip flopping rhetoric, Hillary Clinton has spent decades consistently serving the causes of Wall Street, war and the Walmart economy.

      The policies she fought for – along with her husband and political partner, Bill Clinton – have been foundations of the economic disaster most Americans are still struggling with: the abuses of deregulated Wall Street, rigged corporate trade agreements, racist mass incarceration, and the destruction of the social safety net for poor women and children. The consistent efforts of the Democratic Party to minimize, sideline, and sabotage the Sanders campaign are a wake up call that we can’t have a revolutionary campaign inside a counter-revolutionary party.

      Sadly, Sanders is one of a long line of true reformers that have been undermined by the Democratic Party. The eventual suppression of the Sanders campaign was virtually guaranteed from the beginning with super-delegates and super Tuesdays, that were created after George McGovern’s nomination to prevent grassroots campaigns from winning the nomination again.

      Sanders, a life-long independent who has advocated for building an independent democratic socialist party similar to Canada’s New Democratic Party, has said that his decision to run as a Democrat was based on pragmatism, but there is nothing pragmatic about supporting a party that for decades has consistently sold out the progressive majority to the billionaire class. This false pragmatism is not the path to revolutionary change but rather an incrementalism that keeps us trapped, voting for lesser evil again and again.

    • Long Time Progressive Stephen Lendman Blows The Whistle On Bernie Sanders Who Is Part Of Hillary’s Cover

      Fact: Hillary is a Wall Street/war-profiteer’s tool – exclusively supporting monied interests, popular ones be damned.

      Sanders: “(W)e produced, by far, the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic (sic) party.”

      Fact: What rubbish! Democrat New Deal, Fair Deal, Great Society programs are disappearing, targeted for elimination.

      Fact: The Democrat party platform is hugely regressive, not progressive – dirty business as usual pretending otherwise.

      Nothing in it about opposing corporate coup d’etat trade deals. Nothing meaningful about reigning in Wall Street or war-profiteering.

      Nothing about ending endless wars of aggression. Nothing about rescinding police state repression, holding killer cops accountable – putting people above privilege and profits.

      Not a dime’s worth of difference separates Democrats from Republicans on issues mattering most.

      Endorsing Clinton shows where Sanders really stands – contemptuous of world peace, rule of law principles and democratic values – equity and justice mere meaningless words.

    • Clinton-Led Democrats Are Now “To the Right of George W. Bush” on Palestinian Rights

      There are countless ways to see that the rhetorical monuments of magnanimity, humanitarianism and equality which Democratic Party leaders and their loyal followers love to erect in honor of themselves are nothing more than manipulative, self-glorifying dreck. But few pathologies illustrate that deceit more potently than their utter indifference, and now – in the Hillary Clinton era – outright contempt for the plight of Palestinians and their steadfast subservience to right-wing Israeli nationalism. As Demos’ Sean McElwee put it: “The Democratic platform is now officially to the right of George W. Bush on Palestine.”

      Hillary Clinton herself has covertly run one of the most anti-Palestinian, pro-Israeli-aggression presidential campaigns in modern history – from either party. That’s not surprising given her general militarism and the dominance of American-Israeli billionaire Haim “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel” Saban in funding her campaign and the Democratic Party generally. Surprising or not, though, the Clinton-led Democratic Party’s hostility toward the most basic precepts of equality and dignity for Palestinians, and their willingness – their eagerness – to support and cheer for the most extremist Israeli acts of oppression, racism and decades-long occupation, is nothing short of despicable.

    • Did Rupert Murdoch Choose Britain’s New Prime Minister?

      In the interview, Leadsom, who had frequently used the phrase “as a mum” in speeches calling for Britain to leave the EU, was asked how that was relevant to her politics. She responded: “I don’t really know Theresa very well but I am sure she will be really, really sad she doesn’t have children, so I don’t want this to be ‘Andrea has children, Theresa hasn’t,’ do you know wht I mean, because I think that would be really horrible, but genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake.”

      “She possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people,” Leadsom continued, “but I have children who are going to have children who will directly be a part of what happens next.”

      Over the weekend, the candidate tried and failed quite spectacularly to spin her way out of the ensuing mess by claiming that she had been misquoted.

