The EPO is Committing Suicide by Granting Invalid Patents That No Recipient Should Ever Desire

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Even Slobodan Milošević knew better than to commit suicide

European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg
Photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit: Alfredovic.

Summary: Some of the colossally misguided policies of Battistelli leave neither applicants nor workers satisfied — to the point where complaints are being made to European authorities and to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, respectively

BOGUS patents help nobody. They deplete/drain money/resources out of both the plaintiff and the defendant, especially when there’s a lawsuit; patent maximalism may be beneficial in the short term to patent law firms and patent offices, but at whose expense?

In an article last updated 3 days ago, Isobel Finnie from Haseltine Lake LLP wrote about EPO patents pertaining to life (which is of course absurd!). “If your European patent/patent application involves products of essentially biological processes,” she wrote, “such as crossing of whole plant or animal genomes, proceedings may be stayed.”

Not too long ago the EPO disappointed many grantees by saying that their patents had become worthless. The EPO should never have granted these patents. Judging by leaks from the EPO, such as these messages from Mr. Vacca, quality at the EPO suffers considerably from Battistelli’s policies. All that Battistelli can do is lie about it (as recently as days ago). Here is what Marco Lissandrini from Bugnion SpA wrote about amending patents/applications at the EPO:

The trap is caused both by the examiner, who granted the patent, and by the applicant who introduced fresh subject-matter.

In practice, however, due to Battistelli’s policies, examiners are urged to work in a fear-induced rush and barely take into account what the applicant is saying. What does that mean to the applicant? No applicant wants a bogus patent granted (with renewals fees to later be paid in vain).

The following new comment jokes about what Battistelli has done to the EPO. “Customer satisfaction trumps everything else these days,” it says sarcastically. We already covered examples where customers complained to politicians about the unsatisfactory EPO service. Here is the full quote:

Anybody wondering how the Board could conclude that the claimed subject matter exhibits an inventive step should bear in mind that this was a decision on appeal from the Examining Division. The Applicant enjoyed its “right to be heard” but the Division has no such right. It wasn’t there at the Hearing. The Board heard only one side of the argument.

Presumably the Decision made the EPO managers happy though. Customer satisfaction trumps everything else these days, right?

So might the Board’s Chair and Rapporteur now be rewarded with an uptick from the quality managers, for putting DG1 straight?

Well, Guillaume Minnoye, the Vice President of DG1, is leaving this summer. DG4, in the meantime, is about to make things even worse:

More “good news” from EPONIA

A new policy will be presented to the June Council. It foresees that if one does not do his/her job (whatever this means) the EPO can withdraw 1/20 of his/her salary as a consequence for the day during which the job was not done as expected (this opens the door to more arbitrariness eg a manager does not like someone, instructs him/her to do something stupid which obviously the employee will not do, BINGO the manager can then retaliate via cutting a share of his/her salary without the need of a disciplinary board).

But this is not all, more non-sense is in planning:

DG4 currently works on documents for the December Council which foresee:

1- to stop with the “old fashion” concept of duty of care of the employer towards his employees. The aim of the new policy is to replace it by a duty of employability – thus shifting the burden of responsability entirely on the staff’s shoulders (not sure the ILO-AT finds this to its taste).

2 – no more permanent jobs but 3 years euro-contracts for all new staff from January 18 (again provided the AC supports this). Imagine the level of the candidates they will recruit with such stupid rules which solve no existing problems. Who will leave his/her country for a boring examiner job limited to three years where one can be taken his/her salary or fired via abusive discretionary decisions and this with no defense rights ?

All this non-sense stemms from the minds of PD HR and her accolytes. Stunning.

We wrote about this a few days ago. “That all sounds as if the EPO management is pushing for turbocapitalism rules,” another person wrote in another thread. “Despite the most definitely not being a capitalistic company earning money for their owners…”

Pretty much all insiders agree that the EPO is going down/heading in the wrong way, having become one of the world's worst in terms of quality (some professionals say so too, as we shall show in the coming days).

Is the EPO Pushing Prepared ‘Articles’ (Ghostwriting) Through Shepard Fox Communications?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reference: Ghostwriter

Summary: In an effort to artificially ‘generate’ hype for EIA, or in order to push puff pieces into European media, the EPO seems to be turning to external PR firms yet again (without money trail left for public audits)

It certainly looks like the EPO is now throwing away money again, giving millions of Euros to malicious PR firms that bolster/help the in-house PR team. Did the EPO sign a contract with Shepard Fox Communications? Can anyone leak the contract to us? Was there any tender at all?

“Did the EPO sign a contract with Shepard Fox Communications? Can anyone leak the contract to us? Was there any tender at all?”Jonathan Weinberg from Shepard Fox Communications (he calls himself and his occupation “communications, PR, copywriting and content consultant”) keeps showing up in their press releases as a contact, last seen on the 16th of May (we mentioned him prior to that, e.g. [1, 2]). He used to be a “Freelance Journalist”, so we assume that he currently just pushes fake news and prepared ‘articles’ for others to publish. That’s just what these kinds of firms tend to practically do. The senior PR people at the EPO are not native English speaker (although one of them studied for a few years in the UK), so it makes sense for them to hire people in the UK and push nonsense into British media. We saw many puff pieces about EIA around that time (we’ll omit the links as these can end up being promotional).

We already know that the EPO’s PR team is actively pushing publishers to produce puff pieces and ‘plant’ these in the media, with journalists as stenographers paid to make it look like reporting. We know this because some actors actually told us so. Is the EPO still dependent on FTI Consulting or are there more deals being signed in secret with more PR firms? Please let us know, preferably but not necessarily with supporting evidence. The EPO is already wasting millions of Euros for Battistelli's self-aggrandising events, but how much of that money goes into private hands without even a tender?

German Barrier to the Unitary Patent (UPC) is Bound to Bring the Insidious Plans to a Halt

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This isn’t how Team UPC predicted it would go down…

German and English UPC

Summary: With two of the largest economies in Europe unable to ratify the UPC (oopsie), doubts about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) grow and it’s not clear if it will ever become a reality at all (anywhere)

THE British general election was bound to cause a disaster to the UPC and it definitely was, as we explained yesterday. Now it’s Germany’s turn to deal a death blow, bearing in mind that Germany cannot press on without the UK (as the UPC in its current form is highly if not strictly dependent on the UK).

Some time ago we took note of Constitutional issues regarding the UPC, specifically but not only in Germany. Benjamin Henrion has in fact stressed this many times before. As for Germans, they don’t want the UPC; heck, many of them barely tolerate the EPO and days ago there was a protest against the EPO for granting patents on seeds (photos from the protest in Germany have just been uploaded).

“…British general election was bound to cause a disaster to the UPC and it definitely was, as we explained yesterday.”The latest development we first became aware of thanks to Eleonora Rosati, who wrote a couple of quick tweets [1, 2] linking to this report from Germany. “Major news,” it stated, “German Federal Constitutional Court stops Unitary Patent…”

“So I was right all along,” I told her, “wasn’t I? Unlike Bristows, the liars…”

She happens to write in the same blog as those liars (IP Kat), but she should not be held accountable for Bristows’ record of never-ending lies, including about Germany.

IP Kat tweeted about this and later on Mark Schweizer, whom we trust, wrote a quick blog post about it. Jane Mutimear quickly commented to say: “Our understanding is that this is an agreement by the Office of the President to suspend ratification pending the Court’s determination of the issue in the ongoing expedited proceedings before it. The Court has not yet reached a decision.”

“Now it’s Germany’s turn to deal a death blow, bearing in mind that Germany cannot press on without the UK (as the UPC in its current form is highly if not strictly dependent on the UK).”This is an important clarification and the subject of an ongoing conversation there. Here is Tom Mitcheson explaining [1, 2]: “Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) has asked Federal President not to pass the laws already approved by Bundestag and Bundesrat. Karlsruhe was advocated, because a hitherto unknown private person had brought constitutional complaint.”

Some EPO insiders told us about the seminal article, “BVerfG stoppt EU-Patent,” and others clarified the meaning: “Asked the president not to sign it yet – not quite stopped.”

Well, it’s certainly a barrier nonetheless and Battistelli is running out of time (see the latest report from Heise). “They cannot go ahead without the UK anyway,” I replied, “and it’s in shambles here.” (politically)

Henrion then weighed in and EPO insiders replied with: “Not yet, it’s postponed” (technically yes, but this could be a mortal blow).

“Some time ago we took note of Constitutional issues regarding the UPC, specifically but not only in Germany.”The outcome now depends on what we do about it, always in the face of many lies from the likes of Bristows and politicians they mislead so as to get papers mindlessly signed.

“They postponed the decision,” the insider continued, “but in the end they will not go on with it…”

“Yes,” I responded, “they are losing momentum. The morale games are being played cleverly by CIPA (now INSIDE IP Kat), Bristows etc.”

CIPA’s ‘infiltration’ into IP Kat is a subject we’ll cover separately, hopefully later tonight.

“The outcome now depends on what we do about it, always in the face of many lies from the likes of Bristows and politicians they mislead so as to get papers mindlessly signed.”Axel Horns wrote: “[In English] Tomorrow F.A.Z will run a report saying that German Constitutional Court may object to #UPC, asking Steinmeier not to sign…”

“Let’s wait and see if the FAZ tells us what the case is based on,” someone responded to him after had he reminded folks of Siegfried Broß’s opposition to the UPC: “Within this context, see also http://kluwerpatentblog.com/2017/05/25/rule-law-epo-ugly-writing-wall/?platform=hootsuite&print=pdf … #Bross #EPC”

Hendrik Wieduwilt ‏also mentioned the upcoming FAZ report: “EXKLUSIV: @BVerfG stoppt einheitliches EU-Patent; Karlsruhe hat BuPräsidenten gebeten, Gesetze nicht zu unterschreiben. Morgen in “FAZ”.”

“Anyone in Germany can file such a complaint — a move that we strongly encourage.”Not even Dr. Luke McDonagh‏ overlooked such a major event.

“I guess Ingve filed a constitutional complaint,” Henrion privately told me, adding that he is “looking to file one as well…”

Anyone in Germany can file such a complaint — a move that we strongly encourage. It’s easier for German residents to do so.

