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Links 26/4/2016: Firefox 46.0, Thunderbird's Stewardship

GNOME bluefish



  • Why shun Linux, CM Oommen Chandy asks V S Achuthandnan
    Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has slammed opposition leader V S Achuthandnan for preaching free software on the one hand and using a product of Microsoft for his own website. The Chief Minister said though Achuthanandan had repeatedly accused Microsoft of being a global monopolist, his website has been developed using , which is a product of Microsoft.

  • Microsoft caught in Kerala's political battle
    Continuing his attack on V S Achutanandan, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today slammed the Marxist veteran for using a product of Microsoft, which he had earlier dubbed as a "global monopoly giant", to develop his website ahead of the May 16 assembly polls.

  • In Kerala, Chandy, Achuthanandan spar over usage of software
    Chandy has asked Achuthanandan to explain why he opted for Microsoft when it came to setting up his own website and Facebook page while he has been battling for free software (open source) all these years.

  • Desktop

    • My Linux Desktop — Hither and Yawn
      An argument has taken the form of a verbal running gun battle at our shop, depending on who’s working that day. Does training a student in the use of Linux deprive them of valuable, life-long learning opportunities? I mean, it’s hard to argue the value of being able to delve into the registry and edit the offending subkeys and values that are allowing your banking information to be spread across three continents. How are they to learn the ins and outs of virus and malware protection and for Pete’s sake, do it for the children. Make sure they learn how to use Malwarebytes. For the love of Linux, please don’t fail these kids.

    • The ‘Year of the Linux desktop’ never came, and it never will [Ed: Ignoring Chromebooks for self-fulfilling prophecies and FUD]
      Every culture has its myths and prophecies. For Linux users, it was “The Year Of The Linux Desktop.” The idea: someday in the future, likely soon, everyone is going to notice how great Linux is and just switch over, en masse.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator: Adedayo Samuel
      From my experience interviewing for jobs and to advance my career, it has been a personal desire of mine to understand the inner workings of a computer, and Linux provided a platform for doing that by having a design philosophy that doesn’t shy away from the command line so that caused me to dive right in!

      I like open source because of the free software movement (we can always do with more free software), and more importantly because such a movement is capable of inspiring an operating system like Linux which powers servers of Fortune 500 companies and services we depend on like Banks, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and my favorite mobile OS – Android.

    • Checkpoint-Restore Microconference Accepted into 2016 Linux Plumbers Conference
      This year will feature a four-fold deeper dive into checkpoint-restore technology, thanks to participation by people from a number of additional related projects! These are the OpenMPI message-passing library, Berkeley Lab Checkpoint/Restart (BLCR), and Distributed MultiThreaded CheckPointing (DMTCP) (not to be confused with TCP/IP), in addition to the Checkpoint/Restore in Userspace group that has participated in prior years.

    • Setting Up The Radeon Open Compute Platform On Linux
      Posted today to the GPUOpen blog was a guide on setting up the Radeon Open Compute Platform (ROCm) support. The RoCm 1.0 platform consists of the ROCK kernel driver, ROCR runtime, ROCT Thunk Interface, HCC compiler, LLVM-AMDGPU-Assembler-Extra, and LLVM/Clang. AMD/RTG offers the Radeon Open Compute Platform packages for Ubuntu/Debian systems as well as Fedora/RedHat distributions.

    • Many EFI Updates Prepped For Linux 4.7 Kernel
      Matt Fleming at Intel sent out the set of patches he intends to submit as the queue of EFI changes for what will become the Linux 4.7 kernel. He noted of this queue, "this is probably the biggest EFI pull ever sent, and there quite a few different topics covered."

    • The Linux Foundation’s Jim Zemlin To Keynote ITS America 2016 San Jose Day Two “Infrastructure of Things”

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • QRegion will be iterable in Qt 5.8
        Apart from providing a non-allocating, non-throwing way to inspect a region, there are other positive effects. Because no QVector is returned that needs to be destroyed by the caller, even in projects (such as QtGui) that are compiled with exceptions disabled, porting even a few loops to the new construct saves more than 1KiB in text size on optimized GCC 5.3 Linux AMD64 builds, not to mention countless memory allocations at runtime.

      • Starting KWin/Wayland on another virtual terminal
        So far when one started KWin/Wayland on a virtual terminal it took over this virtual terminal. This made it difficult to read the debug output and even more difficult to run the complete session through gdb.

        The reason for this behavior is that KWin interacts with logind and needs to take session control on the current logind session. This is needed to have logind open the restricted device files like /dev/dri/card0 or the /dev/input/event* files.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Epiphany Browser Does Its First Development Release Towards GNOME 3.22
        GNOME's Epiphany web-browser has done its first development release in the GNOME 3.21 series, which is culminating with the GNOME 3.22 release this September.

        Some of the changes to find with Epiphany 3.21.1 include "paste and go" support for the address bar, allow opening WebP files with the open dialog, redesigned error pages, a Duplicate Tab menu item for tabs, various fixes, updated translations, and more.

      • A GNOME Software Hackfest report
        The incarnation of GNOME Software used by endless looks pretty different from what the normal GNOME user sees, since it’s adjusted for a different audience and input method. But it looks great, and is a good example for how versatile GS already is! And for upstream GNOME, we’ve seen some pretty great mockups done by Endless too – I hope those will make it into production somehow.

      • GNOME Software Package Manager Prepares for GNOME 3.22, Gets Steam Support
        For those of you not in the loop, the GNOME Project is currently working hard on implementing new features of the upcoming GNOME 3.22 desktop environment, and they are about to seed the first development milestone.

        GNOME 3.21.1 will be the first development version towards the major GNOME 3.22 desktop environment, due for release on September 21, 2016, and it should be ready for deployments tomorrow, April 27, 2016, according to the release schedule. And, as part of this first GNOME 3.22 milestone, several core components have been updated with new features and bug fixes.

      • Google Summer of Code 2016
        Hello everyone! I am participating in the Google Summer of Code program for the second time with GNOME, this year working on Epiphany. I am one of the two students working on this product, the other person being a friend of mine. We are both excited to leave our mark with some serious contributions.

  • Distributions

    • Should beginners install Kali Linux on their computers?
      Kali Linux is bird of a slightly different feather, in terms of Linux distributions. Kali's focus is on security and forensics, but some Linux novices have been installing it without knowing much about either thing. DistroWatch has a full review of Kali Linux 2016.1 and doesn't think it's really appropriate for beginners.

    • Download ready-to-use Linux virtual machines from OSBoxes
      VirtualBox is a great tool for trying out some new Linux distro, but you’ll usually have to spend a while finding a download and setting up your VM and operating system, first. makes life easier by providing 40+ prebuilt VirtualBox (VDI) and VMware images for Android x86, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, FreeBSD, Gentoo, Linux Mint, Remix OS, Ubuntu and many more.

    • Infographic: Which Linux Distribution Is Right For You?
      When setting up a new web server for your website, one of the most important decisions you have to consider making is which operating system you are going to use. If you’ve moved past the Windows Server versus Linux Server debate and decided to go host your website on a Linux Server, you have a whole host of distributions to chose from.

      Every Linux Distribution will have its pros and cons, and all of those pros and cons are dependent on your own needs and requirements for the project.

      In this infographic, the team at Future Hosting takes a look at three of the most popular Linux distributions to try to help you answer all of these questions while guiding you along the path to choosing the right operating system for your next website.

    • Reviews

      • elementary OS 0.3.2 "Freya" review
        The most recent version of elementary OS, codenamed Freya, was released in December 2015 and is based on Ubuntu's 14.04 Long Term Support distribution. I downloaded the distro's ISO from their website, for a paltry fee of $0.00, and loaded it onto a USB using Unetbootin. After the quick Unetbootin boot-up screen, I found a familiar install process. elementary's installation process is beautiful, simple, and works. This is because the installation software, much like everything else in this distro, is based off of Ubuntu. Using the Ubuntu installer is very easy, but elementary turns it into an exercise in beauty as well. The install was quick, taking only about ten minutes to complete.

        The first thing I noticed about elementary was the dock. The dock is located at the bottom of the screen and includes the applications that the elementary team thinks you will use most. Initially included on the dock are applications for music, pictures, videos, mail, the calendar, the web browser, and the settings panel.

        The desktop environment on elementary is called Pantheon. Pantheon includes the dock at the bottom and the panel at the top. The panel at the top is a picture of sheer beauty, and I mean sheer. Where previously the panel was a solid bar at the top of the screen with text in it, it is now completely transparent. This gives the effect that the words are part of the screen. The panel includes the applications on the left, a clock in the middle, and the indicators on the right to show wi-fi, alerts, and battery life, among other things. Pantheon was overall a big hit for me, and I would love to see this desktop environment get ported over into other big distros. Unfortunately, Pantheon crashed many times during my use. Each time it automatically restarted and prompted me to send a bug report; I am disappointed by this instability.

    • New Releases

      • Black Lab Linux 7.6 Released
        Today we are releasing Black Lab Linux 7.6. Black Lab Linux 7.6 is the latest release of our stable 7.x series of OS's. Black Lab Linux 7.6 is supported long term until April 2019.

