Legal Action at the European Patent Office (EPO) Leveraged Against Management… for Robbing EPO Staff and Robbing Europe, by Extension

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

La cara del dinero y su valor

Summary: The EPO is being looted for its value; the staff is rightly concerned and there’s legal action on the way, filed reluctantly as there’s clearly no other option (a last resort/necessary recourse)

OVER the past few weeks we unveiled a number of recent EPO scandals. Internal documents revealed what had happened, including layoff plans, illegal practices and so on.

This is no laughing matter! People’s lives are being utterly ruined (they tell us so) — all this while Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos basically loot the institution without any fear/care! Heck, Campinos only joined this institution less than 2.5 years ago (2.5 years ago he was still at EUIPO). Some people have worked at the EPO for nearly 50 years! 20 times longer than Campinos…

Cherry appleThose who ruined and still ruin the EPO (on multiple levels, both for stakeholders and workers) are going to face the wrath of high-level legal challenges. We showed hints of that a couple of days ago, as it has been made explicit in a letter that preparations were being made. Then there’s this four-page document from last month. It’s about the ‘trickle-up’ effect at the Office, basically passage of wealth from the bottom to the top. The document’s publication wouldn’t be complete without graphics, so instead of HTML we’ll present it as follows:

EPO looting P1

EPO looting P2

EPO looting P3

EPO looting P4

The Central Staff Committee concludes by saying that “it is therefore with regret that to defend our rights, even in this clear-cut case, we are forced again to resort to a lengthy legal dispute. It is not our intention, and we are simply asking the administration to adopt a fair and reasonable distribution method.”

“They’ve given Campinos ample time and even a public health crisis to exploit; and now the assault of staff is standing at/reaching unprecedented levels, with practically no consideration given to anything staff has to say.”The only thing that surprises us is that it took more than a couple of years to do so. They’ve given Campinos ample time and even a public health crisis to exploit; and now the assault of staff is standing at/reaching unprecedented levels, with practically no consideration given to anything staff has to say. In fact, without physical meetings (because “pandemic!”) there’s just about nothing to be done to resist it, e.g. protests and strikes. People are isolated in their homes, helpless and divided for the most part.

Here’s what the representatives told staff besieged by the management:

On the 6th October 2020, the GCC-SSPR sub-committee met to discuss the proposal of the administration for cash injections into the RFPSS and the Salary Savings Plan (SSP). Once again, Staff representation objected to the proposed distribution of the amounts into individual SSP accounts on the grounds that it heavily favours those in the higher grades and provides disproportionately large sums when compared to those in the lower grades.

The full publication on this topic, which can be found here, provides a more detailed overview of the issue with the cash injections into the SSP. In addition, for those less familiar with the acronyms used, a list including brief descriptions can be found on the last page of the publication.

We assume that readers of ours who aren’t working for the EPO might find the pertinent details a tad dull and the acronyms difficult to keep abreast of; but the short story is, funds are being grossly mis-allocated, not just for gambling. Shockingly, the EU’s officials seem to have no problem with that because at least some of them are part of the collusion/cover-up (Mr. Breton for sure).

Cory Doctorow at Privacy Week 2020 on DRM, Freedom/Software Freedom, Regulation, Etc.

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Videos at 1:51 pm by Guest Editorial Team

“This presentation warrants increased attention,” a contributor said, “because he summarizes the issues so clearly in today’s context.”

Summary: “We Used To Have Cake, Now We’ve Barely Got Icing” by Cory Doctorow.

Back then, free software was icing on the cake. Then they stole the cake and left us hoping for a little icing every now and then. Now, software has eaten the world and shit out a dystopia.

When free software licensing was born, software copyrights were essentially nonexistent, software patents didn’t exist at all, terms of service weren’t enforceable and there was no anticircumvention law. In other words, you were legally permitted to clone or interoperate with any digital product. Today, we think of free software as a way for a company to say, “We probably won’t sue you if you write code that can interoperate with ours” – but when free software started, it was more like, “I know I’ve got the absolute legal right to reverse engineer all your code and make a competing product, but that’s such tedious work. Please, make it easy for me by giving me your sourcecode.” Back then, free software was icing on the cake. Then they stole the cake and left us hoping for a little icing every now and then.

This makes a huge difference because software has eaten the world and shit out a dystopia: a place where Abbot Labs uses copyright claims to stop people with diabetes from taking control over their insulin dispensing and where BMW is providing seat-heaters as an-over-the-air upgrade that you have to pay for by the month. Companies have tried this bullshit since the year dot, but Thomas Edison couldn’t send a patent enforcer to your house to make sure you honored the license agreement on your cylinder by only playing it on an Edison phonograph. Today, digital systems offer perfect enforcement for the pettiest, most bullshitty, greediest grifts imaginable.

Links 22/11/2020: KaOS 2020.11, Calindori 1.3, KStars 3.5.0

Posted in News Roundup at 12:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux Weekly Roundup: Firefox 83, Kali Linux 2020.4, Opera with Music Player

      Here’s this week’s roundup series, curated for you from the Linux and open-source world on application updates, new releases, distribution updates, major news, and upcoming highlights.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • TUXEDO announce the InfinityBook S 14 with Intel Tiger Lake and Intel Xe

        Linux hardware vendor TUXEDO are jumping in with Intel with a brand new lightweight laptop the InfinityBook S 14.

        Their latest in a long line of Linux hardware, the sixth generation InfinityBook S 14 builds directly on the “great success” they saw with the previous iteration of the model. Coming with the Tiger Lake, the TUXEDO InfinityBook s 14 comes with the Intel Core i7-1165G7 giving you four cores and eight threads backed up by Intel’s new Xe graphics platform, which should give you good performance and reasonably low power consumption. TUXEDO claim “up to” 41% better performance than the previous InfinityBook model.


        It comes as standard with TUXEDO_OS 20.04 LTS 64Bit, which is their own branded version of Ubuntu with a few tweaks for their hardware. You can swap that for standard Ubuntu 20.04 and openSUSE 15.2 too if you prefer. Additionally, they say you can disable the Intel Management Engine (IntelME), Webcam, Microphone, WLAN and Bluetooth if you need to at the BIOS level for extra security.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMDGPU Linux Driver Seeing A Lot Of Power Saving Optimization Work

          In addition to squaring away the Radeon RX 6000 series RDNA 2 support and promoting the Arcturus support for the new GPU found within the AMD MI100 accelerator, this month AMD open-source Linux driver developers have been devoting a fair amount of work towards power optimizations.

          With the many different DC display core patch series this month and other patches floating around, there has been seemingly a lot of work on optimizing the graphics power usage. And in particular a lot of work on the optimizations from the DCN3 (Display Core Next 3) perspective with Van Gogh in particular being a focus.

    • Applications

      • 16 Best Free and Open Source Image Viewers

        One of our favorite adages is “A picture is worth a thousand words”. It refers to the notion that a still image can convey a complex idea. Images can portray a lot of information quickly and more efficiently than text. They capture memories, and never let you forget something you want to remember, and refresh it in your memory.

        Images are part of every day internet usage, and are particularly important for social media engagement. A good image viewer is an essential part of any operating system.

        Linux offers a vast collection of open source small utilities that perform functions ranging from the obvious to the bizarre. It is the quality and selection of these tools that help Linux stand out as a productive environment. This is particularly true when it comes to image viewers. There are so many image viewers that are available for Linux that it can make selection difficult.

        From our detailed investigations, we strongly recommend feh if you’re looking for a command-line based viewer. If you insist on a graphical user interface, plump for gThumb, Regards, and/or QuickViewer. There’s other good free and open source image viewers which we’ve also compared.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 10.2 M1 Brings Improvements For Apple Silicon M1, Altra + More – Phoronix

        Out this weekend is Phoronix Test Suite 10.2-Harstad Milestone 1 as the first development snapshot of this next quarterly feature update to our cross-platform, open-source benchmarking software.

        Over this quarter’s Phoronix Test Suite 10.0 release there is a lot of work on the Phoronix Device Interface “Phodevi” as the software/hardware abstraction layer, various system logging improvements, improved user experience on the OpenBenchmarking.org auto comparison functionality, and other low-level changes.

      • RSS Guard 3.8.2 – Neowin

        RSS Guard is a simple (yet powerful) feed reader. It is able to fetch the most known feed formats, including RSS/RDF and ATOM. It’s free, it’s open-source. RSS Guard currently supports Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian. RSS Guard will never depend on other services – this includes online news aggregators like Feedly, The Old Reader and others.

      • How to Setup Prometheus, Grafana and Loki on NixOS

        When setting up services on your home network, sometimes you have questions along the lines of “how do I know that things are working?”. In this blogpost we will go over a few tools that you can use to monitor and visualize your machine state so you can answer that. Specifically we are going to use the following tools to do this:

        Grafana for creating pretty graphs and managing alerts
        Prometheus for storing metrics and as a common metrics format
        Prometheus node_exporter for deriving metrics from system state
        Loki as a central log storage point
        promtail to push logs to Loki

        Let’s get going!

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to install GNU Cash on Linux

        Are you looking for a free, open-source alternative to Quicken or other proprietary finance apps to use on your Linux PC? Try out GNU Cash. It’s a free, easy to use money management tool that will allow you to track your finances, loan payments, and more. Here’s how to install it on Linux.

      • How to Install Flask on Ubuntu 20.04 | Linuxize

        Flask is a free and open-source micro web framework for Python designed to help developers build secure, scalable, and maintainable web applications. Flask is based on Werkzeug and uses Jinja2 as a template engine.

        Unlike Django , by default Flask doesn’t include ORM, form validation, or any other functionalities provided by third-party libraries. Flask is built with extensions in mind, which are Python packages that add functionality to a Flask application.

        There are different methods to install Flask on Ubuntu.

        Flask packages are included in the official Ubuntu repositories and can be installed using the apt package manager. This is the simplest way to install Flask on Ubuntu 20.04, but not as flexible as installing in a virtual environment. Also, the version included in the repositories may lag behind the latest version of Flask.

      • Acer Aspire Switch 10 E SW3-016′s and SW5-012′s and S1002′s horrible EFI firmware

        Recently I acquired an Acer Aspire Switch 10 E SW3-016, this device was the main reason for writing my blog post about the shim boot loop. The EFI firmware of this is bad in a number of ways…

      • Install Akaunting Self-Hosted Accounting Software on Ubuntu 20.04

        This tutorial will be showing you how to install Akaunting on Ubuntu 20.04 with Apache or Nginx web server. Akaunting is a free, open-source self-hostable accounting software. You can use it for tracking personal finance or small business accounting.

      • Jenkins Server on Linux: A Free and Open-source Automation Server

        Jenkins is not a regular server like Apache or Nginx; it’s a free and open-source server for the developers, programmers, coders, and checkers. Those who are familiar with the concept of GitHub might know the Jenkins server. Jenkins server is a continuous integration server that can help developers build, compile, test, and store codes on the repository. Linux users can decentralize their own codes, among others, through the Jenkins server. The Jenkins server can notify the developer when it finds any error inside the code.

        In the past, developers had to store the code at the code repository, where remotely located developers had to store, marge, and evaluate the codes. This lengthy process might cause a delay in progress. It could also make new bugs. Earlier, developers had to wait for a long time to start a new project until the previous test result came out. Now they can immediately begin another project after one task is done. Installing Jenkins server On Linux can save much time effort of the developers.

      • How to install FileZilla Server on Ubuntu 20.04/18.04 Linux – Linux Shout

        FileZilla Server is the open-source application available to create an FTP server on a local or server machine for downloading and uploading files remotely over a network but in a secure way. Although the client version is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, the server one is just limited to Windows. However, we still can install it on Linux just like we do on Windows, however, slightly more work needs to be done for the Linux systems as compared to Windows.

      • Awk Tutorial: Variables, Conditionals and Syntax – YouTube

        Today we’ll be covering chapter 1 of our awk programming tutorial series, the main topics for today will be how to use the awk interpreter in the first place, the syntax structure, conditionals and variables. All of which are fundamental to working with the awk language.

      • How to Parse the Tab-Delimited File Using `awk` – Linux Hint

        `tab` is used as a separator In the tab-delimited file. This type of text file is created to store various types of text data in a structured format. Different types of command exist in Linux to parse this type of file. `awk` command is one of the ways to parse the tab-delimited file in different ways. The uses of the `awk` command to read the tab-delimited file has shown in this tutorial.

      • The 10 Important Linux Jargon Busters | FOSS Linux

        What better way to filter through the Linux World than through a Linux jargon buster? The Linux system has, for some time, been the UFO of the Operating Systems universe. Not long ago, the public pronunciation of the word Linux would have mirrored concerning glares from OS users who were yet to understand it. However, as with all the UFO protocols, the most daring step is making the first contact.

        The first contact between the curious OS users and the Linux system turned out to be a blessing in disguise or, as the cool kids say, a match made in heaven. It was a perfect friendship. However, for a friendship to last, there must be a means of communication. The SI unit of communication is language. The language of communication between Linux and most of its curious supporters was not blissful initially and turned out to be jargon. However, it never implied that Linux is unteachable.

        To navigate the Linux world comfortably, you only need to master and understand a few key terms. Afterward, you will be ready to certify yourself out of the Linux beginner’s class. This article has the Linux jargon busters as the main guests. Let us give this Linux jargon the stage to introduce themselves before the jargon busters take center stage. We should understand this sort-after Linux jargon in a way that relates to their contribution to the Linux OS.

      • installing fun stuff for the terminal on ArcoLinux
      • How To Install Bitcoin Core Wallet on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install the Bitcoin Core Wallet on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Bitcoin Core is programmed to decide which block chain contains valid transactions. The users of Bitcoin Core only accept transactions for that blockchain, making it the Bitcoin block chain that everyone else wants to use. It is these users who keep Bitcoin decentralized. They individually run their own Bitcoin Core full nodes, and each of those full nodes separately follows the exact same rules to decide which blockchain is valid.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of Bitcoin Core Wallet on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How to compare video files on Linux with Identity

        Identity is an exciting program for Linux that allows Linux users to take two video clips and compare and contrast them. If you’re a video editor that uses Linux, this could be a useful program. Here’s how to use it.


        Identity is a handy tool, but it does not come pre-installed on any Linux operating systems (that we know of). For this reason, we must demonstrate how to set up the Identity app on Linux before continuing with this guide.

        There are three ways to get the Identity app set up on your computer. The first (and arguably best) way is Flatpak. However, if you do not like the Flatpak app store, you can install it through the Arch Linux AUR or even the source code.

        To start the installation of Identity on your Linux PC, launch a terminal window on the desktop. Once the terminal window is open and ready to use, follow along with the installation instructions outlined below that corresponds with the instructions, you prefer.

      • Install Kubernetes Cluster with Ansible | Lisenet.com :: Linux | Security | Networking

        We are going to install a Kubernetes control plane with two worker nodes using Ansible.

        Note that installation of Ansible control node is not covered in this article.

      • How to Install Fedora 33 on Raspberry Pi 4 – Linux Hint

        Fedora has official support for ARM devices like the Raspberry Pi 4. So, you can easily install Fedora 33 – the latest release of Fedora Linux distribution on your Raspberry Pi 4. In this article, how to install Fedora Workstation 33 on the Raspberry Pi 4 is explained.

      • How to Enable KVM Virtualization on Raspberry Pi 4 – Linux Hint

        The full form of KVM is Kernel Virtual Machine. It is the virtualization solution for Linux. KVM is a Linux kernel module that allows the Linux kernel to act as a hypervisor program like VMware ESXi or VSphere.

        Up until now, you could not run KVM virtualization on Raspberry Pi devices. One of the main reasons for this was that the Raspberry Pi 3 and older versions have only 1 GB of memory. 1 GB of memory is insufficient for KVM virtualization. Docker is a better solution for these devices.

        The recently released Raspberry Pi 4 8 GB model made KVM virtualization possible on the Raspberry Pi. Linux distributions like Fedora, Manjaro, etc., made KVM virtualization easy for the Raspberry Pi 4 by precompiling the KVM Linux kernel module. Our all favorite Raspberry Pi OS may follow this path someday as well.

        In this article, I am going to show you how to install KVM on Raspberry Pi 4 and create a KVM virtual machine on the Raspberry Pi 4. So, let’s get started.

      • How to Replace Everything after Pattern using `sed` Command – Linux Hint

        Replacement tasks can be done in Linux in different ways. `sed` command is one of the ways to do replacement task. This command can be used to replace text in a string or a file by using a different pattern. How you can replace everything after the matching pattern using the `sed` command is shown in this tutorial.

      • How to Insert a Line after the Match using `sed`? – Linux Hint

        Sed is a command in Linux that can perform various tasks such as insert, update, and delete a particular text or line based on the match. Inserting a text in a string or a file in different ways is done using the “sed” command. This article will show you how.

      • How to Install Graylog with Elasticsearch on CentOS 8

        This guide takes you through the installation of Graylog with Elasticsearch 7.x on CentOS 8. Graylog is an opensource log management solution that was founded in 2009 for capturing and centralizing real-time logs from various devices in a network. It’s a perfect tool for analyzing crucial logs such as SSH logins, breaches or any fishy or unusual incidents which may point to a system breach. With real-time logging capability, it comes across as perfect cybersecurity tool that operation teams can use to mitigate small issues before they snowball into huge threats.

      • LibreOffice Shortcut Keys Made Easy

        Here’s a colorful poster to learn LibreOffice quicker and easier for everyone. This is a table of selected shortcut keys of four office suite programs namely Writer, Calc, Impress, and Draw. Actually I made this for my computer course in Indonesia but I believe it’s also good to share here. You can share this table, print it, place it on your favorite places, and practice a lot. Happy learning!

      • How to Save the Command Output to a File in Linux Terminal

        When you run a command or script in the Linux terminal, it prints the output on the screen for your immediate viewing.

        There will be times when you need to save the output to a file for future references. Now, you can surely copy and paste in Linux terminal but there are better ways to save the output of a shell script or command in Linux command line. Let me show them to you.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 5.22 Released, How to Install it in Ubuntu 20.10, 20.04

        The new wine development version 5.22 was released a day ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10.


        There are also various bug-fixes to programs including Rome Total War, Cobra 11 Nitro, Rainbow Six, Age Of Empires III, Call of Duty, WinRar, Black Ops 4, and more.

    • Games

      • A Monster’s Expedition, one of 2020′s best puzzle games is now on Linux | GamingOnLinux

        After an initial release in early September, Draknek & Friends have now put up a Linux build of their absolutely gorgeous puzzle game A Monster’s Expedition. Created by some of the same talent behind other great games like A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build, which our contributor flesk called a “must-have” in a previous review.

        It’s an open-world styled puzzle game where you walk around little islands, pushing around trees to create paths between them and learn about the history of “humanity”. Seems this is set in the far future, as the idea is you’re learning about “the mythical humans from the perspective of curious monsters”.

      • Want a great virtual tabletop for RPGs? Check out Foundry VTT | GamingOnLinux

        After we pointed out Fantasy Grounds Unity adding Linux support a while ago, some readers pointed out another virtual tabletop experience for fans of making and playing tabletop RPGs with Foundry VTT.

