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Links 2/6/2020: New Firefox Release (77), Debian-based MX Linux 19.2, KDevelop 5.5.2, GNU/Linux Growth on Desktops/Laptops

Posted in News Roundup at 1:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux Marketshare Increased Again Last Month

      Last month the company reported that Linux marketshare doubled between March to April 2020. New stats shared for Mat shows that the the upward trend continued.

      Linux’s share of all desktop OSes grew from a new-high of 2.87 percent in April 2020 to an even higher high of 3.7 percent in May 2020.

      Now, this is relatively unusual. Linux marketshare — based on past trends — typically hovers below the 2 percent mark and doesn’t fluctuate widely (barring errors). For it to strike out and move past 3 percent might not sound like a big deal, but it’s almost without precedent.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Dell XPS 13 and XPS 13 Developer Edition—side-by-side review

        Physically, the only difference between the XPS 13 Developer Edition and the plain-vanilla XPS 13 we’d already tested is the color—where the Windows system had the optional, $50 more-expensive “Alpine White” interior, the Developer Edition system used the standard “Black.”

        In theory, the outsides are different, too—the Windows machine’s exterior was “Frost White” and the Linux machine’s is “Platinum Silver.” But in most lighting, you’d be hard pressed to tell the two apart without opening them up.

        There were some significant hardware differences, as well—you can’t buy the regular XPS 13 with more than 16GiB RAM in it, while the XPS 13 Developer Edition can be spec’d up to 32GiB. Our particular XPS 13 DE also had a 4K UHD+ touchscreen, instead of the 1920×200 FHD+ touchscreen on our Windows system—but that, like the color, can be configured the same on either version.

      • Lenovo brings Linux to its P-series ThinkPads and ThinkStations

        In the past, Lenovo has flirted with Linux, but now the company is making the operating system a much bigger part of its product lineup. Starting this month and moving into the summer, it will begin certifying its P-series ThinkPad and ThinkStation workstation computers for the operating system. Specifically, you (or more likely the company you work for) will be able to configure those devices with the enterprise versions of Red Hat and Ubuntu.

        As part of the process, Lenovo will provide full web support for those computers, as well as offer configuration advice and host a dedicated Linux forum where customers can troubleshooting help. To be clear, Lenovo isn’t making Linux an option throughout its entire lineup — so you won’t be able to configure your next ThinkPad X1 Carbon with the operating system, for example.

      • Lenovo is certifying its Think workstations to run Linux
    • Kernel Space

      • Big changes could be coming to Linux programming

        After recently making the switch from Intel to AMD, Linus Torvalds has come out against 80-character-lines as a de facto programming standard.

        As reported by The Register, Torvalds shared his thoughts on the topic of line lengths in a recent Linux kernel clean-up post where he argued that limiting lines to 80 characters makes for lots of line breaks. Others have argued that 80-character lines are a long-standing convention that should remain in place due to the fact that large monitors can handle many small windows when column width is limited.

      • Linux 5.8 Adds initrdmem= Option For Cases Such As Replacing Intel ME Space With Initrd

        One of the use-cases for this new “initrdmem” option in Linux 5.8 can be for storing an initial ramdisk (initrd) on a motherboard flash chip in the space available after stripping out Intel’s Management Engine (ME) code.

        The initrdmem= boot option can be used for specifying a physical address and size for loading an initrd embedded in memory. This new option was sent in as part of the x86/boot changes for the now-open Linux 5.8 merge window.

      • Torvalds Blasts “Beyond Stupid” Flushing L1d On Context Switches – Reverts Code For Now

        As part of the initial set of changes merged today for Linux 5.8 was the x86/mm material that included the controversial feature of opt-in flushing of the L1 data cache on context switching. Linus Torvalds ended up deciding to revert this functionality as for now at least he views it as crazy.

        While this feature is opt-in via new prctl options and not enabled by default and done in the name of helping those concerned about snoop assisted data sampling vulnerabilities or cache leakage via side channels and yet to be uncovered CPU vulnerabilities, for the time being Linux creator Linus Torvalds is not convinced.

      • Re: [GIT PULL] x86/mm changes for v5.8
        >  - Provide an opt-in (prctl driven) mechanism to flush the L1D cache on context switch.
        >    The goal is to allow tasks that are paranoid due to the recent snoop assisted data
        >    sampling vulnerabilites, to flush their L1D on being switched out.
        Am I mis-reading this?
        Because it looks to me like this basically exports cache flushing
        instructions to user space, and gives processes a way to just say
        "slow down anybody else I schedule with too".
        I don't see a way for a system admin to say "this is stupid, don't do it".
        In other words, from what I can tell, this takes the crazy "Intel
        ships buggy CPU's and it causes problems for virtualization" code
        (which I didn't much care about), and turns it into "anybody can opt
        in to this disease, and now it affects even people and CPU's that
        don't need it and configurations where it's completely pointless".
        To make matters worse, it has that SW flushing fallback that isn't
        even architectural from what I remember of the last time it was
        discussed, but most certainly will waste a lot of time going through
        the motions that may or may not flush the L1D after all.
        I don't want some application to go "Oh, I'm _soo_ special and pretty
        and such a delicate flower, that I want to flush the L1D on every task
        switch, regardless of what CPU I am on, and regardless of whether
        there are errata or not".
        Because that app isn't just slowing down itself, it's slowing down others too.
        I have a hard time following whether this might all end up being
        predicated on the STIBP static branch conditionals and might thus at
        least be limited only to CPU's that have the problem in the first
        But I ended up unpulling it because I can't figure that out, and the
        explanations in the commits don't clarify (and do imply that it's
        regardless of any other errata, since it's for "undiscovered future
        Because I don't want a random "I can make the kernel do stupid things"
        flag for people to opt into. I think it needs a double opt-in.
        At a _minimum_, SMT being enabled should disable this kind of crazy
        pseudo-security entirely, since it is completely pointless in that
        situation. Scheduling simply isn't a synchronization point with SMT
        on, so saying "sure, I'll flush the L1 at context switch" is beyond
        I do not want the kernel to do things that seem to be "beyond stupid".
        Because I really think this is just PR and pseudo-security, and I
        think there's a real cost in making people think "oh, I'm so special
        that I should enable this".
        I'm more than happy to be educated on why I'm wrong, but for now I'm
        unpulling it for lack of data.
        Maybe it never happens on SMT because of all those subtle static
        branch rules, but I'd really like to that to be explained.
      • Linux 5.8 Graphics Updates Sent In With AMDGPU TMZ Support, P2P Buffers

        The DRM highlights for Linux 5.8 amount to what we have already covered including ironing out Tiger Lake features like SAGV, per-engine data via sysfs, Icelake gamma hardware readout, P2P buffer/DMA support between GPUs, AMDGPU TMZ for encrypted vRAM, AMDGPU power-management / clock-gating improvements, GFX10 / Navi soft recovery, better handling on Radeon GPUs of critical thermal faults, NVIDIA format modifier support for Nouveau, run-time power management for the Lima driver, cursor support enabled by default for VKMS, and various other improvements to the smaller drivers.

      • Btrfs Sees A Number Of Improvements With Linux 5.8

        SUSE’s David Sterba was quite punctual in getting all of the Btrfs file-system updates submitted quickly for the newly-opened Linux 5.8 kernel merge window.

      • New AMD Graphics Card is Listed in Latest Linux Update

        AMD has certainly been talking about it for quite some time, as of yet, however, we have seen very little concrete news surrounding ‘Big Navi’. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, ‘Big Navi’ will essentially represent Team Reds attempt at matching Nvidia’s top-end GPU performance, and, as such, you can clearly see why there is such a lot of community interest behind it.

        Following a new upcoming update to Linux, however, a yet unknown AMD GPU has been listed, and, of course, the speculation is already suggesting that this may be one of the first confirmed examples of ‘Big Navi’ being out in the wild.

      • AMD Sienna Cichlid spotted in Linux Kernel patches, Big Navi?

        New Linux kernel patches show mention of AMD “Sienna Cichlid” GPU, which could be the “Big Navi” GPU. And I mean, hey it’s got to be released at some point in time, Q3 seems pretty valid.

        The codename is pretty unusual though. The patches indicate Sienna Cichlid is a Navi-based GPU with new VCN 3.0 capabilities for video encoding and DCN3 on the display front and a variety of other alterations compared to the existing Navi support, as Phoronix spotted:

        It’s quite possible Sienna Cichlid is the “big Navi” / RDNA2 GPU. AMD developers have talked before of using alternative codenames when volleying patches early for their open-source Linux driver stack as to not reveal the product/marketing codenames, which could be the case here. This is the first time we are hearing of Sienna Cichlid or seeing any references on the web of it related to AMD. Given the timing of these patches, the AMD Sienna Cichlid won’t be mainlined until the Linux 5.9 merge window opening in August and then releasing in stable around October. That timeframe at least does point to Sienna Cichlid likely being the “RDNA 2″ graphics card launch coming later in the calendar year.

      • A Number Of Intel/AMD x86 Updates Hit Linux 5.8

        A number of x86 (x86_64) pull requests have been sent in for the in-development Linux 5.8 kernel.

        Here are the latest pull requests on the Intel/AMD x86 CPU front. The x86/cpu changes include:

        - The existing x86 family/model macros have now been extended to also handle the CPU stepping. This is being done due to Intel increasingly using different CPU steppings between generations and in some cases the stepping being significant differences when it comes to hardware mitigations and handling of different errata. With X86_MATCH_VENDOR_FAM_MODEL_STEPPINGS_FEATURE it’s now easier for matching against particular CPU steppings.

    • Applications

      • The 15 Best Translation Software for Linux System in 2020

        With the development of technology, the world has become a global village. The only barrier you can mention is the language. No matter whether we use the best translation software or not, we still rely on human translators mostly for language localization. But the management and documentation can not be done easily without the help of computers. The open source translation tools play a great role in this scenario.

        The tools are called translation software doesn’t mean they will automatically translate the language for you. Rather most of these tools are more of translation management tools. They will automate the human translation process when needed for maximizing the efficiency of the translator. The confusing part is you can not grossly say which is the best translation software. You have to choose the best one according to your personal or organization’s needs.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Siralim Ultimate, the monster catching RPG is now funded

        Siralim Ultimate, a monster catching game with over one thousand creatures to collect has managed to be a huge success on Kickstarter and so it’s on the way to Linux. The developer said to think of it like “Pokemon meets Diablo, or more accurately, Dragon Warrior Monsters meets Path of Exile”..

        From 1,594 backers they received $90,964 in total funding, although plenty of that will be taken away from fees and taxes it’s still quite a nice sum for Thylacine Studios to create the ultimate mix of dungeon crawling and creature battling. It was quite a speedy success too, getting funded in about an hour after going live in May.

      • Steam Linux Percentage For May Points To A New Multi-Year High

        Valve’s May 2020 numbers show another uptick for Steam Linux gaming usage, pointing towards the Linux marketshare continuing to increase with the overall Steam user-base in this coronavirus period leading to record usage with the extra time spent by gamers at home.

        Valve’s just-published Linux numbers put their overall percentage at 0.91%, an increase of 0.04% over the month prior. It’s still below 1% and well off the ~2% back when Steam on Linux was new, but this 0.91% at least bumps it to a new multi-year high.

      • Spaceship action RPG Drox Operative 2 lands in Early Access

        Drox Operative 2 from Soldak Entertainment has now arrived in Early Access after a short delay on Steam’s approvals process. Drox Operative 2 is a starship action RPG with warring alien races, fierce space battles, a dynamic, evolving galaxy, and co-op multiplayer for Linux and Windows.

      • LRDGames overhaul subterfuge strategy game Precipice

        Precipice had a good idea when it released, a strategy game where you didn’t face your enemy directly in war across the world and instead engage in a cat and mouse game of subterfuge. It’s not a war game it tells you, both sides can completely annihilate each other if needed.

        Sadly, at release, I didn’t enjoy it. I thought the AI was poor, the UI had lots of issues and they suffered major multiplayer problems too. I wanted to like it though, as it took the strategy genre into a different direction. Not only that, LRDGames also developed Deep Sixed which I thought was actually great. Out of seemingly nowhere, LRDGames have returned to Precipice with a big 2.0 update to overhaul various parts of it.

      • European mystery adventure Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit coming to Linux

        Lithuanian developer Tag of Joy are currently working on Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit, a colourful upcoming adventure game and it will support Linux.

        Crowns and Pawns, inspired by point-and-click classics such as Broken Sword, Still Life, Syberia and others, brings the less explored history of Europe to the world of adventurers. Experience the legendary stories of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, beware of the villainous branch of the KGB, solve puzzles and follow hints to reveal the secrets of the king who was never crowned.
        Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit isn’t a newly announced title, in fact it’s actually had a Steam page up since 2019. What is new, however, is Linux support. Back in April it started listing Linux support so I reached out to the developer, and they confirmed very clearly, “Yes, the listing is correct – we plan to have it on Linux as well!”.

      • Transhuman Design taking sign-ups for multiplayer Soldat 2 testing

        After open sourcing the original Soldat, Transhuman Design are now pushing forwards with their next generation side-scrolling action game Soldat 2.