      • Pisi-Linux-2.0-Beta-KDE5
        After the last Pisi-Linux-Alpha 7 Release, the Team has work on a lot of bug fixes, to give you a good stable beta Pisi Linux.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE to Mentor Six Google Summer of Code Students
        Google made an announcement April 22 that 1,206 students were selected for the Google Summer of Code and six of those students will be mentored through the openSUSE Project, which is one of 178 mentoring organizations in this year’s GSoC.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Verizon taps Red Hat and OpenStack for its NFV deployment

      • The great systemd bug squashing party of 2016
        After the initial ramp-up period last summer, the trend for new issues is approximately linear, with a hundred new issues opened each month. The trend for issues being closed is different: we seem to have longer and shorter periods of bugfixing activity, separated by periods where very few bugs are being closed. The final outcome is not too bad, with 265/1015 ≈ 26% issues remaining open.

      • Red Hat names telecoms VP in EMEA
        Red Hat has appointed Massimo Fatato vice president of its telecommunications business in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

        According to the company, Fatato will lead strategic development and programme execution to support Red Hat's expansion in the telecommunications market in EMEA.

      • Red Hat Doubles Down on Cloud With OpenStack Platform 8 and Cloud Suite
        Two new products from Red Hat announced today are aimed squarely at helping enterprise clients deploy private clouds. Red Hat Cloud Suite and Red Hat OpenStack Platform 8 are each designed to offer companies a complete solution for building and deploying private clouds, the company said.

      • Verizon and NASA Double Down on Red Hat OpenStack
        The OpenStack Austin Summit gets under way today in Austin, Texas, and with it comes news of continuing momentum among some big-name organizations. Verizon is announcing a major OpenStack cloud networking milestone, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory reveals it is using Red Hat's OpenStack Platform, and Red Hat now claims to have trained 10,000 IT professionals on OpenStack.

      • NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Powers Planetary Exploration with Red Hat OpenStack Platform

      • OpenStack and Red Hat ready for hybrid deployments | #OpenStack
        As the enterprise moves toward its digital transformation, OpenStack is becoming a key player in the arena of hybrid cloud. The changes in open-source software and the growth of OpenStack has enabled the enterprise to develop a dynamic infrastructure that will help them migrate workloads to and from the cloud, working with on-premise and with legacy systems.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora BTRFS+Snapper – The Fedora 24 Edition
          In the past I have configured my personal computers to be able to snapshot and rollback the entire system. To do this I am leveraging the BTRFS filesystem, a tool called snapper, and a patched version of Fedora's grub2 package. The patches needed from grub2 come from the SUSE guys and are documented well in this git repo.

        • Fedora @ GNOME.Asia

        • Linux Fest North West Day 0
          We had about 250 at Fedora Game Night, gave away shirts to table winners and ran out of early sign-in badges.

        • Linux Fest North West Day -1
          If you live in the Northwest come an join all the Linux enthusiast this weekend at LinuxFest NorthWest. Seminars and Exhibits are at Bellingham Technical Collage Saturday and Sunday, and the Fedora sponsored Game Night is Friday from 6-10 at Fox Hall at the Hampton Inn. If you join us at Game Night you can get your pass early, play some board games and try out the SuperTuxKart races. At the exhibit on Saturday and Sunday you can participate in the SuperTuxKart Tournament at the Fedora booth. We could also use some help staffing the booth, contact me if you can help.

        • Going to Bitcamp 2016
          The Fedora Project attended as an event sponsor this year. At the event, we held a table in the hacker arena. The Ambassadors offered mentorship and help to Bitcamp 2016 programmers, gave away some free Fedora swag, and offered an introduction to Linux, open source, and our community. This report recollects some highlights from the event.

        • GSoC-2016

        • Data science and Fedora
          I’ve decided to use Fedora as my default GNU/Linux operating system to develop and test data science stuffs. Fedora is pretty nice because it has regular releases and includes most updated mainstream packages.

        • Crouton Fedora new version available!

          I’ve managed to clean the scripts even further, and now it is using Docker images from Koji to set itself up instead of downloading RPM’s. You save a lot of data and a lot of time. It now can install a base Fedora system in less than a minute.

        • Introducing the extra wallpapers for Fedora 24
          In the Fedora 24 alpha release, you could preview an early version of the default wallpaper for Fedora 24. Each release, the Fedora Design team collaborates with the Fedora community to release a set of 16 additional backgrounds to install and use on Fedora. The Fedora Design team takes submissions from the wider community, then votes on the top 16 to include in the next release.

        • How to create Fedora feed in Jekyll
          Across the Linux communities, there are several people that write and maintain their own blogs across all four corners of the world. From low-skills men to professionals, a lot of contents are posted everyday and informations at all levels are available on the Internet. What about to stay in touch with Fedora people that publish on the web?

        • Fedora 24 Linux Default Wallpapers Revealed, They're Truly Gorgeous
          Fedora Project's Sirko Kemter announced the winners of the community wallpapers that will be included in the upcoming Fedora 24 Linux operating system, due for release on June 7, 2016.

          The Fedora 24 Linux distribution is currently in heavy development, and it only saw a first Alpha release until now, unveiled at the end of last month, so it's now time for early adopter and public beta testers to get their hands on the Beta build of the upcoming Linux kernel-based operating system sponsored by Red Hat.

          As with every new release of the Fedora Linux OS, the artwork is being tweaked, optimized, and revamped, with a new default wallpaper, as well as a brand-new set of supplemental desktop background images contributed by various members of the Fedora community as part of a well-organized contest.

        • Refreshed Look of Fedora Developer Portal
          I have just deployed a new version of Fedora Developer Portal. The most visible part is refreshed look with more uniform layout. I have also compressed all the images in titles (from ~1.2MB to ~50kB in average) – so the loading should be much faster.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache® Apexâ„¢ as a Top-Level Project
  • Apache Apex reaches top level

  • Apache Elevates Another Big Data Project to Top-Level Status
    Just last week, in conjunction with covering the Allura project, I wrote about the many projects that the Apache Software Foundation has been elevating to Top-Level Status. The organization incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, and has squarely turned its focus to Big Data and developer-focused tools in recent months.

    Today, the foundation announced that Apache Apex has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP), signifying that the project's community and products have been well-governed under the ASF's meritocratic process and principles. Apex is a large scale, high throughput, low latency, fault tolerant, unified Big Data stream and batch processing platform for the Apache Hadoop ecosystem. Here is more on the project, and Apache's other Big Data projects.

  • FLISoL Venezuela 2016 in Numbers
    First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to those who organized each one of the FLISoL’s that were held at Venezuela and THANK YOU to the hundreds of visitors that went to each one of those locations, without you, none of this would have been possible. From my position as National Coordinator I was able to see how 17 cities from our country joined the largest OpenSource celebration from LATAM, at large locations and small ones, with months of planning and also just days. What matters is to multiply that knowledge that can help many.

  • Ask Safia: How do I unite similar open source projects?

  • How one e-commerce giant uses microservices and open source to scale like crazy

  • 2.4 million Euros for making embedded software safe, customizable, and open source
    Nowadays microprocessors are used in thousands of items that were previously not computer-related. These are embedded inside such devices. Together with the proprietary software controlling them, they each form a so-called embedded system. Several of these are at work in an average middle-class household, hundreds in cars, and as the American multinational semiconductor company AMD concludes in its 2014 annual report: "There is significant demand [...] which address the growth of data and content in a world of 50 billion connected devices".

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 46.0 Is Ready To Ship, GTK3 Support Appears Finally Baked
        Firefox 46 won't be formally announced until the morning, but in usual fashion the source and various platform binaries have appeared this evening.

      • Mozilla Firefox 46.0 Now Available for Download with GTK3 Integration for Linux
        Just a few moments ago, we discovered that Mozilla has uploaded the final version of the Firefox 46.0 web browser to its FTP servers, making them available for download for all supported platforms.

        The Firefox 46.0 web browser is expected to be officially unveiled by Mozilla later today, April 26, 2016, finally bringing the GTK3 integration for the GNU/Linux platform, along with improved security of the JavaScript JIT (Just In Time) compiler and support for using the Content Decryption Module (CDM) as a fallback for decoding unencrypted H.264 and AAC streams.

      • Finding a new home for Thunderbird

      • Thunderbird Evolving
        Since December, Simon has been working on a report describing the options the leaders of the Thunderbird mail client community have for hosting their project now that Mozilla is ready to take the last steps of separation they have long trailed. The report was published today and is now being considered by the Thunderbird community. While it considers a number of potential destinations, it recommends a choice between the Software Freedom Conservancy, The Document Foundation and a new, arms-length status at the Mozilla Foundation.

      • [OT but related] Why email hasn’t killed the fax
        Five years ago, I wrote a column about how the fax machine refuses to die. Five years is a long time in terms of technology, but only a short time in terms of fax machines. Depending on how you define the point of origin of the first method of distributing images or photographs over an electrical wire, the fax machine may date back to 1843.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Open365 Is An Open Source Alternative to Microsoft Office 365
      One of Microsoft’s Office 365 program chief advantages over open source alternatives is the ability to sync documents via the cloud so you can edit them everywhere. Open365 has stepped up to finally match this feature set.

      Open365 works a lot like Office 365 does. The suite builds on LibreOffice Online to let you open your documents in the browser, or use any of the client apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android to open them. Open365 also gives you 20GB of cloud-based storage to store your files on that will be synced across your devices.