        Foundry VTT (Foundry Virtual Tabletop), is a self-hosted solution making it quite brilliant actually. Only the “game master” needs to buy it, and they then host it for players to be able to join. There’s no special tiers or editions, just one single purchase to gain access to the entire setup. Buy it, set it up and get users to join in the browser – it couldn’t get easier. It has wide support for various features like character sheets, rolling dice, exploring battlemaps, moving heroic tokens and the list just goes on to include rich dynamic lighting, fog of war, audio playlists, video chat using webcams and so on. It really is huge.

      • Valve expand Steam Input to support more of the PS5 DualSense Controller | GamingOnLinux

        As for how it works on Linux, you’re going to need some updated udev rules to work fully. Valve contractor Timothee Besset mentioned on Twitter they’ve put out an update to the Steam Installer, and you can also find the full udev rules on Valve’s steam-devices GitHub.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Calindori 1.3 has been released

          Calindori 1.3, the calendar application for mobile and convergent desktop, is now available. In this release, user interface refinements, fixes and under-the-hood changes can be found.

          First, Calindori now makes use of the Solid wake-up features, when running on Plasma 5.20 or later. In specific, since version 5.20, Plasma has been offering a way that enables applications to inform Power Devil to wake them up at a time specified in the future. When this feature is used, applications facilitate the system to save power, by letting the system to be kept in deep sleep.

        • KStars v3.5.0 is Released

          Glad to announce the release of KStars v3.5.0 for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. This release marks a significant milestone for KStars with the integration of StellarSolver, the Cross Platform Sextractor and Astrometry.net-Based Internal Astrometric Solver.

          Check out the Change log for more details.

        • This week in KDE: Apps and Wayland fixes

          First of all, those of you who were upset by the change to move Dolphin’s Breadcrumbs bar/URL navigator into the toolbar should be happy to hear that we’ve made it optional–you can remove it from the toolbar and it will return to its former location. Furthermore, the change will only take effect for new installs and user accounts, not for existing users who have already customized Dolphin. Hopefully this should resolve all the complaints people had with it!

        • KDE Has Another Week Worth Of Wayland Fixes

          Ahead of the holidays the KDE development work is as busy as ever from Plasma 5.21 to its large desktop application set.

          KDE Wayland fixing remains one of the key areas of interest by developers as we prepare for 2021. Some of the KDE Wayland fixes this past week include:

          - Spectacle’s rectangular region mode now works on the KDE Plasma Wayland session and also corrects taking screenshots on HiDPI systems at the correct resolution.

        • Introducing KOpeningHours

          While working on the train station maps for KDE Itinerary I came across OSM’s opening_hours tags on restaurants/shops/amenities/etc. Those contain a description for which time intervals a given thing is available/open, in a machine-readable format. Being able to evaluate this would be nice, as KDE Itinerary knows the time you are going to be at a train station, so we can make the map more useful by focusing on elements that are actually available while you are there.

          OSM’s format is extensively documented, and also used by other systems that we use already (such as OpenTripPlanner) or that might become relevant for us in the future (such as ParkAPI). Another place where we encounter a similar (but simpler) format is schema.org annotations in websites that Plasma Browser Integration evaluates.

          So, obviously we need this in a library we can use in all those cases.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Customize GNOME in Ubuntu 20.04 with this Productive Look

          In one of the early guides, I explained the overall look and feel of the GNOME desktop. How you can visually change the look from a mundane desktop to something nice and better. This guide explains some steps which give you an idea of how you can Customize GNOME in Ubuntu 20.04 with a productive look.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • EasyOS 2.5 Linux Distro Released With A New Game, Bluetooth Manager

          After the release of EasyOS 2.4 months ago, its creator Barry Kauler has now announced a new point version 2.5 of the current EasyOS 2.0 “buster” series.

          As the latest EasyOS 2.5 is built on top of the Debian GNU/Linux 10.6, it includes the long-term Linux kernel 5.4.78 and other updated Debian packages like SeaMonkey 2.53.5.

        • KaOS 2020.11

          It is with great pleasure to present to you the November release of a new stable ISO.

          Big change for this release is a new GCC 10.2.0, Glibc 2.32 & Binutils 2.35.1 Toolchain. A big part of the distribution was rebuild on this new Toolchain, including an updated to 2.66 Glib2 stack. Mesa moved to the 20.2 series and for the kernel, it was possible again to update (moved to 5.8.18), due to the creation of some custom AUFS patches. The upstream AUFS maintainer has not resumed development yet….

        • KaOS Linux’s November 2020 ISO Adds KDE Plasma 5.20 with Plasma System Monitor

          The November 2020 ISO image is here two months after the September 2020 update to offer those who want to install KaOS Linux on their personal computer a fresh installation image containing all the latest software and security updates.

          As you know, KaOS Linux is a KDE-oriented distribution, so with this new ISO image you’re getting the most recent version of the Plasma desktop environment. Included in this update, you’ll find KDE Plasma 5.20.3, KDE Applications 20.08.3, and KDE Frameworks 5.76.0, all built against Qt 5.15.1.

      • Debian Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Open source brings musicians together virtually

        When the COVID-19 pandemic began canceling live music events in spring 2020, it wasn’t just the big arena shows, music festivals, and small, local venues that suffered—the big annual marching band competition leagues, like Drum Corps International (DCI) and WGI World Championships, were also called off. This was a huge disappointment for the thousands of musicians and band directors who were already preparing for the spring and summer competition season. But the members of the Drumcorps subreddit saw it as an opportunity to take drum corps virtual.

        The Open Source Drum and Bugle Corps (OSDBC) is one such organization bringing open source to drum corps. The group was founded on the principles of openness, inclusiveness, and collaboration. And, like most things in open source, OSDBC was created to solve a problem.

      • 10 open-source videoconferencing tools for business
      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Four key takeaways to CPRA, California’s latest privacy law – Open Policy & Advocacy

            California is on the move again in the consumer privacy rights space. On Election Day 2020 California voters approved Proposition 24 the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA). CPRA – commonly called CCPA 2.0 – builds upon the less than two year old California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) continuing the momentum to put more control over personal data in people’s hands, additional compliance obligations for businesses and creating a new California Protection Agency for regulation and enforcement

            With federal privacy legislation efforts stagnating during the last years, California continues to set the tone and expectations that lead privacy efforts in the US. Mozilla continues to support data privacy laws that empower people, including the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act, (CCPA) and now the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA). And while CPRA is far from perfect it does expand privacy protections in some important ways.

            Here’s what you need to know. CPRA includes requirements we foresee as truly beneficial for consumers such as additional rights to control their information, including sensitive personal information, data deletion, correcting inaccurate information, and putting resources in a centralized authority to ensure there is real enforcement of violations.

          • From Trac into Gitlab for Tor
      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • UNESCO and partners publish 130 open source children’s books in Uzbek

            In the framework of the Translate a Story campaign, UNESCO, in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Education of Uzbekistan and the Norwegian agency for development (Norad), translated 130 children books into Uzbek. The books are openly available to use by schools and families in Uzbekistan. To celebrate the first success of this campaign, an online launch event will be organized next week with representatives from the Ministry, Norad, and UNESCO to introduce this new collection of Uzbek reading materials to teachers and learners in Uzbekistan.

      • Programming/Development

        • The 10 Best Rust Programming Books: Experts’ Recommendation

          Rust is a language that engages everybody to construct dependable and productive software. Rust is an open-source framework programming language. What Rust centers around is mobility and speed, memory security, and parallelism. A wide scope of new programming applications is being created by designers using Rust, such as game motors, program parts document frameworks, and reproduction motors for augmented reality. Therefore, to learn Rust programming with proper guidance, an exemplary set of Rust programming books is very important.


          ‘Beginning Rust’ is a Rust programming book for the very beginners. Rust is a language for developers who are working with new applications, software, and virtual reality. This book would be a great option for those at their very early stage with learning rust programming. This book has been designed in such a way that any beginner will find the proper guidance accordingly.

          This book has a total of 23 chapters covering the topics from beginning to intermediary level. Some of the topics are, Doing the arithmetic, Naming object, Controlling executing flow, Defining functions, Data Implementation, etc. If a reader can follow the book accordingly, they will be able to start their work with rust programming very easily.

        • Giovanni Mascellani: Having fun with signal handlers

          As every C and C++ programmer knows far too well, if you dereference a pointer that points outside of the space mapped on your process’ memory, you get a segmentation fault and your programs crashes. As far as the language itself is concerned, you don’t have a second chance and you cannot know in advance whether that dereferencing operation is going to set a bomb off or not. In technical terms, you are invoking undefined behaviour, and you should never do that: you are responsible for knowing in advance if your pointers are valid, and if they are not you keep the pieces.

          However, turns out that most actual operating system give you a second chance, although with a lot of fine print attached. So I tried to implement a function that tries to dereference a pointer: if it can, it gives you the value; if it can’t, it tells you it couldn’t. Again, I stress this should never happen in a real program, except possibly for debugging (or for having fun).

        • Nibble Stew: Adding (very) preliminary support for C++ modules in Meson

          One of the most common questions people ask about Meson is why does it not yet have support for building C++ modules. Up until now the answer has been simple: no compiler really supports it yet. However Visual Studio has added sufficient functionality in their latest 2019 developer preview that an implementation in Meson has become feasible. The actual code can be found in this merge request for those brave enough to try it out.

          The basic problem with C++ modules is the same as with Fortran modules: you can no longer build source files in an arbitrary order. Instead you have to scan the contents of files, see what modules each source file generates and consumes and orchestrate the build so that all source files that produce modules are built before any source files that consume them. This requires dynamic dependency generation that has been added to Ninja only fairly recently.

        • How to Parse XML in C++ – Linux Hint

          In this article, we are going to discuss how to parse XML in C++ programming language. We will see several working examples to understand the XML parsing mechanism in C++.

        • Clang LTO Support For The Linux Kernel Spun Up A Seventh Time – Phoronix

          Google engineers have sent out their latest patches for allowing the mainline Linux kernel to be built with LLVM Clang link-time optimizations (LTO) for greater performance and possibly size benefits.

          Google’s team has done a good job not only working on the mainline Clang support for the Linux kernel across the likes of AArch64 and x86_64, but also with other related features of interest to them like the Clang LTO abilities to which internally they already leverage extensively. This upstreaming work has been ongoing for many months.

        • Intel C for Metal Compiler 1.0.20 Released – Phoronix

          Within Intel’s vast open-source software ecosystem and much of the attention being on oneAPI as their preferred programming model for developers these days and there being multiple different open-source Intel graphics compiler back-ends, one that is often forgotten about is the Intel C for Metal Compiler that on Friday saw a new release.

          The Intel C for Metal Compiler “cm-compiler” is for their C language dialect as a GPU kernel programming language for Intel graphics processors. C for Metal is their optimized GPU programming language on Windows and Linux. While it is promoted as a “general” GPU programming language, most notably it is used by Intel for their Media Codec SDK and other media processing. In fact, outside of their media stack it’s difficult recalling the last time I heard it brought up. Those wanting to learn more about Intel’s C for Metal language can find examples and more documentations via 01.org. There is also an overview from earlier this year at software.intel.com.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Changing the Internet

        But now we’re getting very close, I think, to what really defines the Internet: the fact that I can pick and choose from all that work that was done in the last fifty years, make use of all that experience, and pick those bits and pieces that I need to get the job done. Compatibility is at the heart of this. The Internet is a space where you can try things your way and I can try things mine. And when one way works or adapts better than the other, we keep that one and drop the other.

        What you end up with is a very open and, as Vint put it, open-ended framework that forms the basis for our designs and engineering. It’s a framework that allows us to keep innovating and finding new and better ways to get the job done. Without asking for permission or waiting for a committee to vote on a particular top-to-bottom design. That openness, the liberal approach of being open to new ways, the idea that this is driven from the bottom, putting the user – hint: that’s you and me, as well – first.

        While these principles are clear from a technical perspective, it’s the way that they have been embedded in the governance model that, for me, makes the Internet what it is and what it should be – which brings me to my main topic. Because these days, we see some of these principles being challenged in a variety of ways and venues.

  • Leftovers

    • Aspects the Usurious Heartbeat of Corporatist Darkness Much as Pleasure Dome Perverse

      Welcome to the pleasure dome perverse, wherein ‘surplus population’ bubbling under thin end of the wedge crafted stirring as spinning; same  thin end as much as ‘Biodiversity’ being as to dirge of  ‘going, going …gone’  to  highest bidder, such the fall of the hammer resounding; such the highest bidder as one determined Corporatist Stateless Bastard primus inter pares as much the reduction absurd of ‘Humanity’ to point of alienation and marginalization reflected: much as everything to be reduced as sacrificed to the Moloch God as ‘far lesser’ whom demands the culling of mere Untermenschen such the abrogation to attain apotheosis in Ecocide/Apolcalypse Now?

      ‘Want it all and fucking want it now!’ as the cacophonous litany of woe so it goes…

    • Why Artsakh Still Matters to American Anarchism

      The Nagorno-Karabakh region had already been affectively ethnically cleansed. It’s ethnic Armenian population cut in two with 90,000 of their 150,000 citizens in exile as refugees back in mainland Armenia. Shushi, the region’s second largest city, had just been captured and a Second Armenian Genocide seemed terrifyingly imminent. What’s more, a major player in this bloody conflict was oddly absent from the deal. The Armenian Government was poorly represented along with the Russians who had failed miserably to defend their allies. The viciously racist regime of Azerbaijan was there with their neo-Ottoman Turkish puppet masters. But what of the Republic of Artsakh? The autonomous nation they were supposedly fighting over. They were nowhere to be found. Apparently their opinion on their own fate was irrelevant to the masters of the universe, even though it was their republic being ransacked and sold off to foreign “peacekeepers.”

      Most Americans had never heard the words Nagorno-Karabakh before late September. Even fewer have heard of it’s proper name, Artsakh. But the mountainous dark garden, as it’s Russo-Azeri name alludes to, is an ethnic Armenian exclave which has struggled gallantly to maintain their autonomy from the Ottomans and their Turkic ancestors for centuries. Like many nations in the volatile Southern Caucuses, Artsakh is a mountain stronghold that breeds warriors. It had been its own autonomous republic within the Azerbaijani autonomous republic in the Soviet Union, but had been divided from the nearby Armenian autonomous republic by none other than Joseph Stalin in the 1920’s in what was rumored to be a strange attempt to curry favor with the recently de-Ottoman-ized Turkish Republic, who had just murdered 1.5 million ethnic Armenians less than a decade earlier. This cruel gift clearly failed to impress, as by the early 1960’s Turkey was fully in league with NATO and helping America to spark the Cuban Missile Crisis by letting them park their nuclear-tipped Jupiter Missiles in their territory and aimed at Ivan’s head. This cat and mouse game between the Russians, the Turks, and the Americans would come to define both Armenia and Artsakh’s fate.

    • Chummy in the Park
    • Good Trouble
    • Gravitational Rebrands as Teleport

      Today we are officially announcing that Gravitational is becoming Teleport. As part of the transition, we are launching a new website and moving from gravitational.com to https://goteleport.com. But that’s not the most important part.

      A much more interesting side of the story is why we are doing this and the new product announcements and the direction we are taking. This is an interesting journey and as we enter this new chapter, it is important to better understand these decisions.

    • U.K. Picks Ex-Reuters COO to Lead OneWeb as it Exits Bankruptcy

      OneWeb emerged from bankruptcy under new management after the British government completed its acquisition of the troubled satellite operator, signaling a more interventionist industrial strategy after Brexit.

      The $1 billion deal concluded after clearing regulatory hurdles, the company said in a statement. The conclusion of the transaction was reported earlier by Bloomberg. Former Thomson Reuters Corp. Chief Operating Officer Neil T Masterson will be Chief Executive Officer, and OneWeb set a target date to resume launches on Dec. 17.

    • Science

      • Expert IPCC Reviewer Speaks Out

        Roger Hallam, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion/XR recently interviewed Peter Carter, M.D., who has the distinguished title – Expert IPCC Reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

        The interview was conducted to get to the bottom of what science says about the state of affairs, specifically the health of the planet.

      • Tawakkol Karman’s criticism of Ibn Baz’s fatwa sparks controversy

        Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize-winner Tawakkol Karman attacked the former Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz Ibn Baz, who claimed that the earth does not rotate, sparking controversy among social media activists.

        Karman posted a video and commented: “In this video, Abdulaziz says that the earth does not rotate or swim in space, and whoever believes otherwise is a communist or a Christian!”

        The Saudi Prince, Abdulrahman Bin Musaid, responded with a series of tweets in which he said: “The sheikh’s fatwa, which I have shown you, is clear, but you insist on twisting it as you wish.”

      • CERN explores the universe with the help of Kubernetes and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation

        CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centers for scientific research. Its purpose is to find out what the universe is made of and how it works through physics and probing the fundamental structure of particles that make up everything around us. Using the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments, the organization provides a unique range of particle accelerator facilities to researchers to advance society’s knowledge of the universe.

    • Hardware

      • Nikon to Cut Workforce on Slump in Camera Business: Nikkei

        Its business was also impacted by the performance of Intel Corp., one of Nikon’s key clients of semiconductor equipment, the daily reported, without saying where it got the information.

        In the company’s reform agenda announced on Nov. 5, Nikon outlined a plan to move its camera production to Thailand and discontinue domestic output. The firm is considering cutting its sales force, the paper said.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The Chemist and the Conman vs. the DEA

        Almost twenty years later in the late 1980s, my voyages were few, but I stayed in the loop checking in with friends at concerts and via the mails. LSD was still being made and distributed, maybe in greater quantity than ever before. In the 1990s, I began to hear about a couple guys who were making LSD in a former missile silo in Kansas. This was after the Cold War was over and many of us were hopeful that money spent on war would be diverted to making life better on planet earth. When it came to this so-called peace dividend and converting the destructive science of war into the potential the science of psychedelics represented; a converted missile silo was an almost too-perfect metaphor.

        As it turned out, there would be no peace dividend—those invested in the science and waging of war were not going to give up their allegiance to Moloch and his destructive force. As for the LSD manufacturing in that Kansas missile silo, the demons of greed, envy and pride would combine with a lust for money to create a story of police, millions of dollars, millions of LSD doses, and betrayal. All of which was fueled by the psychedelic haze that becomes part of the body chemistry of those who synthesize LSD and other psychedelics for a living.

      • Fighting Covid by Empowering Workers

        But now another protection has appeared, rooted in a fundamental value: the value of empowering workers.

        This winter, worker committees, the first in the nation, will come on line in Los Angeles County, an entity comprising over 10 million people, 88 incorporated cities, and 244,000 businesses. Operating in four sectors (food manufacturing, apparel manufacturing, warehousing and storage, and restaurants), the committees, known as Public Health Councils, will be empowered to report coronavirus-related problems and violations to the County’s Department of Public Health. These violations can result in fines and license revocations for businesses.

      • Don’t Trash the Affordable Care Act, Expand It

        This time, it’s yet another Republican lawsuit that’s gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which now has a bigger conservative majority than before.