        Soldat 2 actually already has a demo available, which you can play right now on Steam. However that is currently single-player only to give you a taste of what to expect from the bigger game. Soldat 2 is due to enter Early Access in Q2 this year and now they need more help testing. You can now sign-up for access to multiplayer testing, by doing so you will also be signing up to their mailing list. Keys will be sent out when they come in and it’s all online, it’s not instant.

      • Retrofuturistic strategy game Mainframe Defenders gets a huge upgrade

        Mainframe Defenders is a strategy game that looks like you’re playing from some sort of 80s terminal, it’s slick and now it has a big free update out.

        It’s a turn-based squad-based strategy game. So you build up a squad of robotic prototypes on a mission to defend a mainframe from a virus taking over a research complex. You deal with limit movement, heat build up, various types of weapons and enemies all with strengths and weaknesses.

      • Electronic Arts to Release Source Code of Highly Successful Game
      • Command and Conquer source code is now available on GitHub

        In May it was announced that the source code for Command and Conquer: Tiberian Dawn and Command and Conquer: Red Alert would be released to the public. Now in June that has been made a reality as the code is freely available on GitHub.

        This is to tie in with the release of the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection which goes live very soon on 5th June.

        This code has been released under a GNU General Public License v3.0 which, among other things, allows for commercial use of this resource. Before anyone rushes out to mess around with the code for whatever reason, we strongly recommend reading up on this licence and the specific Licence.txt which is included in the GitHub files here.

      • ‘Command & Conquer Remastered Collection’ To Release Source Code

        Comprised of Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn, Command & Conquer: Red Alert and their three expansion packs – Covert Ops, Counterstrike and The Aftermath – the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection is a passion project between EA and some of the original Westwood Studios team members at Petroglyph.

        Command & Conquer Remastered Collection is being created alongside the C&C community, where the project was publicly revealed in October 2018 to gather community insight before development began. An active Community Council has been involved since early pre-production with 24/7 access to the development team. The title features rebuilt graphics and textures with support up to 4K resolution, along with an over seven-hour soundtrack remastered by the renowned original composer Frank Klepacki. The community has helped shape the enhancements of the game through highly requested features like revamped UI, updated controls and a Map Editor for fans to showcase their creations. Multiplayer has been rebuilt from the ground up to support a modern online experience with custom games, 1v1 quick match, Elo-based matchmaking, leaderboards, replays and much more.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Wayland Status update for Plasma 5.19

          We have been busy recently on the Wayland Goal.

          A few of those points were already highlight on Nate’s excellent blog. But some were missing, and I wanted to highlight those dedicated to Wayland with more context.

          The changes I mention here will be present in Plasma 5.19, but they are exhaustive.

        • KDE Plasma 5.19 Has Better Wayland Support But Their Goal Is Not Yet Complete

          Shipping one week from today is KDE Plasma 5.19 and among many other improvements is also significantly enhancing its Wayland support.

          KDE developer Méven Car penned a blog post today outlining some of the Wayland-minded improvements to be found in Plasma 5.19.

        • KDevelop 5.5.2 released

          We today provide a bug fix and localization update release with version 5.5.2. This release introduces no new features and as such is a safe and recommended update for everyone currently using a previous version of KDevelop 5.5.

          You can find the updated Linux AppImage as well as the source code archives on our download page.

          Should you have any remarks or in case you find any issues in KDevelop 5.5, please let us know.

        • GitLab, aka invent.kde.org

          Nate shouted it out as well: the KDE community has migrated over to its own locally-hosted GitLab community edition, called invent.kde.org. That’s the platform the community uses for collaboration on code, mostly. The previous gang of git-hosting, review-wrangling, patch-commenting and task-management has been replaced by one thing.

          Most of my daily coding is for Calamares, which isn’t a KDE project, and which lives over on GitHub. My KDE activities are (besides board work) generally restricted to packaging on FreeBSD, so normally I work with release tarballs, not KDE git.


          There’s also a to-do list that provides an overview of mentions, assignments, and other bits-and-bobs. That’s a different view from the MRs, which are in-flight code changes. It’s nice, especially because I can mark things as done without even diving into them.

          So it’s gorgeous, y’hear? And my old Phabricator board is done: there’s nothing left that isn’t abandoned-except-for-a-last-check-with-other-participants. I’m ready for a new way of working together in the KDE community.

    • Distributions

      • Python Is All You’ll Ever Need In This Linux Distro

        Choosing the perfect Linux distribution that satisfies your personal needs and likings can be an impossible task, and oftentimes requires a hint of Stockholm syndrome as compromise. In extreme cases, you might end up just rolling your own distro. But while frustration is always a great incentive for change, for [Josh Moore] it was rather curiosity and playful interest that led him to create snakeware, a Linux distribution where the entire user space not only runs on Python, but is Python.

        Imagine you would boot your Linux system, and instead of the shell of your choice, you would be greeted by an interactive Python interpreter, and everything you do on the system will be within the realms of that interpreter — that’s the gist of snakeware. Now, this might sound rather limiting at first, but keep in mind we’re talking about Python here, a language known for its versatility, with an abundance of packages that get things done quick and easy, which is exactly what [Josh] is aiming for. To get an idea of that, snakeware also includes snakewm, a graphical user interface written with pygame that bundles a couple of simple applications as demonstration, including a terminal to execute Python one-liners.

      • Retrotech: The Novell NetWare Experience

        In the simplest terms possible, NetWare was a dedicated network operating system. It was designed around fast and reliable network operations at the expense of almost everything else. Novell had invested massive amounts of research in figuring out how to do fast I/O and minimizing any delays from hardware related sources. The end result was a very lean system that remained stable and performant with a large number of clients attached. As networking was Novell’s bread and butter, NetWare had excellent support for everything: clients were available for DOS, Windows, UNIX, Macintosh, OS/2 and probably other platforms I’ve never even heard of.

        The early history of NetWare is very muddled, and pre-2.0 versions have been lost to time. This compounded with poor documentation has made it very difficult to trace the early history of the product. However, while NetWare was not the first (or only) network product for IBM PCs, it quickly became the largest, displacing IBM’s PC Network, and laughed at Microsoft’s LAN Manager, and IBM OS/2 LAN Server.

        While NetWare did compete on UNIX, Sun had already gotten their foot in the door by porting NFS and making it the de-facto solution for all UNIXs of the era, as well as Linux. Meanwhile, Apple held onto AppleTalk which itself survived well into the early 2000s when NetWare had already disappeared into the aether. The explosion of Wintel PCs throughout the 90s had given NetWare a market position that should have been very difficult to dislodge.

        The full story of NetWare’s fall from grace is a story for another time, but I do want to go into the more technical aspects that were both the boon and bane of NetWare. Much of NetWare’s success can be attributed to its own IPX protocol which made networking plug and play and drastically lowered latencies compared to NetBIOS or even TCP/IP.

      • New Releases

        • Ubuntu-based Linux Lite 5.0 is here with massive changes

          Ubuntu-based Linux Lite 5.0 is released with some massive changes across the operating system and it is immediately available for download.

        • MX Linux 19.2 Released: A Midweight Debian And antiX OS Spinoff

          Popular Linux distro MX Linux has received a second update to its MX Linux 19 ‘Patito Feo’ series. The latest point version MX Linux 19.2 looks like a minor release with bug fixes and application updates mainly.

          Most of you know that MX Linux is a collaborative Debian-based Linux distro developed by the antiX and former MEPIS communities. Hence, it also features antiX software packages that are now removed from default Apt sources and placed at a separate location.

        • MX Linux 19.2 Arrives with Linux 5.6 and Mesa 20, Based on Debian GNU/Linux 10.4

          Based on Debian GNU/Linux 10.4 “Buster”, MX Linux 19.2 is here more than three months after version 19.1 to update various core components and many of the applications that are included in the default install.

          As you probably know, the MX Linux 19.1 release introduced a new ISO flavor called “Advanced Hardware Support” or AHS, which includes newer GNU/Linux technologies for the kernel and graphics stacks.

          This is the second MX Linux release to ship with AHS images, which have been updated to the Linux 5.6 kernel series and Mesa 20 graphics stack, along with an updated firmware package.

        • Debian-based MX Linux 19.2 now available for download

          A couple days ago, we told you about a new version of a wonderful Linux distribution called Linux Lite. As great as that operating system is — especially for those switching from Windows — it isn’t the only Linux distribution that is lightweight and easy to use. In fact, the Linux community probably has too many distributions from which to choose, but I digress.

          Today, yet another great Linux-based operating system gets updated to a new version, this time it is MX Linux 19.2. It uses the lightweight — yet pretty — Xfce 4.14 for its desktop environment and MESA 18.3.6. It comes loaded with some great software, such as LibreOffice 6.1.5, Thunderbird 68.6.1, Firefox 76, GIMP 2.10.12, VLC 3.0.10, and Clementine 1.3.1.

        • MX-19.2 now available!
      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat OpenShift 4 now available on IBM Power Systems

          Clients can exploit the unique capabilities of OpenShift 4 to incrementally modernize the capabilities of their IT infrastructure and streamline their deployment of cloud native applications with continuous integration and deployment. They will be primed to exploit the performance of the Power architecture as they begin to infuse AI and ML insights and Open Source innovations into Linux® applications running on Power Systems. OpenShift 4 combines the industry’s most comprehensive and trusted enterprise container and Kubernetes platform with single step installation, automated upgrades and lifecycle management for every part of our client’s container stack.

        • How to scale an open, energetic community

          Now we’re undergoing what may be our largest evolution yet. We’re reimagining our mission and vision. We’re re-branding. We’re renovating our spaces of community conversation and collaboration. We’re recruiting new contributors. We’re implementing new governance structures to make the project more inclusive.

          It’s incredibly exciting. And in this series, members of the Open Organization project will share the community’s journey with you—so you can see firsthand how community evolutions occur, how tough they can be, and how rewarding they become.

        • Ben Williams: F32-20200601 Updated Live isos Released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F32-20200518-Live ISOs, carrying the 5.6.14-300 kernel.

          Welcome to Fedora 32.

          This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have about 840+MB of updates)).

          A huge thank you goes out to irc nicks dowdle, Southern-Gentleman for testing these iso.

        • Insights into hybrid cloud: Here’s what to consider

          Our interactions with businesses can happen in person, on the web, on our mobile devices, in marketplaces or via APIs. To enable these interactions, IT organizations are increasingly being driven towards hybrid IT architectures involving private cloud, public cloud, edge computing, AI/ML and more to provide multiple different routes to the customer.

          This mixed use of public and private clouds, possibly with some degree of workload portability, integration, orchestration, and unified management across those clouds is often referred to as hybrid cloud computing. Research shows that improving business agility and increasing IT agility are key drivers for organizations that are implementing a hybrid cloud strategy.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20 reins in belligerent snapd over stealth installs

          In the latest monthly news update from the Linux Mint team it was announced that Linux Mint 20 will take measures to rein in the snapd package after Canonical (the firm behind Ubuntu) decided to make it a dependency for some software, including Chromium, despite promising not to earlier on. With Linux Mint 20, when a user tries to install snapd-dependent software, they’ll be notified that the software can’t be installed and why. It’ll also explain to the user how they can go about downloading the software.

          To be clear, the Linux Mint team isn’t against people installing snapd, you can still do this very easily, however, the developers did have a problem with snapd being installed as a dependency. According to the Linux Mint team, some problems with snap packages include that they cannot be patched, audited, held at the current version, or modified. It also said that you can’t choose to install them from a third-party store. The project even went as far as to say that these snap packages give you as much empowerment as proprietary software; none.

        • ZFS focus on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS: ZSys commands for state management

          Any confirmation (if you are sure about what you are doing) can be bypassed by the force – -f – flag.

          As you can see, there are lot of cases and complex handling of states for removal! We spent hours and hours to streamline and ensure that removing manually a state is done properly, taking into account dependencies and simplifying as much as possible the user experience. All this is backed up with a very extensive test suite.

          We are creating a huge number of state saves automatically for you. but we don’t want our users having to remove them manually. This is why we had to draft a garbage collection strategy so that your disk doesn’t end up being full quickly. This is an interesting topic which will be, coincidentally, the next one! See you there 

        • MicroK8s now native on Windows and macOS

          Windows and macOS developers can now use MicroK8s natively! Use kubectl at the Windows or Mac command line to interact with MicroK8s locally just as you would on Linux. Clean integration into the desktop means better workflows to dev, build and test your containerised apps.

          MicroK8s is a conformant upstream Kubernetes, packaged for simplicity and resilience. It provides sensible defaults and bundles the most commonly used components for at-your-fingertips access. A single-node install is one command and done in seconds, which makes it easy to add or remove from any system.

          MicroK8s is widely used by developers for local testing. After installing it, you can start and stop Kubernetes with a single command to conserve battery. With built-in GPGPU acceleration, Istio, Prometheus, Jaeger and many other popular services on tap, it serves as a complete workstation edition of K8s. All of this capability is now neatly accessible from the Windows and macOS command-line.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 633

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 633 for the week of May 24 – 30, 2020.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference Will Take Place Online

          Organizers of the openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference along with the project’s boards have made the decision to change the conference to an online conference.