EPO staff whom we heard from is generally happy about the news. They know that the demise of the UPC may mean the exit of Battistelli and reversal of at least some of his controversial proposals, which clearly contravene the EPC.

Technical Incompetence at the European Patent Office (EPO)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

European Patent Office mail

Summary: Lack of quality from the European Patent Office creeps into services, examination and even the technical/marketing team

THE above tweet is yet another one of those examples where technical incompetence creeps in and embarrasses the EPO. We have given more examples of this and we often blame this on brain drain — an epidemic which impacts not only technical staff but also examination. Maybe the developers were pressured to up their PACE and they didn’t test what they were about to unleash in bulk. Based on the EPO’s explanation of this error [1, 2, 3], negligence or lack of testing was the cause. How symbolic of the EPO’s problems under Battistelli. Quality does not matter, only quantity, e.g. of E-mails and spendings.

Links 12/6/2017: Linux 4.12RC5, KDE Frameworks 5.35.0, Tanglu 4

Posted in News Roundup at 4:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • With path cleared to close Yahoo deal, Verizon prepares the pink slip printer

    Yahoo stockholders today approved the terms of the acquisition of the company’s Internet business by Verizon for $4.48 billion. What once was Yahoo’s primary business will be merged with Verizon’s AOL unit to create a business to be called “Oath.”

  • Science

    • If you wrong a raven, it will remember

      Don’t try to wrong a raven, not even once. It’s not going to forget and it’s probably going to shun you for a long time.

      When it comes to animal personalities, there are dogs, which are loyal and usually love you no matter what. And on the other side are ravens, who are only too happy to remember what you look like and ostracize you, according to a study published this week in the journal Animal Behavior. The researchers trained nine ravens by hand for the purpose of testing — or, really, taunting — them to see if these birds could tell fair from unfair. Spoiler alert: They can. They will bear a grudge, and this is what makes these bitter corvids birds after my own heart.

      These nine ravens were raised in captivity, growing to become familiar with the researchers. Then came the test.

    • Journal tries crowdsourcing peer reviews, sees excellent results

      Peer review is supposed to act as a sanity check on science. A few learned scientists take a look at your work, and if it withstands their objective and entirely neutral scrutiny, a journal will happily publish your work. As those links indicate, however, there are some issues with peer review as it is currently practiced. Recently, Benjamin List, a researcher and journal editor in Germany, and his graduate assistant, Denis Höfler, have come up with a genius idea for improving matters: something called selected crowd-sourced peer review.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • [Older] Flint Official Resigns After Using Racial Slur to Describe Residents With Water Problems
    • [Older] Flint official resigns after blaming water crisis on black residents not paying bills
    • Feds drop bombshell: Up to 100 girls may have had their genitals cut in Michigan

      A federal prosecutor dropped a bombshell in court Wednesday, telling a federal judge that the government estimates that as many as 100 girls may have had their genitals cut at the hands of a local doctor and her cohorts.

    • Senate Republicans Hope You Won’t Notice They’re About to Repeal Obamacare

      This week, while everyone was distracted by former FBI director James Comey’s testimony, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell put the Republican health-care overhaul on fast track. His caucus is writing its bill in secret, and McConnell’s move means he could bring the legislation up for a vote anytime, without holding a single public hearing. All signs indicate that Senate Republicans are preparing to copy their colleagues in the House and jam through a massively destructive piece of legislation before the public knows what’s going on.

      Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill raised the alarm during a Thursday hearing on the Department of Health and Human Services budget. “Will we have a hearing on the health-care proposal?” McCaskill asked pointedly of a flummoxed Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who turned to his staff for help. After Hatch sputtered that Democrats were invited to participate regardless of whether a hearing was held, McCaskill retorted by recounting the months-long process of public hearings and amendments that the Affordable Care Act went through. Then she launched into a fiery, indignant speech.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Largest Ramadan Attacks on Buddhist and Hindu Tribal people in Chittagong Hills in Bangladesh.

      When the numbers of casualties figure between 7-10 including babies, injured are more than 100 and the victims lost their properties and wealth of more than 100 crores. Dozen of women were raped by the Bengali speaking Muslim settlers in Chittagong.

      Though some Buhhist organisations and Human Rights Groups in India took the streets to protest, the leading political party of India BJP and Central Govt of India led by BJP did not show any concern on the severe plight on the people of Chittagong in recent times.

    • Shockingly, Trump aligns the U.S. with ISIS over terror attack in Iran

      An ignorant and embattled commander-in-chief has aligned the United States with Saudi’s theocratic monarchy and its international brigade of Sunni foot soldiers, known as ISIS. The militants of ISIS are Wahhabists, devotees of a Saudi fundamentalist tradition, which abhors Shiism, democracy and women’s rights as contrary to the wishes of Allah. ISIS loathes the heretics of Iran even more than it despises the infidels of the West.

    • Not A Random Attack: New Details Emerge From Investigation Of Slain NPR Journalists

      The two men were not the random victims of bad timing in a dangerous place, as initial reports indicated. Rather, the journalists’ convoy was specifically targeted by attackers who had been tipped off to the presence of Americans in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

    • Australia to Build First Prison Aimed at Isolating Militants
    • ISIS burns 19 Yazidi girls to death for refusing sex with group’s fighters

      The terror group has been attempting to eliminate the Yazidi people as part of its ethnic cleansing efforts.

    • Reports: Dearborn cleric radicalized London attacker

      A Dearborn cleric popular among Islamic State extremists helped radicalize one of the terror suspects in the London attacks that killed seven people Saturday, according to reports.

    • Lengthy criminal past revealed for Dearborn cleric tied to London terror attacker
    • How not to build a ship: the USS Ford

      The Navy’s next-generation aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford, is a monument to the Navy’s and defense industry’s ability to justify spending billions on unproven technologies that often deliver worse performance at a higher cost.

    • Al Jazeera struck by massive DDoS attack

      Qatar media network Al Jazeera has claimed that it was the victim of a major cyberattack targeting all of its systems, websites and social media platforms.

    • Al-Jazeera claims to be victim of cyber attack as Qatar crisis continues

      Two weeks after an alleged cyber attack on Qatar’s state news agency resulted in the publishing of a fake news story, the Qatari-funded broadcasting company Al-Jazeera claims that the company’s “websites and digital platforms” are being targeted in “systematic and continual hacking attempts.” The attack comes as officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation continue to assist the Qatari government in Doha in investigations into an April breach of systems at the Qatar National Bank, as well as the previous media breach.

    • Islamists want their terrorism to become the new normal

      They also actively promote everything from faith schools to Sharia courts, burqas, gender segregation, de facto or de jure blasphemy and apostasy laws and the silencing of criticism or rejection of Islam with calls for “respect” and “tolerance” of the disrespectful and intolerant. These political manifestations of Islamist terrorism are constantly legitimised and wrapped in human rights language for public consumption in order to, in actuality, deny human rights.

    • General Election: what is the colour of your X?

      There are no Islamic parties in the UK yet there is a drive which is pushing communities to vote based on faith first, country second. As a secular democracy this is frightening not least because there is a global rise in religious fundamentalism. One only has to look at Narendra Modi in India and Donald Trump in the USA to see great nations, being strangled with ever-narrow hegemonies.

    • Sikhs Take The Lead On Cutting The Crap On How Islamic Ideology Generates Terrorism

      [...] this is not simply just about Western foreign policy. There is something else at play, and has been for a number of centuries. We must have the courage to name the elephant in the room.

    • Time for an Honest Debate about the Religious Motivation Behind Terror Attacks

      The NSO takes the view that jihadist attacks are primarily motivated by foundational religious texts, and Britain can no longer ignore this. We can no longer bury our heads in the sand and pretend there is no doctrinal motivation. An honest conversation, however difficult, must now take place, [...]

    • EU’s sick “asylum policy”: Cui bono? [iophk: "smuggling industry is usually all but ignored despite being a major driving factor"]

      Instead of helping real refugees in local safe zones or paying Third World countries to host them, the EU has transformed itself into a deadly honey pot: Thousands die on their way to the promised land, mostly from diseases, murder or drowning. The human smuggling mafia is a cruel business known for selling fake life vests and suffocating hopefuls in airtight containers.

    • Smugglers en route to Europe ‘forcing migrants to bury alive sick or injured travellers’

      Smugglers and trafficking gangs, which make millions of pounds extorting migrants who dream of reaching Europe, are now said to be burying alive those they deem not “fit enough to travel”.

    • Air Force grounds F-35A operations at training base after pilots suffered hypoxia

      The US Air Force’s 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona today cancelled “local flying operations” for F-35A fighters after five incidents in which pilots “experienced hypoxia-like symptoms,” an Air Force spokesperson said in a statement. Hypoxia is a deficiency in oxygen reaching the body through the circulatory system.

      “In order to synchronize operations and maintenance efforts toward safe flying operations we have cancelled local F-35A flying,” said 56th Fighter Wing commander Brigadier General Brook Leonard. “The Air Force takes these physiological incidents seriously, and our focus is on the safety and well-being of our pilots. We are taking the necessary steps to find the root cause of these incidents.”

      The cancellation of F-35A operations is currently restricted to Luke Air Force Base, the primary pilot training base for the F-35A. The Air Force also trains F-35A pilots at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The 56th Fighter Wing’s squadrons at Luke train pilots from the US Air Force as well as from other nations buying the F-35A, including Norway, Italy, and Australia. All the pilots training at Luke will be briefed on the incidents and on the procedures the pilots affected used to successfully restore oxygen and land the aircraft safely, a 56th Fighter Wing spokesperson said. The 56th’s Air Operations Group will also hold a forum with pilots to discuss their concerns.

    • Al-Qaeda says fighting alongside US-, Saudi-backed militia in Yemen

      The leader of al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen says his forces have often fought alongside US- and Saudi-backed militia and supporters of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi against the Yemeni army and the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.

      Qasim al-Rimi, the ringleader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), made the remarks to the terrorist group’s media arm al-Malahem from an undisclosed location in war-torn Yemen on Sunday, adding that his militants had teamed up with an array of other “factions,” including Salafist groups and the “Muslim Brotherhood,” who are both key militias on Hadi’s side.