        I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 22. The ACA is the reason I got affordable access to medical care I needed — and medication that’s prevented me from needing a cane.

      • Trump Skips G20 Pandemic Preparedness Meeting as Covid-19 Cases Surpass 12 Million in US

        “The president is not only missing from his post, but he’s encouraging a mutiny.”

      • Perm and Voronezh top list of Russian cities with highest risk of coronavirus infection

        Perm and Voronezh have topped the list of major Russian cities whose residents are at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19, according to a study by the analytical outlet SberIndex, RBC reports.

      • Rural Hospitals Are Facing Unprecedented Challenges Amid Worsening Pandemic
      • COVID Offices and the Religion of Remote Work

        Consider the state of Victoria in Australia. The pandemic lockdown measures have softened but have left a thick film of bureaucracy. For the overly eager employee wishing to come into work to retrieve necessary materials (the definition of what is necessary varies), the task is irritating, even taxing. First, temperature check. Second, checking in via smart phone with a health declaration, a step discriminatory to those who have no interest in having such devices. Third, clearance with security to ensure the activation of relevant cards, and the lending of necessary keys. Even through masks, those lining up exude weariness, feeling saggy after months in epidemiological confinement.

        With the card activated and ready to access the necessary buildings, it is time to make way to the office, a space neglected since March. Books, sulking at not having been consulted. Detritus of memories on the wall: posters and pictures of travel to places now inaccessible for reasons of cost or the pandemic. Towers of paperwork left unattended, rendered irrelevant by digitalisation. White board, uncleaned. A sense of woe grips: the days for having such a space of monkish calm and serene bliss are numbered.

      • Hailed as ‘Heroes’ During Pandemic, Retail Workers Stripped of Hazard Pay While Companies Rake in Massive Profits

        “While business booms and the pandemic rages, the rich are getting richer—and workers are getting sicker.”

      • Biden Ran on a Return To Normalcy, but There’s Nothing Normal About the American Health Care System

        In poll after poll, Americans have indicated their preference for a universal, single-payer health care system. Compromise and half-measures are not acceptable. Medicare for All remains the goal.

      • Biden COVID Adviser Warns Stalling Transition Will Result in More Deaths
      • Pandemic and Presidential Recriminations

        Biden has a soft spot for bipartisanship. This is a mistake, possibly an Achilles heel. It may work when the people across the aisle are capable of compromise and like to horse trade. It will not when they are rabid reactionaries fanatically determined to destroy anyone to the left of Benito Mussolini. Unfortunately, there are those in the Dem tent, centrist ideologues like former CIA employee and current Virginia Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger and recent Dem political migrant John Kasich, who have invented tales of how democratic socialists caused House seats to flip Republican.

        The only problem here is that this is untrue. Every co-sponsor of Medicare For All won re-election. As Brian Kahn reported in earther, of the House’s 93 co-sponsors of the Green New Deal that ran for reelection, only one lost. Overall 99 percent of these agile Green New Deal sponsors won their races. Lots of down-ballot progressives and socialists triumphed. They surpassed arthritic centrists, who are allergic to reality: younger voters, the future, prefer progressives and leftists. They shun bipartisan war-party hacks to the right of Eisenhower.

      • UniSA develops tech to measure key COVID-19 symptom remotely

        Oxygen saturation, a key symptom of COVID-19, is now being estimated using a remote camera after researchers at the University of South Australia developed AI health monitoring software that could carry out this function.

      • Top Scientist Left Stunned by ‘Very Odd’ Hydroxychloroquine Senate Hearing

        “The hearing was a testament to how politicized science has become. I shared evidence of studies that have failed to find benefit of HCQ. [The other witnesses] suggested my testimony was reckless because it would deny people access to lifesaving HCQ.”

        Jha said the “most shocking” part of the hearing was that other witnesses appeared to argue there was a “coordinated effort” by American doctors to deny patients HCQ, because they were “in bed” with Big Pharma.

      • CDC says mask mandates can slow Covid-19 spread

        Government mandates that require people to wear masks in public can slow the spread of Covid-19, a new report published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds, and communities that don’t enact such orders may face dramatic increases in new cases.

        The report explored the striking differences among counties in Kansas during the summer: Some adopted mask mandates, while others did not.

      • What role is AI playing in the COVID-19 pandemic?

        The label “artificial intelligence” is sometimes applied to any kind of automation, but in this post we will focus on developments in machine learning, in which computer models are designed to learn from data. Machine learning can be supervised, with models predicting labels based on training data, or unsupervised, with models identifying patterns in unlabeled data. For example, a supervised machine learning algorithm might be given a training dataset of people who have or have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 and tasked with predicting COVID-19 diagnoses in new data; an unsupervised algorithm might be given information about people who have COVID-19 and tasked with identifying latent structures within the dataset. Many of the most exciting developments in machine learning over the past decade have been driven by the deep learning revolution, as increases in computing power have enabled analysis of enormous layered datasets.

        The number of applications of machine learning approaches to COVID-19 is staggering—there are already close to fifty thousand works on Google Scholar using the terms “machine learning” and “COVID-19”—so we will focus here on some accessible examples rather than a systematic academic review.

        Machine learning is being used for basic research, such as understanding COVID-19 and potential interventions at a biomolecular level. For instance, deep learning algorithms have been used to predict the structure of proteins associated with SARS-CoV-2 and to suggest proteins that might be good targets for vaccines. Deep learning has facilitated drug repurposing efforts involving scanning the literature and public databases for patterns. And AI is being used to help conductive adaptive clinical trials to determine as effectively as possible the differences between potential COVID-19 therapies.

        AI is also being used to help diagnose and manage COVID-19 patients. Some AI researchers are focused on helping people self-diagnose through technologies like wearable rings or chatbots. One algorithm predicts whether a patient has COVID-19 based on the sound of their cough. Once a patient reaches the hospital, datasets of lung x-rays are being used to both diagnose COVID-19 and predict disease severity, and models like Epic’s Deterioration Index have been widely adopted to predict whether and when a patient’s symptoms would worsen.


        AI also presents some major challenges related to racial bias; these can arise without any conscious bias on the part of developers. This is simply explained: AI is only good as its inputs, and where its inputs contain biases—a sad but true reflection of the world around it—any algorithm developed from those inputs will embody those biases. Even before COVID-19, researchers found that because less money is spent on Black patients, a popular commercial algorithm for guiding healthcare decisions falsely concluded that Black patients are healthier than they are. This algorithmic bias is an example of “proxy discrimination”—the tendency to use proxies to take into account differences between groups, even where the training data omit group identification. As a consequence, overusing AI may contribute to COVID-19 bias or disparities. And algorithmic bias is not just a concern in the clinical context; for example, a new working paper shows that relying on smartphone-based mobility data to inform COVID-19 responses “could disproportionately harm high-risk elderly and minority groups” who are less likely to be represented in such data. To be sure, AI can also be used to combat racial bias; there are some efforts to use AI specifically to figure out the determinants of disproportionate COVID-19 problems by race/ethnicity. But whether AI developers can systematically and legally combat algorithmic discrimination more broadly remains to be seen.

        AI in clinical care holds promise but—if used poorly—has the potential to make things worse, not better. As noted by Arti Rai, Isha Sharma, and Christina Silcox, “[t]o avoid unintended harms, actors in the [AI] development and adoption ecosystem must promote accountability . . . that assure careful evaluation of risk and benefit relative to plausible alternatives.” Doing so—intelligently—will best encourage the technological development of AI in clinical settings while avoiding some of its worst excesses.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Apple Silicon Macs versus ARM PCs

          In a comment on my entry on how I don’t expect to have an ARM-based PC any time soon, Jonathan said:

          My big takeaway from the latest release of Apple laptops is that these new laptops aren’t necessarily ARM laptops. [...]

          When a person gets an Apple Silicon Mac, they are not getting an ARM computer. They are getting an Apple computer.

          As it happens, I mostly agree with this view of the new Apple machines (and it got some good responses on tildes.net). These Apple Silicon Macs are ARM PCs in that they are general purpose computers (as much as any other OS X machine) and that they use the ARM instruction set. But they are not ‘ARM PCs’ in two other ways. First, they’re not machines that will run any OS you want or even very many OSes. The odds are pretty good that they’re not going to be running anything other than OS X any time soon (see Matthew Garrett).

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • EFF and GitHub’s Support for YouTube Rippers is Bad News for RIAA Lawsuits

              This week GitHub reversed an RIAA takedown by reinstating the youtube-dl repository. The Microsoft-owned developer platform, together with the EFF, sent a clear message that YouTube downloaders are not by definition illegal. This outspoken support is not only good news for youtube-dl, it might also be a gamechanger for the lawsuits against 2conv, Flvto, and Yout.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Gab’s New CTO Is a Former Facebook Software Engineer

              In an email to its users, Gab, the social network well-known as a safe haven for neo-Nazis and the far right, announced that its newest CTO is a former software engineer who spent more than seven years at Facebook.

              “Gab is happy to introduce our new CTO, Fosco Marotto,” said the statement from the company, released earlier this week. “With 23 years of industry experience, he brings extensive backend infrastructure knowledge and insights from across the stack that will help Gab scale into the new media giant it is quickly becoming.”

            • Video Analytics User Manuals Are a Guide to Dystopia

              A few years ago, when you saw a security camera, you may have thought that the video feed went to a VCR somewhere in a back office that could only be accessed when a crime occurs. Or maybe you imagined a sleepy guard who only paid half-attention, and only when they discovered a crime in progress. In the age of internet-connectivity, now it’s easy to imagine footage sitting on a server somewhere, with any image inaccessible except to someone willing to fast forward through hundreds of hours of footage.

              That may be how it worked in 1990s heist movies, and it may be how a homeowner still sorts through their own home security camera footage. But that’s not how cameras operate in today’s security environment. Instead, advanced algorithms are watching every frame on every camera and documenting every person, animal, vehicle, and backpack as they move through physical space, and thus camera to camera, over an extended period of time. 

              Today, we’re pleased to announce Cover Your Tracks, the newest edition and rebranding of our historic browser fingerprinting and tracker awareness tool Panopticlick. Cover Your Tracks picks up where Panopticlick left off. Panopticlick was about letting users know that browser fingerprinting was possible; Cover Your Tracks is about giving…

            • MacOS Big Sur(veillance) bypasses Firewall/VPN to tell Apple what programs you run on your computer
            • Finnish town offers rent-free home in exchange for social media promos

              The municipality of Luumäki, in the southeast of Finland, is offering rent-free accommodation for one year to one family willing to move to the area in exchange for social media promotion.

              The chosen family must document life in Luumäki via the municipality’s official Facebook and Instagram social media accounts at least once a week.

              Authorities in the municipality, which has a population of less than 5,000 inhabitants, are hoping the campaign will bring positive attention to the area.

            • Facebook still has hundreds of ‘Stop the Steal’ groups despite earlier crackdown

              OneZero discovered two large groups with a total of more than 100,000 members sharing disinformation that the election was “stolen” by Democrats. We were unable to verify those two groups, which may have since been removed by Facebook. But our own research confirms the broader point: as of Friday morning, hundreds of Stop the Steal groups — some private, some public, some hyperlocal — were alive and well on Facebook. While many of the groups were new and had a few hundred members each, some were sizable: one private group had more than 46,000 members; another, formerly titled “Keeping America Great!” had more than 265,000 members.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Ravi Gupta on Vaccine Infrastructure, Murtaza Hussain on Trump’s War on Yemen
      • Beyond Simplistic ‘Peace’

        Currently there are approximately 4,500 troops in Afghanistan and 3,000 in Iraq. The drawdown would leave 2,500 troops in each country.

        Even Mitch McConnell is aghast!

      • Want to Know Who Influences US Foreign Policy? Follow the Money.

        War: What is it good for? Apparently, in Washington’s world of think tanks, the answer is: the bottom line.

      • Tomorrow My Family and Neighbors May Be Forced From Our Homes by Israeli Settlers

        November 2009. My friend Ahmad and I, both 11, were riding our bikes home from school when I saw furniture scattered across the length of our street in Sheikh Jarrah, a politically charged neighborhood of occupied Jerusalem. The street overflowed with soldiers. My neighbors were screaming and protesting. As I approached my home, I couldn’t tell who was shoving me or in what direction. Then I saw the police horses—simultaneously terrifying and ridiculous—blocking my doorway. Settlers had invaded our home and taken over half of it. They claimed the front part and left us the rest.

      • Government Argues In Court That It Can Kill US Citizens At Will With Zero Judicial Oversight

        The federal government is back in court, arguing for its unilateral right to kill US citizens. Two journalists who had appeared to have been mistakenly targeted by drone strikes sued the government in 2017, seeking an injunction forbidding their own government from extrajudicially killing them.

      • Ethiopia: Death and Despair as Divisions Erupt Into Violent Conflict

        Ethiopians are killing one another in the Tigray region of the country where an armed conflict is raging between the Ethiopian military and forces loyal to the regional government, the TPLF (Tigray Peoples Liberation Front), a group that some in the country describe as terrorists.

        The TPLF formed the dominant force within the ruling coalition (the EPRDF), and ran Ethiopia with an iron fist from 1991 until 2018. Brutal and centralized, human rights were trampled on, free speech outlawed, state terrorism routine; the TPLF were vicious, ruled by fear and are hated still by many Ethiopians, inside and outside the country.

      • Dissenter Weekly: Despite War Crimes Investigation, Australian Military Whistleblower Still Faces Prosecution

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola highlights a whistleblower from the Australian military named David McBride, who still faces prosecution for leaking information on war crimes in Afghanistan even though the country recently completed an investigation into the violence.

        Later in the show, Gosztola provides an update on NSA whistleblower Reality Winner, who finally had an appeal hearing for her request for release, and he covers the COVID-19 outbreak in the prison block at Belmarsh, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is confined.

      • US Military Is Buying Location Data From Data Brokers, Including Data Pulled From US App Users

        As long as government agencies are buying location data from data brokers — possibly eluding warrant requirements while doing so — it makes sense the US military would be doing the same thing. Joseph Cox reports for Motherboard that the American war machine loves location data pulled from phone apps just as much as CBP, ICE, and the Secret Service do.

      • ‘I tried my best to kill him’: American hero recalls tackling Thalys train attacker

        One of three Americans acclaimed as heroes for tackling an alleged Islamic State gunman aboard a Paris-bound train testified at the man’s trial Friday that he tried to kill him.

      • RNC Backs Trump’s Bogus Claims That He Won the Election

        Following the bizarre press event this week that saw Rudy Giuliani reference the movie My Cousin Vinny while hair dye streaked down his sweaty face, the Republican National Committee endorsed the wild statements made during Giuliani’s lie-filled press conference, falsely claiming that Trump not only won the presidential election, but he did so in a “landslide.”

        The RNC left little doubt that the Republican party has gone full MAGA when it shared a video of one of the president’s lawyers, Sidney Powell, indignantly spreading misinformation about election fraud.

      • Ten Foreign Policy Fiascos Biden Can Fix on Day One

        Donald Trump loves executive orders as a tool of dictatorial power, avoiding the need to work through Congress. But that works both ways, making it relatively easy for President Biden to reverse many of Trump’s most disastrous decisions. Here are ten things Biden can do as soon as he takes office. Each one can set the stage for broader progressive foreign policy initiatives, which we have also outlined.

        1) End the U.S. role in the Saudi-led war on Yemen and restore U.S. humanitarian aid to Yemen.

      • Rules of Engagement

        Repeatedly, the PBS Newshour anchor, Judy Woodruff, has “one on one” interviews with such gifted performers who repeatedly crush all her attempts to counter what we’re hearing. “So, water being H30…” “Apologies for interrupting you, but water is H20.” It’s painful to watch. She hasn’t yet interviewed a QAnon disciple: “Well, you do have the support of the anti-pedophiles in the country, including President Trump.” I was very interested in seeing her interview with Jared Kushner, who is mostly a shadowy, unheard, operative. Not on this interview. He ran over Ms. Woodruff who seemed stuck in neutral while he accelerated. “Does the president know more than the scientists? Is that what children should learn in school?” Answer: “Scientists often contradict each other.” That stupidity passed because the goal is to represent in a fair and balanced way and leave the critical evaluation to the viewer. When 72 million in the population also believe that scientists contradict each other regarding global warming and that science is a candy box you can sort through and find your flavor then this balanced impartiality is nothing more than a replay and endorsement of the legitimacy of stupidities. A pause was a defeat, a signal to attack. Viewers crumbled as she did, beaten back by an assault that somehow mercifully had to come to a place where it would stop and meaning could find its way through. Meaning was a casualty; it was lost in the crushing.

        And if the Italian philosopher Berardi is right, no one is really looking for it anymore:

      • VIDEO: Top Biden advisors Flournoy and Blinken promise smarter, more secretive permanent war policy
      • “A Huge Blow to Civil Society”: Egypt Arrests Leading Human Rights Monitors in Latest Crackdown

        In Egypt, the executive director of the country’s leading human rights group has been arrested as part of an unprecedented crackdown on activists and journalists. Gasser Abdel-Razek was arrested at his home just days after two other staffers for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights were also arrested. The move signals a major escalation of repression from the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who has imprisoned thousands of people since he came to power after the 2013 overthrow of former President Mohamed Morsi. “These arrests are a huge blow to civil society in Egypt,” says Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Democracy Now! correspondent and reporter for Mada Masr, the country’s last independent media outlet. “It has really sent shockwaves throughout the community here.”

      • First, the Good Newes

        Winslow’s Good Newes begins not with happy feasting by Natives and newcomers, but with the threat of war: “the Great people of Nanohigganset, which are reported to be many thousands strong, began to breath forth many threats against us; the common talke of our neighbor Indians on all sides was of the preparation they made to come against us.” Rather than bringing gifts of “Indian Corne,” oysters, turkey, and venison, the Natives are filling their quivers with new arrows.

        Squanto, whom Winslow calls Tisquantum, figures prominently in the account. Winslow doesn’t mention that Squanto had been taken back to England in 1605 by Captain George Weymouth. In London, he was cultivated as an interpreter and guide for the exploration and exploitation of New England by Sir Ferdinando Gorges, shareholder in the Plymouth Company. After several crossings of the Atlantic, Squanto had come back to what would become Massachusetts only in 1619, the year before the Pilgrim’s arrival on his native shores.

      • Emmanuel Macron slams media coverage of France’s position on Islamic extremism

        The president says foreign media have ‘failed to understand’ the significance of laicite, or secularism, as a pillar of French policy and society

      • Iran feeding uranium gas into advanced centrifuges underground – IAEA

        Iran has begun feeding uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas feedstock into the advanced IR-2m uranium-enriching centrifuges installed at its underground plant in Natanz nuclear facility, according to a UN nuclear watchdog report obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.

        The move is the latest nuclear standoff escalation by Iran with the US, Israel and their allies.

      • Katsina Hisbah Board Destroys Cans, Bottles Of Alcohol In Daura

        The agency established to enforce Sharia law in some states in Northern Nigeria, recently banned stylish haircuts, sagging of trousers and playing of music at social events by disk jockeys in Kano and Kebbi states.

        The group also banned commercial motorcycle and tricycle riders from carrying two women at a time.

