The Patent Microcosm is Panicking and Spinning Alice/§ 101 Because US Software Patents Are Still Dying

Posted in America, Patents at 1:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A growing sense of panic among those who profit from software patents bureaucracy


Summary: A look at recent developments in the software patents scene in the United States, with increased focus on (or fear of) the Patent Trial and Appeal Board

THE USPTO has been coming under greater scrutiny for patent scope as of late. Even branches of the government [1, 2] have chastised the Office for abandoning patent quality in favour of greater profits — the same error which many patent offices are tempted to make for short-term gains. David Kappos was a terrible Director at the Office and now he is a corporate lobbyist for software patents in the US because Alice, which came to the Supreme Court after he had departed, effectively ended a lot of software patenting. This post is an outline of several of the latest developments in this area, gathered over the past week as part of our ongoing 10-year (almost decade-long) research.

We start this outline with several pointers to articles from Patently-O, a site which in spite of the long summer vacation has been very active this past week. Watch Professor Dennis Crouch ranting about PTAB, the large (and growing) group of people who trash software patents. He wrote: “Decisions by the Patent Trial & Appeal Board are rarely overturned on appeal. I expect that result is largely due to the fact that the Patent Office has staffed the Board with highly trained and skilled patent law experts. The other important factor though, is the standard of review. Factual findings made by the Board are reviewed for “substantial evidence” — meaning that the findings need not be “correct” but rather rather merely supported by “more than a mere scintilla of evidence.” Thus, patentees are hard-pressed to get a reversal based upon erroneous factual conclusions.”

Considering the utterly bad quality of patents granted by the USPTO in recent years, it oughtn’t take much for the PTAB to correctly and justifiably invalidate these. PTAB is just cleaning up the mess left behind by Kappos et al. It’s well overdue. In reference to Cuozzo [1, 2, 3] and PTAB Patently-O says:

Following Cuozzo, I largely wrote-off GEA Process (“GPNA”) v. Steuben as having any chance for certiorari. However, the petitioner’s newly filed reply brief offers an opportunity for revival.

In its decision on an IPR appeal, the Federal Circuit held that it lacked jurisdiction to review claims that the PTAB exceeded the PTO’s statutory authority by “terminating and vacating five instituted and near-final IPR proceedings, without determining patentability vel non as Congress had intended.”

In another (probably last) article in this series about PTAB and IPRs, Patently-O said that “[i]n a timely motion, Aqua moved to amend three of the claims to include the limitations found in the non-instituted claims. (In particular, the patentee asked to substitute claims 1, 8, and 20 with claims 22-24 respectively. The PTAB agreed that these new claims satisfied the formal requirements of Section 316(d), but refused to enter the amendment – finding that the patentee’s motion had failed to show that the substitute claims were distinguishable over the prior art.”

Good. So the PTAB staff has a backbone and unlike the examiners of the USPTO, there’s no overt bias in favour of granting (even if in doubt). Strictness would serve the USPTO in the long run as it can help enforce/reintroduce the perception of patent quality, suggesting that it is being improved and things are being tightened or cleaned up retroactively as well.

According to this new article titled “Has Rochester lost its patents edge?” — an article which was published a couple of days ago — “patents granted to Rochester-area inventors fell by 21 percent last year, from 1,537 to 1,217.”

It sounds like patent quality is improving then. The number of patents is a very poor indicator of innovation. Now, see the part where patent lawyers interject their bias:

“The law in this area swings back and forth,” said Justin Petruzzelli, a patent lawyer and partner with the Rochester firm Rossi, Kimms and McDowell. He points to a 2014 case, Alice Corporation v. CLS Banking, where the Supreme Court laid out the criteria for computer-related inventions to be considered patent eligible.

“Some of the drop we’ve seen is from uncertainty created by the Alice decision,” Perruzzelli said, “and perhaps an overreaction on applying for patents related to software and business methods.”

It is not an “overreaction”, Mr. Petruzzelli, but you would rather mislead people so that you get more business, right? This is just propaganda/marketing interjected into a so-called ‘article’. People have got common sense and they know that being granted software patents is nowadays very hard. That’s why Petruzzelli is a little nervous. That’s why he wants articles like these.

The statement from Petruzzelli is overshadowed by facts and we see similar statements from others who are in the patent microcosm. Mind a patent attorney who says “Patent for Recording and Indexing Images Survives Alice: http://assets.law360news.com/0825000/825427/show_temp%20(53).pdf” (this is the case between Iron Gate and Lowe’s Companies in a District Court, which is a relatively low and Alice-hostile level; Alice is mentioned a lot in this 31-page decision). Also mind the most vocal pro-software patents site out there. It says:

Electric Power Group LLC v. Alstom S.A., 2015-1778 is a precedential case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that holds that claims directed to collecting and presenting information from a power grid, though “lengthy and numerous,” “do not go beyond requiring the collection, analysis, and display of available information in a particular field.” Rather, the claims state “those functions in general terms, without limiting them to technical means for performing the functions that are arguably an advance over conventional computer and network technology. The claims, defining a desirable information-based result and not limited to inventive means of achieving the result, fail under §101.”

§ 101 is scary to these people. The likes of Petruzzelli know that if the public knew about it, there would not be much more business left for their firms. Here is another new article on this topic [via]. It’s titled “Section 101 Blocks Caller ID Patent” and it says that “Judge Seeborg’s decision offers some examples of considerations that will support a successful § 101 challenge—not least of which is a patentee’s allegations making a patent sound less inventive rather than more.”

So here again we have a reminder of the strength of § 101 and why software patents quickly lose their luster even in the United States.

“Thankfully, PTAB is working at an accelerated pace to undo the damage, much to the fear of the patent microcosm which dubbed PTAB “death squads” (as if patent quality assessment is the moral equivalent of mortal execution).”In Patently-O, another new article (this one by Jason Rantanen for a change) speaks about the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), which brought software patents to the US in the first place. Patently-O also refers to Halo [1, 2, 3] and reminds us that one possible takeaway from Halo v Pulse (not a CAFC case but a SCOTUS case) is that we should never read patents as more damages would be incurred as a result of that (article by Dennis Crouch). “On remand,” he notes, “the district court will be hard-pressed to find that the infringement was not willful – based upon the apparently unchallenged verdict. Still, it will be within the district court’s discretion to decide whether the willfulness warrants enhanced damages under Section 284. If enhanced damages are warranted, the district court must then determine how much to award (with an upper limit of treble damages).”

If one embraced a policy of not reading any patents, then proving lower liabilities and compellingly demonstrating this (by citing the policy) would be simple. Here is MIP’s new article about Halo v Pulse. “The Federal Circuit directs district court to decide whether “an enhancement of the damages award is warranted” in Halo v Pulse,” the summary says. Had they not bothered with reading any patents at all, they would be better off for sure.

Another last Patently-O article speaks of indefinteness and notes that “the Federal Circuit has affirmed that Icon’s asserted patent claims are invalid because they “fail to inform, with reasonable certainty, those skilled in the art about the scope of the invention.” Although indefiniteness is a question of law subject to de novo review, the starting point of that review is almost always the district court opinion – thus the court here looked for errors in the district court decision. That is especially true here where the district court decision was based in part on underlying factual conclusions that receive deference under Teva.”

Putting it in simpler terms, scope of a particular patent (how much it covers, breadth of coverage) plays an important role, not just patent scope in its own right. It sure looks like poor quality control at the USPTO left a horrible legacy where many patents are simply unfit for purpose (too broad or too abstract, even not novel). Thankfully, PTAB is working at an accelerated pace to undo the damage, much to the fear of the patent microcosm which dubbed PTAB “death squads” (as if patent quality assessment is the moral equivalent of mortal execution).

21,000 Posts in Techrights in Less Than a Decade

Posted in Site News at 1:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cake for birthday

Summary: This post is the 21,000th post and the next one will make it more than twenty-one thousand posts in total. We are turning 10 in November.

WIKI pages and other pages/documents aside, in terms of the blog we have just crossed a milestone with 21,000 blog posts, months ahead of the tenth anniversary of the site. Keep us strong by linking to us and recommending us.

Patent Microcosm Shuts Out the Poor: Unified Patent Court (UPC) Promotion by Practising Law Institute (PLI) Only for the Wealthy

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If you are not part of the UPC ‘conspiracy’ (a small self-serving group which lobbies officials), then you are not invited

Bank people

Summary: The people who are profiting from patent feuds, disputes, lawsuits etc. are still trying to muscle their will into European law and they keep the general public out of it by locking down (or pricing out of reach) their meetings where they influence/lobby decision-making officials

THE EPO is an incredibly abusive institution where the rich corporations get precedence (or preferential treatment). Seeing what kind of regime now runs the EPO (Battistelli and his mostly French buddies), this should not be surprising, especially if one examines their political connections (the equivalent of the Donald Trump party in the US).

The UPC conspirators (basically a bunch of patent law firms that are still pushing for patent trolls and software patents) now charge a “registration fee for this [UPC] webcast [which] is $299.” To put it bluntly, you have to be pretty rich to just watch some silly webcast in which they strive to shape perception and steer policy. That’s just another example of the “behind closed doors” policy that we wrote about earlier this month. It’s truly appalling and it resembles TTIP or TPP.

There are other new examples of discrimination against the poor or against the general public. Several hours ago in India, which strictly disallows software patenting, the following article was published. It speaks of a company that wants to use instruments against cancer; these would only be available for the rich, which raises the same old ethical dilemmas (covered here in relation to the EPO before). To quote parts of the article:

“In the medical industry , you need to get multiple regulatory approvals. Approval from the US and EU authorities is important before you can ship products,” says Mavely, who has funding from IDG Ventures and Accel Partners. His kits cost Rs 2,500 to Rs5,000, a fifth of what his US competitors charge. Mavely , who has filed for five patents, is ready to ship across the world.


“Solid clinical data, publications and early adopters who can vouch for your technology are key before you commercialize. This always takes longer than we anticipate,” says Nandakumar Subburaman, founder and CEO of Perfint, which makes robotic devices to deliver cancer drugs directly to organs like the lungs or liver. Since 2005, the company , which holds four US patents, has shipped 100 units, and has been running on $33million in venture funding.

As we have seen at the EPO, some of these things, even if granted a patent and made “Finalist” by the EPO for EIA, turn out to be fraudulent. But the bottom line is, patent systems and their effect on (or from) the public isn’t quite what it often seems on the surface. Scepticism is needed here as this is science, not religion or dogma (like UPC).

The United States Has a Growing Patent Trolls Epidemic as Very High Proportion of Lawsuits Filed by Them

Posted in America, Patents at 11:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How long before all lawsuits are filed by purely litigation firms?

White pie chart

Summary: A look at the high proportion of patent lawsuits that are filed by entities that make nothing at all and thus serve no role whatsoever in innovation

TROLLS in the United States are a real problem because the USPTO sparingly grants software patents, unlike the EPO (for now).

Matt Levy, an opposer of patent trolls (for a front group, CCIA), has published in his own blog an article which was mentioned here before and refers to this trolls-friendly letter. Meanwhile, another front against trolls says: “Of the 27 patent lawsuits filed today, 22 were filed by patent trolls — 81%. It’s time for Congress to take action to #fixpatents!”

“If software patents were officially made and openly declared verboten in the US, a lot of patent trolls would vanish almost overnight as they depend nearly 100% on software patenting.”We recently saw reliable statistics which suggest that nearly 90% of technology patent lawyers are filed by patent trolls, or NPEs. One such firm (more like PAE or patent pool), RPX, made the news last week [1, 2] and turned out to be involved in patent shakedowns. To quote: “Under the terms of the agreement, RPX will receive the right to sublicense a limited number of companies to Kudelski Group patents. Kudelski will receive an upfront payment, mutual patent risk clearance, and a future transfer of patents from RPX.”

It is worth noting that much of the above is about software patents, i.e. dubious patents that may no longer be valid (because of Alice). If software patents were officially made and openly declared verboten in the US, a lot of patent trolls would vanish almost overnight as they depend nearly 100% on software patenting.

