Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 6/4/2016: KDE Vision for the Future, Vivaldi 1.0

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Replacements for Expensive Applications
    In recent years, cloud computing has transformed the ways that people purchase software, but it hasn't necessarily made it more affordable.

    Today, many applications are available on a software as a service (SaaS) basis and require a monthly fee. Over time, these fees add up, and in many cases, software companies earn more from these subscriptions than they did from boxed or downloadable software. In fact, IDC estimates that by 2018, just the enterprise portion of the SaaS market will generate $22.6 billion in annual revenue.

  • 12 memes of open source software
    What does open source software mean? When you are explaining it to someone else, how do you convey the value and essense of open source without reinventing it? There have been many hard won lessons in open source since the phrase was first coined in 1997, and we should not forget those lessons.

    To help with that, I've collected 12 memes that are meaningful to me to help share the history, set the stage, and provide context for what open source software is and what it means to the software industry at large.

  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): Open or closed?
    Unlike other solutions to the problem of a slow mobile web, AMP is an open source project. The code for the project resides on GitHub. It's an active community with lots of open issues and thus far includes contributions from well over 100 people. The project provides clear information about governance, as well as a code of conduct (based on the Hoodie Community Code) that describes the project as a "positive, growing project and community" that aims to provide a "safe environment for everyone."

  • Google Open Sources Tool for Gauging Touch and Voice Latency

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Ouch, Red Hat gets a slapping. Volkswagen chooses Mirantis for its OpenStack needs
      Big news for a number of reasons. VW is, after all, a Red Hat shop (or historically has been, anyway). Big news because this is a fantastic proof point for OpenStack, in particular, heading into the OpenStack summit next month in Austin. And big news because, according to sources, Red Hat once again used the "we don't support RHEL on Mirantis" line with VW who reportedly ignored that thinly-veiled threat and went for Mirantis anyway. And finally, big news because VW's intention is to connect all of its cars to the internet within a couple of years. What that means is that the cloud, OpenStack and, ultimately, Mirantis, will power VW's connected and self-driving cars.

    • Open Network Insight Project Builds on Big Data to Improve Security
      The open-source effort, which is backed by Cloudera, Intel, eBay and others, is seeing early adoption, as organizations aim to gain the upper hand on attackers.

  • Databases

    • Open source database targets the big data analytics market
      Leader in open source databases MariaDB is announcing the release of its new big data analytics engine, MariaDB ColumnStore.

      It unifies transactional and massively parallelized analytic workloads on the same platform. This is made possible because of MariaDB's extensible architecture that allows the simultaneous use of purpose built storage engines for maximum performance, simplification, and cost savings. This approach sets it apart from competitors like Oracle, and removes the need to buy and deploy traditional columnar database appliances.

    • How MongoDB motivates and inspires its developer community
      It's a team effort, with contribution across many internal departments as well as our ecosystem of 1,000+ partners. The community has grown over the years. The software has been downloaded over 10 million times, and we have more than 40,000 MongoDB User Group members and more than 600 advocates on our Advocacy Hub. These users demand nurturing—whether through educational content or networking opportunities—and we are proud that our integrated team across engineering, support, and marketing can help scale to meet the community needs.

    • Is NoSQL Database Storage Ready for the Enterprise? Survey Says Yes
      The report, which was released Tuesday, compares how companies of different sizes are using traditional databases -- think Oracle MySQL -- and "next-generation" alternatives. The latter category consists of databases that discard the rigid SQL-style storage and retriveal process in favor of more flexible ways to store data. Next-generation databases, notably ones called NoSQL because they are the opposite of SQL-based platforms, are designed to perform well in an age when data tends to be stored on massive scales in the cloud.

  • Education

    • There's a new standard in higher ed: Open Summit launches
      With all these conversations happening amongst many disparate groups of stakeholders, the Open Source Initiative and the Apereo Foundation both saw an opportunity to break down silos and bring everyone together to collaborate, share lessons learned, and form stronger bonds to advance open in education. The first step is the upcoming Open Summit in New York City, a one-day event taking place May 23 at New York University.

  • BSD


  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open source initiative taps analytics to solve Asia's traffic jams
      Joint agreement between Grab, The World Bank, and Philippines Department of Transportation and Communications aims to analyse real-time traffic data including speeds and intersection delays.

    • Open Data

      • German City of Potsdam to present its open data concept
        This month the German City of Potsdam will present its open data concept to the City Council for approval. The strategy serves two main goals: to provide information to citizens, and to allow third parties to reuse and link administrative data in their applications. The city will start implementing an open data portal on its municipal website, which will then be gradually developed into a fully-fledged repository.

  • Programming/Development

    • Most Loved Programming Languages Of 2016 — Rust, Swift, F#, Scala, Go

    • PHP's Composer 1.0 Released
      For anyone developing with PHP for any length of time you've likely encountered Composer as a dependency management solution for PHP.

    • Meet the PHP developer behind monitoring tool JaM
      Jess Portnoy is a prolific PHP developer and open source geek with lots of helpful data and web data utilities on SourceForge and GitHub.