    • Snooper for PM

      Despite the zombie IP Bill (Snooper’s Charter) being knocked back to the depths from whence it came repeatedly, Teresa May’s dark magic managed to revive the bill time and time again. Sadly the lack of opposition from Labour helped facilitate this bill and now it’s creator is set to be our next Prime Minister.

      Her coronation to PM is a sad day for privacy advocates. While our ISPs will be keeping hordes of data on us, Teresa May will get to decide as she leads the country into paranoia and a lack of privacy what to use that data for.

    • Clinton Says She Was ‘Unaware’ She Was Sending Classified Material on Email Server

      Now that the FBI has declined prosecution stating Clinton had no “intent” to send and receive all sorts of classified data, marked and unmarked, Hillary has adopted a brand new excuse: why, golly gosh, she just didn’t know it was classified! She is also throwing some of her staff under the bus for good measure.

      On Friday, Clinton said she did not realize she was transmitting highly classified government secrets through her private email server while U.S. secretary of state.

      Instead, Clinton shifted the blame onto her former colleagues at the State Department, saying in television interviews she followed their lead on whether or not information was classified. “They, I believe, did not believe they were sending any material that was classified, they were pursuing their responsibilities,” she said in an interview with MSNBC.

      She did not address the findings by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that she herself sent information on topics classified at the highest levels of classification.

    • GOP’s Last Line of Anti-Trump Defense

      Donald Trump shook up Republican politics with his populist challenge to the party’s economic and foreign policy orthodoxies, but the GOP establishment has one last chance to stop his nomination, reports ex-CIA analyst Peter W. Dickson.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Kashmir boiling: Netizens demand freedom from Facebook censorship

      As fresh reports suggest that the death toll in Kashmir has risen to 33, Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has just chaired a high-level meet on the issue has finally broken his silence on the issue and has appealed for peace to return to the valley.

      “Prime Minister has appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to maintain calm and peace so that normalcy returns and no innocent lives are disturbed,” Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office was quoted telling Business Standard after the meeting.

    • A fine line: Social media, ‘hate speech,’ and censorship

      “The problem when you get government involved [is that] almost universally, free speech and freedom loses,” Gainor adds.

      The Hamas page has been taken down, but even today there are scores of others – using the same name – which have risen it its place.

    • Facebook Sued Again For ‘Material Support’ Of Terrorism, Because Hamas Uses Facebook

      This is becoming quite the stupid trend: people who are true victims of terrorist attacks suing internet platforms because terror-associated groups are using those platforms generally. It began back in January, when a woman sued Twitter after her husband was apparently killed in an ISIS attack. The lawsuit made no connection between the use of Twitter and the attack. It’s just “husband died in ISIS attack” and “ISIS people use Twitter.” The judge in that case is not at all impressed and it seems likely to dismiss the case shortly. In the meantime, another similar case was filed against Twitter, Facebook and Google.

      And now… we’ve got a third such case filed against Facebook and asking for a billion dollars. A billion dollars. The lawsuit was filed by the families of some people who were killed in a Hamas attack. And the entire complaint is basically “Hamas killed these guys, Hamas uses Facebook, give us a billion dollars.” It goes through a variety of stories, each involving Hamas or Hamas-affiliated attacks, without any actual connection to Facebook, other than “and they also used Facebook to celebrate.”

    • ‘Tyranny’ of Brown University’s censorship culture is featured in new documentary

      Brown University is plagued by administrators who shelter students from controversial ideas and faculty who are too cowed to publicly defend free speech – a microcosm of higher education in the 21st century, according to a new documentary by a Brown graduate.

    • ANC slams culture of censorship at the SABC

      The ANC backed the party’s communications sub-committee head, Jackson Mthembu, who has criticised the broadcaster for changing its editorial policy and stifling media freedom. This after controversial COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng imposed a ban on the airing of violent public protest footage. Motsoeneng’s decision has been roundly opposed, even by some SABC journalists.