Pushers of Software Patents Outside the United States (Which is Belatedly Squashing These Patents)

Posted in America, Asia, Australia, Courtroom, Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Speaking for their wallets (profit motive), misleading the public

DEA profit motive
Like the military-industrial complex and surveillance/enforcement in the age of drug wars, patent lawyers profit from endless feuds

Summary: How patent law firms are distorting the debate about software patents in hope of attracting business from gullible people who misunderstand the harsh (and worsening) reality of software patenting

Software patents should not exist in the EPO and the USPTO too is gradually cracking down on these, especially because of the US Supreme Court. It does not mean that patent law firms will take this defeat without a fightback.

Elaine Bergenthuin, “owner and managing partner of De Beer Attorneys” by her own description, has just got published this self-promotional puff piece in the South African media. It appeared there this morning and it’s not a good article, it’s more like marketing. “You cannot generally obtain patents for software in South Africa,” the article correctly states (see our Wiki page “Software Patents in South Africa”), but Bergenthuin is then finding some loopholes and promoting these, as if to say, “come to me, I’ll help you get software patents by working around the law.”

“Software developers don’t bother trying to get software patents in India, but patent law firms mislead them.”This is very typical. The press is full of this marketing spam. The local press all over the world has been reduced to advertisements in ‘article’ form.

Here is an example from India which is only days old. Software developers don’t bother trying to get software patents in India, but patent law firms mislead them. They have nothing to lose; the lawyers always get paid (irrespective of success rate), and it’s clear at whose expense.

Watch another new example that we found in the Indian press a couple of days ago. It speaks of some who “hold only a handful of patents and that too on software related to audio and keyboards.” So these are software patents. Why bother?

A site that’s preoccupied with promotion of software patents published one week ago an article titled “Hop on the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) via Australia”. One can guess who wrote it and it says: “While Australia isn’t usually considered a very important market since its population is so small and its manufacturing base is limited, it is our experience that there are a few US companies realising that prosecuting in Australia to use the PPH back into the US makes sense. There is always the option of filing in Australia first and using an Australian patent application as the priority application. However, one would need a foreign filing license from the US before doing so. A strategy could be to file a provisional in the US, receive the foreign filing license, and then file a standard (utility) application in Australia to take advantage of the expedited examination process at IP Australia to hop onto the Patent Prosecution Highway via Australia.”

“The press is full of this marketing spam. The local press all over the world has been reduced to advertisements in ‘article’ form.”Well, “prosecuting in Australia to use the PPH back into the US makes sense” only if software patents were actually potent there. They’re not. So once again we can see bad advice being given by the patent microcosm. What happened to journalism? Well, this isn’t journalism, it’s marketing. We recently wrote about the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) in relation to Australia, noting that the EPO — not just the USPTO — embraces these under Battistelli (even in rather dubious places with hardly any patents). The EPO is totally out of control when it comes to patent scope and it probably breaks the rules of the EPC when it comes to that. There is still a discussion about how this has been made possible in the first place. One person asks: “Has anything in the PPI, which must be done by the EPOff or the EPOrg, ever been done? I am thinking of the relations with the work-rules regulating organs of the host countries (Arbeitsinspectie, Gewerbeaufsicht,…)”

Well, Battistelli is “instructing the staff to sidestep part of the EPC,” one person responded. Here is the comment in full: “Yes, but what would the dispute be? According to 23(1) above, doesn’t it only arise if immunity has been claimed? Not sure that BB instructing the staff to sidestep part of the EPC would fall within that. He wouldn’t claim immunity (from what?) – he’s just doing his job.”

We worry that the EPO, especially under Battistelli, is now cooperating with the patent microcosm and just abandoning patent quality control (improving the “success” rate of patent law firms). See this new ‘article’ titled “Patents in Denmark”. “In general,” it says, “software as such is not patentable (Section 1(2) of the Patents Act). However, it is possible to patent software as part of a patent whose subject matter is a process. Further, software is patentable if it has the potential to bring about, when run on a computer, a further technical effect which goes beyond the normal physical interactions between the program and the computer.”

“There are only (formally) software patents in the US (maybe in Japan as well), but they’re being used by foreign entities outside the United States.”Actually, these are dubious claims that rely on Brimelow sidestepping the EPC. Things have become even worse in German courts and the German patent office. Here is a new example of software patents for German company in the United States. These patents have been weaponised and “[a]ccording to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to industrial control systems that employ advanced software to program, run, and visualize industrial control processes. In particular, the ‘226 patent relates to interfaces for connecting a computer to devices on multiple industrial control networks so that data may be communicated across the different industrial control networks to and from an application program running on the computer.”

These are software patents from the US. There are only (formally) software patents in the US (maybe in Japan as well), but they’re being used by foreign entities outside the United States. We sure hope that people will come to grips with the corrupting influence of patent law firms in this debate and also acknowledge that software patents bring nothing but negatives to society; they’re good only to patent lawyers and patent offices where the goal is to increase so-called ‘production’ as measured in terms of the number of granted patents.

High Risk Persists That Yahoo’s Software Patents Will Land on Microsoft’s Lap and/or Trolls’ Hands

Posted in Patents at 6:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Also worth remembering is Microsoft’s active role in creating and bankrolling trolls that are overtly taxing Android/ChromeOS (GNU/Linux)

Yahoo! Blog from Sunnyvale, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
Generic license (caption added by us, with Ballmer’s words)

Summary: Remains of Yahoo, which is effectively being liquidated, include software patents, but it’s not clear who will take over them and what will be done with them

Yahoo is a dead company and Yahoo‘s death is due to Microsoft’s intervention. Yahoo’s USPTO-granted software patents are on sale although they might not be worth much after Alice. It remains to be seen who takes these; maybe some Microsoft-backed consortium? Maybe some patent troll with “PAE” as a euphemism? This new article is titled “Next up in Yahoo’s closing down sale: The patent auction”. We can’t help but wonder who would be so foolish or overly hopeful… enough to attempt litigation with software patents in spite of this hostile atmosphere in the US courts. Well, even if the USPTO granted these patents, it does not mean they’re potent.

“We can’t help but wonder who would be so foolish or overly hopeful… enough to attempt litigation with software patents in spite of this hostile atmosphere in the US courts.”Speaking of Yahoo, a lot of patent news comes from there, so with the demise of Yahoo there will be less information. These couple of spammy articles/press releases from Yahoo [1, 2], for example, are quite revealing. Some companies are so boring that the only press releases they make public are about poor-quality software patents. The other article uses a buzzword, namely “Big Data”, in an attempt to sell proprietary software that will (supposedly) manage Intellectual Property [sic]. It surely won’t work as well as a human, but there are also some fools in suits with no scientific background who believe examination can be done by machines from start to finish.

Links 14/8/2016: ‘Goodbye Windows – Hello Ubuntu’, Linux Mint 18 Xfce Overview

Posted in News Roundup at 6:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Envisioning Bitcoin’s Technology at the Heart of Global Finance

    A new report from the World Economic Forum predicts that the underlying technology introduced by the virtual currency Bitcoin will come to occupy a central place in the global financial system.

    A report released Friday morning by the forum, a convening organization for the global elite, is one of the strongest endorsements yet for a new technology — the blockchain — that has become the talk of the financial industry, despite the shadowy origins of Bitcoin.

    “Rather than to stay at the margins of the finance industry blockchain will become the beating heart of it,” the head of financial services industries at the World Economic Forum, Giancarlo Bruno, said in a statement released with the report.

  • Intriguing details emerge about Fuchsia OS, Google’s latest project
  • Shhh: Google Is Secretly Making A Fuchsia OS, And It’s Not Based On Linux
  • Google is developing an OS called “Fuchsia,” runs on All the Things
  • Google Is Working On ‘Fuchsia’, Its Own, Non-Linux Based Operating System For ‘Modern’ Devices
  • Google is secretly creating a new OS that’s not based on Linux
  • Events

    • Midwest Drupal Summit

      Join us for 3 days this summer in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for the 2016 Midwest Drupal Summit and help make D8 the best version yet.

      With the launch of Drupal 8, there’s a lot to be excited about in the Drupal community — and a lot left to contribute!

      For this year’s Summit, we’ll gather on the beautiful University of Michigan campus for three days of code sprints, working on issues such as porting modules and writing or updating documentation. We will start around 10AM and finish around 5PM each day.

    • Three Weeks Until QtCon!

      From 1 to 4 September 2016 the communities of KDE, Qt, FSFE, VideoLAN and KDAB join forces in Berlin for QtCon. The program consists of a mix of Qt trainings on day 1, unconference sessions, lightning talks and more than 150 in-depths talks on technical and community topics on days 2 to 4. Track topics range from KDE‘s Latest and Greatest, Testing and Continuous Integration and QtQuick to Free Software policies and politics, Community and Beyond code. Check out the program.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Funds PyPy In Latest Round Of Open Source Funding

        Mozilla is giving $200,000 to Baroque Software to work on PyPy, specifically to implement support for Python 3.5. Eight other open source projects also shared $385,000 in the recent round of funding.

        PyPy is a Python interpreter with an integrated JIT compiler that currently supports Python 2.7. The money from Mozilla will be used to implement the Python 3.5 features in PyPy. The money will be used over the coming year to pay four core PyPy developers half-time to work on the missing features, and on some of the big performance and cpyext issues.

  • Databases

    • Why Uber dropped PostgreSQL

      The rivalry between database management systems is often somewhat heated, with fans of one system often loudly proclaiming that a competitor “sucks” or similar. And the competition between MySQL and PostgreSQL in the open-source world has certainly been heated at times, which makes a recent discussion of the pros and cons of the two databases rather enlightening. While it involved technical criticism of the design decisions made by both, it lacked heat and instead focused on sober analysis of the differences and their implications.

      The transportation company Uber had long used PostgreSQL as the storage back-end for a monolithic Python application, but that changed over the last year or two. Uber switched to using its own Schemaless sharding layer atop MySQL and on July 26 published a blog post by Evan Klitzke that set out to explain why the switch was made. There were a number of reasons behind it, but the main problem the company encountered involved rapid updates to a table with a large number of indexes. PostgreSQL did not handle that workload particularly well.

    • Automatic PostgreSQL config with Ansible
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • The Open Source School Redefines Education in Italy

      Threading elements of the great educational experiments of Bauhaus and Roycroft Community models together with Pierre Levy’s modern definition of “collective intelligence,” La Scuola Open Source (The Open Source School) embodies the principles of the sharing movement. Its success hinges on cooperative work, co-design, shared skills, and an open source culture. The school’s 13 co-founders believe in the power of people’s collaborative qualities. Their unusual constitution is testimony to this.

      I believe La Scuola Open Source has the capacity to extend from its origin in Puglia on the southern heel of Italy and inspire the acquisition of knowledge and educational development on a global scale. Recently, I talked with two of its co-founders — Lucilla Fiorentino and Alessandro Tartaglia — how digital artisans, creators, artists, designers, programmers, pirates, dreamers, and innovators are collaborating to create Italy’s most important service for social innovation and community development: education. Fiorentino and Tartaglia answered my questions in tandem.

    • Can 42 US, a free coding school run by a French billionaire, actually work?

      Welcome to 42 US, a free (as in beer) coding school, which opened just last month. Even the optional dorms are free. (Good news: laundry is also free! Bad news: you have to pay the dorm $75 a week if you want two meals a day.) Admittedly, it sounds totally crazy.

  • Public Services/Government

    • In limiting open source efforts, the government takes a costly gamble

      The vast majority of companies are now realizing the value of open sourcing their software and almost all have done so for at least certain projects. These days Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and almost every major company is releasing code to the open source community at a constant rate.

      As is the case with many cutting edge developments it’s taking governments a while to catch on and understand the value in going open source. But now governments around the world are beginning to take the view that as their software is funded by the public, it belongs to the public and should be open for public use and are starting to define codified policies for its release.


      The vast majority of code is still not classified and therefore, much higher levels of open sourcing are possible. While a bigger embrace of open source may seem like a risk, the real danger lies in small, overly-cautious implementation which is costing taxpayers by the day and making us all less secure.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Hellwig Announces He Will Appeal VMware Ruling After Evidentiary Set Back in Lower Court
    • Linux developer loses GPL suit against VMware

      Linux kernel developer Christoph Hellwig has lost his case against virtualisation company VMware, which he had sued in March 2015 for violation of version 2 of the GNU General Public Licence.

