From Belarus With Love — Part XII: Alexander Deev’s “Provocative” Comments

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. From Belarus With Love — Part I: Schizophrenic EPO Policy
  2. From Belarus With Love — Part II: “Techwashing” an Autocratic Regime?
  3. From Belarus With Love — Part III: Apps From the Dictatorship
  4. From Belarus With Love — Part IV: “Software from Minsk” via Gilching and Rijswijk
  5. From Belarus With Love — Part V: From Start-Up to Success Story…
  6. From Belarus With Love — Part VI: “Big Daddy” Hammers the Opposition…
  7. From Belarus With Love — Part VII: The Post-Election Crackdown
  8. From Belarus With Love — Part VIII: “Seoul in the Centre of Pyongyang”
  9. From Belarus With Love — Part IX: The End of “Peaceful Coexistence”?
  10. From Belarus With Love — Part X: From “High-Tech Hub” to “No-Go Zone”
  11. From Belarus With Love — Part XI: SaM’s Management Remains Suspiciously Silent
  12. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Alexander Deev’s “Provocative” Comments

Alexander Deev
In October 2020, a senior member of the SaM Solutions management team, Alexander Deev, used his Facebook page to publish “provocative”, “boorish” and “unprofessional” statements signalling his support for the Lukashenko regime and its brutal crackdown against opposition protestors.

Summary: The EPO‘s outsourcing to Belarus should leave António Campinos a little shy of association in spite of the comment he made back in March; the Deputy Director for Business Development at SaM, whose stance was defended by upper management (or expression of rather obscene ideas), became the subject of unwanted attention in Belarus

In the last part we saw how SaM Solutions co-founder Andrej Bakhirev and the company’s managerial board failed to take a stance on the political situation in Belarus in 2020. Their silence makes it impossible to gauge the extent to which the company’s senior management might be aligned with the Lukashenko regime.

However, some clues about the attitude of the company’s management can be gleaned from local reports on an internal dispute that flared up at SaM in October 2020.

“…some clues about the attitude of the company’s management can be gleaned from local reports on an internal dispute that flared up at SaM in October 2020.”These reports – which were published by the independent Belarus IT news portal devby.io – relate to the publication of “provocative” and “boorish” pro-regime statements by a member of the SaM’s senior management team, Alexander Deev.

On 21 October 2020, devby.io informed its readers that Deev, who was at that time SaM’s “Deputy Director for Business Development” had posted comments on his private Facebook page together with an updated profile photo in a frame with elements of the official red-green state flag of Belarus.

Amongst other things, Deev expressed scepticism about reports concerning the torture of protestors held at the Okrestina Detention Centre, asking those who repeated such claims whether they had “photographic or video evidence”.

Okrestina Detention Centre fences
In his Facebook posts, Alexander Deev expressed scepticism about reports concerning the torture of protestors held at the Okrestina Detention Centre.

In a comment posted at 04:16 in the morning of 21 October 2020, Deev demanded to be given the names of the company’s employees who were unhappy about his position.

“By the way, I was informed here that our employees were concerned about my position. Give me their names.”

At the same time, Deev attempted to claim that the views he expressed were his own, not those of the company: “I stated my position, not that of the company.”

“In a comment posted at 04:16 in the morning of 21 October 2020, Deev demanded to be given the names of the company’s employees who were unhappy about his position.”To fully appreciate the provocative and inflammatory character of Deev’s postings, it’s important to take account of the ?polarising effects of political symbols in Belarus, in particular the national flag – or more accurately, the “two flags of Belarus”.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the newly independent Belarus decided to revert to its pre-Soviet national symbols in an effort to redefine the country’s identity.

As part of this “re-branding” exercise, the pre-communist white-red-white flag was chosen as the national emblem. However, following a controversial referendum in 1995 – promoted by the newly-elected President Lukashenko – the Soviet-era red and green flag was restored in amended form, this time without the hammer and sickle and red star of communism.

Lukashenko's Flag
From l. to r.: Soviet era flag; the pre-Soviet white-red-white flag adopted in 1991; the green-red flag restored by Lukashenko in 1995 after a controversial referendum.

In recent years, the pre-1995 flag has become associated with the anti-Lukashenko opposition movement and it was a prominent feature of the massive protest rallies which followed the rigged Presidential election in 2020. This flag is known locally under the acronym B-CH-B, representing the initials of its white-red-white colour scheme in Belarusian.

Belarus white and red white flag
The pre-1995 white-red-white flag became a symbol of opposition to the Lukashenko regime and was a prominent feature of the protest rallies which followed the rigged Presidential election in 2020.

When Alexander Deev updated his Facebook profile photo with a frame incorporating the colours of the official red-green state flag, he was making a political statement.

In essence he was signalling his support for the Lukashenko regime and expressing his approval of the merciless crackdown directed against opposition protestors.

Alexander Deev: Facebook profile
When Alexander Deev updated his Facebook profile photo with a frame incorporating the colours of the official state flag, he was making a political statement and signalling his support for the Lukashenko regime.

Given the precarious political situation in Belarus at the time in question, it’s small wonder that Deev’s posts sparked off a major internal row at SaM.

It’s worth mentioning here that during the post-election crackdown at least 9 employees of SaM ended up in detention and received fines and days of arrest, and one of them was beaten up. In addition to this, many SaM employees participated in volunteer initiatives to help victims of the crackdown.

Not surprisingly, a vigorous discussion took place on Deev’s Facebook page and before long more than 350 comments had accumulated there, the majority of them highly critical of Deev.

According to Deev, he was merely expressing a personal opinion, and he tried to claim that it was his position not that of the company.

“According to Deev, he was merely expressing a personal opinion, and he tried to claim that it was his position not that of the company.”However, his demand to be given the names of SaM employees who were dissatisfied with his position blurred the boundaries between his private affairs and those of the company.

More than anything else that Deev posted on his Facebook page, his demand for “names” raised hackles among the rank and file of the company’s employees.

In the next part we shall see how the managing director of SaM’s “delivery center” in Minsk, Marat Ebzeev, tried to defuse the situation after many of the company’s employees signed a petition protesting against Deev’s “provocative”, “boorish” and “unprofessional” statements.

Links 03/05/2022: Tails 5.0, SystemTap 4.7, and KDE Plasma 5.24.5

Posted in News Roundup at 5:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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        • Red Hat OfficialIntegrate Red Hat Insights into your existing operational workflow

          Red Hat Insights is a managed service that gathers and analyzes platforms and applications’ data to predict risk, recommend actions, and track costs. Insights alerts administrators with warnings and/or optimizations covering the domains of operations (e.g. an outage is about to occur), security (e.g. a new CVE is discovered for your systems), and business (e.g. overspending is happening).

        • Enterprisers ProjectAutomation: 3 ways it enables innovation in public sector IT | The Enterprisers Project

          Public sector IT is perhaps one of the most misunderstood industries today. It has a reputation as one that relies on legacy systems. However, what many fail to see is the overwhelming pressure faced by public sector IT to constantly ship and run upgrades, all while being pulled in a thousand directions under a limited budget.

          As each year passes, the current practice of maintaining legacy systems grows more costly and potential security risks heighten. It’s clear that the current system is no longer sustainable. It’s time for government CIOs to prioritize implementing automated DevOps systems that will scale the delivery of more secure and efficient apps.

        • Enterprisers ProjectDigital transformation: 3 ways a culture of innovation can drive your strategy | The Enterprisers Project

          Most companies understand the imperative to undergo a digital transformation. The most forward-thinking go beyond merely modernizing their operations and processes to introduce efficiencies and accelerate or even invent new responses to ever-dynamic signals from customers and competitors.

          Completing a large-scale operational and cultural makeover leveraging technology is crucial. Customers in most industries and sectors increasingly expect products and services delivered ever more rapidly, cheaply, and seamlessly in ways they desire and on-demand. Customers will readily replace businesses that fail to adapt to their dynamic needs with those that are more adept in this effort.

          Still, many companies struggle through the transformation process itself. Why? Because often the focus is exclusively on technology; companies often overlook or neglect the human aspects of transformation – from employees to customers. Additionally, the blueprints for a 12- to 24-month rollout can often be rendered obsolete by the ever-increasing speed of change in the marketplace.

      • Debian Family

        • 9to5LinuxTails 5.0 Anonymous OS Officially Released, Based on Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye”

          It’s been more than two and a half years since the release of the Tails 4.x series, which was based on the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series, and Tails 5.0 is here to provide users with a more up-to-date system based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” operating system series.

          This means that several core components and default apps have been bumped to newer versions from the Debian GNU/Linux 11 repositories, including the GNOME desktop environment, from version 3.30 to 3.38, which now ships with the Activities overview for accessing windows and apps.

        • TailsTails 5.0 is out

          We added Kleopatra to replace the OpenPGP Applet and the Password and Keys utility, also known as Seahorse.

          The OpenPGP Applet was not actively developped anymore and was complicated for us to keep in Tails. The Password and Keys utility was also poorly maintained and Tails users suffered from too many of its issues until now, like #17183.

          Kleopatra provides equivalent features in a single tool and is more actively developed.

        • Beta NewsPrivacy-focused Linux distro Tails 5.0 is finally here — Download it NOW!

          If you’re at all worried about your privacy — and frankly you should be — Tails can help secure it. The Amnesiac Incognito Live System, to give it its full name, is a live Linux-based operating system that you can boot into on any computer. It can be used to encrypt files, emails and instant messaging chats, and much more besides.

          Today, the developers release Tails 5.0, the first version of the distro based on Debian 11 (Bullseye), and this comes with an important new security feature, as well as lots of other changes and updates.

          Kleopatra is the big new addition here and this replaces the OpenPGP Applet — which is no longer being actively developed — and the Password and Keys utility (also known as Seahorse), which was poorly maintained.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux MagazineUbuntu Cinnamon 22.04 Now Available

          For those who prefer the Cinnamon desktop, but would rather have all the fancy Ubuntu underpinnings (instead of going with Linux Mint), developer Joshua Peisach has announced the release of his Ubuntu remix, Ubuntu Cinnamon. This new version is based on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS and includes the Cinnamon 5.2 desktop. Cinnamon 5.2 adds improvements to the Menu applet (such as better keyboard navigation when using left to right languages). The Calendar applet now supports GNOME’s Evolution Data Server for contacts, tasks, and calendar information.

        • Storage news ticker – April 27

          Canonical’s Ubuntu 22.04 LTS is now generally available, featuring significant leaps forward in cloud confidential computing, real-time kernel for industrial applications, and enterprise Active Directory, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, FIPS, and FedRAMP compliance. Ubuntu is the only Linux distribution supporting Azure Confidential VMs, which deliver confidentiality not only between different cloud customers but also between customers and the cloud itself. It features hardware-level encrypted guest isolation, combined with measured boot and TPM-backed full-disk encryption implemented in Ubuntu and Azure Managed HSM. Customer code and data are encrypted in use, in transit, and at rest using encryption keys that are protected and can be controlled by the customer.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • PostgreSQLPostgreSQL: PGDay Israel 2022: Call for Papers is Now Open!

          PGDay Israel 2022 takes place in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 20. Our Call for Papers is now open.

          We are accepting proposals for talks in English and Hebrew. Each session will last 40 minutes, and may be on any topic related to PostgreSQL.

          Submission deadline is June, 30, 2022.

          Selected speakers will be notified by July, 15, 2022.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • MozillaCelebrating Firefox: How we got to 100 [Ed: No, Mozilla, incrementing the number every few weeks is hardly an achievement. It's harder to make a solid browser, focusing on making Firefox work rather than making it harder to fork.]

            In 2019 we released Picture-in-Picture and it quickly became a favorite among users. Since its release we continued to improve it, first, by making it available across Windows, Mac and Linux, then making multiple Picture-in-Pictures (which coincidentally was a plus for sports enthusiasts), and today with subtitles and captions. This feature just keeps getting better and we owe it to our users sharing their feedback.

            Earlier this year we launched Mozilla Connect, a collaborative space for users to share product feedback, submit ideas for new features and participate in meaningful discussions that help shape future releases. It’s where we received the idea to enhance Picture-in-Picture with subtitles and captions support.

            The subtitles and captions in Picture-in-Picture will initially be available on three websites — YouTube, Prime Video and Netflix — plus websites that support WebVTT format like coursera.org and Twitter. We hope to expand the feature to even more sites. Now whether you’re hard-of-hearing, a multi-tasker or a multilingual user, we have you covered with Picture-in-Picture subtitles. To learn more about the impact of captions and how Picture-in-Picture will become more usable to a range of users with varying needs, we’ve written an article here.

            To hear more about the journey PiP subtitles followed from community idea to shipping feature, or contribute ideas and thoughts of your own, join us over in Mozilla Connect. We’d love to hear from you.

          • MozillaFirefox’s Picture-in-Picture rolls out subtitles – a Mozilla Connect community requested feature

            Beginning with Firefox 1.0, we’ve continued to put our users first to develop and deliver on the features most important to them. Our mission then – to build an internet open and accessible to all – still remains the same today. That’s why, nearly 99 releases later, we’re excited to introduce subtitles and captions to Firefox’s Picture-in-Picture (PiP).