      I was vaguely familiar with Jess's work from various tech talks that she's given, which usually attracted my attention because of her affiliation with the web multimedia platform Kaltura.

      Her upcoming talk at LinuxFest Northwest is all about PHP monitoring, and given the kind of traffic Kaltura deals with, there are likely few people as familiar with the subject as Jess.


  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • UK Health Service May Harvest Organs from Infants with Lethal Birth Defects
      At an annual conference for the British Transplantation Society, the National Health Service (NHS) announced that it wants to encourage women who have babies that would be born with life threatening birth defects, to carry them to term so that their organs can be used to help another infant who needs a transplant. Transplant surgeon Niaz Ahmad from St James’s University Hospital said, “we are looking at rolling it out as a viable source of organ transplantation nationally. A number of staff in the NHS are not aware that these organs can be used. They need to be aware. These can be transplanted, they work, and they work long term.” The ideal candidates are anencephalic babies who are born without a brain or little brain tissue and will not survive. Currently, this is legal in the United States, but in the UK, it is not legal to pronounce an infant as brain dead and harvest their organs. If babies in the UK need a transplant, they would have to get donor organs from Europe.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday

    • Wordpress, Joomla domains under attack through jQuery JavaScript library
      Abuse of the JavaScript library has led to over 4.5 million recent exposures to infection.

    • Developer Warns Of "Uncorrectable Freedom & Security Issues" For x86
      A developer long involved in Coreboot/Libreboot development is trying to call attention to "uncorrectable freedom and security issues" on x86 platforms with nearly all post-2009 Intel systems and post-2013 AMD systems.

    • Google Patches 39 Android Vulnerabilities in April Update

    • FBI Says a Mysterious Hacking Group Has Had Access to US Govt Files for Years
      The feds warned that “a group of malicious cyber actors,” whom security experts believe to be the government-sponsored hacking group known as APT6, “have compromised and stolen sensitive information from various government and commercial networks” since at least 2011, according to an FBI alert obtained by Motherboard.

      The alert, which is also available online, shows that foreign government hackers are still successfully hacking and stealing data from US government’s servers, their activities going unnoticed for years. This comes months after the US government revealed that a group of hackers, widely believed to be working for the Chinese government, had for more than a year infiltrated the computer systems of the Office of Personnel Management, or OPM. In the process, they stole highly sensitive data about several millions of government workers and even spies.

    • Sources: Trump Hotels Breached Again
      Banking industry sources tell KrebsOnSecurity that the Trump Hotel Collection — a string of luxury properties tied to business magnate and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump — appears to be dealing with another breach of its credit card systems. If confirmed, this would be the second such breach at the Trump properties in less than a year.

    • Shodan2Sheets
      After spending last night working on a Reverse DNS Function for Google Sheets I couldnt leave well enough alone and wrote Shodan2Sheets tonight using the api.

    • Security is a process, not a reaction

      If this sounds familiar, you are probably running a web application of some kind. Maybe your whole business depends on it. Maybe you didn't hear about the latest world-on-fire vulnerability. Panic.

      How do you keep up with security issues when everything is happening so fast? Which parts of your technical stack are the most at risk? Is the customer data safe? Do you really need to care?

    • Three-year-old IBM patch for critical Java flaw is broken
      Attackers can easily bypass the patch to exploit a vulnerability that allows them to escape from the Java security sandbox

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The President’s Blank Check for War
      Let’s face it: in times of war, the Constitution tends to take a beating. With the safety or survival of the nation said to be at risk, the basic law of the land — otherwise considered sacrosanct — becomes nonbinding, subject to being waived at the whim of government authorities who are impatient, scared, panicky, or just plain pissed off.

      The examples are legion. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln arbitrarily suspended the writ of habeas corpus and ignored court orders that took issue with his authority to do so. After U.S. entry into World War I, the administration of Woodrow Wilson mounted a comprehensive effort to crush dissent, shutting down anti-war publications in complete disregard of the First Amendment. Amid the hysteria triggered by Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order consigning to concentration camps more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans, many of them native-born citizens. Asked in 1944 to review this gross violation of due process, the Supreme Court endorsed the government’s action by a 6-3 vote.

    • Killing the US Republic — and Empire
      Through its dysfunctional politics and over-reliance on military force, the United States is destroying both its Republic and its imperial reach, a problem made in the USA, said former Ambassador Chas W. Freeman Jr. in a recent speech.

    • Vietnam War at 50: Have We Learned Nothing?
      Last week Defense Secretary Ashton Carter laid a wreath at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington in commemoration of the "50th anniversary" of that war. The date is confusing, as the war started earlier and ended far later than 1966.