      The verdict was issued in the Hamburg District Court on 7 August.

      Hellwig, who is the maintainer of the kernel’s SCSI sub-system, has said he would appeal. “I’m disappointed that the court didn’t even consider the actual case of reusing the Linux code written by me, and I hope the Court of Appeal will investigate this central aspect of the lawsuit,” he said in a statement.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration


  • Kenny Baker, actor behind R2-D2, dies

    The British actor who played R2-D2 in the Star Wars films has died at the age of 81 after a long illness. Kenny Baker, who was 3ft 8in tall, shot to fame in 1977 when he first played the robot character.

  • Science

    • Brain wiring needed for reading isn’t learned—it’s in place prior to reading

      Our brains are apparently really good at divvying up heavy mental loads. In the decades since scientists started taking snapshots of our noggins in action, they’ve spotted dozens of distinct brain regions in charge of specific tasks, such as reading and speech. Yet despite documenting this delegation, scientists still aren’t sure exactly how slices of our noodle get earmarked for specific functions. Are they preordained based entirely on anatomy, or are they assigned as wiring gets laid down during our development?

      A new study, published this week in Nature Neuroscience, adds more support for that latter hypothesis. Specifically, researchers at MIT scanned the brains of kids before and after they learned to read and found that they could pinpoint how the area responsible for that task would develop based on connectivity patterns. In other words, the neural circuitry and hookups laid down prior to reading determined where and how the brain region responsible for reading, the visual word form area, or VWFA, formed.

      “Long-range connections that allow this region to talk to other areas of the brain seem to drive function,” Zeynep Saygin, lead study author and researcher at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, said in a news release.

      The finding squares with researchers’ hunch that connectivity is key, plus previous findings from studies done on ferrets. In those experiments, researcher manually re-wired the brains of the developing mustelids, rerouting the input wires from the retina to a region of the brain normally tasked with handling sound input. In response, that auditory cortex developed distinct functions involved with vision. Thus, it’s connectivity, not other intrinsic features of brain regions, that might explain functional divisions, the researchers speculated.

    • Inside the IBM PC 5150: The first-ever IBM PC

      35 years ago (today), IBM launched the most influential commercial computer system of all time, the IBM PC 5150. Over the past three and a half decades, architectural descendants of this single machine have taken over the desktop, workstation, server, and even game console markets. And despite inroads from ARM-based smartphones, its digital descendants are still relied upon for just about all the heavy lifting in the computer industry.

      On the anniversary of such a monumentally important computer, I thought it would be instructive to take a deeper look into the machine that started it all. How? By taking apart one of these bad boys on my trusty workbench, of course. And that’s exactly what you’ll see in the slides ahead.

    • First wearable brain scanner to probe people with amazing gifts

      Take a walk while I look inside your brain. Scientists have developed the first wearable PET scanner – allowing them to capture the inner workings of the brain while a person is on the move. The team plans to use it to investigate the exceptional talents of savants, such as perfect memory or exceptional mathematical skill.

      All available techniques for scanning the deeper regions of our brains require a person to be perfectly still. This limits the kinds of activities we can observe the brain doing, but the new scanner will enable researchers to study brain behaviour in normal life, as well providing a better understanding of the tremors of Parkinson’s disease, and the effectiveness of treatments for stroke.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How Factory Farming Is Giving Rise to Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs

      America is facing a real crisis in regard to antibiotics resistant infections, and factory farming is one of the main reasons.

      In May, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research reported the first U.S. case of Colistin-resistant infection, involving a patient in Pennsylvania. Also that month, researchers at USDA and Health and Human Services reported finding Colistin-resistant E. coli in a pig intestinal sample. Because Colistin is a last resort drug for treating superbug (multi-drug-resistant) infections, these discoveries signal we are that much closer to what has been referred to as a post-antibiotic era, where people will die from once-treatable infections.

    • Marijuana to remain illegal under federal law, DEA says

      Marijuana advocates who hoped the cascade of states moving to legalize medical marijuana would soften the federal stance on the drug faced disappointment Thursday as the Drug Enforcement Administration announced it will keep marijuana illegal for any purpose.

      Marijuana will remain a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Substances in Schedule 1 are determined by the Food and Drug Administration to have no medical use. States that allow marijuana for medical use or legalize recreational use remain in defiance of federal law.

      The announcement to be published Friday in the Federal Register relaxes the rules for marijuana research to make it easier for institutions to grow marijuana for scientific study. The DEA currently authorizes just one grow facility in Mississippi.

    • Stop Treating Marijuana Like Heroin

      Supporters of a saner marijuana policy scored a small victory this week when the Obama administration said it would authorize more institutions to grow marijuana for medical research. But the government passed up an opportunity to make a more significant change.

      The Drug Enforcement Administration on Thursday turned down two petitions — one from the governors of Rhode Island and Washington and the other from a resident of New Mexico — requesting that marijuana be removed from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. Drugs on that list, which include heroin and LSD, are deemed to have no medical use; possession is illegal under federal law, and researchers have to jump through many hoops to obtain permission to study them and obtain samples to study. Having marijuana on that list is deeply misguided since many scientists and President Obama have said that it is no more dangerous than alcohol.

    • Polio is back in Nigeria because Boko Haram kept kids from being vaccinated

      Polio is back in Nigeria, just when the World Health Organization thought the virus might be gone completely. Two kids have been paralyzed by the virus for the first time in two years, the WHO announced today. Both live in northeastern Nigeria, where it has been hard to vaccinate kids because the area is controlled by terrorist group Boko Haram. The government is now preparing an emergency immunization program as researchers fear a possible outbreak.

    • Farmers threaten new “tractor march” to protest govn’t budget

      The farming community is disappointed by the terms of the government’s draft budget proposal presented earlier this week. Some say that they feel betrayed, that the government has failed to keep promises made to the hard-pressed agricultural sector following a tractor march protest in the capital last spring. They intended to bring their protest, and their tractors, back to Helsinki to try again.

  • Security

    • One bug to rule them all: ‘State-supported’ Project Sauron malware attacks world’s top PCs

      Two top electronic security firms have discovered a new powerful malware suite being used to target just dozens of high-value targets around the world. The research shows that it was likely developed on the orders of a government engaging in cyber espionage.

      The California-based Symantec has labeled the group behind the attack Strider, while Moscow-based Kaspersky Labs dubbed it ProjectSauron. Both are references to J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, a nod to the fact that the original malware code contained the word “Sauron.”

    • Disable WPAD now or have your accounts and private data compromised

      The Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Protocol (WPAD), enabled by default on Windows and supported by other operating systems, can expose computer users’ online accounts, web searches, and other private data, security researchers warn.

      Man-in-the-middle attackers can abuse the WPAD protocol to hijack people’s online accounts and steal their sensitive information even when they access websites over encrypted HTTPS or VPN connections, said Alex Chapman and Paul Stone, researchers with U.K.-based Context Information Security, during the DEF CON security conference this week.

    • With Anonymous’ latest attacks in Rio, the digital games have begun

      A wave of denial of service (DDoS) attacks on state and city websites followed immediately after Anonymous delivered their statement. The group boasted taking down at least five sites, including www.brasil2016.gov.br, www.rio2016.com, www.esporte.gov.br, www.cob.org.br and www.rj.gov.br. They broadcast their exploits using the hashtags #OpOlympicHacking, #Leaked and #TangoDown, some of which were set up months ago.

    • Kaminsky Advocates for Greater Cloud Security

      There are a lot of different reasons why organizations choose to move to the cloud and many reasons why they do not. Speaking at a press conference during the Black Hat USA security event, security researcher Dan Kaminsky provided his views on what’s wrong with the Internet today and where the cloud can fit in.

      “There’s a saying we have,” Kaminsky said. “There is no such thing as cloud, just other people’s computers.”

      While the cloud represents a utility model for computing, Kaminsky also suggests that there are ways to use the cloud to improve overall security. With the cloud, users and applications can be isolated or ‘sandboxed’ in a way that can limit risks.

      With proper configurations, including rate limiting approaches, the impact of data breaches could potentially be reduced as well. As an example, Kaminsky said that with rate limiting controls, only the money from a cash register is stolen by a hacker, as opposed to stealing all of a company’s corporate profits for a month.

    • Linux TCP Flaw allows Hackers to Hijack Internet Traffic and Inject Malware Remotely
    • Our Encrypted Email Service is Safe Against Linux TCP Vulnerability

      ProtonMail is not vulnerable to the recently announced Linux TCP Vulnerability

    • Troyan Virus Turns Linux Servers into Bitcoin Miners

      A new and dangerous computer virus has been targeting Linux servers, its goal: to turn computer servers into Bitcoin miners. The attack is aimed at environments running the Redis NoSQL database, the virus is also able to probe the network interfaces of its hosts to propagate itself.

      Approximately more than 30,000 servers running the Redis database are in danger due to the lack of an access password. The virus is named “Linux.Lady” and it was discovered first by the Russian IT-security solutions vendor Dr. Web. The company released a report on the virus, classifying it into the Troyan subcategory.

    • A New Wireless Hack Can Unlock 100 Million Volkswagens

      In 2013, when University of Birmingham computer scientist Flavio Garcia and a team of researchers were preparing to reveal a vulnerability that allowed them to start the ignition of millions of Volkswagen cars and drive them off without a key, they were hit with a lawsuit that delayed the publication of their research for two years. But that experience doesn’t seem to have deterred Garcia and his colleagues from probing more of VW’s flaws: Now, a year after that hack was finally publicized, Garcia and a new team of researchers are back with another paper that shows how Volkswagen left not only its ignition vulnerable but the keyless entry system that unlocks the vehicle’s doors, too. And this time, they say, the flaw applies to practically every car Volkswagen has sold since 1995.

    • Almost every Volkswagen sold since 1995 can be unlocked with an Arduino

      The first affects almost every car Volkswagen has sold since 1995, with only the latest Golf-based models in the clear. Led by Flavio Garcia at the University of Birmingham in the UK, the group of hackers reverse-engineered an undisclosed Volkswagen component to extract a cryptographic key value that is common to many of the company’s vehicles.

    • Road Warriors: Beware of ‘Video Jacking’

      A little-known feature of many modern smartphones is their ability to duplicate video on the device’s screen so that it also shows up on a much larger display — like a TV. However, new research shows that this feature may quietly expose users to a simple and cheap new form of digital eavesdropping.

      Dubbed “video jacking” by its masterminds, the attack uses custom electronics hidden inside what appears to be a USB charging station. As soon as you connect a vulnerable phone to the appropriate USB charging cord, the spy machine splits the phone’s video display and records a video of everything you tap, type or view on it as long as it’s plugged in — including PINs, passwords, account numbers, emails, texts, pictures and videos.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Clintons and Kissinger
    • Canadian Man Killed During Police Raid Had Built Online Life Around Supporting ISIS

      Aaron Driver was boarding a taxi outside his sister’s home in the small Canadian town of Strathroy, Ontario when armed law enforcement agents moved in to arrest him. Driver, 24, was known to local authorities as a prolific online supporter of Islamic State. He had previously been placed under government surveillance due to his social media postings and had received a judicial order in February banning him from use of the internet.

      Acting on a tip that Canadian authorities say came from the FBI, police on Wednesday descended on the home of Driver’s sister on suspicion he was planning to carry out an imminent terrorist attack. In Driver’s possession were two explosive devices. As police approached, he detonated one device while sitting in the backseat of the taxi, before being shot. He died in the encounter, while his taxi driver escaped with minor injuries.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Embrace of Kissinger Is Inexcusable

      Word comes from Politico that Hillary Clinton is courting the endorsement of Henry Kissinger. No surprise. Kissinger and the Clintons go back a ways, to when Bill in the early 1990s sought out Kissinger’s support to pass NAFTA and to, in the words of the economist Jeff Faux, serve as “the perfect tutor for a new Democratic president trying to convince Republicans and their business allies that they could count on him to champion Reagan’s vision.” Hillary has continued the apprenticeship, soliciting Kissinger’s advice and calling him “friend.”