          • Ubuntu HandbookMozilla Firefox Reached Version 100 after 17 Years of Development

            Mozilla Firefox has reached its 100th release! It has been more than 17 years since the first 1.0 was released in 2004.

            Firefox 100 now supports for displaying subtitles in the pop-out video (Picture-in-Picture mode) for YouTube, Prime Video, and Netflix videos. Also, it supports video captions on websites that use WebVTT (Web Video Text Track) format, like Coursera.org, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and many more.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Content controls in Writer

          Writer now has the start of content controls: a new way to set properties on a piece of text, primarily for form filling purposes. This feature improves compatibility with the DOCX format: inline content control types “rich text” and “checkbox” are the first two types we can now import.


          Collabora intends to continue supporting and contributing to LibreOffice, the code is merged so we expect all of this work will be available in TDF’s next release (7.3).

        • Document FoundationLibreOffice project and community recap: April 2022
      • Content Management Systems (CMS)

        • WordPress 6.0 Release Candidate 1 – WordPress News

          The first release candidate (RC1) for WordPress 6.0 is now available!

          This is an important milestone on the 6.0 release cycle journey. “Release Candidate” means that this version of WordPress is ready for release! Before the official release date, time is set aside for the community to perform final reviews and help test. Since the WordPress ecosystem includes thousands of plugins and themes, it is important that everyone within the WordPress community check to see if anything was missed along the way. That means the project would love your help.

          WordPress 6.0 is planned for official release on May 24th, 2022, three weeks from today.

      • FSFE

        • FSFEEuropean Parliament votes for Free Software in AI resolution – This position must now be included in the AI regulation

          Today the European Parliament passed a resolution on Artificial Intelligence (AI) with a huge majority of 495 votes in favor, 34 against and 102 abstentions. There are many references to the advantages of Free Software included in the text – the FSFE now urges the Parliament to transfer its own position into the AI regulation.

          The resolution states that in public procurement Free Software should be mandated, where appropriate, with the goal to encourage cross border collaboration. The parliament also highlights the importance of Free Software as a way to enhance investments and boost innovation in AI technologies in the EU.

      • Programming/Development

        • William Durand: Developing Firefox in Firefox with Gitpod

          Gitpod provides Linux-based development environments on demand along with a web editor frontend (VS Code). There is apparently no limit on what you can do in a Gitpod workspace, e.g., I ran my own toy kernel in QEMU in the browser.

        • Season of KDE 2022 – Conclusion | KDE.news

          In Season of KDE 2022, seven candidates took on and completed projects that helped them learn about Open Source and also expanded their knowledge of how software is created, managed, packaged and distributed; how to create features to applications aimed at end users; about the ever-pressing need for more efficient and eco-friendly software; and much more.

        • PHP MySQL WHERE Clause – OSTechNix

          In this guide, we will discuss how to select the records from a MySQL database based on specific conditions with the WHERE clause and the SELECT command using PHP in XAMPP stack.

        • QtQt Design Studio 3.3 Released

          We are happy to announce the release of Qt Design Studio 3.3.

  • Leftovers

    • red phone boxes

      I often see classic red phone boxes especially in little British villages. Usually they’re used as mini book swaps. Somewhere between a library and a free book shop. Sun damaged, damp, peeling edges.

      There’s one on a country path nearby that is a small art gallery. The phone box itself is an art object: installation, forgotten design, anachronism. A homemade sign says do not enter, bastardizing the purpose of a phone box.


      Modern phone boxes now remind me of futurama suicide booths. They have big screen adverts, free WiFi and charging. I don’t notice the analog phones.

    • Astrid vs Hitler

      Astrid Lindgren was an author who made some mistakes and weird decisions (Basing Pippi on Hamsun and Nietzsche and referring to her as Übermench? Brothers Lionheart ending wtf?) and also produced some gems.

      She spoke out against Hitler in 1939, and her diary has page after page of opposing the “master race” concept and expressing support for the Jewish people.

      Putinist posters are currently quoting a 1940 entry in her diary, just after the occupation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, where she says she believed Stalin would be worse than Hitler.

    • The limits of case-by-casing it

      Or maybe you can because Gödel’s incompleteness means that all systems have bugs and we need to keep on revising and be watchful, but, we can still try to have some semblance of law and equality before the law (it’s also why I’m so mad at all the Swedish pundits & politicians who keep on harping “deport, deport” as a special punishment for a special lower tier of citizens, and then in the same breath scratch their heads wondering why there’s no integration).


      Law can evolve, to fit the needs of real humans and their dignity.

    • Hardware

      • Fusion Wireless Arcade Stick: Early Impressions

        I don’t know why, but I have a strong affinity for human interface devices of all kinds, from computer keyboards to audio mixboards to specialized video game controllers. In the case of the latter, I love arcade sticks and flight sticks, of which I own four and two, respectively. The latest addition to my collection is the PowerA Fusion Wireless Arcade Stick for the Nintendo Switch.

        I own another arcade stick for Switch: the HORI Switch Fighting Stick Mini. That stick is compatible with PC as well, but the Fusion stick does not work on any platform other than Switch. That is okay with me: the console has a huge and continually-expanding selection of arcade titles, including shmups, and I already have a full-sized stick that I use on PC.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • TechRadarMicrosoft is now practically begging you to stop using Internet Explorer [Ed: Stop using Windows and this problem will be solved (along with many greater problems)]

          With its legacy browser set to be officially retired on June 15, Microsoft is now encouraging organizations to avoid waiting until the last moment to stop using Internet Explorer.

          In a recent blog post on the software giant’s Tech Community page, senior product manager for hardware Eric Van Aelstyn recommended that businesses still using IE should set their own retirement date instead.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Publicplan: Why we support the OSI [Ed: Openwashing money]

              Publicplan develops open source software solutions for the digitization of administration in e-government. Its independent, adaptable, and sustainable solutions have improved communication between authorities, companies, and citizens since 2010.

        • Security

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Two cents on the mistery of double slashes in URLs

        I never expected my initial post about gemini crawlers would trun into a long conversation between crawler developers and server developers. Just saw Sean Conner’s post[1] through cosmos about double slashes in URLs.

      • AccessNowAuthorities, telcos in Sri Lanka must ensure internet access throughout crisis – Access Now

        Authorities in Sri Lanka must ensure unhindered access to the internet, especially in times of crisis. Access Now and over 40 human rights organizations, and members of the #KeepItOn coalition are calling on the government of Sri Lanka to maintain unfettered access to the internet for all throughout the country’s ongoing economic and political crisis.

        “Access to the internet is crucial to communicate and exchange information freely,” said Felicia Anthonio, #KeepItOn Campaign Manager at Access Now. “Hampering access in any manner, as the Sri Lankan government has recently done by blocking access to social media, violates human rights and exacerbates the impact of the crisis.”

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Public Domain ReviewJan Luyken’s Frontispiece for *Osteologia* (1680) – The Public Domain Review

          “To bear a name is both terrible and necessary”, laments one of Don DeLillo’s characters, addressing the double-bind of linguistic existence. Novelists, poets, and philosophers have long been drawn to Adam when thinking about the generative magic of language and its potential devastation. In Genesis, God sculpts the beasts of the field from earthen elements, marching them before the first man, “and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof”. For centuries, this scene has been imagined by artists as a stately procession — the recently formed fauna patiently awaiting their designation. Yet just as God conjured these creatures out of a timeless void, terminating their eternal sleep, so too Adam’s actions are at once creative and destructive: he births animals into language, while, in Hegel’s words, “nullifying them as beings of their own account”. Parroting the German philosopher, Maurice Blanchot describes how: “God had created all living things, but man had to annihilate them. Not until then did they take on meaning for him, and he in turn created them out of the death into which they had disappeared”.

          This frontispiece etching, printed by Jan Luyken for Cornelis van Dyk’s Osteologia (1680), seems to speak to the consequences of Adam’s naming as imagined by Hegel and Blanchot. The animals are bare-bones, stripped of life’s flesh, and summoned toward a skeletal figure — Adam? Noah? St Peter? Van Dyk? — who reads off his list. In the foreground, a ledgered turtle, hedgehog, rabbit, dog, horse, and camel march toward their exit stage right. Where are they headed? Is there some paradise beyond, where their tissue will be restored? Where these creatures will no longer carry the burden of humanity’s taxonomical projects, like the fowls who labor to bear the banner text in the image’s leafless trees? Unlikely, even though the list’s alphabetic letters decay into an asemic scribble, as if language begins to falter in the face of a seemingly infinite parade of animal life. Rather, viewed in retrospect, this image appears to foretell the ceaseless march of scientific progress, and the Enlightenment’s mission to give order to the natural world. A vanguard of this mission, Van Dyk’s seventeenth-century study of bones begins with a discussion of Genesis. The natural scientist speculates if Adam was a “hermaphrodite”, due to his apparently parthenogenetic powers — making Eve from his own body, who he also names — before proceeding to dissect the pictured animals in search of their osteo-logical innards.

Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) is Universally Bad, in All Contexts, Even War With Russia

Posted in Deception, DRM at 3:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum fbeac656a04b41f75a20a4ff1bce4a66
Russia and John Deere
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Vehicles with remote kill switches are being ‘normalised’ if not celebrated by the mainstream media, as if DRM is now something to be lauded in the context of war

THE DRM giants of the world — like the surveillance sleazeballs — love using Ukraine for PR stunts. Some profit a great deal from the war, even Musk's Twitter (he also profits from the war through satellite communication systems).

It truly bothers us and troubles us to see how the media was spinning DRM in tractors, portraying the whole thing as benign if not benevolent just because in one particular case — involving a stock of tractors (not even so many of them!) — it harmed Russia. As if Russia will turn back and end the war (a surrender by Putin is highly improbable because of his ego) — all this because of some bricked tractors… one might argue that bricking them would generally contribute to more hunger if not famine, seeing the already-diminishing supplies of wheat and cooking oils (amongst other basic commodities).

“Had John Deere burned several fields with crops in them, would the media act all jubilant? Like Agent Orange in Vietnam?”The video above goes though many links that we’ve published in the latest Daily Links. They’re shown one by one in the video above, which starts with a spontaneous explanation of what DRM means or does (to an ordinary person). In plain English (or layman’s terms), DRM can only ever make things worse because it limits or destroys things. In this particular case, machines capable of helping to produce more food got destroyed. Had John Deere burned several fields with crops in them, would the media act all jubilant? Like Agent Orange in Vietnam?

Many more comments can be found here. It’s a hot topic, and rightly so! Many issues at stake, the politics aside…

To quote: “Are there other examples like this justifying some sort of limited DRM? How prominent do you think this will be held up as an example in lobbying efforts to justify not passing “Right To Repair” laws?”

“It’s a hot topic, and rightly so!”What has just happened is good for DRM proponents and lobbyists, never mind if it’s bad for Russia. It is a slippery slope.

“DRM is unfortunately a perennial topic,” an associate noted today, and “that’s a recent example but care has to be taken so that [John Deere] cannot spin this as a good thing; two wrongs don’t make a right [1, 2] … CNN seems to have the first coverage of the [John Deere] DRM incidents [and] the takeaway is that DRM is no longer a theoretical threat it is now a matter of who is the target, and there can be multiple targets…”

Financialization of the EPO Will Doom Europe’s Largest Patent Office

Posted in Europe, Finance, Fraud, Patents at 2:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Is the EPO an investment bank
Busy turning the Office into a “24/7″ “day and night” bank, working around the clock and treating monopolies as products

Summary: The EPO is being killed off and effectively sold by Benoît Battistelli and his close friend António Campinos, who comes from a rogue banking sector; they’ve lowered the legitimacy of patents very considerably (now they pursue a court system which would/can allow European software patents) as well as the quality of examination/examiners because it’s more profitable to just allow everything

LAST year we noted and quoted that “[t]he EPO is wasting money on stock market gambling,” having spoken to another person who further asserted that “they start to bring in more money through gambling than through the normal work activities. At that point the normal work activities become a charade at best, so they can pretend that they are active in a particular field of endeavor. More often the normal work activities just get in the way of the gambling so in response any staff still involved in normal work activities get fired in one way or another.”

“They pretend things are improving, even as they rapidly get a lot worse and slip out of hand (or tongue).”Remember that the EPO is gradually being privatised (even outsourced to Belarus, way outside the EPO and outside the EU) and eventually treated like a for-profit corporation; see the job titles in today's top-level management of the EPO. Suffice to say, the quality of work/workers/service is deliberately lowered for the sake of “profits” and of course part of that is just lying about “customer experience” etc.

They pretend things are improving, even as they rapidly get a lot worse and slip out of hand (or tongue). These are not public servants but self-serving autocrats.

As our associate put it today, “the privatisation scam is hitting the EPO, soon they will move to financialization and patents won’t even be a charade/fascade, they will simply spend all their time and money “investing” in stocks all the while declaring themselves a patent office.”

See the paper “Beware Financialization, Attractive and Dangerous, but Mostly Dangerous” by Donald Tomaskovic-Devey.