    • Imperial Human Sacrifice in Yemen
      The bit is really funny and perceptive. But in actuality, the average American would respond with, “We’re bombing Yemen? What’s Yemen?” While the average American foreign policy official wouldn’t cite 9/11, but would feign innocence. “We’re not! That war belongs to Saudi Arabia. Whaaatt? I didn’t do anything!”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Defend Trade Secret Act Moving Forward
      I am always amazed how gridlock is pushed aside to implement intellectual property laws. In a unanimous vote yesterday, the Senate passed the Defend Trade Secret Act (DTSA, S. 1890) that would create a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation and provides for damages and injunctive relief (including a seizure order to prevent dissemination). Neither Senators Ted Cruz nor Bernie Sanders voted. The identical bill H.R. 3326 is pending in the House of Representatives and includes 127 co-sponsors (mostly Republican). President Obama has announced his support as well.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Food Production and Distribution Will Decline Due To Climate Change
      “Global food system faces threats from climate change,” is a report from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and was issued at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP21). The report warns that exceedingly warmer temperatures and altered patterns of precipitation can threaten food production, distribution efforts, degrade food safety, as well as have other impacts. As a result, international progress in the past few decades toward improving food security will be difficult to maintain. The report was led by the US Department of Agriculture. It included contributors from nineteen federal, academic, nongovernmental, intergovernmental, and private organizations in the United States, Argentina, Britain, and Thailand. This is a critically important news story of 2015 that will impact all populations around the world. However, some will be affected in worse ways than others, particularly tropical and subtropical regions.

    • As the climate changes, risks to human health will accelerate, White House warns
      More deaths from extreme heat. Longer allergy seasons. Increasingly polluted air and water. Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks spreading farther and faster. Those are among the health risks that could be exacerbated by global warming coming decades, the Obama administration warned in a new report Monday.

  • Finance

    • Why Do They Call It Panama Papers, Anyway?
      Over the weekend, a bunch of media outlets let loose shock and awe in bulk leak documents, PanamaPapers, with project leaders ICIJ and Sueddeutsche Zeitung — as well as enthusiastic partner, Guardian — rolling out bring spreads on a massive trove of data from the shell company law firm Mossack Fonseca.

      If all goes well, the leak showing what MF has been doing for the last four decades will lead us to have a better understanding of how money gets stripped from average people and then hidden in places where it will be safe from prying eyes.

    • Skeptics Said $15 Minimum Wage Movement Was Unrealistic — 60 Million People Are Now Slated to Get It
      THE PUNDITS said it would never happen. But both California and New York on Monday implemented legislation that moves them toward a tiered minimum wage of $15 an hour, covering 60 million Americans.

      The hikes come as a direct result of organizing by thousands of people in the union-backed “Fight for 15” movement that kicked off in 2012 — organizing that was quickly decried by pundits and opponents as unrealistic and unlikely to ever succeed.

    • China limits coverage and denounces Panama Papers' tax haven revelations
      China on Tuesday denounced accusations arising from a massive leak from a Panamanian law firm as "groundless" and moved to limit coverage of documents that may have exposed financial wrongdoing by some of the world's rich and powerful.

      The "Panama Papers" revealed financial arrangements of politicians and public figures including friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of the prime ministers of Britain, Iceland and Pakistan, and the president of Ukraine.

      The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which has published some of the information from the documents, said the files also revealed offshore companies linked to the families of Chinese President Xi Jinping and other powerful current and former Chinese leaders.

    • China’s Censors Scramble to Curb ‘Panama Papers’ News
    • Panama papers: China censors online discussion
    • Beijing is censoring searches about the Panama Papers
    • Censorship, CIA and no US citizens: Panama Papers conspiracy theories

    • Iceland’s Prime Minister Resigns, First Casualty of #PanamaPapers
      The prime minister, who was elected to parliament as a reformer in 2009, promising transparency following the ruinous collapse of three Icelandic banks the year before, failed to disclose that his family secretly held bonds worth millions of dollars in the same banks, through a shell company in the British Virgin Islands.

    • Five donors who have handed €£16million to the Tories named in tax haven leak including billionaire former party treasurer, JCB heir and 'shady financier' property developer

    • Panama Papers: how do you feel about the hidden fortunes of the global elite?

    • Panama Papers: Jeremy Corbyn Calls For Investigation Into David Cameron’s Family
      Jeremy Corbyn is calling for an independent investigation into the tax controversies revealed in the Panama Papers leak — that includes David Cameron’s family, of which his late father Ian was implicated.

    • Monday Morning: Welcome to BVI – Have a Tax-Free Day
      The UK’s PM David Cameron was pressed in 2013 to do something about BVI’s tax laws. He said he would work with the G8 to tackle tax evasion. Of course, we now know why he sat on his hands; he had highly-rewarding and substantial familial interest in doing nothing but continue his family’s tax avoidance scheme. And yet he still managed to get reelected last year, the corrupt pig fucker.

    • Panama Papers: Pirates Prepare to Takeover Iceland (Update)

      Prime Minister of Iceland Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson is facing calls for early general elections after it was revealed he is among many politicians linked to companies named in the Panama Papers. Dramatically the Pirate Party is leading in the latest Gallup poll, raising the astonishing prospect that a Pirate-led coalition government could rule Iceland.
    • Panama Papers: mass protests in Iceland call for PM to quit – as it happened
      The biggest-ever leak of secret information involves 11m documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Here’s how the story is being covered around the world.