      Still, Bernie Sanders, and Sanders supporters and surrogates, should use the Politico story to draw a line, making clear that they will withdraw their support of Clinton if Clinton accepts Kissinger’s endorsement. If Sanders stands for anything, it is the promise of decency and civil equality, qualities that he has worked hard to bestow on Clinton since the Democratic National Convention. By accepting Kissinger’s endorsement, Clinton wouldn’t just be mocking that gift. She’d be sending the clearest signal yet to grassroots peace and social-justice Democrats that her presidency wouldn’t be a “popular front” against Trumpian fascism. It would be bloody business as usual.

      Kissinger is a unique monster. He stands not as a bulwark against Donald Trump’s feared recklessness and immorality but as his progenitor. As Richard Nixon’s aide-de-camp, Kissinger helped plan and execute a murderous, illegal foreign policy—in Southeast and South Asia, Southern Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America—as reckless and immoral as anything Trump now portends. Millions died as a result of his actions. Kissinger and Nixon threatened to use nuclear weapons, and, indeed, Kissinger helped inscribe the threat of “limited nuclear war” into doctrine. Kissinger, in the 1970s, not only dug the hole that the greater Middle East finds itself in, but, as an influential cheerleader for both the first Gulf War in 1991 and its 2003 sequel, helped drive the United States into that ditch.

    • Muslim-American Gold Star Parents, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

      While Khizr and Ghazala Khan expressed much needed moral clarity about Donald Trump, their testimony helps to further remove from national consciousness and justify the immorality of our bi-partisan government’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. A war that world-renowned political analyst, activist and author Noam Chomsky has called, not a “mistake” but “the worst war crime in this Century.” (“Noam Chomsky: 2003 ‘Invasion of Iraq is the Worst Crime of 21st Century,” sputniknews.com, 10-28-2015)

      Three days after Khizr Khan’s powerful speech, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, speaking in a church, distanced herself from her support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and turned morality on its head. She said to a Christian congregation, “Mr. Khan paid the ultimate sacrifice in his family, didn’t he? . . . And what have we heard from Donald Trump?,“ she continued. “Nothing but insults, degrading comments about Muslims, a total misunderstanding of what made our country great.” (“Donald Trump’s Confrontation With Muslim Soldier’s Parents Emerges as Unexpected Flash Point,” By Alexander Burns, Maggie Haberman and Ashley Parker, The New York Times, July 31, 2016) Never mind that Clinton herself is directly implicated in the unnecessary “ultimate sacrifice” of Khizr and Ghazala Khan’s son. Here, “what makes our country great” requires the all-encompassing moral universe to disappear for Iraqi children and mothers and fathers.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Assange case – time for the next step?

      There are signals from Ecuador suggesting that Swedish prosecutors soon might interview Wikileaks editor in chief Julian Assange, in the country’s embassy in London – where he has been taking refuge for some four years.

      From the Swedish prosecutor’s office (where everyone important seems to be on summer retreat) there are only vague comments. There are reasons to believe that the Swedes are in no hurry to get this done and over with.

      As the case has dragged out in time, there seems to be some confusion in medias reports. To refresh our memory…

      The Swedish case about sexual misconduct against Assange is very thin. There are reasons to believe that the case will be dropped altogether as soon as an interview has been conducted.

    • Sweden accepts Ecuador offer to interview Assange

      Sweden has made a formal request to Ecuador to interview WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Quito’s embassy in London, where he has been holed up for more than four years.

      There was a standing offer from Ecuador to Sweden to conduct such an interview. Signs of a thaw in the impasse were reported last month.

      A request from Sweden to the Ecuadorian attorney-general has met with a positive response, according to a published report.

      “In the coming weeks a date will be established for the proceedings to be held at the Embassy of Ecuador in the United Kingdom,” according to a statement issued by Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Lakota Lead Native Americans, Ranchers and Farmers in Fight Against Dakota Access Pipeline

      Amidst the cries of “protect our water, protect our land, protect our peoples,” Native Americans, ranchers and farmers are standing their ground along a highway in North Dakota. They are blocking the crews of Energy Transfer Partners — a Dallas-based company whose workers are protected by both police and armed, private security personnel — from accessing the site of the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

      The roughly 1,200-mile-long pipeline would transfer about a half million barrels of oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois. Opponents of its construction worry that a leak or rupture would spell disaster for not only the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, but for all communities along the Missouri River that depend on it for drinking and agriculture.

    • The Government Quietly Just Approved This Enormous Oil Pipeline

      It took seven years of protests, sit-ins, letter writing, and, finally, a presidential review to prevent the Keystone XL oil pipeline from being built. Now, in a matter of months, America’s newest mega-pipeline—the Dakota Access Pipeline Project (DAPL)—has quietly received full regulatory permission to begin construction. Known also as the Bakken Pipeline, the project is slated to run 1,172 miles of 30-inch diameter pipe from North Dakota’s northwest Bakken region down to a market hub outside Patoka, Illinois, where it will join extant pipelines and travel onward to refineries and markets in the Gulf and on the East Coast. If that description gives you déjà vu, it should: The Bakken Pipeline is only seven miles shorter than Keystone’s proposed length.

    • SoCal hit with worst smog in years as hot, stagnant weather brings surge in hospital visits

      Southern California is experiencing its worst smog in years this summer as heat and stagnant weather increase the number of bad air days and drive up ozone pollution to levels not seen since 2009.

      Where pollution is worst, in the Inland Empire, hospitals and asthma clinics are reporting increases in patients seeking treatment for respiratory illness, their breathing difficulties exacerbated by the persistent heat and pollution.

      Ozone, the lung-searing gas in smog that triggers asthma and other health problems, has exceeded federal standards on 91 days so far this year compared to 67 days over the same period last year, according to South Coast Air Quality Management District data through Monday.

      In June, only four days had healthy air across the South Coast basin, which spans Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. In July, ozone levels violated federal health standards every day except July 31.

    • Deadly Wildfires on Portuguese Island of Madeira Reach Its Largest City

      Firefighters on the Portuguese island of Madeira continued on Thursday to battle wildfires that have reached Funchal, the island’s largest city, killing three people and destroying over 150 homes, while the national government sought help to deal with nearly 200 blazes on the mainland.

      Prime Minister António Costa planned to travel to Madeira on Thursday, and Portugal activated a European Union plan to get emergency assistance. Italy has already sent one firefighting aircraft. Madeira is the largest island in an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean that lies about 360 miles off the Moroccan coast, and about 600 miles southwest of Lisbon.

      The biggest fire on Madeira broke out on Monday and rapidly encroached on the residential outskirts of Funchal, home to about 110,000 people.

    • Indonesia Prepares for Another Dangerous Fire Season

      Last year, some of the biggest fires in recent history burned through parts of Indonesia.

      The fires sent huge clouds of smoke across Indonesia and its neighbors. They also produced large amounts of carbon dioxide. Studies have linked increasing carbon dioxide levels to rising temperatures in Earth’s atmosphere.

      For years, Indonesian farmers and businesses have cleared land for agriculture by setting fire to fields and undeveloped areas. This year’s fire season is to begin soon. But measures to limit the burning are now in place.

    • Asean countries agree on steps to fight haze, but refrain from pressuring Indonesia

      Asean countries agreed on contents within its roadmap to control the haze problem in a meeting on Thursday (Aug 11) to discuss the region’s next step to combat the perennial issue, but stopped short of exerting more pressure on Indonesia to take serious action against culprits of plantation fires.

      “We work together to overcome any problem but we can’t bulldoze through… We must respect others’ sovereignty,” Malaysian minister of natural resources and environment Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said at a joint press conference with his Asean counterparts at the end of the one-day 12th conference of the parties to the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP) in Kuala Lumpur.

    • We’ve Already Used Up Earth’s Resources For 2016 — And It’s Only August

      It’s less than eight months into 2016 and the ominous day is already nearly upon us: Earth Overshoot Day, previously known as Ecological Debt Day, is a reminder of the enormous toll we take on the Earth.

      The day marks the juncture when humanity’s demand for ecological resources exceeds what the planet can replenish annually. In 2016, it falls on Monday, which means people have already consumed an entire year’s worth of the world’s resources ― and we still have four months to go until the year’s end.

      For the rest of 2016, we’ll be “living on resources borrowed from future generations,” as the World Wildlife Fund pointed out when we failed last year.

      Troublingly, this year’s Overshoot Day is happening earlier than ever before.

    • ‘They’re Trying to Poison Our Future,’ Resistance Heats Up to Stop ‘Black Snake’ From Slithering Through Midwest

      Resistance against a new Bakken crude pipeline stepped up this week with the arrest of 12 people on Thursday near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota.

      “They’re trying to lay a pipe across our water. They’re trying to poison our future,” said one of the people taking part in the action.

    • Twelve arrested at Dakota Access Pipeline protest

      Authorities in North Dakota have arrested a dozen people protesting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline.

      Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said the 12 arrests as of Thursday evening were for disorderly conduct or criminal trespass.

      He says some protesters encroached on a zone established for workers’ safety. Those arrested were brought to the Morton County Correctional Center.

    • Leonardo DiCaprio Stands With Great Sioux Nation to Stop Dakota Access Pipeline

      Dakota Access—a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP—has proposed a $3.7 billion, 1,168-mile pipeline that will transfer up to 570,00 barrels of crude oil per day from the North Dakota Bakken region through South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois.

      The DAPL, also referred to as the Bakken pipeline, would cross the Missouri River less than a mile away from the Standing Rock Reservation that stands in North and South Dakota. The Missouri River, one of the largest water resources in the U.S., provides drinking water for millions of people.

      The people of Standing Rock, often called Sioux, warn that a potential oil spill into the river would threaten the water, land and health of their reservation.

      In DiCaprio’s tweet, the Oscar-winning actor and clean energy advocate said he was “standing with the Great Sioux Nation to protect their water and lands,” and linked to a Change.org petition that urges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

    • EPA’s Own Advisory Board Demands Revision of Deeply Flawed Fracking Report

      The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board, a panel of independent scientists, is calling on the agency to revise last year’s much-maligned report that declared fracking to have “no widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources.”

    • EPA’s science advisers challenge agency report on the safety of fracking

      Science advisers to the Environmental Protection Agency Thursday challenged an already controversial government report on whether thousands of oil and gas wells that rely on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” systemically pollute drinking water across the nation.

      That EPA draft report, many years in the making and still not finalized, had concluded, “We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States,” adding that while there had been isolated problems, those were “small compared to the number of hydraulically fractured wells.”

      The conclusion was widely cited and interpreted to mean that while there may have been occasional contamination of water supplies, it was not a nationwide problem. Many environmental groups faulted the study, even as industry groups hailed it.

      But in a statement sure to prolong the already multiyear scientific debate on fracking and its influence on water, the 30-member advisory panel on Thursday concluded the agency’s report was “comprehensive but lacking in several critical areas.”

      It recommended that the report be revised to include “quantitative analysis that supports its conclusion” — if, indeed, this central conclusion can be defended.

    • EPA’s Fracking Finding Misled on Threat to Drinking Water, Scientists Conclude

      An Environmental Protection Agency panel of independent scientists has recommended the agency revise its conclusions in a major study released last year that minimized the potential hazards hydraulic fracturing poses to drinking water.

      The panel, known as the Science Advisory Board (SAB), issued on Thursday its nearly yearlong analysis of a June 2015 draft EPA report on fracking and water. In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that accompanied the analysis, the panel said the report’s core findings “that seek to draw national-level conclusions regarding the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources” were “inconsistent with the observations, data and levels of uncertainty” detailed in the study.

      “Of particular concern,” the panel stated was the 2015 report’s overarching conclusion that fracking has not led to “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.” The panel said that the EPA did not provide quantitative evidence to support the conclusion.

      “The SAB recommends that the EPA revise the major statements of findings in the Executive Summary and elsewhere in the final Assessment Report to clearly link these statements to evidence provided in the body of the final Assessment Report,” the panel wrote to McCarthy.