    • SABC Censorship: ANC firmly against any form of censorship at the SABC
    • South Africa: Ruling Bids to Overturn ‘Outrageous Censorship’ At Public Broadcaster

      South Africa’s Independent Communications Authority has recommended on 11 July that the country’s public broadcaster ditch a controversial editorial policy which banned journalists from covering violent protests.

      The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomed the ruling and called on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to reinstate suspended journalists and lift the threat of disciplinary action against those who were alleged to be in breach of the policy, which the IFJ believes amounts to «outrageous censorship » .

    • ‘SABC needs to listen to public’s views on censorship policy’

      African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says if the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) wants to be a better public broadcaster, it needs to listen to the views of the public.

      The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) yesterday recommended the broadcaster reverse its ban on footage which shows state property being destroyed, but Chief Operations Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng says no one will tell the SABC what to do.

    • EU Trade Commissioner Criticises Online Censorship in China

      The EU’s Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, raised concerns with Chinese tech policies during this week’s EU-China Summit in Beijing. Malmström warned that China’s “limits to online freedom … get[] in the way of today’s most dramatic innovations.”

      “The power of the Internet is that it connects people in a single global network. Barriers to that, whether by banning certain platforms or by requiring storage of content locally, impede China’s economic progress as much as freedom of expression. And it limits your access to other views and opinions, to the exchange of experiences with other people,” Malmström said. The EU’s top trade official finally called China’s laws on national security, non-governmental organisations and cybersecurity “steps backward.”

    • Guinea: Increasing censorship and pressure on leading musicians

      The 2010 election of longtime opponent Alpha Kondé as president of Guinea brought with it hope that music and other forms of artistic expression would enjoy relatively untrammelled freedom. Such optimism rode on the wave of a burgeoning hip hop scene, an established roster of international stars, a post-independence policy of preserving traditional music and a vocal press acting as watchdogs. Disappointingly, this has not come to be: a spiralling-down of the economy and the growing authoritarianism of the Kondé regime has translated itself into increasing censorship and pressure on the country’s leading musicians. Freemuse reporter Daniel Brown visited the capital Conakry to gauge the current musical climate.

    • USOC Demands That Company Take Down Twitter Posts Of Olympic Athlete It Sponsors

      All I have to do is say that this is a story that involves the Olympics and you probably already know exactly what kind of story this is going to be. That’s because we here at Techdirt have posts going back years that detail how the IOC and the USOC go about bullying, threatening, berating and downright pestering anyone it can over even the slightest of intellectual property concerns. The fact that these international games come around every two years now, instead of four, only means this bullying occurs now in near perpetuity instead of at a pace of a half-a-decade staccato.

      So, with the Rio Olympics right around the zika-infested, super-bacteria-in-the-water corner, it’s time to start relaying the most predictable news possible: the USOC are still bullying people over laughably slight trademark concerns. Though I will credit the USOC this much: they’re finding new and inventive ways to come off as petty and money-grubbing as possible. The link above details the USOC’s demands that Oiselle, an athletic apparel company that sponsors Olympic athlete Kate Grace, take down the following Instagram posts.

    • Silence in the media brings more destruction to Turkey

      The Kurds are now asking world media to inform ‘Superman’ of yet another attack on their homeland in Turkey.

    • China Decrees That All News On Websites Must Funnel Through Government Approval

      Fake news and hoax news stories are annoying, to be sure. I’ve been fooled a few times by hoax stories, as I imagine most other folks who do what we do have been. And, while the strategies taken by folks like Facebook haven’t resulted in ending the scourge of fake news, I can understand the intent. There are probably better strategies out there, though they are harder to achieve. Strategies like educating the public on how to verify internet stories they see. Or instilling in people a healthy amount of skepticism starting at a young age so that they don’t fall victim to every hoax out there. Or just sending around Snopes.com to all of our family members and demanding that they run any outrage through that filter first before bringing it to the dinner table.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • TOS agreements require giving up first born—and users gladly consent

      A recent study concludes what everybody already knows: nobody reads the lengthy terms of service and privacy policies that bombard Internet users every day. Nobody understands them. They’re too long, and they often don’t make sense.