      • Dozens killed in eastern DRC in latest attacks blamed on ADF

        More than 1,000 civilians have been killed by the ADF in 2019-2020, according to UN figures.

        The ADF has never claimed responsibility for attacks. But since April 2019, several of its assaults have been claimed by the so-called Islamic State’s Central Africa Province, without providing proof.

      • Hizb ut-Tahrir demands France Submit to Sharia the Day after Church Jihad Attack (Video)

        Hizb ut Tahrir’s demonstration was held only one day after France was subjected to their third islamic terror attack this autumn. An attack that cost three Christians their lives. The terrorist, was a 21-year-old Tunisian migrant who had illegally arrived last month in France. The migrant entered Europe via Italy and made his way to France. This same Tunisian migrant barbarically cut off the head of one of the victims while yelling “Allahu Akbar” in a church in Nice.

      • Burkina Faso holds presidential poll in ‘a climate of fear’ amid jihadist attacks

        While much of the world’s attention was focused on the US presidential race, 2020 has been a busy election year for West Africa, with a number of countries going to the polls in elections with high domestic and regional geopolitical stakes.

      • Mali: Ansar Dine leader Souleymane Keita, others sentenced to death for terrorism

        Ansar Dine aka Ansar al-Din seeks to impose strict Sharia law across Mali.

        It was founded by Iyad Ag Ghaly, who is suspected of have ties to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • “Collective” is an urgent exposé of killer corruption & how journalism and the people fought back

        Alexander Nanau’s extraordinary documentary “Collective” unfolds in the aftermath of a 2015 tragedy in the Bucharest nightclub Colectiv that gives this film its title. While 27 people died in the fire, more than 100 were injured and sent to area hospitals. However, an additional 37 of the 100-plus victims died as a result of bacterial infections while hospitalized. One father, seen in the film, explains that “a communication error” — the hospital refused transfers for patients — prevented his late son from being transferred to receive care that would likely have saved his life.

        The outrage of this situation prompted protests, with people taking to the streets in response to corruption and the Social Democrats in power. However, it was the dogged efforts by heroic journalist Catalin Tolontan, from “Sports Gazette” that exposed the reality of what was happening. Tolontan and his team uncovered evidence that the disinfectant being used by Romanian hospitals was diluted to a tenth of its strength. The acting Minister of Health, Nicolae Banicioiu soon resigned. He was replaced by Vlad Voiculescu who pledges transparency. What comes to light is profound corruption that involves offshore fraud, doctor bribes, and accreditation scandals, as well as political pressures. Another situation, involving transplants being done cheaper outside the country also comes to plague Voiculescu.

    • Environment

      • At G20, Only India Is On Track to Meet Goals for Keeping Global Heating to 3.6° F

        Although most of India’s electricity and heating now comes from carbon-intensive coal, the country has big plans to transition to renewables.

      • Crisis, What Climate Crisis? Oil Majors Still Sitting on Tens of Billions of Barrels of Undeveloped Reserves

        If these are developed we will face more hurricanes ripping communities and lives apart as our climate emergency intensifies. It did not have to be this way. It should never had to be that way.

      • ‘Historic’ Court Ruling Will Force France To Justify Its Climate Targets

        The decision finds that France in recent years has exceeded its “carbon budgets” — the upper limit of allowable carbon emissions to help keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

      • US Wildfire Victims Forced To Crowdfund To Rebuild Their Lives

        Americans who lost their homes and belongings to wildfires that spread across the western United States over the past months are struggling to rebuild their lives in the aftermath. 

        Rachelle McMaster, a single mother of two, lost her trailer home in Otis, Oregon during the Echo Mountain wildfire in early September. 

      • Global heating may go on for five more centuries

        Global heating now means more warming for 500 years ahead, even if all greenhouse emissions stop. Or is that too simple?

      • Michigan upholds Nestlé permit to withdraw 576K gallons of groundwater daily [iophk: draining the

        The state concluded the petitioners, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, should have made their claims in a circuit court.

      • “I Am Greta” isn’t About Climate Change. It’s About the Elusiveness of Sanity in an Insane World

        In the mid-1950s, his book The Sane Society suggested that insanity referred not simply to the failure by specific individuals to adapt to the society they lived in. Rather, society itself could become so pathological, so detached from a normative way of life, that it induced a deep-seated alienation and a form of collective insanity among its members. In modern western societies, where automation and mass consumption betray basic human needs, insanity might not be an aberration but the norm.

        Fromm wrote:

      • Unequal Justice: The Treachery of Samuel Alito

        His record of arch-conservatism makes him more closely akin to a Fox News host than a Supreme Court Justice.

      • AOC and Cori Bush Join Protest Outside DNC to Push Biden on Climate Action
      • The Future is in Our Hands

        The Trump administration also took steps that will likely increase the severity of the climate catastrophe scientists have been warning about for decades. We are already seeing the devastation caused by the rapidly changing climate and the risk of ever-greater devastation continues to grow. This situation requires an urgent worldwide campaign larger than anything humans have ever done. To achieve this necessary international cooperation also requires a huge change in the criminal and barbaric US militaristic and sanctions-based foreign policy. The US must rely on diplomacy and, among other things, respect the sovereignty of other nations. This change will thus allow a huge reduction in the corporate welfare given to the military-industrial complex.

        However, if we accept politics as usual under the Biden presidency, that is, politics directed and controlled by Wall Street and large corporate interests, the human rights of a large portion of the US population will continue to be ignored. When government fails to address the needs of its people, its legitimacy can be questioned and there is a risk of society falling apart. The low level of voter participation in our elections, particularly in non-presidential years, is already a concern. Do people not vote because they have given up on the system? Even this year with a hotly contested election, roughly 1/3 of the eligible electorate failed to vote. Making matters worse, the blatant politicization of the Supreme Court has weakened its already tenuous claims to legitimacy as a non-partisan and independent branch of government.

      • Energy

      • Overpopulation

        • Venice to bring back entry fee for daytrippers to combat overtourism

          With visitors swimming in the canals, sitting down in the middle of the street to eat, and even holding local workers hostage, Venice has become the poster child for tourists behaving badly.

          So badly, in fact, and in such quantities, that the city had decided to start charging daytrippers an entry fee, in a bid to stop the “hit-and-run” tourism of up to 30 million people a year.

          The fee system was due to be introduced this summer, but was postponed indefinitely thanks to the evisceration of Venice’s economy when visitor numbers plummeted because of the pandemic.

          But now, it’s back on.

    • Finance

      • U.S. Economy Hurtles Toward ‘COVID Cliff’
      • The Lost Art of the Steal

        In 2000, even the hopelessly inept George W. Bush (“Is our children learning?”) figured out how, after 18,000 residents in Palm Beach county mistakenly cast their votes for Patrick Buchanan, the Supreme Court could deny an accurate recount of the errantly dimpled chads (“for the sake of our democracy…”) and grant him the presidency, as if part of an inheritance.

        In 1960, John F. Kennedy decided that to win the presidency he would need, among his vote counters, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (“vote early and vote often…”) and Texas Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson (running as JFK’s vice-president).

      • It’s Not Just Students Drowning in Debt. Colleges Are Too!

        For colleges and universities this year, back to school has been tumultuous. At the University of North Carolina, administrators defiantly brought students to campus, only to send them home within days as Covid-19 outbreaks ravaged the commons. The University of Wisconsin pushed ahead with in-person reopening despite outcries from faculty, staffers, and even county health officials; within weeks, the campus had to shift all instruction online. Students at the University of Georgia staged die-ins, unwilling to sacrifice their lives for their education. Notre Dame’s student newspaper published an editorial begging not to have to print classmates’ obituaries. Big Ten football was canceled—and then it wasn’t. By July, more than 51,000 campus workers in the United States had been laid off, furloughed, or did not have their contracts renewed. Meanwhile, the majority of universities’ remaining adjunct instructional staffers found themselves without sick leave or employer-sponsored health insurance. All this mayhem caused many to wonder, “Exactly who are universities accountable to?”1

      • We Need a Safety Net for Parents

        I’m a teaching assistant in a family sociology course, and inequality is one of the most important things we study. We strive to understand how inequalities are being produced, maintained, and especially during the coronavirus crisis, deepened.

        With child care centers closing down and schools going virtual, taking on extra child care has fallen disproportionately to women. As a result, many women are falling behind at work or leaving paid labor altogether. The Washington Post reports the percentage of American women in the labor force is at its lowest since 1998.

      • Ever-Growing Millions of Americans Face Eviction and Hunger. Will Congress Act?
      • Tax Losses Are Lives Lost

        There is more than enough money available. But it has been redirected away from our public services and into the offshore bank accounts of multinationals and the mega-rich.

      • By Rejecting WTO Drug Patent Waivers Amid Pandemic, Richest Nations Put Big Pharma Profits Before Health of Billions

        Rich countries—accused of hoarding future vaccines—are being urged to support a “humanitarian buffer” to innoculate refugees and people in conflict zones. 

      • Moscow State University allocates funds to support students during the coronavirus pandemic

        Moscow State University (MGU) Rector Viktor Sadovnichy has signed an order allocating 30 million rubles (about $394,000) to support the university’s students, instructors, and researchers during the coronavirus pandemic, the state news agency TASS reported on Thursday, November 19. 

      • Wealthy Self-Financed Candidates Did Not Perform Well in the 2020 Elections
      • Pro-Wall Street Democrat Could Soon Have Key Role Regulating Derivatives Market
      • Joe Biden Should Cancel Student Debt on Day One
      • Crippling Common Good Worldwide, Landmark Study Shows $427 Billion Lost Each Year to Tax Dodging by Corporations and the Rich

        “Now more than ever we must reprogram our global tax system to prioritize people’s health and livelihoods over the desires of those bent on not paying tax.”

      • Astra Taylor: Biden Can Cancel Student Debt on Day One. Movements Must Make Him Do It.

        The incoming Biden administration is facing increasing pressure to cancel federal student loan debt, something Joe Biden is reportedly considering through executive action, which would not require Congress to pass legislation. Astra Taylor, a member of the Debt Collective, says canceling student debt would be a boon to debtors and the wider economy, and could be part of a larger wave of progressive action from the Biden administration. “There was a sense right after the election … that because Democrats didn’t take the Senate that it would be impossible for a Biden administration to govern,” says Taylor. “There are things that Biden can do if he’s willing to play hardball, if he’s willing to actually understand that’s what Republicans do, and the Democrats can do the same.”

      • As Stimulus Runs Out, 56% of US Household Are Worried About Affording Food
      • Georgia Senator Privately Pushed for Lucrative Tax Break for Sports Teamowners
      • ‘Utterly Inexcusable’: Sen. Perdue of Georgia Profited From Defense Contractor’s Stock While Overseeing Naval Spending

        “He is blatantly exploiting his office to line his own pockets,” said Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jon Ossoff. 

      • Georgia Senator David Perdue Privately Pushed for a Tax Break for Rich Sports Teamowners

        Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., privately pushed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to give wealthy sports owners a lucrative tax break last year, according to a previously unreported letter obtained by ProPublica.

        After the 2017 tax bill championed by President Donald Trump passed, Mnuchin and the Treasury had to write rules on how the legislation would work in practice.

      • Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines

        On November 18, the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future released its final report, The Work of the Future: Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines. The Task Force was commissioned in the spring of 2018 by MIT President Rafael Reif to address what may well be the most critical question of the digital economy: as emerging technologies raise aggregate economic output and the wealth of nations, will they also enable people to attain higher living standards, better working conditions, greater economic security, and improved health and longevity? An interim report was released in September, 2019.

        “Amidst a technological ecosystem delivering rising productivity, and an economy generating plenty of jobs (at least until the COVID-19 crisis), we found a labor market in which the fruits are so unequally distributed, so skewed towards the top, that the majority of workers have tasted only a tiny morsel of a vast harvest,” is the Task Force overriding conclusion. Yet, it argues that with better policies in place, more people could enjoy good careers even as new technologies transform the very nature of work.

        The Task Force comprehensive report covers a lot of ground. Let me briefly summarize its six key findings.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Astra Taylor: As Trump Tries to Steal Election, We Need to Reform Our “Deeply Undemocratic” System

        President Trump has called Republican leaders of Michigan’s state legislature to the White House today in his latest attempt to overturn the election. The Trump campaign is pushing Republican state lawmakers to ignore the will of the voters and appoint pro-Trump electors to the Electoral College. We speak to Astra Taylor, who has looked closely at the state of our democracy in the film “What is Democracy?” and her book, “Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone.”

      • Media’s Messaging Debate Eclipses Policies—and the Crises They Address

        Voters, according to Rep. Kurt Schrader (D.–Oregon), are “very afraid that this will become a supernanny state, and their ability to do things on their own is going to be taken away.” Schrader made the remark to the Washington Post (11/5/20), discussing a now-infamous Democratic Party call in which the party’s neoliberals blamed the left for their lackluster election performance (FAIR.org, 11/10/20).

      • Will Trump’s Attempt to Subvert the Election Results Succeed?
      • There’s No Returning to Normal After Trump

        Imagine, in other words, that the “blue wall” of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania had held firm four years ago. Claiming election fraud, Donald Trump would have insisted on a recount and Election Day would then, too, have stretched into election week and election month. Eventually, Trump would have given up, though not without insisting that the “deep state” had stolen his victory.

        Once in office, Clinton would have set to work building on the Obama legacy. The United States would have remained in the Paris climate accord, the Iran nuclear agreement would still be in force, and perhaps a more robust health-care plan might even be in place. Competent civil servants would have taken charge of federal agencies, a tax cut for the wealthy wouldn’t have gone into effect, and the Democrats would have been well positioned in 2020 to reelect the first woman president and build a stronger congressional majority.

      • The GOP Is in a State of Terminal Decay
      • Dozens of Racial Justice Protesters Held by Feds for Months Pretrial
      • Senate GOP Shatters 123-Year Tradition to Approve Even More Trump Judges
      • Graham Crackers
      • Incrementalism: Change You Can’t Believe In

        A Recipe for Stasis

        Defenses of incrementalism rest on two premises: (1) the polarizations existing in American society according to conventional wisdom (the divisions between liberals and conservatives, represented institutionally by the Democratic and Republican Parties respectively) correspond to genuine conflicts of interest, and (2) taking those polarizations as given, a centrist approach which accepts existing political structures is the most realistic way to get things done.

      • ‘Looks Like the Crazy Lady Has Logged On’: Rep. Ilhan Omar Welcomes QAnon Conspiracy Theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene to Congress

        The incoming congresswoman attacked Omar for sparring with GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who faces a runoff election in Georgia this January.

      • The Perils of Not Prosecuting Trump

        As he gears up for his presidency, one of the biggest dilemmas confronting Joe Biden is what to do with the sitting commander in chief. Donald Trump’s refusal to concede and his fomenting of a farcical coup attempt are just his latest crimes against American democracy. As president, Trump cannot be charged with any crimes. But after January 20, when Biden assumes the presidency, Trump’s protected status will end and he’ll be no more and no less than an ordinary citizen.

      • Bad Analogy: Comparing Social Media To Guns

        We’ve been seeing all sorts of really dumb analogies lately as people try to complain about social media. During the recent Senate hearing about social media and content moderation, Senators from both parties compared social media to cigarette smoking, somehow ignoring the fact that in that analogy the “tobacco” is “1st Amendment protected speech.” But Reuters decided to one up that and compare social media companies to gunmakers. And, if that sounds incredibly stupid as a concept, reading the actual article makes it worse. Much worse.

      • How to Help the Democrats Win Georgia

        I love Georgia. I told my editors, as the Joe Biden–Donald Trump race came to an end, that if we’d been able to travel, I’d have gone to Georgia. But we couldn’t, so I didn’t, and I had to watch the huge excitement of the state I’d repeatedly watched falling just short—for Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District in 2017; for Stacey Abrams for governor in 2018—going for Biden from a distance.

      • Wisconsin’s Recount Will Only Serve to Confirm Donald Trump’s Humiliating Defeat

        Donald Trump is staking his hopes for overturning the results of the 202o presidential election in Wisconsin on a crudely transparent strategy that seeks to disenfranchise minority voters and students. But it won’t work. Trump is going to be embarrassed in dramatic fashion when the results of the recount he has demanded confirm a humiliating defeat for the soon-to-be-former president.

      • Why The Democrats Keep Losing

        Democrats know their arrogance pisses off the working-class whites they need to win national elections. Yet they persist.

        Every day sees some op-ed Ivy-educated columnist opining that voting for Trump means you’re a Klansman and another DNC-fed talking head pontificating about the masklessness at the president’s rallies with the bloated tone of a Roman tribune announcing stunning news that no one had ever heard before.

      • Representative Ilhan Omar: ‘I Hope President Biden Seizes This Opportunity.’

        This month, we begin the transition away from a Trump era and toward a new presidency based on peace and cooperation. There is no area where this renewed vision is needed more than foreign policy. Trump has taunted, mocked, and burned bridges with our allies, while simultaneously cozying up to some of the most brutal dictatorial regimes around the world—especially those in the oil-rich Middle East. The damage done by the Trump administration runs deep, and it will take hard work and a clear understanding of the extent of the damage to fix it. With foreign policy primarily driven by the Executive Branch, President Biden has a tremendous opportunity to reorient our foreign policy in the region.

      • Time for a Losers’ Presidential Intervention

        Imagine an intervention of presidential losers in the Oval office—sitting in an oval—offering a wake-up call to the newest member of the losers’ club. Led by Jimmy Carter, who lost to Ronald Reagan in 1980, members include: Walter Mondale, (Mr. Reagan, 1984); Michael Dukakis, (George H.W. Bush, 1988); Bob Dole, (Bill Clinton, 1996); Al Gore* (George W. Bush, 2000); John Kerry, (Mr. Bush, 2004); Mitt Romney, (Barack Obama, 2012); and Hilary Clinton, (Mr. Trump, 2016). Cindy McCain might represent her late husband John to increase gender diversity, (Mr. Obama, 2008).

        The intervention, facilitated by former presidents Bush and Obama, could start with the losers reading aloud from their concession remarks. *Mr. Gore, (who many believe won his election but was denied the presidency by a 5-4 Supreme Court vote), might speak first, holding a miniature US flag as a talking stick.

      • Biden Owes His Victory to Black Voters, Will Return the Favor

        During a pandemic that has killed Black people at disproportionate rates, we still managed to save our democracy by getting out the vote in what may have been the most contentious presidential election in modern history.

        Considering what we were up against — an administration that has put the lives of the American people in danger as COVID-19 spreads like wildfire — there was no choice but for Black people to show up at the polls in droves. Our lives depended on it.

      • Riffin’ Jazzy Jukin’: Bernard-Henri Lévy Scourges Mad King Corona

        Now, we could add, Capitalism always ends with a Trump, chump or (drum roll) worse.

        Lévy’s still at it, like Dylan, who just keeps on keeping on, another Wandering Jew condemned for his intellectual apostasies to tour the earth until the Second Coming of Marx, and the Anti-Cap. Heads will roll. But in the meantime, as far as Lévy, and many other thinkers, are concerned, socialism is bullshit (see Gulag above), more bland pie in the overcast sky, unevenly distributed. This has not made him the darling of the Right, except by co-optation, but it has not enamored him with the Left either. He’s tricky, like Dylan, that way.