    • Open365: open source Office 365 alternative
      Open365 is an open source Office 365 alternative that allows you to edit or create documents online, and to sync files with the cloud.

      The service is in beta currently but you can sign up for it already on the official website. You may use it using a web browser, download clients for Windows, Mac or Linux desktop machines, or for Android. An iOS client is in the making currently and will be made available as well soon.

      Open 365 offers two main features that you can make use of. First, it enables you to synchronize files between devices you use and the cloud.

    • The importance of the Document Liberation Project
      Today I would like to focus on a quite interesting project, even though it is rarely spoken of: The Document Liberation Project. The Document Liberation Project is LibreOffice’s sister project and is hosted inside the Document Foundation; it keeps its own distinct goals and ecosystem however. We often think of it as being overly technical to explain, as the project does not provide binaries everyone may download and install on a computer. Let’s describe in a few words what it does.

    • Tested the Libre Office software.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


    • GNU releases ethical evaluations of code-hosting services
      Today the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GNU Project announced evaluations of several major repository-hosting services according to the standards of the GNU Ethical Criteria for Code Repositories. Released in 2015, these criteria grade code-hosting services for their commitment to user privacy and freedom. At the time of publication, Savannah and GitLab have met or surpassed the baseline standards of the criteria.

    • GNU Rates GitHub & SourceForge With "F" Ratings
      The Free Software Foundation today announced their evaluations of major code repository-hosting services per the standards of the GNU Ethical Criteria for Code Repositories.

    • guix @ Savannah: GNU Guix welcomes four students for GSoC
      All four projects sound exciting to us and we are happy to see progress on these fronts. Happy hacking!

  • Public Services/Government

    • Oettinger: ‘Open source licences should be the norm’
      Industry-friendly open source licences should become the norm for building data platforms, for the web, and for digital consumer services, says Günther Oettinger. The European Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society urges cooperation between standardisation organisations and open source communities on cloud computing services.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • 10 SQL Tricks That You Didn’t Think Were Possible
      But once your database and your application matures, you will have put all the important meta data in place and you can focus on your business logic only. The following 10 tricks show amazing functionality written in only a few lines of declarative SQL, producing simple and also complex output.


  • Science

    • DNA: The Long-term Data Storage Format that Will Never Go Obsolete
      At the Linux Foundation’s Vault storage conference, held last week in Raleigh, North Carolina, European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) researcher Nick Goldman talked about the feasibility of using DNA as a long-term storage format, a talk timely not only because it was at a storage conference, but also because Monday is DNA Day.

  • Hardware

    • Inside One of the World’s Most Secretive iPhone Factories
      John Sheu, known at the factory as Big John, or the Mayor, is giving the tour to a Bloomberg reporter. He’s the president of Pegatron’s facility, where as many as 50,000 people assemble iPhones. It’s his job to make sure that more time is spent making phones rather than wasting it on unproductive distractions, like roll calls and ID checks.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Eliminating malaria, once and for good
      What is an end game? In the case of malaria, the end game is at the same time obvious and enormously challenging. Obvious because the disease can be prevented (mosquito target) and treated (human target) with tools which already exist - so that it is, indeed, obvious that it can be done. Challenging because, as colleagues running national malaria programs are quick to emphasize, doing this at a national scale, given the millions of people infected, is really an uphill task. Besides the complexity of the parasite that causes malaria, the capacity of both the parasite and mosquitoes to develop resistance to widely used drugs and insecticides, the variability of the immune responses - the list goes on –, there exists an uneasy truce between the parasite and humans, developed over thousands of years. Most infections actually do not result in death, particularly in the case of adults who have some level of immunity from prior infections. If left unchecked, however, malaria has shown it can make a comeback, as it did in the 1990s, when deaths increased to about a million per year - mostly children, mostly in Africa. If merely controlled, the entire package of tools, systems and trained staff need to remain in place forever.

    • Ban on THC-Infused Gummy Bears Advances in Colorado
      The most straightforward solution to this problem, of course, is to make sure that marijuana edibles are kept away from children. If that does not happen, the fact that gummy candies are shaped like stars instead of bears is not going to make much of a difference.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday

    • Can we train our way out of security flaws?
      Just as humans are terrible drivers, we are terrible developers. We won't fix auto safety with training any more than we will fix software security with training. Of course there are basic rules everyone needs to understand which is why some training is useful. We're not going see any significant security improvements without some sort of new technology breakthrough. I don't know what that is, nobody does yet. What is self driving software development going to look like?
    • Windows Security Flaw Lets Hackers Run Any App On PCs Without Admin Rights
      This Windows security flaw lets you run any app on Windows without admin rights...
    • ‘New’ Windows Security Flaw Runs Apps Without Admin Rights
      Newly discovered Windows security hole bypasses AppLocker and lets apps run without admin rights. Proof-of-concept code published.

    • HTTPS is Hard
      This blog post is the first in a regular tech series from the Yell engineering team looking at challenges they face and problems they solve across Yell’s various digital solutions.

      Here, Yell’s Head of Web Engineering, Steve Workman, looks back over‘s seven-month transition to HTTPS, (a secure version of the HTTP protocol – which sends data between a browser and a website) to raise awareness of the issues with the move in the industry and to make the adoption process easier for other engineering teams.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Remembering Argentina’s Mothers of the Disappeared
      On April 30, 1977, Azucena Villaflor de De Vincenti and a dozen other mothers gathered in the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina’s capitol city to demand justice for their children, who had been “disappeared” by the military junta during the Dirty War period – a reign of terror that would last from 1976 to 1983, backed by the CIA.

    • World War III Has Begun
      Washington is currently conducting economic and propaganda warfare against four members of the five bloc group of countries known as BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Brazil and South Africa are being destabilized with fabricated political scandals. Both countries are rife with Washington-financed politicians and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Washington concocts a scandal, sends its political agents into action demanding action against the government and its NGOs into the streets in protests.

    • Contractor Hired Former African Child Soldiers to Guard U.S. Forces in Iraq
      A defense contractor hired mercenaries from Africa for $16 a day to guard American bases in Iraq, with one of the company’s former directors saying no checks were made on whether those hired were former child soldiers.

      The director of Aegis Defense Services between 2005 and 2015, said contractors recruited from countries such as Sierra Leone to reduce costs for the U.S. occupation in Iraq. He said none of the estimated 2,500 boys recruited from Sierra Leone were checked to see if they were former child soldiers who had been forced to fight in the country’s civil war.

    • PART 2: Seymour Hersh's New Book Disputes U.S. Account of Bin Laden Killing
      ...when he argues the official U.S. account of how bin Laden was found and killed was deceptive, and that Pakistan detained bin Laden in 2006 and kept him prisoner with the backing of Saudi Arabia. He suggests that the U.S. and Pakistan then struck a deal: The U.S. would raid bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, but make it look as if Pakistan was unaware.

    • Repeating His Own 'Mistake,' Obama to Send More Troops to Syria
      President Barack Obama on Monday announced plans to send up to 250 more troops to Syria to allegedly aid in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), just a day after he made emphatic statements against using ground troops to deal with the crisis there.

      The deployment will increase the U.S. troop count in Syria to 300. Obama made the announcement during a visit to Hanover, Germany, stating that the decision comes in response to Syrian fighters recently gaining back territory from the militant group.

      "Given the success, I've approved the deployment of up to 250 additional personnel in Syria, including special forces to keep up this momentum," he said.

    • U.S. to Send 250 Additional Military Personnel to Syria

    • Israel Just Freed A 12-Year-Old Palestinian Girl From Prison
      The Israeli prison service released a 12-year-old girl, believed to be the youngest Palestinian female ever imprisoned, on Sunday after she confessed to planning a stabbing attack against Israelis in a West Bank settlement.

      “I am happy to be out. Prison is bad,” the girl, Dima al-Wawi told AP after her release, where she was greeted by around 80 relatives. “During my time in prison I missed my classmates and my friends and family.”

    • The Panama Papers: Laundering Havens for War Budgets (Video)
      In mid-April, economist Michael Hudson told The Real News Network that global oil and mining industries and the U.S. State Department created Panama and Liberia for the express purpose of tax evasion.

    • Turns Out Their Reassurances Were Too SWIFT
      So SWIFT had warning there were vulnerabilities in its local printer system (though it’s not clear this is the same vulnerability the Bangladesh thieves used).

      You’d think SWIFT would have made some effort when that became public to shore up vulnerabilities in the global finance system. Instead, they left themselves vulnerable to a $10 router.

    • CyberCommand Turns Its “Cyberbombs” from Assad to ISIS
      Golly, what a novel idea, hacking an adversary that relies on the Internet for its external strength? Imagine how many people we could have saved if we had done that a few years ago? And all this time CyberCom has just been sitting on its thumbs?

      Sanger suggests, of course, that CyberCom has been otherwise focused on Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, which (post-StuxNet) would be significantly an active defense. He pretends that cyber attacks have not been used in the ISIS theater at all.

      Of course they have. They’ve been going on so long they even made the Snowden leaks (as when NSA “accidentally” caused a blackout in Syria).

      But it would be inconvenient to mention attacks on Syria (as distinct from its ally Iran), I guess, because it might raise even more questions about why we’d let ISIS get strong enough, largely using the Internet, to hit two European capitals without undercutting them in the most obvious way. It all makes a lot of sense if you realize we have, at the same time, been directing those resources instead at Bashar al-Assad.