      A study out this month made the point all too clear. Most of the 543 university students involved in the analysis didn’t bother to read the terms of service before signing up for a fake social networking site called “NameDrop” that the students believed was real. Those who did glossed over important clauses. The terms of service required them to give up their first born, and if they don’t yet have one, they get until 2050 to do so. The privacy policy said that their data would be given to the NSA and employers. Of the few participants who read those clauses, they signed up for the service anyway.

      “This brings us to the biggest lie on the Internet, which anecdotally, is known as ‘I agree to these terms and conditions,’” the study found.

      The paper is called “The biggest lie on the Internet: Ignoring the privacy polices and terms of service policies of social networking services.” It was written by Jonathan Obar, who teaches communication technology at York University, and Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, a University of Connecticut communications assistant professor.

    • VPN Provider PIA Exits Russia After Server Seizures

      Private Internet Access is informing users that some of its servers in Russia may have been seized by the authorities. The company believes that it may have been targeted due to its strict no-logging policy, something which puts it at odds with Russian data-retention rules.

    • Fight for your Right to Privacy
    • Judge Upholds UPS Employee/Paid Informant’s Search Of An Intercepted Package

      Maybe this is part of UPS’s large settlement with the DOJ. Maybe this is what FedEx won’t do, which is why the DOJ tried to prosecute it for aiding and abetting illicit drug sales, right up until a federal judge called its prosecution “novel” and ushered it out of the court.

      Whatever the case, there’s at least one “inside man” (in this case a woman) at the UPS. A San Bernardino UPS store owner acted as a “citizen informant” for the county sheriff. In exchange for unspecified “compensation,” the store owner would flag suspicious packages and call in the Sheriff’s Department to come in and have a look/sniff at said shipments.

    • Whistle-Blower on NSA Wiretapping Is Set to Keep Law License

      A District of Columbia bar committee has agreed to a deal that would let a former Justice Department lawyer keep his law license even though he said he was one of the sources for a 2005 article in The New York Times…

    • Facebook spyware push and unexpected N900 advantages

      Dear Facebook. I’m aware that your Facebook lite is only 1MB. It is also dangerous spyware. You try to push it to me every time I attempt to use m.facebook.com. Would not it be nice if you avoided pushing your spyware to phones that can not handle it?

    • US House Squashes Yet Another Attempt to Expand Patriot Act Powers

      A bill critics said would expand Patriot Act surveillance went down in the U.S. House Monday night after failing to garner the necessary two-thirds support of the chamber.

      The “Anti-terrorism Information Sharing is Strength Act,” HR 5606, would have amended the USA Patriot Act to allow financial institutions to share information with law enforcement agencies and one another regarding suspected “activities that may involve terrorist acts, money laundering activities, or a specified unlawful activity.”

      Previously, such sharing was allowed regarding only “terrorist acts or money laundering activities.”

      The final vote on the bill, which was considered under a fast-track process that required it to amass a two-thirds majority for passage, was 229-177.

    • Pokemon Go Hysteria Again Highlights How Media Is Happy To Be Gullible And Wrong — If It Means More Ad Eyeballs

      If you spend any time online, you’ve by now noticed that the internet this week belched forth a tidal wave of incessant chatter over Pokemon Go, Nintendo’s new augmented reality game involving scrambling around real-world locations to “catch” collectible, virtual beasts with your phone. The game is by any standard a smashing success, boosting Nintendo’s market cap by an estimated $9 billion in two days with the app rocketing to the top of both major app stores.

    • Senators Wyden And Heinrich Speak Out Against Expanding FBI’s Ability To Warrantlessly Spy On Your Communications

      We’ve been writing for a while now how the FBI has been trying to rewrite a key part of the PATRIOT Act to massively expand its ability to use National Security Letters (NSLs) to get email and browser information with no warrant and no oversight. Despite the fact that the FBI was asking for this just days before the Orlando shooting, right after it, a bunch of Senators, led by John McCain, used the opportunity to fast track that legislative change, cynically pointing to the Orlando shooting as a reason why it’s needed (despite it having nothing whatsoever to do with that). That effort failed, but just barely — and it’s expected to be brought up again shortly for another vote.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • US Shopping Mall Suspends Robot Cops After Small Child Attacked

      The hi-tech security guards are meant to protect shoppers and deter crime, but the incident has raised questions over their use.