    • Panama Papers whips up Iceland politics into a frenzy
      Head of Iceland’s Pirate Party Birgitta Jónsdóttir has publicly advised the country’s Prime Minister to resign today, in the wake of last night’s ‘Panama Papers’ revelations.

      Opposition MPs met this morning and unanimously agreed upon a motion of no confidence against the government. The text, which will be distributed today, demands the dissolution of the current parliament and early general elections.

    • Iceland’s Prime Minister Steps Down Amid Panama Papers Scandal
      The revelation of vast wealth hidden by politicians and powerful figures across the globe set off criminal investigations on at least two continents on Tuesday, forced leaders from Europe to Asia to beat back calls for their removal and claimed its first political casualty — pressuring the prime minister of Iceland to step down.

      Public outrage over millions of documents leaked from a boutique Panamanian law firm — now known as the Panama Papers — wrenched attention away from wars and humanitarian crises, as harsh new light was shed on the elaborate ways wealthy people hide money in secretive shell companies and offshore tax shelters.


      In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron faced calls for a government inquiry and accusations of bald hypocrisy by championing financial transparency — when the leaks showed that his family held undisclosed wealth in tax havens offshore.

    • Panama papers: David Cameron had little interest in privacy before tax leaks, Edward Snowden points out
      Edward Snowden has drawn attention to David Cameron’s apparently new interest in privacy, in the wake of questions about his family’s tax affairs.

      The Prime Minister has looked to avoid questions about his tax situation, following mentions of his father Ian Cameron in the “Panama papers”. Mr Cameron has looked to argue that his tax affairs are not public and so shouldn’t be discussed.

    • David Cameron left dangerously exposed by Panama Papers fallout
      David Cameron was left dangerously exposed on Tuesday after repeatedly failing to provide a clear and full account about links to an offshore fund set up by his late father, as the storm over the Panama Papers gathered strength in both the UK and elsewhere around the world.

      The prime minister and his office have now offered three partial answers about the fund set up by his father Ian, which avoided ever paying tax in Britain. The key unanswered question is whether the prime minister’s family stands to gain in the future from his father’s company, Blairmore, an investment fund run from the Bahamas.

    • David Cameron LIED in his post-Panama Papers speech. And here’s the proof.
      The Daily Mail report that since moving into 10 Downing Street in May 2010, Cameron has been letting out his home in the luxury London district of Notting Hill, and in doing so has made in excess of €£500,000 from rental payments.

      So what is the truth? Are we supposed to believe the claims of a man who today argued that he ‘does not gain from offshore funds’ – despite having received a public school education and a €£300,000 bequest from his father who used Mossack Fonseca’s services to run an offshore fund which paid not a penny in UK tax? Is his education, and subsequent status not a ‘benefit’ of this money?

      Today’s claims from Cameron are at least disingenuous. His failure to be open and honest just adds to the secrecy surrounding the Panama Papers scandal.

    • Bernie Sanders Sort of Saw This Whole Panama Papers Thing Coming

      While I haven't seen any proof that the free trade deal exacerbated the problems with Panama—the recent leaks cover 40 years of history, after all—Sanders was broadly on point. The U.S. could have forced Panama to significantly reform its secretive banking sector before rewarding it with a trade deal that was probably a tad more important to them than to us. Instead, it inked a relatively weak side deal on tax transparency, making it somewhat easier, theoretically, to uncover instances of evasion. But years later, Panama is still marketing its services as a well-hidden safety deposit box for the world's rich. You don't have to think the whole effort was a conspiracy on behalf of American billionaires—which Sanders sort of lightly implies here—to agree that, at the very least, this was a botched opportunity that demonstrated the U.S.'s lack of commitment to dealing with these issues. If you’re going to sign a trade pact with a tiny, economically marginal tax haven and don’t use it as an opportunity to clamp down on hard on its worst behavior, what, exactly, is the point?

    • Did Bernie Sanders Predict the Panama Papers When He Opposed Clinton-Backed U.S.-Panama Trade Deal?
      The Panama Papers leak, that reveals how the rich and powerful rely on a secretive law firm to hide their wealth in tax havens, has drawn attention to a 2011 speech by Senator Bernie Sanders against the Panama-United States Trade Promotion Agreement, which became law in 2012. He noted that Panama’s entire economic output at the time was so low that the pact seemed unlikely to benefit American workers. The real reason for the agreement, Sanders argued, is that "Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade taxes." Sanders said the trade agreement "will make this bad situation much worse." We get reaction from Michael Hudson, senior editor at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which published the Panama Papers, and Frederik Obermaier, investigative reporter at Germany’s leading newspaper, the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung. He is co-author of the book "Panama Papers: The Story of a Worldwide Revelation."

    • Panama Papers: Why Aren’t There More American Names?
      A more convincing explanation is that the journalists who are researching the leaks are still pursuing American clients of Mossack Fonseca. In fact, we now know this to be the case. On Monday, a piece published by Fusion, one of the U.S. media organizations that has access to the leaked material, said, “So far, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has only been able to identify 211 people with U.S. addresses who own companies in the data (not all of whom we’ve been able to investigate yet). We don’t know if those 211 people are necessarily U.S. citizens. And that figure covers only data from recent years available on a Mossack Fonseca internal database—not all 11.5 million files from the leak.”