Beware Financialization, Attractive and Dangerous, but Mostly Dangerous

Links 03/05/2022: GNU/Linux Gaming “Surges in Popularity”, Nitrux 2.1.1 is Ready

Posted in News Roundup at 8:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Unix MenAll You Should Know About Linux Hosting

        It is a vital question for every blog owner of what web hosting to prefer. There are two main competitors for customers’ attention Linux and Windows. We devote this article to the latter. 

        So, what should you know about Linux hosting choosing it? 

      • Dockershim: The Historical Context

        Dockershim has been removed as of Kubernetes v1.24, and this is a positive move for the project. However, context is important for fully understanding something, be it socially or in software development, and this deserves a more in-depth review. Alongside the dockershim removal in Kubernetes v1.24, we’ve seen some confusion (sometimes at a panic level) and dissatisfaction with this decision in the community, largely due to a lack of context around this removal. The decision to deprecate and eventually remove dockershim from Kubernetes was not made quickly or lightly. Still, it’s been in the works for so long that many of today’s users are newer than that decision, and certainly newer than the choices that led to the dockershim being necessary in the first place.

        So what is the dockershim, and why is it going away?

        In the early days of Kubernetes, we only supported one container runtime. That runtime was Docker Engine. Back then, there weren’t really a lot of other options out there and Docker was the dominant tool for working with containers, so this was not a controversial choice. Eventually, we started adding more container runtimes, like rkt and hypernetes, and it became clear that Kubernetes users want a choice of runtimes working best for them. So Kubernetes needed a way to allow cluster operators the flexibility to use whatever runtime they choose.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Amos WengerI won free load testing

        Performing a DDoS is technically an “illegal cybercrime”, but realistically, receiving one is just another Saturday.

      • uni TorontoUsing Linux’s libvirt for my virtualization needs has been okay

        About two weeks ago I reached a tipping point of unhappiness with VMWare Workstation and wound up deciding to try switching over to the current obvious alternative, libvirt, mostly through virt-manager, virt-viewer, and virsh. The summary from two weeks of usage is that libvirt has worked out okay for me; it’s more or less a perfectly workable virtualization environment for Linux guest VMs, with an adequate GUI experience along side a command line experience that I’m coming to appreciate more for basic operations like starting and stopping virtual machines and reverting to snapshots. I’m happy that I’ve made the switch over to libvirt and I sort of wish I’d done it earlier.

      • MJ FransenElisp on an old Chromebook

        Each Chromebook model has an auto-update expiration (AUE) date. On this date Google stops distributing updates for the specific model.

        When this date is passed, your Chromebook will no longer receive updates and your Chromebook is destined to become a rather large paper weight.

        Older Chromebooks have no option to install Android apps, with these models you are limited to the Chrome-extensions that Google offers.

      • How to Install Node.js with NVM and Nginx on Ubuntu 22.04 – Cloudbooklet

        How to Install Node.js with NVM and setup Nginx. NVM stands for Node.js Version Manager which is more flexible tool to install and manage multiple versions of Node.js and the associated packages at the same time.

        In this guide you are going to learn how install specific version of Node.js using NVM and configure Nginx and secure the installation using Let’s Encrypt. This setup is tested on Google Compute Engine running Ubuntu 22.04 OS

    • Games

      • TechRadarLinux gaming surges in popularity – is this the Steam Deck effect?

        Linux gaming has witnessed an impressive uptick in popularity among Steam gamers, going by the latest hardware survey from Valve’s gaming platform.

        The hardware survey for April 2022 shows that the amount of gamers using Linux has increased to 1.14%, which is still a modest percentage, but it’s up quite strongly on the previous month when Linux sat at exactly 1.0%.

        While an increase of 0.14% means very little for Windows, it’s actually a big leap for Linux, and in fact represents the second-highest level of adoption the alternative platform has witnessed in recent times, going by Valve’s figures.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • 9to5LinuxNitrux 2.1.1 Adds New ISO for NVIDIA Users, Eases the Management of Debian Packages

          Powered by the Linux 5.15.35 XanMod LTS kernel, Nitrux 2.1.1 is here with an Easter egg for NVIDIA GPU users, namely a separate ISO image that includes the latest proprietary NVIDIA graphics driver by default.

          The NVIDIA graphics driver doesn’t include Nitrux’s custom X11 configuration, which means that some hardware may not work as expected and ultimately the user would have to manually add Nitrux’s X11 configuration for NVIDIA PRIME to work correctly.

        • LabPlot 2.9 released

          After a long development and additional testing and beta phases, we’re happy to announce the availability of the next release of LabPlot. In this release we’re bringing again a significant amount of new features and improvements in different areas of LabPlot. The major new features are introduced further below. For more detailed review of the changes in the new release we refer to our ChangeLog file.

          In addition to the new functionality added in 2.9, the users will benefit from performance improvements when importing and plotting big amount of data. With this we want to address the needs of users who need to plot several millions of data points and more will come for this in future.

          As usual, the source code of LabPlot, the Flatpak and Snap packages for Linux as well as the installer for Windows and the image for macOS are available on our download page.

        • 9to5LinuxKDE Plasma 5.24.5 LTS Released with Even More Plasma Wayland Improvements, Bug Fixes

          Coming five weeks after KDE Plasma 5.24.4, the KDE Plasma 5.24.5 update is here with even more Plasma Wayland session improvements and bug fixes. For example, it adds a fix for a KWin crash that could occur when the screen was locked, a fix for various visual glitches when unlocking the screen, improves KWin’s “Virtual Desktops” window rule to work as expected, and a fix for a bug crashing SDL apps (e.g. games) when unplugging an external monitor.

    • Distributions

      • Debian Family

        • Tom’s HardwareHow to Save Disk Space in Raspberry Pi OS and Purge Bloat

          We’re going to use two different methods to identify the largest applications / packages that bloat your Raspberry Pi installation. One comes preinstalled, the other is online one line of code away. For the test we performed a fresh install of the latest 32-bit Raspberry Pi OS image to a 16GB micro SD card.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

      • Education

        • [Old] A Functional Introduction To Computer Science (Part I)

          This is a complete draft of Part I. Part II is in progress.

        • Times Higher EducationHigher education has a key role in developing public-purpose tech

          PPT may be best defined by its intentions and outcomes – serving a major public need rather than a specific customer looking for a specific product. That often (though not always) makes governments the de facto customer. Good examples include the University of Iceland’s Carbfix, which develops carbon storage technology; Imperial College London’s Recycleye, which is building AI for recycling; and the University of Florence’s Ecodrone, which is developing drones for planting new forests.

        • Kev QuirkThe Expert vs the Impostor

          So tomorrow, Tues 03rd May 2022, I’m starting a new role. It’s still with Bank of America and it’s still in the Information Security team. But it is a promotion; I’m moving from a regional role (responsible for a function across Europe) to a global one.

      • Programming/Development

        • Franziskus KieferWhat is High Assurance Cryptography?

          With my company Cryspen we build high assurance cryptography. But what does this actually mean?

          Before focusing on cryptography it is interesting to look at high assurance software in general. How is high assurance software different from other software?

          High assurance software is usually seen as being more trustworthy than other software. This is especially interesting in high-risk/high-stakes environments such as financial institutions or governments. There are different ways to achieve better guarantees for software. Today the most commonly used technique to increase trust into software is using certifications like common criteria or FIPS. While these certifications offer a certain level of additional guarantees, only the highest levels require some form of formal verification of the production source code. As such certification usually reaches only up to a certain level of high assurance.

          Instead, using formal methods to increase trust in software offers real tangible guarantees on a software artifact. But in order to get actual guarantees we have to define the properties that are guaranteed and put it into perspective by defining different assurance levels. Before doing this we look at the different techniques used in high assurance software engineering.

        • Python

          • Geeks For GeeksEvaluate a 2D Laguerre series at points (x,y) with 1D array of coefficient using NumPy in Python

            In Python, laguerre.lagval2d() is used to evaluate a 2D Laguerre series at points (x,y). where coefficient_array is the input NumPy 1D array with coefficients and points referred to as x and y. The first parameter can be a list of pointsSo we have to provide two list such that each list has an x-point and y-point.The second parameter is an numpy array of coefficients ordered such that it is of 3 Dimensions.

  • Leftovers

    • Common DreamsOpinion | A Cheer for Irma the Caricaturist: A Message in a Bottle From My Mother

      Almost three quarters of a century ago, my mother placed a message in a bottle and tossed it out beyond the waves. It bobbed along through tides, storms, and squalls until just recently, almost four decades after her death, it washed ashore at my feet. I’m speaking metaphorically, of course. Still, what happened, even stripped of the metaphors, does astonish me. So here, on the day after my 71st birthday, is a little story about a bottle, a message, time, war (American-style), my mom, and me.

    • The NationFriends and Strangers

      If extraterrestrials were to read American poetry, would they be able to deduce from it that society existed? I suspect they wouldn’t. Not unlike autofiction, the typical lyric poem transcribes the consciousness of a sensitive observer taking in a world in which they don’t exactly belong. This onlooker is often a narcissist who writes with a mirror and a microscope. Their writing is overstuffed with the self: the poet as mopey observer, the poet as damaged comedian, the poet as traumatized humble-braggart.But this abundance of self-regard leaves little room for other people. If other humans stepped into the poem, they’d overpopulate its one-person biosphere of verse, and those who do pop up—say a lover, a mother, someone deceased—usually hover in misty form, a Jedi force ghost.1

    • The NationArt Monsters

      The setting is a liberal arts college, though it could be a lot of places. The head of department is a big personality; he has been in the field forever, and his colleagues like him. If they’ve heard the stories about him and his students, they would rather not know the details. But one day a young woman makes a complaint. Then several more do. It’s more than him being a creep, as his colleagues first thought: The pattern of abuse stretches across years. There’s going to be an investigation. How could this have been going on so long? We need better procedures, everyone suddenly agrees, for handling such situations.

    • HackadayThe Most Deadly Project On The Internet?

      Before deciding whether the headline of this article is clickbait, please take a moment to watch the excellent video by [BigClive] below the break. And then, go to your local search engine and search the phrase “fractal burning death”. We’ll wait.

    • Whitespace

      Years ago, I read about the Whitespace language. The only significant characters are space, tab and line feed. Everything else is a comment. On Saturday it crossed my mind again, so I read the tutorial and thought “Seems like a do-able thing.” So I wrote a Whitespace interpreter.

    • The NationDistant Moments

      There is a gently comic moment in john le carré’s The Spy Who Came in From the Cold in which the novel’s jaded, cynical protagonist, a British intelligence agent named Alec Leamas, quizzes Liz Gold, the young librarian who is about to become his lover, about her beliefs. He asks her if she is religious, and Gold replies that she doesn’t believe in God. “Then what do you believe in?” Leamas presses. “History,” she answers. “Oh, Liz…oh no,” Leamas exclaims. “You’re not a bloody Communist?” She nods, blushing.1

    • The NationGrand Ambitions

      Contemporary novelists have adopted an intriguing strategy to counteract the waning cultural interest in literary fiction: They depict what a camera can’t—or won’t. Much has been made about one method novelists have employed to achieve this objective: the attempt to contract the ambitions and scope of the literary novel to a single focal point, the author-protagonist. These novels, often termed autofiction, are characterized by their commitment to burrowing into the core of an author’s biographical world, where an entirely new and previously undetectable universe might be found—one that would, in any case, be difficult to render onscreen.1

    • Science

      • HackadayBig Chemistry: Synthetic Oil

        For as long as I’ve been driving, I’ve been changing oil. Longer than that, actually — before I even got my license, I did a lot of the maintenance and repair work on the family car. It seemed natural to do it back then, and it continues today, despite the fact that it would probably be cheaper overall to farm the job out. I keep doing it mainly because I like keeping in touch with what’s going on with my cars.

    • Hardware

      • HackadayI2C Tap Helps Assign Blame For SDA Conflicts

        If you’ve ever debugged a misbehaving I2C circuit, you probably know how frustrating it can be. Thankfully [Jim] over at Hackaday.io, has a proto-boardable circuit that can help!

      • HackadayHackaday Prize 2022: A 3D Printed Portable Wind Turbine For Hikers

        If you’re out in the wilderness and off the grid, but still need to charge your phone, the most obvious way to do that is by using a solar panel. Light, flat and without moving parts, they’re easy to store and carry on a hike. But they obviously don’t work in the dark, so what’s a hiker to do if they want to charge their devices at night? If you happen to be in a windy place, then [adriancubas] has the solution for you: a portable wind turbine that folds up to the size of a 2 L soda bottle.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Counter PunchMedicare-for-All Day: a Glyph
      • OracScientific review articles as disinformation

        I’ve long lamented a certain blind spot among my fellow physicians and scientists, a problem that the COVID-19 pandemic has made even more painfully apparent to me. What I’m referring to is our inability as a group to recognize when science is being distorted and thereby weaponized in order to become disinformation. This is not a new technique, but it’s been turbocharged and used more frequently and intensely than ever before. I was reminded of this by a recent Twitter thread about a review article, the first part of which I will cite here:

      • Mark DominusMental illness, attention deficit disorder, and suffering

        Some people do have it worse than others. I’m lucky. But that doesn’t change the fact that some of those attentional difficulties are more like freckles: a character trait, perhaps even one that someone might find adorable, that other people are being assholes about. Isn’t is fair to ask whether some of the extrinsic problems, the stigma, could be ameliorated if society were a little more flexible and a little more accommodating of individual differences, and stop labeling every difference as a disorder?