      The Stanford Shopping Center in the U.S. state of California temporarily suspended its fleet of robot cops following an incident where one of the robots reportedly knocked over a small child.

    • Philando Castile Should Still Be Alive

      Mr. Phil (as he was known at school) worked at my son’s elementary school in the cafeteria. My son started pre-K this fall at the tender age of four. First thing he did every morning was walk in and get breakfast. He had never eaten in a cafeteria — he didn’t know the routine — and from day one Mr. Phil made him comfortable. I would often walk in with my son and had the pleasure of talking with Mr. Phil many mornings.

      Within a week Mr. Phil knew my son’s name, despite the fact that there are hundreds of kids in the school. He would always make sure he actually took the food he was supposed to take, and he would often let him take an extra item if he was really hungry.

    • Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas Through A Father’s Eyes

      The horrors we witnessed in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas are rooted in racism that has haunted our families for generations, and is perhaps at its deadliest when embodied in law enforcement and embedded in our communities.

      As I took my oldest son to summer camp on Thursday morning, we rode in uneasy silence, listening to the news of Philando Castile’s death by cop in Falcon Heights, Minn., outside of the Twin Cities. I was emotionally wrung out. The night before I’d begun writing a piece about Alton Sterling’s death at the hands of police in Baton Rouge, La., and planned to finish it in the morning. Before I could begin, my news feed overflowed with reports of Castile’s death.

    • Atoning for Washington’s ‘Mass Kidnapping’ in the Indian Ocean

      The U.S. and UK governments forcibly expelled an entire population of islanders to make way for a military base. It’s time to let them come home

    • This Mosque Was Supposed To Be A Polling Location In Florida. Then People Complained.

      A county elections supervisor in Florida has removed a mosque from a list of polling locations after receiving a flood of complaints, frustrating local Muslims who say the move is discriminatory because churches and other houses of worship are still scheduled to host voters on Election Day.

      According to the Orlando Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach County elections supervisor Susan Bucher initially listed the Islamic Center of Boca Raton as a polling location for upcoming elections. But last week Bucher called Bassem Alhalabi, the president of the mosque, to inform him that she would be directing voters to a nearby public library instead.

    • Cop Prop

      White supremacy has always played a part in our heroics, from Last of the Mohicans to Tarzan. But nowhere is it more obvious than in DW Griffith’s 1915 epic, The Birth of A Nation, which was not only the birth of the Hollywood adventure film but also of the superhero. It’s like watching Batman decoded: a rich slave-owner and Confederate officer, dejected by the South’s loss in the Civil War, dons a cape and mask to protect Southern womanhood from the predations of vile African-Americans and white carpetbaggers. Of course nowadays this kind of racism in crime fiction and comics has become passé. It’s only polite to be racist toward Muslims. But sleeping underneath the subtext is a centuries-enduring narrative of white supremacy, patrician self-pity, and vigilante violence. Every citizen is a potential bad guy with a gun who deserves violence as a first response.

    • After Dallas Shootings, Police Arrest People for Criticizing Cops on Facebook and Twitter

      Four men in Detroit were arrested over the past week for posts on social media that the police chief called threatening. One tweet that led to an arrest said that Micah Johnson, the man who shot police officers in Dallas last week, was a hero. None of the men have been named, nor have they been charged.

      “I know this is a new issue, but I want these people charged with crimes,” said Detroit Police Chief James Craig. “I’ve directed my officers to prepare warrants for these four individuals, and we’ll see which venue is the best to pursue charges,” he said.

      Five police officers were killed in the Dallas shootings, constituting the highest number of police casualties in an attack since September 11. And as a result, law enforcement officials everywhere are suddenly much more sensitive to threats against their lives.

      But one result has been that several police departments across the country have arrested individuals for posts on social media accounts, often from citizen tips — raising concerns among free speech advocates.

      “Arresting people for speech is something we should be very careful about,” Bruce Schneier, security technologist at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, told The Intercept.

      Last weekend in Connecticut, police arrested Kurt Vanzuuk after a tip for posts on Facebook that identified Johnson as a hero and called for police to be killed. He was charged with inciting injury to persons or property.