    • Pentagon Claims Coalition Civilian Bombing Death Toll 25x Smaller Than NGO Estimates in Syria and Iraq
      The military says its nearly two years of bombings against Islamic State have killed 41 civilians, but a key monitor group puts the number far higher.

    • The US Should Quit Coddling Badly-Behaving Saudi Arabia
      Yet the United States mutes its criticism of such practices because of the pervasive myth among US policymakers that the Saudis can manipulate world oil prices and that the American economy will crash if the Saudis wink and create a world price spike. Neither is true.

    • The Hell on Earth Paved by Samantha Power’s Good Intentions
      Gaddafi’s arsenals were looted by Islamists and other militants.

    • Neocons Panting for President ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis
      Thanks to Target Liberty for its diligence in “Mad Dog” spotting, we see the (former) house organ of the CIA, Time Magazine, joining the neocon cheering section behind the notion of a third party run by retired Major General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, former Commander of the US Central Command.

    • A genocide century: Armenia's light, Turkey's denial
      Yerevan is consumed by passionate commemoration of the end of the centennial of the Armenian genocide. What is striking is the new, humanist message.

      When the commemorations started on 24 April 2015, the slogan was “I remember and I demand”: a political message in the tradition of the century-long Armenian struggle, demanding recognition that the mass slaughter that took place during the first world war constitutes a genocide – which remains to be addressed.

      This year, the message emanating from Armenia has a significantly different tone. It is no longer angry, but serene; it is no longer about Armenians, but about humanity still struggling to cope with its own self-destruction.

    • Long Time Coming: Georgia Rises Up
      The racist protesters were outnumbered by police in over-the-top riot gear, as well as by several hundred anti-racism protesters under the auspices of Rise Up Georgia. The protesters, including about 50 Black Lives Matter activists, had carefully orchestrated the action, beginning with blocking traffic by paying $15 park entrance fees in pennies. Others took to the woods to get around police, scuffled with them or threw rocks at them; several were arrested. Using hashtags like #HeritageofHate and #‎Time2Escalate, the protesters argue against having to fight a newer, subtler racism that feels as offensive as the old explicit kind. “It’s 2016,” said Shanda Neal. “We should not be dealing with this same BS of racism and prejudice. There’s no room for it. It should just be over.” Decades ago, Georgia's own Otis Redding sang of it: "It's been a long, long time coming/ But I know, but I know a change is gotta come."

    • Pages Said to Detail Saudi Arabia's Involvement in 9/11 to be Made Public
      As Obama administration and Gulf ally try to evade accountability, 28-page document may be declassified by June

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • So We Signed the Paris Agreement. Now What?
      "I'm on the front line of the suffering" from climate change, Assaad Razzouk told me at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on Friday.

      Razzouk, the sharp-eyed CEO of Sindicatum, a sustainable energy developer based in Singapore, had just finished excoriating Wall Street for sticking its head in the sand with regards to the costly impact of climate change.

    • Civil Society Takes on the Haze Crisis in Indonesia
      The Indonesian province of Riau declared a state of emergency last month as haze from agricultural fires across Sumatra continued to envelope the region. The fires are the result of an early dry period, which comes all too quickly after last year’s extended dry season that saw agricultural fires burn over two million hectares of peatland mostly in Central Kalimantan, Riau, and South Sumatra.

    • Within One Week, Plans For Two Major Proposed Natural Gas Pipelines Are Scrapped
      It’s been a good week for anti-pipeline activists in the Northeast.

      Plans for two proposed natural gas pipelines have been scrapped within the last week — but not for the same reasons. On Wednesday, energy company Kinder Morgan halted operations on its Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, which would have carried natural gas from northeastern Pennsylvania into Massachusetts. Kinder Morgan said it wasn’t able to secure the commitments from energy customers it needed to justify building the pipeline, and said that low energy prices made it difficult for natural gas producers to commit to the pipeline.

      Then, on Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration rejected water quality permits needed to construct the Constitution Pipeline, effectively killing the project, which would have brought natural gas 124 miles from Pennsylvania to New York. New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation said in its decision to reject the permits that the pipeline would have impacted about 250 streams, “including trout spawning streams, old-growth forest, and undisturbed springs.”

    • Sea Change in Gasland? PA Primary Shaping into Fracking Referendum
      Pennsylvania Democrats will have the opportunity to choose a host of anti-fracking candidates on the states' primary ballot on Tuesday—representing a potential sea change against the industry at the heart of the Marcellus Shale, one of the country's largest fracking plays.

      The state is the second largest producer of natural gas in the country, after Texas. Pennsylvanians living close to wells and suffering the accompanying adverse effects on their health and land have long appealed to corporate officials and local politicians to put a stop to the controversial practice.

    • Pennsylvania Attorney General Candidate Says He’d Look Closely At Fossil Fuel Companies Like Exxon
      The day before Pennsylvania voters cast their votes in the primary election, the leading Democratic candidate for attorney general has confirmed to ThinkProgress that, if elected, he would join a growing coalition of state attorneys general in examining whether fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil have purposefully misled the public on climate change.

      “Climate change is one of our world’s most pressing issues and and I’ve made addressing it a top priority in my campaign and have pledged to hold the fracking industry accountable for violating Pennsylvania’s environmental laws,” Josh Shapiro, who according to the most recent polling from Harper Poll leads the current Democratic attorney general race by almost 20 points, told ThinkProgress via an emailed statement. “I applaud [New York Attorney General Eric] Schneiderman and the 16 other state Attorneys General who are investigating Exxon Mobil for misleading investors about climate change. As Attorney General, I will join them in looking closely at whether fossil fuel companies like Exxon Mobil have violated Pennsylvania’s laws.”
    • After Paris COP21: Top 6 Green Energy good News Stories Today
      World leaders signed the COP21 Paris climate accord on Friday, Earth Day. Whether it will be meaningful in stopping carbon dioxide emissions and emissions of other dangerous greenhouse gases that are warming our planet remains to be seen. But there is some good news on the emissions front, and new renewable energy installations are key to it.

    • Revealed: After Big Oil Pressure, EU Dropped Key Environmental Measures
      According to a 10-page letter obtained by the Guardian, the unnamed executive warned that proposed pollution cuts and a push for clean technologies "has the potential to have a massively adverse economic impact on the costs and competitiveness of European refining and petrochemical industries, and trigger a further exodus outside the EU."

    • Despite Chernobyl, Belarus goes nuclear
      Nuclear fall-out, like carbon dioxide and other climate-changing greenhouse gases, does not respect national borders.

      On 26 April 1986 an explosion at the Chernobyl power plant, in Ukraine but only a few kilometres from the southern border of Belarus, sent clouds of radioactive dust into the atmosphere.

      It’s estimated that up to 70% of the fall-out from what rates as the world’s worst nuclear accident fell on Belarus, affecting hundreds of thousands of people.

    • Clinton Says No Thanks To Charles Koch’s Endorsement, Citing His Climate Denial

    • Why Right-Wing Oligarch Charles Koch Doesn't Seem That Concerned About a Hillary Presidency
      How Clinton handles such endorsements, or even the occasional kind word from Charles Koch, is important. She already has a problem with perceptions. After all, she earned millions of dollars in speaking fees from strategically-situated business groups and has refused to release the transcripts of those talks. Her vote on the Iraq war in 2003 was a true and monumental misjudgment. Still, she will likely be the Democratic nominee. (And I should add that if she is the nominee, I am likely to vote for her myself).

    • Here’s what publicly owned energy would actually cost – and why the stockbrokers got it wrong
      A substantial majority of people want to see the UK’s electricity and gas services in public ownership.

    • Two Years of Tragedy in Flint
      The water in Flint, Michigan, is still unsafe to drink — two years after the crisis was set in motion. Badly needed federal assistance has been marooned by a handful of congressional Republicans. And the larger national problem of lead in too much of our drinking water is yet to be addressed.

    • 'Catastrophic Leak' Found at Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington State
      The amount of radioactive waste that has been leaking between the two walls of one of the underground tanks at Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State for several years grew dramatically on Sunday, April 17, with up to 13,000 liters (3,500 gallons) of new waste.

    • Australian Politician Sets Methane-Laden River on Fire to Protest Fracking
      An Australian elected official set fire to a river in Queensland this weekend in an act of protest against the coal seam gas industry, stating that fracking causes methane to seep into the river.

      In a video posted to his official Facebook page, Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham can be seen leaning over the side of an aluminum boat on the Condamine River, touching a barbecue lighter to the water and setting it instantly ablaze.

  • Finance

    • TTIP: UK Government found trade deal had 'lots of risk and no benefit' in its only assessment

      The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will have "few or no benefits to the UK", according to the only official assessment of the deal commissioned by the UK Government.

      The stark warning was disclosed in response to a Freedom of Information request by anti-TTIP campaigners Global Justice Now.

      Campaigners filed a request to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills to ask what risk assessments had been made about the treaty.

    • A word-switch, not a phrase-insertion: “back of the line” is an Obama rhetorical staple
      The contention is being (seriously) made that President Obama’s use of “back of the queue” in a speech about Brexit shows that the phrase was inserted by his UK hosts. This contention rests on “queue” not being a word Americans use. They use the word “line” instead.