      • [Old] Dave LaneAre we worthy?

        The fact so many were looking at their phones the instant they were driving past me as I stood beside the road, suggests that a larger percentage would look at their phone during their commute. Probably most of them. That is an indictment on those people.

      • NPRKnown to be toxic for a century, lead still poisons thousands of Midwestern kids

        Pascoe’s son was one of almost 4,700 Missouri children with dangerous levels of lead in their blood in the state’s 2012 report — decades after the U.S. started phasing lead out of gasoline and banned it in new residential paint and water pipes. Missouri’s lead-poisoning reports run from July through June. Though cases have fallen precipitously since the mid-20th century, lead is a persistent poison that impacts thousands of families each year, particularly low-income communities and families of color.

        Eradicating it has been a decades-long battle.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • PC WorldRelentless ransomware disguised as Windows Updates takes aim at students [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The security specialists at BleepingComputer spotted the problem, with forum users reporting the infection after installing self-declared W10 updates from illegal “warez” repositories. These sites offer pirated and cracked versions of paid software, and they’re infamous for being filled with easy targets for those who want to spread malware. The Magniber program hidden in these bogus updates encrypts targeted portions of the user’s storage drive, then demands an anonymous transfer of Bitcoin equal to about $2,600 USD in order to get your files back. The price goes up if you wait more than a few days, and there’s no known workaround to free your files without opening your wallet.

        • Elon Musk taking over Twitter, but most marketers not worried

          Why 58% of marketers aren’t concerned. Verification of accounts. Removing bots. Free speech. These were among the reasons marketers are feeling optimistic about Musk owning Twitter. Here’s a sampling of comments: [...]

        • IT WireMandiant finds threat actor targeting email collection over long periods [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Security firm Mandiant has released details about a threat actor it has named UNC3524, which infiltrates and resides for long periods in Windows environments where it can collect emails in bulk. The active backdoor is named QUIETEXIT and it is based on the Dropbear SSH client-server software which is generally used in environments with low memory and processor resources.

        • UNC3524: Eye Spy on Your Email [iophk: Windows TCO]

          In this blog post, we introduce UNC3524, a newly discovered suspected espionage threat actor that, to date, heavily targets the emails of employees that focus on corporate development, mergers and acquisitions, and large corporate transactions. On the surface, their targeting of individuals involved in corporate transactions suggests a financial motivation; however, their ability to remain undetected for an order of magnitude longer than the average dwell time of 21 days in 2021, as reported in M-Trends 2022, suggests an espionage mandate. Part of the group’s success at achieving such a long dwell time can be credited to their choice to install backdoors on appliances within victim environments that do not support security tools, such as anti-virus or endpoint protection. The high level of operational security, low malware footprint, adept evasive skills, and a large Internet of Things (IoT) device botnet set this group apart and emphasize the “advanced” in Advanced Persistent Threat. UNC3524 also takes persistence seriously. Each time a victim environment removed their access, the group wasted no time re-compromising the environment with a variety of mechanisms, immediately restarting their data theft campaign. We are sharing the tools, tactics, and procedures used by UNC3524 to help organizations hunt for and protect against their operations.

        • Data BreachesClass cancelled at Kellogg Community College following ransomware attack [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Kellogg Community College announced on May 1 that the technology issues that started days before were caused by a ransomware attack. Due to the ongoing attack, all KCC campuses are closed until further notice.

        • NPREstonia hosts NATO-led cyber war games, with one eye on Russia [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Over the last week, the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence hosted the 10th edition of one of the world’s largest annual interactive cybersecurity drills.

          Over 2,000 participants from 32 countries formed teams and logged in remotely to help defend regions of Berylia — an imaginary island nation in conflict with its Southern neighbor, Crimsonia — represented by organizers in Tallinn, Estonia’s capital city. Participants included cybersecurity experts from governments and private companies, as well as academics.

        • National LawReview USHealth Care Organizations Warned of Aggressive Ransomware Threat [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Ransomware is the “business pandemic.” Warnings have been issued by multiple agencies around the world to alert businesses to increase their protection and awareness. Most recently, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a warning to health care organizations related to what it calls “an exceptionally aggressive” ransomware group known as Hive.

          Hive has been active since June of last year, but according to the HHS, has been more active of late targeting health care organizations with “double extortion” threats. The group is described as “financially motivated,” demanding payment to unlock data it has encrypted and also threatening to publicly release unencrypted data, selling it on “name and shame” dark web sites according to the HHS alert.

        • Tenet says ‘cybersecurity incident’ disrupted hospital operations [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Tenet, one of the largest for-profit health systems in the U.S., said it experienced a “cybersecurity incident” last week that disrupted some acute care operations.

          Most critical functions have been restored, while affected facilities are beginning to resume normal operations, according to a statement on Tuesday from the Texas-based operator.

        • YLE[Attackers] sneak code onto Oulu city website to mine cryptocurrency

          The malware, which caused the computers of visitors to the city’s official webpage to generate cryptocurrency without their knowledge, was detected and removed over the weekend.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Eesti RahvusringhäälingEuropean Commission rejects Lithuanian private media complaint

              A European Commission spokesperson told ERR Monday that: “The commission has decided to reject the [Lithuanian] complaint.”

              The complaint lodged at the commission regarding Estonia and its public broadcaster is still being processed, the same spokesperson said, and cannot be commented on at this point in time, though acknowledged the fact of the complaint and said that it would be dealt with via standard of procedure, though was unable to give a time-frame.

              In the case of the complaint from the Lithuanian private media sector against LRT and perceived unfair competition, the spokesperson said that complainants had appealed to the European General Court (ECG), part of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), adding that, again, the case could not be commented upon since it was ongoing.

            • [Old] Eesti RahvusringhäälingPrivate media firms, Eesti Post at loggerheads on newspaper delivery costs

              Controversy has arisen between state-owned mail service Eesti Post and an organization representing private media companies in Estonia over newspaper and magazine delivery prices. While Eesti Post says that declining volumes require higher delivery prices, media firms are asking for a price freeze for several years.

        • Security

          • Krebs On SecurityRussia to Rent Tech-Savvy Prisoners to Corporate IT?

            Faced with a brain drain of smart people fleeing the country following its invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Federation is floating a new strategy to address a worsening shortage of qualified information technology experts: Forcing tech-savvy people within the nation’s prison population to perform low-cost IT work for domestic companies.

          • TechdirtNSO Group’s Financial Backers Tried To Undermine Citizen Lab’s Investigative Work

            NSO Group’s reputation continues to decline, tracked inversely by the rise of Citizen Lab, a team of Canadian security researchers working out of the University of Toronto. Citizen Lab has exposed plenty of abuse by NSO’s customers, and saved plenty of malware targets from remaining compromised by NSO-crafted spyware.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • TechdirtGrindr The Latest Company Caught Selling Detailed User Location Data

              We’ve noted a few times now that while Facebook gets most of the heat for its privacy scandals, the stuff going on in the telecom, app, and adtech markets in regards to location data makes many of Facebook’s privacy issues seem like a grade school picnic.

            • The EconomistCan Chinese big tech learn to love big brother?

              The government’s campaign is moving into a new phase in 2022. The sorry state of the Chinese economy has forced regulators to delay further planned punishment for companies in the hope that they can help recharge growth. In the most positive signal for the sector in over a year, the central government said on April 29th that it planned to normalise regulation and “promote the healthy development of the platform economy”.

            • Scoop News GroupSpy report: 3.4M warrantless searches of US data under FISA last year

              The U.S. government disclosed that the FBI conducted as many as 3.4 million warrantless searches of U.S. citizens’ data last year that the National Security Agency had collected. The data was collected and analyzed under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s (FISA) Section 702, a law that dates to 1978 and that is set to expire at the end of next year.

              The Friday disclosure of the large number of searches comes as Congress is negotiating consumer privacy legislation that reflects long-standing legislator concern about government surveillance and individual privacy. The 3.4 million searches are a large spike from the prior year, 1.3 million.

            • Daniel MiesslerWhy I’m Not Worried About Elon Musk Buying Twitter

              At least in my own anecdotal experience, I don’t find much overlap between people who actually follow and (mostly) like Elon, and people who think he’s a horrible menace to society that shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near Twitter.

            • NYPostTennessee family visiting Disney World says Apple AirTag used to track them

              Gaston’s daughter said that the device was tracking them for several hours during their time at the theme park.

              The family could not find the AirTag when they got to their car. They drove away and called police.

              Her daughter continued to track the device’s location, and it showed that it was still in the parking lot.

            • NYOBUPDATE on noyb’s 101 complaints: Austrian DPA rejects “risk based approach” for data transfers to third countries

              After the groundbreaking decisions by the Austrian and French DPA that the use of Google Analytics is illegal, the Austrian DPA has now issued a second decision, going even further: It declared the use of Google’s IP anonymisation a useless protection measure for data transfers between the EU and the United States. The DSB further rejected the notion of a “risk based approach” that had been argued by Google.

              Some authorities in Europe have at the same time closed the cases: The Spanish and Luxemburgish DPAs have both closed complaints proceudres without commenting on the unlawful use of Google Analytics, as the relevant website stopped using Google Analytics.

            • New York TimesMy Twitter Pullback Is About More Than Elon Musk

              There were clear positives. But the negatives were real and grinding.

              Social media is full of hate speech, bots, vitriol, attack armies, screamers and people who live for the opportunity to be angry.

              For people like me, that meant half my time on Twitter on any given day could be spent blocking and muting accounts. It’s not because I’m fragile or averse to opposing views, but rather that much of what I was seeing clearly crossed over into hostility and sometimes harassment. I can’t even count the number of racial slurs that have been directed at me, or attacks on my sexuality, or allusions to my family. And, of course, there is the occasional threat of violence.

            • CNETDeleting Your Twitter? Here’s How to Archive Your Tweets and DMs Before You Leave

              All you need to do is request the information from Twitter, and you’ll then be sent a file, which you can download to view all of your data from Twitter — for all time. Here’s everything you need to know about requesting and viewing your Twitter archive.

            • TheNewArabFar-right France website probed after ‘leak’ of Muslim personal data

              The French far-right website Fdesouche is being investigated for allegedly leaking data belonging to over a 100 Muslim activists.

            • VicePolice Records Show Women Are Being Stalked With Apple AirTags Across the Country

              Police records reviewed by Motherboard show that, as security experts immediately predicted when the product launched, this technology has been used as a tool to stalk and harass women.

              Motherboard requested records mentioning AirTags in a recent eight month period from dozens of the country’s largest police departments. We obtained records from eight police departments.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Common DreamsOpinion | Cost of the Ukraine War Felt in Africa, Global South

        While international news headlines remain largely focused on the war in Ukraine, little attention is given to the horrific consequences of the war which are felt in many regions around the world. Even when these repercussions are discussed, disproportionate coverage is allocated to European countries, like Germany and Austria, due to their heavy reliance on Russian energy sources.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | The Very Important Case Against More Tactical Nuclear Weapons

        Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal war on Ukraine, along with his implied threats of nuclear weapons use against any who would interfere, has raised the specter of nuclear conflict.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | Who Bankrolled Ginni Thomas as She Sought to Overthrow the 2020 Election?

        On Tuesday of this week, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) is chairing a subcommittee hearing for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on judicial ethics and transparency. This interrogation of the outside forces undermining the fairness of the U.S. Supreme Court is sorely needed. Respect for the Supreme Court has nose-dived, according to a 2022 Pew poll, with the share of Americans who see the Court in a favorable light reaching the lowest level in nearly four decades. Just 16% of Americans surveyed believe the justices do a good job keeping politics out of their decision-making.

      • Democracy NowRicardo Alarcón, Longtime Cuban Diplomat, Dies at Age 84

        Longtime Cuban diplomat Ricardo Alarcón died on Sunday at the age of 84. He was a student leader during the Cuban revolution who eventually became Cuba’s foreign minister and president of the National Assembly, Cuba’s parliament. He played a key role in talks between the United States and Cuba for many years. Democracy Now! spoke to Alarcón in 2015 as the Cuban Embassy reopened in Washington for the first time in 54 years. “You should not overstate the role of diplomats,” Alarcón said of the thawing in relations between the two countries. “The real force that brought about this result was the struggle of the peoples.”

      • Democracy NowJan Egeland: We Need Negotiations, Not an Arms Race, to End War in Ukraine & Prevent a New Cold War

        The Ukrainian government says about 100 people have been able to evacuate the besieged steel plant in Mariupol, where thousands of civilians and fighters have taken shelter in recent weeks as Russian forces took over most of the strategic port city. This comes after several previously arranged “humanitarian corridors” fell apart. Meanwhile, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the highest-ranking American official to visit Kyiv, days after President Joe Biden asked Congress for an additional $33 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine. For more on the war in Ukraine, now in its 10th week, we speak with Norwegian Refugee Council head Jan Egeland, who has been visiting Ukrainian cities “devastated beyond belief” by the Russian invasion. “I don’t think the world has understood enough that this suffering will become even deeper, especially in the east and the south, if the war is allowed to rage on like now.” Egeland says the only way to end the war is through talks, and warns against an “arms race” that could continue to fuel the conflict.