      So much for individuals. What about U.S. banks, financial advisers, law firms, and other intermediaries? Data compiled by the I.C.I.J. consortium indicates that, of the roughly fourteen thousand intermediaries—banks, law firms, company-incorporation firms, and other middlemen—with which Mossack Fonseca worked over the years in order to set up companies, foundations, and trusts for its customers, six hundred and seventeen were based in the United States. That’s a lot.


      There are several reasons why the United States might not have been a major source of clients for the Panamanian law firm, relatively speaking. Perhaps it deliberately avoided having a large presence in the United States, so as not to attract the attention of U.S. authorities. Or perhaps there was too much competition. An article published in The Economist in 2012 pointed out that the business of setting up shell companies in tax havens is competitive and includes a number of well-established firms, such as the Hong Kong-based Offshore Incorporations Ltd., the Isle of Man-based OCRA Worldwide, and Morgan & Morgan, of Panama. In other words, wealthy Americans have many options for structuring their offshore holdings.

    • Revealed: the tycoons and world leaders who built secret UK property empires
      The president of the United Arab Emirates has secretly built one of the single biggest offshore property empires in Britain, the Panama Papers reveal.

      Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan owns dozens of central London properties worth more than €£1.2bn through offshore companies supplied by Mossack Fonseca.

      His property portfolio runs from the BHS building on Oxford Street to the designer outlets of Bruton Street and Mayfair’s Berkeley Square estate, where his tenants include Hermès, Stella McCartney and Annabel’s nightclub.

      World leaders, business people and celebrities are among those whose anonymous ownership of London property has been exposed by the massive leak of the Panama law firm’s data on offshore companies.

      The prime minister of Pakistan, Iraq’s former interim prime minister and the president of the Nigerian senate are among those whose links to London property are detailed by the files.

    • A Chink of Aussie Light
      The Australian Broadcasting Corporation shamed the BBC by putting out a Four Corners documentary on the Panama leak that had real balls.

      In stark contrast to the BBC, the Australians named and shamed Australia’s biggest company and Australia’s biggest foreign investor. BBC Panorama by contrast found a guy who sold one house in Islington. The Australians also, unlike the BBC who deliberately and knowing hid it, pointed out that the corruption centred on the British Virgin Islands, and even went there. All in all an excellent job.

      Four Corners of course has a history of this. Their absolutely excellent documentary Sex, Lies and Julian Assange told vital truths about the concoction of the allegations against Julian Assange, which to this day have been hidden by the BBC and entire British corporate media. I implore anybody who has not yet seen it, to watch it now.

      In this dreadful situation where the corporate media have monopoly access to the Mossack Fonseca database, there is going to be a little chink of light here and there, where old fashioned notions of journalistic integrity still cling to life in isolated pockets. But those chinks of light only serve to highlight the abject servitude of outlets like the BBC and Guardian to the official neo-con narrative.

    • Disgraceful BBC Panorama Propaganda Hides Grim Truth About Britain
      In a BBC Panorama documentary entitled Tax Havens of the Rich and Powerful Exposed, they actually did precisely the opposite. The BBC related at length the stories of the money laundering companies of the Icelandic PM and Putin’s alleged cellist. The impression was definitely given and reinforced that these companies were in Panama.

      Richard Bilton deliberately suppressed the information that all the companies involved were in fact not Panamanian but in the corrupt British colony of the British Virgin Islands. At no stage did Bilton even mention the British Virgin Islands.

      Company documents were flashed momentarily on screen, in some cases for a split second, and against deliberately unclear backgrounds. There is no chance that 99.9% of viewers would notice they referred to British Virgin Islands companies. But instantly reading a glimpsed document is an essential skill for a career diplomat, and of course I happen to know immediately what BVI or Tortola mean on a document. So I have been back and got screenshots of those brief flashes.


      In deliberately obscuring the key role of the British money-laundering base of British Virgin Islands in these transactions, the BBC have demonstrated precisely why the entire database has to be released to the scrutiny of the people, rather than being filtered by the dubious honesty of state and corporate journalists. The BBC targeting of two very low level British minions at the end of their programme does not alter this.

    • Are Trade Deals Like NAFTA and TPP Good, or Bad, for America?
      But if one is asking whether or not international trade agreements are good, or bad, for America, one needs to think bigger. On a whole-of-society level, economics is about people. We all want American companies to make money. It’s also great that Walmart is full of low-cost consumer electronics from Asia, or Carrier air conditioners fresh from Mexico, but you need money — a job — to buy them.

    • Highlights of Luntz Poll of American CEOs Shows Broad Support for Progressive Policies
      CMD was provided with a copy of the poll which was shared with business lobbyists, who were instructed on how to manipulate the public debate over those policies rather than implement the views of the business executives who were polled. Below are some of the surprising highlights of the full poll, which you can access here. New materials about this are available here.