      • The Real Reason Trump Won’t Concede

        We may have defeated Trump, but we haven’t defeated Trumpism. We must work to push the Biden administration to tackle the systemic conditions that allowed Trump to seize power in the first place.

      • “One Nation, Indivisible, Under God . . .” But Whose God?

        It is also commonly believed that The Bible reveals the nature of God. That belief is proven problematic merely by the fact that there are over 200 Christian denominations in the United States alone, and many of them base their identity on different and, in certain instances, differing passages of Scripture. (For a list of Christian denominations in the U.S., see “Christian Denominations,” www. mesacc.edu)

        For example, in Matthew 16: 18-20, Jesus is recorded as saying to his disciple Peter, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church . . . I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Thus the Roman Catholic Church was the first Christian church, founded by Christ himself – which its adherents believe makes it the “one true church.” It’s guiding theology: people are inherently sinful and need the rites of the Catholic Church, dispensed by its priests, to insure their salvation of “being bound in heaven” and avoid being “loosened” into eternal damnation.

      • To Push Biden Left, We Must Build Movements to Challenge His Corporate Backers
      • When Coups Come Home

        “As the solution to every foreign election that didn’t turn out the way the American government wanted it to was a coup, so when the American election didn’t turn out the way the American government wanted it to, the solution was an attempted coup.”

      • Let Trump Off the Hook in the Name of Elusive Unity? Some Critics Say That Could Be a Big Mistake

        One observer stressed that the Justice Department must “keep its options open, and not prematurely foreclose on the possibility of criminal investigations.”

      • On the Current Status of Trump’s Coup Attempt—and Its Future

        It may look like this is one frivolity and absurdity after another—and it is. But if this electoral clash reaches the Supreme Court, all bets are off.

      • If Biden Wants Unity, He Must First Hold Trump Accountable

        America’s typical hit-and-run approach to its most troubling eras won’t work now.

      • My Cousin Rudy Is Melting But He Can Still Smell Election Crimes With the Deranged Help Of His Elite Strike Force
      • The Real Plan? To Make America Ungovernable

        Neither party is equipped to reach across the divides that separate Americans, and the political system is set up to make it nearly impossible for a third party to take root.

      • Don’t [Mourn] Celebrate, Organize!

        “That Biden’s win against the unstable racist was close is damning enough. What is more damning is that he’s promised that “nothing will fundamentally change,” so the utter bankruptcy of the Democrats will be glaring.”

      • ‘A Disgrace’: Trump’s DOJ Schedules Three More Federal Executions in Days Before Anti-Death Penalty Biden Takes Office

        “We all should be paying more attention to the killing spree that the Justice Department is currently engaging in.”

      • Vets and VA Workers Are MIA From Biden Transition

        The appointees on this particular “agency review team” include doctors, lawyers, consultants, researchers, administrators of hospitals and a homelessness program, a small business owner, and the founder of a non-profit animal rescue shelter. According to Biden, all were recruited because “they not only reflect the values and priorities of the incoming administration” but also a “diversity of perspectives crucial for addressing America’s most urgent and complex challenges”—to wit, “ensuring a smooth transfer of power.”

        Although ten of its 14 members have been past VA administrators or advisors, the resumes of some raise questions about their commitment to undoing the main Trump-era damage to the agency, which took the form of costly and unnecessary out-sourcing of patient care to the private sector.  Of even greater concern to Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) is that their members have been totally excluded from the initial line-up of VA task force members. All major VSOs—like the American Legion and AMVETS– have been sadly complicit with incremental privatization of veterans’ healthcare under the Trump and Obama Administrations. But they do represent millions of veterans, including many of the nine million who receive VA care.

      • Why Did So Many White People Vote for “Burn It Down” Trumpism?

        Of course, most of the KKK and the Proud Boys will never change. The Tea Party is another reliably pro-Trump faction, many of them well-off and racist. And most white evangelicals are rock-solid Trump supporters, many of them also racist; they represent only 15% of the U.S. population but cast 44% of Trump’s ballots.

        Nevertheless, a significant portion of those 72 million Trumpers are not associated with white supremacy or evangelicalism or the Tea Party; they voted against “the system,” to give it the finger, or to symbolically burn it down (to quote both Donald Trump and Steve Bannon), because they and their families have not fared well during the past 40 years. They are “the laborers, the line workers, the waitresses, the janitors, the shovel holders and anyone else suffering from holding up this country… people who feel unseen, and in desperation they reach out to anyone who even appears to care about them.”

      • Who Lost China This Time?

        Who lost China? The question, first asked when Mao’s dictum about power coming from the barrel of a gun proved pertinent and Truman was in the White House, is being asked again with renewed vigor. Some in the West believed that greater engagement with China would inevitably lead to the country opening up and forging closer ties to the Unites States and Europe. China always viewed things differently. It is often overlooked, though not in China, that it has engaged with the West before, not to its advantage. And then there was 1999. Chinese-people are convinced they were deliberately attacked by America. The US bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999 was no accident, most people in China believe.  US President Bill Clinton apologizing for the bombing, stating it was accidental did nothing to alter this viewpoint.

        The US selling arms to Taiwan or keeping close ties with the Dalai Lama is not exactly viewed, in Beijing, as the behavior of a friendly partner. But up until now at least, optimism, based on “differences, sure we have them, but things will get better”, reigned. For decades since the historic Nixon-Mao meetings of the early 1970s, US policy to China has been noted for its lack of change, unlike say US relations with Moscow. Ever greater engagement with China has been the mantra.

      • What’s Up With Trump?

        Everyone knows that his septuagenarian body houses the mind of a child. The only question is whether it is a toddler’s mind or a spoiled male adolescent’s. Either way, petulance and acting out comes with the territory.

        And, though cunning, as the weak in courage often are, Trump is among the least subtle creatures on the face of the earth.

      • Despite Media Blackout – The Elections Proved Americans Are Done With The Drug War

        Yes, millions of Americans were indeed purged from the voter rolls – but they were mostly people of color. So if MAGA Nation are waiting for those votes to be counted, then Trump will actually do even worse. And I honestly don’t care if you’re thinking, “But I saw a video on Tik-Tok of someone burning a ballot and then smothering it in hot sauce and eating it.” That doesn’t mean 50,000 votes were switched in Nevada. I saw a video on Twitter of a guy who could shoot laser beams out of his urethra—that doesn’t make it REAL! …And before you ask – Yes, he used his power to fight crime.

        But that’s not what I want to talk about. While everyone focuses on the presidential election, something else important happened in this election. Something seismic. Something that represents the fruition of tireless hours of work from activists, protesters, and organizers. (And no, I’m not talking about the fact that I finally did the wounded peacock yoga pose. But I did, and my balls have yet to unfurl. …Okay, I don’t actually do yoga. And it’s not out of some toxic-masculine belief that men shouldn’t wear unitards and have their feet behind their head. It’s because I don’t want to have to talk to people about yoga. …That’s the main reason.)

      • Trump and Giuliani Go Full IS in Attack on Biden and Democrats

        For at least two decades, since the US in 2001 launched its so-called “War” on Terror following the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001, the US, under a series of three presidents, has waged a grossly illegal war around the globe against alleged terrorists, real or perceived, in countries as remote as Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. In this borderless, lawless “war” the US has turned to the same kind of terrorism that it accuses its enemies of using.

        Not content to just drop bombs on militants, it has turned to drone execution by Hellfire missiles tipped with explosives that destroy countless innocent civilians in the interest, sometimes, of “taking out” just one purported terrorist. They then launch a second missile when people run to help rescue victims of such attacks, or wait until the funeral, and then attack that. (It’s a tactic called a “double tapping,” a term used by soldiers who illegally put a bullet in the head of a wounded enemy fighter instead of taking the person into custody and providing medical assistance as required by international law.)

      • ‘In Breaking the Senate, We Are Abandoning Our People’: Watch AOC Excoriate McConnell on House Floor

        “He broke the Senate as there are thousands of people in Texas lined up for food lines. He broke the Senate while hospitals no longer have beds to house the sick.”

      • ‘Monstrous Behavior’: Mnuchin Slammed for Biden ‘Snub’ That Could Sabotage US Economic Recovery

        On his way out the door, said one Nobel-winning economist, “Mnuchin is effectively trying to create a financial crisis.’

      • The Nation’s New Crime Boss

        The nation’s criminality continues into the present, most egregiously but not exclusively, by its refusal to make adequate reparations for these historical acts of inhumanity; by its acceptance of the violently racist policing of minority populations; by its ongoing program of mass incarceration of non-white men and boys; by its deportation of so called ‘illegals’ and by its frequent refusal to give asylum to those fleeing dire political, economic, and environmental conditions south of the border for which the U.S. is primarily responsible. Government sanctioned domestic executions, extra-judicial drone hits on foreign subjects, which may on occasion also kill American citizens, and numerous instances of psychological and physical torture inflicted on its perceived enemies, domestic and foreign, further impugn the probity of the state. A federally sanctioned health care system that is leveraged for corporate profit rather than human need represents a systematic attack on the well-being of large sections of the civilian population, and thus can be considered a crime against humanity. All the while, the nation’s nuclear-armed war machine, embedded in its planetary network of military bases, pursues declared and undeclared wars, creating a global backdrop to the nation’s domestic offenses.

        The current president has done nothing to correct this underlying criminality. Indeed, he has exacerbated it by his personal corruption, his fostering of the inhumane treatment of migrants at the country’s southern border, his explicit support of racist, white nationalism and, arguably, his criminal mismanagement of the federal response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The incoming president, however, is deeply enmeshed in the vicious turpitude of Empire, a condition to which he has either actively contributed or passively countenanced during his thirty-six years in the Senate and his eight years as vice president.

      • The Real v. the Liberal Fantasy Obama Presidency: Two Excerpts from Hollow Resistance: Obama, Trump, and the Politics of Appeasement

        “The horror,” reads the flattering and (if I might say so) perfectly crafted (in September) back-cover description of my new short volume Hollow Resistance: Obama, Trump, and the Politics of Appeasement, “is all around us. It proliferates our daily news. It dominates social media. The economy is in shambles. The COVID pandemic is spreading like wildfire while we face the strangest US election in modern history. If you want to make sense of it all, Hollow Resistance is required reading. In CounterPunch’s latest book, radical historian Paul Street recounts the Democrats’ culpability in the rise of Trump and explains how his neofascist horrors took root during the Obama years, and will live on even if Joe Biden is victorious in November.”

        Well, Biden, Obama’s candidate, has won and the neo-/pandemo-fascist horrors most definitely live on. There’s big evil afoot. The coronavirus is raging across the land, beckoning accelerated mass death and poverty while the malignant, orange-brushed anti-president refuses to concede defeat. His long- shot constitutional and extra-constitutional coup plans are still not dead, causing anxiety in the highest reaches of financial and military power.

      • Crime Bill Biden Will Let Trump Walk

        Biden, like the supposedly radical Bernie Sanders wants more police funding so police can do a better job. This ignores the fundamental relationship of power the police have with poor communities, primarily of color. Joe Biden can act surprised when the police murder someone in cold blood but when this stuff is happening so often at some point we have to ask: is this how the system is designed to work?

        Joe Biden says he wants to end hate crimes in America. He claims that he decided to run for President after Donald Trump’s dangerous rhetoric around white supremacist violence in Charlottesville. What Biden underestimates is the way white supremacy is synonymous with police departments and the law itself. Individual officers are by and large some of the most fringe white supremacists who go into the job for all the wrong reasons. There is a lot of talk about bad apples in police departments. People forget that the phrase goes “a bad apple spoils the bunch”, so you really are fucked with a bad apple. However there is also a way the bad apple idea washes over the politics of the majority of officers as well as the fact that no matter their politics they have too much power.

      • America First!
      • American Exceptionalism?

        1. does not mandate paid leave for mothers of new-borns

        2. does not mandate paid vacations for workers

      • Trump’s Massive, Lawless, and Immoral Legacy to Our Country Will Continue Unless…

        “It is difficult to overestimate the continuing harm to our beleaguered democracy and its people, should Trump and his cohorts not be brought to justice.”

      • In ‘Tremendous Rebuke’ of Trump Appointee, Federal Judge Bars US Media Agency Head From Interfering in News Coverage

        “Michael Pack has repeatedly and intentionally violated the First Amendment rights of VOA journalists.”

      • Dreams

        “Just 10 days after the trump learned that his lease on the White House would not be extended beyond January 20, 2021, a federal court ruled that the trump efforts to reduce the number of DACA recipients in the country was invalid.”

      • What lies ahead: After the damage of the Trump era, can America avoid disaster?

        But even in 1991, Goldstone had seen worrying signs in America of the same sorts of problems his book described in England and France in the 17th and 18th centuries, respectively, as well as in China and the Ottoman Empire. Most notable was the problem of “selfish elites” who “preferred to protect their private wealth, even at the expense of a deterioration of state finances, public services, and long-term international strength.”

        That’s why Goldstone’s perspective on the problems facing us today seem particularly worth our attention. He and Turchin combined to write an article for Noema magazine in September, “Welcome to the Turbulent Twenties,” and BuzzFeed highlighted their perspective — and specifically, the role of psi — in a late October story on the possibility of rising political violence in the U.S. But their perspective deserves much more than an occasional mention — it should inform the entire framework in which our discussions take place.

        I reached out to Goldstone even before this election had been decided, seeking the broadest perspective I could possibly get. Some of what he and Turchin wrote about is admittedly now difficult to imagine, given that Democrats may not win a Senate majority and have lost at least nine seats in the House. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

      • New ‘No Corporate Cabinet’ Campaign Pushes Biden to Pick People Who Will Advance Public Good

        “Joe Biden should not let corporate interests run the government—and, if needed, senators must hold him accountable.”

      • New ‘No Corporate Cabinet’ Campaign Pushes Biden to Pick People Who Will Advance Public Good

        With two months until Inauguration Day and President Donald Trump apparently hellbent on lighting more figurative fires on his way out of office, progressive groups on Friday launched the “No Corporate Cabinet” campaign, increasing pressure on President-elect Joe Biden to keep business insiders and industry lobbyists out of his administration.

      • In Rebuke to Trump, Georgia Recount Affirms Biden Win
      • ‘Certify the Results!’: GOP Michigan Lawmakers Blasted for ‘Legitimizing a Fascist Coup Attempt’ by Meeting With Trump

        Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) called the meeting between the president and two Republican state representatives “an attempt to subvert our democracy and undermine the will of Michigan voters.”

      • Ilhan Omar to President-elect Biden: Seize ‘Once-in-a-Generation’ Chance to End Disastrous US Foreign Policy

        In an op-ed at The Nation, the Minnesota Democrat explains how the Biden White House can forge a path “toward justice.”

      • Democrats Must Commit Themselves to the Needs of Non-College Educated Workers

        Now is the time to show the working class that a Democratic agenda can deliver real change.

      • Biggest trade deal in history excludes United States
      • Crying Wolf on Election Fraud Is OK at NYT—if Targets Are Official Enemies

        President Donald Trump’s categorical refusal to accept what seems like an inevitable and increasingly crushing election loss has many in media rightly worried about the political repercussions of such a move, with some sounding the alarm over a potential coup d’etat in the US (e.g., Salon, 11/11/20; Washington Post, 11/12/20; Guardian, 11/13/20; New Republic, 11/13/20).

      • The US Has Been Moving Toward Fascism Since Goldwater
      • The Decline

        His world as president with awesome powers at his disposal is ending and he apparently cannot deal with it. Assuredly sulking, probably feeling sorry for himself, he is spinning a fantasy of having won the election as more and more of his countrymen, including his loyal followers, are dying in a horrific resurgence of the virus and COVID-19.

        The death toll among Americans hit a quarter of a million. More than 1,100 people are dying daily. Trump virtually has ignored the devastation the stubborn disease has caused as he focuses on himself, himself only. It’s unconscionable.

      • Roaming Charges: The Gang That Couldn’t Sue Straight

        + Many Democrats complained for years that 2004 election was stolen by Bush-friendly Diebold voting machines in Ohio. And Greg Palast wrote a recent book on how Trump was going to steal the 2020 election using the same techniques Trump now shrieks in his Tweets and legal filings were used against him.

        + Trump’s right, the electoral system is rigged, but not for the reasons he alleges. The system isn’t rigged to pick winners, but losers. The system is geared to preserve a certain class of political actors and keep out any rebellious interlopers. This doesn’t happen through the programing of voting machines or the stuffing of mail-in bailouts, through ballot harvesting or graveyard voters. The real rigging of the system is entirely (or almost entirely) legal: through PACs, dark money, gerrymandering, voter disenfranchisement, onerous ballot status requirements, the electoral college, extreme constraints on third and independent parties. Still, if Trump can bring further discredit to the current electoral system in his final weeks in office, it will be his greatest contribution to American political life next to withdrawing from Afghanistan and aborting the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership.

      • Democrats and the Canard of ‘Too Far Left’

        For those with memories that stretch all of the way back to ye olden days of Barack Obama’s administration, the perennial cry of ‘Socialism!’ was applied by Republicans to his gift of several trillion dollars to Wall Street, his milquetoast effort to apply minimum standards of caution to bank activities from that point forward, his bailouts of the senior managements of the automakers while implementing ‘tiered wages’ for the workers who build cars, his Grand Bargain to cut Social Security and Medicare, and his intentionally neoliberal ACA (Affordable Care Act), whose ‘market based’ features caused the program to garner minimal public support.

        Even if one were to grant their characterization as socialism, five decades of neoliberal ‘solutions’ produced the near failed state that we now inhabit. The claim that name-calling would lead people to abandon functioning programs in the public interest is cover for the bi-partisan failure to produce such programs. Despite a century of cynical and commercially funded rhetoric to the contrary, most people want ‘socialist’ healthcare. Most people want income and retirement security. Most people want meaningful employment at a living wage. Most people want to see their children educated, clothed, fed and employed. And most people want a livable world.

      • Biden Be Bold: AOC & Cori Bush Join Climate Protest Outside DNC Urging Activists to “Bring the Heat”

        Indigenous, racial justice and climate activists staged an occupation outside the Democratic National Convention in Washington Thursday, calling on President-elect Joe Biden to take immediate climate action and to approve the Green New Deal. Advocates are also calling for a Cabinet free of lobbyists and others with close industry ties. A number of lawmakers spoke at the protest, including Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush from Missouri and Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. We air excerpts of their remarks.

      • ‘Media Sources in the Democratic Party Tend to Be More Right-Wing’
      • The Long Odds Facing Trump’s Attempts to Get State Legislatures to Override Election Results

        On Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump is set to hold a meeting at the White House with the Republican leaders of Michigan’s Senate and House of Representatives. It’s unclear what the president plans to discuss, but multiple press reports suggest Trump, in a desperate bid to cling to power, has pinned his hopes on persuading GOP-controlled legislatures in battleground states that voted for Joe Biden to intervene and throw the election to him. That aspiration cropped up in the Trump campaign’s courtroom maneuverings this week. Legal papers filed with a federal court in central Pennsylvania (the campaign filed a draft version, apparently in error), showed that the campaign had contemplated — but ultimately decided against — asking the judge to order “the Pennsylvania General Assembly to choose Pennsylvania’s electors.”