      • Counter PunchLegal Consequences of Russia’s War of Aggression

        The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court states that the crime of aggression is one of the “most serious crimes of concern to the international community,” and provides that the crime falls within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). As of November 2019, 123 states are parties to the Statute of the Court. Four of these signature states –the United States, Russia, Israel and Sudan—have informed the UN Secretary General that they no longer intend to abide by the laws of the Statute, and therefore have no legal obligations arising from their signature.

        Current Russian military actions in Ukraine are clear violations of the Geneva Convention of 1949, particularly its attacks against civilians who are not participating in hostilities. The Russian army has blockaded thousands of Ukrainian civilians in the basements on churches, theaters, and subway stations in conditions of near starvation. The 1949 Geneva Conventions have been ratified by all Member States of the United Nations, which are then bound by its tenets.

      • Counter PunchMuslims and the War on Terror: More Than Twenty Years of “Othering”

        Last year’s somber reflections on the 20 years since 9/11 rarely engaged fully with the complexity and scope of the actions set in motion by American incursions into Afghanistan, Iraq, and multiple other countries in the years to follow.

        While Rep. Barbara Lee did receive her “flowers” for her brave stance for urging restraint in the days after 9/11, and for being the sole member of either chamber of Congress to vote against the first Authorization of Military Force, the U.S. government itself has not been called to account for the human impact of its policy prescriptions and militaristic actions over the past two decades.

      • Mint Press NewsThe Non-Independence of Western-Funded “Independent Media” in Ukraine with Alan MacLeod
      • Counter PunchOn Ukraine, the World Majority Sides With Russia Over U.S.

        The first, familiar to all, was the coup in Ukraine in which a democratically elected government was overthrown at the direction of the United States and with the assistance of neo-Nazi elements which Ukraine has long harbored.

        Shortly thereafter the first shots in the present war were fired on the Russian-sympathetic Donbass region by the newly installed Ukrainian government.  The shelling of the Donbass which claimed 14,000 lives has continued for 8 years, despite attempts at a cease-fire under the Minsk accords which Russia, France and Germany agreed upon but Ukraine backed by the US refused to implement.  On February 24, 2022, Russia finally responded to the slaughter in Donbass and the threat of NATO on its doorstep.

      • Counter PunchBritain’s Napoleonic Posturing will be Exposed by Battlefield Reality

        His cynical words are particularly pertinent in times of war because it is then that governments have an unrivalled opportunity to do harm. They can wrap themselves in the national flag and denounce their critics as unpatriotic appeasers. Most dangerously, they can purport to be providing good judgement and competent administration despite a dismal track record of bungling and dishonesty in the handling of domestic crises far less complex than the demands of warfare.

        A frightening example of this born-again bombast came this week when the Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, made a speech at the Mansion House in London expressing enthusiasm for maximum war aims. “We will keep going further and faster to push Russia out of the whole of Ukraine,” she said, which would mean backing a Ukrainian counter-offensive to retake Crimea and the Russian-backed separatist republics in the Donbas. These are objectives that any Russian leader, regardless of whether or not Vladimir Putin remains in the Kremlin, is likely to resist.

      • Common DreamsTrump Wanted to Shoot Protesters, Says His Former Pentagon Chief

        Former President Donald Trump suggested protesters in Washington, D.C. denouncing police brutality back in the spring of 2020 should be shot, according to former Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

        The revelation scooped by Axios Monday comes in Esper’s memoir—A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times—to be released May 10.

      • TruthOutGOP Lawmaker Introduces AUMF to Facilitate US Intervention in Ukraine
      • MeduzaWar without people: How the ‘geopolitical worldview’ among dictators and scholars alike enables the unthinkable in Ukraine

        Those who unleashed and support the war with Ukraine think about the world in a certain way. They see a map with borders, spheres of influence, objectives, and targets. Next to each country on this imaginary map is an index of its “sovereignty.” There are powerful and independent “superpowers,” there are ordinary “great powers,” there are regional powers, and then there are the “regular” countries. But the map makes no room for people; on this scale, human beings are simply invisible. In the following essay, Meduza “Ideas” editor Maxim Trudolyubov argues that this geopolitical vision only makes sense if you’re viewing the world through crosshairs.

      • Meduza‘Mom, we want to live’: The Ukrainian refugees forced to travel through Russia on their way to safety

        On April 30, Russian state media reported that over a million refugees (many of whom were forcibly removed and brought to “filtration camps”) had entered Russia from Ukraine, including from the territory of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics.” Some have managed to continue on to Europe, but not without difficulty; getting out of Russia requires undergoing numerous invasive searches and interrogations, and some people have even been forced to appear in propaganda videos. Meduza spoke with several people from Mariupol and Rubizhne (a city in the Luhansk region) about the indignities they had to endure to get away from Russia twice.

      • Counter PunchLessons from Venezuela

        There are many characteristics of imperialism, but essentially it involves the desire and the ability of one nation to overpower, dominate and or persuade other nations to act in the best interests of the empire’s own aims. Imperialism is not a new phenomenon, but today it can be said to involve a new colonialism. This brand of colonialism does not necessarily take over militarily large tracts of lands of peoples or nations, but seeks to destroy the sovereignty of established states, weaken them, impose a tutelage over them, in its quest of natural resources, advantages and hegemonic power. As well, today there is a new way of waging war has been added to military war: hybrid war that is economic, diplomatic, legalistic, mediatic, and equally lethal.

        There is only one empire right now, it is the United States of America, and it is intent on remaining so, on being the one hegemon, the super-power, with its firm allies in Europe and Canada. It is the only nation that has about 800 military bases around the world. It has the largest armed forces in the world, and is the number one arms manufacturer and seller in the world. War has been its main instrument and business, for most of the XX and now XXI century. Consequently, Washington’s foreign, diplomatic, economic, and financial policies are no longer different from its military objectives. The private and the public spheres have been greatly combined with the militarization of its foreign policies, and it cloaks a profound class struggle, domestic as well as international counting on the formidable power of corporate media.

      • The NationThe US Must End Its Economic War Against Venezuela

        Jesús “Chuo” Torrealba, a 63-year-old journalist and social worker, is a prominent figure in Venezuela’s opposition. He was secretary-general of the Democratic Unity Roundtable, the leading coalition of organizations opposed to the government of President Nicolás Maduro. He has 1 million followers on Twitter. And even he says the harsh US economic sanctions imposed on Venezuela over the past four and a half years have failed and should be eased.

      • FAIROn Venezuela, Only Hawkish ‘Dissent’ Allowed

        Another NATO war means a media establishment in a propaganda frenzy once again. Corporate media outlets have cheered Washington for throwing fuel to the fire in Ukraine, with some demanding that the administration escalate yet more (FAIR.org, 1/28/22, 2/28/22, 3/18/22, 3/22/22). Be it through their choice of pundits, or their own reporters haranguing White House officials for not sending enough weaponry, one thing is clear enough: Elite media will only criticize official foreign policy for not being hawkish enough.

      • The NationWar Is the Crime
      • The NationA Tale of Two Bulldozers

        Twitter feeds in India and around the world were recently inundated with heartbreaking scenes of citizens in North Delhi’s Muslim-majority Jahangirpuri neighborhood weeping over the remains of their destroyed homes. Aerial images of the scene showed piles of wood and scrap metal that had once been houses and businesses reduced to rubble and surrounded by hundreds of heavily-armed soldiers and police officers.

      • CBSFormer NYPD officer convicted of assaulting police during Jan. 6 Capitol riot

        Webster is the first Jan. 6 defendant accused of assaulting officers to go to trial. According to the Justice Department, at least 250 defendants have been charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers or employees and eight have pleaded guilty.

      • Computer WorldRussia is losing the cyberwar against Ukraine, too

        In that cyberwar, as always, the terrain is primarily Windows, because it represents the largest and most vulnerable attack surface in the world. The facts about what exactly is going on have been shadowy. But there’s plenty of evidence that Ukraine may keep the upper hand.

      • CNNJudge rules January 6 committee can obtain RNC and Trump campaign email data

        A federal judge has decided to allow the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol Hill insurrection to obtain the Republican National Committee’s marketing email data leading up to January 6, 2021.

        The decision — issued late Sunday night by Trump-appointed Judge Timothy Kelly of the DC District Court — is a significant win for the House among many ongoing court fights in which investigators are still trying to gather details related to the pro-Trump effort to overturn the 2020 election.

        In the 53-page opinion, Kelly signed off on the House committee’s pursuits, while rejecting several arguments Republicans and witnesses from the Trump administration have tried to make in court claiming the panel wasn’t properly comprised or appropriately seeking information.

      • The Washington PostHacking Russia was off-limits. The Ukraine war made it a free-for-all.

        Prolific ransomware groups in the last year and a half have shut down pandemic-battered hospitals, the key fuel conduit Colonial Pipeline and schools; published sensitive documents from corporate victims; and, in one case, pledged to step up attacks on American infrastructure if Russian technology was hobbled in retribution for the invasion of Ukraine.

        Yet the third month of war finds Russia, not the United States, struggling under an unprecedented hacking wave that entwines government activity, political voluntarism and criminal action.

      • [Old] PNASCan humankind escape the tragedy of the commons?

        This bleak picture, sketched out in an 1833 pamphlet by the British mathematician William Forster Lloyd, remained an obscure snippet of social science until 1968, when ecologist Garrett Hardin picked it up. In his profoundly influential paper, “The tragedy of the commons” (1), Hardin wrote, “Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.”

      • The Sunday Times UKDeath threats for imam who took on fanatics — and earned bomber’s ire

        A cleric who testified to the Manchester Arena inquiry about extremism in his mosque and clashed with the family of Salman Abedi has been forced to flee the city

      • MedforthFrance: An Islamist with a record in the file for suspected terrorism convicted of threatening an imam

        The prosecutor saw the attempt to gain control of the mosque as a typical Salafist manoeuvre and demanded a prison sentence of three years with a warrant. The court was much more lenient and sentenced the man to six months probation, a ban on carrying a weapon and entering the mosque, and two years of judicial supervision.

    • Environment

      • RTL‘Lungs of the Mediterranean’ at risk

        But, just as human actions elsewhere are devastating forests of trees on land, scientists warn that human activity is driving the grass under the sea to destruction at speed — with dire environmental and economic impacts.

        Named Posidonia oceanica after the Greek god of the sea Poseidon, seagrass spans the Mediterranean seabed from Cyprus to Spain, sucking in carbon and curbing water acidity.

        “Posidonia oceanica… is one of the most important sources of oxygen provided to coastal waters,” MedWet, a 27-member regional intergovernmental network, says.

      • Democracy NowClimate Injustice: Those Who Face Record Heat Wave in India & Pakistan Did Not Create the Crisis

        We speak with a leading Indian climate scientist about the punishing heat wave that produced the hottest weather ever recorded in April for India and Pakistan. Temperatures have climbed above 110 degrees Fahrenheit, causing power outages, school closures, crop damage and health warnings. Scientists link the early onset of the region’s intense summer to the climate crisis and say more than 1 billion people may be impacted by more frequent and longer heat waves. “We are expected to and already seeing longer and more intense heat waves that are more frequent across the Indian subcontinent because of anthropogenic climate change,” says Chandni Singh, senior researcher on climate change adaptation at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements and a lead author of the Asia chapter of the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “Historical emitters of greenhouse gases have to step up because we are, in countries like India and Pakistan, really hitting the limits of adapting to heat.”

      • Common DreamsIPCC Scientist Warns India-Pakistan Record Temps ‘Testing Limits of Human Survivability’

        As record-breaking temperatures continue to pummel the Indian subcontinent—endangering the lives of millions of people and scorching crops amid a global food crisis—climate scientists and activists are warning that deadly public health crises of this sort will only grow worse as long as societies keep burning fossil fuels.

        “Governments can no longer approve fossil fuel projects, and financial institutions can no longer fund them, without our suffering on their hands.”

      • TruthOutThose Who Face Record Heat Wave in India and Pakistan Did Not Create the Crisis
      • Counter PunchHard Work and Dying Dreams on Planet Plastic
      • Counter PunchNo More Earth Days!

        So how can we even have hope? How can we not despair? What’s the use? We don’t just need an Earth Week, or an Earth Year, or for the UN to declare a “decade of the Earth.” It won’t even be sufficient for us to think in terms of a generation.

        If we are to be the ones who begin the process of saving ourselves by saving the Earth, we must face the hard fact that it will take many generations. After all, it took 300 years to change from a sustainable civilization to this disaster we now mistakenly call by that name.

      • Energy

        • Common DreamsUtilities Cut Power to Millions of Homes as Profits and Pay Soared: Report

          Private utilities have shut off electricity to U.S. households more than 3.5 million times since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, even as the power companies have reaped windfall profits and their executives’ compensation has skyrocketed, a report published Monday revealed.

          “Utility companies are deliberately prolonging their dependence on fossil fuels and passing volatile fuel prices on to consumers.”