    • From tourist dream to existential threat, it’s time to bid farewell to Club Med
      The Club Med hotel chain, which still owns properties on both sides of the Mediterranean is now, tellingly, a Chinese company, although led by the son of France’s former president, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing: a committed EU supporter who served in a number of positions in Brussels after being ousted from the presidency in 1981.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Chambers of Commerce Exposed by CMD
      Breaking--New materials provided to the Center for Media and Democracy/PRWatch reveal that a top GOP polling firm instructed state Chamber of Commerce lobbyists how to try to defeat popular measures like increasing the minimum wage, despite polling data from business leaders that shows overwhelming support for such progressive workplace policies.

      California just passed a statewide measure to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next few years, as other cities have also embraced this and other key workplace reform measures, such as paid sick days.

    • Exposed: Most CEOs Support Paid Sick Leave, Increased Minimum Wage, and More But Chamber Lobbyists Told How to "Combat" These Measures
      Madison, WI--Video footage of a closed-door webinar provided to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) reveals top GOP pollsters instructing Chamber of Commerce lobbyists to ignore internal survey data showing that Chamber members across the country overwhelmingly support progressive workplace policies including raising the minimum wage, providing paid sick days, and increasing paid family leave. (These and other materials are available here.)

    • Donald Trump is the pinnacle of American stupidity: Why his campaign consummates decades of rising anti-intellectualism
      During Tuesday’s Republican town hall in Milwaukee, it was not a candidate, but the host, Anderson Cooper, who had the best line of the night, when he told Donald Trump — in the politest way possible — that he was acting like a fatuous little boy. “Sir, with all due respect, that’s the argument of a 5-year-old,” said the CNN anchor, after Trump defended his attack on Ted Cruz’s wife by saying that he “didn’t start it,” in just the same manner a child who is unable to admit any wrongdoing (or someone with narcissistic personality disorder) might.

    • Panama Papers’ Publishers Don’t Need to Sell Out WikiLeaks
      When it’s all said and done, there’s no doubt that the hundreds of stories exposing the intricate web of tax avoidance and laundering, also known as the Panama Papers, will be an important blockbuster feat of journalism. The sheer size of the leak (11.5 million documents) and scope of the project led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (which brought together over 100 news outlets) is as staggering as it is impressive. The implications—the prime minister of Iceland has resigned, and dozens of investigations are allegedly underway around the world—will be felt for years.

      Why then, in this moment of well-earned glory, would the primary party responsible for this act of journalism go out of its way to take a swipe at WikiLeaks, and, by extension, a prisoner of conscience?

    • Why the Establishment Hates Trump
      On the face of it, Trump is Reagan on steroids. His towering size, his nativist US supremacism, his down-home talk, and his reality-show confidence make him ideal for the role of bullying and big lies from the oval office. He is America come to meet itself in larger-than-life image to rejuvenate it as its pride slips away in third-world conditions and a multi-polar world.

    • Wisconsin Berns: 'We’re Going to Shock Them All and Win This Nomination'
      As of this writing, with approximately 88% of precincts reporting, CNN reported Sanders winning with 56.2 percent of the vote compared to rival Hillary Clinton's 43.5 percent – a double-digit margin.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Local Police Departments To Get The FBI’s iPhone-Cracking Tool, Agency Says
      The technology used to crack the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters is coming to a local police department near you. The FBI told local law enforcement agencies that it would teach them to unlock iPhones and other mobile devices, according to an advisory letter issued late last week in response to inquiries about the new technique.

      According to Buzzfeed, which first reported the news, the FBI did not expressly state the unnamed third-party used to unlock the iPhone would be available to local law enforcement agencies, but would “consider any tool that might be helpful to our partners,” FBI assistant director Kerry Sleeper wrote in the advisory letter.

    • Former NSA chief warns of cyber threats to business
    • Photos Show How NSA Implants Trojan In Routers For Hidden Access And Spying
      In the picture, you can clearly see NSA employees opening the shipping box for a Cisco router and installing beacon firmware with a “load station” designed specifically for the task.

    • Lawmakers mull full command status for Cyber Command
    • Senators consider splitting NSA/CyberCom director position

    • NSA head: China still spying on US companies [Ed: Hypocrite in chief]
    • NSA director: China still hacking U.S., but motive unclear
      Hackers in China haven’t retired their assaults on American targets, but U.S. intelligence officials aren’t certain if Beijing has fully breached the terms of a cyber pact reached last year between President Obama and his Chinese counterpart, NSA Director Navy Admiral Mike Rogers testified on Tuesday.

    • Court considers when police need warrants to track suspects through cellphones
      A federal appeals court on Wednesday considered how easily investigators should be able to track criminal suspects through their cellphones, becoming the latest front in the debate over how to balance public-safety interests with digital privacy.

      The issue before a full panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Maryland and Virginia, was whether law enforcement officials need search warrants to pull cellphone records to trace the long-term movements of suspects.