        Five states fit the description of battleground states with GOP-run legislatures that voted for Biden: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia. It would be difficult to convince lawmakers to overturn the will of voters in even one state. For Trump to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, he would need to pull that trick off in three states.

      • Parental advocacy group warns Parler ‘dangerous for minors’

        The advocacy group Parents Together Action issued a public warning Friday about the alternative social media app Parler, arguing it doesn’t moderate content, which is “dangerous for minors.”

      • Inside Parler, the social media platform by and for Trump supporters

        Parler was founded in 2018 by two computer programmers named John Matze and Jared Thomson, and is financially backed by Rebekah Mercer, whose father is Robert Mercer. Robert Mercer is the co-founder of Cambridge Analytica and a hedge fund manager. He’s also a major funder of Breitbart. According to the Wall Street Journal, sources said Parler was “a Mercer family investment.”

      • Arabs Warn Biden: Do Not Embrace Islamists

        Several Arab political analysts and columnists, particularly in the Gulf, have voiced similar sentiments. The message they are sending to Biden and the Democrats: We do not want to go back to the bad old days when the US administration aligned itself with Islamist terrorist groups.

      • Why ‘Religious Defamation’ Laws Would Ban Islam

        However, to gain traction among the international community, the OIC and others cynically maintain that such laws should protect all religions from defamation, not just Islam (even as Muslim governments regularly ban churches, destroy crucifixes, and burn Bibles). Disingenuous or not, such wording suggests that any expression that “slanders” the religious sentiments of others should be banned.

      • Twitter Will Hand Over @POTUS Account to Biden on Jan. 20: NYPost

        Twitter Inc. will hand over the official U.S. president’s @POTUS account to President-elect Joe Biden on Inauguration Day, even if Donald Trump refuses to concede, the New York Post reported, citing a spokesman.

      • Twitter will transfer presidential accounts to Joe Biden on Inauguration Day

        Twitter will transfer the @POTUS account to President-elect Joe Biden when he’s sworn in on Inauguration Day, the company told Politico. Twitter will transfer the account to Biden even if President Donald Trump hasn’t conceded — which he still hasn’t done, despite the election widely being called for Biden earlier this month.

      • Twitter Will Transfer POTUS Account to Biden in January

        President-elect Joe Biden will secure control to Twitter’s official @POTUS account and others associated with the White House on Jan. 20 — regardless of whether Donald Trump has, by then, conceded that he lost the election.

        In addition to @POTUS, the Biden team on Inauguration Day also will take control of accounts including @WhiteHouse, @VP, @FLOTUS and @PressSec. Twitter’s plans were first reported by Politico.

      • Why Georgia’s Unscientific Recount ‘Horrified’ Experts

        n-the-ground observers of the count included Harri Hursti, an election cybersecurity expert who has studied elections in five countries, including the United States. “This whole thing was originally called a risk-limiting audit, then a hand recount, then an audit—I don’t know what it is; I don’t think anyone else knows,” he said.

        Hursti noted that he had looked at the software being used to manage the hand count, an easy thing to do, given that Voting Works uses open-source code. He had seen more than a dozen changes to the code since the count began—a security concern, he said, since no entity had approved the original software or the changes.

        Hursti also noted that staffers and volunteers in different counties—and sometimes in the same county—were following different procedures for counting the ballots. “Hand recounts only work when people are trained in and apply consistent methodologies,” said Richard DeMillo, computer science professor and interim chairman of the School of Cybersecurity and Privacy at Georgia Tech. “You could look at live feeds [of the hand count] and see that this is not the case.”

      • Pramila Jayapal Says “Lindsey Graham Must Resign” After Allegation He Tried to Meddle in Georgia Election Results

        Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) called on Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to resign after Graham has reportedly been trying to pull shenanigans with election results, potentially bolstering President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of election fraud and rigging. Graham, once a Trump critic who has turned into a presidential lapdog, has reportedly been asking GOP officials election-related questions about mail-in ballots. One official came forward to say he felt Graham was trying to advocate for throwing out legal votes.

        The Washington Post was the first to report Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger (a Republican) said he’s been dealing with fellow GOP members attacking his work as he oversees the Georgia vote tallying. He told the Post he was shocked when Graham called him with a question about signature matching, which Raffensperger interpreted as a ploy to get legally cast mail-in ballots thrown out in some counties.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Billionaire Suleiman Kerimov wins lawsuit against ‘Vedomosti’ and ‘Forbes’

        Moscow’s Basmanny Court has partially satisfied billionaire businessman and senator Suleiman Kerimov’s defamation lawsuit against Vedomosti, Forbes, and Sobesednik, as well as an individual Facebook user, the court’s press service told Meduza. 

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Facebook Attracts International Attention When It Removes A Historic Vietnam War Photo Posted By The Editor-in-Chief Of Norway’s Biggest Newspaper (2016)

        Summary: Tom Egeland, a Norwegian author of a number of best-selling fiction books, posted a well-known photo known as “The Terror of War” to Facebook. The historic photograph (taken by Vietnamese-American photographer Nick Ut) depicts a naked Vietnamese girl running from a napalm attack during the Vietnam War.

      • White House Offers To Allow Renaming Confederate Bases… In Exchange For Getting Rid Of Section 230

        Let’s state upfront that there is no way in hell this is happening, and it’s all just performative nonsense. No one is actually going to do this. However, the NY Times is reporting that White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has floated the idea of “compromise” to get the annual NDAA passed, after President Trump has whined about it requiring the renaming of military bases named after Confederacy leaders. As a bit of background, I still don’t understand why we have literally anything named after leaders who actually tried to leave the country and fought against the US military, in order to continue enslaving people… but that’s just me. The NDAA (the National Defense Authorization Act) is the annual budget allocated by Congress for the military. It’s one of those “must pass” kind of things that some in Congress try to sneak junk into, knowing that it has to pass. President Trump has threatened to veto the bill because of the base renaming bit.

      • To block or not to block Will Roskomnadzor actually restrict access to major sites like YouTube for ‘censoring’ Russian content?

        On November 19, a group of lawmakers introduced a draft law to the State Duma, which would allow the Russian authorities to block any website for removing “publicly significant information” (or for “restricting the rights of [Russian] citizens to freely seek, receive, transmit, produce, and distribute” such information). The law could affect both Russian and foreign sites — the draft law’s explanatory note mentioned the American Internet giants Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube specifically. According to the authors of the draft law, these websites have committed these types of violations in the past — for example, censoring Russian state media outlets like “Russia Today,” “RIA Novosti,” and “Krym 24.” Meduza answers key questions about the latest attempt to control content on the RuNet.

      • FBI and DOJ prepared takedown of “Iranian” American Herald Tribune website with years of legal chicanery
      • How ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ ran afoul of Nazi film censors

        It was, at that time of its release, the greatest success in German literary history: Erich Maria Remarque’s anti-war novel All Quiet on the Western Front (Im Westen nichts Neues) was published on January 29, 1929 and was quickly translated into 26 languages. In Germany alone, nearly half a million copies were sold within months.

        Yet the roaring success of a novel detailing the horrors of the First World War did not go over well with the National Socialists, who were then preparing to assume power. They spread rumors that Remarque had assumed a false surname and was actually called “Kramer.” And they claimed that he was a French Jew, and also that he did not fight as a soldier in the First World War.

      • Another suspect arrested over Lalmonirhat mob lynching

        Police arrested a man for his suspected involvement in the mob lynching that killed former librarian Abu Yunus Md Shahidunnabi Jewel in Patgram upazila of Lalmonirhat.


        The victim had gone to Burimari on October 29. After the Asr prayer at the central mosque, he was accused of disrespecting the Quran and beaten to death before his body was torched.

      • Kano Islamic Clerics Ask State Government To Stop Teaching Of French In Schools Over ‘Blasphemous’ Cartoon In France

        The clerics, who also asked for all ties with France to be cut by the state government, demanded that all students learning French should be compelled to switch to Arabic Language as a form of protest for a blasphemous cartoon in the European country.

      • Egypt cracks down on blasphemy in wave of arrests

        In the past few days, several arrest warrants have been issued for Egyptian Christians accused of insulting Islam. A young Muslim man was also detained for mocking the hosts of the Cairo-based Holy Quran Radio Station.

        These cases have sparked a debate about blasphemy and renewed calls to abolish the crime from Egyptian law.

      • Iran Jails Ailing Female Dissident Who Signed 2019 Letter Asking Khamenei to Quit, Husband Says

        Iran has imprisoned an ailing female dissident who signed a 2019 letter calling on its Islamist ruler to quit, rejecting her pleas to delay the start of an effective 27-month prison term until she is treated for severe pain, according to her husband.

        Speaking to VOA Persian from Iran on Tuesday, Abbas Vahedian Shahroudi, the husband of Shahla Jahanbin, said she had gone to Tehran’s Evin prison on November 14 in response to her latest summons, and had hoped to be granted a further delay in starting her prison term for medical reasons.

      • French Law on Illegal Content Online Ruled Unconstitutional: Lessons For The EU To Learn

        On June 18th 2020, the French Constitutional Court declared key provisions of the Avia law unconstitutional. That legislation aimed at tackling terrorist content and hate speech online had been adopted in May despite massive criticism by representatives of the digital economy and civil society as well as the European Commission. The Constitutional Court ruled that the law violates freedom of expression and is not compatible with the French Constitution.

        The Court’s ruling represents a major victory for digital liberties, not only for France, but potentially for all of Europe. The Constitutional Court’s judgement will likely have a big influence on the future European content regulation-related files, like the Terrorist content online-regulation (TERREG) that is currently negotiated in the EU (latest public draft here).

        We are therefore publishing an English translation of the judgement (below).

      • Reddit removed me from my own legal, non-abusive community

        TL;DR: It’s not your community unless it’s your domain and server.

        This is an expanded and amended text which I posted on the orange site, where it quickly began to gain upvotes, but was then flagged to death.

      • Can we get our [Internet] back now please?

        An excerpt of this piece was first published in June 2020 in Adbusters, an international not-for-profit magazine produced by a global collective of artists and activists who want to ‘shake up complacent consumer culture’.

        Big oil. Big tobacco. Big pharma. How did we let ‘big tech’ happen? You would have thought humanity would learn its lesson. That nothing good comes of the mass accumulation and concentration of power into the hands of so few.

        The [Internet] was meant to be different. No one would own the [Internet]. No one could own the [Internet]. It was supposed to belong to all of us.

      • New [Internet] rules to give Pakistan blanket powers of censorship

        Pakistan is all set to roll out new [Internet] rules that critics say will give the government wide powers of censorship after rejecting requests from social media companies for consultation.

        Muslim-majority Pakistan already has media regulations that adhere to conservative social customs. Last month, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) blocked TikTok for failing to filter out “immoral and indecent” content.

        The new rules were approved initially by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet in February.

      • Research Shows ‘Extremely Aggressive’ Internet Censorship Spreading in World’s Democracies

        The largest collection of public [Internet] censorship data ever compiled shows that even citizens of what are considered the world’s freest countries aren’t safe from [Internet] censorship. The University of Michigan team used its own Censored Planet tool, an automated censorship tracking system launched in 2018, to collect more than 21 billion measurements over 20 months in 221 countries. They recently presented a paper on the findings at the 2020 ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security.

      • BBC to censor Christmas classic Fairytale of New York’s “offensive” language

        The iconic song’s lyrics have been an annual source of debate in recent years and BBC Radio 1 has decided to play an alternative version of the track this year, using different lyrics sung by MacColl.

      • Moral Policing of OTT Platforms Is Only the Latest Episode in India’s Saga of Censorship

        In July, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal asked the entertainment industry to self-regulate their programs on OTT platforms, claiming that many of them portray India and Indian society poorly. If the minister was really concerned, there are hundreds of other real events taking place across the country which really portray Indian society as still living in a medieval era.

        But matters have quickly gathered steam since then. Recently, after hearing a petition filed in public interest to regulate OTT platforms, the Supreme Court issued notice to the Centre and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). And last week, a gazette notification brought all streaming platforms under the ambit of the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B), sparking fears of a new censorship regime.

        In particular, the ministry may try to justify that the existing laws to cope with objectionable content (particularly, under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act and the Indian Penal Code) are not adequate.

      • Russia Threatens to Block YouTube for ‘Censoring’ State Media

        Russia could block YouTube and other major U.S. social media platforms for “censoring” content from Russian state media, according to draft legislation submitted to parliament Thursday.

        The draft bill explains that the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Foreign Ministry would be able to identify foreign platforms they view as violating Russians’ rights by restricting content. That designation would allow Russia’s federal media watchdog Roskomnadzor to fully or partially block the platform.

      • Vietnam threatens to shut down Facebook over censorship requests: Source

        Vietnam has threatened to shut down Facebook in the country if it does not bow to government pressure to censor more local political content on its platform, a senior official at the US social media giant told Reuters.

        Facebook complied with a government request in April to significantly increase its censorship of “anti-state” posts for local users but Vietnam asked the company again in August to step up its restrictions of critical posts, the official said.

      • Exclusive: Vietnam threatens to shut down Facebook over censorship requests – source

        Vietnam has threatened to shut down Facebook in the country if it does not bow to government pressure to censor more local political content on its platform, a senior official at the U.S. social media giant told Reuters.

        Facebook complied with a government request in April to significantly increase its censorship of “anti-state” posts for local users, but Vietnam asked the company again in August to step up its restrictions of critical posts, the official said.

      • Vietnam Tells Facebook: Yield to Censors or We’ll Shut You Down, Source Says

        Vietnam has threatened to shut down Facebook in the country if it does not bow to government pressure to censor more local political content on its platform, a senior official at the U.S. social media giant told Reuters.

        Facebook complied with a government request in April to significantly increase its censorship of “anti-state” posts for local users, but Vietnam asked the company again in August to step up its restrictions of critical posts, the official said.

      • Democrats demand more censorship from Big Tech bosses

        Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee spent Tuesday’s hearing chiding the CEOs of Facebook and Twitter for not stepping up their censorship efforts — despite Twitter’s unprecedented gagging of The Post’s account for two weeks and frequent masking of President Trump’s tweets.

      • Islamic clerics ask Kano Assembly to punish blasphemers

        He said, “Our resolutions include that the state government should replace the teaching of the French language in all schools with the Arabic language.

        “Muslims should boycott French products as well as their economic, financial and political interests until France is pulled down to its knees.

      • Burning Koran NOT a hate crime, Swedish prosecutor says, after dropping probes into stunts that triggered rioting

        Desecration of the Koran by burning or kicking the book is not a hate crime in itself, a Swedish prosecutor has said, as investigations into two anti-Islam protests, which had triggered Muslim rioting in Malmo, were dropped.

      • Islamic Terror Strikes Europe – Once Again

        Recent weeks have witnessed once again radical Islamist attacks in Europe, ostensibly, aimed to intimidate and stifle free speech in multicultural Europe. This time, the targets were France and Austria. For Vienna, it was a traumatic experience; the city is not used to such violence. Austria has not been a targeted by Islamic terrorist in recent times. The motive of the Islamist killers, like that in France, was apparently outrage over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. The killers in both countries pledged their loyalty to the Islamic State.

      • Geert Wilders Slams Dutch PM: ‘You have imported a Monster called Islam into our Country’ (Video)

        The Dutch House of Representatives held a debate on freedom of speech at the request of Party for Freedom (PVV) leader, Geert Wilders after the beheading of the French teacher Samuel Paty. Wilders slammed the open-borders policies of the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte for “importing a monster called Islam into our country, which has put our country in danger.”

      • “We will behead you all” – France is the new Syria

        While French President Emmanuel Macron is working on the law against “Islamist separatism,” Islamists are threatening to separate many heads from the bodies of numerous mayors and professors.

        Writings threatening to behead Jérémie Bréaud, the Macronian mayor of Bron (Rhône), have appeared in various places in Lyon, leading Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin to place the first citizen under protection. “Jérémie Bréaud, we will behead you, son of Satan”. And again: “We will behead teachers and students.”

        “I am not afraid and I will not give up,” responded Bréaud.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Journalists association: Justice minister Reps probe a press freedom threat

        The Estonian Association of Journalists (EAL) has hit out at a proposal by Minister of Justice Raivo Aeg (Isamaa), to bring the prosecutor’s office’s weight to bear on evening newspaper Õhtuleht, following an expose by the paper which revealed misuse of a ministerial car.

      • Time for Scott Morrison to request Biden to free Julian Assange

        With the Democrat Joe Biden set to take over as the next US president on 20 January 2021, it is high time for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to make contact with him and discuss the matter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange if Canberra is, as it claims, serious about providing assistance to the man and helping him go free.

      • Zimbabwe judge ends detention for investigative journalist

        A Zimbabwean judge on Friday ended the 17-day detention of an investigative journalist charged for tweeting about alleged corruption.

        Hopewell Chin’ono is being charged with obstruction of justice arising from a tweet he made alleging corrupt practices within Zimbabwe’s National Prosecuting Authority. He faces up to a year in jail or a fine if convicted.

        He is being held in the harsh Chikurubi prison in the capital, Harare, where he was previously detained for six weeks before being granted bail on a separate charge of inciting violence in September.

      • Zimbabwe Court Frees Journalist Charged With Obstructing Justice

        Zimbabwean journalist and government critic Hopewell Chin’ono was freed on bail on Friday after being arrested two weeks ago on charges of obstructing justice.

        Chin’ono’s arrest and that of dozens of activists in the last four months has led to accusations that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government was persecuting opponents, a charge the authorities deny.

        Chin’ono, who has criticised the government on social media, was first arrested in July on charges of inciting violent anti-government protests.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Poland’s Women Are in the Streets

        Krakow—“We go right to TVP Krakow! Truth instead of lies!” The updates in the secret Telegram chat kept pinging in. Our next protest target: the headquarters of TVP—the Polish state media corporation that since 2015 has been a mouthpiece of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. It was the second big action on a dreary night some two weeks after Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal placed a near-total ban on abortion. The first protest—an automobile and bicycle blockade—was already a success. A seemingly endless phalanx of honking cars and whooping cyclists snaked from the north to the south end of the Vistula River, snarling rush-hour traffic along a major thoroughfare.

      • Activists Center the Grief, Joy and Humanity of the Black Trans Community
      • The Class War at Walmart

        All told, it’s a stark illustration of the extent to which the American economy works like a giant Ponzi scheme that thrives on the labor of workers paid next to nothing for the benefit of the exorbitantly rich. A deeply exploitative arrangement, it’s also one effectively subsidized by the taxpayer — as a new report published by Congress’s Government Accountability Office (GAO) makes vividly clear.

        Commissioned by Bernie Sanders, who made the low wages of companies like McDonald’s and Walmart a centerpiece of his recent presidential campaign, the study uses data from February gathered from agencies across eleven states charged with administering Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps.