    • Philippines: 13 marines killed as US joins battle against Islamist militants in Marawi

      U.S. special forces have joined the battle to crush Islamist militants holed up in a southern Philippines town, officials said on Saturday, as government forces struggled to make headway and 13 marines were killed in intense urban fighting.

      The Philippines military said the United States was providing technical assistance to end the siege of Marawi City by fighters allied to Islamic State, which is now in its third week, but it had no boots on the ground.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • DUP condemned for climate change denial of Trump-style proportions

      The Democratic Unionist Party, whose support looks set to keep Theresa May in Downing Street at least for the time being, are a far-right party with a track record of Donald Trump-style climate change denial.

      While the US President has described global warming as a “hoax”, the DUP’s former environment minister once claimed it was a “con”.

      In addition to controversial views on science, the DUP is known for its links to Loyalist paramilitary groups, anti-abortion stance and accusations of a prejudiced attitude towards the LGBT community.

  • Finance

    • The rise of the remainers is about to begin. May’s Brexit strategy lies in ruins

      The new Tory “bastards”. Never take the electors for granted. Never believe what they tell pollsters. They have left Theresa May’s government clinging to office, devastated and in disarray. They have left Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour opposition defeated yet cock-a-hoop. Scottish nationalism has been dealt a blow. The Liberal Democrats have failed to recover. Ukip has been demolished. Most alarming, de facto power has been handed to a small band of Ulster fundamentalists. It is hard to recall a more chaotic election result in recent British history.

      Most important, May called this election specifically to strengthen her hand in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. To this end, she presented herself as a “strong and stable” leader. A vain, wooden, egotistical campaign put her face on every poster. As Tory dissident Anna Soubry put it: “She made it about ‘me’, and ‘me’ lost.” It is hard to believe she can long survive.

    • ‘Drop hard Brexit plans’, leading Tory and Labour MPs tell May

      Senior Tory and Labour MPs called on Theresa May to forge a new cross-party approach to Brexit as fears grew that the prime minister’s weakness could lead to the imminent collapse of talks on the UK’s exit from the European Union.

      In a dramatic demonstration of May’s loss of authority, as a result of Thursday’s general election – which stripped her of a Commons majority – the MPs demanded that she in effect drop her own Tory “hard Brexit” plans in favour of a new “national” consenus, that would be endorsed by members from all sides of the House of Commons.

    • Uber’s board is meeting to discuss CEO Kalanick temporarily stepping down

      The board of directors at Uber Technologies is meeting today to discuss CEO Travis Kalanick stepping aside for a period, according to reports published this morning by Reuters, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

      Kalanick taking a leave of absence is one of several recommendations coming out of an internal report on Uber headed up by Eric Holder, who served as Attorney General during the Obama Administration. The Holder inquiry also recommends that Emil Michael, Uber’s senior vice president of business, be asked to leave the company, according to the Times.

    • Hard Brexit not backed by most MPs, remain campaigners say

      Most of the MPs elected last week want to avoid a so-called “hard Brexit”, pro-EU politicians claim.

      Having called Thursday’s election to seek an increased mandate for her Brexit strategy, Theresa May ended up losing seats and her Commons majority.

      Conservative ex-minister Anna Soubry said: “The people have spoken – and they have rejected a hard Brexit.”

      Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the government’s view of Brexit had not changed.

    • Take it from Varoufakis – Brexit will be a Greek tragedy

      With Brexit negotiations about to begin in the shadow of a hung parliament, the advice of the former Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, comes to mind. This spring he gave the stark advice: Britain should “avoid negotiating with Brussels at all costs”.

      Varoufakis knows what he is talking about, as he was finance minister for the Syriza government in 2015 and in that role had to negotiate with the EU and the IMF over the extension of Greece’s debts. The terms offered were so harsh that the Greek government campaigned successfully for a “no” vote in the July 2015 referendum on the terms of a further bailout. He resigned immediately after the vote when the Greek Prime Minister revealed to him that he intended to betray the referendum result.

      Yanis Varoufakis is also an expert on game theory and its application to economic systems. If anyone knows how to conduct high-stakes negotiations, it should be him.

    • SNP: Theresa May’s Brexit policies ‘must be scrapped’

      Theresa May’s Brexit plans should be dropped urgently, according to the Scottish government.

      Scotland’s Brexit minister, Michael Russell, told the BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland programme that Mrs May’s leadership was now “untenable”.

      He said Scotland’s proposals published last year could be a starting point for the UK government and devolved administrations to draw up a new plan.

      The SNP is still the third largest party in Westminster with 35 seats.

      “It’s extremely important that the entire Brexit policy from Theresa May is scrapped and that they start again,” Mr Russell said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Senior US prosecutor Bharara fired ‘after refusing Trump call’

      “The number of times I would have been expected to be called by the president of the United States would be zero because there has to be some kind of arm’s-length relationship given the jurisdiction that various people had.”

    • Wipro becomes first Indian IT company to formally declare Trump as potential threat to business

      President Trump’s fierce protectionist rhetoric is a cause of great concern for Indian IT companies. Since his election, IT companies have all said they will increase their hiring onsite and will lower their dependence on the work visa. Wipro said that by the end of the first quarter, over 50% of its headcount in the US would be locals.

    • Finnish Coalition at Risk After Nationalists Pick Hardline Leader

      Finland’s eurosceptic Finns party picked an anti-immigration hardliner as its leader on Saturday in a move that the prime minister said might lead to a break-up of the ruling coalition.

      At a Finns party congress, 56 percent of those voting backed European Parliament member Jussi Halla-aho, who wants Finland to leave the European Union.

    • Donald Trump’s state visit to Britain put on hold

      Donald Trump has told Theresa May in a phone call he does not want to go ahead with a state visit to Britain until the British public supports him coming.

      The US president said he did not want to come if there were large-scale protests and his remarks in effect put the visit on hold for some time.

      The call was made in recent weeks, according to a Downing Street adviser who was in the room. The statement surprised May, according to those present.

    • The Twitter presidency is getting old, according to a new voter survey

      There’s at least one definition of President Donald Trump that we can all agree on—he’s the tweeting president.

      Unlike his predecessor, Trump has provided the public with an unfiltered look at the chief executive’s immediate thoughts, inventing a new word along the way. His volatile tweets have derided his own staff, the public, and even overseas political leaders. Twitter also serves as Trump’s public forum, where he blocks people critical of him. And he uses the micro-blogging service as his own personal media outlet. Tuesday night, for example, he tweeted that he would nominate Christopher Wray to replace James Comey as the FBI director.

    • The Worst of Donald Trump’s Toxic Agenda Is Lying in Wait – A Major U.S. Crisis Will Unleash It

      During the presidential campaign, some imagined that the more overtly racist elements of Donald Trump’s platform were just talk designed to rile up the base, not anything he seriously intended to act on. But in his first week in office, when he imposed a travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries, that comforting illusion disappeared fast. Fortunately, the response was immediate: the marches and rallies at airports, the impromptu taxi strikes, the lawyers and local politicians intervening, the judges ruling the bans illegal.

      The whole episode showed the power of resistance, and of judicial courage, and there was much to celebrate. Some have even concluded that this early slap down chastened Trump, and that he is now committed to a more reasonable, conventional course.

      That is a dangerous illusion.

      It is true that many of the more radical items on this administration’s wish list have yet to be realized. But make no mistake, the full agenda is still there, lying in wait. And there is one thing that could unleash it all: a large-scale crisis.

    • These Are All the Lies the Trump Administration Told This Week

      It can be difficult to untangle the convoluted narratives coming out of the White House. So we’ve teamed up with PolitiFact to list a nonpartisan explanation of the facts. Here are the biggest lies the Trump administration told this week:

    • Trump’s Justice Department ruled that the president can accept foreign payments

      Responding to a lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a liberal watchdog group, the Justice Department wrote that revenue from foreign governments at Trump businesses would not constitute emoluments as defined in the Constitution.

    • Foreign payments to Trump’s businesses are legally permitted, argues Justice Department

      The U.S. Department of Justice argued Friday that President Trump’s businesses are legally permitted to accept payments from foreign governments while he is in office, and thus Trump is not in violation of a constitutional clause barring the acceptance of emoluments.

    • Naomi Klein: Now let’s fight back against the politics of fear

      For almost two decades now, I’ve been studying large-scale shocks to societies: how they happen, how they are exploited by politicians and corporations, and how they are even deliberately deepened in order to gain advantage over a disoriented population. I have also reported on the flipside of this process: how societies that come together around an understanding of a shared crisis can change the world for the better.

    • OPINION: The damaging case against James Comey

      The testimony of James Comey proved long on atmospherics and short on ethics. While many were riveted by Comey’s discussion of his discomfort in meetings with President Trump, most seemed to miss the fact that Comey was describing his own conduct in strikingly unethical terms. The greatest irony is that Trump succeeded in baiting Comey to a degree that even Trump could not have imagined. After calling Comey a “showboat” and poor director, Comey proceeded to commit an unethical and unprofessional act in leaking damaging memos against Trump.

      Comey described a series of ethical challenges during his term as FBI director. Yet, he almost uniformly avoided taking a firm stand in support of the professional standards of the FBI. During the Obama administration, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch gave Comey a direct order to mislead the public by calling the ongoing investigation a mere “matter.” Rather than standing firm on the integrity of his department and refusing to adopt such a meaningless and misleading term, Comey yielded to Lynch while now claiming discomfort over carrying out the order.


      Donald Trump continues to show a remarkable ability to bring out the worst in people — supporters and critics alike. In this case, he was able to bait Comey with his tweets and cause Comey to diminish his own credibility. If the comments of Trump were grossly inappropriate, Comey’s response to those comments were equally inappropriate.

    • Russia’s Not the Country Benefitting Most from Trump
    • Campaign – a poem by Carol Ann Duffy exclusively for the Guardian

      In which her body was a question-mark

      querying her lies; her mouth a ballot-box that bit the hand that fed. Her eyes? They swivelled for a jackpot win. Her heart was a stolen purse;

      her rhetoric an empty vicarage, the windows smashed.

      Then her feet grew sharp stilettos, awkward.