    • Statement on SAB Report Concerning Water Pollution from Fracking
    • Did federal agents spy on offshore oil lease protesters in New Orleans?

      This week the Center for Biological Diversity filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the federal agencies that oversee oil and gas leasing. The Aug. 11 filings came in response to a recent report by The Intercept that revealed several participants in a May protest of a fossil fuel auction in Lakewood, Colorado, were actually undercover agents sent by law enforcement to monitor the demonstration, and that they were relying on intelligence gathered by Anadarko Petroleum, a major Texas-based oil and gas producer.

    • Woman and dog dramatically rescued from floodwaters

      A dramatic video shows a woman and a dog being rescued after their car got swept up by floodwaters.

      Three men in a small boat battled to pull the woman from the convertible that had been swallowed by the flooded river in Baton Rouge in Louisiana.

      The woman could be heard yelling: “Oh my god, I’m drowning.”

  • Finance

    • Republicans have themselves to blame for the slow economy, study says

      The US’s slow recovery from the 2008 recession is due to Republican policies on the local, state and federal level, according to a new study published by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

    • How to Break the Power of Money

      Our current political chaos has a simple explanation. The economic system is driving environmental collapse, economic desperation, political corruption, and financial instability. And it isn’t working for the vast majority of people.

    • To Corner Trump on Finances, Clinton Releases Tax Returns
    • Clintons made $10.6 million in 2015, paid federal rate of 34%

      Hillary and Bill Clinton released their 2015 tax returns on Friday, showing they paid $3.6 million in taxes on adjusted gross income of $10.6 million.

      The release appeared to be aimed at drawing renewed attention to Donald Trump’s refusal to release his own tax records.

    • Food startup Deliveroo raises $275M as Uber eats into its European market

      Deliveroo, a popular on-demand restaurant food delivery startup in Europe, has raised another $275 million in funding, a Series E investment that we have heard from sources values the company at around $1 billion. This latest round is led by new investor, Bridgepoint, previous investors DST Global and General Catalyst, and also had participation from existing investor Greenoaks Capital.

      Deliveroo says the investment will go into growing its service in both new and existing markets, where it’s now live in 84 cities. It’s also going to keep investing in its new initiatives. These include a new B2B remote kitchen service, RooBox, which gives restaurants access to delivery-only kitchens in key locations. Other new services have included an expansion into alcohol delivery.

      Deliveroo, which is not confirming its valuation, has now raised $475 million to date.

      This latest funding comes at a time when the startup is facing a lot of heat from others who are also targeting the higher, foodie end of the prepared food market (typical Deliveroo restaurants include artisanal pizza and burger joints, trendy Middle Eastern delis, and hipster donut bakeries).

    • Why the Next President Should Forgive All Student Loans

      Particularly for younger voters and voters with families, she has to capture their imaginations with a bold, simple, and common sense proposal to address one of the most critical financial and social problems currently facing a generation: the student loan crisis. And she needs to do so in a way that can do the most immediate good for the nation at large.

    • One-Third of Americans Have Nothing Saved for Retirement. Here’s How to Fix That.

      Big airport restrooms get messy fast. So, the management at Schiphol International Airport in Amsterdam came up with a clever solution: The airport etched an image of a black fly near the drain in the airports’ urinals. According to their measures, cleanliness increased by 80 percent. As New Republic put it, “It turns out that, if you give men a target, they can’t help but aim at it.”

    • Dear Wendy’s: I’m Boycotting You, but I’m Not the One You Should Be Worried About

      In the summer of 1988 I worked in Lowell, Massachusetts painting houses.

      The pay was lousy, the heat oppressive, and the work was exhausting. Many nights I would collapse, fully clothed, on my mattress on the floor of the dingy, mouse-infested apartment I rented.

      But before I hit the sack, there was one thing I usually looked forward to: your Superbar (now defunct). For about $3.00 I could get my fill of salad, fruit, Mexican food, and pasta.

      And that’s the only reason I’m writing you today, Wendy’s. I have nostalgic feelings for your SuperBar, even though I now know it’s tainted. But I’m offering you a heads up anyway: the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is coming for you, and you will lose.

    • Are human rights treaties a “reputational umbrella” for foreign investment?

      Evidence suggests that human rights treaties provide a reputational shield for companies to invest in the worst rights-violating countries.

    • Thousands Moving Money to Black-Owned Banks

      The latest response to discrimination and police brutality is renewed calls to #BankBlack and bring economic empowerment to struggling communities.

    • What Does Trump Have to Hide? A Tiny Tax Return

      What does Donald Trump have to hide? The New York Times interviewed tax and real estate experts and reports that it’s likely the billionaire and Republican presidential candidate pays zero taxes – legally – taking full advantage of the loopholes available to the superwealthy.

      The previous nine Republican nominees have released their tax information – it’s a routine request. Mitt Romney balked about releasing his federal returns, understandably since they showed he paid about 14 percent of his income in taxes, well below the burden shouldered by everyday folks the U.S.

    • How Did Trump’s and Clinton’s Economic Policy Speeches Compare?

      Despite the vast differences between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, there were some striking similarities between the economic speeches they delivered this week. They both spoke in Michigan, where they both talked a lot about manufacturing, with both of them insisting that they would obtain fairer trade deals.

    • Where the Presidential Candidates Stand on Their Tax Returns
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • In private dealings, Trump lies constantly and without apparent purpose

      In 2007, Trump was suing a reporter who exposed unflattering facts about his true level of wealth. The Washington Post reports on a 2007 deposition, related to Donald Trump’s failed lawsuit over the expose, in which he was nailed to a series of “falsehoods and exaggerations” remarkable in just how pointless and stupid they were.

    • Wordsmiths

      A report in Politico describes the various things Ms. Clinton has said over the past year with respect to her e mail usage while serving as Secretary of State. It then contrasts her statements with FBI Director, James Comey’s testimony before the House Benghazi Committee in early July. Among other things, Mr. Comey contradicted Ms. Clinton’s assertion (a) that while serving as Secretary of State she used only one device (he said she used four), (b) that she returned all work-related e mails to the state department (he said thousands were not returned), and (c) that she did not e mail “any classified material to anyone on my email” (Comey said “there was classified material emailed.”)

      When Ms. Clinton was speaking to a convention of black and Hispanic journalists in Washington on August 5 2016, the e mail question once again presented itself. Ms. Clinton asserted that she did not lie to the FBI (which no one has disputed since no one knows what she said to the FBI) but then made a convoluted explanation that introduces us to the new use of the word “short circuit.” She told the assembled journalists: “What I told the FBI-which he [Comey] said was truthful-is consistent with what I have said publicly.” That, of course, seems to be untrue when considered in the context of Mr. Comey’s testimony before the Congressional Subcommittee. Continuing her explanation to the assembled journalists she said: “I may have short circuited, and for that, I will try to clarify.” Here follows an example of how those two words can be used in common situations in which readers may, from time to time, find themselves.

    • For the Record: Clinton email scandal, version 3.0

      Hey everyone, we need help looking for a friend of ours. We got into an argument; we said “Pokemon is the only video game that could translate to the real world,” and he said, “No, you totally could make Donkey Kong into a real-life game,” and the last time we heard from him, he was trying to rent a gorilla and a bunch of barrels and have them delivered to the top of Trump Tower. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

      Meanwhile, on the ground, more emails spell more trouble for Clinton after a new crop show some uncomfortable closeness between her team at State and the Clinton Foundation. But she got some good news when a ton of Republicans and independents joined her team.

    • Hack of Democrats’ Accounts Was Wider Than Believed, Officials Say

      Officials have acknowledged that the Russian hackers gained access to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is the fund-raising arm for House Democrats, and to the Democratic National Committee, including a D.N.C. voter analytics program used by Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign.

      But the hack now appears to have extended well beyond those groups, and organizations like the Democratic Governors’ Association may also have been affected, according to Democrats involved in the investigation. However, in a statement Thursday, the governors association said it “was informed that our analytics data was not compromised as part of the D.N.C. breach that affected the Clinton campaign.”

      The group added that “we have no reason to believe that any D.G.A. emails were compromised by the D.N.C. breach.”

    • Clinton strategist: Kill Julian Assange

      It seems like some Hillary Clinton supporters are now fully on-board with the time-tested mafia-favored strategy of “kill-the-guy.” Democratic strategist Bob Beckel, referring to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, told a Fox Business host panel that “a dead man can’t leak stuff,” and that someone should “illegally shoot the son of a b*tch.” These comments come after the famed whistle-blower implied that 27 year-old DNC staffer Seth Rich, recently (and mysteriously) murdered in Washington DC, was a Wikileaks source connected to the DNC email scandal.

    • Perv sat behind Trump while he blasted Clinton for shooter’s dad at rally

      Trump’s buffoonery is so outrageous, you just couldn’t make this stuff up. He may have topped himself in last night’s performance at his rally in Sunrise, Florida, when he went on about how horrible it was that Hillary Clinton allowed the Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen’s father to sit behind her at one of her rallies this last week.

      “When you get those seats, you sort of know the campaign, so when she [Hillary Clinton] said, ‘Well we didn’t know’…They knew!” Trump shouted. “Wasn’t it terrible when the father of the animal that killed the wonderful people in Orlando was sitting with a big smile on his face?” Trump turned to the people behind him. “How many of you people know me? A lot of you know me!”

      And here is the punchline. Disgraced animal ex-congressman Mark Foley was sitting right behind Trump at his rally, and even raised his hand to say that yes, he knows Trump. Mark Foley was a republican congressman from 1995-2006, but had to resign after he was caught sending explicitly sexual emails and instant messages to teenage boys. He and Trump have been chums since 1987.

    • Another Democratic Party Group Hacked: ‘Even Easier Than DNC Breach’

      The hacker or hackers known as Guccifer 2.0 on Friday claimed credit for a new leak of information, this time from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, writing on their blog, “It was even easier than in the case of the DNC breach.”

      Guccifer 2.0 already claimed responsiblity in June for three document dumps from the DNC, or Democratic National Committee, servers. The separate hack of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC, meanwhile, was first reported in late July.

      The newly published documents include “cellphone numbers and other personal information of nearly 200 current and former congressional Democrats,” as the Wall Street Journal reported; they also appear to include “shared passwords for the committee shared accounts to various news services, Lexis, and a federal courts public access system called PACER,” NBC News adds.

      Further, they include “what purports to be documents stolen from the computer of Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking Democrat in Congress,” as the International Business Times reports.

      The hacker continues: “As you see the U.S. presidential elections are becoming a farce, a big political performance where the voters are far from playing the leading role. Everything is being settled behind the scenes as it was with Bernie Sanders.”

      “I wonder what happened to the true democracy, to the equal opportunities, the things we love the United States for. The big money bags are fighting for power today. They are lying constantly and don’t keep their word. The MSM [corporate media] are producing tons of propaganda hiding the real stuff behind it. But I do believe that people have [the] right to know what’s going on inside the election process in fact.”

    • Let the Battle of the Lesser Evils Commence

      Now that the Democratic and the Republican Party conventions are over, the U.S. presidential campaign is entering its last phase before the actual vote in November. Normally this should the point at which each party is very internally united and focusing on presenting its own program and attacking the opponent. However this time around, it seems each party continues to be more divided than ever. More and more Republicans are defecting from Donald Trump. And on the Democratic side, the debate is still raging about who supporters of Bernie Sanders should vote for in November. With us to present his analysis of the post-conventions and the U.S. elections, is Michael Hudson. Michael is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri Kansas City. His latest book is “Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy.”

    • The Biggest Spender Backing Donald Trump? The NRA.

      The NRA has spent $6 million in TV ads on behalf of the Republican presidential candidate, which is $6 million more than the Trump campaign has spent on itself. (A super PAC, Rebuilding America Now, claimed in June to have $32 million in commitments from four donors, but has only spent $5 million on ads to date. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson once made a pledge to create his own $100 million super PAC, but as of July has not followed through.)

