New Talk by Richard Stallman About GNU Emacs and Its Purpose

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Videos at 10:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Talk by Richard Stallman

Summary: “Last edited Sunday 11 December 2022 at 2:24 (UTC)” (i.e. 40 minutes ago) was this page about a new RMS talk

Richard Stallman: What I’d like to see in Emacs


Indivious link

[Meme] Linux Foundation Lecturing Us on Tolerance and Morality

Posted in Deception, IBM at 9:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: Documentary: IBM Founder (Watson) Gave a Nazi Salute, Admired Hitler, Said Hitler Was Doing the Right Thing

Linux Foundation and the Holocaust

Summary: The Linux Foundation is inspired by its biggest sponsors

Links 10/12/2022: OpenShot 3.0 and Mesa 22.2.5

Posted in News Roundup at 9:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Hindustan Times8 Best Linux Smart TVs [Ed: Piggybacking the "Linux" brand to make a shopping page]

      A smart home is incomplete without a smart TV. So, if you are also searching for the best Linux Smart TVs, you have arrived at the right place. Read on to know more. Linux Smart TVs are a great alternative to Android TVs. However, you need to have prior knowledge of its feature. The best Linux Smart TVs provide a top-notch visual and audio experience. Here are the best ones out there

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Graphics Stack

      • Free Desktop[Mesa-announce] [ANNOUNCE] mesa 22.2.5
        Hi list,
        A little, late, but I'd like to announce mesa 22.2.5, the last planned
        release of the mesa 22.2.x series. There's a number of nice fixes in
        here, convering a decent amount of the codebase, but nothing too crazy.
        This is the lasted planned release of the 22.2.x series, and you should
        plan to migrate to 22.3.x soon.
    • Applications

      • 9to5LinuxOpenShot 3.0 Open-Source Video Editor Released with More Than 1000 Improvements

        Over a year in the making, OpenShot 3.0 brings 4K (HiDPI) display support, enhanced real-time video playback performance, the ability to simultaneously export multiple clips and videos, expanded compatibility with more video formats and codecs, and Blender 3.3 LTS support.

        It also comes with many improvements to the timeline and usability, including snapping, keyframes, waveforms, and default folders, improved EOF (end of file) and file duration detection, support for new export presets like animated GIF, MP3 (audio only), YouTube 2K, YouTube 4K, and MKV, better support for anamorphic video profiles, as well as improved location preferences and documentation.

      • OpenShot Video Editor | OpenShot 3.0 Released | Stability, Performance , – Usability

        Download OpenShot Video Editor 3.0 – the latest & greatest version of our FREE, open-source video editor! Over 12 months in the making and more than 1000 improvements!

      • Linux Links12 Best Free and Open Source Linux System Profilers – LinuxLinks

        A system profiler is a utility that presents information about the hardware attached to a computer. Having access to hard information about your hardware can be indispensable when you need to establish exactly what hardware is installed in your machine. For example, the information will help a technical support individual diagnose problems, or help to evaluate whether a system will support certain software or hardware.

        This type of software lets individuals establish hardware details without opening the computer case. This may not be an option if you do not have direct access to the hardware, relying on the internet to connect to the machine. System profilers let you remotely interrogate a system.

        In Windows circles, CPU-Z is a popular freeware tool that gathers information on the main devices of a system without having to conduct technical and manual searching. CPU-Z lays out the raw technical data out to read in easy-to-read tables and is well presented. For Linux, there are a number of good utilities that offer the same type of information, providing essential and extended hardware about the entire system.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • ID RootHow To Install Elixir on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Elixir on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Elixir is a functional, concurrent, and general-purpose programming language that runs on the Erlang virtual machine (VM).

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the Elixir on Ubuntu 22.04 (Jammy Jellyfish). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 22.04 and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint, Elementary OS, Pop!_OS, and more as well.

      • H2S MediaRemove trailing spaces automatically in Visual Code Studio [Ed: This is proprietary software that Microsoft uses to spy on users; why put this in a "Linux" site?]
      • H2S MediaHow to open Visual Studio Code new tab in new window [Ed: Again, why are sites labeled Linux promoting Microsoft's proprietary software?]
      • How to Enable SSH on All ESXi Hosts using PowerCLI – buildVirtual

        To enable SSH on all ESXi hosts connected to a vCenter Server, using PowerCLI, you can use the following steps:

      • It’s FOSSHow to Update Flatpak Packages in Linux – It’s FOSS

        I believe almost all Linux users keep their systems updated.

        But that update is usually for the default package manager. For example, updating Ubuntu often means updating all the APT packages.

        However, there are other packaging formats like Snap and Flatpak. The Snap applications get updated automatically but not the Flatpak ones.

      • ID RootHow To Install Nginx Mainline Version on Debian 11 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Nginx Mainline Version on Debian 11. For those of you who didn’t know, Nginx is a well-known web server with open-source access and is used by top-rated companies because of its extensive support. The software is known for its low impact on memory resources, high scalability, and modular, event-driven architecture which can offer secure, predictable performance. More than just a web server, Nginx also works as a load balancer, an HTTP cache, and a reverse proxy. Since it’s free open-source software (FOSS) and high-performance HTTP web server, you can use, modify and distribute it freely without spending money at all.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the Nginx mainline version on a Debian 11 (Bullseye).

      • Ubuntu HandbookHow to Install Timeshift via PPA in Ubuntu 22.04 to backup whole system | UbuntuHandbook

        This simple tutorial shows how to install the latest version of TimeShift, to backup your Ubuntu system by creating ‘system store‘ points.

        Timeshift is a popular system backup tool originally developed by Tony George. It’s now a project maintained by Linux Mint, though the original developer is still one of the top contributors.

        And, he is maintaining a PPA repository contains the latest packages so far for Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 22.04, Ubuntu 22.10 and their derivatives.

      • The New StackAdd Nodes to Your MicroK8s Kubernetes Cluster – The New Stack

        Kubernetes is hard. There’s no way around that. With so many moving pieces, all of which have to interconnect, and complicated manifests, the technology can be rather daunting. Should you dive in too fast, you might become overwhelmed to the point where you’re not sure which way to go1

        That’s why it’s important to approach Kubernetes slowly and with a one-step-at-a-time approach. In this Kubernetes 101 series, we’ve previously covered deploying MicroK8s to a single server, powered by Rocky Linux.

        This time around we’re going to add nodes to our first Kubernetes machine to create a cluster. These nodes are all managed by the original machine, which I call the controller. You’ll want to make sure to have followed the “Kubernetes 101: The easiest route to installing Kubernetes on Rocky Linux” tutorial and make sure to do this on all of the nodes you need for the cluster. Once you’ve taken care of those steps on every machine, you’re then ready to start adding nodes to the cluster.

      • Linux NightlyInstall Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader on Ubuntu – Linux Nightly

        Learn how to install Adobe Acrobat Reader on Ubuntu using Wine and Snap, or the Linux edition, or an alternative reader.

      • Make Use OfHow to Geolocate IP Addresses on Linux Using geoiplookup

        Have you ever wondered where a website is actually hosting its content from? You can geolocate domain names and IP addresses right from the Linux command line with geoiplookup. Here’s how to use it.

      • Beginners Guide for Vdir Command in Linux

        The vdir command is an equivalent to the “ls -l -b” command, printing the content in long list format and showing escape characters on the file or directory name, just like the dir command is equivalent to the “ls -C -b” command.

        Practically, you might rarely or not use this command on a daily basis, but knowing about it will add something to your Linux knowledge that will separate you from others.

      • Difference Between the ’ls’ and ‘dir’ Command

        In the Linux world, two common commands, “ls” and “dir“, replicate each other so well that most Linux users think one of them is an alias or symbolic link to the other (it’s not true).

        Another mistake most people make is judging the output of ls (which by default displays the color) and dir (which does not without specifying an option) and again failing to judge it because “ls” is an alias to “ls –color=auto“.

        To verify this, execute the “alias ls” command, or check the result after executing “unalias ls” (it will remove the color from the output).

      • Stacking Directories With “pushd” and “popd” Commands for Easy Navigation

        The cd command is a very popular tool for navigating through multiple directory paths in the Linux filesystem, but there is one problem with that, what?

        A directory with a short path can be easily navigated, but a directory with a long path might become troubling while going back and forth multiple times.

        It’s true, you can create an alias for directories with a long path, but when you interact with multiple directories nested deeply inside your filesystem, your only option is the cd command.

      • How to send Emails via Python

        I’ve assumed that sending emails via a CLI would be easy. That might even be the case, but sending them in a way that they actually show up in the receiver’s mailbox is quite a different story. After following multiple tutorials and using tools from sendmail to mailx, not a single email arrived. Since I wanted to send the mail from within a Python script anyway, I moved on to a Real Python tutorial. This is the snippet they use to send an email.

    • Games

      • ScummVMWelcome to Adibou’s magical wonderland

        We are pleased to announce that ScummVM now supports Adibou 2, a popular educational game developed by Coktel Vision in 1996.

        Designed for children from 4 to 7 years old, the world of Adibou is warm and full of surprises. It offers an intelligent and appealing introduction to essential knowledge like reading and math.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

    • Make Use OfThe 8 Best Linux Distributions That Crushed It in 2022

      2022 has been a year of surprises, and Linux distributions have fared no differently. From new releases full of happening features to various desktop options, there is always something to look forward to.

      When you have so many options spoiling you for choices, why not splurge and pick the one which is the most effective and close to your heart? If you are rearing to pick a favorite from the list of best Linux distributions of 2022, here are a few options you need to consider today.

    • Reviews

      • Simon JosefssonTrisquel 11 on NV41PZ: First impressions – Simon Josefsson’s blog

        My NovaCustom NV41PZ laptop arrived a couple of days ago, and today I had some time to install it. You may want to read about my purchasing decision process first. I expected a rough ride to get it to work, given the number of people claiming that modern laptops can’t run fully free operating systems. I first tried the Trisquel 10 live DVD and it booted fine including network, but the mouse trackpad did not work. Before investigating it, I noticed a forum thread about Trisquel 11 beta3 images, and being based on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS and has Linux-libre 5.15 it seemed better to start with more modern software. Everything installed fine, and I didn’t need to adjust anything except to manually install GNOME since I prefer that over MATE. I’ve been running it for a couple of hours now, and here is a brief summary of the hardware components that works.

    • New Releases

      • Puppy Linux 22.12

        The next stable version of Puppy Linux has been released.

      • DebugPointDeepin releases 20.8 with a new “Deepin home” app

        Deepin Linux is an open-source operating system based on the popular Linux distribution, Debian. It is known for its user-friendly interface and custom desktop environment. Deepin Linux is popular in China and has also been gaining popularity in other parts of the world. It is a good choice for users who want a stable, easy-to-use operating system that is stable and reliable, And are comfortable using software from the origin country.

        Deepin 20.8: What’s New

        The latest version of Deepin Linux, 20.8, includes a new application called “Deepin Home” that improves communication between the Deepin team and its users. This will help the team focus on improving product quality, software, and hardware ecology. The update includes an upgrade to Qt version 5.15.6, updates to the DTK development library, fixes for underlying vulnerabilities, and improved system compatibility and security.

    • Fedora Family / IBM

      • LinuxiacCERN and Fermilab Opt For AlmaLinux as Standard for Big Science

        CERN and Fermilab will make AlmaLinux the standard distribution for experiments at their facilities based on feedback from stakeholders.

        Following CentOS’s withdrawal from the enterprise server distribution market, AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux have emerged as the two best RHEL-based derivatives in this segment. As a result, it is not surprising that when looking for a free alternative to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the choice frequently comes down to one of the two.

        Probably two of the world’s leading scientific laboratories, the Swiss-based CERN and the US-based Fermilab, faced a similar dilemma. But first, let’s say a few words about each of them.

        The European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, is the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. Located near Geneva, Switzerland, CERN has gained worldwide attention with its Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.

      • Red HatBest of 2022: Ansible and automation | Red Hat Developer

        Developers are increasingly turning to automated development and deployment processes to meet the challenge of building cloud-native applications. In the era of cloud computing, your apps must react to event-driven systems in scalable and flexible ways. Learn more about how Red Hat Developer readers used Ansible and Helm to make this possible in 2022.

    • Debian Family

    • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • The Register UKCassandra 4.1 promises dev guardrails and pluggable storage • The Register

      More than a year after its 4.0 major upgrade, Apache Cassandra is set to release its 4.1 iteration next week, promising pluggable schema management and new guardrails to help ops professionals keep those devs in line.

      In July last year, the 4.0 release of the popular NoSQL database was the first major upgrade in six years, with an emphasis on stability, speed and consistency.

      Building on that foundation for enterprise-grade systems, Mick Semb Wever, Apache Cassandra PMC chairman told The Register: “Four point one is the next natural step. We’re looking at who our users are, and what the major concerns are.”

    • Programming/Development

      • Mandriva Linux Chronicles: Missing package in Mageia 8

        I attempted to update my Mageia desktop yesterday and, although almost everything went well, I got this error message telling me that imagemagick could not update because “nothing provided lib64raw20″.

      • Daniel Stenbergcurl sighting: Silk Road | daniel.haxx.se

        In the 2021 movie Silk Road, at around 19:23-19:26 into the film we can see Ross Ulbricht, the lead character, write a program on his laptop that uses curl. A few seconds we get a look at the screen as Ross types on the keyboard and explains to the female character who says I didn’t know you know how to code that he’s teaching himself to write code.

      • Losca: Running Cockpit inside ALP

        ALP – The Adaptable Linux Platform – is a new operating system from SUSE to run containerized and virtualized workloads. It is in early prototype phase, but the development is done completely openly so it’s easy to jump in to try it.