          The uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on travel, conference planning, logistics and possibility for attendees to come to the event were reasons for shifting the event from a physical event to an online event.

          Shifting the conference online is good news and the organizers intend to provide a great conference that is filled with insightful talks, technical presentations and sessions dedicated for those who want to socialize during the event. Using video a conferencing tool, attendees learn about new technologies in openSUSE and LibreOffice and have the chance to chat to developers and ask questions. Communities involved in marketing, design, QA and other topics will be able to meet online, catch up and exchange ideas.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Firefox 78 Enters Beta with Updated Minimal Linux System Requirements

            Slated for release at the end of this month, the Firefox 78 web browser will boast updated minimal system requirements for GNU/Linux systems.

            Therefore, to be able to deploy or install Mozilla Firefox 78 on a GNU/Linux distribution, this will have to ship with GNU libc 2.17, GTK 3.14, and libstdc++ 4.8.1 or newer versions.

            Distros that don’t meet these minimal system requirements won’t be able to offer the latest Firefox release to their users, but I’m guessing most distributions out there include them.

            Other noteworthy changes included in the upcoming Firefox 78 release are the ability to open downloaded PDF files directly in the web browser via a new option.

          • 4 Ways to Install Firefox 77 in Ubuntu / LinuxMint / CentOS

            Firefox or Mozilla Firefox is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla foundation and generally utilized by thousands and thousands of individuals on their daily actions.

            This tutorial will be helpful for the beginners to install firefox 77 in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 18.04, LinuxMint 19.3, and CentOS 8.1 / 7.x

          • Hacks.Mozilla.Org: New in Firefox 77: DevTool improvements and web platform updates

            A new stable Firefox version is rolling out. Version 77 comes with a few new features for web developers.


            Large web apps can provide a challenge for DevTools as bundling, live reloading, and dependencies need to be handled fast and correctly. With 77, Firefox’s Debugger learned a few more tricks, so you can focus on debugging.

            After we improved debugging performance over many releases, we did run out of actionable, high-impact bugs. So to find the last remaining bottlenecks, we have been actively reaching out to our community. Thanks to many detailed reports we received, we were able to land performance improvements that not only speed up pausing and stepping but also cut down on memory usage over time.

            JavaScript & CSS Source Maps that just work

            Source maps were part of this outreach and saw their own share of performance boosts. Some cases of inline source maps improved 10x in load time. More importantly though, we improved reliability for many more source map configurations. We were able to tweak the fallbacks for parsing and mapping, thanks to your reports about specific cases of slightly-incorrect generated source maps. Overall, you should now see projects that just work, that previously failed to load your original CSS and JavaScript/TypeScript/etc code.

          • Pocket provides fascinating reads from trusted sources in the UK with newest Firefox

            It’s a stressful and strange time. Reading the news today can feel overwhelming, repetitive, and draining. We all feel it. We crave new inputs and healthy diversions—stories that can fuel our minds, spark fresh ideas, and leave us feeling recharged, informed, and inspired.

            Connecting people with such stories is what we do at Pocket. We surface and recommend exceptional stories from across the web to nearly 40 million Firefox users in the U.S., Canada, and Germany each month. More than 4 million subscribers to our Pocket Hits newsletters (available in English and in German) see our curated recommendations each day in their inboxes.

            Today we’re pleased to announce the launch of Pocket’s article recommendations for Firefox users in the United Kingdom. The expansion into the UK was made seamless thanks to our successes with English-language recommendations in the U.S. and Canada.

          • Mozilla Firefox 77 Is Now Available for Download, Here’s What’s New

            allowing screen reader users to access the applications list in Firefox Options, providing labels for date/time inputs for users of accessibility tools and updated text in the JAWS screen reader for some live regions.

            This release also implements support for viewing and managing web certificates via a new about:certificate page, and adds Pocket recommendations on the New Tab page for users located in the United Kingdom (UK).

            Among other changes, Firefox 77 removes the browser.urlbar.oneOffSearches preference. Users will now have to uncheck the search engines on the One-Click Search Engines option in the about:preferences#search page if they want to hide the one-off search buttons.

          • 77.0 Firefox Release
          • Firefox 77 Released With Security Fixes, AV1 Image File Support
          • Firefox 77.0 Released with Pocket Recommendations for UK users
          • Firefox 77.0
      • CMS

      • Education

        • Tech Learning Collective: A Grassroots Technology School Case Study

          Grassroots education is important for making sure advanced technical knowledge is accessible to communities who may otherwise be blocked or pushed out of the field. By sharing this invaluable knowledge and skills, local groups can address and dissolve these barriers to organizers hoping to step up their cybersecurity.

          The Electronic Frontier Alliance (EFA) is a network of community-based groups across the U.S.  dedicated to advocacy and community education at the intersection of the EFA’s five guiding principles: privacy, free expression, access to knowledge, creativity, and security. Tech Learning Collective, a radical queer and femme operated group headquartered in New York City, sets itself apart as an apprenticeship-based technology school that integrates their workshops into a curriculum for radical organizers. Their classes range from fundamental computer literacy to hacking techniques and aim to serve students from historically marginalized groups.

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Sony uploads the kernel source code for the Xperia 10 II and Xperia 1 II

            Back in February, Sony unveiled their “Mark 2” lineup, i.e. the flagship Xperia 1 II and the mid-range Xperia 10 II smartphones via an online event. Months after the initial announcement, the phones are now available for pre-order across Europe as well as in the US. On the software side, both of these devices run Android 10 out of the box. To satisfy the requirements of the GNU General Public License v2 and kickstart the custom development of third-party ROMs and kernels, Sony has now released the kernel sources for the Xperia 10 II and the Xperia 1 II.

      • Programming/Development

        • Kuesa 3D 1.2 release!

          In short, Kuesa provides a workflow that simplifies work for both designers and developers. It is centered around the glTF 2 format. The idea behind Kuesa 3D is that changes made on 3D models shouldn’t require much, if any, work on the developer’s side. As a consequence, you can iterate more frequently, get feedback more often and release on time.

          In this blog post, we will highlight some of the new features we have introduced. You can get the full details here.


          Kuesa 3D Runtime is also available as a separate product, full support from us. The product is available on the Qt marketplace or directly from us. This is perfect if you want to try out Kuesa and see what you can do with it.

          Like previous releases, it is freely available under the AGPL 3 license.

          Since it is built on top of Qt 3D, you can use the full Qt 3D API to further customize your application. For the most part, you can leverage things like Picking, Camera handling and a lot more for free.

        • Kuesa 3D Studio 1.2 – Press Release

          Building software that is dependent on real-time 3D models – like for example an automotive dashboard, MRI machine, factory control system or furniture design tool – requires not only 3D designers and 3D programmers. It also demands the ability to bring these very different skill sets together into a smoothly operating workflow.

        • [Older] GCC 10 series compilers arrive in major upgrade

          GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) 10.1, a major release of the platform, was published on May 7, 2020, with highlights including C++ 20 capabilities and C2X language support. C2X is the next major revision of the C language, due in 2022.

          Release notes for GCC 10 show that a multitude of C++ 20 features have been implemented including permitting inline-assembly in constexpr Functions and extending structured bindings. Also for C++ 20, GCC 10 permits conversions to arrays of unknown bound, allows trivial default initialization in constexpr contexts, adds the constinit keyword, and deprecates the volatile keyword.

        • Type instances

          The particular nature of our work is up for any amount of debate, but the basic fact of it comes with a few requirements, and they are by and large inevitable if you wish to be a well-behaved, well-integrated member of the GNOME community. One of which is: “please, think of the language bindings”. These days, luckily for all of us, this means writing introspectable interfaces that adhere to fairly sensible best practices and conventions.


          Please, please use GObject. Writing type system code is already boring and error prone, which is why we added a ton of macros to avoid people shooting themselves in both their feet, and we hammered away all the special snowflake API flourishes that made parsing C API to generate introspection data impossible.

          I can only recommend you go down the GTypeInstance route if you’ve done your due diligence on what that entails, and are aware that it is a last resort if GObject simply does not work within your project’s constraints.

        • The joys and perils of C and C++ aliasing, Part 1

          In C, C++, and some other programming languages, the term aliasing refers to a situation where two different expressions or symbols refer to the same object. When references access that object in different ways—as both reads and stores—there are consequences for the order in which these mixed accesses can happen. The value that is stored first is expected to be read by the subsequent access. In many instances, aliasing is harmless: It is common, safe, and usually optimally efficient to use two pointers of the same type to read, and even to write to the same object. But in some cases, using aliasing symbols for mixed accesses is less benign, and can adversely affect the correctness or efficiency of your code.

          Although there are quite a few articles on this subject, most tend to focus on the rules and requirements outlined in the standards (such as the strict aliasing rule). In this article, I focus on the details of the C and C++ language restrictions, their challenges and pitfalls, and examples demonstrating the restrictions’ beneficial effects in optimized code. In Part 2, I will present exemptions from aliasing, which can help you get around the restrictions more or less safely. I also consider some of the common pitfalls of aliasing and mixed accesses, and the actual problems these pitfalls might cause.

        • Why I switched from Java to Kotlin

          Kotlin is a cross-platform, general-purpose programming language that runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). JetBrains led its implementation, which began in 2010, and it has been open source since early in its development.
          The great news for Java developers is that Kotlin is interoperable with Java. Standard Java code can be included in a Kotlin program, and Kotlin can be included in a Java program. That immense investment in compatibility means if you come from a Java background, picking up Kotlin will feel familiar and be a low risk since it will run alongside any of your existing Java code.

          To introduce you to Kotlin, I will go over some of its basic syntax, ranging from variables to defining functions and classes. If you want to follow along and learn some of the language’s features, there is a great browser-based Kotlin playground you can use.


          Kotlin’s simplicity and Java interoperability equate to little risk that you will spend time learning something that isn’t useful. After taking your first steps into Kotlin, you may never look at your Java code or the JVM the same way again.

        • New feature highlights in Elixir Cross Referencer v2.0

          Maxime Chrétien has extended Elixir to support kernel configuration parameters. Actually, he contributed a new parser to the universal-ctags project to do so. This way, you can explore C sources and Kconfig files and find the declarations and uses of kernel parameters…

        • Excellent Free Books to Learn Eiffel

          Eiffel is an object-oriented programming language designed by Bertrand Meyer (an object-orientation proponent and author of Object-Oriented Software Construction) and Eiffel Software.

        • Fortran newsletter: June 2020

          Welcome to the June 2020 edition of the monthly Fortran newsletter. The newsletter comes out on the first calendar day of every month and details Fortran news from the previous month.

        • Perl/Raku

          • 2020.21/22 Four by Wenzel

            Wenzel P. P. Peppmeyer has written not one, not two, not three, but four blogs in the past two weeks, each addressing some feature or quirk of the Raku Programming Language.

          • Monthly Report – May

            I have been doing Monthly Report since June 2018 non-stop. It has become a ritual for me now. It gives me an opportunity to look upon my activities. Since the beginning of the year 2020, I have made conscious decision to slow down as far as submitting Pull Request. I have also stopped playing CPAN game of daily upload after breaking the chain three times. I am happy that Perlancar is keeping the game alive. It has given me space to try something new. Although COVID-19 keeping us indoor all the time, still looking for interesting project to keep the mind busy.

        • Python

          • sidetable – Create Simple Summary Tables in Pandas

            Today I am happy to announce the release of a new pandas utility library called sidetable. This library makes it easy to build a frequency table and simple summary of missing values in a DataFrame. I have found it to be a useful tool when starting data exploration on a new data set and I hope others find it useful as well.

            This project is also an opportunity to illustrate how to use pandas new API to register custom DataFrame accessors. This API allows you to build custom functions for working with pandas DataFrames and Series and could be really useful for building out your own library of custom pandas accessor functions.

          • Using pandas to plot data in Python

            In this series of articles on Python-based plotting libraries, we’re going to look at an example of making plots using pandas, the hugely popular Python data manipulation library. Pandas is a standard tool in Python for scalably transforming data, and it has also become a popular way to import and export from CSV and Excel formats.

            On top of all that, it also contains a very nice plotting API. This is extremely convenient—you already have your data in a pandas DataFrame, so why not use the same library to plot it?

        • PHP

          • PHP 8.0 JIT Is Offering Very Compelling Performance Ahead Of Its Alpha

            With the PHP 8.0 schedule putting the first alpha release for the middle of June, I’ve been trying out its latest Git state in recent days for looking at its performance as well as when enabling its brand new JIT (Just In Time) compiler support that is new to PHP8. The results are quite compelling and here are metrics going back to the days of PHP 5.4 for comparison.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • What sort of SSH keys our users use or have listed in their authorized keys files

        My first surprise is that we have so many DSA keys listed, since they’re no longer supported (and those 380 ssh-dss keys are across 203 different people). People clearly don’t clean out their authorized keys files very often. 670 people have RSA keys, 13 have Ed25519 keys, and 15 have some form of ECDSA keys (which implies that a few people list a bunch of ECDSA keys).

        However, that’s just what people have sitting around in their authorized keys files, not what actually gets used. What actually gets used is a somewhat different picture. Here are the numbers for how many different keys of each type have been used over the course of 2020 so far: [...]