    • Hillary Clinton Does Not Represent All Women—and Makes Some Feel Powerless

      Hillary Clinton is the first woman ever to get the presidential nomination from a major political party in the history of the United States. This is, of course, a historic, and long overdue, moment. For many feminists, the nomination is a pretty straightforward, unambiguous victory for women and cause for celebration. For others, however, it’s complicated.

      Of course, no feminist would defend the uninterrupted male lineage of the presidency. For feminist critics of Clinton, the problem lies not in her gender but in her track record, policies and positions, many of which have had a less than liberating effect on women.

      As a feminist, I find myself moved, from time to time, when I think of how hard so many people have fought over the generations to make such a nomination possible. The undeniable sexism, misogyny and double standards Clinton has faced (though not on a structural level) occasionally fill me with a sense of compassion, solidarity, “get it girl” camaraderie and pride.

    • Donald Trump and His Words, Words, Words

      Merriam-Webster defines sacrifice as “the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone.” Trump was not able to name one true sacrifice. Trump has only and always taken for himself.

      In the past week, Trump got away with another whopper. After dominating the news cycle for 36 solid hours with his ridiculous claim that President Obama is the founder of Islamic State, he chastised the media for not recognizing that he was being “sarcastic.”

      He clearly doesn’t know the meaning of the word.

      He could have said he was being silly, ridiculous or unserious, but sarcastic? Sarcasm requires that the words used convey a meaning opposite to what the speaker truly believes or means. Had Trump said, “Obama is the greatest president in world history,” the media would immediately understand that he was being sarcastic because so much of what he has said indicates the true disdain in which he holds the president.

    • Did Companies and Countries Buy State Department Access by Donating to Clinton Foundation?

      Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter James Grimaldi of The Wall Street Journal, who has covered the Clinton Foundation for years, looks at the relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department during Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state, and what it would be if she became president. Newly released State Department emails include exchanges between top members of the Clinton Foundation and Clinton’s top State Department advisers, including Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills. The FBI reportedly wanted to investigate the Clinton Foundation earlier this year, but US Attorney General Loretta Lynch pushed back.

    • #NeverNeverTrump: What’s Evan McMullin Really After?

      Echoing those promises, a shadowy group calling itself “Better For America,” funded by Mitt Romney associate John Kingston III, has been doing prep work for that unnamed candidate.

      On August 8 the suspense, such as it was, came to an end. The candidate is David Evan McMullin, a name unfamiliar to voters but well-known on Capitol Hill. Starting as an adviser to congressional Republicans on national security issues, he rose to the position of GOP House policy chief. Now he’s running for president.

    • Congress: AWOL and Out of Control

      Members of Congress do not have time for this responsibility when they are spending so much of their workday asking for money and implying agreement with the demands of the “monied interests,” to use Thomas Jefferson’s phrase.

      This is why Congressman Jolly introduced the “Stop Act,” which would ban all federally-elected officials from directly soliciting donations. Members of Congress can attend fund-raisers but others would have to ask for the money. No more direct telephone calls to the “fat cats” for checks. So far he only has nine co-sponsors for his bill.

      Congressman Jolly says this is not “campaign finance reform,” it is “Congressional reform,” adding “members of Congress spend too much time raising money and not enough time doing their job. Get back to work. And do your job.”

      Hey America! No more withdrawal cynicism. Shaping up or shipping out your members of Congress can be our great national civic hobby! There are plenty of opportunities for improvement and it could be lots of fun. Don’t forget there are only 535 of them and they put their shoes on every day like we do!

      Start small and build. Announce to your lawmakers with a letterhead – “Congress Watchdogs from the xxx Congressional District. The people want you to do your jobs!” The benefits of this effort are better lives and livelihoods for all Americans.”

    • Dual Power as the Route to Democratic Socialism, Sanders or No Sanders

      Right now I am working to build such a WSDE with my Rhode Island Media Cooperative (RIMediaCoop.org). On the front end, it is intended to be a news aggregator for progressive/leftists, particularly Sanders supporters, that brings together RSS feeds from various news websites that are willing to be anti-imperial and critical of the Democratic Party, such as RT, TeleSur, PressTV, CounterPunch, and a few other favorites. This is augmented by original content from local media creators (actors, filmmakers, artists, writers) that effectively showcases material for potential clients.

      On the back end, the intention is to get enough members who want to go to our local healthcare exchange, HealthSourceRI, to buy a small group insurance plan that would be complimented with a health savings account (HSA) to pay for expenses like copays and deductibles. We also would work on retirement by having a meeting to select a financial institute with which we would all open individual retirement accounts (IRAs). After a year of paying into the institute, say 20 people putting in $1,000 each, you have people with $20,000 worth of leverage that can be utilized when cosigning a loan for cooperative business infrastructure. This method can also be utilized, by the way, with the aforementioned small businesses that would transition to a cooperative.

      Wolff has created here a schematic that uses the culture shift from Keynesian to neoclassical economics in public policy to the advantage of the working class. It is meeting neoliberals like Gov. Raimondo on their turf and using free markets and deregulation to build a new society from where the old has absconded their responsibilities. The neoliberal state is the exoskeleton in which a WSDE economic order can grow until it is ready to burst out of that shell and give way to the withering of the state. And this is because he has effectively created a dialectical antithesis of a union organizing drive while keeping democratic control central.

      This year is the 80th anniversary of the start of the Spanish Civil War, an event that has reached a fetishized level of adulation on the Left for reasons that are beyond the scope of this discussion. Yet in all the debate that occurs over who is responsible for the fall of the Republic, there is, objectively speaking, a failure to account for how the Republic survived. It was the Mondragon cooperative, founded by Basque Father José María Arizmendiarrieta Madariaga, which came about under Franco’s rule that serves as the model Wolff has adopted for this project. The corollary of that story is that such a movement must have within its orientation room for those who are not leftists. So too must things be here in America. By creating full employment, we create far less pressure on the working class, the primary engine of reactionary chauvinism driving the Trump base. Simultaneously, we begin to have the conversations with white workers that politically educates them about chauvinism with what Fr. Madariaga would have called grace.

      Putting it another way, conventional wisdom in Providence is that you don’t vote for politicians, you buy them. In that vein, why not get the best democratic socialism money can buy and cut the middleman, the state, out of the process like they wish to be?

    • Donald Trump Makes It Very Hard to Figure Out What He Really Thinks

      Video of the comments from NBC News showed that Trump then accused the media of intentionally distorting his words, pointing at the assembled press corps and telling the crowd, “these people are the lowest form of life.”

      As his supporters cheered, the candidate then executed another half pivot. “They are the lowest form of humanity!” Trump bellowed. “Not all of them, they have about 25 percent that are pretty good actually, but most of them.”

      The meandering, jokey way Trump speaks, riffing on subjects like a stand-up comic working out his material live on stage, makes the task of reporting his comments unusually challenging.

    • Newly released Clinton emails shed light on relationship between State Dept. and Clinton Foundation

      Newly released emails from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state raise questions about the nature of the department’s relationship with the Clinton Foundation.
      Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, released 296 pages of emails from the Democratic presidential nominee, including 44 that Judicial Watch says were not previously handed over to the State Department by Clinton. The emails, many of which are heavily redacted, raise questions about the Clinton Foundation’s influence on the State Department and its relations during her tenure.

    • Bill Clinton, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson and Sean Reyes Make History in Las Vegas
    • In Tweetstorm, Bernie Sanders Eviscerates Donald Trump on Trade and Taxes

      Bernie Sanders bore down on Donald Trump’s economic agenda in a series of tweets on Friday morning, calling him “the poster child of failed trade policies.”

      The social media take-down began with Sanders posting a link to a Washington Post story from earlier this week, which revealed how a “little-noticed provision in Donald Trump’s tax reform plan has the potential to deliver a large tax cut to companies in the Republican presidential nominee’s vast business empire.”

    • Sanders Statement on Push to Pass Pacific Trade Pact
    • ‘Disappointed’ in Obama, Sanders Calls on Top Dems to Drop Lame Duck TPP Push

      Hillary Clinton may not have heeded progressives’ call to clearly say she’ll urge the White House and her fellow party members to oppose a “lame-duck” vote on the Trans Pacific Partnership, but Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has done just that, calling on Democratic Congressional leadership to publicly oppose a post-Election Day vote on the “job-killing trade deal.”

    • ABC LIVE POLL: Who Are You Voting For? [Ed: Greens growing fast]
    • Donations From Gov’t To Clinton Foundation Sparks Scandal In Norway

      Daily newspaper Dagbladet has tracked $89.6 million of contributions back to Norway. Foreign Minister Børge Brende violated the government’s own policies by handing $3.57 million from the foreign aid budget to the Clinton Foundation, according to an internal memo.

      The government and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation both split up donations into different channels of the Clinton Foundation in an attempt to make each contribution look smaller than it was.

    • Clinton Received Millions From Sharia Law Teaching Firm

      Former President Bill Clinton received $5.6 million in fees from a Dubai-based firm that teaches Sharia law through a network of more than 100 schools worldwide.

      Clinton served as the honorary chairman of the company GEMS Education from 2011 to 2014, the Daily Caller reported this week, citing Clinton’s federal tax returns.

      GEMS Education teaches Sharia law in over 100 schools around the world, including in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. One of the company’s schools, located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, taught 1,600 students in 2013. Saudi Arabia is known for enforcing Wahhabism, a fundamentalist view of Islam that strictly adheres to Sharia law.

      Sharia law is an Islamic legal system that many in the West believe violates human rights and represses women and various minority groups.

    • Labour MPs call on David Miliband to return and topple Jeremy Corbyn as leader

      Labour MPs are appealing to David Miliband to return to UK politics in a desperate bid to oust Jeremy Corbyn .

      Senior backbenchers want Miliband, who quit politics to run a charity in the US, back here as quickly as possible.

      And they say one possible route would be for him to stand in the Batley and Spen seat left empty by the killing of Jo Cox.

      No date has been set for a by-election but rumours are growing that the solid Labour seat would be ideal for Miliband.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Apple at BlackHat: Reopening the “Going Dark” Debate

      Just over a week ago, at the BlackHat hacker convention in Las Vegas, Ivan Krstić, Head of Security Engineering and Architecture at Apple gave a talk entitled “Behind the scenes of iOS Security,” the slides of which are available here.

      It’s a historic talk for a couple of reasons. First, Apple is traditionally very secretive about how it technically does security on its devices. Apple also announced its first bug bounty program. So far, so newsworthy.

      But something else happened at that talk. Unbeknownst to the presenter or anybody in the audience, Apple just reopened the “Going Dark” dispute between the FBI and the privacy community, and it turned the entire dispute on its head. In the cold light of day, I suspect Apple, the US government, and privacy activists are going to be rather unhappy when they digest the sobering implications of the talk, though they will likely be upset for entirely different reasons.

    • Why Facebook Will Win the Ad-Blocking War

      Facebook will disable the ad-blocker’s blocker blocking

      The back-and-forth between Facebook and ad-blocking software companies has become almost farcical at this point: After Facebook said it would block the use of ad blockers, the leading ad-blocking company announced that it will block the use of Facebook’s ad-blocker blocker. And now Facebook says it is rolling out a fix that will disable the ad-blocker’s blocker blocking.

      As humorous as this cat-and-mouse battle may seem, there is a serious principle at stake for Facebook. If it can’t reliably ensure that users are seeing its advertising, then the $1 billion it currently makes on desktop ads is potentially in jeopardy, and questions might also be raised about its ability to display ads on mobile too, which is a $5-billion business.

    • LinkedIn suffers huge bot attack that steals members’ personal data

      Data thieves used a massive “botnet” against professional networking site LinkedIn and stole member’s personal information, a new lawsuit reveals.

      The Mountain View firm filed the federal suit this week in an attempt to uncover the perpetrators.

      “LinkedIn members populate their profiles with a wide range of information concerning their professional lives, including summaries (narratives about themselves), job histories, skills, interests, educational background, professional awards, photographs and other information,” said the company’s complaint, filed in Northern California U.S. District Court.

      “During periods of time since December 2015, and to this day, unknown persons and/or entities employing various automated software programs (often referred to as ‘bots’) have extracted and copied data from many LinkedIn pages.”