    • Man who Posted Alton Sterling Shooting Video Arrested 24 Hours Later on Fabricated Charges

      The man who made the video of the Alton Sterling shooting death go viral, one of two brutal videos from two states that sparked a national outrage and led to the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers during an anti-police brutality protest Thursday – was arrested 24 hours later.

      Chris LeDay believes it was an act of retaliation.

      Considering police handcuffed and leg-shackled him after accusing him of assault and battery – only to jail him overnight for unpaid traffic fines – it certainly appears that way.

      Especially considering his arrest took place 24 hours after he had posted the video on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where it instantly went viral.

      LeDay, 34, lives in Georgia, but was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where the shooting took place early Tuesday morning, so he learned of the video through friends back home but it wasn’t getting much exposure.

      At the time, the story – without the video – was being reported in the local news and was already generating controversy because the store owner was saying the shooting was unjustified and the coroner was saying he was shot several times in the front and back.

      And the cops were saying their body cams had fallen off, so there was no video of the shooting.

    • Claudia Rankine: Because White Men Can’t Police Their Imaginations, Black Men Are Dying (Video)

      Because white men can’t police their imaginations, black men are dying.

    • In New York Gang Sweeps, Prosecutors Use Conspiracy Laws to Score Easy Convictions

      Ana was half-asleep when she walked into her hallway and encountered dozens of police officers with shields and helmets. “Put your hands up! Do you speak Spanish or English? How many boys are in the back?” she said they shouted at her before handcuffing her, her husband, and one of her sons and walking into her young daughter’s room with their guns drawn. “I thought it was an action movie,” said Ana, who asked me not to use her last name. She struggled to describe the scene in her uncertain English. Her daughter Angie jumped in.

      “She’s just sad because of what happened,” she said, trying to explain her mother’s long silences. “They woke me up. Wake up, put your hands up!” she shouted, imitating the officers who broke into her room. “They thought I was a teenager. I’m eight.”

      Police were looking for Rodrigo, Ana’s 19-year-old son. Angie is the only one in the family who wasn’t handcuffed. “I was a little brave, but a little scared,” she said, describing how the rest of the family was lined up in the hallway.

    • From South Africa to Ireland, #BlackLivesMatter Finds Solidarity Worldwide

      As the U.S. reels from multiple shootings that made international headlines last week, the country’s grassroots movement for racial justice and against police brutality has been met with solidarity around the world.

      Denouncing the recent fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, people marched and rallied over the weekend and through Tuesday for the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

    • Chelsea confirms health status with attorneys
    • Chelsea Manning Confirms Suicide Attempt: ‘I Will Get Through This’
    • Housing, Race, And Police Stops: The Backstory To Philando Castile’s Killing

      Last week, the internet watched a Facebook live video of Philando Castile’s death after he was shot by police during a routine traffic stop for a broken taillight. His killing took place in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a St. Paul suburb nestled between the region’s white suburban enclaves and areas where the minority population is quickly rising — a racial and economic border where aggressive police encounters are much more common.

      Castile was pulled over in a place that is rapidly segregating by race, a phenomenon afflicting many American cities but is relatively new to this area.

      “In the Twin Cities, it’s particularly sad, because 20 years ago we were one of the most integrated places in the country,” said Myron Orfield, director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota Law School. “And the last 20 years we’ve segregated really fast.”

    • Store Owner Sues Baton Rouge Police For Seizing His CCTV Recording Of Alton Sterling Shooting

      I don’t get to use the phrase “with alacrity” that often, but Baton Rouge store owner Abdullah Muflahi’s filing of a lawsuit against the Baton Rouge police can only be described as that.

      Following the shooting of Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge police officers, Muflahi’s store was raided by law enforcement officers who took the hard drive containing the store’s surveillance camera footage of the altercation. So far, everyone involved has refused to discuss the illegal seizure of Muflahi’s recording equipment, deferring to the FBI and its investigation of the shooting — which would be something if the FBI would answer questions about the seizure and current location of the hard drive.. but it won’t talk about it either.