      Then she had balls, believe it.

      When she woke,

      her nose was bloody, difficult.

      The furious young

      ran towards her through the fields of wheat.

    • Lord Heseltine says Theresa May cannot survive disastrous election result – and nor can Tory government

      Tory grandee Lord Heseltine has torn into Theresa May, saying neither she nor the Tory government can survive Thursday’s disastrous election result.

      And the Conservative peer said Mrs May will “never” fight another election as Tory leader.

      Rebellious Lord Heseltine visited almost every broadcast studio in Westminster to tear strips off the floundering Prime Minister.

      Asked if the government would last, he told BBC Radio 4: “No. It will not go immediately because there is no appetite for another general election and every party in the house will calculate in their own self-interest.

    • Jeremy Corbyn could still become PM as new poll finds Labour would win a second general election

      Jeremy Corbyn could be heading for Downing Street if a second general election is held this year, a new poll has found.

      The Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday finds that Labour would win 45% of the vote to the Conservatives’ 39%, if voters were sent back to the polls.

    • Jeremy Corbyn Is Leading the Left Out of the Wilderness and Toward Power

      Thank you, Jeremy Corbyn.

      It is no exaggeration to say that the British Labour Party leader has changed progressive politics in the UK, and perhaps the wider West too, for a generation. The bearded, 68-year-old, self-declared socialist has proved that an unashamedly, unabashedly, unapologetically left-wing offer is not the politics of the impossible but, rather, a politics of the very much possible. Last Thursday’s election result in the UK is a ringing confirmation that stirring idealism need not be sacrificed at the altar of political pragmatism.

      In these dark, depressing times of Trump and Brexit, of the fallout from the Great Recession and the rise of the far right, Corbyn has reminded us that a politics of hope can go toe to toe with a politics of fear. Millions of people will turn out to vote for a leader who preaches optimism over pessimism, who offers inspiration instead of enervation.

    • Political Roundup: Jeremy Corbyn’s success highlights NZ Labour’s inadequacies
    • Brexit author who promised to eat his own book if Corbyn gained seats just delivered
    • Tories ‘spent more than £1m’ on negative Facebook adverts attacking Jeremy Corbyn
    • Jeremy Corbyn would be Prime Minister if election campaign had been two weeks longer, John McDonnell says
    • Orange Order asks DUP to use banned sectarian Drumcree march in negotiations with Theresa May

      Supporters of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) are demanding Theresa May allow a banned loyalist march as part of an agreement by the Northern Irish party to prop up a minority Conservative government.

      The Portadown Loyal Orange Lodge (LOL), who are currently prevented from marching in the flashpoint Gavaghy Road following a long history of sectarian violence, put out a statement amid speculation as to what concessions the DUP could demand in return for striking a deal with the Tories.

    • Shock comeback for Brexit back-stabber Michael Gove as he lands major new job in Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle

      Shock comeback for Brexit back-stabber Michael Gove as he lands major new job in Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle

    • Ireland’s prime minister warns Theresa May over deal with DUP

      Ireland’s Prime Minister has issued a warning to Theresa May over her plans to do a deal with the DUP to prop up a Tory minority government.

      Enda Kenny, who has been Taoiseach since 2011, said he had indicated his “concern” to the Prime Minister over the plan.

      Mr Kenny suggested that the arrangement, if poorly handled, could jeopardise the peace process in Northern Ireland.

    • Theresa May’s election victory will prove pyrrhic indeed

      When Theresa May called the general election at the end of April, the UK economy was struggling, inflation was on the rise and Brexit talks were looming. Seven weeks later, seemingly nothing has really changed.

      The economy is still struggling. May went to the country when Britain was officially the slowest-growing country in the European Union for the first time since the mid-1990s. It was announced during the campaign that inflation had edged up to 2.7%, and Brexit negotiations are supposed to start in a week’s time.

      In reality, however, everything has changed. May has been politically wounded, almost certainly fatally, by her failure to secure the whopping mandate that initially seemed possible. She hoped that Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, would be impressed by the size of her landslide majority. Instead, she looks weak and vulnerable.

    • Lord Buckethead, Elmo and Mr Fishfinger: a very British election

      Some of the more unorthodox candidates in the British general election have captured the attention of election-watchers around the world.

      Among those to have raised the most eyebrows is Lord Buckethead, who appeared alongside Theresa May on the podium as results were read out for the Maidenhead constituency.

    • Election result: Theresa May has lost the support of Conservative party members who want her to resign, finds survey

      Theresa May has lost the support of Conservative members who want her to resign after her election failure, according to a large survey.

      Almost 60 per cent of grassroots Tories told the ConservativeHome website that the Prime Minister must fall on her sword after destroying her Commons majority.

      The results were described as “astonishing” by the website’s editor, former MP Paul Goodman, who said: “It is the most damning finding in one of our polls that I can remember.”

    • Theresa May is not a team player and this is what has led to so many own goals

      Theresa May is not a team player, even though she is captain of the team.

      This led to own goals which the owners of her club, the British voters, could not tolerate.

      Instead of working with the other players Mrs May relied on three people not on the team at all – close aides Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy and her husband Philip.

      Mr Timothy and Ms Hill paid for their captain’s mistake with their jobs.

      At the time of writing, Mr May remains in place.

    • Labour gains 150,000 new members as Jeremy Corbyn prepares for new election battle
    • Jeremy Corbyn vows to oust Theresa May ‘within a matter of days’ after spectacular election result

      Fired-up Jeremy Corbyn today vows to finish what he started by getting rid of Theresa May within a matter of days.

      He plans to use the Queen’s Speech as his first opportunity to topple the floundering PM.

      In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Mirror, Mr Corbyn is champing at the bit and buzzing with enthusiasm.

      And over a cappucino he says it is time for Mrs May to wake up and smell the coffee.

    • How Is Theresa May’s Ally DUP Linked To Purulia Arms Drop Case?

      A February 2017 report in OpenDemocracyUK suggests that the Arlene Foster-led DUP has played host to murky dealings.

    • In office, but not in power: Enemies circle Theresa May as she becomes a sitting duck

      Theresa May was left isolated and undermined last night as the resignation of her two chiefs of staff failed to stop the furious Tory backlash.

      The Prime Minister has been told by Cabinet ministers she must overhaul her leadership style and change her economic policy if she wants to remain in power for the time being.

    • While Corbyn inspired the young, May was terrifying the old

      The YouTube video artist Cassetteboy made his anti-Brexit stance clear last week when he mocked the prime minister with the words: “It is wrong to believe the fable that Theresa May belongs at the negotiating table.”

      It is a sentiment echoed by millions of voters, many of them newly registered millennials, who used the general election to demand many things from MPs, including a softer Brexit than the one planned by May.

      Cassetteboy’s video was viewed almost one million times in the two days before the election. It’s not the first time his cut-up edits of prime ministerial speeches have proved a hit, but this time it seemed to resonate with 18- to 25-year-olds just as they were signing up in droves to vote.

    • Tories spent £1,200,000 on negative anti-Jeremy Corbyn social media adverts

      Young people and social media users were bombarded with divisive attack adverts by the Conservatives that appear to have had little impact.

      Despite £1.2 million being spent, the Tories failed to win over a majority of young voters.

    • Why a Labour majority at the next election has become far easier

      After May 2015, Labour appeared so far from power that many supporters conceded the next election in advance. The party was 99 seats behind the Conservatives (331-232), it had been wiped out in Scotland and boundary changes loomed. Such was the scale of Labour’s defeat that to achieve a majority of one it required a swing of 8.75 per cent across the UK. Not only had the party lost seats, it had gone backwards in those it needed to win.

      But Labour’s 2017 result, which saw it achieve its biggest improvement in vote share since 1945 (from 30.4 per cent to 40.0 per cent) has dramatically reshaped the electoral map in its favour. My analysis, the first to be published, shows that a majority at the next election, whether it comes this year or in 2022, is now within Labour’s reach. As well as gaining 30 MPs (from Canterbury to Kensington), Jeremy Corbyn improved the party’s performance elsewhere, turning safe Conservative seats into marginals.

    • May wanted a mandate for a hard Brexit. Now Europe expects a softer tone

      Theresa May had set Britain on a course for a hard Brexit, prioritising sovereignty at the expense of close economic ties. Nevertheless, most EU governments had hoped she would win big on 8 June, so that she would be strong enough to face down the Tory right in pushing through painful compromises. They now face a prime minister whose authority is crumbling. Yet the general election makes the prospect of a softer Brexit plausible.

      May’s instincts are probably to keep pushing for the hard Brexit that her right wing desires. But there is no parliamentary majority for a hard Brexit. Just a few pro-EU Tories could join opposition MPs to defeat May. If she wants to pass the Brexit deal – and the many Brexit-related laws that are required – she will have to collaborate with Labour and other opposition MPs.

      Such a volte-face would be uncharacteristic of May. But if she doesn’t reinvent herself as a soft Brexiter, it is hard to see how she can stay in office. And if she falls, her successor will find that survival means working with the opposition to achieve a softer version of Brexit.

    • Yvette Cooper would ‘consider’ serving in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet

      The MP tipped to challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership if Labour had been destroyed in the election is now prepared to serve in his shadow cabinet, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

      Yvette Cooper, who resigned from the front bench just days after Mr Corbyn won the leadership, would take up the position of shadow home secretary if it was offered it in a reshuffle.

      It came as other leading critics including Angela Eagle and Chuka Umunna made it clear they were willing to make a return, despite public declarations of Mr Corbyn’s unsuitability for the leadership.

    • Jeremy Corbyn is preparing Labour’s own Queen’s Speech to form government if Theresa May fails

      Jeremy Corbyn is preparing a Queen’s Speech that he will attempt to push through Parliament should Theresa May prove unable to govern.

      Labour wants to challenge the Prime Minister’s authority after she was embarrassed by failing to secure a House of Commons majority in Thursday’s general election.

      As a result, she will be forced to rely on the support of the Democratic Unionist Party’s (DUP) ten MPs – raising the prospect that the Conservatives could struggle to pass key legislation such as a Queen’s Speech or budget.