        For this trying out, I used the latest encrypted build – as of the writing, 22.1 – from ALP images. I imported it in virt-manager as a Generic Linux 2022 image, using UEFI instead of BIOS, added a TPM device (which I’m interested in otherwise) and referring to an Ignition JSON file in the XML config in virt-manager.

      • a simple semi-space collector — wingolog

        Good day, hackfolk. Today’s article is about semi-space collectors. Many of you know what these are, but perhaps not so many have seen an annotated implementation, so let’s do that.

        Just to recap, the big picture here is that a semi-space collector divides a chunk of memory into two equal halves or spaces, called the fromspace and the tospace. Allocation proceeds linearly across tospace, from one end to the other. When the tospace is full, we flip the spaces: the tospace becomes the fromspace, and the fromspace becomes the tospace. The collector copies out all live data from the fromspace to the tospace (hence the names), starting from some set of root objects. Once the copy is done, allocation then proceeds in the new tospace.

      • Meson Release 1.0.0 (in development)

        The prefix kwarg that most compiler check functions support now accepts an array in addition to a string. The elements of the array will be concatenated separated by a newline.

  • Leftovers

    • ScheerpostMissiletoe
    • The NationMargo Jefferson and the Art of Life

      Much has been made, since the days of the ancients, of art’s desire to imitate lived experience—an absurd expectation, as Plato would have it. But for a seasoned critic, the inverse might also make for a truism: that the hours spent defining, investigating, and understanding the possibilities of artistic expression can incline you, for good or ill, to see life itself as a problem of creativity, form, and genre.

    • Counter PunchNotes from the Queer Hillbilly Underground

      I spend half my time trying to remind other Queer people that the state won’t protect us and the other half trying to convince hillbillies that the state doesn’t represent Queer people. This isn’t exactly easy when the feds drape themselves in rainbow flags to prove their newfound benevolence while they continue to secretly ferry us fairies away to glorified concentration camps for the high crime of survival sex. But just try explaining the complexities of assimilation and FOSTA-SESTA to your local Rust Belt militia and wait for the eyes to roll.

      It’s a shit job, but I actually feel like I was making some assemblance of progress in building bottom unity across these tribal divisions before the Republicans decided to double-down on QAnon style transphobia for the Midterms. Even supposedly moderate Republicrats have adopted demonizing gender outlaws like me by labeling us as groomers and pedophiles and too many conservative libertarians on the fringe have boughten into this horseshit hook, line and sinker. I don’t think that words exist in any language that can properly display the horror that I feel in the pit of my soul when people that I have spent years trying to convince to become allies start throwing these sickening words around.

    • Counter PunchWhite Identity and the Forsaken Talent of the Late, Irene Cara

      Irene was a beautiful multitalented artist, whose gifts, at an early age, were fostered by nurturing artistic parents. Her polished abilities primed and blooming by the late 60s, made her stand out in just about all the projects she auditioned for in the 70s, and by 1976 she was considered one of the best young actors of her generation—the same year producer David De Silva was developing an idea for a film, about young artists and their growing pains, at the High School of the Performing Arts.

      The film, Fame, was released in 1980 and featured Irene as the main protagonist, Coco Hernandez. Delivering the film’s title song, and the touching ballad, “Out Here on My Own” with power and conviction, while wringing every ounce of intrigue out of a subpar screenplay, Irene was instrumental in the film’s surprising success: two Academy Awards (best original song and best original score) and a Golden Globe (best original song).

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • HackadayPrinted Propeller Blades Repair Indoor Flyer

        Fair warning for readers with a weak stomach, the video below graphically depicts an innocent rubber band airplane being obliterated in mid-air by a smug high-tech RC helicopter. It’s a shocking display of airborne class warfare, but the story does have a happy ending, as [Concrete Dog] was able to repair his old school flyer with some very modern technology: a set of 3D printed propeller blades.

      • HackadayProperly Pipe Laser Light Around With Homebrew Fiber Couplings

        It’s a rare person who can pick up a cheap laser pointer and not wield it like a lightsaber or a phaser, complete with sound effects. There’s just something about the “pew-pew” factor that makes projecting a laser beam fun, even if it’s not the safest thing to do, or the most efficient way to the light from one place to another.

      • HackadayUltimate Game And Watch Has Support For NES

        We’ve talked about feature creep plenty of times around here, and it’s generally regarded as something to be avoided when designing a prototype. It might sound good to have a lot of features in a build, but this often results in more complexity and more difficulty when actually bringing a project to fruition. [Brendan] has had the opposite experience with this custom handheld originally designed for Game and Watch games, though, and he eventually added NES and Game Boy functionality as well.

      • HackadayClean Slate Is A Vintage Amplifier-Inspired PC

        Hacks that bring a vintage flair to modern electronics never get old, and [Jeffrey Stephenson] delivers with his Project Clean Slate inspired by vintage tube amps.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Common DreamsIndignation as Michigan Judge Drops Flint Water Charges Against GOP Ex-Gov Snyder

        Environmental justice advocates on Friday condemned a move by a district judge in Michigan to drop two misdemeanor charges against former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in connection with the 2014 Flint water crisis that killed dozens of residents of the predominantly Black city and poisoned thousands more.

        The Detroit Free Press reports Genesee County Judge F. Kay Behm signed an order remanding willful neglect of duty charges against Snyder, who served two terms as Michigan’s governor from 2011 to 2019.

      • Common DreamsFinal House Covid Panel Report Exposes ‘Reckless’ Trump Pandemic Response

        A congressional panel on Friday published its final report on the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting the Trump administration’s “failed stewardship” and detailing how a “persistent pattern of political interference undermined the nation’s ability to respond” to a crisis that has claimed more than a million lives in the United States.

        The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis report notes that “the United States was underprepared for a major public health crisis for years before the coronavirus pandemic,” and that “chronic underfunding and long-standing health disparities put many Americans at heightened risk of becoming infected and developing severe illness as a result of the coronavirus.”

      • Common DreamsRacism Poses Public Health Threat to Millions Worldwide: Lancet Studies

        “Racism, xenophobia, and discrimination are fundamental determinants of health globally.”

        That’s the conclusion of a series of research papers published Friday in the eminent British medical journal The Lancet examining how “historic systems and structures of power and oppression and discriminatory ideologies have shaped policy and practice today.”

      • Common DreamsOpinion | Voters Want Health Care. Listen to Them

        In November, millions of voters in red, blue and purple states voted on the future of our health care directly on the ballot. And Senator Warnock ran his re-election campaign and run-off on health care. Health care, and Warnock, won decisively.

      • The NationIt’s Time to End the Medicare Advantage Scam

        On December 7, the 2022 open enrollment period for Medicare—the time of year when millions of seniors can choose the best Medicare plan to meet their health care needs—closed. But the truth is that for too many seniors, the choice can be both overwhelming and confusing. One of the main contributors to this confusion is a scheme by private insurance companies to prey on seniors and profit off of the Medicare brand, all in the name of padding their corporate profits and shareholder returns.

      • DeSmogPesticide Industry ‘Helped Write’ Disinformation Playbook Used by Big Oil and Big Tobacco, Report Reveals

        As regulators in the United States and European Union prepare to review and potentially reauthorize the controversial weedkiller glyphosate, a new report reveals the stealth tactics and narrative spin deployed by the chemical’s manufacturer to discredit inconvenient science and protect profits.

        The report, published by Friends of the Earth and nonprofit investigative organization U.S. Right to Know, uses the case study of Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) and its widely used glyphosate-based product Roundup to illustrate the pesticide industry’s deceptive tactics and communications strategies — which mirror those of the tobacco and fossil fuel industries. 

      • DeSmogFlagship EU Green Farming Reforms in Peril as Lobbyists Exploit Ukraine War

        Europe’s leading farming lobby group Copa-Cogeca has used the war in Ukraine as a pretext to push back behind the scenes against bold EU laws to protect nature, DeSmog can reveal.

        The meeting records reviewed by DeSmog are the latest evidence to emerge of a long-running effort by agribusiness lobby groups and pesticide firms to roll back rules aimed at safeguarding birds, bees, and butterflies.

    • Security

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • EFFA Promising New GDPR Ruling Against Targeted Ads

          The ruling is not final, or even public. The Board has sent the matter back to Ireland’s Data Protection Commission to issue an order, and reportedly to assess fines. Meta can still appeal. If the decision is finalized and enforced, Meta will need to change its surveillance and consent practices, and ads on Facebook and Instagram will start working significantly differently. Meta would have to seek affirmative consent from users before sending them targeted ads based on surveillance of their online behavior. Meta could pivot to “contextual ads” based only on the content a user is currently interacting with.

          The surveillance-based advertising in question here involves how people use Meta’s own apps. Since 2020, Meta has offered settings to opt out of ad targeting based on information from other apps, websites, and businesses that Meta knows you have visited. Meta tracks its users off-site through tools like Facebook Login, Facebook’s tracking Pixel, social widgets such as Like and Share buttons, and other less visible features for developers. But Meta offers its users no similar option to opt out of ad targeting based on what users click, like, watch, and interact with on Facebook, Instagram, and other Meta properties.

          The company should be offering all of its users an affirmative, opt-in consent option—and not track its users, either on-site or off-site, unless they opt in. Instead, Meta stuck language about its ad targeting practices into its platforms’ Terms of Service. Then Meta claimed that this means that, when someone uses Facebook or Instagram, they’ve supposedly “consented” to the use of their information to target ads. This sleight of hand takes advantage of the GDPR concept of “contractual necessity,” in which the GDPR allows data processors to collect and use information as necessary to deliver services for which the data subject contracted. One canonical example is that if you ask a company to send you a package, it can collect your address and use it to send you the package, even without separate explicit consent.

        • EFFeIDAS 2.0 Sets a Dangerous Precedent for Web Security

          The new language affects the EU’s electronic identification, authentication and trust services (eIDAS) rules, which are supposed to enable secure online transactions across countries in the EU. It contained a range of updates that raised privacy concerns for EU citizens about the European Digital Identity Wallet, a government app for storing personal information like drivers’ licenses and bank cards and making electronic payments via smartphones.

          But some of the updates also impact web security that could expand beyond the EU, as other governments could choose to follow the EU’s example and adopt similarly flawed frameworks.

          In a nutshell, the EU is mandating that browsers accept EU member state-issued Certificate Authorities (CAs) and not remove them even if they are unsafe. If you think this sounds bad, you’re right. Multiple times, EFF, along with other security experts and researchers, urged EU government regulators to reconsider the amended language that fails to provide a way for browsers to act on security incidents. There were several committees that supported amending the language, but the EU council went ahead and adopted this highly flawed language.

        • Internet Freedom FoundationDelhi HC permits SnTHostings to respond to CERT-In’s reply

          In September, 2022, SnTHostings filed a petition before the Delhi High Court, challenging the legality of Direction No. 20(3)/2022-CERT-In dated April 28, 2022 (‘2022 Directions’) by The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (‘CERT-In’). SnTHostings provides hosting, Virtual Private Network (‘VPN’) and Virtual Private Server (‘VPS’) services. The 2022 Directions presented an existential crisis to SnTHostings as they mandated it to collect a range of personal data and share it with CERT-In on demand and / or on the occurrence of a cyber-security incident. On the last date of hearing, the Delhi High Court directed CERT-In to reply to the Petition within four weeks. CERT-In filed a reply on December 8, 2022. On December 9, 2022, Justice Prathiba Singh of the Delhi High Court granted four weeks to SnTHostings to file a rejoinder to CERT-In’s reply and listed the case for March 9, 2022. Advocate Samar Bansal appeared on behalf of SnTHosting, and IFF provided legal support.


          Justice Prathiba Singh of the Delhi High Court heard the matter on December 9, 2022 where Advocate Samar Bansal argued that the 2022 Directions were vague, beyond the statutory framework and affected the right to trade of SnTHostings. He further informed the court that the CERT-In had filed a counter affidavit to the Petition on December 8, 2022, but it was not on record yet. We note that the counter affidavit is now on record, and we are making it public in the interest of transparency and public conversation. It is available here. We will file a response to it in the next 4 weeks and will update you when it is filed.

          We are grateful to Advocate Samar Bansal for representing SnTHostings. He was assisted by Advocates Gautam Bhatia, Vrinda Bhandari, Abhinav Sekhri, Tanmay Singh, Krishnesh Bapat, Ramya Dronamraju and Gayatri Malhotra.

          The 2022 Directions have a substantial impact over the internet by restricting how service providers can conduct their business, in detriment to the privacy of their users. Its prohibitions on VPN Services which are a privacy-advancing technology, puts the viability of small or medium size service providers at risk. This petition on behalf of SnTHostings seeks to protect innovation, VPN service providers and privacy of internet users in India. IFF will continue to provide legal support in this case and advance its mission of securing digital rights of Indians.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Counter PunchForget Moral Arguments. A Loss and Damage Fund Is a Win for Americans

        “Loss and damage” refers to unavoidable suffering caused by climate change — that which countries cannot mitigate or prepare for. Recent examples include the disappearance of land from Pacific Island nations, a historic drought in the Horn of Africa displacing 1.5 million people as they searched for food and water, and this year’s floods in Pakistan, which submerged a third of the country, killed more than 1,700 people, and caused $30 billion in economic damage. Developing countries came to COP27 insisting on the creation of a fund to address loss and damage, noting that they did little to cause climate change and don’t have the money to withstand these damages themselves.

        But the fund benefits the economic and national security of the United States too. We wouldn’t have agreed to it otherwise.

      • Common DreamsCOP15 Biodiversity Summit Highlights ‘Deadly’ US Attitude Toward the World

        With a global biodiversity summit underway in Montreal, Guardian columnist George Monbiot on Friday took aim at the United States for its “active, and deadly, cavalier attitude” toward the rest of the world, “an example other nations follow.”

        “Its refusal to ratify treaties such as the Convention on Biological Diversity provides other nations with a permanent excuse to participate in name only.”