    • ‘On Contact’ With Chris Hedges: Wrongfully Convicted and Living With the Consequences

      In a new episode of “On Contact,” Chris Hedges’ new show on RT, the Truthdig columnist speaks with author Alison Flowers about wrongful convictions and the challenges people face after spending years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

    • Reading Martin Luther King’s ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ after the Dallas shooting

      In his famous 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr. strategically situated himself between a black elite that was losing democratic legitimacy as it increasingly divorced itself from the plight of the black masses, and anarchic forces that were flirting with violence but were able to garner democratic legitimacy out of sheer desperation. King was trying to provide a third option between doing too little and too much. Pragmatically speaking, he was providing the lesser of three evils.

    • The Anti-Choice Movement Is Hijacking Black Lives Matter To Push Its Own Agenda

      Around the same time, former GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson said that BLM should say “all black lives matter” in order to include the black lives “eradicated by abortion.” According to reporting by Vox, clinic escorts have reported protesters targeting black women entering the clinic with phrases such as “black lives matter,” and “hands up, don’t abort.”

    • Historian: “You Can’t Disconnect History of the 2nd Amendment From the History of White Supremacy”

      President Obama is speaking in Dallas, Texas, today at a memorial service for the five Dallas police officers killed by a sniper Thursday evening. Dallas authorities said Micah Johnson, the sniper, managed to amass a personal arsenal including a semiautomatic SKS rifle, bomb-making materials, bulletproof vests and ammunition. Over the weekend President Obama warned that the easy access to guns nationwide has exacerbated divisions between the police and local communities. We speak to Gerald Horne, an expert on the Second Amendment from the founding of the Ku Klux Klan to the Black Panthers. Horne is a professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston.

    • Resisting the pro-police backlash after Dallas

      THE POLICE KILLING of two Black men–Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, a suburb of the Twin Cities in Minnesota–last week horrified people around the world and brought protesters into the streets in large numbers across the country to proclaim that Black Lives Matter.

      Yet just as quickly, in Dallas, a man who shot and killed police officers as BLM supporters were demonstrating–killing five officers and wounding several more before being killed himself by police–provided the means for the media and law enforcement to shift the spotlight away from the epidemic of police violence and blame those who have risen up to protest.

    • Professor Poses the One Perfect Question About Race That Stumps Her Audience

      Elliott asks all white people in her audience to stand if they “would be happy to be treated as this society in general treats our black citizens.”


      Elliott comments harshly, “You didn’t understand the directions,” and she repeats the question.

      “Nobody is standing here,” Elliott says. “That says very plainly that you know what’s happening? You know you don’t want it for you. I want to know why you’re so willing to accept it or to allow it to happen to others.”

    • How Many Times Do Black People Have to Be Killed on Video Before We Reassess What We Are Doing on Race and Policing in America?

      With the killings by police of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, the question once again arises: How many times do Black people have to be killed on video before we reassess what we are doing on race and policing in America?

      ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jeff Robinson addresses the issue head on and shows a way forward, as he contrasts video of these needless shootings with raw footage from an incident in Camden, New Jersey, involving a man wielding a butcher knife. Unlike similar incidents, the officers calmly de-escalated a truly dangerous situation without resorting to the use of deadly force.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • European Telcos Threaten To Withhold Next Gen Wireless Upgrades If Net Neutrality Rules Passed

      Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: broadband carriers are once again claiming that if regulators pass net neutrality rules, their ability to invest in next-generation networks will be somehow be severely hindered, causing no limit of damage to consumers, puppies, and the time-space continuum. That’s basically the line U.S. broadband providers tried to feed the FCC in the States. But no matter how many industry-tried, cherry picking think tank studies have tried to claim that net neutrality hurts broadband investment, real world data and ongoing deployment show that just isn’t true.

      As we noted last October, Europe passed net neutrality rules that not only don’t really protect net neutrality, but actually give ISPs across the EU’s 28 member countries the green light to violate net neutrality consistently — just as long as ISPs provide a few flimsy, faux-technical justifications. The rules are so filled with loopholes as to be useless, and while they technically took effect on April 30, the European Union’s Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) has been cooking up new guidelines to help European countries interpret and adopt the new rules.