    • ‘Join Labour’ searches surge after Jeremy Corbyn electrifies country with shock result

      Google searches for how to join the Labour party have surged following the shock election result which saw it gain 30 seats.

      Although they were expected to sustain heavy losses after the country went to the polls, the party put in its best performance in years winning a total of 262 seats with 649 out of 650 counted.

      Now searches on the social media appear to show a fresh wave of potential support for the party after it was credited with energising young people in particular.

    • What it Feels Like for a Woman and James Comey

      A powerful man—your boss—invites you to discuss business after hours in an intimate setting. You feel uneasy. The man has crossed the line before, singling you out, blowing you kisses, whispering softly in your ear. But to turn him down would be an insult. And let’s face it, you’re a little intrigued. Someone powerful is paying attention to you.

    • Opsec and #blacklivesmatter: how Trump is motivating activists to learn and practice digital security
    • British PM Theresa May’s top aides resign after election fiasco

      The two top aides to British Prime Minister Theresa May resigned Saturday, shouldering some of the blame for an election that proved a disaster for the Conservative Party, a headache for Britain’s exit from the European Union _ and potentially a fatal blow to May’s premiership.

      Joint chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill formed part of May’s small inner circle and were blamed by many Conservatives for the party’s lackluster campaign and unpopular election platform, which alienated older voters with its plan to make them pay more for long-term care.

    • Newsletter: Corbyn Teaches To Embrace Change We Need

      The shocking election result in the United Kingdom – the Conservatives losing their majority and the creation of a hung Parliament; and Jeremy Corbyn being more successful than any recent Labor candidate – cutting a 20 point Theresa May lead down to a near tie – gives hope to many that the global shift to the right, fueled by the failures of governments to meet the basic needs of their population and growing economic insecurity, may be ending.


      The Corbyn campaign showed that a political leader urging a radical progressive transformative agenda can succeed. Many in his own party, the neo-liberal pro-war Blairites, claimed Corbyn could not win, tried to remove him from leadership, and sabotaged and refused to assist his campaign.

      Corbyn showed he could win the leadership of the UK in the future, maybe sooner than later. While Theresa May is in the process of forming a minority government with a small radical conservative party from Northern Ireland, there has already been a backlash, mass petitions and protests against it and UK history has shown in similar circumstances that the second place finisher, may, in the end form the government. Corbyn is taking bold and radical actions. He is preparing to present a Queen’s speech in which he will say that he and his party are “ready to serve” and will continue to push his program through Parliament. He is calling on other parties to defeat the government in Parliament.

    • Theresa May Could Be Gone Within Days

      May will face Conservative MPs Monday or Tuesday to make a plan for the future. Graham Brady, who leads the prominent 1922 committee of Conservative lawmakers, said the party has two options moving forward. It either sticks with the plan to rule with the Democratic Unionist Party or calls a new election.

      “There are only two choices. One is for us to get on, in what I think is the responsible way, and try to form a government and try to offer the right kind of responsible leadership that the country needs,” Brady told BBC Radio 4 Sunday, according to Reuters. “The other would be to go back to the country for another general election.”

    • How Trump helped defeat Theresa May

      President Trump has told British Prime Minister Theresa May he will cancel his state visit to Britain, the Guardian reported today, supposedly on the grounds that there will be mass protests. But while some official disappointment may be expressed, behind the scenes there will be no sorrow in Downing Street. Although I don’t want to exaggerate the U.S. president’s importance in last Thursday’s snap election in Britain — the main issues were domestic — this was a very hard-fought contest. Had a few hundred votes gone the other way in a handful of constituencies, May’s Conservatives might still have their parliamentary majority. And there is a serious argument that, on the margins, Trump helped swing the electorate against the Tories — in three ways.

    • British voters defy the polls in a dreadful night for the Tories

      PRIME ministers expect to see their authority battered, but in the election on June 8th Theresa May suffered a grievous blow—and at her own hands, too. In the small hours, exit polls and the early vote count seemed to point not to the solid victory she had hoped for, but to the most surprising election outcome of all: a hung parliament, or at best a tiny Tory majority.

      As we went to press, the Tories were losing seats in London and other urban areas, especially where voters opposed Brexit last June. Gains they hoped to make in the north and West Midlands, partly thanks to a collapse of the UK Independence Party, did not offset this. Nor did losses by the Scottish Nationalists in Scotland.

    • Theresa May’s two closest advisers resign following disastrous election results

      Theresa May’s two closest aides have resigned amid calls for the Prime Minister to sack them or face a leadership challenge on Monday.

      Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, Mrs May’s joint chiefs of staff, had faced fierce criticism over their role in the Tory election campaign as the party failed to secure a majority and the Prime Minister was left clinging to power.

      The pair have both now walked away from Downing Street as the PM turns her attention to trying to strike a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party.

      Mrs May fell eight seats short of a House of Commons majority and she will now be reliant on the DUP’s 10 MPs to add to the 318 Tories in order to get the 326 seats needed to pass legislation.

    • Theresa May Faces Wrath Of Tory-Backing Newspapers After General Election Failure

      The Tory-backing press are unwilling to spin Theresa May’s humiliating election result, turning on the prime minister as she fights to stay in Downing Street.

      The Daily Mail, The Times, The Telegraph and The Sun all appeared stunned by the hung parliament the election delivered. Their front pages on Friday focussed on the embattled prime minister losing the Tories’ majority in the election she chose to call.

      After a day of the prime minister trying to carry on as if she had won the mandate she sought for the imminent Brexit talks, the papers twisted the knife.

    • Live updates: May’s closest aides quit after Conservatives lose majority

      A majority (59.48%) of Tory members now believe Mrs May should resign, according to a snap survey by the Conservative Home website yesterday.

    • Jeremy Corbyn welcomes ‘cancellation’ of Donald Trump state visit

      Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn has advocated for the cancellation of US President Donald Trump’s visit to the UK, citing disagreements over the Paris climate accord and the President’s criticism of London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

      “Cancellation of President Trump’s State Visit is welcome, especially after his attack on London’s mayor & withdrawal from #ParisClimateDeal,” Mr Corbyn tweeted.

    • Jeremy Corbyn: Labour will call on other parties to defeat government

      Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour will invite parties to defeat the government and vote for Labour’s manifesto in a “substantial amendment” to the Queen’s speech, as well as suggesting the party would also kill off the “great repeal bill”.

      “We are ready and able to put forward a serious programme which has great support in this country,” he said, though the Labour leader conceded his party “didn’t win the election”.

      “We are going to put down a substantial amendment to the Queen’s speech which will be the main points of our manifesto, so we will invite the House to consider all the issues we’ve put forward – jobs-first Brexit, policies for young people and on austerity,” he said.

    • May’s closest aides quit after Conservatives lose majority

      Meanwhile Mrs May is trying to persuade the 10 DUP MPs to enter into a formal coalition agreement with the Tories, as opposed to a less formal “confidence and supply” arrangement, ministers have told ITV News

    • Delusional Theresa May’s unholy alliance with the grasping Orangemen from Northern Ireland and the speech that proves she’s finally lost it

      Medics in flapping white coats could’ve grabbed Theresa May in Downing Street and nobody would’ve blinked an eye.

      The Tory leader is in denial, the self-inflicted election trauma endured so horribly painful she’s unable to face up to what happened to herself and the party.

      Failing to mention outside No 10 the humiliating loss of the majority, pretending everything’s hunky-dory, proved this Prime Minister’s genuinely lost it.

      Because behaving as if nothing’s changed when everything’s changed isn’t iron leadership but the breathtaking delusion of Conservative hurtling towards the exit door.

    • How did Corbyn stun his critics? Because he actually cares about people

      The election results are in and I have to say I’m surprised. No, stunned. Floored. Like Labour supporters everywhere this morning, I just can’t make sense of it.

      What’s puzzling me is not the party’s exceptional performance, but the long line of commentators, pundits and politicians now shaking their heads in disbelief. Having spent nearly two years kicking Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, and vilifying their supporters, they convinced themselves the pair were nothing but, at best, a pair of incompetent losers; at worst, dangerous, even treacherous, ideologues. They predicted doom at the polls because, as we all know, the British don’t like losers and they don’t like IRA-loving Marxist vegetarians who secretly want to tax your gardens and surrender the country to Islamists. A very few have had the decency to apologise.

    • Corbyn throws down gauntlet to May saying Labour is ready for new election – and predicting it will be soon

      Jeremy Corbyn has predicted Theresa May will be forced into another general election within months, insisting: “We are ready any time.”

      A buoyant Labour leader – appearing in a TV interview, while the Prime Minister was absent – predicted her attempt to cobble together a deal with the DUP would fall apart.

      “I think it’s quite possible there will be an election later this year – or early next year,” Mr Corbyn told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme.

    • The Tories’ failed £1.2m social smear ads reveal callouses on our attention’s tender spots

      The UK election didn’t deliver the increased majority that PM Theresa May was seeking, but it wasn’t for lack of trying: the UK Conservative party spent £1.2m on social media smear ads that painted Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as a terrorist sympathiser, a useful idiot for Scottish separatism, and an incompetent.

    • I urge fellow Labour “centrists” to welcome new members inspired by Jeremy Corbyn

      I made it to my sofa just in time for the exit poll on Thursday. Home from knocking doors in Dudley North, my plan was to watch it, have a shower and go to bed. I wasn’t much up for reliving 2015 all over again. What’s the point in staying up to agonise over the seats we were going to lose? Better to get an early night, face the grim reality in the morning. That was until David Dimbleby read out the exit poll results.

      At 6.45am, with only a few seats left to declare, I turned in.

      I was wrong about the result. And like Jess Phillips and many others who underestimated Corbyn and his movement, I’m happy to admit it. Happy, because we have back in parliament some brilliant MPs who I thought we wouldn’t. As Corbyn prepares to announce his shadow cabinet (note that both he and John McDonnell struck conciliatory tones this morning towards former dissenters in the PLP), attention will focus on the make up of his opposition front bench.

    • Jeremy Corbyn draws level with Theresa May in poll asking who would be best Prime Minister

      Jeremy Corbyn has drawn level with Theresa May in a poll asking who would be the best Prime Minister.

      Both party leaders scored 39 per cent after a swing of 11 points in Mr Corbyn’s favour in the days since since 7 June.