      • Common DreamsHouse Report on Big Oil Greenwashing Shows ‘Big Tobacco Playbook All Over Again’

        A trove of internal documents from companies including BP, ExxonMobil, and Chevron reveal how the fossil fuel industry has continued to make massive long-term investments in oil and gas extraction even as the corporations have publicly claimed to be committed to aiding in a transition to a renewable energy economy.

        Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, joined Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who chairs the panel’s Subcommittee on the Environment, in releasing a roughly one million pages of documents uncovered as part of the committee’s yearlong investigation into the fossil fuel industry’s role in spreading climate misinformation.

      • Project CensoredMunicipalities in Puerto Rico Sue Fossil Fuel Giants Under Organized Crime Law – Validated Independent News

        Although dozens of US municipalities and states have attempted to sue fossil fuel corporations for climate change-related damages, the class action suit filed by Puerto Rican municipalities is the first to do so under RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, established in 1970, to enhance the control of organized crime.

      • Energy

        • Counter PunchA History of Malignancy: Governor Polis and the Oil Industry in Colorado

          The System at Work:  Example One

          Up for consideration was a massive oil and gas project to be developed in Aurora, the second largest city in Colorado and a seamless part of the Denver metropolis.  The applicant calls itself Civitas, a Latin term meaning the citizen base in ancient Rome for political decision making.  Embracing the Roman designations, the COGCC would have been known as civitates foederatae, or loyal satellite state—a roll it played with great distinction on this day.

    • Finance

      • Counter PunchNot Earning Enough Money to Put Food on the Table: Walmart’s Savage Capitalism

        I am not an economist, though economist and economics derive from the Greek words for household (οικονομικός, οικονόμος, οίκος, οικία). The activities of the household were taking place in a home / house. This was extremely important, taking care of the needs of the family living in a house. Home economics (primarily cooking, baking bread, craftsmanship, architecture, and farming) sparked the economics of communities and poleis (city-states). Cosmology, democracy and law and justice emerged to give rise to civilization.

        I grew up in such a household culture in a tiny Greek village. Despite World War II and Italian and German occupiers, my father managed to keep us self-reliant in food. Eventually I realized we had very little: a few acres of land dotted with olive trees and a few vines for grapes and sweet wine, as well as raising our own wheat, barley, lentils. We also had very small flocks of goats and sheep, a mule and donkey, a couple of dogs, cats, and chicken.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | Higher Interest Rates Only Brought More Pain

        Central banks’ unwavering determination to increase interest rates is truly remarkable. In the name of taming inflation, they have deliberately set themselves on a path to cause a recession—or to worsen it if it comes anyway. Moreover, they openly acknowledge the pain their policies will cause, even if they don’t emphasize that it is the poor and marginalized, not their friends on Wall Street, who will bear the brunt of it. And in the United States, this pain will disproportionately befall people of color.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • TruthOutSupreme Court Appears Split on Whether to Allow Partisan Control of Elections
      • Telex (Hungary)They only think of the gypsies when it’s time to vote
      • Telex (Hungary)Hungarian Parliament rejects “pressurising” of German and Dutch Parliament in declaration
      • MeduzaPutin sighs, but comments on the ‘beastly’ Yashin sentence: ‘I consider meddling in the work of the courts absolutely impermissible.’ — Meduza

        The same day when the Russian president hosted a press briefing on the results his Bishkek visit, a Moscow court sentenced the opposition leader Ilya Yashin to 8.5 years in a penal colony for hosting a live stream on Russian war crimes in Bucha.

      • Counter PunchRestoring the Commons Takes Your Highness – and Mine!

        In part the quality of hip glamour that clings to the NYC cats comes from things Orin and I learn beforehand as we prepare for publicizing the show. The artist’s pedigree, Olympian-level names he or she has played with, not to mention the artist’s website reviews by DownBeat, Jazz Times, etc., have us anticipating out-of-the-ordinary talent.

        For someone who is vulnerable to intimidation by NYC glamor and superiority, as I am, the aura of “hip” accompanying such musicians is notable in that it does not intimidate. Their very real New-York vibe does not exude superiority. Its particular “other-orientation” is not to things that exclusivize, like wealth, sophistication, trendiness and travels. Rather, it orients to something in-common, if rarely invoked in my social circles. That orientation, indicated in every note of improvisational expression coming “from bottom up,” up out of the body, mystically inspired, includes me in a culture counter to the dominant materialist one, not necessarily defiantly or anarchistically, but lovingly alternative. Though I am very much an Upstate “square,” this culture provides a perspective that allows me to see what I die for lack of in these cowed, servile times – that is, some indication in this my world of the reality of the embodied heart.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | The Apprentice, Trump’s Celebrity Presidency, and the Road to American Fascism

        As America’s celebrity president gathered his cabinet for its first official meeting of 2018, he sat in a leather chair at the center of a long mahogany table and quipped to the press, “Welcome back to the studio. It’s nice to have you.” It was an obvious reference to the boardroom scene in the president’s reality TV show The Apprentice in which contestants sat before him to be judged at a similar kind of table, with Trump seated in a leather chair—oversized, to emphasize his authority. As president-elect, Trump told his aides to consider each day of their administration as an episode of a TV show in which he “vanquishes rivals.” That debased, throw-down manner marked his long, storied career from Atlantic City casinos, to Miss Universe and WrestleMania, to golf resorts and New York City skyscrapers and the for-profit Trump University—an all-around showman of the P. T. Barnum “a sucker is born every minute” variety. 

      • Common DreamsOpinion | ‘War Is Over, If You Want It’: US Can End Its Complicity in Horrendous Yemen War Today

        Last Thursday marked forty-two years since John Lennon was killed. Many people, including me, lament his death and can recall where we were when we heard the heartbreaking news. This holiday season, we can heed John’s and Yoko Ono’s 1969 “Happy Xmas, War is Over, If You Want It” call by acting to end US military, intelligence and logistical support for the Saudi-led coalition in the horrendous war in Yemen. Over 400,000 Yemenis have perished since the war broke out in 2014, making it the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe, according to the United Nations.

      • Common Dreams70+ Lawmakers Tell Biden ‘You Can and You Must’ Provide Rail Workers Paid Sick Leave

        Progressive lawmakers including Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led dozens of their colleagues Friday in calling on President Joe Biden to take executive action to ensure railroad workers are afforded the paid sick leave they have long called for, but which was left out of a contract brokered by the White House.

        “While this agreement was much better than the disastrous proposals put forward by the rail industry, it still does not guarantee a single paid sick day to rail workers who work dangerous and difficult jobs, have risked their lives during the pandemic to keep our economy moving, and have not received a pay raise in over three years,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote of the agreement which freight rail workers were forced to accept even though four unions that represent the majority of the workforce had rejected it.

      • Common DreamsAs NYT Staffers Strike, Sanders Calls for ‘New Ways to Empower’ Workers Battling Industry Giants

        On the heels of New York Times workers walking off the job, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday made the case for revamping the nation’s news media system by giving reporters around the United States the resources necessary to produce high-quality journalism for the benefit of society.

        In an email to supporters, the Vermont Independent described how profit-maximizing media outlets have undermined reporting on the most pressing problems facing the country and called for significant reforms and investments to support the accountability and public interest journalism on which democracy depends.

      • Counter PunchWhy Not a National Direct-Initiative Election?

        However, the major surprise was the small number of ballot measures because since 1904, as the first state to use them, Oregon has averaged nearly eight per election, out of 446 offered in the last 118 years. Of 27 states permitting initiative measures, the champion is still Oregon, closely followed by California (439 since 1912 ) with seven on the ballot in this year’s midterms.

        But the initiative winner this year has to be Kansas because its August 2 primary vote of “no” (543,855 or 58.97% of 922,321 voters wrested an anti-abortion law from the state’s constitution. That also made Kansas the nation’s abortion law pacesetter in the midterms, underpinning victories for the dogged labors of pro-choice activists in five other states: California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, and Vermont.

      • Counter PunchWarnock’s Re-Election is a Victory for Social Security

        It is a loss for Republican politicians and their Wall Street donors who are determined to reach into our pockets and steal our hard earned benefits. If Herschel Walker had won, he would have rubber stamped the Republican agenda to cut Social Security’s modest but vital benefits.

        Walker proudly campaigned with and took money from Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), the author of a plan that would put Social Security on the chopping block every five years. If Walker had been elected, he would have been a rubber stamp for Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), whose plan would put Social Security on the chopping block every single year.

      • Counter PunchThe Art of Selling and Repudiating Hate in America

        The breakneck speed with which GOP leaders made condemnations might have caused someone not paying much attention to think the Republican Party suddenly, and with horror, had become “woke” to the damages of racism. But, the reality is far more cynical.

        As news broke of the dinner, reporters chased down prominent Republicans to see who would denounce and who would remain silent.

      • MeduzaPutin considers including ‘preemptive strike’ among Russia’s nuclear options — Meduza

        During a press briefing on the results of his visit to Kyrgyzstan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he is considering modifying the Russian nuclear doctrine, to include the possibility of a preemptive nuclear strike. His statement was published on the official Kremlin website.

      • MeduzaThe court is ‘way too optimistic’ about Putin’s prospects Opposition leader Ilya Yashin comments on his trial and 8.5-year sentence — Meduza

        Moscow’s Meschansky District Court has sentenced the Russian opposition leader Ilya Yashin to 8.5 years in a penal colony for spreading “disinformation” about the Russian military. The court claimed that, in hosting a livestream on the Russian war crimes in Bucha, Yashin was motivated by “political hatred.” After the judge announced her verdict, Yashin’s Telegram channel released a post, in which the politician wrote: “we have no reason for sadness — because, friends, we have won this process.” Meduza has translated the full text of Yashin’s comment on his trial.

      • Common DreamsLula Sues Bolsonaro for Abuse of Power and Baseless Attacks on Brazil’s Voting System

        Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s election team on Thursday sued outgoing far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, his running mate, and two of his sons for attacking the country’s voting system and attempting to bribe voters.

        Both lawsuits, filed in Brazil’s electoral court, seek to ban all four men from running for public office in the future. Lula, a Workers’ Party member who previously served as Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010 and takes office again on January 1, defeated Bolsonaro by more than 2.1 million votes in a runoff election in late October.

      • The NationDemocrats Dodged a Bullet in the Midterms, but the Culture War Is Far From Won

        Any reader who thinks the gloom that darkened October (“Democracy itself is on the ballot”) was nothing but a silly mistake should stop reading here.1

      • The NationAt the End of the Day


      • The NationDefending People’s Park
      • The NationThe Sight and Sound Wokeness Furor Signifies Little

        One can fairly say the world of cinema got seismically rocked last week with the news that Chantel Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) took the number-one spot on Sight and Sound magazine’s once-every-10-years Greatest Films of All Time poll. Akerman’s three-hour domestic-malaise opus placed above the work of longtime listees Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Yasujirō Ozu, and Stanley Kubrick.

      • Misinformation/Disinformation/Propaganda

        • Common DreamsOpinion | Congressional Report Proves Big Oil Always Saw Gas as a ‘Destination’ Not a ‘Bridge’

          One of the most explosive revelations in the just released House Oversight Committee report on Big Oil disinformation is that the oil industry never saw methane, what they euphemistically rebranded “natural gas,” as a “bridge fuel” to a clean energy future: they always saw it as a “destination,” an ongoing addiction they planned to do everything in their power to maintain.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Common DreamsOpinion | Guantánamo: Will America’s Forever Prison Finally Close On Biden’s Watch?

        As of December 8, 2022, Guantánamo Bay detention facility—a prison offshore of American justice and built for those detained in this country’s never-ending Global War on Terror—has been open for nearly 21 years (or, to be precise, 7,627 days). Thirteen years ago, I published a book, The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo’s First 100 Days. It told the story of the military officers and staff who received the prison’s initial detainees at that U.S. naval base on the island of Cuba early in 2002. Like the hundreds of prisoners that followed, they would largely be held without charges or trial for years on end.

      • The NationThe Respect for Marriage Act Sets a Dangerous Precedent for Civil Rights

        State legislatures across the country put a target on the backs of LGBTQ people this year. Lawmakers introduced nearly 200 bills that would criminalize the health care LGBTQ people need and deserve, erase our history and culture, and render our very existence unspeakable. So, it came as somewhat of a surprise that the US Senate, and now the US House, passed a bill to secure marriage rights for same-sex couples. The Respect for Marriage Act requires the federal government to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples, and mandates that all states honor valid marriages from other states—specifically barring states from refusing to validate out-of-state marriages if the reason for doing so is the couple’s sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. The bill now heads to President Biden for his signature.

      • Counter PunchThe Powell Memo Revisited

        From peace to prison, the environment to economic inequality, many Americans fight for their cause, plead for justice. The dynamic is similar in other countries.

        Who, or what, are the forces behind so much injustice and suffering? Is there a common culprit, a common thread or threat?

      • Democracy Now“A Personified Weapon of Mass Destruction”: Ex-Arms Trafficking Inspector on Freed Russian Viktor Bout

        Brittney Griner’s release from Russia has brought renewed attention to the notorious Russian arms dealer whom the U.S. exchanged for the basketball star in a prisoner swap. Viktor Bout, the former Soviet military officer who became known as the “Merchant of Death,” was serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States for conspiracy to commit terrorism. Authorities say Viktor Bout was involved in trafficking arms to dictators and stoking conflicts in Africa, South America and the Middle East. He has also been accused of furnishing weapons to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and achieved particular notoriety for selling arms in Rwanda in 1998, just four years after the Rwandan genocide. Kathi Lynn Austin, a former U.N. arms trafficking investigator, says that while Griner’s release is cause for celebration, “it is such a difficult time for those of us who are aware of how Viktor Bout can be easily deployed” in conflict zones. “He is a personified weapon of mass destruction, and he has always proven himself ready, willing and able,” says Austin.