      With BEREC’s public comment period set to end on July 18, European net neutrality advocates are giving it one last shot to toughen up the shoddy rules. Fearing they might succeed, a coalition of twenty European telcos (and the hardware vendors that feed at their collective trough) have taped together something they’re calling their “5G Manifesto,” (pdf) which trots out some pretty familiar fear mongering for those who’ve remotely followed the last fifteen years of net neutrality debate.

    • Major telecoms promise 5G networks if EU cripples net neutrality

      A group of 20 major telcos including Deutsche Telekom, Nokia, Vodafone, and BT promise to launch 5G networks in every country in the European Union by 2020 — so long as governments decide to weaken net neutrality rules. The coalition’s plans are outlined in its “5G Manifesto,” a seven-page document that details how the companies will roll 5G out across the continent over the next few years. However, by warning against regulation that would ensure an open internet and encouraging nations to water rules down, the companies are effectively holding the new technology for ransom.

    • Telecoms Promise 5G Networks If EU Cripples Net Neutrality
    • Researchers Confirm EFF’s Binge On Findings—And Learn How to Get Binge On to Zero-Rate Everything

      EFF’s headline-making research earlier this year showed that T-Mobile’s Binge On program wasn’t exactly working as advertised. Now, researchers at Northeastern University and the University of Southern California have published a paper confirming EFF’s findings in detail—even revealing a major weakness in the program that would allow T-Mobile customers to trick the system.

      Binge On is one of T-Mobile’s zero-rating programs, in which certain types of data—videos, in this case—don’t count toward customers’ data caps. When launching Binge On late last year, T-Mobile loudly proclaimed that it “optimized” data for mobile devices, which certainly sounds like a good thing. Sadly, EFF’s test showed T-Mobile wasn’t being entirely truthful: the “optimization” was actually just throttling, and T-Mobile was also throttling some video it wasn’t zero-rating—which meant that in some cases customers were getting lower quality video and still having to pay for it. Not so good, after all.

      The researchers at Northeastern and USC confirmed that Binge On works by throttling video data to 1.5Mbps without doing any sort of optimization. But the researchers went even further, showing how Binge On can result in worse-quality video (especially for mobile devices with high-resolution screens), and explaining how it could also result in decreased battery lifetime (due to the longer download times Binge On causes).

      And they didn’t stop there. They actually reverse-engineered the classifier T-Mobile uses to decide whether or not data should be zero-rated. In other words, they figured out exactly what parts of a data stream T-Mobile looks at to decide if a flow of packets should count against a customer’s data cap or not, and which values triggered zero-rating. With that knowledge in hand, they also figured how to subvert the classifier into zero-rating any data—not just video streams.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Focus On Medicines Patents & Prices Alone May Do More Harm Than Good [Ed: This article wrongly assumes that higher drug prices would improve innovation. In reality: government subsidies fund R&D]

      Populism is in vogue these days and critics of pharmaceutical patents are trying to ride the wave, claiming that undermining patents will dramatically decrease prices but not reduce innovation. Both sides of that claim are flawed.

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom to reboot Megaupload half a decade after FBI shut it down

        Kim Dotcom, the flamboyant Web baron, is planning to relaunch his once popular Megaupload file-sharing website in 2017—five years to the day after the US government shut it down amid accusations of piracy.

        In a series of tweets posted over the weekend, Dotcom hinted that the new Megaupload would involve Bitcoin, while he also promised “big announcements” would be coming regarding partners for the site. Previous users of the site will apparently have their accounts reinstated with premium privileges.

      • CopyCamp 2016 Open Call

        This year we aim at building upon this extraordinary background and facilitate a dialogue particularly focused on the Future of Copyright in Europe. We want to gather the widest possible group of people involved in the discussion about the impact of copyright on social life, education, economy and politics who wish to present their opinions to the international audience. As always, we will be pleased to host all interested parties in the neutral and friendly space, and encourage participants to share thoughts and exchange ideas.

      • The Marrakesh Treaty comes into force – what impact will it have?

        The Marrakesh Treaty, which will improve access to published works for the visually impaired, comes into force on September 30. Natalie Rahhal speaks to people who were involved in the copyright treaty’s negotiation to find out what that means in practice and what impact it will have

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