        Tasked with analyzing the employment backgrounds of the roughly twenty-one million American workers who make use of both programs, the authors paint an astonishing portrait of how huge and profitable companies pay wages so low that many employees must turn to federal aid — or starve.

      • Professor: Asimov’s Laws Are Outdated and It’s Time to Write More

        His suggestions are as follows, as summarized by OneZero:

        1. Digital technologies ought to “complement professionals, not replace them. ”
        2. AI and robotic systems “should not counterfeit humanity.”
        3. AI should be prevented from intensifying “zero-sum arms races.”
        4. Robotic and AI systems need to be forced to “indicate the identity of their creators(s), controller(s), and owners(s).”

      • The Stolen Childhood of Teenage Factory Workers

        I didn’t expect this story to become so personal.

        But as I interviewed young Guatemalan immigrants who work overnight shifts in factories in suburban Chicago, I started seeing the boy I imagine my father once was. Stoic. Exhausted.

      • New York Court Officials Complete Rare Review of Cases Handled by Judge Forced Into Retirement by Dementia

        In August, New York court officials made a sad and surprising announcement: ShawnDya Simpson, a 54-year-old judge, was retiring because of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. It was both a tragedy and a dilemma: How would anyone know whether the judge’s illness had affected her handling of cases in the months, maybe years before she was forced from the bench?

        In October, court officials announced they would do something rare: conduct a review of scores of the judge’s orders and decisions to see if there were obvious examples of mistakes or misguided judgments.

      • Why Charges Against Protesters Are Being Dismissed by the Thousands

        Prosecutors called the scale of both the mass arrests and mass dismissals within a few short months unrivaled, at least since the civil rights protests of the early 1960s. With the police detaining hundreds of people in major cities, the arrests this year ended up colliding with the limitations of the court system.

        In the aftermath, prosecutors declined to pursue many of the cases because they concluded that the protesters were exercising their basic civil rights. Cases involving free speech or free assembly rarely succeed in court, according to prosecutors across the country, and the coronavirus pandemic also played a role in the decision. A wave of thousands of minor cases threatened to capsize courts already floundering under hefty lockdown backlogs.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • More Evidence FCC Claims That Killing Net Neutrality Would Boost Broadband Investment Were Bullshit

        Since the very beginning of the net neutrality debate, ISPs have repeatedly proclaimed that net neutrality rules (read: stopgap rules crafted in the absence of competition to stop giant monopolies from abusing their power) utterly demolished broadband sector investment. It was a primary talking point during the battle over the 2010 rules, and was foundational in the Ajit Pai FCC’s arguments justifying their hugely unpopular and fraud prone repeal.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Microsoft: Bethesda Games Will Be ‘First, Best’ On Xbox, PC

        Several weeks back, we discussed how Microsoft and its newly acquired property, Bethesda Softworks, were making seemingly conflicting statements on what the purchase of the studio meant for beloved franchises like Fallout and Elder Scrolls, among others. Concerns popped up immediately after the acquisition, with people wondering whether the next Fallout game would be siloed to the Xbox and/or PC, as opposed to showing up on other consoles, such as Sony’s PlayStation. Xbox’s Phil Spencer kicked the concern into overdrive by noting that he thought Microsoft could recoup its purchase price of Bethesda even if the studio’s games weren’t sold for the PlayStation. Todd Howard of Bethesda, however, said the studio is committed to making its games available across platforms, while also acknowledging such details with Microsoft hadn’t been ironed out.

    • Monopolies

      • Once Again, Facebook Is Using Privacy As A Sword To Kill Independent Innovation

        Facebook claims that their role as guardian of users’ privacy gives them the power to shut down apps that give users more control over their own social media experience. Facebook is wrong. The latest example is their legal bullying of Friendly Social Browser.

        Friendly is a web browser with plugins geared towards Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites. It’s been around since 2010 and has a passionate following. Friendly offers ad and tracker blocking and simplifies downloading of photos and videos. It lets users search their news feeds by keyword, or reorder their feeds chronologically, and it displays Facebook pages with alternative “skins.”

      • Facebook antitrust probe is targeting WhatsApp and Instagram acquisitions

        The antitrust investigations into Facebook Inc. are entering their final stages, targeting the social media giant’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram, according to a report today from The Washington Post.

        Reports that Facebook was being investigated by the U.S. federal government and states go back to 2019, with more recent reports saying an antitrust lawsuit is likely before the end of the year. A report Nov. 8 suggested that an antitrust lawsuit from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission could come this month.

      • Apple to AT&T Wary of Full Disclosure in Google Antitrust Case

        In a filing Friday in federal court in Washington, Apple said it gave the U.S. Justice Department “competitively sensitive” documents and that allowing lawyers inside Google to see the information would result in “material harm” to Apple. A similar joint filing was made by Amazon.com Inc., AT&T Inc., Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp., Comcast Corp., Sonos Inc., Duck Duck Go Inc. and T-Mobile US Inc.

        Concerns about such disclosures have emerged since the government sued Google for allegedly abusing its power to thwart competition. The Justice Department and Google have clashed over the extent of access to information collected by the government before it sued. The judge overseeing the case, Amit Mehta, has yet to rule on the issue.

      • Copyrights

        • Poland’s Bid To Get Upload Filters Taken Out Of The EU Copyright Directive Suddenly Looks Much More Hopeful

          As readers of Techdirt will remember, one of the biggest defeats for users of the Internet — and for online freedom of expression — was the passage of the EU Copyright Directive last year. The law was passed using a fundamentally dishonest argument that it did not require upload filters, because they weren’t explicitly mentioned in the text. As a result, supporters of the legislation claimed, platforms would be free to use other technologies that did not threaten freedom of speech in the way that automated upload filters would do. However, as soon as the law was passed, countries like France said that the only way to implement Article 17 (originally Article 13) was through upload filters, and copyright companies started pushing for legal memes to be blocked because they now admitted that upload filters were “practically unworkable”.

        • US Court Orders Couple to Pay $35,000 For Sharing Pirated ‘YTS’ Movies

          A federal court in Arizona has ordered a local couple to pay $35,000 for sharing pirated copies of the films “Lost Child” and “Saving Christmas.” This includes $5,000 for distributing the movies with altered “copyright management information,” such as the pirate term YTS. The couple failed to defend in court but repeatedly indicated, in rather profane language, that they’re not planning to pay a dime.

        • Nintendo Shuts Down Smash Bros. Tournament, Blames Use of Pirated Games

          Competitive Smash Bros. players hoping to test their skills online have received a major setback after Nintendo stomped them with a cease-and-desist. According to Nintendo, The Big House tournament was set to use pirated copies of Super Smash Bros. Melee and special code that allows lagless online play, in breach of its intellectual property and branding rights.

        • CJEU hearing in the Polish challenge to Article 17: Not even the supporters of the provision agree on how it should work

          On Tuesday, November 10, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU or Court) heard case C-401/19. This case is a request by the Polish government to annul the filtering obligation contained in Article 17 of the Copyright in the Digital Single Market (DSM) Directive on the grounds that it will lead to censorship and will limit the freedom of expression and the freedom to receive and impart information guaranteed in Article 13 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Charter).

          The defendants in this case are the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. In addition, the European Commission and the governments of France and Spain intervened in the case on the side of the defendants. Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe was also present at the hearing.

        • The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day Two: What the Government Doesn’t Say About Creating a “Level Playing Field”

          The series on Broadcasting Act Blunders continues by noting that while the “level playing field” claim is seemingly taken as a given, it is at best misleading (prior posts in the Broadcasting Act Blunder series include Day 1: Why there is no Canadian Content Crisis). It is true that conventional broadcasters and broadcast distributors face mandated payments to support Canadian content as part of their licensing requirements. Leaving aside the fact that broadcasters are currently seeking reductions in payments at the CRTC, the notion that the only regulatory burden or benefit is mandated Cancon contributions is a complete misread of the law. The reality is that broadcasters receive benefits worth hundreds of millions of dollars in return for those payments as part of what amounts to a regulatory quid pro quo. None of those benefits are available to Internet streaming services, yet the “level the playing field” discussion focuses exclusively on equivalent payment requirements. What are some of the regulatory and policy benefits enjoyed by traditional broadcasters and broadcast distributors not available to Internet streaming services? Ten to consider include: [...]

        • New MPA Subpoena Targets Private BitTorrent Tracker & Locally Significant Pirate Sites

          The MPA and Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment regularly obtain DMCA subpoenas against Cloudflare, often targeting the most significant pirate sites globally. Interestingly, a new subpoena obtained this week appears to target sites that are important to specific regions, notably around Europe. It also includes, to our knowledge, the first attempt to learn more about a private BitTorrent tracker.

New Position Paper on the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Says It’s “Not the Best Solution for Europe” — Clearly an Understatement

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ever noticed how the ‘Kats’ completely stopped talking about the Unified Patent Court (UPC)? They know it’s dead. They just know it.

A white cat

Summary: UPC proponents (profiteers) aren’t enjoying support anymore; not only has progress stalled (come to a complete stop) but the whole debate about the UPC (or anything conceptually like it) turned toxic and negative because facts come out, overriding lobbyists of litigation giants

THE predictions from Team UPC have long been a source of amusement. Some have given up making fake predictions. Few have not. Some retired early. Some left their employer. UPC promotion is a big risk/liability to one’s reputation. Some began doing it anonymously. How very telling.

“They wasted their money promoting a dud which in retrospect makes them look incredibly dishonest.”These frauds and charlatans thought that repeatedly lying to the public and to our elected officials would accomplish something. They wasted their money promoting a dud which in retrospect makes them look incredibly dishonest.

Now there’s this new paper (exactly a month and a week old), signed by Alain Strowel (alain.strowel@uclouvain.be), Fernand de Visscher (fernand.devisscher@simontbraun.eu), Vincent Cassiers (vincent.cassiers@uclouvain.be), and Luc Desaunettes (luc.desaunettes@uclouvain.be). “If you agree with the position papers or the simple motion,” they say, “please contact one of us.” They urge a “pause” to the whole thing. I’m not adding my name to it because I think that not only the UPC is wrong; anything even remotely like it is wrong. We know where the idea came from and who/what for.

“It’s time to put the brakes on this hopeless chase. It’s a total waste of politicians’ and courts’ time.”Here are the two originals (updated 2 days ago). We’re aware that most people don’t like PDFs and won’t bother opening any, so we’ve reproduced below, as images, both papers/statements, which are mostly signatures (notice Professor Xenos among the signatures below, along with many other names). The images below are added for readers’ convenience. They’re not reproductions of the underlying text.

UPC Alternatives P1

UPC Alternatives P2

UPC Alternatives P3

UPC Preliminary Research Working Document P1

UPC Preliminary Research Working Document P2

UPC Preliminary Research Working Document P3

UPC Preliminary Research Working Document P4

UPC Preliminary Research Working Document P5

UPC Preliminary Research Working Document P6

From the corresponding page:

The Unified Patent Court system is not the best solution for Europe and for innovation, and there are alternative systems to consider after Brexit.

The intellectual property group within CRIDES is behind an on-going initiative to rethink the system for adjudicating patents in Europe.

A position paper and a motion on the Unified Patent Court system, already signed by some experts, practitioners and academics, are available below.

We found this because of UPC boosters, who added an “UPDATE: This article was updated on 21 November 2020 [Saturday] to include the position paper of European academics and practitioners”

As usual, comments there are more informative that the Bristows diatribe. Here’s the latest comment, which speaks about the ridiculous prose from Team UPC’s ‘useful idiots’ in the German government:

Well, I think that we can conclude that my powers of prediction are very strong indeed. On 2 November 2020, I stated that:
“we can already predict with 100% confidence what the responses will be, namely “Everything is in order. Nothing to see here”. We can also be certain that the responses will amount to nothing more than hand-waving, smoke and mirrors and half truths”.

Well, the answers provided by the German government match this prediction PRECISELY. My personal favourite is the answer provided in connection with questions regarding the absence of a cost-benefit analysis for the UPC and the possible impact upon SMEs. This is because the government’s “excuse” for not conducting any analysis is that they were happy to rely upon two prior “studies” that were conducted … in 2009!

The trouble with this is that, back in 2009, the legislation relating to unitary patents was COMPLETELY different. This is because the flavour of the day back then was the ECPC. That proposed system was struck down by the CJEU as being incompatible with EU law. Thus, unsurprisingly, the provisions of the UPC Agreement look rather different. There is also the matter that neither of the 2009 studies includes anything close to a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis.

Thus, the German government’s “excuse” for not conducting a full cost-benefit analysis is effectively that other people did some “back of a fag packet” calculations more than a decade ago in connection with a proposed legal system that was really quite different to what we have now.

Well, in the face of such compelling reasoning, I am sure that no one will doubt any of the government’s other assertions, such as:
“The compatibility of the UPCA with the Basic Law, in particular the fundamental rights, as well as with Union law was comprehensively examined”; and
“The federal government does not see any further constitutional deficits”.

I mean, there is no way on earth that these statements could be viewed as being deliberately misleading, right?

So, irrelevant 2009 (yes, 2009!) ‘studies’ are the basis of the lies; back when UPC was mostly a concept, just a little beyond hypothetical. Let’s focus on the 2020 scholarly position (based on experts who produced more than just a study), which explains that the UPC is unsuitable, truly unfit for purpose. It’s time to put the brakes on this hopeless chase. It’s a total waste of politicians’ and courts’ time. A lot of taxpayers’ money was already put into that. What do they have to show for it? Nothing.

Mortality Rates Increase at the EPO and Christmases (or Holidays) During Corona Mean Fewer Days Off

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Among other factoids and findings from the latest GCC meeting report

Xmas tree

Summary: There’s still no sign (other than hand-waving and empty gestures/smiles) that the EPO’s management wishes to right the wrongs and undo the damage done over the past decade or so; in some ways, today’s management is worse than ever before (grossly incompetent and eager to break the law at every turn)

LAST month there was a rare(r) opportunity to “discuss directly” with António Campinos the “New Normal” 'survey' after he was absent/missing from the last meeting, citing health reasons.

“Battistelli’s ally or “plant” Bergot is claiming “lack of resources” while Battistelli blows EPO money away (on gambling) and speaking about “data protection issues” when the EPO violates data protection laws all the time.”Was the meeting productive? Apparently not, not even by EPO standards (which are appallingly low). After the meeting the Central Staff Committee said that “[o]nly two items were on the official agenda for consultation: the public holidays 2021 and the review of the death insurance.”

“The number of deceased colleagues increased,” it said, “but the low numbers are not statistically significant to show a trend.”

EPO changeThere used to be many suicides as well.

“Newly elected members of the CSC had for the first time the opportunity to discuss directly with Mr Campinos two other burning topics: the Education and Childcare allowance reform and the “New Normal”,” it was noted, telling staff they can “find our report together with the opinions we sent to the President after the meeting.”

The report is interesting. For a number of reasons….

They mention how Benoît Battistelli “removed some public holidays” and “Ms Bergot mentioned data protection issues and lack of resources as reasons for the delay.”

Amazing. Battistelli’s ally or “plant” Bergot is claiming “lack of resources” while Battistelli blows EPO money away (on gambling) and speaking about “data protection issues” when the EPO violates data protection laws all the time.

“The lack of involvement of the Staff Representation for the New Normal survey and the persistent lack of information lead us to believe that Mr Campinos had already unilaterally prepared his plans for the future of the Organisation,” says this report. It’s worth noting that while a meeting did in fact take place (meeting the dictator for the first time in months, or at least talking to him remotely), he’s not budging and there’s no sign that input from staff is taken into consideration at all. What sort of dialogue involves only listening?

Here’s the full report:

Munich 09.10.2020
sc20152cp – 0.2.1/6.2.1

Report on the GCC meeting on 1 October 2020

Only two items were on the agenda for consultation: the public holidays 2021 and the review of the death insurance. The newly elected staff representatives members of the CSC had for the first time the opportunity to discuss directly with Mr Campinos two other burning topics: the Education and Childcare allowance reform and the “New Normal”.

We expressed our pleasure to see Mr Campinos again after the non-meeting of 9 September. He tried to convince us that that social dialogue continued even though he was absent, but we insisted that “nothing could compare to a meeting with the President” and asked for further “catch-up” meetings.

On the agenda:

1. Public Holidays 2021 (GCC/DOC 13/2020)

The document confirms the return to the yearlong practice of calculating additional days of annual leave for all duty stations in reference to the duty station with the highest number of public holidays. The practice had been discontinued by Mr Battistelli who had also removed some public holidays. Unfortunately, for Vienna, Good Friday is once again omitted from the list.

The compulsory office closure during Christmas and New Year’s Eve amounts to four days this year. We argued that in Covid-19 times, with the extension of teleworking and possible travel restrictions, this practice no longer make [sic] sense and could at least be mitigated by granting part of the days from the balance of the Office, in line with the practice in other international organisations. Mr Campinos replied that the number of days of leave in the Office are at the upper end compared to EU agencies and other international organisations and saw no reason to change.

2. Death Insurance: Review of the period 2017-2019 and provisional rates for 2020-2022 (GCC/DOC 14/2020)

The topic was not controversial. The contribution rates proposed for the period 2020-2022 remain the same as for the period 2017-2019. The number of deceased colleagues increased, but the low numbers are not statistically significant to show a trend. The Administration added that the mortality rate was consistent with the rates used in the mortality tables for actuarial studies.

Any other business

3. Reward exercise & fixed-term contracts

We referred to our letter of 7 September asking for further data concerning the last reward exercise to make it more transparent and to be able to assess the current career system in preparation for the upcoming Working Group on career and performance. Ms Bergot mentioned data protection issues and lack of resources as reasons for the delay. She confirmed that data would be provided for the next meeting of the Working Group early October. The Administration also confirmed that a dedicated Working Group would be set up on the topic of fixed-term contracts.

4. Education and Childcare allowance reform

For the first time since the end of July, when the initial reform proposal was shared with staff, we were able to address directly Mr Campinos on this sensitive topic.

The Administration’s intention seems to be to remove the distinction between nationals and non-nationals as set out in current Article 71 ServRegs. We recalled that in the past the staff representation already advocated including nationals, so that they would also be eligible for the education allowance. The Office always opposed an extension to nationals, who thus had to file complaints1 supported by SUEPO. The cases were unfortunately lost before the Tribunal (Judgment 28702).

The present reform proposal shows that when there is a will, there is a way for Mr Campinos to re-open cases which have the force of res judicata3. Unfortunately, in line with the current cost-reduction policy of Mr Campinos, the announced reform would reduce the benefits for most staff – both nationals and expats – and thus the overall

1 “Education allowance for non-expat staff”, SUEPO paper of 21.01.2008, su0812mp
2 The argumentation of the EPO at the time can be found on page 6 of Judgement 2870:

“The EPO denies that it has breached the principle of equal treatment and submits that the different treatment
of nationals and non-nationals under Article 71 of the Service Regulations is justified in light of the purpose of
that article, which is to help expatriate employees provide their children with an education in their country of
origin or in an international school system in order to maintain contacts with the country of origin and to
facilitate their children’s subsequent return to their country of origin for the purposes of study or employment.
Furthermore, the education allowance is not intended to offer financial support to all employees for the
financing of their children’s education but rather to compensate employees who, as non-nationals, are
generally exposed to higher educational expenses for their children.”