      The poll, conducted by YouGov for The Sunday Times, shows the Labour leader obliterating the 39-point lead Ms May had on the same question when she called the general election.

    • Conservatives ran ineffective social media campaign, researchers say

      The Conservative Party ran an ineffective social media campaign during the general election that failed to attract new voters and did not energise its traditional base, researchers said on Friday.

      Theresa May’s online advertising campaign was pushed towards swing voters but used a message that appealed largely to current supporters, an analysis of social media posts showed. This could have been a factor in the Conservative Party failing to win the majority of seats initially anticipated.

      Data from We Are Social, an agency, revealed that the Labour Party increased its following by 61 per cent across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in the six weeks after the election was called. The Conservatives’ following rose by just 6 per cent in the same period.

    • The strange tale of the DUP, Brexit, a mysterious £425,000 donation and a Saudi prince

      ‘I’ve challenged the DUP as to why they do not publish their donations,’ says Alliance party politician

    • The Facts Proving Corbyn’s Election Triumph
    • ‘I can still be Prime Minister!’ Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn reveals plot to oust Theresa May
    • Britain’s Election: What the D.U.P. Is, and What It Wants
    • Theresa May could be toppled by her own party. She would not be the first Conservative leader to meet this fate.
    • May’s ‘abusive’ top staff removed as recriminations grow over poll failure
    • Heidi Allen says Theresa May ‘will be gone in six months’ after disastrous outcome
    • Theresa May to launch wide-ranging internet regulation and security changes despite not winning majority
    • British Prime Minister Theresa May’s top aides resign after election fiasco

      The two top aides to British Prime Minister Theresa May resigned Saturday, shouldering some of the blame for an election that proved a disaster for the Conservative Party, a headache for Britain’s exit from the European Union – and potentially a fatal blow to May’s premiership.

    • Theresa May’s Top Aides Quit Under Pressure From U.K. Cabinet

      Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain, trying to pacify her Conservative Party after a major setback in the country’s election on Thursday, on Saturday let go her top two aides, who had earned reputations for secrecy and arrogance.

      The aides, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, Mrs. May’s co-chiefs of staff, resigned after reports that senior Conservative ministers in the prime minister’s cabinet had warned her that they would challenge her leadership of the party unless she became more inclusive, consulted more widely and fired Ms. Hill and Mr. Timothy.

      When she became prime minister, Mrs. May brought the two loyal aides with her from the Home Office, which she had run for six years. She relied heavily on them, and they were fiercely protective of her but offended many.

    • Theresa May’s plan to govern with DUP support thrown into confusion

      Theresa May’s plan for a loose alliance with the Democratic Unionists to prop up her government was thrown into confusion last night after after the Northern Ireland party contradicted a No 10 announcement that a deal had been reached.

      A Downing Street statement on Saturday said a “confidence and supply” agreement had been reached with the DUP and would be put to the cabinet on Monday. But the DUP last night put the brakes on that announcement, saying talks were continuing, not finalised. The DUP leader, Arlene Foster, said “discussions will continue next week to work on the details and to reach agreement on arrangements for the new parliament”.

    • Theresa May’s Well-Deserved Defeat, and the UK’s Uncertain Future

      For Irish-Americans, this is yet another Death of Little Nell moment. Theresa May’s foolish gambit in calling a snap election in order to facilitate Britain’s withdrawal from the EU has set in motion a chain of events that could well lead to the dissolution of the “United Kingdom” and the devolution of the Celtic countries — Scotland, all of Ireland, and perhaps Wales and Cornwall as well — from the British crown.

    • Rethink hard Brexit plan – we could sink it, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson warns Theresa May

      Ruth Davidson on Saturday raised the prospect of her new group of Scottish Tory MPs torpedoing a hard Brexit as Theresa May found herself trapped between her party’s Leave and Remain supporters.

    • Britain’s May Reaches ‘Outline’ Power Deal After Election Fiasco
    • As Theresa May Licks Wounds, Charismatic Scottish Leader Rises

      Davidson cast her first vote as a teenager in 1997 — the year Tony Blair’s New Labour ended 18 years of Conservative British rule.

    • Election latest: Alastair Campbell slams Theresa May’s ‘sordid, dangerous distasteful deal’ with DUP
    • Clinging on to her job, Britain’s May appoints new ministers
    • Main candidates to replace Theresa May would all make Tories less popular, poll suggests
    • Theresa May is a ‘dead woman walking’ says George Osborne as senior Tories queue up to twist the knife
    • How Theresa May lost it

      At a gathering of senior staff in Conservative campaign headquarters in central London, one of May’s top operatives told the sitting prime minister that she risked crashing and burning like Sarah Palin did in 2008. Palin had made a blistering start after being picked as John McCain’s running mate in the U.S. only to falter because she did not know how to sustain a national effort. To the operative, May was overly controlling and her inexperience would tell during a short, intense campaign.

      May listened with good grace, according to a person who witnessed that encounter and relayed it not long afterward. May changed nothing. The British prime minister then still looked to be headed for a landslide, 20 points ahead in the polls. Though she had never run a national campaign before, she didn’t delegate like David Cameron had done so effectively in 2015.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Court in Pakistan sentences man to death for ‘blasphemous’ Facebook post

      Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are a violation of human rights, and are often used against religious minorities, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

    • First death sentence handed to man for blasphemy on social media

      An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Saturday sentenced a man to death for sharing blasphemous content about Islam on social media, a government prosecutor said.

    • Man jailed for 35 years in Thailand for insulting monarchy on Facebook

      A Thai man has been jailed for 35 years for Facebook posts deemed insulting to the royal family, a watchdog said, in one of the harshest sentences handed down for a crime that insulates Thailand’s ultra-rich monarchy from criticism.

    • The Censoring Geniuses Of Facebook And Twitter

      Do they have chimps operating big red “CENSOR!” buttons at Facebook and Twitter?

    • Myanmar protest for journalistic freedom underway

      The rally by more than 100 reporters in the rain outside a court in Yangon was the first significant show of opposition to the telecommunications law, introduced in 2013, that bans the use of the telecoms network to “extort, threaten, obstruct, defame, disturb, inappropriately influence, or intimidate.”

    • The Importance Of Defending Section 230 Even When It’s Hard

      There are several reasons for this, including some that have nothing to do with Section 230. For instance, even if Section 230 did not exist and platforms could be liable for the harms resulting from their users’ use of their services, for them to be liable there would have to be a clear connection between the use of the platform and the harm. Otherwise, based on the general rules of tort law, there could be no liability. In this particular case, for instance, there is a fairly weak connection between ISIS members using Twitter and the specific terrorist act that killed the plaintiffs’ family members.

    • Facebook can’t be sued for “jerkingman” revenge porn account

      When Franco Caraccioli was a third-year law student in San Diego, someone apparently played a malicious prank on him. He got a Facebook friend request from an account called “Franco Caracciolijerkingman.” Caraccioli describes what happens next in the lawsuit he filed against Facebook the following year:

      “The JERKINGMAN ACCOUNT included videos and pictures of Mr. Caraccioli sexually arousing or pleasuring himself,” Caraccioli wrote (PDF) in 2015. “Mr. Caraccioli believes that the JERKINGMAN ACCOUNT was sent to every friend that Mr. Caraccioli has in his community because of the amount of messages or calls he received that day, requests which several friends did in fact accept.”

    • Theresa May’s Plan To Regulate The Internet Won’t Stop Terrorism; It Might Make Things Worse

      In the wake of Saturday’s horrific attack on London—the third high-profile terrorist incident in the United Kingdom in the past three months—British policymakers were left scrambling for better ways to combat violent extremism. Prime Minister Theresa May called for new global efforts to “regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorist planning,” charging that the internet cannot be allowed to be a “safe space” for terrorists.

    • Theresa May to launch wide-ranging internet regulation and security changes despite not winning majority

      In the speech in which she committed to keep governing despite calls to stand down, the prime minister made reference to extending powers for the security services. Those powers – which include regulation of the internet and forcing internet companies to let spies read everyone’s private communications – were a key part of the Conservative campaign, which failed to score a majority in the House of Commons.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Citing costs, US Air Force turns to SpaceX for its next spy plane launch
    • How Document-Tracking Dots Helped The FBI Track Down Russian Hacking Doc Leaker

      The surprising story that quickly followed the somewhat-less-surprising Intercept leak was the arrest of Reality Leigh Winner for the leak of the document. It was an incredibly fast leak investigation that apparently began when The Intercept reached out for comment after obtaining the document on May 30th.

      There’s been a lot of talk that The Intercept acted carelessly when speaking to government officials and burned its source. But the evidence trail laid down by the FBI’s affidavit suggests Winner did most of the burning herself. The document given to The Intercept was either an original printout or a scan of it. It showed telltale creases where it had been folded and placed into an envelope by the leaker.

    • Cheap DNA Testing Is Giving Some Insurers Even More Ways To Deny Coverage [UPDATED]

      The whole blog post and Ancestry’s response to comments are worth reading. It appears the language restricting legal action to arbitration remains, but on the whole, it appears Ancestry is addressing the issues raised by Joel Winston’s post.]

      Joel Winston — current consumer protection lawyer and former New Jersey attorney general — is offering up the periodic reminder that terms of service are rarely written with the user’s best interests in mind. Winston highlights the demands Ancestry.com makes in exchange for using its paid service. Two-thirds of those highlighted are standard operating procedure for far too many services. [h/t War on Privacy]

    • Strong Crypto Is Not The Problem: Manchester And London Attackers Were Known To The Authorities

      Manchester and London are not the only cases where the authorities were informed in advance about individuals. A 2015 article in The Intercept looked at ten high-profile terrorist attacks around the world, and found that in every single case, at least some of the perpetrators were already known to the authorities. Strong encryption is not the problem: it is the inability of the authorities to act on the information they have that is the problem. That’s not to suggest that the intelligence services and police were incompetent, or that there were serious lapses. It’s more a reflection of the fact that far from lacking vital information because of end-to-end encryption, say, the authorities have so much information that they are forced to prioritize their scarce resources, and sometimes they pursue the wrong leads and miss threats.