    • TPP Benefits the Few and Harms Many

    • TTIP is a very bad excuse to vote for Brexit
      Barack Obama’s key message to Europe’s leaders last week was “let’s speed up TTIP”. The US-EU trade deal, formally called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, has been mired in controversy on both sides of the Atlantic. The “free trade” agenda has become poison in the US primaries, forcing even pro-trade Hillary Clinton to re-examine TTIP.

      The next round of talks begin on Monday in New York and Obama is worried – unless serious progress is made in coming months, his trade legacy may be doomed. The problem for the US president is selling TTIP at the same time as trying to warn against the dangers of Brexit. This is a tough ask because TTIP has been a godsend for Brexit campaigners, who argue that the deal is a major reason to cut loose from Brussels.

      It’s true that TTIP is a symbol of all that’s wrong with Europe: dreamed up by corporate lobbyists, TTIP is less about trade and more about giving big business sweeping new powers over our society. It is a blueprint for deregulation and privatisation. As such it makes a good case for Brexit.

    • The Theory of Business Enterprise Part 2: Neoclassical Economists and Veblen
      At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution factories were owned an operated by individuals with a view to making a living. Over time the Captains of Industry (his words) built up capital and began to treat factories not as sources of livelihood but assets to be bought and sold, and operated as generators of profit from investment. As Veblen describes the activities of the businessmen, it feels like the creation of a market in plants and equipment and other rights of ownership like railroad rights-of-way and patents. The industrial processes themselves were not operated, or even necessarily understood, by the Captains. They were designed and operated by engineers, inventors and mechanics, ond operated by workers with varying degrees of skill. All of them were working to make production as simple and as useful as possible. They depended for their livelihoods on paychecks from the Captains of Industry.

    • Globo’s Billionaire Heir, João Roberto Marinho, Attacked Me in the Guardian. Here’s my Response.
      Look, João: like virtually all Brazilians, I had to battle a great deal to earn my place in life. I did not inherit a huge company and billions of dollars from my parents. The things I have had to overcome in my life are far more burdensome than your effort to discredit me with condescension, and it is thus not difficult to demonstrate that your response was filled with falsehoods.

    • John Oliver: We Have to Start Treating Puerto Rico Like an Island of American Citizens (Video)
      The “Last Week Tonight” host outlines the Puerto Rico debt crisis and calls on Lin-Manuel Miranda, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and star of the Broadway hit “Hamilton,” to explain just how dire the situation in the U.S. territory is.

    • Trump and Clinton share Delaware tax 'loophole' address with 285,000 firms
      1209 North Orange Street in Wilmington is a nondescript two-storey building yet is home to Apple, American Airlines, Walmart and presidential candidates

    • Apple, Twitter and Facebook under scrutiny
      Also on Tuesday, Twitter reports results. When co-founder Jack Dorsey came back to lead the company last year, he put it through the wash — laying off employees, changing the boardroom, dropping some projects and prioritising others. Turns out Twitter shrunk in the wash - in its latest financial results, Twitter revealed it lost users for the first time in its history.

    • Transforming finance can help to tackle the biggest problems of society
      Analysis by the UK housing charity Shelter recently found that since 1969, house prices for first time buyers have increased by 48 times, far out-pacing incomes which have only grown 29 times. The received wisdom is that this is a simple issue of supply and demand: build more houses and the market will sort itself out. But the truth is more complex. As a group called Positive Money has pointed out, the role played by huge increases in mortgage credit is potentially far more significant.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Endgame of 2016′s Anti-Establishment Politics
      Will Bernie Sanders’s supporters rally behind Hillary Clinton if she gets the nomination? Likewise, if Donald Trump is denied the Republican nomination, will his supporters back whoever gets the Republican nod?

      If 2008 is any guide, the answer is unambiguously yes to both. About 90 percent of people who backed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries that year ended up supporting Barack Obama in the general election. About the same percent of Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney backers came around to supporting John McCain.

      But 2008 may not be a good guide to the 2016 election, whose most conspicuous feature is furious antipathy to the political establishment.

    • Bernie Says Hillary Will Need to Challenge Oligarchs to Get Enthusiastic Support From His Voters
      "If she continues to be a proponent of establishment politics and establishment economics ... she's not going to generate the excitement that I think we need."

    • Missing the Biggest 2016 Story
      For one thing, journalists as a whole don’t look like the rest of America. “The typical U.S. journalist is a 41 year-old white male,” began a 2006 report by the Pew Research Center. When that report was updated in 2013, that typical journalist had become a 47 year-old white male, and the median age had risen not only at newspapers, where one might expect journalists to be aging along with their institution, but also at TV and radio stations and even online news sites.

    • Clinton’s Defense of Big Money Won’t Cut It
      Hillary Clinton’s heated defense of the money she has raised from Wall Street and other interests won’t cut it. Her protests contradict the basic case that virtually all Democrats and reformers have made for getting big money out of politics. It is vital that voters not be misled by them.

    • How the CIA Writes History
      Policy and ethics aside, I’m impressed. My attempt to write a more comprehensive history of Angleton’s mole hunt has been limited. My plans to quote Cram and Applewhite on Angleton’s legacy have been called into question. My chapter describing the human toll (and the taxpayer’s bill) for the mole hunt will have to be revised. As I write the story of one of the CIA’s most notorious characters, the agency is redacting my book, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. That’s how the CIA writes history.

    • Clintonism the Future? NYT’s Political Science Fiction
      Just before the New York primary, the New York Times (4/16/16) published an op-ed by Michael Lind called “Trumpism and Clintonism Are the Future.” It’s a good guide to how the wishful thinking of the pundit class will likely lead them to misread the clear message of the 2016 elections.

    • Pro-Israel Billionaire Haim Saban Drops $100,000 Against Donna Edwards in Maryland Senate Race
      IN THE FINAL DAYS leading up to Maryland’s Democratic voters going to the polls on Tuesday to choose their U.S. Senate nominee, Rep. Donna Edwards has been barraged by ads and mailers from the Super PAC backing her opponent, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, called the Committee for Maryland’s Progress.

      A television ad assails Edwards as “one of the least effective members of Congress,” contrasting her career with Van Hollen’s legislative record. It mentions no foreign policy issues, despite the dominant issue motivating one of the Super PAC’s largest funders.

      Recently released disclosures reveal that $100,000 — a sixth of what the Super PAC has raised —comes from a single source: a donation by pro-Israel billionaire Haim Saban.

    • Millennials Poll Shows Sanders' Revolution Reshaping US Electorate
      Bernie Sanders is changing the face of American politics, a new poll from Harvard's Institute of Politics suggests.

      According to the survey released Monday, Sanders remains the most popular presidential candidate for so-called millennials between the ages of 18-29, 54 percent of whom view him favorably, compared to 31 percent who harbor unfavorable views.
    • Clinton Team Cynically Exploits 'Cyberbullying' to Justify $1 Million Online Propaganda Push
      Friday, Clinton super PAC Correct the Record announced it was starting a million-dollar social media campaign to “push back” against online criticism of Clinton supporters and her superdelegates. It’s a plan awash in PR posture about “cyberbullying” that amounts to little more than a classic social media astroturf campaign—the likes of which we’ve seen everywhere from Russia to Mexico to the Department of Defense.

    • Sanders Still Strongest Candidate as New Poll Shows Trump and Clinton in Near-Tie
      Sanders continues to trounce Trump by double digits, 51 to 40 percent, according to the George Washington University survey

    • Final Poll Results for Pennsylvania and Maryland
      Here are the final Pollster aggregates for the Democratic primaries in Pennsylvania and Maryland, the two big states up for grabs tomorrow. If this is how things turn out, there's really no case left to be made that Bernie Sanders has a chance to win the nomination. A few minutes ago I was watching his town hall with Chris Hayes, and it seemed like he knew it. He struck me as more subdued than usual, pumping out his standard answers sort of mechanically, rather than with any passion. He may have said "revolution" several times, but his eyes didn't seem to agree. We'll see.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Facebook is reportedly building a standalone camera app
      A team of Facebook engineers in London are working on a standalone camera app with a big live-streaming component, according to a report today in The Wall Street Journal. The app would open straight into a camera, as Snapchat does, to foster immediate capturing and posting of photos and videos, as well as letting users stream via Facebook Live. The app is just a prototype and the experimental effort may never see a finished public release, the report adds.
    • Facial Recognition Service Becomes a Weapon Against Russian Porn Actresses
      The developers behind “FindFace,” which uses facial recognition software to match random photographs to people’s social media pages on Vkontakte, say the service is designed to facilitate making new friends. Released in February this year, FindFace started gaining popularity in March, after a software engineer named Andrei Mima wrote about using the service to track down two women he photographed six years earlier on a street in St. Petersburg. (They’d asked him to take a picture of them, but he never got their contact information, so he wasn’t able to share it with them, at the time.)

      From the start, FindFace has raised privacy concerns. (Even in his glowing recommendation, Mima addressed fears that the service further erodes people’s freedoms in the age of the Internet.) In early April, a young artist named Egor Tsvetkov highlighted how invasive the technology can be, photographing random passengers on the St. Petersburg subway and matching the pictures to the individuals’ Vkontakte pages, using FindFace. “In theory,” Tsvetkov told RuNet Echo, this service could be used by a serial killer or a collector trying to hunt down a debtor.”

    • Kuwait to DNA Test Everyone, Including Tourists. No exceptions
      According to Traveller 24, Kuwait is going to become the first nation in the world to conduct total mandatory DNA tagging, which applies both to their own population and tourists.