  • Leftovers

    • How Photographers Sought to Redefine the Image of Alaska’s Sexual Assault Survivors

      Every portrait in Unheard was different. There was no formula, no uniform backdrop to rely on. The people were unique and the circumstances of each shoot presented different challenges — the environment, the color of the light, the atmosphere. And the cold.

      It was a real Alaska winter this year. Many of the portraits were made in subzero temperatures and many more below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. One session was after a beautiful snowfall, deep in the woods of west Anchorage, in thigh-deep snow. Another was in the flat area of the delta of the Knik and Matanuska rivers in a bitter wind. Another was on a blue-sky day in Valdez with towering peaks in the distance. Other sessions were indoors, in the comfort and safe space of a home.

    • Obituary: Ronnie Wavehill Jangala

      The Gurindji community – and the entire nation – has lost one of the Top End’s great men. Associate Professor Felicity Meakins pays tribute to a man whose knowledge and humility sustained and anchored his people.

    • Science

      • Is science being set up to take the blame?

        My experience of university committees makes this all just too painfully familiar. What’s failed here is not the science, but the process of government. The committee started out full of NHS medics and bureaucrats, and lots of theoreticians – modelers aplenty – but there’s still nobody from the care sector. The members focus on the NHS they know and stay in their comfort zone. And now, we might ask, is there anybody with operational experience relevant to running a large testing and tracing programme? Or would it be a waste of time to try to create such a competence in the SAGE environment?

      • The silence of the chief scientists is worrying and deeply political

        In other words, far from being “apolitical”, the silence of the CMO and CSA was itself deeply political. This is the truth that history has shown science again and again, but which some scientists still resolutely refuse to recognise: remaining silent when you need to speak up is not to remain neutral or aloof from politics. Sometimes it becomes complicity.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • “Do Not Resuscitate”: My Experience with Hospice, Inc.

        In this age of coronavirus, it has become abundantly clear that Western culture has little respect or reverence for its elders. Deaths of the elderly seem of no account and only to be taken in stride. Such an attitude has increased the opportunities for the hospice/medical industry as it profits off the expendable bodies of older, vulnerable human beings. For me, that expendability was brought abruptly into focus when my mother, aided and abetted by my siblings, was quickly dispatched by large doses of morphine: even at 93-years-old, way ahead of her time to die. My brother and sister-in-law had prominently displayed her “Do Not Resuscitate Form” on the front of her refrigerator for months—and Hospice Inc. efficiently obliged them.

      • Is the Pandemic Creating a Resurgence of Unionism?

        Since Ronald Reagan fired air traffic controllers (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization) en masse at the beginning of his presidency “(“Reagan fires 11,000 striking air traffic controllers, August 5, 1981,” Politico, August 5, 2017), unions, which had already seen a decline because of the expansion of the global economy, saw membership numbers begin a precipitous decline (“The PATCO Strike, Reagan, and the Roots of Labor’s Decline,” In These These Times, November 1, 2011). So-called “right-to-work” laws are also the result of the loss of unions’ power over decades.

      • An Impending Crisis: COVID-19 in Haiti, Ongoing Instability, and the Dangers of Continued U.S. Deportations

        Prepared remarks by Jake Johnston to Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson’s forum on COVID-19 and ICE’s deportation of detainees to Haiti

      • Will Covid-19 Be a Turning Point in the Fight Against Racial Disparities in Health Care?
      • New Beginnings: Time to Think Big!

        This should be a start-from-scratch moment. The pandemic is not just a health crisis. It has made clear what Nation readers already know: A tiny elite in the US siphons off the wealth while most people struggle from paycheck to paycheck. Since mid-March, America’s billionaires have increased their combined net worth by $434 billion—even as nearly 40 million workers have lost their jobs and some 100,000 people here have died from Covid-19. The dead are disproportionately black, Latinx, and Native. This isn’t surprising; this is how tragedies go in America. As Nation contributing writer Zoë Carpenter argues in this issue, “While Covid-19 is novel, its impact at the community level was predictable.”

      • America Never Valued Care Workers. Then a Pandemic Hit.

        “Our heroes and heroines”: From evening rounds of applause to chalk art, Americans are finding ways to express appreciation for essential workers. (Noam Galai / Getty Images)

      • Germany’s Homeless Face Down the Coronavirus

        Miriam next to her tent in the abandoned döner kebab factory she has been living in. (Johanna Maria Fritz / Ostkreuz)

        The Nation and Magnum Foundation are partnering on a visual chronicle of untold stories as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States and the rest of the world—read more from The Invisible Front Line.—The Editors

      • The Secret, Absurd World of Coronavirus Mask Traders and Middlemen Trying To Get Rich Off Government Money

        It was 10 p.m. on a Tuesday, and I was watching footage of secret stockpiles of N95 masks, so-called proof-of-life videos sent to me by strangers, when Tim, the juicer salesman, called.

        “My name is Tim, and I heard you’re looking into VPL,” the man said in a squeaky, nervous timbre. “I distanced myself from the company because they weren’t delivering what they said.”

      • Russia’s restaurants are reopening after months of coronavirus lockdown, with masked staff and tables placed 5 feet apart

        On June 1, a number of Russian regions began gradually lifting quarantine restrictions that have been in place since the end of March to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Along with other businesses, restaurants and cafes are preparing to reopen, in accordance with new rules and recommendations handed down by Russia’s public health agency, Rospotrebnadzor, Interfax reports. Restaurant owners told Interfax that they had reached an agreement with Rospotrebnadzor on these new guidelines (this comes after officials released a plan for Russia’s return to work in April, which was met with criticism from business owners). 

      • Russia’s coronavirus patient population approaches 415,000

        On the morning of June 1, Russian officials announced that the country recorded 9,035 new coronavirus infections in the past day (233 fewer new cases than the day before) bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 414,878 patients.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • AppGet ‘really helped us,’ Microsoft says, but offers no apology to dev for killing open-source package manager

              Microsoft’s Andrew Clinick, a group program manager in the Windows team who is involved with the development of the WinGet package manager, has tried to make good with the open-source community by publishing an acknowledgement of what was borrowed from the existing AppGet project.

              A preview of WinGet was released by Microsoft during the recent virtual Build event, prompting the developer of AppGet, Keivan Beigi, to post about how he was approached by Microsoft in July 2019, supposedly to offer him help with development. He said he was questioned by the vendor in detail about his package management ideas, invited to apply for a job with Microsoft to work on an official version of AppGet, and then heard nothing until the moment before WinGet was launched.

        • Security

          • Microsoft is blocking the Windows 10 May 2020 Update on lots of devices [Ed: Microsoft cannot even patch its own software without breaking it]

            Microsoft is preventing a large number of devices from updating to the Windows 10 May 2020 Update. While the software company released the update last week, Microsoft has quietly acknowledged that there are a number of known issues preventing the update from being installed on a variety of PCs.

            Microsoft has a list of 10 issues it’s currently investigating, and 9 of them have resulted in a “compatibility hold” which stops the Windows 10 May 2020 Update from being installed via Windows Update. One issue involving unexpected errors or reboots with always-on, always-connected devices, affects devices like Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 or Surface Laptop 3.

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (ant, bind, freerdp, and unbound), CentOS (bind, freerdp, and git), Debian (python-httplib2), Fedora (ant, kernel, sqlite, and sympa), openSUSE (java-11-openjdk and qemu), Oracle (bind), Red Hat (freerdp), Scientific Linux (python-pip and python-virtualenv), Slackware (firefox), SUSE (qemu), and Ubuntu (Apache Ant, ca-certificates, flask, and freerdp2).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Giving People Property Rights In Data Will Not Solve Privacy, But…

              Online privacy can’t be solved by giving people new property rights in personal data. That idea is based on a raft of conceptual errors. But consumers are already exercising property rights, using them to negotiate the trade-offs involved in using online commercial products.

            • Securus Quietly Settles Lawsuit Over Illegally Spying On Inmate Attorney Conversations

              We’ve noted repeatedly how interstate inmate calling service (ICS) companies have a disturbingly cozy relationship with government, striking (technically buying) monopoly deals that let them charge inmate families $14 per minute. Worse, some ICS companies like Securus Technologies have been under fire for helping the government spy on privileged inmate attorney communications, information that was only revealed in 2015 after Securus was hacked. Given the apathy for prison inmates and their families (“Iff’n ya don’t like high prices, don’t go to prison, son!”) reform on this front has been glacial at best.

            • Don’t Mix Policing with COVID-19 Contact Tracing

              Over the weekend, Minnesota’s Public Safety Commissioner analogized COVID-19 contact tracing with police investigation of arrested protesters. This analogy is misleading and dangerous. It also underlines the need for public health officials to practice strict data minimization—including a ban on sharing with police any personal information collected through contact tracing.

              On May 30, at a press conference about the ongoing protests in Minneapolis against racism and police brutality, Commissioner John Harrington stated:

            • Arizona AG Sues Google For Location Data Failures, After Telecom Got A Wrist Slap For Far Worse Behavior

              Two years ago, an investigation by the Associated Press and Princeton computer scientists found that Google services on both Android and Apple routinely continued to track user location data, even when users opted out of such tracking. Even if users paused “Location History,” the researchers found that some Google apps still automatically stored time-stamped location data without asking the consumer’s consent.

            • Clearview Says Section 230 Immunizes It From Vermont’s Lawsuit Over Alleged Privacy Violations

              Clearview is currently being sued by the attorney general of Vermont for violating the privacy rights of the state’s residents. As the AG’s office pointed out in its lawsuit, users of social media services agree to many things when signing up, but the use of their photos and personal information as fodder for facial recognition software sold to government agencies and a variety of private companies isn’t one of them.

            • Private Internet Access now offers 24/7 live chat customer support

              Private Internet Access is proud to announce the launch of 24/7 live chat coverage by our customer support team. Our customers will be able to chat live with a customer support agent any time of the day, any day of the week to resolve their support issues as quickly as possible. Customer service is an important part of our VPN service and we are happy to provide this service to all existing and prospective PIA customers. To chat with a customer support team member, simply click the green “Chat Now” button at the bottom right of the screen when on our website.

            • [Old] How Your Phone Betrays Democracy

              Within minutes, with no special training and a little bit of Google searching, Times Opinion was able to single out and identify individuals at public demonstrations large and small from coast to coast.

              By tracking specific devices, we followed demonstrators from the 2017 Women’s March back to their homes. We were able to identify individuals at the 2017 Inauguration Day Black Bloc protests. It was easy to follow them to their workplaces. In some instances — for example, a February clash between antifascists and far-right supporters of Milo Yiannopolous in Berkeley, Calif. — it took little effort to identify the homes of protesters and then their family members.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ‘The Tragic Cause of This Death Is Incredibly Clear’: Independent Autopsy Finds George Floyd Death Result of ‘Sustained Forceful Pressure’

        “What we found is consistent with what people saw. There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death.”

      • ‘This Is No Game’: Trump Considering Insurrection Act to Deploy Military to US City Streets as Protests Continue

        “Trump is rejecting the rule of law and proposing military action that is antithetical to basic premises of the American experiment.”

      • Americans Have Long Ignored Iraqis—Now Is the Perfect Time to Connect With Their Stories

        The coronavirus pandemic has made brilliant Iraqi occupation literature relatable for the first time to a wider American public living in quarantine.

      • Our Disaster: Why the United States Bears Responsibility for Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis

        An entire generation of Yemeni children has suffered the traumas of war, many of them orphaned, maimed, malnourished, or displaced. The United Nations reports a death toll of 100,000 people in that nation’s ongoing war, with an additional 131,000 people dying from hunger, disease, and a lack of medical care. A report from Save the Children, issued in November 2018, estimated at least 85,000 children had died from extreme hunger since the war began in 2015.

      • Our Disaster: Why the United States Bears Responsibility for Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis

        The policies of the United States are deeply implicated in Yemen’s suffering, including the sale of billions of dollars in munitions to Saudi Arabia and other countries that have intervened in the civil war.

      • Sign of the Times
      • Prison and the Covid crisis

        The UK’s already overcrowded prison system has been thrown into crisis by the outbreak of Covid 19. Prisoners and staff have suffered a high infection and death rate. The government at first promised an early release programme to reduce overcrowding, but then quickly abandoned it. What is happening in our prisons? Why haven’t even remand prisoners who are convicted of no crime, like Julian Assange, been released on bail? These pressing questions were discussed by the following experts: Richard Garside – Director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, Faith Spear – Criminologist and Former Prison Monitor, Steve Gillan – General Secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association.

      • Federal Prisons Should Not be Death Chambers

        Double Ditch Indian Village overlooks the Missouri River in North Dakota, about an hour’s drive north from where the Dakota Access Pipeline Water Protectors formed their prayer camps in 2016 on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. It’s a historic site of a village where, from 1490 to 1785, members of the Mandan Tribe lived in earth mound dwellings that protected them from extreme temperatures and near-constant winds.

      • MAGA-Nacht
      • “You Loot; We Shoot”

        Last Friday, the leader of the entity that expects my pledge of allegiance threatened to shoot—specifically—looters. Before we go into what happened last night and Saturday morning and is on track to continue through the week, let me remember some historic milestones in looting.

      • Eruptions of Rage

        America’s cities are burning again.