      We wrote about this problem back in 2014, when an FBI whistleblower confirmed what many have been trying to explain to governments keen to extend their surveillance powers: that when you are looking for a needle, adding more hay to the stack makes things worse, not better. What is needed is less mass surveillance, and a more targeted approach. Until Theresa May and leaders around the world understand and act on that, it is likely that more attacks will occur, carried out by individuals known to the authorities, and irrespective of whether they use strong crypto or not.

    • Congress Getting Pissed Off Over Failure Of Intel Community To Reveal How Many Americans Are Being Spied On

      As we’ve pointed out for many, many years, Senator Ron Wyden has been banging the drum, asking the Director of National Intelligence to reveal how many Americans are having their communications swept up under Section 702 of the FISA Act. We have posts going back to 2011 of Wyden asking for a number and being stonewalled. At the time, many tried to brush it off as nothing to be concerned about — after all, the “F” in FISA is supposed to stand for “Foreign” and so it was assumed (incorrectly) that Americans’ communications were mostly unlikely to be caught up in the matter. Of course, as we now know quite well, that’s not even remotely true. Between the Snowden revelations and other declassified FISA court orders, we know that tons of Americans had their communications swept up, without any kind of warrant. Throughout all of this time, Wyden kept asking that question over and over again, without getting any answers. Last year, others finally joined in, with a large bipartisan group from the House Intelligence Committee all (finally!) asking the same question.

    • Encryption leaves authorities ‘not in a good place’: Former US intelligence chief

      James Clapper, Barack Obama’s former director of National Intelligence, has said the issue of criminals and terrorists going dark by using end-to-end encrypted systems is causing issues in the United States.

      “The so-called going dark phenomenon — a situation that was dramatically accelerated by the Snowden revelations — in our country, I don’t think we’re in a good place here,” Clapper said at the National Press Club on Wednesday.

      “I think there needs to be a very serious dialogue about giving criminals, terrorists, rapists, murderers, etcetera, a pass.”

    • Usenet Provider is Obliged to Identify Pirates, Court Rules

      Usenet provider Eweka has lost another court battle with Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN. The service provider must identify a former customer who’s accused of uploading copyright-infringing material. According to the court, the provider is obliged to do the same in future cases, without a court order.

    • Bill to Ban VPNs & Unmask Operators Submitted to Russia’s Parliament

      Russia is making good on its threat to crack down on VPN and proxy services that provide access to blocked sites. A new law submitted to the State Duma will see the country’s telecoms watchdog identify such services and compel their hosts to hand over operators’ personal details. Should block bypassing continue, access to the service will be terminated by the country’s ISPs.

    • Russia to make Tor and VPN illegal
    • UK police arrest man picked out from the crowd in real time by automatic facial recognition system

      Perhaps the most serious threat to privacy from automatic facial recognition comes from the fact that people are taking and sharing so many images of themselves that it is easy to acquire them to create vast databases. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we know that the NSA has been doing that for a while [...]

    • How EFF cracked printers’ “hidden dots” code in 2005

      The existence of these dots was long-rumored, but it wasn’t until 2005, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation broke the code on a Xerox printer’s output, that the scope, method and capabilities of this technique came to light.

    • How tech sleuths cracked the mysterious code that turns your printer into a spying tool

      Spread throughout the pages were barely visible yellow dots, each less than a millimeter in diameter, repeated over and over in the same rectangular pattern. You could see them by zooming in on the pages and adjusting the color. Or, if you had the original printed papers, you could have inspected them with a magnifying glass and a blue LED light.

    • Senator Tom Cotton Introduces Bill That Would Renew Section 702 Forever With Zero Changes

      Attacks in other countries are apparently just pre-game warmups for terrorists. The only way to prevent a domestic attack is to never ask questions about Section 702 again, apparently. If we don’t trust our government to respect our privacy and civil liberties, it’s not because the NSA constantly abused its Section 702 collection programs (and then hid these abuses from its oversight). No, the real villain here is the man who exposed this abuse to the general public.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • [Older] Tiananmen Vigil in Hong Kong Draws Smallest Crowd Since 2008

      Organizers put attendance at Sunday’s event — in honor of hundreds killed when Chinese troops crushed pro-democracy protests in Beijing — at about 110,000, the fewest since 2008. The police put the figure at 18,000 at the height of the event. In the run-up to the vigil, only about 1,000 people joined an annual march May 28 to protest the crackdown, the fewest in nine years and the second-smallest number since the marches started.

    • Turkey jails local head of Amnesty pending trial in post-coup probe: group

      Taner Kilic, along with 22 other lawyers in the Aegean coastal province of Izmir, was detained on Tuesday for suspected links to the network of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara blames for last year’s failed coup.

    • Behind the left-wing Antifa movement that attacked Andrew Bolt
    • Real Talk on Reality

      The timing of the DoJ release was clearly premeditated to send a message to would be leakers that the long arm of the law moves fast. The implied narrative is that mere hours after the leaked document was released they had already collared the leaker. Additionally, the search warrant is worded to throw as much blame on The Intercept as possible. The truth is that Ms Winner was doomed, regardless of what The Intercept did to protect their source – which was, basically, nothing.

    • Should we import the values of the Middle East?

      It doesn’t take a genius to understand that when such large numbers of immigrants are invited from countries with such anti-democratic, anti-enlightened, and anti-Jewish sentiments, on average we will be importing their culture, too. At that point, it becomes a cumulative effect and a numbers game. Instead of inviting in individual of merit to assimilate into our values, we invite in the values of the Middle East.

    • 16 June 2017: Mark fifth anniversary of Raif Badawi’s arrest

      Join our protest at the Saudi Embassy

      9-10am, Friday 16 June

    • This Machine Kills Accountability: The Ongoing Persecution Of Good Cops

      There are several ways the many problems with American policing could be addressed, but maybe a good starting point would be the way good cops are treated. It takes a concerted effort to remove a bad officer from the force. And, far too often, an ousted officer simply finds a new agency to work for.

      Good cops are a relative rarity. There are several who go through their career with a minimal number of sustained complaints, but that alone isn’t enough to earn them the label of “good.” Far too many are unwilling to speak up when misconduct occurs. Of course, the entire system discourages officers from speaking up. Those that do are ostracized, at best. At worst, they’re pressured into giving up their law enforcement career.

    • West Midlands Police warning as fake reports of attacks on Muslims shared on social media

      In a rare move West Midlands Police tweeted a warning asking the public to check the accuracy and ‘exercise caution’ before sharing images over social media channels.

      The statement entitled ‘Hoax/Fake messages’ read: “Over the last few days a number of stories and images have been circulating about assaults and attacks on the Muslim community.

      “We have looked into these and can assure you that they are a hoax.

    • Trump’s Darling

      Gina Haspel, the new No. 2 at the CIA, played a leading role in the torture of terror suspects following 9/11. Now German lawyers are seeking criminal action against her.

    • Theresa May’s abandonment of human rights plays into terrorists’ hands

      What is the goal of terrorism? According to British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is now putting together a coalition government after the Conservative Party lost their governing majority, terrorists seek to “silence our democracy.” But she also suggests that a proper response to terrorism is to redefine or abridge human rights—which, by her own logic, actually does more to advance terrorist goals than it does to thwart them.

    • South China Sea, Corruption And Drug Trafficking: Duterte Doesn’t Seem To Know What He’s Doing
    • Reporter Indicted For Covering Trump Inauguration Protests

      The fact that he isn’t named specifically, and that the complaint is just that he was “present” is crazy. Of course he was present. He was doing his job, reporting on protests. Assuming this goes forward, Cantu should have very strong First Amendment defenses, and might consider suing the government for civil liberties violations.

      While I’m hardly sympathetic to arguments by law enforcement when they round up large groups of people at protests that it’s difficult for them to determine who’s really a journalist and who is not, at least you can sort of understand how that might happen — even if you disapprove. But once the fog of the moment has passed it is absolutely bizarre for prosecutors to push forward with an indictment against someone who is clearly there as press.

    • Snowden Explains How The Espionage Act Unfairly Stacks The Deck Against Reality Winner

      There’s been plenty of talk about the rapid arrest of Reality Winner (and, yes, people are still baffled that a real person is named this) and the fact that the tracking dots on printers may have helped track her down (along with the fact that she was one of only a few people who had recently touched that document). Fewer seem to have focused on the details in the leak, about how the Russians quite likely hacked e-voting vendors to a much deeper level than suspected. That seems like really important information for the public to understand — especially for those of us who have been screaming from the mountaintops for years about the lack of security in e-voting machines.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Pirate Bay founder: We’ve lost the internet, it’s all about damage control now

      In Sunde’s opinion, people focus too much on what might happen, instead of what is happening. He often gets questions about how a digitally bleak future could look like, but the truth is that we’re living it.

    • Under the hood: Vote for a decentralised telecom infrastructure!

      The future of the decentralised nature of the Internet is at stake with the negotiations on the European Electronic Communications Code. La Quadrature du Net publishes its first voting lists on amendments that have been tabled in committees1 and refers to the factsheets (pdf) drafted by netCommons. As anticipated, the lobbying of the telcos has been very useful with many amendments – especially from the right wing – that aim to protect oligopolistic positions of major telcos, undermining any attempt of openess for new actors and rights of users.

    • Mozilla Poll Again Shows Net Neutrality Has Broad, Bipartisan Support

      So we’ve noted for a long time that while net neutrality is framed as a “partisan” issue, it really isn’t. Data has consistently shown overwhelming, bipartisan public support for the concept and the rules, in large part because of the way most people have been treated by marginally-competitive TV or broadband providers. But to help sow dissent among the public, large ISP lobbyists (and the lawmakers paid to love them) have been immensely successful in framing this as a hotly contested subject, usually by portraying the effort, incorrectly, as a “government takeover of the internet.”

    • The Internet needs paid fast lanes, anti-net neutrality senator says

      This week, the head of the Federal Communications Commission and a Republican US senator each called net neutrality a “slogan” that solves no real problems, with the senator also arguing that the Internet should have paid fast lanes.

      “It’s a great slogan,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said, when asked by a radio host what net neutrality is. “But in reality what it involves is Internet regulation, and the basic question is, ‘Do you want the government deciding how the Internet is run?’”