      • Democracy Now“A Vindication for Agitation”: Dave Zirin on How Brittney Griner’s Supporters Secured Her Freedom

        Basketball star Brittney Griner landed in the United States early Friday after nearly 10 months of detention in Russia. Griner was freed Thursday in a dramatic prisoner swap between the United States and Russia, with the Biden administration agreeing to free Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms dealer who was serving a 25-year sentence. Griner had been held in Russia since February, when she was arrested at a Moscow airport for possessing a small amount of cannabis oil, and her status as an openly gay Black woman made freeing her from a country with anti-LGBT laws a pressing concern for supporters. But journalist Dave Zirin says the sports world was still slow to rally to Griner’s cause due to sexism, racism and homophobia. “The amount of erasure and deliberate ignoring of Brittney Griner’s case was apparent to anybody who listens to sports radio or watches sports television,” says Zirin, sports editor for The Nation magazine and host of the Edge of Sports podcast. “If it was Steph Curry or Tom Brady imprisoned overseas … the cacophony would have been so loud. Yet with Brittney Griner there was silence.”

    • Monopolies

      • TruthOutFederal Officials Sue to Stop Microsoft Merger in Major Antitrust Move
      • Common DreamsAdvocates Call On Schumer to Take ‘Historic Opportunity’ to Pass Antitrust Bills

        Campaigners on Friday warned Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that the Democratic Party is on the cusp of rendering far-reaching antitrust legislation “a historical footnote” if the congressional leader fails to prioritize the passage of several bills that would rein in Big Tech before the new year.

        A coalition including the Tech Oversight Project, Accountable Tech, Fight for the Future, Public Citizen, and a number of other groups sent a letter to the New York Democrat intensifying their call to take “this historic opportunity to reinvigorate competition risks.”

      • The NationBefore Taylor Swift, Pearl Jam Knew Ticketmaster’s Monopoly Power All Too Well

        A leading musical act is attacking Ticketmaster. Condemning the company’s high fees and poor service, they are trying to mobilize their angry fans to force the government to end the ticketing giant’s dominance. The battleground is a highly anticipated tour with big money at stake. But the musician isn’t Taylor Swift, and it’s not happening now. It’s the grunge band Pearl Jam, and the year is 1994. The group wanted to keep ticket prices from rising above $20 (about $40 in today’s dollars), and that was impossible with Ticketmaster’s extra charges.

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

      • Death March Culture

        For context, a death march is one of those lovely 80+ hour work-weeks to grind out some bit of software or the other, and the associated grind out some of those involved, by way of burn-out, health problems, etc. Or, a death march could be to keep the rails from falling off some Internet service as the load scales to handle the very Christian late-year consumerism bing, where someone may work all through Black Friday and still be working come Sigh Bear Monday.

      • Dragonflight: Fun New Expansion, Same Toxic Community

        Shadowlands was an absolute disaster of an expansion for Blizzard. Many players were already wary of World of Warcraft after Battle for Azeroth, growing tired of contrived systems they were largely forced to do, and trudging through a ho-hum story. The follow up brought a new batch of systems that only succeeded in annoying a large portion of the player base and a story that was just terrible (highly questionable retconning, garbage characterization, etc.). Then there were all of the sexual harassment cases coming out about the studio coupled with a bunch of corporate nonsense from Blizzard. This all combined to cause a huge number of players to quit the game, and subscriptions tanked. As such, it was no surprise that Blizzard Activision wanted to put Shadowlands behind them as quickly as possible, releasing a new expansion that would allow a fresh start.

        Now here we are with Dragonflight. From a gameplay perspective, it certainly looks like Blizzard has listened to players’ concerns over the last two expansions. Gone are the frustrating systems and super mandatory rep grinds. Instead, things are more of a back to basics meat and potatoes experience. There are a lot of really nice quests, the story has improved substantially, the dungeons are pretty neat, and they brought back proper talent trees too. Blizzard even did what it does best and pinched an idea from another MMO, then made it a main feature in this expansion: They adding dragon riding, a more immersive form of mount riding that had been in Guild Wars 2 for years.

    • Technical

      • on fixing search engines

        I think most people would agree that the quality of search engine results is worsening. Half of them is either SEO spam or trying to sell you something. With AI written articles apparently being a thing now, the situation won’t be getting any better.

        When I mention this to people, they usually mention something like Searx, where you have a service aggregating results from multiple sites – Wikipedia, Stack Overflow, etc.
        This way you don’t get as many results from random sites – which avoids the spam ones… at the cost of also avoiding the well written personal sites. It throws the baby out with the bathwater.

      • Internet/Gemini

        • GmCapsule Published on PyPi

          GmCapsule, my Python-based Gemini server that runs skyjake.fi, is now available via PyPi.

          The capsule has been running continuously for several months without any hitches, so I’m declaring that this initial release version (v0.2.2) is Bug-Free™️.

* Gemini (Primer) links can be opened using Gemini software. It’s like the World Wide Web but a lot lighter.

On Privacy at School

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 8:57 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted from GNU.org, new publication by Richard Stallman

Wired published an article of advice for students about how to resist surveillance by their schools.

The advice it gives is valid as far as it goes, but it falls far short of what students need to know to resist all the threats.

The article poses the question:

How is student data secured?

This question invites confusion. If someone claims to keep data about you “secure,” what does that mean? Secure from whom? The school’s computers are unlikely to keep anyone secure from snooping EdTech companies that operate with the school’s cooperation.

“Using your own personal device” usually means using a snoop-phone. It may protect you from snooping by the school and by EdTech companies, provided you never use it to visit a site that has anything to do with the school or an EdTech company and never do unencrypted communication [1]. But the device was made by a computer company—usually Apple or Google—that also made the operating system in it. That system always contains nonfree software that snoops on you plenty. Most apps for that snoop-phone are nonfree, and they snoop for various companies, often behind the back of the organization that commissioned development of the app itself. Encryption features or apps, if they are part of that nonfree operating system or nonfree themselves, are likely to snoop on users too.

The only way to protect yourself against this is to reject nonfree programs (programs that are not free/libre) in your device. (Alas, iPhones entirely prohibit free software.) And even then, the hardware may have a back door, such as Microsoft’s Pluton chip or the Intel Management Engine.

Connecting a phone or computer to USB, even “for charging,” makes it vulnerable. Some security conferences, with the purpose of educating the public about security issues, have installed a place full of USB sockets which were set up also to snoop on any computer (including a snoop-phone) plugged in there. The participants saw a USB jack and thought, “This is where we should charge our devices,” and assumed it was safe to use. When the conference organizers revealed the snooping, they taught these users a lesson about security.

Privacy is not only for children and teenagers. We need to demand privacy for adults, too. This means that schools, stores, clinics, transportation companies, and other organizations people deal with must not demand you tell them who you are unless that is directly necessary, and must not otherwise try to find out.

[1] To be secure for you, encryption has to be done with a free program that you have installed into your computer. If a nonfree program running in your computer does the encryption, including JavaScript sent to the browser by an online “service,” or if it is done in the online “service” server itself, it is not secure.

To learn more:

Many Governments Encourage Schools to Let Companies Snoop on Students

Resisting Proprietary Software

The Dangers of Proprietary Systems in Online Teaching

Copyright © 2022 Richard Stallman

This page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Links 10/12/2022: KDE Frameworks 5.101

Posted in News Roundup at 12:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Simon JosefssonHow to complicate buying a laptop – Simon Josefsson’s blog

        I’m about to migrate to a new laptop, having done a brief pre-purchase review of options on Fosstodon and reaching a decision to buy the NovaCustom NV41. Given the rapid launch and decline of Mastodon instances, I thought I’d better summarize my process and conclusion on my self-hosted blog until the fediverse self-hosting situation improves.

        Since 2010 my main portable computing device has been the Lenovo X201 that replace the Dell Precision M65 that I bought in 2006. I have been incredibly happy with the X201, even to the point that in 2015 when I wanted to find a replacement, I couldn’t settle on a decision and eventually realized I couldn’t articulate what was wrong with the X201 and decided to just buy another X201 second-hand for my second office. There is still no deal-breaker with the X201, and I’m doing most of my computing on it including writing this post. However, today I can better articulate what is lacking with the X201 that I desire, and the state of the available options on the market has improved since my last attempt in 2015.

    • WINE or Emulation

      • GamingOnLinuxWindows compatibility layer Wine v8.0 has a first Release Candidate out

        Another year is coming to a close and so the team behind Wine, the Windows compatibility layer, are readying up for another major stable release with version 8.0. For those just joining us: Wine is one of the big parts of Steam Play Proton to run Windows games on Linux desktop and Steam Deck.

    • Games

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • 9to5LinuxKDE Frameworks 5.101 Released with Plasma Wayland and Multi-Monitor Improvements

          Coming hot on the heels of KDE Gear 22.12, the KDE Frameworks 5.101 release brings easier creation and setup of environment variables for apps in the properties dialog and KMenuEdit, a feature that will also land in the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.27 desktop environment series, new icon for the SimpleScreenRecorder app in the Breeze Icon theme, as well as a larger corner radius in Breeze-themed Plasma pop-ups to match the corner radius of windows.

          KDE Frameworks 5.101 also updates the separator in various scrollable System Settings pages above the footer buttons to match the separator located above the “Highlight Changed Settings” button on the sidebar’s footer, improves the performance and speed of drawing UI elements in the Plasma desktop and QtQuick-based apps for lower power usage, and removes the “Search For” section in Dolphin’s Places panel.

        • KDEKDE Frameworks 5.101.0

          KDE today announces the release of KDE Frameworks 5.101.0.

          KDE Frameworks are 83 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the KDE Frameworks release announcement.

        • Volker KrauseKDE Frameworks 6 Branching

          We are nearing an important milestone in the KDE Frameworks 6 development, branching and thus splitting the development of KDE Frameworks 5 and 6 is getting really close now. That’s not the only noteworthy news from the KF6 work though.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • OpenSource.comHow to use the Linux file manager for GNOME 2

          Before GNOME 3 there was (unsurprisingly) GNOME 2, which had gained an ardent fanbase during its reign as one of the common default Linux desktops. The Mate project (named after the yerba mate plant) began as an effort to continue the GNOME 2 desktop, at first using GTK 2 (the toolkit GNOME 2 was based upon) and later incorporating GTK 3. Today, Mate delivers a familiar desktop environment that looks and feels exactly like GNOME 2 did, using the GTK 3 toolkit. Part of that desktop is the Caja file manager, a simple but robust application that helps you sort and organize your data.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Open Data

        • Creative CommonsOur Work in Policy at CC: Data

          Along with promoting open data, we also believe that other ways to share data better can help build the commons and support our mission of better sharing: sharing that is inclusive, just and equitable — where everyone has wide opportunity to access data and to contribute their own data as they see fit. Of course, not all sharing of data is beneficial; for instance, collection and use of one’s personal data can undermine a person’s choice, autonomy, and fundamental rights and raise real concerns. At the same time, there are other ways to share data beyond merely open data — such as by giving individuals control over sharing of their own data — that hold the potential for meaningful benefits.

  • Leftovers

    • BBCFired Twitter cleaning staff ‘treated like garbage’

      The BBC spoke to four cleaners who say they were fired from Twitter on Monday – their interviews were conducted in Spanish.

      Adrianna Villarreal, who worked for Twitter for four years, said she’s now worried she won’t have enough money to feed her family over Christmas.

    • Counter PunchWords Ache, But Indifference Kills

      Words are not the enemy … stupidity is. And on that score today the United States stands proudly at the head of the class.  Enter Kanye West, Nick Fuentes and the devoted dupes who relish them as seers of sort; communal gifts from on-high who engender insight, experience and vision. In reality, they add nothing to the challenge of the marketplace of ideas but a call to the rest of us to be worse than we actually are, and can be.

      For the dutiful apologists who remain in his noticeably flaccid ministry, Kanye West’s salvation finds his “recent” descent into madness to be but another, fresher version of his legendary lyrical prowess. To others, his appearance in cotton black-face mask with salute for Hitler’s skillful complexity is little more than a new public runway stroll. Or is that troll? Spare me the debate. West is an accomplished unabashed lunatic. “But I’m gross” says he, looking in the mirror. “I can’t even stomach myself.” Agreed. His words….Not mine. Little more need be said.

    • Terence EdenData Becomes Her

      I never knew my mother. OK, no one ever really knows their mum. But I never even got to meet mine. She made it clear at the hospital that she’d smother me to death if she was ever left alone with a mewling baby. Looking back, I think I might have preferred that fate.

      I never tried contacting her in my teens – even when things got really bad. I sometimes typed her name into Facebook or LinkedIn, but always chickened out before pressing enter. If she didn’t want me, then I didn’t need her. A well-meaning friend got me one of those DNA kits for my birthday. It sat unopened for years before I worked up the courage to throw it out. I couldn’t stand the thought of any connection between me and my bio-mum.


      Despite her death occurring in an NHS hospital, apparently that data hadn’t dripped its way down to her GP. Nor, judging from the next flurry of alerts, had it escaped the silo and made it to her dentist, physiotherapist, and oncologist. In a world of endless data leaks, my mum’s death just wasn’t viral.

      As the messages began popping up from various medical facilities, I started to build up a picture of my mother’s various ailments. Of course, the messages didn’t contain too much personal data – but there was enough to know which health professionals she was visiting. She was not a well woman. Either that, or a hypochondriac. Although, given what killed her in the end, maybe not.

    • Science

      • QuilletteHow Do They Know This?

        These are perhaps the worst cases of official statistics being twisted. Bad data is more often the result of human frailty and flawed methods. A lot of statistics are based on surveys, but people do not always tell the truth. They greatly under-report how much alcohol they drink, for example, due to a combination of shame and forgetfulness (we know they under-report thanks to alcohol sales receipts and the miracle of doubly labelled water).