      • The Second Longest War in the United States

        Other than the fact I was born in Minneapolis, I have little connection to the place. My adult life never encouraged much interaction with my relatives who live in the area, so except for the rare visit, I don’t know much about it. However, I do understand police brutality and the nature of a police state. The current rebellion in the streets of the Twin Cities and around the United States—provoked by the blatant murder of a Black man by Minneapolis policeman who is also white and has a record of brutality—is a logical and emotional response to both.

      • Collateral Murder – 10 Years On

        The cockpit video of an Apache helicopter shooting journalists and Iraqi civilians became one of the greatest journalistic coups of this century when it was released 10 years ago. Ann Wright – retired United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official, Kristinn Hrafnsson – editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, and columnist and essayist Nozomi Hayase discussed the global political impact of that revelation, with a new video presentation that interviews the families of the Iraqis who lost their relatives in the attack.

      • The US-UK Extradition Treaty – Should it be replaced?

        The Treaty under which the United States is seeking to extradite Julian Assange has been widely condemned, even by Boris Johnson, as unbalanced. Some 200 UK citizens have been extradited from Britain to the US. Only 11 Americans have been extradited to the UK. Our panel will ask if the Extradition Treaty is fit for purpose. On the panel – David Davis MP, British Conservative Party politician with Radd Seiger legal advisor for Harry Dunn family, moderated by Baronnes Helena Kennedy QC, Scottish barrister and Labour member of the House of Lords.

      • Senator Plans Amendment to End Transfer of Military Equipment to Local Police

        With the militarization of local police forces on full display as heavily armed cops and armored vehicles patrol the streets and crack down on protests over the killing of George Floyd, Sen. Brian Schatz on Sunday said he plans to introduce an amendment to end the federal program that permits the transfer of excess military equipment to police departments across the nation.

      • Pompeo Reups Threats to ICC Over US, Israel War Crimes Probes, Showing White House ‘Determined to Prevent’ Accountability

        “You’ll see in the coming days a series of announcements not just from the State Department, from all across the United States government, that attempt to push back against what the ICC is up to,” said the secretary of state.

      • Source Hacking: Media Manipulation in Practice

        In Source Hacking: Media Manipulation in Practice, Donovan and Friedberg use case studies to illustrate four main techniques of source hacking:

        Viral Sloganeering: repackaging reactionary talking points for social media and press amplification

        Leak Forgery: prompting a media spectacle by sharing forged documents

        Evidence Collages: compiling information from multiple sources into a single, shareable document, usually as an image

        Keyword Squatting: the strategic domination of keywords and sockpuppet accounts to misrepresent groups or individuals

        These strategies are often used simultaneously, and make it difficult to find proof of coordination. While each technique is effective on its own, their ultimate value comes from “buy-in from audiences, influencers, and journalists alike.”

      • Source Hacking: Media Manipulation in Practice

        These four tactics of source hacking work because networked communication is vulnerable to many different styles of attack, and finding proof of coordination is not easy to detect. Source hacking techniques complement each other and are often used simultaneously during active manipulation campaigns. These techniques may be carefully coordinated, but often rely on partisan support and buy-in from audiences, influencers, and journalists alike.

        Viral sloganeering allows small groups of manipulators to receive disproportionate mainstream coverage by encouraging those exposed to their slogans to seek further information online. Forged leaks are seeded by manipulators and set the stage to defame public figures. Similarly, the creators of evidence collages amplify falsified documents and propaganda to sway journalistic coverage and prompt audiences to self-investigate. Keyword squatting allows manipulators to impersonate individuals and organizations, creating false impressions of their targets’ goals and allowing for controlled opposition.

        Manipulators who use the techniques illustrated here rely on quick deployment and prior organizing experiences to coordinate participation. Manipulation campaigns that gather on one platform to plan an attack on another are designed to give the impression of large-scale public engagement. This adversarial media environment requires both journalists and platform designers to think with the tools of information security and open source intelligence to spot when they are being manipulated. Greater attention to the coordination of manipulation campaigns across platforms is the most productive way to guard against their reach. Only through careful attention to the data craft used to create disinformation can these campaigns be debunked in a timely manner.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Whistleblowers for Assange

        A chance to learn first-hand from some of whistleblowers who have shaped what we know about modern politics, the importance of free speech, a free press, and the case of Julian Assange. With, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, Katharine Gun who revealed Iraq War secrets from GCHQ and former CIA officer John Kiriakou who confirmed that waterboarding was used to interrogate al-Qaeda prisoners.

    • Environment

      • Four More Years of Donald Trump Could Delay Global Emissions Cuts by 10 Years

        Modelling suggests there are only very limited circumstances where the Paris Agreement’s warming limit of 2C is met — and a U.S. departure from the landmark 2015 deal restricts those options further for every term Trump is in office.

      • UK food giants mull Brazil boycott to protect forests

        UK supermarkets are considering a Brazil boycott, an end to purchases of its food to try to save its forests.

      • High Tide Bulletin: Summer 2020

        The rising and falling of the sea is a phenomenon upon which we can always depend. Tides are the regular rise and fall of the sea surface caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun and their position relative to the earth. There are some factors that cause the tides to be higher than what is “normally” seen from day to day. This bulletin tells you when you may experience higher than normal high tides for the period of time between between June and August 2020.

        We also publish annual high tide flooding reports that present a broad outlook of what to expect for a given year in terms of high tide flooding, as well as a summary of high tide flooding events for the previous calendar year.

      • A Simple Model for Global Warming

        70% or less of the sunlight shining onto the Earth reaches the surface and is absorbed by the biosphere. From this absorbed energy, in combination with the presence of water and organic material, all life springs. The oceans, which cover 70.2% of the Earth’s surface and comprise 99.4% of the biosphere’s mass, form the great “heat battery” of the planetary surface. All weather and climate are generated from the heat glow of that battery. A portion of that heat glow, equivalent to the solar energy absorbed, must escape into space for the planetary surface to remain in heat balance, at a constant average temperature. For that temperature being 15°C (59°F), 62.31% of the heat glow must escape.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Even Now, Our Leaders Are Still Putting Their Faith in the Rich

        It has become crystal clear during this pandemic that working people fuel this economy, but they’re the ones bearing the cost.

      • Nearly 60% of Americans Support Extending Boosted Unemployment Benefits as Trump and McConnell Say Let Them Expire

        “The across-the-board $600 increase in weekly unemployment benefits should be extended well past its expiration at the end of July—until unemployment is falling rapidly and is at a manageable level.”

      • ‘They Need Our Help’: As CBO Projects $16 Trillion GDP Loss Due to Pandemic, Sanders and Schumer Demand Relief for Working Families

        “Why the hell won’t Senator McConnell act like this is a crisis and pass emergency relief now?”

      • The Impact of Upward Redistribution on Social Security Solvency

        Economic inequality in the US has ballooned since the early 1980s. Wage and salary growth at the top of the earnings distribution has significantly outpaced that at the bottom and middle, resulting in decades of unabated upward redistribution of income. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated this divide. In addition to the immediate problems highlighted by the crisis, the growing chasm between the rich and everyone else has long-term implications for the nation’s social safety net, specifically for the continued solvency of the Social Security trust fund.

      • Transit Is a Social Justice Issue in the 2020 Election

        Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Democratic candidate for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District. (Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

        Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is running in a Maryland Democratic congressional primary next Tuesday. She’s speaking powerfully and poignantly about a range of economic, social, and racial justice issues facing the city of Baltimore, the state of Maryland, and the United States: “deep levels of inequality,” “untold grief and mental anguish on the part of African Americans” over police brutality, and “the undermining of democratic norms” by Donald Trump. And she is talking about transit.

      • We Need a Public Option for Banking

        The COVID-19 pandemic response has shown that the very foundations of our economy are shaky, fragile, and — for some of us — downright dangerous.

      • Why the Neoliberal Agenda is a Failure at Fighting Coronavirus

        The utter failure of private capitalism to prepare for the coronavirus should have surprised no one. Private capitalism, as business school graduates repeat, focuses on profit. The “profit incentive,” they learn, makes private capitalism the superior, “most efficient” economic system available. That is its “bottom line” and “chief goal.” The problem is that to produce adequate numbers of testing components, masks, gloves, ventilators, hospital beds, etc., and then to store, secure, monitor, maintain and demographically stockpile them were not and are not privately profitable businesses.

      • It’s a Class War Now Too
      • ‘Levada Center’: 28 percent of Russians prepared to protest falling living standards

        According to a new survey conducted by the independent Levada Center and published by Open Media, 27 percent of Russians consider mass protests possible at the present time, due to falling living standards. On the other hand, 61 percent of respondents believe such demonstrations are unlikely.

      • Save the US Postal Service Before It’s Too Late

        A publicly-funded, national postal service is one of our country’s great achievements.

      • What is Capitalism?

        The question ‘what is capitalism’ is a sincere one. Critiques of our present situation very often say the problem is capitalism. This is usually done without defining the term. Nonetheless, people seem to know what it means better than I do. Right-wingers, often without concern for the health of society, are triggered. Left-wingers, often with a concern for the health of society, cheer. Such is a bad sign for capitalism, but what exactly are we talking about?

      • Corporate Sovereignty Lawyers Prepare To Sue Governments For Bringing In Measures To Tackle COVID-19 And Save Lives

        Regular readers of Techdirt will be all too familiar with the problem of corporate sovereignty — the ability of companies to sue entire countries for alleged loss of profits caused by government action. Also known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), there have been indications that some countries are starting to drop ISDS from trade and investment treaties, for various reasons. But a worrying report from Corporate Europe Observatory suggests that we are about to witness a new wave of corporate sovereignty litigation. Hard though it may be to believe, these cases will be claiming that governments around the world should be reimbursing companies for the loss of profits caused by tackling COVID-19:

      • Defund Police: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor Says Budgets Wrongly Prioritize Cops Over Schools, Hospitals

        Calls to defund the police mount after police erupted into violence this weekend in response to widespread protests across the nation, arresting more than 4,000 people and attacking demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullets. As police departments face increasing criticism for using excessive force on protesters, we get response from Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, renowned scholar Professor Cornel West and attorney Bakari Sellers.

      • “America Has Looted Black People. We Learned It from You” Says Women’s March Activist Tamika Mallory

        In a powerful address among people in Minneapolis protesting the police murder of George Floyd, activist and former Women’s March co-chair Tamika Mallory demanded, “Charge the cops. … Charge them in every city across America where our people are being murdered.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Trump’s Executive Order Seeks To Have FCC Regulate Platforms. Here’s Why It Won’t Happen

        This is one of a series of blog posts about President Trump’s May 28 Executive Order. Other posts are here, here, here, and here.

        The inaptly named  Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship seeks to insert the federal government into private Internet speech in several ways. Through Section 2 of the Executive Order (EO), the president has attempted to demand the start of a new administrative rulemaking. Despite the ham-fisted language, such a process can’t come into being. No matter how much someone might wish it.The EO attempts to enlist the Secretary of Commerce and Attorney General to draft a rulemaking petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that asks it  that independent agency to interpret 47 U.S.C. § 230 (“Section 230”), a law that underlies much of the architecture for the modern Internet.Quite simply, this isn’t allowed.Specifically, the petition will ask the FCC to examine:

      • Dangers of Trump’s Executive Order Explained

        This is one of a series of blog posts about President Trump’s May 28 Executive Order. Links to other posts are below. The inaptly named Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship (EO) is a mess on many levels: it’s likely unconstitutional on several grounds, built on false premises, and bad policy to boot. We are no fans of the way dominant social media platforms moderate user content. But the EO, and its clear intent to retaliate against Twitter for marking the president’s tweets for fact-checking, demonstrates that governmental mandates are the wrong way to address concerns about faulty moderation practices.The EO contains several key provisions. We will examine them in separate posts linked here:1. The FCC rule-making provision2. The misinterpretation of and attack on Section 2303. Threats to pull government advertising4. Review of unfair or deceptive practicesAlthough we will focus on the intended legal consequences of the EO, we must also acknowledge the danger the Executive Order poses even if it is just political theater and never has any legal effect. The mere threat of heavy-handed speech regulation can inhibit speakers who want to avoid getting into a fight with the government, and deny readers information they want to receive. The Supreme Court has recognized that “people do not lightly disregard public officers’ thinly veiled threats” and thus even “informal contacts” by government against speakers may violate the First Amendment.The EO’s threats to free expression and retaliation for constitutionally-protected editorial decisions by a private entity are not even thinly veiled: they should have no place in any serious discussion about concerns over the dominance of a few social media companies and how they moderate user content. That said, we too are disturbed by the current state of content moderation on the big platforms. So, while we firmly disagree with the EO, we have been highly critical of the platforms’ failure to address some of the same issues targeted in the EO’s policy statement, specifically: first, that users deserve more transparency about how, when and how much content is moderated; second, that decisions often appear inconsistent; and, third, that content guidelines are often vague and unhelpful. Starting long before the president got involved, we have said repeatedly that the content moderation system is broken and called for platforms to fix it. We have documented a range of egregious content moderation decisions (see our onlinecensorship.org, Takedown Hall of Shame, and TOSsed Out projects). We have proposed a human rights framing for content moderation called the Santa Clara Principles, urged companies to adopt it, and then monitored whether they did so (see our 2018 and 2019 Who Has Your Back reports). But we have rejected government mandates as a solution, and this EO demonstrates why it is indeed the wrong approach. In the hands of a retaliatory regime, government mandates on speech will inevitably be used to punish disfavored speakers and platforms, and for other oppressive and repressive purposes. Those decisions will disproportionately impact the marginalized. Regardless of the dismal state of content moderation, it is truly dangerous to put the government in control of online communication channels.The EO requires the Attorney General to “develop a proposal for Federal legislation that would be useful to promote the policy objectives of this order.” This is a dangerous idea generally because it represents another unwarranted government intrusion into private companies’ decisions to moderate and curate user content. But it’s a particularly bad idea in light of the current Attorney General’s very public animus toward tech companies and their efforts to provide Internet users with secure ways to communicate, namely through end-to-end encryption. Attorney General William Barr already has plenty of motivation to break encryption, including through the proposed EARN IT Act; the EO’s mandate gives Barr more ammunition to target Internet users’ security and privacy in the name of promoting some undefined “neutrality.” Some have proposed that the EO is simply an attempt to bring some due process and transparency to content moderation. However, our analysis of the various parts of the EO illuminate why that’s not true. 