      The legislation that will make DNA tagging mandatory will come in effect later this year. After that each and every person entering the country will undergo a mandatory DNA sampling. This will be done by taking samples of saliva or blood (by person's choice). Refusing to undergo such procedure will cause "consequences" that have yet to be specified.
    • Britain’s Investigatory Powers Bill: a gift to securocrats everywhere
      Britain is responding to terror threats in ways that are likely to increase global insecurity, including in southern countries that face no major terrorist threats, like South Africa. An example of a dangerously inappropriate response is the Investigatory Powers Bill – the “Snoopers Charter”– which is passing through the British parliament at the moment.

      If passed in its current form, the bill may well give Britain’s intelligence and police agencies sweeping powers to spy on the communications of its and other countries’ citizens on vague grounds, and with inadequate oversight. It writes unprecedented new mass surveillance powers into law: powers that have been shown to have been abused.

    • Court Tells Cops They Can't Open A Flip Phone Without A Warrant
      Lower courts appear to be taking the Supreme Court's Riley decision seriously -- give or take the occasional "there's no Constitution at the border" decision. If the Supreme Court says there's a warrant requirement for cell phone searches, there's a warrant requirement for cell phone searches.

      The Central District of Illinois has just handed down a decision that makes it clear, in no uncertain terms, that any examination of a cell phone's contents, no matter how brief, is a search covered by Riley.

      The Pekin Police Department participated in a couple of FBI-assisted controlled buys of weapons and drugs involving defendant Demontae Bell. Shortly thereafter, Bell was arrested.

    • [older] U.S. reluctant to change data pact after EU watchdogs' concerns
    • Practical Applications For Massive Surveillance Databases: Timely Birthday Cards, Travel Diaries
      The information collected includes data that could reveal political preferences, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, memberships in associations or groups, mental/physical health along with biometric data and financial documents. With a little digging, the massive database could be used to uncover journalists' sources and privileged communications.

    • FBI Hides Its Surveillance Techniques From Federal Prosecutors Because It's Afraid They'll Become Defense Lawyers
      We know the FBI isn't willing to share its investigative techniques with judges. Or defendants. Or the general public. Or Congress. The severely restrictive NDAs it forced law enforcement agencies to sign before allowing them to obtain IMSI catchers is evidence of the FBI's secrecy. Stingray devices were being used for at least a half-decade before information starting leaking into the public domain.

      The FBI doesn't want to hand over details on its hacking tools. Nor does it want to discuss the specifics of the million-dollar technique that allowed it to break into a dead terrorist's phone (which held nothing of interest).

      USA Today's Brad Heath has obtained documents showing the FBI's tech secrecy extends even further than its nominal opponents (judges, defense lawyers, defendants). Its secrecy even involves freezing out other players on the same team.
    • NSA Definitely Working On Maybe Telling Us How Many Americans It Spied On
      Will the NSA reveal how many Americans they spy on? Maybe! One thing is for certain, they are most definitely working very hard on it.

      This morning James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, told reporters “we are looking at several options right now, none of which are optimal.” Sounds promising!

      For years civil liberties groups like the ACLU and some senators (namely Ron Wyden D-OR) have been trying to pry this information out of Clapper to no avail. There’s a famous 2013 video of Wyden asking Clapper if the NSA spies on millions of Americans, to which Clapper replies “not wittingly.”

    • US Spy Chief Considers Disclosing Number Of Americans Surveilled Online
    • US might reveal how many Americans it caught in ‘incidental’ surveillance – spy chief
    • US weighs disclosure of number of surveilled Americans -spy chief
    • US exploring ways to disclose number of Americans caught in data grabs: spy chief
    • Spy chief appalled that Americans don't want government snooping through correspondence
    • National Intelligence Director Answers U.S. Data Collecting Questions
    • Spies see obstacles for calculating surveillance of Americans

    • James Clapper: Snowden accelerated crypto adoption by 7 years
    • Clapper: Snowden accelerated commercial crypto by 7 years
    • James Clapper: Snowden sped up sophistication of crypto, “it's not a good thing”
    • Another Reason to Praise Snowden: He Sped Up Encryption Development
    • Spy Chief Claims Edward Snowden Has Made It Harder To Catch Terrorists, Sped Up Rollout Of Strong Encryption
    • US Spy Chief Claims Snowden Helped 'the Terrorists' by Improving Technology
    • Congress demands to know how many citizens are being spied on
    • Snowden Leaks Accelerated Encryption Technology By 7 Years, US Intelligence Chief Says
    • Tracking Islamic State Plots Impeded by Encryption, Clapper Says
    • Encryption hindering efforts to stop Islamic State, intelligence director says
      [Ed: Evidence suggests that ‘successful’ terrorists never use encryption so The Liar (Clapper) must be lying again]
    • Clapper says Snowden’s leaks accelerated roll-out of strong encryption
    • Intelligence Director Clapper: Snowden Advanced Encryption Technology 'Seven Years'
    • Snowden Leaks Advanced Encryption by 7 Years, US Spy Chief Says

    • Plaid Cymru candidate Arfon Jones defends 'bomb' tweet
      The Plaid Cymru police and crime commissioner candidate for north Wales said a tweet urging people to "keep GCHQ quiet" by sending emails containing the words "bomb, terrorist and Iran" was meant "in jest".

      Arfon Jones said the comment was "banter" in response to UK government plans to extend surveillance powers.

      Mr Jones also stood by a tweet that said the "UK created ISIS".

      He added that he did not recall using a swear word to describe David Cameron.
    • Plaid Police and Crime Commissioner candidate under fire over tweets on GCHQ and David Cameron
      A Plaid Cymru Police and Crime Commissioner candidate has been dubbed unfit to hold office by Labour and the Conservatives after it emerged he had tweeted a message calling on people to “keep GCHQ quiet” by sending emails containing the words “bomb, terrorist and Iran”.

    • NSA Failed to Fully Inform FISC Even After It Started Fact-Checking Itself
      On Friday, I described how, for four years after the FISA Court ruled that NSA couldn’t keep otherwise unlawfully collected information from a single traditional FISA order, the NSA continued to do just that with data from 702 orders.
    • On Encryption Battle, Apple Has Advocates in Ex-National Security Officials
      In their years together as top national security officials, Michael V. Hayden and Michael Chertoff were fierce advocates of using the government’s spying powers to pry into sensitive intelligence data.

      Mr. Hayden directed a secret domestic eavesdropping program at the National Security Agency that captured billions of phone records after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Mr. Chertoff pushed for additional wiretapping and surveillance powers from Congress both as a top prosecutor and as Homeland Security secretary.

    • Decrypted PGP BlackBerry Messages Helped Convict UK Gun Smugglers
      Law enforcement agencies across the world are cracking down on PGP smartphones as a means of secure communication for organised crime.

      Last week, two leading members of a UK gang, which bought the largest amount of automatic weapons into the UK mainland ever detected by police, were convicted of importation and firearms offences. The two men, Harry Shilling and Michael Defraine, used so-called PGP BlackBerrys (custom smartphones that come pre-configured with an encrypted email feature), but their messages were ultimately decrypted and used to help convict them.
    • Spy Chief Complains That Edward Snowden Sped Up Spread of Encryption By 7 Years
      THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE on Monday blamed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for advancing the development of user-friendly, widely available strong encryption.

      “As a result of the Snowden revelations, the onset of commercial encryption has accelerated by seven years,” James Clapper said during a breakfast for journalists hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

      The shortened timeline has had “a profound effect on our ability to collect, particularly against terrorists,” he said.

    • House Reps To James Clapper: No, Really, Stop Ignoring The Question And Tell Us How Many Americans Are Spied On By NSA
      Way back before Ed Snowden became a household name, Senator Ron Wyden kept pushing James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, to reveal more details on how the NSA was interpreting certain provisions in the PATRIOT Act to spy on Americans. You probably recall the infamous exchange in a 2013 Senate hearing in which Wyden asked Clapper "does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" and Clapper said "No sir... not wittingly." Snowden himself later noted that this particular exchange was part of what inspired him to leak documents to reporters just a couple months later.

      However, that question had some history. Two years earlier, in 2011, we wrote about James Clapper's ridiculous response to a letter from Wyden about this topic. Wyden had asked Clapper to answer some questions about NSA authorities to collect information on Americans and Clapper had refused to answer on the basis of he didn't really want to.

      A year later, in the summer of 2012, Wyden got more explicit, saying that he would block the FISA Amendments Act until Clapper gave an estimate of how many Americans had their information sucked up by the NSA. This time, Clapper responded in December of 2012 by saying that it would be impossible to actually say how many Americans had their information scooped up by the NSA. We now know why -- because six months later, Ed Snowden revealed the answer to be "basically everyone."
    • Tech titans are busy privatising our data
      Are we facing another tech bubble? Or, to put it in Silicon Valley speak, are most unicorn startups born zombies?

      How you answer these questions depends, by and large, on where you stand on the overall health of the global economy. Some, like the prominent venture capitalist Peter Thiel, argue that virtually everything else – from publicly traded companies to houses to government bonds – is already overvalued. The options, then, are not many: either stick with liquid but low-return products such as cash – or go for illiquid but potentially extremely lucrative investments in tech startups.