      • ACMRethinking Silicon Valley: Stewart Brand’s Lost Journal

        During the fall of 2000 I visited the Special Collection room in Green Library at Stanford University, eager to read Stewart Brand’s personal journals. I was researching the political and cultural world surrounding three computer science laboratories that were located adjacent to Stanford during the decade during which the technologies that led to the creation of the personal computer industry and the modern Internet emerged.

        On my initial visit I came away disappointed and it would take almost another two decades before I discovered a missing piece of the puzzle that reframes the early history and impact of Silicon Valley.

    • Hardware

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • ABCFlint water crisis charges dismissed against ex-Gov. Snyder

        Snyder, a Republican who left office in 2019, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty. He was the first person in state history to be charged for alleged crimes related to service as governor.

        Snyder also is the eighth person to have a Flint water case thrown out after the Supreme Court’s unanimous June opinion.

      • Pro PublicaEricsson Partnered With Girl Scouts to Push 5G Technology

        Beyond developing their camping skills, participating in a food drive to aid the hungry and donating pajamas for seniors, Girl Scouts across America this year were offered a new way to earn a special uniform patch: learning about the wonders of 5G cellphone technology and, in some cases, promoting it.

        The opportunity came courtesy of Ericsson, the Swedish telecommunications giant, which sponsored the “Ericsson Limited Edition 5G & IoT” (Internet of Things) patch program. The program, still available on at least one Girl Scout website, targets all age levels, from Daisies (kindergarten-age Scouts) to Ambassadors (those in high school), with an array of activities intended to “introduce Girl Scouts to 5G and the Internet of Things.”

      • Pro PublicaShould Asbestos Facilities Be Exempt From Surprise Inspections?

        As more workers speak up about being exposed to asbestos in chlorine plants, public health leaders are questioning whether these facilities should be allowed to be in a special program that shields them from scrutiny by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

        OSHA’s Star Program, one of its so-called Voluntary Protection Programs, exempts plants with model safety systems from random, unannounced inspections. At least four of the eight chlorine factories that currently use asbestos are in the program, according to OSHA’s website.

      • FAIRJen Deerinwater on Indian Child Welfare Act
      • Counter PunchHow a Nuclear Site Was Allowed to Poison Its Own Workers


        If you thought breathing in microscopic drops of COVID-19 was bad for your lungs, try inhaling a little of the vapor emanating from the exhaust pipes of Hanford’s burping waste tanks. For years, workers at Hanford—which turned out unfathomable amounts of plutonium for the US’s atomic weaponry, and is now home to the most expensive environmental clean-up ever—received mixed messages about whether or not they should wear respirators while working in areas that could potentially expose them to noxious, even radioactive fumes.

    • Proprietary

      • Linux Apps Support Comes to Cameyo Virtual App Delivery Service — Redmond Channel Partner

        Cameyo’s Virtual App Delivery service has extended its support to Linux applications, the company announced on Wednesday.

        The Cary, N.C.-based virtualization services provider already lets organizations bypass traditional virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) approaches with Windows by letting organizations run Windows apps as progressive Web apps in a browser. Now, Linux applications can be accessed through Cameyo’s service, too.

    • Security

      • Matthew Garrettmjg59 | On-device WebAuthn and what makes it hard to do well

        WebAuthn improves login security a lot by making it significantly harder for a user’s credentials to be misused – a WebAuthn token will only respond to a challenge if it’s issued by the site a secret was issued to, and in general will only do so if the user provides proof of physical presence[1]. But giving people tokens is tedious and also I have a new laptop which only has USB-C but does have a working fingerprint reader and I hate the aesthetics of the Yubikey 5C Nano, so I’ve been thinking about what WebAuthn looks like done without extra hardware.

        Let’s talk about the broad set of problems first. For this to work you want to be able to generate a key in hardware (so it can’t just be copied elsewhere if the machine is compromised), prove to a remote site that it’s generated in hardware (so the remote site isn’t confused about what security assertions you’re making), and tie use of that key to the user being physically present (which may range from “I touched this object” to “I presented biometric evidence of identity”). What’s important here is that a compromised OS shouldn’t be able to just fake a response. For that to be possible, the chain between proof of physical presence to the secret needs to be outside the control of the OS.

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • TechdirtState TikTok Bans Are A Dumb Performance And Don’t Fix The Actual Underlying Problem

          For decades, U.S. politicians leaders utterly refused to support most meaningful privacy protections for consumers. They opposed any nationwide privacy law, however straightforward. They opposed privacy rules for broadband ISPs. They also fought tooth and nail to ensure the nation’s top privacy enforcement agency, the FTC, lacked the authority, staff, funds, or resources to actually do its job.

        • TechdirtThe US Finally Has A Chance For A Federal Privacy Law. It Should Take It

          Strong privacy rights are a crucial first step to a healthy and productive online ecosystem. The European Union figured this out years ago, enacting the General Data Protection Regulation. In contrast, the U.S., the land of tech innovation, is tripping over its own feet at the finish line and hoping nobody notices we’ll be without a consistent and consequential law protecting internet users for at least a few more years. It’s well past time to put politics and personal gripes aside and bring up the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) for a vote in the House of Representatives before the end of the year.

        • Counter PunchJ Edgar’s Legacy of Surveillance

          Of course, the gathering of US residents’ personal data by the US government is not a new phenomenon. Police informants and other types of infiltrators have been employed by law enforcement agencies at all levels of policing. However, this activity became more widespread and certainly more centralized after the creation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1908 as the Bureau of Investigation. However, it wasn’t truly the monolithic, invasive and outside-the-law agency it became until J. Edgar Hoover became its director in 1924. That appointment symbolized the beginning of the United States as a police state. Despite the media presentation of the FBI as a police agency going after bank robbers, bootleggers, and other criminals during Prohibition USA, Hoover’s focus was the growing leftist influence in the country. According to the agency’s propaganda, which is repeated on the current FBI wikipedia page, Hoover focused on the Ku Klux Klan and various pro-nazi groups in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s. The truth is somewhat different.

          That truth is the subject of anthropologist David Price’s newest book. Titled The American Surveillance State: How the U.S. Spies on Dissent, Price’s text is a collection of case studies detailing US government spying on its citizens. Utilizing the advent of wiretapping as a means of investigation, J. Edgar Hoover institutionalized government surveillance and used it primarily against left-leaning and anti-racist individuals and organizations. Author Price filed dozens of Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests in order to write this book. Like anyone requesting these materials knows, it is both a painstaking and often frustrating process. After all, it is the same government that compiled these files that determines whether or not a requester gets access to them. Likewise, it is up to that government as to how much of the information provided will be redacted or just not included. In his discussions of the process, Price makes these aspects clear and occasionally questions the government response to some of his requests.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Eesti RahvusringhäälingEstonia completes cyber lab to enhance Ukrainian Armed Forces’ resilience

        A cyber lab to enhance the resilience of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ (UAF) cyber defense units was installed by Estonia’s e-Governance Academy (eGA) and CybExer Technologies this week as part of an EU-funded project.

      • MeduzaMediazona: Almost 300,000 Ukrainians received Russian citizenship between February and October. Many had no choice. — Meduza

        Between the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine and the end of October, almost 300,000 Ukrainians received Russian citizenship, the independent outlet Mediazona reported on Friday, citing data from Russia’s Interior Ministry.

      • TechdirtDenver PD Sued After SWAT Team Raid Of 77-Year-Old Woman’s House Based On Nothing More Than Phone Pings

        Once again, law enforcement’s enthusiasm for violent warrant service has combined with its disinterest in responsible policing to result in a civil rights lawsuit. Here’s how that all played out, as reported by The Denver Post. (h/t Techdirt reader BentFranklin)

      • Counter PunchThe Americans Started the US War with Russia

        The ‘American view’ towards the war, informed domestically by an absence of the political violence that the US so regularly visits upon innocents around the globe, rank ideology, state propaganda, ignorance of world history, and the narrow economic interests of American oligarchs, imagines that it is fighting Frankenstein’s monster when it is that monster. What is the strategic interest of Ukraine to the US? More importantly, is it worth a potentially world-ending war?

        In recent history, the US could have abided by the 1991 promise made by the George H.W. Bush administration to keep NATO away from Russia’s border. The US could have negotiated a security agreement with the Russians— as they have regularly requested over the last three decades. The US could have made Ukraine abide by the Minsk Accord(s) to which the Ukrainians and Russians had in principle agreed. There have been so many requests from the Russians to negotiate a lasting peace with the US that there is no convincing argument that the US didn’t want this war.

      • Counter Punch“Amerika”: Republi-Fascism, Despicable De-Railing Dems, Constitutional Termination, Lucy and Charlie, and Revolution

        I ran across this interesting fact while leafing through the British historian Martin Gilbert’s massive history of the Second World War.

        Some might find this strange, given the fact that Hitler’s Third Reich was formally at war with the United States between December 8, 1941, and April May 7, 1945.

      • MeduzaChechen opposition politician: blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov is alive — Meduza

        Chechen blogger Tumso Abudrakhmanov, whose death was reported last week, is alive, according to Prime Minister of the separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria Akhmed Zakayev. The publication Kavkaz.Realii reported the news.

      • MeduzaBBC and Mediazona confirm 10,000 Russian soldiers dead in Ukraine — Meduza

        The BBC’s Russian Service, Mediazona, and volunteers working with open source data have confirmed that, as of December 9, 10,002 Russian service members have been killed in Ukraine.

      • Meduza‘What he’s accused of simply can’t be true’ Prominent graphic designer Grigory Kochenov fell to his death from his balcony in Nizhny Novgorod during a police search — Meduza

        Grigory Kochenov, the 41-year-old creative director of Agima, a large Russian IT company, fell to his death from his balcony in Nizhny Novgorod while police officers were supposedly conducting a search of his apartment. Local Telegram channels NiMash and 112 have suggested that the search took place in connection with a “pedophilia” investigation, but no formal charges against Kochenov could be confirmed. According to NiMash, Kochenov opened the door, signed the search warrant, and let the police into his apartment. Then he allegedly went to the balcony and fell out.

      • Counter PunchThe US Imperium Garrisons Australia

        The Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) is really a chat fest held between Australian Ministers for Defence and Foreign Affairs along with the US Secretaries of State and Defense, accompanied by officials of touted seniority.  Advertised as an occasion for the states “to discuss and share perspectives and approaches on major global and regional political issues, and to deepen bilateral foreign security and defence cooperation,” it is more accurately an occasion for Washington to keep an eye on its satellite.

        The occasion would have been a disappointment for sceptics of the US-Australian alliance, one that has seen Australians join, with somnambulistic facility, failed distant, needless wars.  Even with a change of government in Canberra, it is clear that the US security lobby remains ascendant, tranquilising Australian politicians with the virtues of the alliance.

      • Counter PunchManifesting the New Iran

        A basic truth exists, if you don’t know where you are going any direction you choose is the right one. Simply toppling the Shah without working on what was to replace his regime has resulted in forty-three years of a religious dictatorship controlled by fake Muslims, traitors, and thieves. So, having a clear vision of the New Iran is critical, primarily to prevent more suffering for the Iranian people and avoiding the hijacking of this uprising.

        Below is the outline of the New Iran through peaceful regime change…

      • Counter PunchIsrael’s Nuclear Weapons ‘Deliberate Ambiguity’

        In 1996, the International Court of Justice declared that “the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law.” The threat to use nuclear weapons is thinly veiled by Obama, Trump, Putin, and Netanyahu, as in “all options are on the table”.

        Israel gained access to nuclear weapons production in 1957 through French socialist governments. Ben-Gurion was passionately committed to nuclear weaponization and he had total control over his party “like that of a Mafia don” [1] Current estimates (Janes, SIPRI) are that Israel possesses between 100 and 300 nuclear warheads, deployable by land, air, or sea. Israel’s Jericho I, II and III long-range surface-to-surface missiles are nuclear capable and have a range up to 7,800km (4,800 miles). Israel’s nuclear warheads can also be deployed by American-supplied F-16 jets. Germany subsidized the sale of Dolphin-class submarines to Israel, partly as Holocaust reparation(!). The submarines are capable of carrying nuclear warheads

      • Meduza‘We know what Russian captivity means’ Mariupol survivor Ivan Gonchar entered an occupation checkpoint in April. His family hasn’t seen him since. — Meduza
      • MeduzaNovoshakhtinsk shooter claims having mistaken Russian police for Ukrainian troops — Meduza

        Pavel Nikolin, the Wagner Group deserter who opened fire on local police officers in Novoshakhtinsk, a mining city in the Rostov region, has appeared before the court in Rostov-on-Don.

      • MeduzaMassive fire sweeps through mall in Moscow suburbs — Meduza

        A fire broke out at a mall in Russia’s Moscow region at around 6:00 am on Friday morning. At least one person was reportedly killed.

      • MeduzaOne dead after flames engulf hardware store in Moscow suburbs Authorities say fire caused by safety violations — Meduza

        Early in the morning on December 9, a fire broke out at the Mega Khimki shopping center in the suburbs of Moscow. The fire started in OBI, a home improvement store, at about 6:00 am. It grew to encompass the entire building and caused multiple explosions before it was extinguished. By 8:25, it was contained within an area of roughly 7,000 square meters (about 75,000 square feet). OBI was almost completely destroyed, though the other buildings in the complex were not damaged.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • The EconomistChina’s deep-water fishing fleet is the world’s most rapacious

        A third differentiating feature is the fleet’s rapaciousness and lack of scruple in an industry notorious for both. In its wake comes overfishing, some of which is outright illegal; the collapse of local stocks; smuggling; links to organised crime; and the forced labour and general mistreatment of those who serve on the boats.