      • California Anti-SLAPP Law Gives Rachel Maddow An Early Exit From Conservative News Network’s Bogus Libel Lawsuit

        The only news network further to the right than Fox News has just seen its baseless libel lawsuit against MSNBC host Rachel Maddow dismissed under California’s anti-SLAPP law. While Fox occasionally has to acknowledge the real world and employs a few newscasters critical of the President and his policies, One American News Network (OAN/OANN) apparently feels no compunction to address any issues honestly, preferring to curl up in the lap of the leader of the free world.

      • Anti-censorship team report: May 2020

        Tor’s anti-censorship team writes monthly reports to keep the world updated on its progress. So far, we have been posting these team reports to the tor-project mailing list but starting this month, we are experimenting with turning team reports into blog posts as well. Our hope is that this makes it more convenient for the community to follow our work and comment on it. We work for you all, and to do our work well, we need to hear from you!

        Without further ado, here’s what the anti-censorship team accomplished in May 2020:

      • Let. The Motherfucker. Burn.

        Warning: this post will contain what we in the business like to call strong language, invective, and violent content. Govern yourself accordingly.

      • Joe Biden Wastes A Huge Opportunity To Support Free Speech; Still Wants To ‘Revoke’ Section 230

        Joe Biden had a golden opportunity to actually look Presidential, and stand up for free speech and the 1st Amendment at a moment when our current President is seeking to undermine it with his Executive order that is designed to intimidate social media companies into hosting speech they’d rather not, and scare others off from fact checking his lies. And he blew it. He doubled down on the ridiculous claim that we should “revoke” Section 230.

      • India Asks Internet Service Providers to Block WeTransfer

        The order, dated May 18, from India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT), which was reviewed by Reuters, does not specify a reason for blocking the website, but invokes a clause from conditions laid out for granting licences to ISPs.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Top Russian business newspaper gets new owner but will retain controversial chief editor

        The new owner of the top Russian business newspaper “Vedomosti,” Ivan Yeremin, says that he has no plans to dismiss the publication’s controversial acting editor-in-chief, Andrey Shmarov. Yeremin made this announcement during a meeting with the newspaper’s editors, a source at Vedomosti told Meduza.

      • [Old] Roger Water “Wish You Were Here” at Home Office

        World famous musician Roger Waters, the co-founder of Pink Floyd performed the band’s classic  ‘Wish You Were Here’ after speaking about the importance of empathizing with Julian and defending him. John Pilger, filmmaker and journalist, opened the event with an impassioned speech before calling on Julian’s brother Gabriel Shipton and Roger Waters to the stage.

      • M.I.A at UK Home Office: “Don’t extradite Assange!”

        World famous artist MIA, Croatian philosopher, author and political activist Srećko Horvat, and British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, joined Julian Assange’s father John Shipton with this protest to halt the extradition case against Julian Assange.

      • Journalists speak out for Assange

        Discussion between journalists about Julian’s current situation in prison and how his persecution affects journalism and the democracy. On the panel: John Pilger – award winning journalist, Stefania Maurizi– investigative journalist, Charles Glass – author, journalist, broadcaster

      • Demonstration over the extradition of Julian Assange at Parliament Square

        First major protest march to Parliament Squaren in support of Assange was lead by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and Greek MP Yanis Varoufakis. They were joined in their call not to extradite Julian Assange by Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, John Shipton (Julian Assange’s father), musician Brian Eno, rapper and activist Lowkey, Kristinn Hrafnsson from WikiLeaks, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, Tariq Ali writer and activist, and Tim Dawson from the National Union of Journalists. The march was from Australia House to Parliament Square.

      • Press Freedom and the case of Julian Assange

        Former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell spoke at a public rally in central London joined by former Shadow Secretary of state Richard Burgon as well as Tim Dawson an executive of the National Union of Journalists, Nils Melzer the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Kristinn Hrafnsson editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Jen Robinson from Julian Assange’s legal team, and activist and writer Tariq Ali.

      • Please Sign the Open Letter

        I should be grateful if you would join Noam Chomsky, Yanis Varoufakis, David Hare, Roger Waters, Robert Black, Kristinn Hrnafsson, Christine Assange and many others in signing the open letter against the politically motivated legal harassment of people including Mark Hirst and myself.

      • Yet again Julian Assange and the press unable to attend court proceedings

        Julian Assange was, once again, unable to attend his own proceedings on medical advice. He remains at high risk of contracting Covid-19 due to an underlying lung condition exacerbated by years of confinement recognised by the UK as arbitrary detention.

      • More Journalists Injured Covering George Floyd Protests

        The first time officers shot rubber bullets at MSNBC host Ali Velshi and his crew Saturday night in Minneapolis, he was willing to believe that the officials didn’t know they were press. The second time, Velshi said, they knew and shot anyway.

        “We put our hands up and yelled, ‘We’re media!’” Velshi said. “They responded, ‘We don’t care!’ and they opened fire a second time.”

      • Journalists blinded, injured, arrested covering George Floyd protests nationwide

        In some incidents, members of the news media appeared to be targeted, by police and protesters alike.

        “Targeted attacks on journalists, media crews and news organizations covering the demonstrations show a complete disregard for their critical role in documenting issues of public interest and are an unacceptable attempt to intimidate them,” said Carlos Martínez de la Serna, program director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. “Authorities in cities across the U.S. need to instruct police not to target journalists and ensure they can report safely on the protests without fear of injury or retaliation.”

      • Journalists get caught in the crosshairs as protests unfold

        The violence got so bad over the weekend that on Sunday the Cleveland police said the media was not allowed downtown unless “they are inside their place of business” — drawing ire from news outlets around the country, who argued that such access is a critical part of adequately covering protests.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Fire This Time

        Protesters clash with police after a demonstration over the death of George Floyd. (Joseph Prezioso / AFP via Getty Images)

        In times of crisis, historical knowledge at least offers the small consolation of perspective. America’s current time of troubles, with the stress of the pandemic and economic meltdown now being intensified by nationwide protests and riots against police violence, inevitably calls to mind the last time the country was coming apart. The BBC described the protests ignited by the police killing of George Floyd as the “biggest racial clashes since the 1960s.”

      • Gregg Popovich: ‘The System Has to Change’

        Illinois Sheriffs in riot gear in downtown Chicago, on May 30, 2020. (Jim Vondruska / NurPhoto / Getty)

        People from across the sports world have spoken out, raised money, and taken part in demonstrations following the police murder of George Floyd. The one voice that we haven’t heard yet has been perhaps President Donald Trump’s most outspoken critic in the wide world of sports, as well as someone who has never shied away from speaking about institutionalized racism or police brutality, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.

      • Employees Hold Virtual Walkout to Protest Facebook Inaction on Trump Posts ‘Advocating Violence Against Black Demonstrators’

        “I am calling for Mark to immediately take down the president’s post advocating violence, murder, and imminent threat against black people.”

      • The Border Patrol Praises Stonewall While Deploying Officers to Suppress Protests

        Ads in front of The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. (Erik McGregor / LightRocket via Getty Images)

        Customs and Border Protection (CBP) chief Mark Morgan today commemorated the 1969 Stonewall Riots in an agency-wide e-mail honoring LGBT Pride month. The e-mail comes one day after Morgan took to Twitter to say that the current “‘protests’”—which he put in scare quotes—“are anything but peaceful.”

      • Minneapolis: The Rise of the ‘Thumpers’

        A police officer in riot gear arrests a demonstrator during a protest against police brutality and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

        Minneapolis. Most of the time, this is a remarkably orderly and well-kept city. In 1980, while experts warned that other cities were becoming obsolete, Minneapolis remained a beacon of hope, a place that, said National Geographic, “can still nurture the human species.” However, citizens’ scant patience for interrupting this idyll meant that the city tolerated a police department riddled with violent, bigoted officers. The current unrest, sparked in Minneapolis and spreading across the country, offers a chance to examine how this city went from beacon to burning. Minnesota, perhaps more than any other state, embodies the failures of liberal efforts to achieve equitable dignity through public safety. As the writer David Lawrence Grant states, “The hard truth is that police departments deal with communities of color in exactly the way that American society, Minnesota society, has asked them to.”

      • Bill de Blasio Has Failed the Test of This Moment

        Police officers attacked and arrested demonstrators during protests in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Seth Wenig / AP Photo)

        Protests over the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and decades of racist police violence are raging across the country—and in city after city. In response, cops are destroying property. Cops are beating citizens. Cops are driving their cop cars into crowds of people and shooting at and arresting members of the media. Cops, the people in this situation with training and guns, are finding ways to escalate the tension they’re supposed to be trying to quell.

      • Who Are the Secret Puppet-Masters Behind Trump’s War on Iran?

        On May 6th, President Trump vetoed a war powers bill specifying that he must ask Congress for authorization to use military force against Iran. Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign of deadly sanctions and threats of war against Iran has seen no let-up, even as the U.S., Iran and the whole world desperately need to set aside our conflicts to face down the common danger of the Covid-19 pandemic.

      • Despite Claims From Officials, Demonstrators Say Police, Not Protesters, Are Real ‘Outside Agitators’

        “Police are rioting across the nation.”

      • Trump’s Executive Order Threatens to Leverage Government’s Advertising Dollars to Pressure Online Platforms

        This is one of a series of blog posts about President Trump’s May 28 Executive Order. Other posts can be found here, here, here, and here.The inaptly named  Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship (EO) seeks to insert the federal government into private Internet speech in several ways. Section 3 of the EO threatens to leverage the federal government’s significant online advertising spending to coerce platforms to conform to the government’s desired editorial position. This raises significant First Amendment concerns.The EO provides:Sec. 3.  Protecting Federal Taxpayer Dollars from Financing Online Platforms That Restrict Free Speech.  (a)  The head of each executive department and agency (agency) shall review its agency’s Federal spending on advertising and marketing paid to online platforms.  Such review shall include the amount of money spent, the online platforms that receive Federal dollars, and the statutory authorities available to restrict their receipt of advertising dollars.(b)  Within 30 days of the date of this order, the head of each agency shall report its findings to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.(c)  The Department of Justice shall review the viewpoint-based speech restrictions imposed by each online platform identified in the report described in subsection (b) of this section and assess whether any online platforms are problematic vehicles for government speech due to viewpoint discrimination, deception to consumers, or other bad practices.The First Amendment is implicated by this provision because it is, at its essence, the government punishing a speaker for expressing a political viewpoint. The Supreme Court has recognized that “[t]he expression of an editorial opinion . . . lies at the heart of First Amendment protection.” The First Amendment thus generally protects speakers against enforced neutrality.Although the government may have broad leeway to decide where it wants to run its advertisements, here it seems that the government would otherwise place advertisements on these platforms but for the sole fact that it dislikes the political viewpoint reflected by the platform’s editorial and curatorial decisions. This is true regardless of whether the platform actually has an editorial viewpoint or if the government simply perceives a viewpoint it finds inappropriate.This decision is especially suspect when the platform’s speech is unrelated to the advertisement or the government program or policy being advertised. It might present a different situation if the message in the government’s advertisement would be undermined by the platform’s editorial decisions, or,  if by advertising, the government would be perceived as adopting the platform’s viewpoint. But neither of those is contemplated by the EO.The EO thus seems purely retaliatory, and designed solely to coerce the platforms to meet the government’s conception of acceptable “neutrality”—a severe penalty for having a political viewpoint. The goal of federal government advertising is to reach the broadest audience possible: think of the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Quinn the Quarantine Fox ads, or the National Park Service’s promotions about its units. This advertising is not a reward for the platform for its perceived neutrality. It’s a service to Americans who need vital information.In other contexts, the Supreme Court has made clear that the government’s spending decisions can generally not be “the product of invidious viewpoint discrimination.” The court has applied this rule to strike down a property tax exemption that was available only to those who took loyalty oaths, explaining that “the deterrent effect is the same as if the State were to fine them for this speech.” And the court also applied it when a county canceled a contract with a trash hauler who was a fervent critic of the county’s government. Even when the court rejected a First Amendment challenge to a requirement that the National Endowment for the Arts consider “general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs and values of the American public” as one of many factors in awarding arts grants, it emphasized that the criterion did not give the government authority to “leverage its power to award subsidies on the basis of subjective criteria into a penalty on disfavored viewpoints,” and funding decisions should not be “calculated to drive certain ideas or viewpoints from the marketplace.”By denying ad dollars that it would otherwise spend solely because it disagrees with a platform’s editorial views, or dislikes that it has editorial views, the government violates these fundamental principles. And this in turn harms the public, which may need or want information contained in government advertisements.