        • The NationThe Climate Movement in Its Own Way

          After decades of critically documenting nuclear power’s outsize costs, I finally admitted to myself that the carbon-reduction benefits from continuing to run US nuclear plants are substantial, and in some respects irreplaceable. I made the case for keeping them open in an April article on TheNation.com.

        • The RevelatorUkraine’s Nuclear Power Plants Caught in the Crossfire of War With Russia
        • DeSmogRising Authoritarianism and Worsening Climate Change Share a Fossil-fueled Secret

          By Eve Darian-Smith, University of California, Irvine

          Around the world, many countries are becoming less democratic. This backsliding on democracy and “creeping authoritarianism,” as the U.S. State Department puts it, is often supported by the same industries that are escalating climate change.

        • CBCOil has long been used as a geopolitical weapon. Could electrified transport change that?

          Climate scientists have been clear that if we want to reduce carbon emissions and slow the pace of global warming, one crucial step is moving from a transportation system run on fossil fuels to one powered by electricity.

          But it’s possible that doing so might neutralize other toxic aspects of the petroleum industry, such as volatile prices and armed conflict.

        • Boston GlobeR.I. legislator would use cryptocurrency as part of ‘green housing’ program

          Under his plan, government entities or the United Nations would issue credits for building homes that rely on renewable energy sources such as solar or geothermal power. Those credits would be transformed into “green coin” that could be used, for example, for environmentally-friendly purchases such as charging an electric vehicle, or they could be pooled to finance other “green housing” projects, he said.

        • [Old] Energy-thirsty Bitcoin miners seek ways to dump fossil fuels

          The Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index estimates bitcoin mining used about 109 terrawatt hours of electricity over the past year — close to the amount used in Virginia in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Center. The current usage rate would work out to 143 TWh over a full year, or about the amount used by Ohio or New York state in 2020.

          Cambridge’s estimate does not include energy used to mine other cryptocurrencies.

        • VarietyUnderstanding Cryptocurrency’s Celebrity Craze

          While it should be anticipated that some celebrities will continue to accept the easy cash from potentially shady NFT and [cryptocurrency] products for some time to come, attention should be paid to how they are being paid. If it is in equity, the product is likely legit. Equally, the involvement of celebrities and brands in [cryptocurrency] philanthropy will continue, as the sums generated will continue to grow and leaders look to invest back.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Democracy NowWorld Risks Losing 1 in 5 Reptile Species as Human Activity Destroys Ecosystems, Says Report Author

          We speak with one of the leaders of a new study that finds one in five reptiles are threatened by extinction. The results of the first comprehensive study of over 10,000 reptile species around the world were just published in the journal Nature and found multiple causes, including deforestation, urban encroachment, hunting and the climate crisis. “The fate of reptiles is wrapped up with the fate of many other species,” notes Bruce Young, the chief zoologist and senior conservation scientist for the wildlife conservation group NatureServe.

    • Finance

      • Counter PunchThe Surge in Imports and the Drop in GDP: Offloading the Ships Lined Up Offshore

        Imagine that the sum of consumption spending, investment, and government spending increased at 2.7 percent annual rate in the quarter (which they did). Now suppose that we offloaded $60 billion of goods from boats sitting offshore, increasing our imports by this amount. On an annual basis, this additional $60 billion in imports would be $240 billion, or roughly 1.0 percent of GDP. This would reduce GDP by this amount, even though our purchases for consumption, investment, and the government had not changed.

        Okay, that story is not exactly right. The goods that we offloaded from the ships are now sitting in warehouses at the ports or on their way to the retail outlets where they will eventually be sold. This increase in inventories would raise GDP by an amount equal to the growth in imports, offsetting the drag that imports otherwise would have been on growth. However, inventories were actually a drag on growth in the quarter, subtracting 0.84 percentage points from GDP.

      • Counter PunchPressure Mounts on Biden to Take Action on Student Loan Debt
      • Common DreamsOpinion | ‘Debt Shaming’ Has Dampened Democracy

        When I ran for mayor of Buffalo, New York, last year, my past-due parking tickets became a major reason for reduced favorability among voters. When Stacy Abrams ran for governor of Georgia in 2018, there was a lot of talk in the mainstream media about how much debt she was in. I share these examples because in general, the working poor do not willfully withhold payment for debts. We are faced with the very real decision between paying often illegitimate debts (like parking tickets and student loans) and feeding our children or paying for life-saving medical treatment for our loved ones.

      • Counter PunchHow Young Workers Are Unionizing Starbucks

        The very first Starbucks location to successfully unionize was in Buffalo, New York, where a vote was held only last December. Since then, dozens more locations have voted to join SWU—whose parent company is Workers United, an affiliate of SEIU—and more than 200 other locations have filed for union elections.

        Thompson, who uses they/them pronouns, and who describes their background as “working-class Hispanic,” lives in Santa Cruz, California, and works there as a shift supervisor at the first Starbucks in the state to petition for a union. That vote is expected to take place in May, and it will be a bellwether for union organizing at Starbucks cafés across California.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Common DreamsGroup Files FEC Complaint Over Trump Super PAC’s $500,000 Gift From ‘Mystery Donors’

        A watchdog group filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Monday accusing “mystery donors”—one of which may be millionaire businessman Bill Pulte—of using a Delaware limited liability company to funnel $500,000 into former President Donald Trump’s super PAC, a violation of campaign finance laws prohibiting so-called straw donors.

        The Campaign Legal Center’s (CLC) complaint specifically alleges that “Pulte and/or unknown other persons” used ML Organization, LLC as a shell company to pour money into the Make America Great Again, Again! super PAC without having to disclose their identities.

      • Common DreamsYoung Rural Progressives Have a Message for the Democratic Establishment

        Arguing that the Democratic Party and its candidates have “willfully abandoned rural communities” as they focus on winning in the cities and suburbs, a progressive Maine state lawmaker and her campaign manager offer a dire warning—and solutions—in a Monday op-ed.

        “The only way for Democrats to regain traction in rural places is by running strong campaigns in districts that usually back Republicans.”

      • Common Dreams‘Terrifying’: GOP Preparing 6-Week Federal Abortion Ban If They Win Back Congress

        Three national reproductive rights groups on Monday announced plans to spend $150 million campaigning for pro-choice candidates in nine states ahead of the 2022 midterm elections—just as a newly-unveiled Republican anti-choice strategy made it clear how crucial it will be to elect abortion rights advocates in November.

        As the Washington Post reported Monday, Republican senators have had extensive discussions about the possibility of proposing a nationwide ban on abortion at six weeks of pregnancy if they retake Congress, as well as new restrictions if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

      • Common DreamsSanders to Hold Hearing on Whether Taxpayer Dollars Should ‘Go to Companies That Violate Labor Laws’

        Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Monday that the Senate Budget Committee is planning to hold a hearing later this week to discuss ending federal contracts to corporations engaged in illegal anti-union practices.

        The hearing—titled “Should Taxpayer Dollars Go to Companies that Violate Labor Laws?”—is scheduled for Thursday, May 5.

      • Counter PunchActivists Wonder: Will Hillary Replace Biden to Face Trump in 2024?

        At least DNC PAC flacks’ are bold and upfront with “URGENT” and imaginative missives filling my email and snail-mail boxes. Nothing hesitant or mealy-mouthed about their prose: “Horrible News : A record number of Democrats—more than THIRTY—have decided to retire…The math is NOT on our side.” Or: “If we don’t meet our goals [$102 million], we will have to CANCEL THESE ADS ”).

        Given pundits such as Politico’s Steve Shepard and several major polls predicting a Republican midterm landslide into Congress, the party apparently is desperately scouring the nation for votes. On their lists are defectors such as the “turncoats,” the angries, those disgusted with DNC candidate choices—and “temporary Democrats” like me, stuck in Oregon’s closed primary system. We are the bane of county election officials because the day after voting for a worthy, non-DNC-approved candidate, we “Temp Dems” re-register to return to our home party (Independent, Green, Progressive, Working Family, etc.—or Republican).

      • Counter PunchAgainst the Trumpian GOP Onslaught – The Dems are Like Deer in the Headlights

        Sears, Roebuck and Company saw Walmart coming out of Arkansas for years and spreading all over the country, but the Sears bosses could not adjust to deal with this swarming business model. Sears, once the premium retail and mail order company in the nation, is now almost gone.

        The lumbering General Motors (GM) had years to confront the electric car challenge of Tesla. Tiny Tesla took on giant GM, which built electric cars as prototypes long before Elon Musk was born. GM launched the much-troubled Chevrolet Volt and other converted model brands, but Musk isn’t losing any sleep over competition from GM or the other giant auto manufacturers. He just reported last quarter sales of over 300,000 electric vehicles, which means expected sales of well over one million dollars in 2022 or 50% over the previous year. Tesla’s profits are skyrocketing as well, as more Tesla manufacturing plants open. The GM bureaucracy, under CEO-engineer Mary Barra, just can’t put it together no matter its bold promises to convert to all electric vehicles.

      • Counter PunchWill China’s “Zero COVID” Policy Become a Big Liability for Xi?

        But perhaps the greatest concern for Xi is COVID-19’s threat to his reappointment for a third term as Communist Party chairman at the 20th Party Congress expected later this year.

        Natural disasters have often led to political change in China. The July 1976 Tangshan earthquake, which killed more than half a million people by some estimates, was seen by many as an indication that Mao Zedong had lost legitimacy — or the “Mandate of Heaven” — as the ruler of China. His death a few weeks later only affirmed these superstitions.

      • TechdirtMarjorie Taylor Greene Has A Bill To Burden Elon Musk’s Twitter With An Avalanche Of Frivolous Lawsuits

        You may have heard that Republican politicians have been celebrating Elon Musk’s announced plans to purchase Twitter, in the belief that his extraordinarily confused understanding of free speech and content moderation will allow them to ramp up the kinds of nonsense, abuse, and harassment they can spread on Twitter. I’m still not convinced that will actually be the result, but, in the meantime, it does seem weird that Republicans are now trying to burden their new friend with an avalanche of frivolous lawsuits. But, that’s exactly what they’re doing.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | A Victory for Nina Turner Is Exactly What the Democratic Party Needs

        Last August, on the day of the special election primary between Nina Turner and Shontel Brown, Common Dreams published my article “Nina Turner: A Champion of the People Redeeming Our Frayed Democracy.” The piece focused on two things: 1. Why Nina Turner would be a brilliant addition to the US Congress, both as a Representative for the people of Northeast Ohio and for the national progressive movement; and 2. The unique dynamics of Ohio’s 11th District. I encourage people to read (or re-read) that article. It remains just as relevant nine months later.

      • Common Dreams‘I Don’t Believe in a Cutoff’: AOC Says Biden Shouldn’t Means-Test Student Debt Relief

        Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez warned over the weekend that means tests and other limits on student debt cancellation that Biden administration officials are reportedly considering risk denying relief to a significant number of vulnerable people, a potential moral and political disaster.

        “Canceling $50,000 in debt is where you really make a dent in inequality and the racial wealth gap. $10,000 isn’t.”

      • TruthOutHandful of Voters May Decide Who’s on the Fall Ballot
      • TruthOutResearchers at Leading Reproductive Health Organization Are Pushing to Unionize
      • Common Dreams‘Better Late Than Never’: AOC Endorses Nina Turner on Eve of Congressional Primary

        Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday made an 11th-hour endorsement of Ohio congressional candidate Nina Turner, calling the former state senator and Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign co-chair a “powerful voice” for working people and progressive policies.

        “Nina is exactly the kind of progressive leader we need more of in Congress.”

      • Common DreamsKhanna Shares Personal Struggle in Call for Biden to Cancel Student Debt

        Progressive U.S. lawmaker Ro Khanna on Monday shared his personal struggle repaying college loans while calling on President Joe Biden to free millions of Americans from the burden of student debt.

        “The best way to start the new school year for everyone saddled with crushing student loans would be for Biden to free them of this burden.”

      • TruthOutPublic Universities Need More Democracy, Not More Administrators
      • Arab NewsMuslim Brotherhood using ‘woke’ Europeans to further its agenda: Experts

        Dr. Lorenzo Vidino, director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, told participants that the Brotherhood is using “woke” language to “camouflage their true nature” as it takes hold in Europe.

      • NBCElon Musk could put less money into Twitter acquisition deal

        The new financing, which could come in the form of preferred or common equity, could reduce the $21 billion cash [sic] contribution that Musk has committed to the deal as well as a margin loan he secured against his Tesla shares, the sources said.

      • The NationThe Here and Now of the American Left

        Gathered together at the headquarters of the Chicago Teachers Union, the Young Democratic Socialists of America held their annual Winter Conference in early April. With 119 chapters in 31 states, YDSA is the largest student-led socialist organization in the country, and the April meeting brought together hundreds of students from colleges across the United States.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • SalonInfluencer culture is everywhere — even in academia

        Labor precarity is, for many, a driving impetus. To be sure, the uncertainty we glibly associate with work in the era of COVID was set into motion well before March 2020. But the pandemic exacerbated job insecurity as employers hemorrhaged resources and social safety nets went from fraying to threadbare. Widespread unemployment has been compounded by a continued gig-ification of nearly all professional sectors, including higher education. The side hustle as a strategy of risk containment—namely staving off unemployment—makes sense in this context.