      The case, argued in Richmond, arose after investigators in Maryland obtained seven months of phone records to map the movements of two men later convicted in armed robberies around Baltimore.
    • For The Fifth Time Now, German Court Says Adblocking Is Legal
      The judge clearly recognized the issues, noting that there's no contract between users and a site that requires them to view ads, no matter how much publishers may want to pretend that what they refer to as a "social contract" is somehow a legal contract. The court also, rightly, noted that the law is not designed to pump up a business model that is failing, and that it's up to the publishers themselves to create better business models.

      Even though we're a publisher who relies on ads for some of our revenue, we've never been shy about recognizing that ad blockers are an essential form of freedom for users, to control what goes into their computers, and an important security tool as well. Would our own lives be easier if ad blockers didn't exist? Perhaps. But, as always, the onus needs to be on us to build business models that work, and not rely on forcing people into doing things they're not comfortable doing.

      The sooner more publications realize this, the sooner we can get past the broken system we have of online advertising today.

    • WhatsApp Finishes Rolling Out End-To-End Encryption; Now Covers Group Messages, Media
      More good news on the secure communications front: WhatsApp has finally implemented full end-to-end encryption -- for everyone. Late in 2014, WhatsApp began rolling out its end-to-end encryption, but it was limited to one-to-one communications and did not cover messages containing media. Now, it's everything, including group messages.
    • Another Federal Judge Says No Expectation Of Privacy In Cell Site Location Info Because Everyone Knows Phones Generate This Data
      In the Seventh Circuit -- where there's currently no Appeals Court precedent on cell site location info (CSLI) -- federal judge Pamela Pepper has decided only about half of what other courts have said about this info's expectation of privacy applies. That would be the half that finds the Third Party Doctrine covers cell phones' constant connections to cell towers. (via

    • AT&T Tries To Claim That Charging Users More For Privacy Is A 'Discount'
      Last year, AT&T launched the latest sexy trend in broadband -- charging users significantly more money if they want to opt out of their ISP's snoopvertising. It basically works like this: users ordering AT&T's U-Verse broadband service can get the service for, say, $70 a month. But if you want to opt out of AT&T's Internet Preferences snoopvertising program (which uses deep packet inspection to study your movement around the Internet down to the second) you'll pay at least $30 more, per month. With its decision, AT&T effectively made user privacy a premium service.

      As the FCC has started pushing for new privacy rules (precisely because of ISP moves like this), AT&T's luxury-privacy option has been under heightened scrutiny.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Nothing To Hide (And Nowhere To Hide It) But Everything To Fear: The Police Vs. The Unarmed And Naked
      "Naked" is synonymous with "vulnerable." And yet, plenty of naked people continue to be shot and killed by police officers, despite having nowhere to hide weapons and nothing standing between them and the bullets headed their way.

      Of course, naked people are far more prone to find themselves in confrontations with police. In almost every case, substance use/abuse or mental illness will be the reason for the person's nudity. Despite being handicapped by both limited mental faculties and lack of any protection, naked people are often considered inherently "threatening," and thus, worthy recipients of any level of force that allows responding officers to feel "safe" again.

      17-year-old David Joseph was shot to death by Austin police officer Geoffrey Freeman, who was responding to reports of a naked man acting erratically. Freeman said he feared for his life, even though Joseph had no clothing and no weapons.

      Of course, the first response from the police union was to assume Joseph was under the influence of a "drug like PCP." PCP is the go-to guess for officers trying to explain how they felt overwhelmed by a person smaller than them... or carrying no weapons... or wearing no clothes. It supposedly gives even unarmed, naked people superhuman strength and increased resistance to less-lethal force. How many people officers feel are using PCP is miles away from how many people are actually using PCP.

    • How Constitutional Change Happens: Q&A With David Cole
      The following is a Q&A with David Cole, civil liberties litigator, law professor, recipient of the ACLU’s inaugural Norman Dorsen Presidential Prize, and author of the just-published book, “Engines of Liberty: The Power of Citizen Activists to Make Constitutional Law” (Basic Books). The book tracks three campaigns — one relating to marriage equality, another relating to gun rights, and another relating to human rights in the context of the “war on terror” — to examine, as the title suggests, how constitutional law gets made.

    • Trial set for woman charged with felony in Facebook posts
      Trial dates have been set for a 35-year-old Bay City woman accused of posting vulgar status updates on Facebook and committing a felony in the process.

      Jury selection in the trial of Rene K. Kolka is to begin the morning of Tuesday, May 10, before Bay County Circuit Judge Joseph K. Sheeran. In the event proceedings are delayed, the trial is instead slated to commence the morning of Tuesday, June 14.

    • School defends exempting Muslim students from handshake
      A school district in canton Basel Country stands behind its decision to allow some Muslim students to not participate in a ritual of shaking their female teacher’s hand before and after class, despite the controversy the move has unleashed across Switzerland.

    • Islamic extremist issue death threats against Scotland's top human rights lawyer
      SCOTLAND's leading human rights lawyer has received death threats from Islamic extremists over his calls for unity within the country's Muslim community.