      It is unclear to what extent LinkedIn has been able to stymie the attack. A statement from the firm’s legal team suggests one avenue of penetration has been permanently closed, but does not address other means of incursion listed in the lawsuit.

    • The Internet Doesn’t Route Around Surveillance

      One of the most famous quotes about the web says that “the Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” But what about surveillance? Is it possible to make the internet route around spying?

      In the last few years, especially after revelations of pervasive monitoring by the NSA and its British sister spy agency the GCHQ, some countries, Brazil being the most vocal, have publicly announced their intentions to avoid sending internet traffic to the US and the UK in an effort to dodge surveillance.

      As it turns out, all internet pipes lead to surveillance. Or, at least, it’s really hard—if not impossible—to avoid routing web traffic through surveillance states like the United States, according to a recent paper by a group of Princeton University researchers.

    • How connected car tech is eroding personal privacy

      All he wanted was to disable a device in his car: An always-on, net-connected “helper” that provides the car’s driver with app connections, turn-by-turn navigation, and roadside assistance… at the expense of personal driving data. Similar devices track how fast you’re going, how hard you ride the brakes, even your final destination. And all that info gets sent back to the manufacturer. Scannell wanted out. Unfortunately, it was easier said than done.

      You see, Scannell is a security guy. And, while Scannell thought these features of the Car-Net system in his new Volkswagen Golf were pretty neat, for him the system was a lot more than the “partner” that VW advertises. But he’s been in privacy for years. In fact, it’s literally his job — he’s an adviser for security start-ups. And he knows all too well how simple it is to hack into a system with an open internet connection. For him, Car-Net wasn’t a helper. It was an opening for companies to spy on him. For a hacker to take control over his steering wheel. To find himself in a potentially dangerous situation.

      It’s a reality that is present in basically every single new car that hits the market these days. Our cars are all waking up and coming online. The companies that manufacture them are filling each one full of hundreds of sensors that capture endless amounts of data about us and how we drive. It’s the last bastion of consumer information.

      And just like your mobile phone, which has been spying on you for years, your car is not your friend.

    • Tor creates ‘social contract’ promising never to harm users

      ANONYMITY ENGINE and gateway to the dark web Tor has announced what it calls a “social contract” with its users, guaranteeing that the group won’t install backdoors or other nasties.

      Tor, formerly an abbreviation of The Onion Router, actually received a great deal of the money that keeps it alive from the US government (although not the NSA obviously) and the Tor Social Contract should act as further reassurance that there is no conflict of interest.

      The organisation is already licking its wounds after one of its developers, Jacob Appelbaum, was forced to step down in June amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

      Meanwhile, the FBI is said to have cracked Tor using students with funding from the US Department of Defence. That’s a lot of government organisations at odds.

    • Canadian court rules that your text messages are not as private as you think they are

      If you expect text messages privately sent to others to not be used against you in court, you might need to tweak that expectation in a big way, if a new ruling from the Ontario Court of Appeal sets a future precedent, reports Vice.

      The case at hand centers around Nour Marakah and Andrew Winchester, both of whom authorities charged with gun trafficking. Through an investigation launched against Winchester sometime in 2012, law enforcement learned that he legally purchased 45 firearms during a six-month span, only to turn around and illegally sell them.

    • ProtonMail now the maintainer of OpenPGPjs email encryption library

      OpenPGPjs is the world’s most popular JavaScript PGP email encryption library and is used by millions of end users and hundreds of developers.

    • The Internet of Onions

      In brief, Home Assistant is a Python-based tool that provides a single web interface for a wide range of individual IoT devices. Freitas’s contribution is a network configuration that routes Home Assistant’s web interface over a Tor Hidden Service (so that it can only be accessed by a Tor-enabled browser via a special .onion domain name).

    • NSA Cracks Bavaria Attackers, Daesh Encrypted Correspondence

      The US National Security Agency (NSA) has helped German investigators to decipher coded messages sent by the Daesh jihadist group’s masterminds to the perpetrators of recent terror attacks in Bavaria, local media reported Saturday, citing sources close to the probe.

    • Germany asks NSA to decipher Bavaria attackers’ chat with ISIS mastermind – report

      According to chats with the IS affiliate, the Wurzburg attacker, 17-year-old Riaz Khan Ahmadzai, who injured five people with an axe and a knife on a train on July 18, was initially supposed to drive a car into a crowd. The plan was later abandoned because the minor didn’t have a driving license, and Ahmadzai said he would attack commuters on a train instead.

    • French Government Wants A ‘Global Initiative’ To Undermine Encryption And Put Everyone At Risk

      Remember, of course, that much of the planning and communications for the Paris attacks last year were done without encryption, and in fact much of the planning was done fairly out in the open with little effort to mask what was happening. Of course, that won’t always be true — and certainly it’s quite likely that people are plotting all sorts of nasty stuff with encryption — but even then that doesn’t actually result in law enforcement “going dark” as they’d have you believe. First of all, encryption is still difficult to use and easy to mess up. In fact, most reports suggest that ISIS is pretty bad about its opsec when it comes to encryption. And, even if they are successfully using encryption, they still leave plenty of other breadcrumbs for law enforcement and the intelligence community to track.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How Many Children Are Tasered By School Police? It’s Hard to Tell

      How many children are Tasered by school police officers? It’s hard to tell. This investigation found at least 84 incidents of children being Tasered by school police — and that number is probably a huge underestimation, because there is no organization that tracks use of Tasers in schools.

    • Set To Stun

      Children are being Tasered by school-based police officers. No one knows how often it’s happening or what impact it’s having on students.

    • Private federal prisons more dangerous, damning DoJ investigation reveals

      Privately operated government prisons, which mostly detain migrants convicted of immigration offenses, are drastically more unsafe and punitive than other prisons in the federal system, a stinging investigation by the US Department of Justice’s inspector general has found.

      Inmates at these 14 contract prisons, the only centers in the federal prison system that are privately operated, were nine times more likely to be placed on lockdown than inmates at other federal prisons and were frequently subjected to arbitrary solitary confinement. In two of the three contract prisons investigators routinely visited, new inmates were automatically placed in solitary confinement as a way of combating overcrowding, rather than for disciplinary issues.

      The review also found that contract prison inmates were more likely to complain about medical care, treatment by prison staff and about the quality of food.

    • End Prisons-for-Profit

      On Thursday the U.S. Department of Justice inspector general released a scathing report on the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ monitoring of “contract prisons,” a shadow network of private, for-profit prisons that hold about 11 percent of the nation’s 193,000 federal prisoners.

    • Revealed: Private Federal Prisons More Abusive and Violent
    • Refugee Trauma on Nauru: the Leaked Incident Reports

      Human sensibility has been given another sound beating with the leak of 2,116 incident reports from Australia’s remorseless detention camp on Nauru. The reports total some 8,000 pages covering the period of May 2013 to October 2015 and were published by the Guardian on Wednesday.[1]

      The newspaper notes that children are heavily, in fact “vastly over-represented in the reports” featuring in a total of 1,086 incidents despite making up only 18 percent of the detained population. Even the bureaucratic “ratings” of harm and risk given by the private security firm Wilson’s can’t varnish the brutalities.

    • Risks from Trump’s Reckless Invective

      One of the more pertinent observations about Donald Trump’s comment this week on what gun owners could do about a Hillary Clinton presidency comes from columnist Thomas Friedman, who recalls the assassination in Israel 21 years ago of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. The assassination was preceded by a stream of hateful invective with violent overtones directed by elements on the Israeli right against Rabin — for his having taken a step, in the form of the Oslo accords, toward making peace with the Palestinians.

      The invective was condoned rather than condemned by prominent political leaders on the right, including current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The inflammatory rhetoric and its widespread toleration helped to convince the assassin that his lethal act would be not only widely accepted but even legitimate. This whole tragic and abominable story is told in detail in Dan Ephron’s gripping book Killing a King, wh

    • We Shouldn’t Wait Another Fifteen Years for a Conversation About Government Hacking

      With high-profile hacks in the headlines and government officials trying to reopen a long-settled debate about encryption, information security has become a mainstream issue. But we feel that one element of digital security hasn’t received enough critical attention: the role of government in acquiring and exploiting vulnerabilities and hacking for law enforcement and intelligence purposes. That’s why EFF recently published some thoughts on a positive agenda for reforming how the government, obtains, creates, and uses vulnerabilities in our systems for a variety of purposes, from overseas espionage and cyberwarfare to domestic law enforcement investigations.

      Some influential commentators like Dave Aitel at Lawfare have questioned whether we at EFF should be advocating for these changes, because pursuing any controls on how the government uses exploits would be “getting ahead of the technology.” But anyone who follows our work should know we don’t call for new laws lightly.

      To be clear: We are emphatically not calling for regulation of security research or exploit sales. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine how any such regulation would pass constitutional scrutiny. We are calling for a conversation around how the government uses that technology. We’re fans of transparency; we think technology policy should be subject to broad public debate, heavily informed by the views of technical experts. The agenda in the previous post outlined calls for exactly that.

    • The Other Olympic Sports: Racism, Sexism, Outing Gay Athletes From Violently Homophobic Countries

      Amidst the graft, excess, sniping, jingoism, and social and environmental devastation that is the Olympics in Rio – where so many poor residents have been internally displaced some observers have dubbed it “the city of shame,” the poignant presence of Olympic refugees has suggested the alarming normalization of mass exile as a Refugee Nation, and protesters have organized The Exclusion Games because the real ones are “not for the people who live here” – there have been many moments of remarkable drama and athletic perfection. Mostly notable have been the gold-winning triumphs of the two young African-American Simones – the gymnast Simone Biles and the swimmer Simone Manuel. But their and others’ real achievements were too often met by stunningly tone-deaf, face-palm-worthy media coverage that repeatedly exposed the rampant sexism, racism and cultural obliviousness of so much mainstream America journalism.

      Biles’ astonishing performances were met with well-earned praise – some have hailed her the world’s greatest athlete – but also insulting lapses, like Fox inexplicably covering not her astonishing floor performance but bad Russian ones from the past and stammering coverage of her difficult childhood and adoption; she quickly shut it down with the concise, “My parents are my parents.” Manuel’s surprise victory in the 100-meter freestyle – making her the first African-American woman to win an individual medal in swimming – the same night as a Phelps victory was heralded in one blindingly offensive headline: “Michael Phelps Shares Historic Night with African-American.” The ensuing outrage brought a change of headline and some suggested improvements, like, “Simone Manuel Shares Historic Night with White Guy.” At every turn, the athletes rose above their often-tawdry treatment: After her victory, a tearful Manuel acknowledged “the weight of the black community” and declared, “This medal is not just for me. It’s for a whole bunch of people that came before me and have been an inspiration to me. It’s for all the people after me, who believe they can’t do it.” Ultimately, Biles offered the best-ever retort to the idiocy: “I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps,” she said. “I’m the first Simone Biles.”

    • Team Refugee and the Normalization of Mass Displacement

      It was after midnight when the small refugee Olympic team strode into the stadium in Rio, the very last before host country Brazil’s huge contingent danced in to the samba-driven opening ceremonies. Ten amazing athletes, originally from four separate countries but sharing their status as unable to return home, marching under the Olympic flag.

    • The Rampant Sexism on Display at the Rio Olympics

      On Thursday night, American swimmer Simone Manuel tied with Canadian Penny Oleksiak for a historic gold medal in the 100m freestyle. NBC didn’t air Manuel’s medal ceremony right away — even though she’s the first African American woman to win gold for an individual swim.

      Instead, the network aired a delayed broadcast of Russian gymnasts. The BBC, however, did air the medal ceremony as it was happening. Watch the contrast between both programs here.

      The sexism and racism aren’t limited to broadcast coverage. The San Jose Mercury News didn’t even bother to include Manuel’s name in a headline that read: “Olympics: Michael Phelps shared historic night with African-American.”

      Throughout the first week of the Rio Olympics, sexism has been on display again and again in the coverage of the athletic prowess of thousands of incredible women athletes…

    • Kabul’s women seek refuge indoors after a series of acid attacks

      In early July, the citizens of Kabul were faced with a confronting sight. Armed with a loudspeaker, novice rapper Elinaa Rezaie hit the streets, lifted the front of her burqa and displayed a bandaged face to passersby in the Pul-i-Surkh district of the city.