      • A Southern Vanguard

        “This is the firing line not simply for the emancipation of the American Negro but for the emancipation of the African Negro and the Negroes of the West Indies; for the emancipation of the colored races; and for the emancipation of the white slaves of modern capitalistic monopoly.” W.E.B. Du Bois delivered these lines before a large crowd in Columbia, S.C., in the fall of 1946. The people gathered before him were neither strictly Marxist nor communist; they were mostly members of the Southern Negro Youth Congress, which was founded in 1937 to organize young people, workers, and other disaffected groups across the South. But no one in that audience was shocked by what he had to say. For them, like Du Bois, breaking the back of Southern white supremacy required challenging and remaking the larger system of exploitative capitalism that had subjected black and white Southerners to centuries of injustice. With the Congress of Industrial Organizations executing its Operation Dixie to organize industrial workers in the South that year and with African American veterans back from the war embarking on their own militant and heroic struggle for human rights there, Du Bois’s insistence that the South had become the center of a new battle for freedom was in no way far from the truth.

      • An Open Letter to Joe Biden on Race
      • California Cops Can No Longer Pass the Cost of Digital Redaction onto Public Records Requesters

        At a dark time when the possibility of police accountability seems especially bleak, there is a new glimmer of light courtesy of the California Supreme Court. Under a new ruling, government agencies cannot pass the cost of redacting police body-camera footage and other digital public records onto the members of the public who requested them under the California Public Records Act (CPRA).

        The case, National Lawyers Guild vs. Hayward was brought by civil rights groups against the City of Hayward after they filed requests for police body-camera footage related to protests on UC Berkeley’s campus following the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Hayward Police agreed to release the footage, but not before assessing nearly $3,000 for redacting the footage and editing that they claimed NLG needed to pay before they’d release the video.

      • On Sheep, Shepherds, Wolves and Other Political Creatures

        Noam Chomsky was recently recorded in an interview saying that the Bernie Sanders campaign was “an extraordinary success” that “completely shifted the arena of debate and discussion” in the United States. While I agree with Chomsky when he says in the same Democracy Now interview that “If Trump is reelected, it’s an indescribable disaster. It means that the policies of the past four years, which have been extremely destructive to the American population, to the world, will be continued and probably accelerated.” I don’t agree with or think that we can now, in our collective, progressive disappointment, paint the Sanders campaign as “an extraordinary success”, when as the dust has settled and the carpet has been rolled-up, we can see that it was far from being a success of any kind.

      • Racial Domestic Terrorism and the Legacy of State Violence

        The sheer brutality of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a viciously violent cop symbolizes not only the unadulterated racism of a culture that looks away in the face of police violence against Black people but also a society in which a form of racialized domestic terrorism has become normalized. Floyd’s murder has to be understood as part of wider systemic politics indebted to the long legacy of a culture of racist terror that extends from slavery and Jim Crow to the scourge of racial mass incarceration and a politics of disposability. How else to explain the senseless murders of Botham Jean, Treyvon Martin and more recently Ahmaud Aubrey and Breonna Taylor. Aubrey was killed by white vigilantes while out running. Taylor was shot in her bed by the police who literally broke into her house with no previous warning. The punishing apparatuses of the racial state have become more barbaric as power is concentrated more and more in the hands of the ultra-rich, white nationalists and white supremacists who now occupy the White House. Neoliberal fascism has taken off the gloves and now resorts to outright terror to keep people of color in check. Every space in the U.S. that people of color occupy is militarized.

      • Global Protests Erupt in Solidarity With Racial Justice Defenders in US

        “Police brutality has created a flashpoint for unrest that was already simmering,” read an editorial published Monday in The Times of London.

      • Giving Voice to Alaska’s Unheard Sexual Assault Survivors

        In the fall of 2018, the Anchorage Daily News published an article with the headline, “A second woman comes forward to say she was raped in Nome without consequence.” The story included a request: The ADN said it would be reporting further on the subject of sexual abuse in Alaska, and invited readers to confidentially share their accounts of sexual violence.

        More than 200 of them did.

      • How We Worked With Survivors of Sexual Assault in Alaska to Tell Their Stories

        Today we are publishing the stories of 29 women and men who say they were sexually assaulted. The stories in this project adhere to the journalistic standards of accuracy, fairness and rigor that we demand of every story published by our news organizations. But they were written in collaboration with the community of sexual assault survivors who are the subjects of the profiles.

        Here’s what that means….

      • Unheard

        Alaska has the highest rate of sexual assault in the nation. These women and men did not choose to be violated, but they now choose to speak about what happened.

      • Here’s What Experts Say to Do After Experiencing Sexual Assault

        In the course of reporting Unheard and interviewing dozens of survivors, questions surfaced again and again about what to do after a sexual assault, and how to navigate social services and the legal system.

        The following resources are intended to inform survivors, their family members and friends, and others in the community about ways they can seek help.

      • Trump’s Authoritarian Porn Has a Lot of Fans

        Twitter has finally begun removing a smattering of Donald Trump tweets for fomenting violence or spreading lies. The company ought to remove a whole series of them for spreading pornography—authoritarian pornography.

      • A Call to Revolt
      • Protests Over George Floyd’s Killing Met With Curfews, Police Crackdowns, and National Guard Troops Across US

        In Los Angeles, City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson said, “Our fear is real that additional law enforcement will only further violence against people of color.”

      • Amid COVID, People Involuntarily Confined in Psych Hospitals Must Be Released

        When most people speak of invisibility right now, they’re speaking of germs — those too-small-to-be-seen strands of coronavirus that are circling the world so ferociously. And yet so many full-sized and visible humans are being treated as if they just aren’t there.

      • Activists in Moscow are setting up cardboard cutouts of jailed journalist Ilya Azar. One has been arrested already.

        Journalist and municipal deputy Ilya Azar was sentenced to 15 days administrative arrest on May 28, for holding a peaceful, single-person demonstration. His arrest sparked solidarity protests outside of the police headquarters in Moscow, and near the well-known Gostiny Dvor shopping center in central St. Petersburg. 

      • An Appeal to Those on The Center Right Regarding the Protests and Unrest

        If you’re on the right and have conservative values, please reach internally to your compassion for your fellow humans in this country. Your fellow American is suffering, and they have legitimate grievances. We accept that there is noise in this message caused by troublemakers, but that’s always the case. Don’t let that distract you from the righteous calling to help your American brothers and sisters.

        These communities need our support right now. They need your support, my friends and readers on the right. And the worst possible thing you can do is dismiss their claims on the grounds that a few among them are acting in bad faith. You have the wisdom to see through that, and to see the true suffering beneath. And I ask you to please do so. We need you. These communities need you. The country needs you.

      • Russia’s plebiscite on constitutional amendments set for July 1

        Russian President Vladimir Putin has come out in favor of holding Russia’s nationwide vote on amendments to the constitution on July 1. The rescheduled date was initially put forward by Ella Pamfilova, the head of Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC).

      • Yes, the Looting Must Stop

        African Americans and Hispanics have been looted of trillions in reduced pay by racist employers and giant corporations, while their safety, lives and peace of mind have been looted by racist police.

      • Minneapolis Neighborhoods Defend Against Police and White Supremacists

        As protests against racism and state violence continue nationwide following the killing of George Floyd, neighborhoods in Minneapolis are facing increasingly brutal police crackdowns and heavy militarization of the city by the National Guard. And even as Minneapolis residents continue agitating against police violence, some are also organizing to defend themselves against the threat of violence from white supremacists who have been accused of coming to the city to burn buildings in neighborhoods of color and cause chaos.

      • Moscow court postpones appeals hearing for arrested journalist Ilya Azar

        The Moscow City Court has postponed the appeals hearing for arrested journalist and activist Ilya Azar until June 5, reports the organization “Apologiya Protesta” on Telegram, citing one of its lawyers, Leonid Solovyov. 

      • Don’t Let Trump Use This Moment to Sneak in Domestic Terrorism Laws

        There’s something ironic about a fascist president labeling an anti-fascist movement “terrorists.” It could be a joke, if it didn’t have such terrifying implications for civil liberties.

      • Police Attacked Protesters After Kneeling for Solidarity Photo Op, Activists Say

        Some of the police officers who have been prominently photographed kneeling or praying alongside demonstrators against police violence have turned around and harmed protesters soon afterward, according to numerous accounts posted by activists on social media.

      • Russian election officials will reportedly loosen voting restrictions in upcoming constitutional plebiscite

        Russia’s Central Election Commission is reportedly planning to loosen several voting restrictions in the country’s upcoming plebiscite on constitutional amendments that could extend Vladimir Putin’s presidency to 2036. The policy shift conforms to widespread speculation that the Kremlin seeks high turnout in the nationwide vote as a show of legitimacy. 

      • “America’s Moment of Reckoning”: Cornel West Says Nationwide Uprising Is Sign of “Empire Imploding”

        As thousands from coast to coast took to the streets this weekend to protest the state-sanctioned killing of Black people, and the nation faces its largest public health crisis in generations and the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, professor Cornel West calls the U.S. a “predatory capitalist civilization obsessed with money, money, money.” He also makes the connections between U.S. violence abroad and at home. “There is a connection between the seeds that you sow of violence externally and internally.”

      • “My Vanishing Country”: Mass Protests Rise from 400 Years of Systemic Racism, Says Bakari Sellers

        As mass unrest engulfs the U.S., we speak with attorney and political commentator Bakari Sellers, whose new memoir “My Vanishing Country” was just published. One of the central moments in the book is the Orangeburg massacre of 1968, when police opened fire on a crowd of students gathered on the campus of South Carolina State University to protest segregation at Orangeburg’s only bowling alley. When the shooting stopped, three Black students were dead, 28 students were wounded. The nine officers who opened fire that day were all acquitted. The only person convicted of wrongdoing was Bakari Sellers’s father, Cleveland Sellers, a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, known as SNCC. He was convicted of a riot charge and spent seven months behind bars. He was pardoned in 1993. We speak with Bakari Sellers about Orangeburg, 2020 and “400 years of systemic racism” in the U.S.

      • A Class Rebellion: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor on How Racism & Racial Terrorism Fueled Nationwide Anger

        In the largest nationwide uprising since the 1960s, protesters shut down cities across the United States over the weekend following the police killing of George Floyd, an African American man in Minneapolis. “These are not just repeats of past events,” says scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. “These are the consequences of the failures of this government and the political establishment … to resolve these crises.”

      • Racism and Racial Terrorism Has Fueled Nationwide Anger

        In the largest nationwide uprising since the 1960s, protesters shut down cities across the United States over the weekend following the police killing of George Floyd, an African American man in Minneapolis. “These are not just repeats of past events,” says scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. “These are the consequences of the failures of this government and the political establishment … to resolve these crises.”

      • Days of Rage in Milwaukee

        City rocked by weekend of protests and clashes.

      • Cops — Newly Wary Of Looking Like Authoritarian Assholes — Open Fire On, Arrest Journalists

        There was a window of opportunity for cops following the George Floyd killing. Floyd, suspected of nothing more than passing a fake $20 bill, was killed by Officer Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis PD. Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck until he was dead. This act lasted for nearly nine minutes — and for nearly three minutes after Chauvin checked for a pulse and found nothing. Yet he persisted, and none of the three cops around him stopped him.

      • George Floyd death: Liverpool players take knee in picture at Anfield

        Liverpool players took a knee around the centre circle at Anfield in a message of support following the death in police custody of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis.

        The picture featuring 29 Reds players came with the caption “Unity is strength. #BlackLivesMatter”.

        Players reportedly requested the picture during training on Monday.

        Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford added their voices to worldwide protests against racism.

      • Michigan Sheriff Took Off His Helmet and Marched With Protesters

        He said he made it a point to take off his helmet and that officers had put down their batons. “I want to make this a parade, not a protest,” he said.

        As the demonstrators applauded, he shook a protester’s hand and high-fived another. He then acknowledged the children in the crowd. Gesturing to the officers behind him, he asked the crowd what he and the other officers needed to do.

        The crowd chanted: “Walk with us. Walk with us. Walk with us.”

        And so he did.