      Though unable to give details due to an ongoing police investigation, Aamer Anwar said the threats came from individuals who have taken issue with his call for Muslims of all backgrounds and denominations to stand up together against Islamic extremism.

    • Watch: Ex-Death Row Prisoner Moreese Bickham on WBAI in 1996 Days After Being Freed
      Former death row prisoner Moreese Bickham has died at the age of 98. In 1958, Bickham, an African American, was sentenced to death for shooting and killing two police officers in Mandeville, Louisiana, even though Bickham said the officers were Klansmen who had come to kill him and shot him on the front porch of his own home. Multiple other people in the community also said the officers worked with the Ku Klux Klan, which was a common practice in small Southern towns. Bickham served 37 years at Angola State Penitentiary, in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.

    • Prisoners in Multiple States Call for Strikes to Protest Forced Labor
      PRISON INMATES around the country have called for a series of strikes against forced labor, demanding reforms of parole systems and prison policies, as well as more humane living conditions, a reduced use of solitary confinement, and better health care.

      Inmates at up to five Texas prisons pledged to refuse to leave their cells today. The strike’s organizers remain anonymous but have circulated fliers listing a series of grievances and demands, and a letter articulating the reasons for the strike. The Texas strikers’ demands range from the specific, such as a “good-time” credit toward sentence reduction and an end to $100 medical co-pays, to the systemic, namely a drastic downsizing of the state’s incarcerated population.

      “Texas’s prisoners are the slaves of today, and that slavery affects our society economically, morally and politically,” reads the five-page letter announcing the strike. “Beginning on April 4, 2016, all inmates around Texas will stop all labor in order to get the attention from politicians and Texas’s community alike.”

  • DRM

    • You Don't Actually Own What You Buy Volume 2,203: Google Bricking Revolv Smart Home Hardware
      Google isn't making any friends on the news that the company is effectively bricking working smart home hardware for a large number of users. About seventeen months ago Google acquired Revolv, rolling the smart-home vendor's products in with its also-acquired Nest product line. Revolv hardware effectively lets users control any number of smart-home technologies around the home, ranging from home thermostats and garage door openers, to outdoor lights and security and motion detection systems. But according to an updated Revolv FAQ, all of these systems will no longer work as of May 15, 2016.

    • What Nest's product shutdown says about the Internet of Things
      Nest is dropping support for one of its products on May 15. More than just dropping support, the product will cease to work entirely.

    • Nest Reminds Customers That Ownership Isn't What It Used to Be
      Nest Labs, a home automation company acquired by Google in 2014, will disable some of its customers' home automation control devices in May. This move is causing quite a stir among people who purchased the $300 Revolv Hub devices—customers who reasonably expected that the promised "lifetime" of updates would enable the hardware they paid for to actually work, only to discover the manufacturer can turn their device into a useless brick when it so chooses.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Golden age for foreign trade name protection
        Xiaopeng Zhao argues that recent court decisions in China provide a boost for overseas companies whose names have been registered by counterfeiters

      • Baseball Equipment Makers In Trademark Spat Over The Word 'Diamond'
        Everyone should know by now that language is ever evolving. New, cultural, or colloquial words get added to the dictionary. In addition, existing words attain new definitions, typically contextual definitions. Like the word "diamond", for instance, which has a different definition when spoken in the context of baseball. In baseball lingo, the diamond is in the filed, or infield, and the term is as common as "bat", or "ball", or "single." And, yet, two makers of baseball equipment are now in a trademark legal spat over the word "diamond."

    • Copyrights

      • Rightscorp Wants To Lock Your Web Browsers If You’re Downloading Illegal Torrents
        Sending legal notices to users for downloading illegal torrents is nothing new. But, taking things to a whole new level, Rightscorp, a struggling anti-piracy group, is working on a new method to lock down the web browsers of the copyright infringers.
      • Head Of British Rights Group: Piracy Is Google's Fault Even If It's Not Actually Google's Fault
        As the DMCA heads towards possible reform, critics on both sides have been airing their complaints with the current system. For far too many people, though, the problem is apparently Google, rather than the law or the DMCA process itself. Rights holder groups have been especially vocal about Google's supposed participation in copyright infringement, despite the fact it processes tens of millions of DMCA takedown notices every day.

        This is a lot of work and it's being done by Google to handle DMCA complaints about content it's not even hosting. To make rights holders happy (except that many of them are not), Google delists millions of URLs every day. It also vets each DMCA notice to make sure the URLs should actually be delisted. The rise of bot-generated DMCA takedown notices has increased the workload as well as the likelihood of error. It's an ugly process all around and the law itself is in need of some serious repairs.
      • EA DMCAs Trump/Mass Effect Mashup Video Claiming Trump Re-Tweeting It Made Its Use 'Political'
        The political season lingers upon us, for all the world appearing to be less democracy in action and more likely some kind of test initiated by aliens to see exactly how much mind-numbing stupidity a populace can handle. In any case, for some reason presidential politics brings out the touchiest behavior amongst us. For instance, take a quick look at this brilliantly, if unintentionally, hilarious "trailer" a Donald Trump Supporter put together.

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