      • Counter PunchRoaming Charges: The Mask of Order

        + The Washington Post examined 1500 different scenarios for the planet’s climate future. The results weren’t encouraging: “When we look at those scenarios that have the temperature closing out the century below 1.5C, there is a big problem. With their dramatic plunges in greenhouse gas emissions levels by 2025 — just three years away — some of the scenarios, which were finalized in 2021 at the latest, increasingly conflict with reality. After all, the world just saw emissions rise in 2022…”

        + According to the latest data from NOAA, global heat content of the oceans has reached another record high…

      • Counter PunchRefreeze the Arctic

        For eons the world’s biggest reflector of incoming solar radiation has been the Arctic’s multi-year ice pack 10-20-30 feet thick. Now it’s merely a shadow of its former self whereas it used to reflect 80%-90% of solar radiation back into outer space. But a lot of that solar radiation is now absorbed by the planet. This loss of mojo is the result of human-generated greenhouse gases that heated up the atmosphere 3-fold more in the Arctic than elsewhere on the planet. As a result, multi-year ice has taken a big hit.

        Meanwhile, the Arctic is fast approaching the dreaded Blue Ocean Event BOE, which means a period of time with essentially no ice, and which is packed full of negative connotations so far-reaching for the hemisphere that it’s beyond the scope of this article.

      • Energy

        • Counter PunchThe EU’s Oil Price Cap on Russia

          The latest, including: – EU agrees to cap on Russian oil price – How will Russia respond to price cap? – What impact will this have on global energy markets? – China, Qatar sign historic LNG deal that could leave Russia in the cold – How does China-Qatar relationship shift dynamics in Persian Gulf? – Ukraine may want to go slow in retaking Crimea – Crimea strategy as part of the war – Why Ukraine is winning the drone war

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The HillFauci blasts ‘cowardly’ trolls harassing wife, children

        Anthony Fauci in an interview with the BBC blasted the “cowardly” internet trolls who harass his wife and children, saying it’s a part of the backlash he’s experienced over the COVID-19 pandemic.

        “These people who troll about, they harass my wife and my children because they can figure out where they live and what their phone number is,” the immunologist told BBC’s “Americast” podcast.

      • The Washington PostThe painter in Italy who informed the world about China’s protests

        Every few seconds, Li Ying receives a message on Twitter. University students are demanding transparency from school administrators; workers in Fuzhou are sleeping in tents in an unheated university dining hall despite orders for campus lockdowns to be lifted; residents in Xi’an are lining up at midnight to take PCR tests so they can go to work the next day, even though coronavirus testing requirements were supposedly lifted.

        None of these events will be reported by China’s domestic news outlets or appear on social media before being scrubbed by censors. Li, a 30-year-old painter originally from Anhui province and now living in Milan, sees it as his responsibility to get this information out to the wider world.

      • Broadband BreakfastMore Twitter Files, FTC Sues to Stop Microsoft Deal, Broadband Bills on Space

        Weiss’s tweet thread, posted Thursday night, says Twitter, without notifying users, prevented certain accounts from appearing in user searches, hashtag searches, or the platform’s “trending” section. Affected accounts included talk-show host Dan Bongino; activist Charlie Kirk; and the once anonymous video-repost account, “Libs of TikTok.”

      • Counter PunchIt’s the Message Not the Messaging:  The Future of the Republican Party

        All this may be correct but something more fundamental may be at root.  It is not the messaging but the actual message or vision that is the problem.  And it will grow as a problem into the future as the Republican Party faces an existential crisis in the coming years as its base is literally dying out.

        America needs viable party competition.  There is no democracy in the world that is a one-party state.  The parties too must reflect majority preferences, tempered by respect for the rights of minorities.  But  to win elections and govern parties must build coalitions and form majorities.  This means they need to reflect majority preferences or face oblivion.

      • The VergeThe unbearable lightness of BuzzFeed – The Verge

        The BuzzFeed article, titled “People Are Sharing Non-Obvious Signs That Are Actually A Cry For Help, And It’s Eye-Opening,” was taken from a Reddit thread posted earlier in the day asking how to recognize when someone is struggling with mental health issues. The story pulled in more than a dozen Reddit responses to create a numbered list. A comment Nina had left was right at the top.

        “I posted something extremely personal and it happened to be the first quote in their article which was one of the top articles of the day on Apple News,” Nina told The Verge in an email. (Nina requested a pseudonym to protect her privacy.) “That’s scary. I had no idea, I didn’t know my username would be linked with it, and it was a total accident I stumbled upon it.”

        When Nina asked other Redditors about BuzzFeed’s sourcing practices, she found a sense of resignation but also open frustration — a sense of theft. BuzzFeed was “sleazy,” some said, and most journalism was a “clickbait fiesta.” Even a few conspiracy theories emerged, like the suggestion that BuzzFeed writers planted r/AskReddit questions for upcoming stories. (BuzzFeed spokesperson Matt Mittenthal says the outlet doesn’t do this, instead crowdsourcing responses from readers.)

      • FAIRIn 2022 Midterms, Media Were Again Misled by Generic Ballot

        Last October (FAIR.org, 10/3/22), I warned about “The Persistently Faulty Record of Generic Ballot Polling.” The message was that it’s dicey to predict House election outcomes based on the national polling.

      • TruthOutCritics Slam Sinema for Leaving Democratic Party Days After Warnock’s Win
      • Common Dreams‘She’s Just Awful’: Critics Swing After Sinema Ditches Dems Just Days After Warnock Win

        Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona announced early Friday morning that she has officially left the Democratic Party, registering as an independent in her state and surprising very few people who have seen her as a major obstacle to her party’s progressive agenda while serving powerful corporate interests.

        “She’s driven by which corporations and lobbyists are giving her the most money — which makes her an elected mercenary, not an elected representative of the people.”

      • The NationKyrsten Sinema Formally Enrolls in the Party of Wall Street and Big Pharma

        At the end of a week when Democrats cinched 51-49 control of the Senate, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who has served in the chamber as a Democrat, announced that she was reregistering as independent. The news was shocking only because of its timing; Sinema will continue be what she has long been—a uniquely cynical political careerist in a chamber that is not exactly short on cynicism or political careerists.

      • The NationHerschel Walker and the Failure of the GOP’s Diversity Pitch

        Herschel Walker, after being defeated in the runoff for the Georgia Senate race, is now touted as another prominent example of the failure of Trumpist candidates to appeal to moderate and independent voters. This description has a fair bit of truth: Walker might not have won the GOP nomination to be senatorial candidate if not for Trump’s endorsement. But it’s a mistake to overstate Trump’s role. Trump was by no means the only Republican who promoted Walker, a candidate with numerous personal flaws that contributed to his defeat.

      • The NationIf Merrick Garland Had the Courage of His Convictions…

        The US Department of Justice is not an independent agency, like the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Federal Trade Commission. Its head, the attorney general, is not just the country’s lawyer in chief. He is a member of the Cabinet, which was created to advise the president on all manner of things, including national security, the president’s chief responsibility. The Justice Department itself has a National Security Division. Another of its divisions is the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

      • ScheerpostGabor Maté: Who’s Crazy, You or Your Nation?

        Dr. Gabor Maté’s new book strips back the realities of the neoliberal system that has been plaguing the health of US and the world citizens.

      • ScheerpostThe World Cup Isn’t Over Yet, but Palestine Has Already Won

        We can only guess at who might take home the World Cup. But Palestine has won people’s hearts and captivated the world’s attention — and its team isn’t even playing.

      • Counter PunchHow Big Tech and Billionaires Dodge 1st Amendment Laws and Censor the World’s Big News Platforms

        Through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates has provided $319 million to fund news outlets, journalism centers and training programs, press associations, and specific media campaigns around the world. Zuckerberg hired “fact checkers” from the Atlantic Council (a NATO lobby group) and, in the name of combating online “misinformation,” has stifled and de-platformed countless independent news voices, mostly those critical of US foreign policy, official narratives around COVID-19, and other controversial issues.22 

        Resembling previous generations of billionaires who owned legacy media outlets, today’s digital tech titans blur the lines between journalism, entertainment, and consumption (of goods and information). They increasingly partner with the military–industrial complex in service of “national security” and state surveillance. They also aim to collect and monetize any available information about the people who use their platforms. As critics including Shoshana Zuboff, Alan MacLeod, and Nolan Higdon have noted, Big Tech billionaires harvest and exploit our online data for profit, political influence, and social control, a power dynamic Zuboff calls “surveillance capitalism.”

      • Misinformation/Disinformation/Propaganda

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • VOA News67 Journalists, Media Workers Killed on the Job this Year

        The International Federation of Journalists says that 67 journalists and media staff have been killed around the world so far this year, up from 47 last year.

        The Brussels-based group also tallied 375 journalists currently imprisoned for their work, with the most in China, Myanmar and Turkey. Last year’s report listed 365 journalists behind bars.

      • Counter PunchWeakened International Pushback Enables Extradition of Assange

        The New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais and Der Spiegel on November 28 issued a joint letter stating that the U.S. indictment against Assange “sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press.” A recent statement from the International Federation of Journalists points out that, “None of WikiLeaks’ media partners have been charged … because of their collaboration with Assange.”

        High officials have weighed in. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on November 30 assured legislators he was “clear to the US administration—that it is time that this matter be brought to a close.” United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet indicated that Assange’s “potential extradition and prosecution of Assange raises concerns relating to media freedom.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • TechdirtLAPD Thinks Best Response To Leaked Recording Of Councilmembers’ Racist Remarks Is Going After Reddit Users

        The Los Angeles Police Department is here to serve and protect… the powerful. The rest of you are on your own.

      • TechdirtGuy Who Sued YouTube Because Someone Else Copied A Bit Of His YouTube Video Loses (Again)

        You may recall that, back in August, we wrote about the bizarre situation of a company called “Business Casual” and its CEO, Alex Edson. Business Casual makes highly produced videos. It made a few on historical topics, including taking some public domain images and modifying them significantly to make “paralax images” that added a sort of 3D feel. Edson/Business Casual claim (credibly!) that RT Arabic, the Arabic language wing of Russia Today, owned by TV-Novosti, copied parts of some of their videos. There were some DMCA claims he filed and then a lawsuit against TV-Novosti.

      • ScheerpostBernie Sanders Calls for Revolutionizing America’s Broken Media System

        Kenny Stancil reports on the Vermon senator’s statement issued on the heels of mass New York Times walkouts.

      • Scheerpost70+ Lawmakers Demand Biden Provide Rail Workers Paid Sick Leave

        Julia Conley reports that lawmakers, including progressive stalwarts, are calling on the president to provide sick days to rail workers.

      • Counter PunchThe Predictable Resurgence of Fascism and Nazism On Both Sides of the North Atlantic and Its Consequences

        Fascism and Nazism were the products of the Great Depression. The deteriorating economic situation had disastrous effects on the quality of life and well-being of the popular classes and undermined the credibility and legitimacy of democratic systems and governments in the United States and Europe. Fascism in southern Europe and the United States, and Nazism in central and northern Europe and also in the U.S., capitalized on the resulting discontent. These movements acquired significant influence on both sides of the North Atlantic, ultimately governing several countries of Western Europe.

        The message of each was authoritarian and antidemocratic. Fascism and Nazism regarded all other political options as illegitimate, the basis for justifying their elimination. Both advocated extreme nationalism based on classism, racism,and machismo, presenting themselves as defenders of the Christian civilization and promoting force and violence against the “other”, whom they defined as an enemy. The two movements were profoundly antiunion, anticommunist, and antisocialist. These views made them attractive to the economic and financial power establishments who felt their power threatened by protests fueled by the labor movements. Hence, influential sectors of these establishments financed Fascism and Nazism.

      • Counter PunchAn Epidemic of White Supremacy in the Queensland Police?

        Audio recordings, in which a number of Australian police officers in the city of Brisbane were revealed to have openly expressed racist views about black people, Indians, aboriginal Australians and discussed Islamaphobic theories about a Muslim takeover of white majority European nations. Heard in the conversations are comments that allude to fears of minority groups that are supposedly taking over Australia, in addition to remarks about “beating and burying” black people.

        The comments, made by members of the Queensland Police Service (QPS), have since been condemned as “sickening and disturbing” by QPS’s acting deputy commissioner Mark Wheeler and an apology has been issued. However, days later, the Guardian revealed that Kerry Johnson, the QLD’s police head for its First Nations Unit, that deals with Aboriginal Australians, is now under investigation for alleged racism. Out of over 300 commissioner officers in QPS, not a single one of them identifies as indigenous, clearly outlining a lack of Aboriginal representation in the police. In October, the second top officer in the QPS was also accused of using racialised language against elderly leaders of the State’s indigenous communities.

      • Counter PunchThe World Cup Runneth Over

        Can chronopolitics, a theory of the importance of the power of speed and time developed by the French cultural theorist Paul Virilio, offer an insight into how the current World Cup moved from FIFA’s (the Federation Internationale de Football Association) dubious selection of the host country to setting record breaking numbers of people watching in the stadiums and on television?

        Did time collapse between the initial selection of Qatar, criticisms of the selection, and record attendance and television viewers?

      • Counter PunchOn ‘Hate’ and Love at the World Cup: Palestine is More Than An Arab Cause

        The starting point to my argument is Rome, Italy, not Doha, Qatar. In August 2021, I attended a friendly football match between Morocco’s Raja Casablanca, and the Italian AS Roma. Thousands of Moroccan fans accompanied their team. Although fewer in numbers, their matching outfits, songs, chants and group dances in the stands made them more visible than the rest.