3 In his Communiqué of 29.06.2020, Mr Campinos refused to re-open disciplinary cases of former members of the Appeals Committee on the basis that “court rulings have been issued on these cases, so they are considered res judicata”.

budget4. We warned that this would trigger more litigation among those who had legitimate expectations based on the current regulations.

We proposed that the Office should assess how staff would make use of the new scheme. We repeated again our request to commission an impact study which should also take into account the psychosocial impact that such a reform would have on the families concerned.

Site-specific solutions and late impact study
We pointed out that the information we received from the Administration was contradictory. On the one hand, Mr Campinos said that the current reform proposal was only a draft and he promised deeply concerned colleagues in team meetings that there would be site-specific solutions. On the other hand, we heard from the members of his Administration in the Working Group that the proposal was final and that only transitional measures were open for discussion.

Mr Campinos confirmed that he wanted to apply education and childcare benefits to all staff regardless of nationality and to use as much as possible “lump sums” in order to facilitate the management of the allowances. He acknowledged that childcare facilities were more expensive in The Hague and that the lump sums could be adjusted by duty station (“if there is a business case”). Mr Campinos complained about the excessive costs incurred by some schools. This statement confirms our suspicion that cost reduction was is of the driving principles of the reform.

The Staff Representation reiterated its request for impact studies (on financial and psychosocial risks) as soon as possible. Mr Campinos replied that a financial study would be only possible when the draft proposal would be in an advanced stage.

5. New Normal

The lack of involvement of the Staff Representation for the New Normal survey and the persistent lack of information lead us to believe that Mr Campinos had already unilaterally prepared his plans for the future of the Organisation.

Mr Campinos denied the existence of a master plan and the persistent rumours about a dismantling of the Office. However, he admitted that a document on the New Normal was ready and that the Administration was only waiting for the results of the survey. Mr Campinos expressed the hope that staff would ask for more flexibility.

The Central Staff Committee

Annexes: the opinions of the CSC members of the GCC on the two GCC documents for consultation as sent to the President after the meeting.

4 Confidential documents show a reduction of €4,9m in the budget.

Opinion of the CSC members of the GCC on GCC/DOC 13/2020: Public Holidays 2021

The CSC members of the GCC give the following opinion on the proposal of the list of public holidays for 2021 including four compulsory closure days.

On the number of public holidays
In this year’s proposal, the Office acknowledged the year-long practice of adding days of annual leave for all duty stations in order to align with the duty station with the highest number of public holidays. This is appreciated. Unfortunately, for Vienna, Good Friday is once again omitted from the list.

On the compulsory closure days
The proposal comprises four compulsory closure days for 2021. This is a record in mandatory leave days to date. The Office had proposed three days in previous years, to which we had objected as well.

In view of the number of colleagues currently working from home and in view of the foreseeable extension of homeworking, the explanations given by the Administration to justify this measure is not any longer valid or seems even less convincing. Instead, the change in the situation, with a low office occupancy, should be taken into account – not only for the compulsory closure days in 2021, but even more urgently for the compulsory closure days in 2020.

We propose to discontinue this practice of compulsory office closure days and to leave the flexibility of planning their annual leave to our colleagues.

However, should the President decide to continue this practice, we are of the opinion that the Office should compensate for these compulsory leave days, at least in part. For instance half of the compulsory leave days could be borne by the staff and half by the Office. In our view, this would be a concrete gesture of appreciation for the extraordinary efforts of all our colleagues.

The CSC members of the GCC

Opinion of the CSC members of the GCC on GCC/DOC 14/2020: Circular 406; Death insurance (Article 84 ServRegs)

Review for the period 2017–2019 and provisional rates for 2020–2022

The document shows the number of colleagues who passed away in the years 2017–2019 and for whom EPO death insurance was paid. As CSC members of the GCC, we would like to emphasise that we are not only looking at the numbers, but that we do not forget the colleagues who all died too early.

Although the death numbers increased from 4 in 2017 and 6 in 2018 to 7 in 2019, the figures are not statistically significant and no conclusion should be drawn.

We are in favour of the proposal by the Administration to leave unchanged the contribution rate for death insurance, i.e. 0.3% with 0.1% borne by the staff and 0.2% borne by the Office.

The CSC members of the GCC

January 1st will be 2.5 years since Campinos ‘took office’ and halfway into his term. What has he actually accomplished? Social dialogue? No. Peace? No. Improved quality and lawfulness? No, only lies about both. Maybe the real goal isn’t to fix the EPO but to turn it into a printing machine, operating outside the rule of law and in clear defiance of the EPC, directly violating a number of terms and even internal service regulations.

Newly Abnormal: A Crackdown on EPO Staff and Labour Rights in ‘Survey’ Clothing (Willis Towers Watson)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Only Fools and Horses… (or Donkeys) trust the EPO’s management


Summary: In a very characteristic fashion, with zero consultation/input from staff (or staff representatives/union leaders) EPO President António Campinos proceeds to implementing illegal ‘reforms’, assuring any remaining non-sceptics that he’s just another Benoît Battistelli

THE past few weeks at “the Office” (Europe’s second-largest institution, not the TV programme) were much of the same; the ‘European’ Patent Office doesn’t seem to understand — or want to understand — that any patent office without qualified staff is pretty much worthless.

Office management not only crushes staff (financially, morally and so on); it actively breaks a lot of laws, hoping that “Pandemic!” is somehow an excuse for just about anything. Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. The EPC did not contain a section that voids all the rules in case of war or pandemic. If you cannot obey/follow the EPC, then do away with the EPO. No nation signed up for some arbitrary, lawless institution to suck up money, gamble money, and then claim diplomatic immunity. If current EPO management does not understand this, then flush this management down the toilet, hold the crooks accountable, then start afresh (the examiners can stay; the bosses need to go).

“This is ‘Tobacco Industry’ kind of pseudoscience…”Both the EPO’s union and the representatives (more internal in the latter case) have strongly condemned the latest plot to crush staff. As usual, or as might be expected based on the past decade, the Council goes along with whatever Office management asks for. No wonder 0% of surveyed EPO staff trusts the Council. It’s little but a rubber-stamping operation of and for the Office President.

It should be noted that this glorified Office President is no achiever. No background in science, no accomplishment other than photo ops. “Like all dictatorships,” someone told me yesterday in a similar context, “they prioritize loyalty & obedience over competence.”

The litigation ‘industry’ likes Campinos because he’s serving the patenting and litigation ‘sector’ while oppressing actual scientists. Even if/when that sector is American, not European. Sure, it has some branches and operations in Europe, but those operations are inherently parasitic.

Staff that practiced science and exercised patent examination for years if not decades very well understands what Campinos is up to and who he’s serving. It’s not science. The regime is deeply unscientific and at times anti-scientific. It gets hoax ‘studies’ from Donald Trump allies that sponsor the far right; it’s doing bogus ‘surveys’ where the sole goal is to justify some predetermined outcome. This is ‘Tobacco Industry’ kind of pseudoscience

Now, for actual material and evidence regarding this matter…

At the start of last month several letters were circulated, leading up to last week.

In its own words:

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) raised the crucial issue of involvement of all stakeholders on the “New Normal” in an open letter to the President…

Here’s the letter dated October 14th:

Reference: sc20154cl – 0.3.1/4.6
Date: 14.10.2020

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

Mr António Campinos
President of the EPO

ISAR – Room 1081


Constructed urgency and deconstructed social dialogue

Dear Mr President,

On 6 May 2020, you launched a survey by Willis Towers Watson (WTW) entitled “Strong together – working during Covid-19”. No follow-up of this survey took place, in particular with respect to the evolution of the health of staff. The Central Staff Committee (CSC) was left out in both the preparation and the evaluation of this survey.

On 16 September 2020, you launched a further survey by WTW on the so-called “New Normal”, rushing into a new reality without checking on the health of staff. The CSC has again not been involved at all in elaborating the content of the survey.

The consequences of any decision on these matters will affect the EPO both in fulfilling its mission as in the mission statement, and the daily lives of every staff member. Some changes could even be irreversible, which asks for a prudent, timely and fully concerted approach involving all stakeholders. In that respect the CSC has sent a letter to the Administrative Council1. Staff had to cope throughout the year with the exceptional circumstance of Covid-19 and now the EPO is set to quickly engage in far-reaching reforms.

The CSC has repeatedly requested an improvement on the consultation process, the last time in an Open Letter2. The CSC was shocked to observe that results of the survey on New Normal appear to have already been provided to HR and that presentations are being made, but the CSC has not received this information. This approach lends to the spread of rumours that do not facilitate the active interaction between yourself and the staff.

1 Letter to the AC, 02.10.2020
2 Letter to the President, 24.07.2020

In the meeting of last GCC3 you mentioned that the administration had already drafted a document on the New Normal before the results of the survey were known. Such changes to the current working conditions entail numerous risks and require an impact study. There is no need to rush any reform.

Please take the advantage of building the future of the Office on the most diverse base possible. This should include the preparation of an informal discussion in the Administrative Council (possibly foreseen already for the December meeting).

Not informing the CSC on (preliminary) results of the survey constitutes a lack of transparency and lack of honouring obligations towards the CSC to which you committed4. In line with your commitment to promote a culture of dialogue that focuses on mutual understanding, we urge you to ensure that the CSC is fully informed on the (preliminary) results of the WTW survey without further delay.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Sampels
Acting Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

3 Report on the GCC, 01.10.2020
4 Social dialogue, undated

Two weeks prior to it, on October 2nd, the so-called ‘bosses’ of Campinos were briefed on this matter. As the Central Staff Committee put it:

A broad and early debate is necessary to first set the course for the future and secondly address all aspects of “New Normal” which will influence the working conditions of staff as well as the content and the quality of their work for years to come. “New Normal” as management sees it even questions the institutional principles of immunity and centralisation on which the success of the Organisation was built.

Why offer immunity for those who repeatedly break the law? Why is the Council tolerating this? What does that say about the Council?

“In this open letter to the heads of delegations of the Member States,” said the introduction to the letter signed by the Chairman of the Committee, “we appeal to their sense of responsibility.” [sic]

They never had any real sense of responsibility; this is why 0% of the surveyed staff said they’re trustworthy.

Here’s the full letter:

Reference: sc20147cl – 0.3.1/1.3.1
Date: 02.10.2020

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

To the Chairman and
The Heads of Delegations of the
Administrative Council of the European
Patent Organisation


Setting the course for the “New Normal”

Dear Mr Chairman,
dear Heads of Delegations,

The President has recently announced that we are approaching a critical point in the history of our Organisation1 and management is in the process of concretely shaping the “New Normal”:

 The President has offered a temporary scheme for teleworking, which allows staff to work from any EPC country, i.e. far away from their usual places of employment. Many staff members confronted with the pandemic are using it.
 The pandemic has also made the previous scenarios in the building investment programme completely obsolete. We suspect that management is presently working full steam ahead on formatting even worse scenarios about the future use of EPO buildings, up to selling them2. We are also concerned about excessive staff depletion in some places of employment.

Recent experience teaches us that we, the Staff Representation, will be informed and consulted too late, when the policy decisions are close to being implemented3. It is also presently unclear how late the Member States will be informed, and how great their involvement will be in shaping those plans. In any case, there has been no discussion on which course would be most desirable for our Organisation.

1 See the President’s announcement to staff: “Shaping our future”
2 Selling Pschorrhöfe Bauteil 7 in Munich seems now certain; as in document CA/43/19 Rev.1, page 35/39.
3 We were not even involved in the drafting of the staff survey, contrary to the practice in the past.

If we are indeed approaching a critical point in the history of our Organisation, as the President surmises, then a broad and early debate is necessary to first set the course for the future and secondly address all aspects of “New Normal” which will influence the working conditions of staff as well as the content and the quality of their work for years to come4. “New Normal” as management sees it even questions the institutional principles of immunity and centralisation5 on which the success of the Organisation was built.

All this cannot be achieved by “business as usual”, i.e. the late involvement of the stakeholders and “faits accomplis” policy. Instead, one would expect the President of the Office to start discussions with all stakeholders.

We count on you, the delegations of the Member States, to remind the President that all stakeholders must play a part commensurate with the challenges ahead.

Yours sincerely,

Alain Dumont
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

4 Seven months’ experience of “New Normal” type working does not mean we now have enough knowledge to extrapolate the long-term effects, e.g. on corporate culture, ergonomics, psychosocial aspect, collaboration within (Examining) Divisions, etc.

5 As anchored in the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities and in the Protocol on Centralisation

Having written letters addressed to the President and to the Council (above), the Central Staff Committee also wrote to staff and said: “The only urgency is to resume with human relation” (examiners are human).

The introductory text said that “the Office should not rush into defining a so-called “New Normal”. Instead, it should properly involve all staff and in particular your elected staff representatives in defining the necessary next steps on this journey. It is the time to step back and take a good look, not to rush things beyond any point of no return.”

Here’s the full letter:

Munich, 23.10.2020
sc20162cp – 0.2.1/4.6

New Normal staff survey results

It is urgent to wait!

Dear colleagues,

By now, the first survey results have been presented to us all and it seems that the Administration is willing to use these results to define a so-called “New Normal” at fast pace. We, the Staff Representatives from all sites, would like to support you, our colleagues, and the Office to plan for a future which guarantees the long-term sustainability of our Office.

On a positive note:
- More than three quarters1 of us all would like to continue teleworking to a greater or lesser extent.
- More than three quarters of us all would like to continue using Office premises to a greater or lesser extent.

We appreciate the diversity of your answers. Beyond the plurality of views on teleworking, it is obvious that the great majority – whilst wanting to enjoy greater flexibility – acknowledge the value of proper collaboration, of meeting colleagues face-to-face and also making use of e.g. the canteens2 and Amicale facilities. Vastly more colleagues working in the core business feel that their work has become more difficult than easier3. There seems to be no wish for decentralisation or a closing of sites therein. All of us think that a sense of belonging is important for the future of the Office.

Some further preliminary remarks:
We are still in the middle of a pandemic, i.e. in some kind of an emergency state. The survey conductor Willis Towers Watson (WTW) admitted that it was the first survey of that kind for them. In the absence of any precedent, we beg to ask how reliable these results really are, in their entirety.

It is too early for us to elaborate for now on the survey in detail. However, we wonder, with regards to the methodology used, whether the standard survey criteria (reliability, objectivity, validity) have been followed.

Importantly, it remains to be seen whether the feelings of staff and long-term psychosocial aspects have been adequately caught by the questions and reflected in the results

1 See in particular slides 24 and 31
2 See in particular slides 45 and 46
3 See in particular slides 21 and 22

presented so far, or whether they would be more fittingly deduced from the numerous comments (over 40’000) given by staff. An in-depth evaluation of these is still due.

The Office should not rush into defining a so-called “New Normal”. Instead, it should properly involve all staff and in particular your elected staff representatives in defining the necessary next steps on this journey. It is the time to step back and take a good look, not to rush things beyond any point of no return.

The only urgency is to resume with human relation

Your Central Staff Committee

Lastly, after intervention from the Central Staff Committee, the union (SUEPO) weighed in as well. That was earlier this month when SUEPO wrote to members that “Mr Campinos has invited SUEPO to a meeting on 18 November. Since the beginning of his mandate, social dialogue has remained painfully slow on all fronts. The present pandemic led to a new working environment and following the latest survey by Willis Towers Watson on the “New Normal”, the SP2023 plan is being adapted to a “New Normal” situation – all without any input from the social partners. Our position in nearly all outstanding matters (in particular Career System, Rules for Strike, Memorandum of Understanding) has consistently been to follow the EU model. Staff deserves to know clearly the position of the administration on these issues.”

Here’s the full letter, which was presented 10 days ago regarding a meeting that took place 4 days ago (Wednesday):

10 November 2020
su20035cl – 0.3.1


Mr António Campinos
President of the EPO
ISAR– Room 1081

Meeting President/SUEPO

Dear Mr Campinos,

Thank you for your invitation to a “President/SUEPO” meeting on 18 November 2020. We agree with you that it is high time to engage in genuine social dialogue for the benefit of staff and the Office, and as such a calendar of topic-specific meetings needs to be established urgently.

The present pandemic has led to a new working environment and following the latest survey by Willis Towers Watson on the “New Normal”, the SP2023 plan is being adapted to a “New Normal” situation – all without any input from the social partners. The career is in urgent need for a thorough review, not some mere quick fixes1 – the reform of the education and childcare allowances ought to be discussed in depth rather than stalling and focusing on transitional measures with an undefined final destination.

It is high time to truly engage with the social partners in finding the best way forward for staff and the Office, and each of these items warrants a calendar of topic-specific meetings. We would like to propose a series of meetings once every 6 weeks, each meeting dedicated to a single topic only. The meeting currently planned for 18 November 2020 could be used to draw up such a mutually agreed calendar.

In parallel, we are aware of some recent far-reaching opinions of the Appeals Committee, notably relating to the SUEPO facilities (incl. access to mass emails), the excessive strike deductions over weekends, and the “house arrest” under the health & sickness provisions2. Any meeting with SUEPO only makes sense if there is a clear and explicit willingness from your services to implement the necessary changes to the ServRegs as mandated by these

1 “Input for the Working Group Performance Management”, CSC letter of 08.07.2019 sc19095cl
2 “Urgent amendment of Circular 367 and immediate suspension of ‘house arrest’”, CSC letter of 30.10.2020 sc20165cl

opinions. Without such a statement, any meeting with SUEPO remains a mere checkbox-ticking public relations exercise and risks to be a waste of time for all involved.

Also remaining on our agenda, where no tangible progress can be reported:

- The settlement of sanctions on former SUEPO officials and other Staff representatives;
- A review of the Rules for Strike and progress on a Memorandum of Understanding, where we are still looking forward to receiving a reaction to our proposal as submitted on 25-04-20153;

We can only observe that social dialogue has remained painfully slow on all fronts since the beginning of your mandate. Our position in nearly all matters (in particular Career System, Rules for Strike, MoU) has consistently been to follow the EU model – and staff deserves to know the position of the administration on these issues. We are not able to explain to staff why such reviews are delayed and why staff should be treated differently – and poorly – in comparison with staff in other EU agencies.

Genuine social dialogue should be our shared goal: working together we can arrive at agreements that foster social peace and prevent further litigation.

Yours sincerely,

Joachim Michels
Chairman of SUEPO Central

Copy: Mr Josef Kratochvíl; Chairman of the Administrative Council

3 “Input to the WG on Union Recognition” – su15182cl – which includes our draft proposal for a MoU as submitted earlier on 05-02-2014 (su14020cl) and copies of agreements between the European Commission and the trade unions

The bottom line is, staff is still not being consulted and COVID-19 is gleefully exploited by management to do illegal things, retroactively justifying those things with bogus surveys and statements saying those things “have been broadly welcomed by the patent profession” (which is like saying that a war was “broadly welcomed by the military contractors”). The EPO’s staff deserves better than this anarchical management, which is defended by corrupt officials further up the chain.

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 21, 2020

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