      • GizmodoWe’re Publishing the Facebook Papers. Here’s What They Say About the Ranking Algorithms That Control Your News Feed.

        Today’s batch offers insight into how Meta chooses to rank the content submitted by its users. It’s a system that very few people seem to understand, a problem that the company appears short on clues how to solve. Choosing these documents as a follow-up to ones on the most important political events of the past two years speaks to how highly we consider their relevance to understanding Facebook’s effects on the world.

        These documents offer an unfiltered, if fragmented, look at years’ worth of attempts by Facebook to assign emotional value to every swipe and click in its app. This process, which has an outsized impact on the kinds of information most frequently seen on the platform, is known as ranking. It underpins one of Facebook’s core features: the News Feed (or just the “Feed,” as the company now prefers we call it).

      • ABCSandy Hook families agree to remove InfoWars as defendant in defamation lawsuit

        Families of victims of the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School have agreed to remove InfoWars as a defendant in their defamation lawsuit, hoping to end what they’ve called the “charade” of InfoWars’ bankruptcy filing.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • TechdirtElon Musk’s Twitter Business Model Idea: Ignore Free Speech Rights And Try To The Charge Media To Quote Tweets

        As everyone’s trying to read the tea leaves of what an Elon Musk-owned Twitter will actually look like, it’s been reported that in his presentation to Wall St. banks to get the financing he needs to complete the deal, he suggested the deal would be profitable because of some of his new business model ideas. Now, obviously, these are entirely speculative, and my guess is that he hasn’t thought through any of this that deeply (just like he hasn’t thought through content moderation’s challenges, even though he’s sure he can fix it). But, at least some of the banks are buying into the deal based on Musk promising a stronger Twitter business, so we need to pay attention to his ideas. Like this one, that, um, would be effectively impossible under the 1st Amendment.

      • EFFTracking Exposed: Demanding That the Gods Explain Themselves

        “Algospeak” is a new English dialect that emerged from the desperate attempts of social media users to “please the algorithm”: that is, to avoid words and phrases that cause social media platforms’ algorithms to suppress or block their communication. 

        Algospeak is practiced by all types of social media users, from individuals addressing their friends to science communicators and activists hoping to reach a broader public. But the most ardent practitioners of algospeak are social media creators, who rely—directly or indirectly—on social media to earn a living.

        For these creators, accidentally blundering into an invisible linguistic fence erected by social media companies can mean the difference between paying their rent or not. When you work on a video for days or weeks—or even years—and then “the algorithm” decides not to show it to anyone (not even the people who explicitly follow you or subscribe to your feed), that has real consequences. 

      • TechdirtJudge Alsup Dismisses Nearly All Of Alex Berenson Frivolous Lawsuit Against Twitter

        Back in December we wrote about just how absolutely, pathetically ridiculous Alex Berenson’s lawsuit against Twitter was. As you’ll recall, Berenson, who has accurately been described as the “pandemic’s wrongest man“, got kicked off Twitter after posting a non-stop stream of utter nonsense, completely misinterpreting vaccine data in ways that weren’t just embarrassing but that likely were causing people to die. The lawsuit against Twitter trotted out a number of laughable theories, including that it violated the 1st Amendment to kick him off, and that it was “unfair competition” and a “breach of contract” among other things. We went through how laughable all of these were, but didn’t spend that much time on it because, really, there’s only so much time one should waste on such things.

      • The AtlanticElon Musk Is Right That Twitter Should Follow the First Amendment

        But Musk’s position is, in fact, convincing. Although private companies are not required to follow the First Amendment, nothing prevents them from doing so voluntarily. And in Twitter’s case in particular, there are strong reasons to believe that the First Amendment should presumptively govern. All four of the main principles that have historically guided the Supreme Court in interpreting the First Amendment apply just as powerfully to social-media platforms as they do to governments.

        What are these First Amendment first principles? Justice Louis Brandeis expressed all four in his opinion in Whitney v. California, a 1927 case that involved a woman convicted of making a speech at a communist party meeting in support of anti-lynching laws. Here is Brandeis’s crucial paragraph, in which he drew heavily upon Thomas Jefferson’s “Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom”: [...]

      • Free speech and power

        I hate to participate in “the discourse”, but a lot of folks on Gemini are talking about free speech today, and I’ve had something to say on the topic that’s been rattling around my head for a while.

        Often in free speech conversations, somebody invokes the difference between “government censorship” of speech vs. private platforms limiting speech. Liberals and conservatives with both do this when it’s convenient for their argument. As though The Notable difference between a discussion board banning someone for being rude, and the government jailing someone for being critical, is that one decision involves private property and the other doesn’t.

        This is nonsense.

      • A Level-Headed Take on Free Speech

        It’s disheartening to see so much of what could be interesting discussion on free speech reduced to labeling, name calling, and attacks on straw men.

        Also I don’t mean to tell people how and what to post, but if you want to contribute anything of value about a divisive topic like this one then please consider having the courtesy to walk readers through your position to help drive conversation. Just a paragraph or two. I completely understand the need to vent, but inflammatory vent posts should probably be labeled as such. Besides, if you want to just blurt out a hot take with zero elaboration, there are several popular websites I can point you to that are designed especially for that.

      • Some thoughts on “free speech” that’ve been rolling around my brain

        I’m going to send you an email, and you’re going to publish the contents of that email on your Gemini capsule. What? No you aren’t? How dare you censor me. And you better not report me for harassment when I continue to use my FREE SPEECH to email you.

        That’s stupid, yeah? But it’s exactly the same thing as publishing a tweet or a Facebook status, just a little less streamlined. If you inherently have the right to tweet, I inherently have the right to space on your capsule.

      • Re: Free Speech

        It seems that I have (not unexpectedly) generated quite the conversation and controversy in the Geminisphere. In the interest of transparency for someone stumbling upon this post long after the drama has fizzled out, here are all the relevant posts on this topic that I have read, as of the time of publication, whether direct replies or just someone speaking generally on the topic.

      • Imagine I own a radio station

        Everyone in my town likes my radio station. I play cool music (an eclectic mix of rock and underground electronic music, slowly transitioning into cool jazz through th enight). I have cool talk shows where interesting people give interesting viewpoints. I have strict rules about advertising on my radio station, so that you can’t air any of those obnoxious ads that have sirens or car noises.

      • On Free Speech Absolutism

        The first word — the subject — is Congress. The document is speaking specifically about the United States Congress, an elected legislative body.

        The next four words are “shall make no law”. The subject, Congress, is prohibited from making some kind or other of law.

      • Free Speech and Censorship

        A lot of speech is censored because it is not “politically correct”. Platforms perform censorship, to achieve political ends. Twitter censored the *true* story, by the New York Post, about Hunter Biden’s laptop.

      • Frozen Peaches

        Here in the US, we have a large contingent of what I’ll call the anti-authoritarian right. There’s a whole spectrum of beliefs covered by that label, so I’m making a huge oversimplification.

      • Re: Popper debunked

        Yep. Anything that destroys the open and just society we’re trying to build can be banned. Just like an app that destroys the computer it’s on can be deleted.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • The EconomistRana Ayyub says we should stop calling journalists “brave”

        When a journalist is killed or incarcerated or assassinated, obituaries scream bravado, editorials claim courage. Have such plaudits normalised the persecution of journalists? Why does a journalist have to be brave to report facts as they are? Why does she need to be persecuted for her story to reach the world? Consider Gauri Lankesh, Daphne Caruana Galizia and Jamal Khashoggi—all journalists with a profile, all brazenly killed in broad daylight. Their murders dominated the front pages of international publications. But their killers, men in power, remain unquestioned not just by the authorities but often by publishers and editors who develop a comfortable amnesia when meeting those in power. They do not want to lose access to them

        The very world leaders who ignore the persecution of journalists in the largest democracies are often seen lighting candles in honour of the persecuted—the slain journalists in whose memory prizes will be awarded. The vicious cycle will continue with no course correction.

      • VOA NewsPope Defends Free Press in Tribute to Killed Journalists

        That is a lower number than tabulated by UNESCO, the U.N. organization that sponsors World Press Freedom Day, which said earlier this year that 55 journalists and media workers were killed in 2021.

      • NeritamJournalists Being Reduced To Just Stenographers To Power

        Sharply criticising the state of mainstream journalism in the country today, P Sainath, veteran agrarian journalist and founder of Peoples’ Archive of Rural India highlighted the 200th anniversary of Indian journalism.

      • ‘Journalists Being Reduced to Just Stenographers to Power’: P Sainath

        Sainath was particularly aghast at the contemporary media’s incapacity to even identify the zeitgeist of today’s India. “Ram Mohan, whether in Sangbad Kaumudi or the short-lived Mirat-ul-Akhbar, focused on the great issues of his time. The campaign against sati, for women’s rights and widow remarriage saw him attacked and vilified by the Hindu fundamentalists of his time.” On the other hand, “Let alone educate us on how they are covering them, it would be interesting to know if present-day (corporate media) editors can sum up what the great processes of our time are – (Hint: the list does not include the IPL).”

        Sainath concluded his view of the state of Indian journalism today as: “There now remain only two schools in journalism: Journalism – and Stenography. The latter rules the media, reducing so many journalists to being just stenographers to power. Good journalism struggles to survive.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Counter PunchAlternative Vision of a New Global Order

        The relentless truth-seeking Habermas begins his reflections on an alternate vision of a new global order with this question: “A U-turn in US policy on international law after September 11?” (in “Part IV: the Kantian project and the divided West” [2006]) (p. 179). Rather bluntly he states that the “United States does not need to develop the capacity to operate at the global level—it already has. As the only global player of its kind, the superpower can escape international legal obligations without fear of sanction” (ibid.).

        However, Habermas points out, the cosmopolitan world order project will be unrealized if the US opts out. Fifteen years after Habermas wrote this text, it appears to have, indeed, opted out. Rapier-like, Habermas slices to the heart of the matter. The US, he stated unequivocally, has two choices: play the game of international relations by the rules or “marginalize and instrumentalize international law and take things into its own hands” (ibid.).

      • Common DreamsNew Mexico Pilot Program Makes Child Care Free for Majority of Families

        With millions of parents across the U.S. forced to leave the workforce due to an inability to find affordable child care during the coronavirus pandemic, families making up to $111,000 per year in New Mexico are set to benefit from a pilot program that went into effect May 1 waiving all child care payments for more than a year.

        “This makes New Mexico the first state to offer no-cost care to such a broad range of incomes.”

      • Pro PublicaThey Built the Wall. Problems Remain After Founder’s Guilty Plea. — ProPublica

        Brian Kolfage arrived in Texas three years ago pledging to help fulfill President Donald Trump’s promise of a “big, beautiful” wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. After pleading guilty to federal fraud charges last month, Kolfage leaves behind two small stretches of fencing that are mired in legal, environmental and permitting fights.

        Kolfage, a 40-year-old Air Force veteran, faces more than five years in prison after pleading guilty to defrauding donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to the wall effort. Despite the resolution of the criminal case, Kolfage and his We Build the Wall group still face a defamation suit brought by the National Butterfly Center, a nonprofit nature preserve in the Rio Grande Valley that he accused of promoting sex and human trafficking without evidence. In addition, the federal government has filed suit regarding one of his wall projects, alleging it was built in potential violation of an international treaty between the U.S. and Mexico.

      • TechdirtMore Renters Added To Lawsuit Against Hertz Over False Car Theft Claims

        Late last year, more than 165 Hertz customers sued the company over false allegations of theft. Multiple plaintiffs claimed they had been stopped by law enforcement for supposedly having stolen a rental car. In some cases, customers were jailed for months before criminal charges were dropped. One former Hertz employee claims this is just how Hertz does business. Rather than go through the normal collection process, Hertz appears to prefer to let law enforcement handle it.

      • AlgemeinerIslamist Rise Puts Women at Risk in Turkey

        For millions of women in Turkey, life has just become more dangerous. And that puts the future of the entire country at risk.

        At least one woman is killed nearly every single day in Turkey, usually by a family member or lover, with more than 400 such “femicides” on record last year alone. Now Turkey’s government threatens to shut down an organization that has vowed to end this cycle of violence. In doing so, the ruling AKP party stands to further stamp its Islamist ideology into the body of the once-secular Turkish Republic.

      • Malay MailCourt to decide June 15 whether woman who wants to leave Islam to embrace Confucianism and Buddhism can continue with court challenge

        The High Court here will decide on June 15 whether a Malaysian woman — who wants to be declared no longer a Muslim in order to be free to embrace Confucianism and Buddhism — can proceed to have her lawsuit heard.

        The 32-year-old woman, who was born to a Muslim convert father and a Muslim mother, cannot be named publicly due to a court order.

      • ICCYoung Coptic Christian Shot 22 Times

        ICC’s president, Jeff King, stated, “We are saddened to hear the news of yet another violent incident targeting an Egyptian Christian, and are concerned that we have seen a second major incident in just a few weeks. We are watching Egypt closely to see if these are warning signs of a more challenging future for Egyptian Christians. Our prayers are with the victim’s family and we urge the authorities to conduct a transparent investigation which affirms due process of law.”