        Although the environment of the game had little or no political context, the Moroccans sang for Palestine and wore Palestinian kuffiyas draped with the colors of the Palestinian flag. It was a heartwarming gesture, typical of Arab fans at football matches. As the fans began leaving the stadium in larger numbers, I realized that the very fan culture of Raja Casablanca was modeled entirely around Palestine. Their main slogan is Rajawi Filistini – Palestinian Rajawis, the words embroidered on their sports jerseys.

      • Counter PunchSelling Blood, Skipping Meals, Sleeping in Cars: Why Academics Strike

        The striking researchers, postdocs, graders and teaching assistants want a minimum annual salary of $54,000 for graduate students and $70,000 for postdocs – something commensurate with the cost of living in California, where the average annual rent in Los Angeles surpasses $36,000 a year. For teaching assistants earning $24,000 that often means sleeping in their cars. Lots of these workers resort to selling blood to make ends meet. Welcome to the lousy underside of academic labor in America, famishing scholars so parasites in university administrations can bloat up on six-figure salaries.

        United Auto Workers bargains for these workers. Its president of “Local 5810, which represents more than 11,000 UC postdocs and academic workers,” according to the Washington Post November 14, accuses the university of acting unlawfully at the bargaining table. This is probably a gross understatement. Negotiations have already dragged out over a year, so you can imagine the sorts of brazen shenanigans pulled by university poohbahs protecting their pelf. For those besotted with a tinsel image of these hacks, who cry, No! However on earth could it be? University luminaries twisting the financial knife with bargaining mischief? Shocking! To such people I can only say, the blood of impoverished intellectuals waters the groves of American academe, literally, and has done so for decades. The fact that “the University of California strike is also the largest strike in higher education in U.S. history, according to the UAW,” per the Post has more than a little to do with the nonsense labor has had to tolerate at the bargaining table.

    • Monopolies

      • Vox MediaFTC sues Microsoft to block Activision Blizzard deal – Polygon

        The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is suing Microsoft over its planned $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, saying that the deal “would enable Microsoft to suppress competitors to its Xbox gaming consoles and its rapidly growing subscription content and cloud-gaming business.”

        In a news release, the FTC said that Microsoft has a record of “acquiring and using valuable gaming content to suppress competition from rival consoles,” pointing to the company’s $7.5 billion acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks. The FTC noted Microsoft’s plan to keep next year’s Starfield from Bethesda Game Studios and Redfall from Arkane as Microsoft exclusives. Those games will be available on Xbox platforms and Windows PC, and the company’s Game Pass subscription service.

      • John GruberFTC Sues Microsoft to Block $69B Activision Blizzard Acquisition

        We’ll see how it plays out, but my gut feeling is that this is a mistake on the FTC’s part. The video game industry is incredibly competitive today. Yes, Xbox and PlayStation are the only two high-end consoles, but the Switch is quite arguably Nintendo’s most successful platform ever. And it’s not like Sony is some shrinking violet and lacks for its own exclusive titles. Exclusive titles are a big part of competition. It’s also the case that the dominant players in console and PC gaming are not the dominant players in mobile gaming (Apple and Google). Let the market play this out, I say.

      • TechdirtThe EU-Canada Trade Agreement CETA Still Isn’t Done, And May Be Partially Undone Because Of Its Corporate Sovereignty Provisions

        The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is one of several long-running trade deal sagas covered by Techdirt. It seemed to be almost over in 2017. After a constant on-off excitement about whether CETA would survive, it was ratified by the European Union. But it still needed to be approved by all the EU Member States’ national parliaments before it came into force. The chief stumbling block to national ratification was the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions, which would allow investors to sue governments over laws or decisions which could potentially harm future profits. This imposition of corporate sovereignty through trade deals is an issue that Techdirt has been covering for many years. Despite widespread concerns about ISDS, in 2019 the Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s top court, ruled that corporate sovereignty was compatible with EU law, apparently removing the last obstacle to CETA’s ratification by Member States.

      • BBCActivision Blizzard: US seeks to block Microsoft’s $69bn acquisition – BBC News

        The US is entering a legal battle with Xbox-maker Microsoft to block its plan to purchase the gaming firm behind hit titles such as Call of Duty.
        Regulators cited competition concerns, saying they feared that if the deal went through, Activision Blizzard’s games would stop being offered on non-Microsoft gaming consoles.

        The Activision purchase was set to be the biggest in Microsoft history.

        The company said it would fight to complete the $69bn (£56bn) deal.

      • Patents

      • Software Patents

        • NikkeiNissan-Renault talks likely to drag into 2023 over patent impasse

          Negotiations to reshape the alliance between Nissan Motor and its French partner Renault are now likely to continue into next year after the two sides missed yet another target date over disagreements regarding intellectual [sic] property [sic].

        • Crypto News BTCGlobal Perspective on Patenting of Blockchain, [Cryptocurrency], and DeFi Technologies

          The proliferation of blockchain, cryptocurrency, and decentralized finance (DeFi) purposes lately has been accompanied by a surge in patent filings worldwide by blockchain tech builders. And, regardless of some early reluctance of nationwide patent workplaces to acknowledge the patentability of those rising applied sciences, many nationwide patent regulation and patent utility examination laws have been revised lately to acknowledge their patentability. This has resulted in hundreds of patents being granted worldwide for blockchain, [cryptocurrency], and DeFi innovations.

      • Copyrights

        • Torrent FreakAdvanced Pirate IPTV Blocks Proposed By Football Club-Owning Politician

          Italy’s campaign against pirate IPTV will receive a big boost if new amendments are signed into law. ISPs must aim to block unlicensed streams immediately but certainly within 30 minutes. The proposal was signed by Senator Claudio Lotito, who happens to own top-tier football club Lazio and is currently the vice-president of Italy’s Budget Commission.

        • Counter PunchTaylor Swift’s Anti-Heroics

          At least since homo sapiens first howled at the moon, music has been the best medium for baring the soul. The tight-trousered, atavistic power-chording of cock rock likely has more in common with the proto-musical impulses of our most distant forebears, but as civilization advanced (if that is the direction it goes) the modes of self-reflection become more subtle, involving instead the allusive melody echoing in the shadows, a guitar gently weeping. For many, lament is impossible without music.

          Whether soothing or aggravating melancholy, these plaints were generally private affairs, though such compositions could be aired before family, friends, patrons and sometimes, though print, a wider public.

        • Torrent FreakGoogle Reveals Surge in Questionable Removal Requests From Russian Government

          Russia has sent a record number of takedown requests to Google in the first half of this year. In the past, copyright infringement was the most cited reason for action but that has been replaced by ‘national security’, currently a top priority for Russia. Google, however, is wary of overbroad censorship and hasn’t complied with most requests.

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

    • Politics

      • Non-Player Characters

        The term ‘non-player character’, to my knowledge, originated in the MUDs of the 80s and 90s. Colloquially referred to as ‘NPC’, it referred to the automated / scripted characters that are found in these games. They are only capable of speaking and acting in the exact way that they were programmed or scripted by their designers, the game programmers and/or world builders. This is obviously in comparison to the player characters encountered in the world, controlled by humans on the other end of the keyboard.

        In the modern day, these NPCs have carried over into visual video games, and have, or will, presumably, carry over into the so-called ‘metaverse’. I won’t get into my thoughts on the metaverse in this post (that would be deserving of a dedicated post), but suffice it to say I hope that that technology is an utter failure.

* Gemini (Primer) links can be opened using Gemini software. It’s like the World Wide Web but a lot lighter.

[Meme] The EPO is Run by Corrupt Dictators; The Union (SUEPO) Suffers for Merely Talking About It

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

There are far more members of staff than managers at the EPO; it’ll be hard to gag all of them

SUEPO hulk

Summary: The Staff Union (SUEPO) and the Central Staff Committee of the EPO are besieged; now the self-proclaimed “f***ing president” does not even wish to speak with them, so in his first term he basically became Battistelli the Second, who also sponsors Lukashenko (maybe a secret idol of his)

EPO President António Campinos ‘Too Busy’ to Talk to Staff Representatives as Scandals Continue to Pile Up

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 089db5c140e3d954d3a5e82a038808ee
EPO GCC Meeting Report
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The Central Staff Committee of the EPO has issued a detailed “report on the GCC meeting,” adding “five documents on the official agenda. The President had scheduled one and a half hour for the meeting, which turned out to be insufficient, as usual, For the first time in his term, the President was absent and delegated chairmanship to Vice-President DG5.”

THE Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO has released a report or a set of position papers/documents. Here is the introductory text:

Zentraler Personalausschuss
Central Staff Committee
Le Comité Central du Personnel

Munich, 01/12/2022

Report on the GCC meeting of 5 October 2022

Dear Colleagues,

There were five documents on the official agenda. The President had scheduled one and a half hour for the meeting, which turned out to be insufficient, as usual, For the first time in his term, the President was absent and delegated chairmanship to Vice-President DG5.

We sent the President a written and reasoned opinion on all four documents submitted “for consultation” (see annexes). As already noted in previous reports, it seems that the categorisation is becoming more and more arbitrary.

The Central Staff Committee


- Opinion on GCC/DOC 14/2022: Living our values – A Handbook on Workplace Ethics…”
- Opinion on GCC/DOC 15/2022: Public Holidays 2023
- Opinion on GCC/DOC 16/2022: Transfer of funds from the Office’s Treasury to the RFPSS and to the Salary Savings Plan (CA/66/22)
- Opinion on GCC/DOC 17/2022: Periodical Review of Service Regulations

So António Campinos, who refer to himself as “the f***ing president” and boasts about being a master negotiator, did not even attend. Wonderful!

What a “f***ing president”; “f***ing president” indeed…

“We sent the President a written and reasoned opinion on all four documents submitted “for consultation”,” the CSC added. “As already noted in previous reports, it seems that the categorisation is becoming more and more arbitrary…”

Here are the 4 documents in full, as HTML (later plain text and GemText):

Opinion of the CSC members of the GCC on GCC/DOC 14/2022:

Living our values – A Handbook on Workplace Ethics

The CSC members of the GCC give the following opinion on GCC/DOC 14/2022.


The document is not a binding code of conduct, and it has no legal value1: it is not intended to replace the legal provisions in the Service Regulations and it does not touch upon the conditions of employment of staff, strictly speaking. It is about “going beyond compliance”2. Staff representatives support and try to live up to true values, such as trust, fairness, mutual respect and collaboration. Accordingly, there can be no objection against consulting in the GCC on a document aimed to raise awareness.

The preface is about “Building our workplace together”. Nevertheless, the contrast is striking against the stance of the President in various other occasions, in which he refuses to table documents for consultation in the GCC. One obvious recent example is “Bringing Teams Together”, which introduces many concrete changes in the way teams work and cooperate day in day out but which the President refused to submit “for consultation” and which he merely presented “for information” in the GCC meeting of 5 July 20223. Is the President more interested in the opinion of staff representatives on non-binding and general matters than on changes affecting real working conditions?

We are the Office: theory and practice.

The document is mainly written in the “we” form. It is sometimes unclear whether the word “we” means the staff, managers or both. In a well-functioning organisation, it should be possible to use “we” regardless of the hierarchical position. In the Office, the recent Staff Engagement Survey 2022 has shown that it is not the case: there is a clear divide and staff do not trust management.

The document appeals for individual responsibility and accountability. The CSC members of the GCC support this. However, the daily practice must show that this is meant to include all levels of the hierarchy and managers cannot sift their own responsibility onto staff.

The CSC members of the GCC cannot help but notice the discrepancy between the declarations in the document and practice. For instance, ethics includes the respect of the rule of law. The Tribunal has recently ruled in several casesi that the Office violated

1 During the GCC meeting, it was said that this document would replace the existing code of conduct – but neither the document nor the speaker clarified how this would happen or how this document would be made to fit into our legal/employment framework. It seemed more like a statement of intent.
2 See page 4 of the document.
3 As document GCC/DOC 13/2022

fundamental rights. The CSC members of the GCC cannot see that the present management is trying to mitigate such obvious violations, unless forced to do so by external instances but they hope that managers will (also) feel addressed by this handbook.

On the content

The document contains a mix of considerations that relate to true values and ethics, but also many tips about behaviours that management expect from staff to “improve our products and services”, sometimes down to a very mundane level4. In that it is genuinely a “handbook”. The CSC members of the GCC leave it to interested staff to try and sort it out in this 29-page long handbook.

Still, a few remarks:

• On social dialogue: The Office seems to misunderstand social dialogue. According to the International Labour Organization, it should take place between (higher) management and staff representatives5. Expressing individual views to managers and participating in staff consultations organised exclusively by management is no social dialogue, at least not in the eyes of ILO and its Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT). In addition, the CSC members of the GCC would have welcomed a mention of the role of trade unions in social dialogue.

• On justice: disputes are unavoidable in an organisation. The CSC members of the GCC regret that the Office does not mention that access to justice is a fundamental right, and that “justice” is mentioned only once in the document and is associated with “litigation” and “costs”6.

• On health and safety, and well-being: recent developments, such as the extension of home working, indeed “blur the lines between our professional and private lives and lead to increased risks of stress”7. The recent Staff Engagement Survey and the Technologia Survey organised by SUEPO show this. However, this section does not have the importance it deserves, especially when compared with large sections dedicated to e.g., IT matters8.

4 E.g. “show consideration for colleagues’ schedules when organising virtual meetings”.
5 What is Social Dialogue: “Social dialogue is defined by the ILO to include all types of negotiation, consultation or simply exchange of information between, or among, representatives of governments, employers and workers, on issues of common interest relating to economic and social policy. It can exist as a tripartite process, with the government as an official party to the dialogue or it may consist of bipartite relations only between labour and management (or trade unions and employers’ organizations), with or without indirect government involvement.”
6 “litigation comes at a cost” on page 9 of the document.
7 See page 15 in the document.
8 See e.g. the whole section “Working Digitally”.