      • #JusticeForUwa trends in Nigeria after student murdered in church

        On Twitter, many Nigerians expressed concern about the government’s failure to tackle gender-based violence, and questioned whether parents were bringing up boys properly.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • The Executive Order Targeting Social Media Gets the FTC, Its Job, and the Law Wrong

        This is one of a series of blog posts about President Trump’s May 28 Executive Order. Other posts are here, here, and here.The inaptly named Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship seeks to insert the federal government into private Internet speech in several ways. In particular, Sections 4 and 5 seek to address possible deceptive practices, but end up being unnecessary at best and legally untenable at worst.These provisions are motivated in part by concerns, which we share, that the dominant platforms do not adequately inform users about their standards for moderating content, and that their own free speech rhetoric often doesn’t match their practices. But the EO’s provisions either don’t help, or introduce new and even more dangerous problems.Section 4(c) says, “The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) shall consider taking action, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, pursuant to section 45 of title 15, United States Code. Such unfair or deceptive acts or practice may include practices by entities covered by Section 230 that restrict speech in ways that do not align with those entities’ public representations about those practices.”Well, sure. Platforms should be honest about their restriction practices, and held accountable when they lie about them. The thing is, the FTC already has the ability to “consider taking action” about deceptive commercial practices.But the real difficulty comes with the other parts of this section. Section 4(a) sets out the erroneous legal position that large online platforms are “public forums” that are legally barred from exercising viewpoint discrimination and have little ability to limit the categories of content that may be published on their sites. As we discuss in detail in our post dedicated to Section 230, every court that has considered this legal question has rejected it, including recent decisions by U.S. District Courts of Appeal for the Ninth and D.C. Circuits. And for good reason: treating social media companies like “public forums” gives users less ability to respond to misuse, not more.Instead, those courts have correctly adopted the rule on editorial freedom from the Supreme Court’s 1974 decision in Miami Herald Co. v Tornillo. In that case, the court rejected strikingly similar arguments—that the newspapers of the day were misusing their editorial authority to favor one side over the other in public debates and that government intervention was necessary to “insure fairness and accuracy and to provide for some accountability.” Sound familiar?The Supreme Court didn’t go for it: the “treatment of public issues and public officials—whether fair or unfair—constitute the exercise of editorial control and judgment. It has yet to be demonstrated how governmental regulation of this crucial process can be exercised consistent with First Amendment guarantees of a free press as they have evolved to this time.”The current Supreme Court agrees. Just last term, in Manhattan Community Access v Halleck, the Supreme Court affirmed that the act of serving as a platform for the speech of others did not eliminate that platform’s own First Amendment right to editorial freedom.But the EO doesn’t just get the law wrong—it wants the FTC to punish platforms that don’t adhere to the erroneous position that online platforms are “public forums” legally barred from editorial freedom. Section 4(d) commands the FTC to consider whether the dominant platforms are inherently engaging in unfair practices by not operating as public forums as set forth in Section 4(a). This means that a platform could be completely honest, transparent, and open about its content moderation practices but still face penalties because it did not act like a public forum. So, platforms have a choice—take their guidance from the Supreme Court or from the Trump administration.Additionally, Section 4(b) refers to the White House’s Tech Bias Reporting Tool launched last year to collect reports of political bias. The EO states that 16,000 reports were received and they will be forwarded to the FTC. We filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy for those complaints last year and wer told that that office had no records (https://www.eff.org/document/eff-fioa-request-tech-bias-story-sharing-tool).Section 5 commands the Attorney General to convene a group to look at existing state laws and propose model state legislation to address unfair and deceptive practices by online platforms. This group will be empowered to collect publicly available information about: how platforms track user interactions with other users; the use of “algorithms to suppress political alignment or viewpoint”; differential policies when applied to the Chinese government; reliance on third-party entities with “indicia of bias,” and viewpoint discrimination with respect to user monetization. To the extent that this means that decisions will be made based on actual data rather than anecdote and supposition, that is a good thing. But given this pretty one-sided list, there does seem to be a predetermined political decision the EO wants to reach, and the resulting proposals that come out of this may create yet another set of problems.All of this exacerbates a growing environment of legal confusion for technology and its users that bodes ill for online expression. Keep in mind that “entities covered by section 230” describes a huge population of online services that facilitate online user communication, from Wikimedia to the Internet Archive to the comments section of local newspapers. However you feel about Big Tech, rest assured that the EO’s effects will not be confined to the small group of companies that can afford to navigate these choppy waters.

      • Internet Users of All Kinds Should Be Concerned by a New Copyright Office Report

        Outside of the beltway, people all over the United States are taking to the streets to demand fundamental change. In the halls of Congress and the White House, however, many people seem to think the biggest thing that needs to be restructured is the Internet. Last week, the president issued an order taking on one legal foundation for online expression: Section 230. This week, the Senate is focusing on another: Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

        The stage for this week’s hearing was set by a massive report from the Copyright Office that’s been five years in the making. We read it, so you don’t have to.

      • Deepfake video of Elon Musk singing Soviet space song appears after successful ‘SpaceX’ launch

        With the successful launch of the Crew Dragon capsule, Elon Musk’s space travel company SpaceX sent its first astronauts to the International Space Station on May 30. To celebrate the occasion, Russian Internet users released a clever deepfake video of Musk singing “Grass at Home,” a famous song by the Soviet rock band “Zemlyane” (“Earthlings”). Russia’s state space corporation, Roscosmos, even named “Grass at Home” the official anthem of Russian cosmonauts in 2009. The deepfake of Musk singing is eerily convincing, especially given his recently developed habit of tweeting in Russian. Maybe someday we’ll get to hear him sing!

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • EPO: Plants and Plant Materials Not Patentable if Exclusively Obtained by Essentially Biological Process

          A recent opinion issued by the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) of the European Patent Office (EPO) has established that plants and plant materials are not patentable if they are exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process. This opinion is known as “Pepper” (G3/19).

          Pepper is the latest, and perhaps final, in the long line of legal events addressing this issue. We have previously reported on the ongoing saga in two alerts in December 2018 and March 2019, the latter of which outlined the background surrounding these issues.

          The opinion has no retroactive effect on European patents that were granted before 1 July 2017, or on pending European patent applications that were filed (or have a priority date) before that date.


          Considering the number of overlapping and conflicting plant-related decisions, the overall picture can be hard to see. The overall effects of the case law, up to and including Pepper, are collated below.


          This latest development should be taken into account for companies seeking to protect plant innovation in Europe. It is important to note that it is still possible to protect plants and plant products with a European patent if a new trait is introduced or modified by a technical step. However, it is no longer possible to protect plants and plant products if the new trait is exclusively the result of traditional crossing and selection without an additional step of a technical nature. (As noted above, Pepper does not have retroactive effect before 1 July 2017).

          Of course, many naturally occurring mutations could also be artificially induced, and many artificial mutations could have occurred naturally. The EPO’s current guidance is that protection can still be obtained if a disclaimer delimits the claimed subject matter to the technically produced product. As such, applicants should carefully consider whether their inventions are truly excluded.

        • Measures Being Taken by EPO, EUIPO, WIPO and UK IPO in Relation to COVID-19 Pandemic

          First, the EPO extended all “periods” expiring on or after 15 March 2020 until 2 June 2020 for all parties and their representatives, under the provisions of Rule 134(2) EPC, second sentence. In accordance with Article 150(2) EPC, this extension applied also for international applications under the PCT. The justification for the extension was that disruption in Germany, a country in which the EPO is located, constituted “general dislocation” as specified in Rule 134(2) EPC, second sentence. However, since the disruption in Germany has recently ceased (see here), it seems that the blanket extension of all deadlines under Rule 134(2) EPC, second sentence, will not be extended beyond 2 June 2020. Despite that, the EPO recognises that the pandemic remains an “exceptional occurrence”, such that retrospective extensions of missed deadlines may be available under the EPC (Rule 134(5) EPC) and PCT (Rule 82quater.1 PCT). Deadlines may also in principle be extended under Rule 134(2) EPC, first sentence, if a party or its representative is based in a country where disruption continues beyond 2 June 2020. However, in that instance, the extension would not be automatic and it would be necessary to convince the EPO that there was indeed disruption in the country in question.

        • SCT: Copyrighting Labels and scope of 271(g)

          Syngenta sued Willowood for both patent and copyright infringement associated with its generic fungicide compound. Willowood won at the district court, but that holding was overturned on appeal. Now Willowood is bringing it to the Supreme Court.

          The copyright claim: Syngenta product “labels” have many pages of small-type that were registered with the US Copyright office. Willowood apparently copied the labels for its competing generic product. Because the fungicides are dangerous chemicals, these labels are required in order to sell the product.

        • Software Patents

          • 2BCom patent challenged as likely invalid

            On May 29, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 7,127,210, owned by 2BCom, LLC, an NPE. The ’210 patent is generally directed to management of Bluetooth connections and is currently asserted against BMW, TP-Link, FCA, Amazon, and KIA Motors.

      • Trademarks

        • When the trademark was unregistered but whose goodwill was not unloved in a successful opposition

          The applicant, Golden Cala, a seller and distributor of contact lenses, applied to register the “LENS ME” mark in Singapore. Mr Florian Mack, the opponent, is the proprietor of the “LENS ME” mark, which it licensed to Sky Optical LLC, a company in which he was a director, chairman and general manager. Sky Optical distributed and sold contact lenses to customers worldwide through its online platform. Importantly, the opponent’s mark was not registered as a trade mark in Singapore.

          The opponent filed to oppose registration of the applicant’s mark, relying on two grounds under the Singapore Trade Marks Act–bad faith and passing off.

          The test for determining bad faith combines both a subjective element focusing on what the applicant knew, as well as an objective element, focusing on what ordinary persons, adopting proper standards, would think.The opponent’s allegation of bad faith was based on the claim that he was the first to come up with the idea of using “LENS ME” as a brand name, and that the applicant’s directors knew, or must have known, of the opponent’s mark and the commercial potential for an online shop for contact lenses under the mark.

      • Copyrights

        • Digital Culture – Wave 4 of 6 Report by Intellectual Property Office released

          The Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre have released a further report (Wave 4 of 6) into Digital Culture – Consumer Tracking Study which is analysing the behaviour of consumers during April and May 2020 to better understand the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The report for Wave 1 of 6, which includes the methodology, is available here (Wave 2 and Wave 3). The full report for Wave 4 of 6 is available here.

          With many people consuming more and more digital content, whether it be zoom calls, streaming the Tiger King (which had some IP issues) or The Last Dance (which mentions the Jordan trade mark), or listening to more podcasts, the UK IPO has conducted a study to review the way in which consumers are accessing online content during the current crises.


          Consuming content appears to be stable for the fourth week. TV had the highest median time for content consumption. The levels of downloading and streaming have decreased over the last two weeks for film, TV and music with music seeing a significant decline in both streaming and downloading. The level of downloading and accessing video games has been in decline each week. E-publishing remained stable. Over the past four weeks there has been a moderate increase in the number of physical products that have been purchased.

          In relation to the illegal or legal methods used by respondents to access content, for film and TV there has been a decline in the use of illegal methods for downloading and streaming. For accessing and downloading video games, the use of illegal methods has fallen. across e-publishing there was no significant change in total use of illegal methods for accessing or downloading. For other content categories (e.g. social media) there was a decline in the level of people watching live streams. The study also looked at Wellbeing and Lifestyle which shows that levels of anxiety continued to decrease and this must be considered to be a good sign.

        • 11th Annual Ethics in the Practice of IP Law Seminar

          UIC John Marshall’s Center for Intellectual Property, Information & Privacy Law will be offering its Annual Ethics in the Practice of IP Law Seminar — for the first time as an online webinar — on June 5, 2020 from noon to 3:45 pm (CDT). The program will cover a variety of topics on ethics and professionalism that are relevant to IP lawyers. Attendees will learn about the types of ethical issues that arise in daily practice, as well as fundamental principles, rules, and insights to help them handle these issues. This year’s program focuses on patent law issues and features two mental health presentations.

        • Rights Alliance Reinforces Pirate Site Blocking Agreement With Danish ISPs

          Anti-piracy group Rights Alliance has agreed on a new version of its Code of Conduct, where local Internet providers agree to voluntarily block pirate sites. ISPs will take this action if there’s a valid court order against a competing ISP. The new agreement makes it easier for Rights Alliance to expand site blocking without court approval. For example, when new proxy sites appear.

        • Publishers Sue the Internet Archive Over its Open Library, Declare it a Pirate Site

          Several major publishers have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in a New York court targeting the Internet Archive’s Open Library. According to the complaint, the project is a massive and willful infringement project that amounts to little more than a regular pirate site.

        • Leveraging OER for COVID-19 Response Efforts and Long-Term International Partnerships

          Currently, we face both a swell of support for open educational resources (OER) and devastating upheaval of our traditional education systems. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 1.5 billion youth are out of school, countless teachers and parents are pivoting to online teaching and education systems face immense financial strain. While OER is not a magic cure for the current education crisis, there are opportunities to work with open education efforts to build greater resiliency within our learning ecosystems and also support cross-national partnerships. 

        • In The Midst Of A Pandemic And Widespread Unrest, Senate Republicans Think It’s Time To Use Copyright To Make The Richest Musicians Richer

          There’s kind of a lot going on in America right now — what with widespread protests about police violence (leading to more police violence), and we’re still in the middle of the largest pandemic in a century. You’d think some of those things would be priorities for Congress, but instead, Senate Republicans have decided that now is the time to pushing ahead with helping Hollywood by examining how to make copyright worse. Even the Washington Post is completely perplexed as to how this could possibly be a priority right now.

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