      Rezaie stood before the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission building, protesting violence against women and the acid attacks she and others feared. That day, Nafisa Nouri, a wife and mother of two girls, was hospitalized after an attack. Nouri’s 7-year-old daughter Parinaz and another female relative of the family also suffered burns to their bodies and face from the acid.

      Mobilzed by her anger, Rezaie rapped against the government’s weak response to violence against women. “I went to visit the acid victims in the hospital to tell them I feel their pain,” Rezaie told Women in the World. “Then I decided to demonstrate … because the rest of the world seems to have forgotten about us.”

    • Police ‘too scared’ to stop vote rigging in Muslim areas, damning report finds

      The study, headed by Sir Eric Pickles, found that authorities are not doing enough to stamp out bullying and religious intimidation among Asian authorities during the lead up to elections.

      The report has even called for a dramatic overhaul of the electoral system, warning the “integrity of democracy” is at stake.

    • The Election Won’t Be Rigged. But It Could Be Hacked.

      In my old workplace, right next to the comfortable couches where we would take breaks, we kept a voting machine. Instead of using the screen to pick our preferred candidate, we played Pac-Man. We sent Pac-Man’s familiar yellow chomping face after digital ghosts with the same kind of machine that had been used in 2008 in more than 160 jurisdictions with about nine million registered voters.

      This was at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University, where researchers had been able to reprogram the voting machine without even breaking the “tamper evident” seals.

      Voting isn’t a game, of course, and we need to trust the machines that count our votes. Especially this year. Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, raised the possibility of “rigged” elections, and his former adviser Roger J. Stone Jr. has warned of a “blood bath” in such a case. A recent poll found that 34 percent of likely voters believed the general election would be rigged.

      It’s unclear what mechanism the Trump campaign envisions for this rigging. Voter fraud through impersonation or illegal voting is vanishingly rare in the United States, and rigging the election by tampering with voting machines would be nearly impossible. As President Obama pointed out in a news conference last week, where he called charges of electoral rigging “ridiculous,” states and cities set up voting systems, not the federal government. That’s true, and it means the voting machine landscape is a patchwork of different systems, which makes the election hard to manipulate in a coordinated way.

      But it’s still a bleak landscape.

    • Egyptian booed after refusing judo handshake

      Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby was loudly booed at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics after his first-round loss to Israel’s fifth-ranked Or Sasson, when he refused to bow or shake Sasson’s hand, in a major breach of judo etiquette.

      Sasson defeated El Shehaby with two throws for an automatic victory, with about a minute and a half remaining in the bout.

      Afterward, El Shehaby lay flat on his back for a moment before standing to take his place before Sasson, in front of the referee. When Sasson extended his hand, El Shehaby backed away, shaking his head. El Shehaby refused to comment afterward.

      Judo players always bow or shake each other’s hands before and after the match as a sign of respect in the Japanese martial art.

      El Shahaby had come under pressure from Islamist-leaning and nationalist voices in Egypt to withdraw entirely from the fight.

    • Dallas Police Want to Suppress Bomb Robot Evidence That’s ‘Embarrassing’

      The Dallas Police Department is trying to suppress all evidence it has relating to its use of a bomb robot to kill the man suspected of killing four police officers at a Black Lives Matter protest last month. It has asked the Texas attorney general to allow it to withhold information that is “embarrassing” and has said that much of the evidence is “of no legitimate concern to the public.”

      Dallas Police Chief David Brown said the department took the unprecedented measure of using “our bomb robot” after Micah Johnson had holed up in a parking garage and had apparently exchanged gunfire with law enforcement.

      “We saw no other option than to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension to detonate where the suspect was,” Brown said at a press conference soon after Johnson was killed. “Other options would have exposed our officers to grave danger.”

    • Witness Recounts Fatal Shooting of 73-Year-Old Florida Woman During Police Drill

      An eye witness to the fatal shooting of a Florida retiree during a citizen police academy drill in which she was playing a role said Wednesday at first they thought it was “theater” when she suddenly collapsed.

      But when they saw that Mary Knowlton was bleeding, they realized this was no act, witness John Wright told NBC News

    • Irish court orders alleged Silk Road admin to be extradited to US

      A 27-year-old Irishman who American prosecutors believe was a top administrator on Silk Road named “Libertas” has been approved for extradition to the United States.

      According to the Irish Times, a High Court judge ordered Gary Davis to be handed over to American authorities on Friday.

      In December 2013, federal prosecutors in New York unveiled charges against Davis and two other Silk Road staffers, Andrew Michael Jones (“Inigo”) and Peter Phillip Nash (“Samesamebutdifferent”). They were all charged with narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy.

      After a few years of operation, Silk Road itself was shuttered when its creator, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested in San Francisco in October 2013. Ulbricht was convicted at a high-profile trial and was sentenced to life in prison in May 2015.

    • Texas Readies to Kill Man—Who Killed No One—for Murder

      The case prompted roughly 50 Evangelical leaders from across the county to write to Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday, urging them to stop the execution. “Officials have a moral obligation to rectify this mistake and stop this execution while they still can,” they wrote, adding, “It deeply troubles us when the criminal justice system concludes that some of the most vulnerable in society can be executed and disposed of.”

      From the Washington Post’s lengthy reporting Friday on the case: “If executed this month, Wood will be the ‘least culpable person executed in the modern era of death penalty,’ said Scott Cobb, president of Texas Moratorium Network, a group that advocates against capital punishment.”

    • In Texas, a man who didn’t kill anybody is about to be executed for murder

      The scheduled execution is Wood’s punishment for the 1996 death of a man he did not kill — and, by some accounts, did not know was going to be killed.

      Legal experts say his case is rare, even in Texas, the execution capital of America — and a state that allows capital punishment for people who did not kill anyone or did not intend to kill.

    • Security Territory and Population Part 4: Conclusion of Description of Security and Population

      The third lecture by Michel Foucault in Security, Territory and Population begins with a discussion of the systems of law and discipline considered from the standpoint of “norms”. In the system of law, norms are the acceptable behaviors,derived from sacred texts or societal customs or the will of the sovereign. They are then codified and made mandatory. In disciplinary systems, the goal is to identify the best way to do some act, and the people are taught those actions and punished or reeducated for not doing them. In a security system, the ideas of the new sciences of understanding of the nature of the human species are brought to bear on the problem, with the goal of freeing people from the problem, or channeling their behavior into the best known forms. Normalization in the security regime consists in recognizing a problem, and working out solutions using analysis and planning.

      He illustrates the latter with a detailed discussion of the introduction of inoculation and the related advances in medicine, administrative controls and statistics, showing that the basic idea of security as a method of government is to treat the population as a whole. There is a nice example of this here. In fact, once you get used to thinking about government as Foucault describes it, you see examples everywhere.

      In a law regime, the determination of norms is based on the will of the sovereign, or some sacred text or long-established custom. In a disciplinary regime, the determination of norms is made to fulfill the desires of the powerful, including the sovereign. The examples given, how to load guns, how to form up for a battle, make this clear. Foucault does not discuss the way that norms and the process of normalization are derived in the security regime. How is the decision made as to what problem should be solved, or what behavior should be encouraged or discouraged? These decisions are made through relationships of power, so perhaps we will get more on this later.

    • From slave market to Olympic venue: variations of capitalist accumulation in the port of Rio de Janeiro

      There is a repeated primitive accumulation throughout the history of capitalism required by capitalist expansion itself, which must commodify not yet commodified spaces in order to develop.

    • An Open Letter to NY Times Public Editor Liz Spayd, from Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse and Advocates

      We are a global community of survivors of child sexual abuse and advocates. We were heartened when, under your editorial direction, the Columbia Journalism Review published a piece by Steve Buttry, Director of Student Media at LSU: “The voiceless have a voice. A journalist’s job is to amplify it.” We would like to ask you and The New York Times to consider amplifying our collective voice; we reiterate our request, emailed to you on July 11, 2016.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Too Poor to Afford the Internet

      All summer, kids have been hanging out in front of the Morris Park Library in the Bronx, before opening hours and after closing. They bring their computers to pick up the Wi-Fi signal that is leaking out of the building, because they can’t afford internet access at home. They’re there during the school year, too, even during the winter — it’s the only way they can complete their online math homework.

      Last year, the Federal Communications Commission reaffirmed what these students already knew: Access to broadband is necessary to be a productive member of society. In June, a federal appeals court upheld the commission’s authority to regulate the internet as a public utility.

  • DRM

    • How a digital-only smartphone opens the door to DRM (and how to close the door)

      Fast Company’s Mark Sullivan asked me to explain what could happen if Apple went through with its rumored plans to ship a phone with no analog sound outputs, only digital ones — what kind of DRM badness might we expect to emerge?

      Start by understanding this: copyright lets you do a lot of stuff without permission (and even against the wishes) of rightsholders. For example, it let Apple launch the Ipod and Itunes, both of which were bitterly denounced by the record industry at their launch — as far as they were concerned, “Rip, Mix, Burn” was an invitation to piracy, and Apple was wrong to encourage this behavior. But because copyright has limits — fair use, and the limits on copyrightability itself — Apple was able to revolutionize music.

      Enter the DMCA: in 1998, Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 1201 of which says that breaking DRM, even to accomplish those legal activities that lead to so much improvement and innovation in the entertainment industry (like Itunes and Ipods and Iphones) is illegal.

    • Why Cory Doctorow Thinks Apple’s Disappearing Headphone Jack Should Scare You

      It’s almost a certainty that Apple has removed the standard headphone jack from the next iPhone, which will be announced in a matter of weeks. The new phone will deliver sound through the Lightning port at the bottom of the phone, or via Bluetooth to wireless headphones. These are both digital outputs; the analog output of the headphone jack is probably gone for good.

      This is good and bad. The end-to-end digital audio stack will allow for higher quality audio and some new features, but it’ll also open the door for increased DRM control over music content by the record labels that own it.

      “If Apple creates a circumstance where the only way to get audio off its products is through an interface that is DRM-capable, they’d be heartbreakingly naive in assuming that this wouldn’t give rise to demands for DRM,” Electronic Frontier Foundation special advisor Cory Doctorow told Fast Company in an email exchange Monday.

      If a consumer or some third-party tech company used the music in way the rights holders didn’t like, the rights holders could invoke the anti-circumvention law written in Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Court: US seizure of Kim Dotcom’s millions and 4 jet skis will stand

        The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday in favor of the American government’s seizure of a large number of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom’s overseas assets.

        In the US civil forfeiture case, which was brought 18 months after the initial criminal charges brought against Dotcom and Megaupload, prosecutors outlined why the New Zealand seizure of Dotcom’s assets on behalf of the American government was valid. Seized items include millions of dollars in various seized bank accounts in Hong Kong and New Zealand, multiple cars, four jet skis, the Dotcom mansion, several luxury cars, two 108-inch TVs, three 82-inch TVs, a $10,000 watch, and a photograph by Olaf Mueller worth over $100,000.

      • Rightscorp Threatens Every ISP in the United States

        Following a court win by its client BMG over Cox Communications this week, Rightscorp has issued an unprecedented warning to every ISP in the United States today. Boasting a five-year trove of infringement data against Internet users, Rightscorp warned ISPs that they can either cooperate or face the consequences.

      • EFF Asks Supreme Court To Review ‘Dancing Baby’ Copyright Case

        The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today filed a petition on behalf of its client Stephanie Lenz asking the U.S. Supreme Court to ensure that copyright holders who make unreasonable infringement claims can be held accountable if those claims force lawful speech offline.

        Lenz filed the lawsuit that came to be known as the “Dancing Baby” case after she posted—back in 2007—a short video on YouTube of her toddler son in her kitchen. The 29-second recording, which Lenz wanted to share with family and friends, shows her son bouncing along to the Prince song “Let’s Go Crazy,” which is heard playing in the background. Universal Music Group, which owns the copyright to the Prince song, sent YouTube a notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), claiming that the family video was an infringement of the copyright.

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