    • DOJ Drops Other Big Case Over iPhone Encryption After Defendant Suddenly Remembers His Passcode
      While so much of the attention had been focused on the case in San Bernardino, where the DOJ was looking to get into Syed Farook's iPhone, we've pointed out that perhaps the more interesting case was the parallel one in NY (which actually started last October), where the magistrate judge James Orenstein rejected the DOJ's use of the All Writs Act to try to force Apple to help unlock the iPhone of Jun Feng, a guy who had already pled guilty on drug charges, but who insisted he did not recall his passcode.

      There were some oddities in the case. Feng had pled guilty and there was some issue over whether or not there was still a need to get into the iPhone. The DOJ insisted yes, because Feng's iPhone might provide necessary evidence to find others involved in the drug ring. The other oddity: Feng's iPhone was running iOS7. While the device itself was a newer model iPhone than the one in the Farook case, it still has an older operating system, where it was known that Apple (and others) could easily get in. So it made no sense that the FBI couldn't get into this phone. In fact, Apple's latest filing in the case, just over a week ago was basically along those lines, noting that the DOJ claimed Apple's assistance was "necessary," but that seemed unlikely.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • 10 percent of Michigan kids have parents in prison
      Michigan is among the states with the highest number of children who have a parent behind bars, according to a report released Monday.

      Some 228,000 children — one out of 10 — have had a parent incarcerated, according to Kids Count in its report “A Shared Sentence: The Devastating Toll of Parental Incarceration of Kids, Families and Communities.”

      Michigan ranked fifth in the number of kids affected in 2011-12, the latest figures available. California was first with 503,000, followed by Texas, Florida and Ohio.

    • Mexican Human Rights Defenders Say They Are Target of Smear Campaign
      On the eve of the release of a report investigating a student massacre in 2014, its authors and other human rights advocates fear an attempt to pre-empt the findings and discredit the work.

    • The Political Miseducation of DeRay Mckesson
      When it comes to changing the way we talk about race in America, Black Lives Matter has been one of the most successful political movements in the country's recent history. At Dooby's, Mckesson told me that the future of Black Lives Matter is one of continued coalition building, with the goal of strengthening what he calls "the inside-outside," or the pressure placed on institutions of power from both agitators on the outside and political playmakers within.

    • My Frustrating Primary Day as a New York Poll Worker
      More than one million New York City residents participated in Tuesday’s presidential primary. I served as a poll worker on election day and it left me with many questions. Why did many would-be voters receive affidavit ballots on Tuesday? What do you do when everything breaks down at once? Once you go through this process, you have a newfound annoyance with the way New York conducts elections.


      There is now a lot of discussion over the affidavits that many people, especially in Brooklyn, had to fill out on Tuesday. Brooklyn is not alone, and at PS 51 we saw voters who had not moved or changed parties in 10 years and were not listed in the book. We had new voters who registered properly and were not in the book. We found misspellings, birthdate issues, and we even found someone’s name backwards. When I placed a follow-up call to the Board of Elections today, I was told by a spokesperson that they do not know how many affidavit ballots they have received but they will be counted in three to four weeks. Whether an affidavit ballot is approved or not will be subject to the same database that showed the voter to be ineligible to cast a regular ballot in the first place.

      New York City voters stepped up to do their civic duty on Tuesday. They deserve an election system better than this.

    • Breivik reminds us human rights never stand alone
      Many have found a Norwegian court’s ruling that mass murderer Anders Breivik was being tortured in jail hard to swallow

    • Turkish academics go on trial for ‘terrorist propaganda’
      Four Turkish academics go on trial Friday for “terrorist propaganda” in the latest of a series of court cases that have highlighted growing restrictions on free speech under President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan.

      Across town, journalists accused of divulging state secrets also return to court for the third hearing of their Istanbul espionage trial.

      The university scholars are being prosecuted for signing a petition along with over 1,000 colleagues and supporters denouncing the government’s military operations against Kurdish rebels in the country’s southeast.

    • Theresa May faces huge backlash over call to leave European human rights convention
      Theresa May’s call for Britain to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights would be a betrayal of the post-war generation who helped create it, human rights groups have said.

      In a speech on the EU, the Home Secretary said that the ECHR was able to “bind the hands of Parliament”, by preventing the deportation of foreign criminals, and called for Britain to stay in the EU but withdraw from the Convention.

      The comments drew immediate criticism from human rights campaigners.

    • Texas is using “Of Mice and Men” to justify executing this man. Seriously.
      Bobby James Moore has a lifelong intellectual disability, yet he sits on Texas’s death row because the courts there used John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” to decide his fate.

      That’s right—the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals went with a fictional novel over science and medicine to measure Bobby’s severe mental limitations. The justices heard a vast body of evidence demonstrating these limitations, which meet the widely accepted scientific standards for defining intellectual disability. Then they rejected it all according to seven wildly unscientific factors for measuring intellectual disability, drawn in large part from the fictional character Lennie Small. Bobby was no Lennie, they concluded, ruling that his disability wasn’t extreme enough to exempt him from the death penalty. On Friday, the Supreme Court will decide whether to take Bobby’s case.

    • What’s Driving Religious Discrimination at the Alabama DMV?
      I am a Christian woman who follows the Biblical instruction on headscarves, and the state of Alabama should respect that.

      I have always been a spiritual being. Even as a young child I would spend countless hours delving into the tattered pages of my Bible. Though I often have failed, I have tried to remain obedient to God and his Word. But last December, at the Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles, my faith was tested in a way that was humiliating and demeaning.

      In accordance with my Christian faith, I cover my hair with a headscarf, but the DMV refused to take my driver’s license photo unless I removed it. The DMV officials said only Muslims were allowed to keep their headscarves on for photos. I didn’t know what to do. Without question, I believe that Muslim women should not have to violate their faith just to take a driver’s license photo, but neither should Christian women.

    • Independent Investigators Leave Mexico Without Solving the Case Of 43 Disappeared Students
    • 'Illegal, Immoral, A Slap in the Face': Experts Blast Mexico over Missing Students
      A scathing report issued Sunday accuses the Mexican government of stonewalling an international probe into the disappearance of 43 students in September 2014, and Mexican police of torturing suspects in the case.

      The 608-page report from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights—the fruit of an oft-obstructed, year-long investigation—was unveiled "at an emotional press conference on Sunday attended by some of the relatives of the missing students," according to VICE.

      No high-ranking government officials showed up.

    • The Tories Are Disgusting

      Basic human rights are under greater attack in the UK than in any other member state. We have more communications surveillance, more video surveillance, more organised government informers under “Prevent” and more secret police per head of population than either Russia or Turkey.

      It is therefore not surprising that it is in the UK that the responsible Minister – Theresa May – is today calling for the UK to leave the European Convention of Human Rights. It is indeed complete affirmation of the truth of what I have been saying about the police state the UK has become.

    • Obama is Wrong about Social Movements and Activists
      President Obama is on his farewell tour. Speaking to a young, university audience in London while trying to drum up some support for Britain to stay in the European Union, he offered what has to be seen as totally gratuitous advice to them – and of course all of the rest of us – about what he sees as the proper, underline “proper,” role for social movements and activists.

    • The Tory 'remain' strategy is based on fear and selfishness
      PM David Cameron and other prominent politicians campaign for a Remain vote. Stefan Rousseau/PA images. All rights reserved.As confirmed a Remainer I watched with some dismay Chancellor George Osborne’s high-profile defence of British membership in the European Union. The alleged crushing monetary cost of Brexit constituted the central message delivered in his performance in Bristol at the National Composite Centre (who thinks up these names?).

      For progressives – and any open-minded voter -- the problems with Mr Osborne’s championing of the EU cause were 1) the Treasury cost estimates are dubious to the point of absurd, 2) the Osborne argument seeks to inspire fear by appealing to narrow self-interest, and 3) for reactionary political reasons the central benefits of the EU were ignored.
    • Donald Trump Once Again Fearmongers About Muslims
      During a Monday afternoon rally in Warwick, Rhode Island, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump warned Ocean State residents to “lock your doors” because Syrian refugees, some of whom he thinks might be associated with ISIS, are being resettled in the state.

      While reading off Rhode Island factoids from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Trump said, “Here’s one I don’t like… Syrian refugees are now being resettled in Rhode Island.” The audience responded with loud boos.

    • An Obscure GOP Rule Aimed at Stopping Insurgents Is Helping Donald Trump

    • Illinois Police Department Pulls Plug On Body Cameras Because Accountability Is 'A Bit Burdensome'
      Police body cameras aren't the cure-all for bad policing. However, they are an important addition to any force, providing not only a means for accountability (albeit an imperfect one) but also documentation of day-to-day police work. They can help weed out those who shouldn't be cops as well as protect officers from bogus complaints.

      It's not enough to just have the cameras, though. Effort must be made to keep them in working order (and to prevent intentional damage/disabling). The footage must also be preserved and provided to the public when requested. This does mean there's additional workload and expenses to be considered, but the potential benefits of increased documentation should outweigh the drawbacks.

    • Cleveland To Shell Out Millions For Tamir Rice’s Death
    • "No Such Thing as Closure": Tamir Rice's Family Settles for $6M with Cleveland

    • Tamir Rice’s Family Should Spend Money Warning of Toy Guns, Say Cops Who Shot Him With Real One
      The City of Cleveland announced on Monday that it will pay $6 million to settle a lawsuit by the family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was tragically killed by police officers in 2014 while holding a toy gun.