• On diversity and inclusion: D&I is not just about giving our colleagues the benefit of the doubt and opting for open dialogue, or about cosmetics or PR purposes: looking at just the pictures used in the document it is striking that most of the pictures (9 out of 14) show women, discussing and mostly smiling. While the EPO population comprises 34% of women, this choice seems to serve a stereotype rather than be a testimony to D&I. Above all, D&I is about concrete measures and actions, e.g., a fair rewards system.

• On speaking up: the CSC members of the GCC also emphasise the necessity to address issues. The document mentions contacting the Ethics and Compliance team if a red line is crossed. The work of the Confidential Counsellors must be supported but the CSC members of the GCC are worried about the current functioning of the Ombuds Office. Staff representatives and trade union representatives also comprise men and women who can be contacted in case of interpersonal conflicts or administrative disputes and who are also bound to confidentiality. Mentioning them in the document would not have been out of place. Finally, the document, and the Codex, are also silent on the protection of whistle-blowers. A framework must be set up if the “speaking up” is to be taken seriously.

The CSC members of the GCC

i In cases relating to mass emails, composition of the Appeals Committee…

Opinion of the CSC members of the GCC on GCC/DOC 15/2022:

Public Holidays 2023

The CSC members of the GCC are pleased to note that the official regional or national holidays at the places of employment are included in the proposed lists. It is welcomed that since 2020 the good habit of adopting local holiday regulations has been reinstated. Also, the special regulations for Brussels according to local circumstances and business needs appear adequate. The pragmatic approach is positively acknowledged.

The CSC members of the GCC positively recognise the longstanding practice featuring compensation in form of additional annual leave to staff at the places of employment with fewer public holidays, aligned to the location with the most public holidays.

However, the CSC members of the GCC have a negative view on the proposed closure days on 27, 28 and 29 December 2023. The document is silent on the reasons for said closure days. A reference to an “Office’s closure policy” can hardly be considered as a reference to Circular No. 22. And even if so, Circular No. 22, Rule 4 provides only for a discretionary decision by the President (“may decide, in the interest of the Office, to close the Office between Christmas and New Year”). The exercise of discretion has not been demonstrated. It is not apparent from the document that the administration has made any efforts to weigh the advantages of the proposed closure days to the Office against the disadvantages to staff.

In particular, the CSC members of the GCC have a negative regard for the order that staff shall decide at their discretion which type of authorised leave to take on the above three compulsory closure days. Said order amounts to a deduction of authorised leave days, which are thus no longer at the disposal of staff. While Article 59(2)(b) ServRegs authorises the President in combination with Article 10(2)(a) EPC to lay down the list of public holidays applicable to each place of employment, no authorisation is given for the deduction of leave days. The practice of deducting compensation hours in case the staff member does not follow the above order is also not authorised. It appears that the regulations in the document (and the according regulations of Circular No. 22) in this regard travel beyond the ServRegs and the EPC.

The reference to ILO-AT Judgment No. 4316 provided in the GCC meeting does not weaken the above findings. The judgment is about the question as to whether the President has the power to grant bridging days as paid time off, not to deduct authorised leave for bridging days. To the contrary, a clear distinction is made to annual leave not addressed by the Tribunal (see consideration 12). It rather follows from the judgment that the President is authorised to declare the days between Christmas 2023 and New Year 2024 as public holidays in the Office – which would of course be appreciated by the CSC members of the GCC.

The CSC members of the GCC

Opinion of the CSC members of the GCC on GCC/DOC 16/2022:

Transfer of funds from the Office’s Treasury to

the RFPSS and to the Salary Savings Plan

On the transfer of funds to the RFPSS and to the SSP
As in the previous years the CSC appreciates the transfer of surpluses into both the RFPSS and the SSP, especially because a) these surpluses are the result of staff’s hard work and b) pension and salaries are by far the main expenses and liabilities the Office has.

Furthermore, the CSC supports the transfer of funds since it ensures the long-term stability of the pension schemes for the benefit of the staff and the pensioners as well as the long-term financial sustainability of the Organisation.

On the transferred amounts according to document CA/66/22

The Office forecasts an annual cash surplus amounting to EUR 360m.
According to the Administrative Council’s approval of the long-term sustainability bundle of measures (CA/18/20) it is proposed to invest cash surpluses into the RFPSS (40%) and into EPOTIF (60%). The Office proposes this year to deviate from the decision of the Administrative Council of June 2020 by increasing the injection into the RFPSS from 40% to 60%, resulting in EUR 216m being earmarked for pensions. EUR 196m shall be injected in the Pension Reserve Fund (PRF) thereby contributing to improving the coverage of the pension liabilities and EUR 20m shall be used for expected pension payment deficits.

The CSC appreciates the transfer in the RFPSS as well as the increase of the injections to 60% (last year 50% have been transferred into the RFPSS).
Cash injections into the RFPSS can compensate possible expected decreases of the investment return in the coming years as calculated by PPCmetrics (Review of the SAA Phase I) and thus help to reduce liabilities.

The Office also proposes a cash transfer into the SSP on the basis that the SSP assets (EUR 192m) represent 2.043% of the PRF assets (EUR 9 400m) on 31 August 2021. The proposed cash transfer to the SSP would be equal to EUR 4m, i.e. an amount proportional to the suggested PRF cash transfer (2.043% x EUR 196m).

The CSC also appreciates the transfer into the SSP. However, it cannot support the administration’s proposal on the distribution key. As in the previous years, the administration proposes an amount paid into each individual salary savings account proportional to the amount of contributions paid into that account in 2022 (see CA/66/22, paragraph 17).

This method creates significant distribution spreads amongst employees in the lower and higher grades of the salary scale, leading to a distribution ratio of 16:1 between a colleague in G17.1 and one in G7.1. This means that if a G7.1 colleague gets 600 Euros, a G17.1 colleague will get 9.600 Euros. This distribution ratio is perceived as being completely unfair by staff.

Our management justifies this distribution ratio with the higher risk that higher grades carry. We can hardly understand this argument. The investment opportunities are the same for all salary levels. Thus, the relative risk (in percentage) is the same for all members of SSP. The absolute risk (in Euro) is of course higher. However, this absolute risk is increasing if even more money is injected into their SSP.
As in previous years, the CSC proposes that the distribution should reflect the benefits provided by the injection into the RFPSS. Cash injections into the RFPSS protect members of staff against potential future rises in global contribution rates. Those global contribution rates are proportional to salary. This calculation method results in a distribution ratio of 3:1, which maintains a difference between the lower and higher grades. This proposal would provide a fair distribution, such that the growing unfairness could be overcome.

Broken promises on the cash injections into the SSP
The CSC has made similar proposals to the administration in previous years. The President announced in the AC/158 meeting (see CA/PV 158, paragraph 112) that he would have a discussion on the topic so that there would be a positive outlook. He mentioned in the GCC on 22 November 2018 that it was important to start the discussion as soon as possible (see minutes GCC 4/2018, paragraph 48). A further year passed and this promise has not materialised.

The CSC requests as in previous years the administration to include the CSC’s proposal for the distribution key in section VI. ALTERNATIVES of a revised version of CA/66/22.

Transfer ratio into RFPSS and EPOTIF
Following the orientation provided in CA/18/20 (“Long-term Sustainability – Bundle of measures for the period 2020 – 2038”), it is proposed to inject 40% of the annual surpluses in the RFPSS and 60% in the EPOTIF. The reasons being “that the EPOTIF is less exposed to market fluctuations than the RFPSS, due to the asset allocation. Moreover, the cash injected in the EPOTIF has no specific attribution and can always be redirected to cover other needs while the transfers to the RFPSS are definitive.”
The CSC doubts that the transfer into the EPOTIF is a safer option than the transfer into the RFPSS, since the EPOTIF has no supervisory body comprising all stakeholders, namely the AC, the staff representatives and the pensioners’ representatives. Moreover, the RFPSS is geared towards long-term sustainability, which the EPOTIF is not.
The CSC notes that the ratio of the cash injections from 40:60 to 60:40 (RFPSS:EPOTIF) is appreciated and is seen as a move into the right direction. The CSC further maintains the request that in future the transfer of funds shall be weighted such to be transferred mainly into the RFPSS and SSP.

The CSC members of the GCC

Opinion of the CSC members of the GCC on GCC/DOC 17/2022:

Periodical Review of Service Regulations

The CSC members of the GCC appreciate that an advanced copy of the document could be discussed in a GCC-SSPR meeting on 23 September 2022 and in a meeting of the working group on Appeals Committee reform on 26 September 2022. The discussion resulted in several changes visible in the document CA/44/22 uploaded on 26 September 2022 to MICADO so as to keep the time limit given in Article 9(2.1) of the Council’s rules of procedure. While the CSC members of the GCC note the changes positively, it is regrettable that the President had already sent the document CA/44/22 to the Council before the official consultation of the GCC took place on 5 October 2022. In particular with regard to a “periodic review”, no urgency is apparent and an earlier consultation would have been appropriate.

Document GCC/DOC 17/2022 contains a number of shortcomings, of which the CSC
members of the GCC comment on the following five in particular.

Healthcare insurance

The proposed change in the wording of Article 83a ServRegs to replace “years actually served at the Office” for “years of reckonable service” will affect colleagues who transferred pensions rights accrued under their previous pension schemes to the Office according to Article 12 of the Pension Scheme Regulations. Such an inward transfer resulted in a number of years of reckonable service calculated according to the rules foreseen in the Implementing Rules to the Pension Scheme Regulations. The affected colleagues could legitimately expect that the regulations based on said years of reckonable service would not be changed, at least not be changed fundamentally. The proposed change, however, means that in case of a deferred retirement pension the years of reckonable service resulting from the transfer of pension rights will no longer be taken into account in the following sense: The period of time an employee continues to be insured as provided for in Article 83a(1) ServRegs because of said transfer is reduced to zero days. This amounts to a fundamental change. Therefore, the CSC members of the GCC consider that proposed amendment to be negative and to the detriment of the colleagues. Legal disputes can be reasonably expected because of the lost rights.

Update to the personal file in light of digitisation

The proposed change to Article 32 ServRegs on the procedure of communication of documents to be included in the staff’s personal file will result in legal uncertainty. If an employee no longer has to sign a received document or if the communication is not effected by registered letter, the evidence of receipt is doubtful. It is necessary that an employee is able to take note of the content of a document to be included in their personal file. This is no longer guaranteed by the proposed wording “[a]n employee shall be notified of the documents or reports … that are to form part of their personnel file”. Therefore, the CSC members of the GCC consider that proposed amendment to be negative.

Update required to implement Judgment No. 4550 (Appeals Committee)

The proposed wording of Articles 36(2) and 111 ServRegs resulting in no limitation of the CSC appointees in the Appeals Committee to elected staff representatives only is a result of Judgment No. 4550 of the ILO-AT. It had been a longstanding request by the Staff Committee to be able to nominate to the Appeals Committee from all staff without limitations. It had also been the old practice before “Social democracy” was introduced by CA/D 2/14. The CSC members of the GCC note with regret that it was necessary that the Tribunal had to set aside parts of the Administrative Council’s decision CA/D 2/14 and that the issue could not be solved internally and earlier. The CSC members of the GCC emphasise that further amendments are needed so as to enable the Appeals Committee to function. Nominees to the Appeals Committee need an appropriate time budget for their work. They need a guaranteed protection from sanctions under the incompetence procedure. They need an adequate guarantee for their professional career.

Gainful employment

The CSC members of the GCC regard the proposed changes to the wording of Articles 16, 44a, 56, 61a, 68, 83a and 114 ServRegs and Implementing Rules for Articles 83a, 84 and 84a ServRegs (“gainful activities and employment” instead of “gainful employment” or “gainfully employed”) with a negative view. Such changes amount to a severe restriction for the affected colleagues. The CSC members of the GCC appreciate that document CA/44/22 does not contain said proposal.

Death insurance for permanent and fixed-term employees (Articles 84 and 84a ServRegs)

The proposed wording that a “permanent/fixed-term employee is ensured as long as they are in active service” means that employees in non-active status (see Article 42) could be excluded. The CSC members of the GCC are against such a modification of the Service Regulations because colleagues in parental leave, family leave etc. should not be affected. The CSC members of the GCC recognise that the above wording is no longer envisaged in CA/44/22.

The CSC members of the GCC

The general public deserves to have access to this material. The EPO’s staff and their famililies (direct family members) are about 20,000-30,000 in number, not even counting pensioners. Their actions affect billions of people all around the world, not just citizens of Europe. The integrity of their job — and the ability to perform their role as laid out in the EPC — has a profound effect on everyone; ethical concerns expressed by staff must be heard.

Security First? Not a Chance!

Posted in Deception, Security at 10:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum ac3236ee212e511a0874c1eecac90893
Insecure About Security Status
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: At Sirius ‘Open Source’, which we left 8 days ago, security had been neglected for years; at the moment the company brags about “ISO” and other three- (or four-) letter acronyms, but many of the basic practices are conveniently ignored

THE sad reality is that when it comes to security many people and corporations prey on perception rather than reality. They indulge in what they can tell the public (or clients). For instance, Microsoft uses media “plugs” to pretend Microsoft is some sort of security expert with many security gurus whilst actively pursuing back doors for the NSA and others. In my latest job (almost 12 years) I witnesses customers suffering security breaches; we’re not meant to tell people about clientele covering up such incidents because it might result in fines or erosion of confidence.

“…in healthy workplaces the problem would be security lapses, not the people who talk about them.”Worse yet, highlighting that some company is failing when it comes to security (as happened at Twitter earlier this year; their security chief had become a whistleblower) is seen as the real problem; in healthy workplaces the problem would be security lapses, not the people who talk about them.

Aside from the above video I still have plenty to say and to show (without infringing the privacy or people or naming any companies).

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