      • BBCFormer US police officer charged with murder in death of 12-year-old

        A former Philadelphia police officer has been charged with murder for fatally shooting a 12-year-old boy in the back during a chaotic foot chase in early March.

        Authorities say that Edsaul Mendoza, 26, engaged in a “tactically unsound” pursuit of Thomas “TJ” Siderio and shot him despite knowing he was unarmed.

      • NBCAmazon workers vote against unionizing a second Staten Island warehouse

        Daniel Allen Mobiley, a worker at LDJ5 who voted in favor of the union, said many of his colleagues didn’t know much about the implications of the organizing campaign.

        “I think people are very uneducated about what unions are about,” Mobiley said. “There is no job security at Amazon, and they really don’t understand the workings of Amazon.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • EFFThe EU Digital Markets Act Places New Obligations on “Gatekeeper” Platforms

        The DMA is complex and has many facets, but its overall approach is to place new requirements and restrictions on online “gatekeepers”: the largest tech platforms, which control access to digital markets for other businesses. These requirements are designed to break down the barriers businesses face in competing with the tech giants.

        Although the details are very different, this basic approach is the same one used in various bills currently making their way through the US Congress, including the American Innovation and Competition Online Act (S. 2992), the Open App Markets Act (S. 2710) and the ACCESS Act (H.R. 3849).

        This post describes the DMA’s overall approach and the requirements it places on gatekeepers. One section of the DMA requires gatekeepers to make their person-to-person messaging systems (like WhatsApp and iMessage) interoperable with competitors’ systems on request. Messaging systems raise a unique set of concerns surrounding how to preserve and strengthen end-to-end encryption. We walk through those issues here.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • The VergeRemote lockouts reportedly stop Russian troops from using stolen Ukrainian farm equipment

        Russian troops stole almost $5 million worth of farm equipment from a John Deere dealer in the occupied city of Melitopol, Ukraine, only to discover that the machines have been shut down remotely, making them inoperable, according to a report from CNN. Some of the equipment, which comes with a remote locking feature and a built-in GPS, was tracked over 700 miles away in the Zakhan Yurt village of Chechnya.

      • CNNRussians plunder $5M farm vehicles from Ukraine — to find they’ve been remotely disabled

        Russian troops in the occupied city of Melitopol have stolen all the equipment from a farm equipment dealership — and shipped it to Chechnya, according to a Ukrainian businessman in the area.

        But after a journey of more than 700 miles, the thieves were unable to use any of the equipment — because it had been locked remotely.

      • Russia loots US$5 million worth of John Deere farming equipment from Ukraine

        However, after a 1,100 kilometre journey, it was discovered that the looted equipment had been locked remotely by the Ukrainians, rendering it inoperative.

      • Business InsiderRussian troops stole $5M worth of farm vehicles from a John Deere dealership, which remotely locked the thieves out of the equipment

        The stolen equipment was located by remote GPS and locked, preventing it from being used.

      • HackadayFor Once, The Long Arm Of John Deere Presses The Right Button

        Over many years now we’ve covered right-to-repair stories, and among them has been a constant bête noire. The American farm machinery manufacturer John Deere whose instantly recognisable green and yellow tractors have reliably tilled the soil for over a century, have become the poster child for inappropriate use of DRM. It’s enough to make any farmer see red, but there’s a story from CNN which shows another side to manufacturer control. A Deere dealership in Melitopol, Ukraine, was looted by invading Russian forces, who took away an estimated $5m worth of farm machinery. The perfect crime perhaps, save for the Deere computer system being used to remotely disable them leaving the crooks with combine harvesters they can’t even start.

      • HackadayFrom Car To Device: How Software Is Changing Vehicle Ownership

        For much of the last century, the ownership, loving care, and maintenance of an aged and decrepit automobile has been a rite of passage among the mechanically inclined. Sure, the battle against rust and worn-out parts may eventually be lost, but through that bond between hacker and machine are the formative experiences of motoring forged. In middle-age we wouldn’t think of setting off across the continent on a wing and a prayer in a decades-old vehicle, but somehow in our twenties we managed it. The Drive have a piece that explores how technological shifts in motor vehicle design  are changing our relationship with cars such that what we’ve just described may become a thing of the past. Titled “The Era of ‘the Car You Own Forever’ Is Coming to an End“, it’s well worth a read.

      • Hollywood ReporterNetflix Staffers Voice Frustrations and Fears of Cutbacks Ahead

        Three individuals in different divisions at Netflix tell The Hollywood Reporter that there has been a noticeable slowdown in recent hiring as teams have had to fight harder to advocate for new hires. (The streamer still has many open listings on its job posting site, however.) “I’ve been told the budget for personnel on my team has to remain flat,” another Netflix insider says. “I don’t know if [top management] actually uses the word ‘hiring freeze.’ I mean, we use it, and we know it’s true. I know other managers have been told the same.”

      • Hollywood ReporterNetflix’s Big Wake-Up Call: The Power Clash Behind the Crash

        A top executive at a legacy company that’s poured resources into streaming suggests that may be so. “We’d all be insane not to give the spend a hard look,” he says, adding, “Agents are flipped out more than anybody. They’re taking it hard.”

      • Hollywood ReporterA “Roku Killer” or Something Less Ambitious? Behind Comcast and Charter’s Streaming Bet

        The goal is to build on Comcast’s Flex streaming product to offer consumers a platform to access multiple streaming apps, and in the process take aim at rivals like Roku. Flex is a streaming device that Comcast offers internet-only subscribers free of charge to allow them to stream on-demand TV shows and movies, as well as some live content. Importantly, it allows users more than 250 apps, including the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Paramount+, Discovery+ and “tens of thousands of free choices from Peacock, Xumo, Pluto, Tubi and more,” according to Comcast’s website.

      • The VergeRoku devices are getting an Apple Music app

        Unfortunately, Apple Music on Roku won’t support features like lossless or spatial audio “at this time,” Roku spokesperson Sophia Economou told The Verge in an email. While Apple doesn’t keep these features locked to its own platforms (they’re available on the Android Apple Music app), they don’t seem to be very common on platforms meant to be hooked up to TVs. (I couldn’t find any mention of them in the PS5 version of the Apple Music app.) Of course, they are supported on the Apple TV 4K, though that box does have certain limits when it comes to the highest-resolution lossless files.

    • Monopolies

      • EFFThe EU Digital Markets Act’s Interoperability Rule Addresses An Important Need, But Raises Difficult Security Problems for Encrypted Messaging

        The DMA is a complex new law aimed at addressing the “gatekeeper” power of Big Tech firms. While some of the final details of the DMA are still in flux, negotiators from the EU Parliament and the Council of Europe have reached a “political agreement.” The drafters considered several proposals relating to interoperability, including rules that would cover gatekeepers’ social networking services as well as messaging apps. But the compromise between the EU lawmakers that’s on the way to becoming law only includes an interoperability requirement for messaging apps. Specifically, the giant gatekeepers will be required to make their messaging services interoperable with other messaging apps at the request of competing developers. Negotiators have agreed to assess the feasibility of including an interoperability requirement for social networking as part of a future review of the DMA.

        The DMA’s interoperability rule will apply to “number-independent” messaging services that are part of “gatekeeper” platforms, meaning platforms with the power to control other companies’ access to customers. This probably includes messaging apps from Apple, Google, Meta Platforms (e.g., Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram Direct Messenger), and Microsoft. Of these, only WhatsApp, Apple’s iMessage, and Android Messages currently offer end-to-end encryption modes, but these services together have billions of users. These services will be required to make “end-to-end text messaging,” including various kinds of media attachments, interoperable on request by a competing service, within three months of a request. Group texts will need to be interoperable in two years, and voice and video calls in four.

        Recall that the goal of interoperability is to make it easier for people to leave Big Tech platforms for competing platforms, without hampering their ability to communicate with anyone who chooses to remain within Big Tech’s walled gardens. Interoperability dismantles one of the biggest barriers faced by users who want to leave the tech giants’ platforms: the choice between changing to a platform you prefer or staying behind on a platform where all your friends, communities, and customers are.

      • TruthOutLabor Leaders Vow United Front Against Amazon Amid New Warehouse Union Election
      • Common Dreams‘The Fight Has Just Begun’ Says Amazon Labor Union After Unionization Effort Fails

        Amazon’s union-busting tactics appeared successful on Monday after a tally by the National Labor Relations Board revealed workers failed to unionize a second Amazon warehouse in New York City on Staten Island.

        “The organizing will continue at this facility and beyond.”

      • Common DreamsAmazon Terminated Paid Sick Leave for Covid-19 Day After Union Vote Ended

        A day after union voting ended late last week at Amazon’s LDJ5 warehouse in Staten Island, the company announced it is ending its nationwide Covid-19 paid sick leave policy—prompting suspicions that management deliberately waited until after workers at the New York facility cast their ballots to unveil the change.

        “This is outrageous. Covid is not over, Amazon.”

      • The VergeApple Pay is anticompetitive, says EU in preliminary ruling

        This is only the initial formal stage of antitrust proceedings against Apple, and the company will have the chance to respond to the Commission’s list of objections. The EU notes that the sending of a Statement of Objections “does not prejudge the outcome of an investigation.”

      • New York TimesApple faces E.U. antitrust charges over Apple Pay.

        The charges against Apple, following an investigation that began in 2020, were announced in Brussels on Monday by Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission executive vice president in charge of antitrust enforcement. Apple will now have a chance to respond before a final judgment is announced. The company could be fined up to 10 percent of its global revenue. It could also reach a settlement with regulators.

        Regulators said Apple has used its control of the iPhone and other products to become the dominant service in the fast-growing area of mobile payments.

      • Silicon AngleEU finds Apple engaged in anticompetitive practices with Apple Pay

        Apple Pay is a digital wallet app from Apple that enables iOS users to make purchases online and at retail stores. In stores, the app allows users to make a purchase by holding their iPhone or iPad close to a payment terminal. Apple Pay provides this latter feature using a near-field communication, or NFC, chip built into iPhones and iPads.

        In 2020, the European Commission launched an antitrust investigation into Apple Pay. The preliminary view that the European Commission published today is the result of that investigation.

      • Copyrights

        • Torrent FreakRussian Cinemas Are Showing Pirated Movies Downloaded From Torrents

          In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, several Hollywood studios announced the immediate suspension of new releases in Russia. Unexpectedly, some Russian theaters are still able to show movies such as The Batman on the big screen but this isn’t down to the studios. The movies are sourced from illegal torrent sites and few seem afraid to admit it.

        • Torrent FreakUS Court Orders Every ISP in the United States to Block Illegal Streaming Sites

          More than a decade after U.S. lawmakers scuttled the controversial SOPA legislation that would’ve required ISPs to block pirate sites, a US court has demonstrated that the ability to block sites has been available all along. Injunctions issued in response to lawsuits against three pirate streaming services require every ISP in the United States to prevent subscribers from accessing them.

Teaser: Burdens of Evidence

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Show me evidence people died in Nazi 'labour' camps - Deputy Director for Business DEEVelopment at SaM; Show me evidence people committed suicide under EPO autocracy - Benevolent Benoît
Does anyone fancy seeing torture videos? Or self-immolation?

Summary: Disturbing DEEVelopment at SaM Solutions to be shown later this week

Some context:

  1. From Belarus With Love — Part I: Schizophrenic EPO Policy
  2. From Belarus With Love — Part II: “Techwashing” an Autocratic Regime?
  3. From Belarus With Love — Part III: Apps From the Dictatorship
  4. From Belarus With Love — Part IV: “Software from Minsk” via Gilching and Rijswijk
  5. From Belarus With Love — Part V: From Start-Up to Success Story…
  6. From Belarus With Love — Part VI: “Big Daddy” Hammers the Opposition…
  7. From Belarus With Love — Part VII: The Post-Election Crackdown
  8. From Belarus With Love — Part VIII: “Seoul in the Centre of Pyongyang”
  9. From Belarus With Love — Part IX: The End of “Peaceful Coexistence”?
  10. From Belarus With Love — Part X: From “High-Tech Hub” to “No-Go Zone”
  11. From Belarus With Love — Part XI: SaM’s Management Remains Suspiciously Silent

SaM Solutions Controlled — and Still ‘Regulated’ — by Lukashenko’s Regime

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 43f30622b2dededbfdfbae92a4543845
Batka SaM
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: SaM Solutions, the EPO‘s outsourcing partner, is subjected to rules of the dictator, not just the dictator Campinos who pretends to have sanctioned Belarus

LAST NIGHT (or today after midnight) we published Part 11 about Batka’s SaM Solutions, a company that pretty much refuses to condemn Lukashenko (the ‘Batka’) and whose employees occasionally defend Lukashenko.

SaM Solutions has made at least one Belarusian very wealthy (a multimillionaire in exile) and he’s happy to keep silent about it, perhaps even passively supporting Lukashenko despite suffering none of the crackdowns or human rights violations (he has long lived far away from Lukashenko’s iron fist).

IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 02, 2022

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:04 am by Needs Sunlight

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