      The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association released a statement responding to the settlement. Rather than acknowledging any error on the police’s part, the association suggested that the Rice family use the funds to “educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms.”

    • Even As Cleveland Pays $6 Million Over Tamir Rice Killing, Police Union Can’t Resist Victim-Blaming
      Hours after the city of Cleveland revealed it will pay $6 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit brought by relatives of slain 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the labor group that represents the police officers who killed Rice sought to remind the world that the boy brought this on himself.

      “We can only hope the Rice family and their attorneys will use a portion of this settlement to help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms,” Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association (CPPA) President Stephen Loomis said in a statement.
    • Democratic Hope in New York
      We face a crisis in this country: A majority of young Americans have lost faith in our government. According to a 2015 Harvard poll, only 17% of 18-29 year olds trust Congress as an institution.

      Having spent three years as a student organizer, I’ve witnessed this political distrust first hand. Many young people view Congress as an auction house, in which politicians are bought via political donation. Given our dysfunctional campaign finance and lobbying systems, none of this should come as a surprise. Indeed, most Americans of all ages believe politicians are more responsive to large donors than their constituents.
    • 8 States Still Have Holidays Celebrating The Confederacy
      Over 150 years ago, the state of Alabama took up arms against the United States in order to defend the state’s practice of enslaving black people and forcing them to work to enrich white property owners. Today, the state celebrates its four years of treason in defense of slavery with a statewide holiday.

      Under Alabama law, the fourth Monday in April is “Confederate Memorial Day” — and this is actually one of two Confederate-themed holidays celebrated by the state. State law also recognizes the first Monday in January as a celebration of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s birthday. State offices, courts, and licensing offices are all closed on Monday because of the state holiday.

    • Psychologists Who Designed the CIA Torture Program Can Be Sued by Victims, Federal Judge Rules
      For the first time, a federal judge is allowing torture victims to sue the psychologists who devised the CIA’s brutal interrogation methods that included sleep deprivation, starvation and forcing captives into coffin-like boxes.

    • Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood most popular leader in Wales, says poll
      Poll suggests Welsh nationalists could become second biggest party ahead of Tories in next week’s assembly election
    • Protests in motion: When films inspire rights’ movements
      Films, like every kind of art, are often made purely for cinema’s sake – but sometimes they aren’t. Some of the most iconic recent films have actually played a major role in inspiring rights’ movements and protests around the world.

      Ten Years, recipient of Hong Kong’s best film award on 3 April 2016, is just one of the latest examples of how cinema can side up with rights: films have often given protests momentum and a cultural reference.

      Sometimes, directors have spoken out publicly in favour of protests; other times the films themselves have documented political abuses. In other cases, protesters and activists have given a film a new life, turning it into an icon for their protests on social media even against the directors’ original ideas.

    • Internet Protections Enshrined In Brazil's Marco Civil Framework Under Threat From New Laws
      Clearly, if these bills pass in their present form, they will nullify many of the safeguards found in the Marco Civil. The key vote is expected to take place on April 27, and the EFF has a page where you can ask Brazilian lawmakers to reject the proposals. There is also a joint statement to the Brazilian congress, which companies active in the country are invited to sign.
    • Oklahoma Is About to Enact a Bill That Would Jail Abortion Providers
      In the most draconian statewide anti-abortion measure yet, the Oklahoma state House of Representatives approved a state Senate bill last week that could make nearly all abortions in the state illegal and jail doctors who provide the procedure.

      The measure, SB 1522, would make it a felony to perform an abortion, with no exceptions for a woman's health. The minimum punishment for those who do so would be one year in prison. If it is discovered that they have provided an abortion, doctors would be stripped of their state medical licenses. The only exception to these rules would be abortions to save the life of the mother, and the bill makes clear that the threat of suicide by a woman seeking an abortion doesn't fulfill the "life" requirement. The bill is now with Gov. Mary Fallin. It's unclear if she will sign it, though historically she has supported anti-abortion legislation.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast Preventing Customers From Accessing Starz Streaming App, Can Only Offer Flimsy Reasons Why
      Last year, we noted that Comcast was refusing to let the company's customers access HBO's streaming video service on certain platforms. In order to watch a service like HBO Go on your Roku or, say, gaming console, you need to log in using your cable credentials, as with most "TV Everywhere" type services. Most cable operators had no problem quickly enabling this authentication, but when it came to say -- HBO Go on Roku or the Playstation 3 or 4, Comcast refused to let the services work. Why? If users can't access this content via a third-party app, they're more likely to watch the content on Comcast's own apps, devices, and services.

    • FCC To Ban Charter Communications From Imposing Usage Caps If It Wants Merger Approval
      If you recall, the FCC and DOJ blocked Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable, in large part because of the sheer volume of nonsensical benefits Comcast tried to claim the deal would bring consumers. When Charter Communications subsequently announced its own acquisition of the company, it decided to take a different tack; most notably by taking a more congenial tone with regulators, dialing back the tone-deaf rhetoric and astroturf, and even hiring long-time net neutrality and consumer advocate Marvin Ammori to help seal the deal.

      And it's now apparent that Charter's approach paid off. After months of meetings with regulators, both the FCC and the DOJ have announced they intend to approve the deal -- with a few conditions. After Bloomberg leaked word of the looming approval, FCC boss Tom Wheeler issued a statement saying (pdf) that most of the conditions being attached to the deal will focus on preventing Charter from harming Internet video competitors.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • MPP Amends HIV Licensing Agreement To Cover More Countries
      The Medicines Patent Pool announced today that its current licensing agreement with ViiV Healthcare for a new antiretroviral drug will be extended to all lower middle-income countries.

      According to an MPP press release, this decision to amend the agreement allows generic dolutegravir distribution in four countries with patents that were not covered in the initial agreement: Armenia, Moldova, Morocco and Ukraine. These were the last lower middle-income countries remaining uncovered, it said.

    • Own name defence narrowed in Europe
      The recently introduced EU trade mark reforms limit the scope of the own name defence. James Whymark and Rachel Boakes explain why the change was introduced, and ask if it is really necessary

    • Federal Cause of Action for Trade Secret Misappropriation
      Nothing is likely to deter the DTSA from passing on Wednesday. The House Leadership is not permitting further amendments prior to the vote and no strong opposition has been voiced other than a group of law professors. States-rights activists have not suggested any reason why the traditional state-law-tort should not also be a federal cause of action.

    • World IP Day - Anne Frank & Geo-blocking Special
      The case highlights the curious lack of copyright harmonisation across the EU, which goes against the single-market premise. Under a single market, capital, goods and services are freely able to move. This freedom stems requires moving towards harmonisation in domestic regulations, lower barriers to trade and reduced restrictions on labour mobility, among others. The goal is to create a trade bloc which functions more like a single European economy, rather than a collection of smaller economies. In theory, this creates a stronger economy that is able to compete internationally with other large economies such as the U.S. and China. In practice, well, geo-blocking is only one example of a number of contentious issues.

    • Trademarks

      • Courts clarify OEM trade mark infringement
        Original equipment manufacturing for export raises several potential trade mark issues in China. Matthew Murphy, Yu Du and Joyce Chng examine the impact of the recent Pretul and Dong Feng cases

      • How to protect your brand when your endorser goes rogue
        Sports sponsorship is big business, and can bring benefits to both the brand owner and the endorser. Nisha Kumar discusses how you can minimise the damage when things go wrong

      • Court Dismisses Trademark Suit Brought By Racetracks Against Gaming Company Referencing Historical Races
        We don't see nearly enough good trademark rulings, especially concerning Fair Use, that it's worthwhile in highlighting those that do occur. A nice recent example of this is a court tossing a trademark action started by several horse racing tracks against a gambling gaming company over the latter's use of track names. To get just a bit of background on this, Encore Racing Based Games makes electronic gambling games, including video slots and video poker. You see these types of machines in bars and restaurants wherever this type of gaming has become legal. But they also make a more innovative type of game in which players are presented with historical races and given the option to bet on them in a parimutuel fashion. The results, as best as I can tell, are based on the real-world outcomes of what I assume are obscure enough races that people aren't able to simply look up the results on their smartphones in whatever the allotted time is that they're given. Those results and races, naturally, include the names of the venues in which they were run.

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom and MEGA Ratchet Up War of Words

        Kim Dotcom and the site he founded, MEGA, appear to be at war. After Dotcom warned users to back up their files last week, MEGA hit back with an attack on the entrepreneur's business plans, noting that his MegaNet project has failed to materialize. Unfazed, Dotcom says MEGA is losing a million dollars per month.
      • Pacemakers and Piracy: The Unintended Consequences of the DMCA for Medical Implants
        As networked computers disappear into our bodies, working their way into hearing aids, pacemakers, and prostheses, information security has never been more urgent -- or personal. A networked body needs its computers to work well, and fail even better.

        Graceful failure is the design goal of all critical systems. Nothing will ever work perfectly, so when things go wrong, you want to be sure that the damage is contained, and that the public has a chance to learn from past mistakes.

        That's why EFF has just filed comments with the FDA in an open docket on cyber-security guidelines for medical systems, letting the agency know about the obstacles that a species of copyright law -- yes, copyright law! -- has put in the way of medical safety.

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