    • How The Death Of Net Neutrality Could Hamstring The Internet Of Things

      So we’ve already spent a lot of time talking about how underneath the hype, the “internet of things” is a bit of a shitshow. A lack of device security and a general apathy toward anything resembling privacy standards has resulted in an absolute torrent of new attack vectors being introduced into millions of homes and devices nationwide. Many of these devices are being quickly compromised in a matter of minutes for use in historically massive DDoS attacks, and most security analysts believe it’s only a matter of time before they contribute to an attack on essential infrastructure putting notable lives at risk.

    • Reddit, Amazon Push For ‘Day Of Action’ On July 12 To Protest The Killing Of Net Neutrality
    • Frontier Fires State Senate Leader (Who Also Worked For Frontier) For Supporting Attempts To Improve Broadband Competition

      If you want to see what the US broadband sector really looks like, you should take a look at West Virginia — a state where regional incumbent Frontier Communications holds so much sway over the state legislature, efforts to improve connectivity in the state have spent a decade in the gutter. Local Charleston Gazette reporter Eric Eyre has quietly done an amazing job the last few years chronicling West Virginia’s immense broadband dysfunction, from the State’s use of broadband stimulus subsidies on unused, overpowered routers and overpaid, redundant consultants, to state leaders’ attempts to bury reports highlighting how a cozy relationship with companies like Frontier, Verizon and Cisco has led to what can only be explained as systemic, statewide fraud on the taxpayer dime.

    • Report Falsely Blames The EFF For Fraudulent Net Neutrality Comments

      So we’ve discussed at length how somebody is gaming the FCC’s comment system, using a bot to post hundreds of thousands of fake comments in support of the agency’s plan to kill net neutrality. We’ve also made it pretty clear that the FCC doesn’t appear interested in doing much about this, because these bogus (and in some instances dead) people “support” the FCC’s plan to gut consumer protections governing the already uncompetitive broadband market.

      I’ve had some first-hand experience with the FCC’s apathy, given I’ve been trying to get them to remove (or even address) a post supporting the death of net neutrality made in my name, falsely claiming I run an “unregistered PAC” and am upset that Title II “diminished broadband investment, stifled innovation, and left American consumers potentially on the hook for a new broadband tax” (none of which is true, it should go without saying). While the agency says it’s looking into my complaint, you simply don’t get the sense that tackling public proceeding comment fraud will be a top agency priority anytime soon.

  • DRM

    • New Cracking Group May Have Delivered Denuvo Its Death Blow

      Our posts about Denuvo have come at so furious a pace as of late that it feels silly to do any sort of recap here at the start of this post. If you aren’t up on the DRM’s saga, go read through our reporting, because it’s a fascinating study in both hubris and inevitability in the DRM space. Suffice it to say that Denuvo was once thought to be an unbeatable DRM, except that in the past few months the timeline for breaking through it and cracking the games it is supposed to protect has been whittled down to mere days.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intel fires warning shots at Microsoft, claims x86 emulation is a patent minefield

      In celebrating the x86 architecture’s 39th birthday yesterday—the 8086 processor first came to market on June 8, 1978—Intel took the rather uncelebratory step of threatening any company working on x86 emulator technology.

    • Intel warns Microsoft, Qualcomm over Windows 10 ARM emulation

      Chipmaker Intel has issued a veiled warning to Microsoft and Qualcomm over the plan by the two to run Windows 10 on the ARM platform, using the approaching 40th anniversary of the x86 processor to say that it will defend any infringement of its 1600 patents fiercely.


      “We do not welcome unlawful infringement of our patents, and we fully expect other companies to continue to respect Intel’s intellectual property {sic} rights,” Intel’s executive vice-president and general counsel Steven Rodgers and director of Systems and Software Research Richard Uhlig said.

    • Trademarks

      • Brewery Sues Competitor Over Schooner Logos And Use Of The Word ‘Head’

        Another day, another sigh-inducing trademark dispute in the craft beer industry. As we’ve discussed for some time now, the beer industry has a massive problem on its hands in the form of a deluge of trademark disputes between competitors. This has largely been the result of a huge uptick in craft brewers opening new businesses saddled alongside the tradition of creatively naming different beers and the limitations of the English language. Sometimes, however, you get a good old fashioned trademark dispute where one side is simply claiming similarities so tenuous as to be laughable.

      • Kellogg’s Takes Australian Tennis Player To Court For Branding Himself ‘Special K’

        Last time we checked in with Kellogg’s, makers of various breakfast and cereal products, they were happily sending out threat letters to a Mayan archaeology group that is only involved in the breakfast industry insofar as its employees eat breakfast, over its inclusion of a toucan bird in its logo. While Kellogg went on to settle that dispute, in light of its trademark claim being immensely dumb and a PR nightmare, the whole episode still left many of us wondering just how knowledgeable Kellogg’s legal team is on trademark matters. Archaeology teams are not, generally, part of the breakfast or food industries. This seemed to be either bullying without a purpose or a brand of criminal stupidity at work. But, hey, even megalithic corporations with unlimited legal resources make mistakes.

      • Trademark Bullying Works: Dawa Food Mart Agrees To Name Change After Trademark Suit From Wawa

        You may recall that earlier this year, mid-sized convenience store company Wawa filed a trademark suit against the Dawa Food Mart, a single location food market in New Jersey. At the time, we pointed out several problems with the lawsuit, including the stature of the companies being vastly different, the offerings of the companies not being particularly identical, and the fact that it was clear that the Korean owner of Dawa was not attempting to trade on Wawa’s name (Dawa means “welcome” in his language). What all of this amounted to was pretty clearly a low likelihood of any actual confusion in the marketplace, which was nearly admitted to when Wawa’s reps excused the legal action away as obligated under trademark law, despite that not being actually true.

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Misuse Emerges as a Political Issue: QP Questions on Notice-and-Notice Abuse

        The problems associated with Canada’s copyright notice-and-notice system have been well chronicled. The Canadian system – which was acknowledged as equivalent to the U.S. notice-and-takedown approach in the TPP – allows rights holders to send notifications alleging infringement to intermediaries who are obligated to forward the notifications to their subscribers. The intermediary does not disclose the identity of the subscriber and it falls to the rights holder to pursue further action if they so choose. Unfortunately, the failure to include regulations stipulating what may be included in a forwarded notice has led to rampant misuse of the system, with anti-piracy companies sending millions of notifications that include demands for payments over unproven allegations.

      • YouTube Takes Down Ariana Grande’s Manchester Benefit Concert On Copyright Grounds

        At a time when Europe is pushing for much greater filtering and takedowns, it’s worth a reminder that these kinds of systems pretty regularly takedown perfectly legitimate content — either content that is fair use or that is licensed. Case in point: this past Sunday, Ariana Grande held a huge benefit concert in Manchester called One Love Manchester. As you no doubt know, a few weeks back there was a bombing at Grande’s concert in Manchester, and her decision to put on a massive benefit concert right back in Manchester just a couple weeks later is impressive.

      • Monkey Selfie Case Gets Even Weirder, As The Monkey’s ‘Next Friends’ Are In A Criminal Dispute With Each Other

        If you thought the monkey selfie lawsuit couldn’t get any weirder, well, you underestimated the monkey selfie case. If you don’t remember, the details of this case go back a few years to when a photographer named David Slater got some press attention by claiming that a macaque monkey in Indonesia had come up to his camera, that was on the ground, and taken some selfies. As we explained ages ago, there is no copyright in such photos, because the copyright law in the US, in the UK (where Slater is from) and in Indonesia (where the monkey is) makes it clear that copyright is only available for human creations. Slater has long disagreed about this (and we’ve received some threats here and there, and he’s trashed us personally for claiming the lack of copyright in those images). But… the lawsuit here was a bizarre twist on that. Slater wasn’t suing anyone… instead, PETA, the group known more for its stupid publicity stunts than anything it’s actually done to help animals, decided to sue Slater. PETA argued that it should hold the (non-existant) copyright on behalf of the monkey. Just because. And, on this, we agree with Slater that this is insane and an abuse of the legal system.

      • Copyright Trolls… But For Houses

        The copyright trolling business is getting weirder and weirder. Brad Heath directs our attention to a ruling in a bizarre case in the 7th circuit appeals court, in which we discover the existence of housing copyright trolls, who drive around looking for houses just a tad too similar to their copyright-covered designs. Really.

      • Two Big Copyright Cases Sent To Top EU Court: One On Sampling, The Other On Freedom Of The Press

        Back in 2012, Techdirt wrote about one of the longest-running copyright sagas. It involved a 2-second rhythmic sample from the Kraftwerk track “Metall auf Metall”, which was used by the German rapper Sabrina Setlur in a single called “Nur Mir”. After the case had ping-ponged around various German courts for 12 years, a decision by Hamburg’s highest regional court seemed to be the end of the matter, as Tim Cushing described in his comprehensive post. But in 2016, Germany’s constitutional court took a look, and now a press release from the country’s highest court (original in German), the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), informs us that the case is still not yet over, and that it is moving up a level.

      • Copyright vs. freedom of the arts, freedom of the press and freedom of information
      • Copyright revision in Europe proceeding; upload censorship gone (for now); close calls

        The revision of the copyright monopoly in the European Union continues its way through the European law factory. From Julia Reda, we learn that the Internal Market “IMCO” Committee has now voted, and that some bad things are gone from the proposal, some bad things remain, and some sensible things have entered. Most importantly: the mandatory upload pre-screening censorship is gone, but the profoundly stupid “Google News tax” remains.

      • Cloudflare Fails to Limit Scope of Piracy Lawsuit

        Cloudflare can be held liable for copyright infringements committed by its customers, even if the websites in question are hosted abroad. A California District Court concluded that cached copies on Cloudflare’s servers tie alleged infringements directly to the United States.

      • Nintendo & BREIN Target Seller of ‘Pirate’ Retro Gaming System

        A man who sold retro-gaming systems with thousands of installed games has faced the wrath of Nintendo and Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN. The Raspberry Pi-based consoles contained many titles for old gaming systems including Gameboy, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Megadrive and Playstation. But, despite their age, BREIN says that infringement of all kinds must be punished.

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