Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 13/7/2016: Microsoft Claims Credit for Skype on Linux After Removing or Ruining It

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • AT&T to release SDN platform into open source

  • AT&T Releasing Its Network Playbook into Open Source

  • AT&T open sources ECOMP to Linux Foundation, hopes to make it industry's standard for SDN

  • AT&T Commits Releasing Its Network Playbook Into Open Source

  • UNH-IOL Tackles SDN Interoperability with New Consortium

  • From DevOps to BizDevOps: It’s All About the People

  • DevOps: Chef offers enterprise-wide analytics with Automate tool
    Already know a vendor of software automation tools, Chef software has launched a new tool that combines Chef's existing software into one, single-interface product.

    Aimed at software development teams the app combines Chef Delivery and Chef Compliance into one tool. According to the company the aim is to speed up the software delivery process.

    Chef Automate includes a new Visibility feature that offers analytics of all the resources managed by Chef through a single interface, the company says, and should help organisations, "safely deploy infrastructure and applications at high velocity and scale".

  • A survey for developers about application configuration
    Markus Raab, the author of Elektra project, has created a survey to get FLOSS developer’s point of view on the configuration of application.

  • Reduce the cost of virtualization with open source Proxmox
    Thanks to its open source availability and full-featured graphical interface, Proxmox makes for an excellent alternative to more expensive virtualization platforms.

  • Know a rising open source star? Nominate her for a WISE Award
    Christine Flounders, Regional Manager for Engineering at Bloomberg L.P. London tells us about an amazing open (source) opportunity for women – the WISE International Open Source Award.

  • The Merits of the Open Source Philosophy

    Tonight, I sent my fourteen year old daughter a sample from the book “Libertarianism For Beginners.” If she likes it, I’ll gladly buy the full book for her to add to her library. The purchasing process was reasonably painless as there was a clean interface guiding me from product discovery all the way through delivery. As an added bonus, the underlying architecture for the whole thing was Linux. This is what you might call Software As a Service or SAAS. In fact, most of the SAAS systems we rely upon for our most common daily activities utilize the most popular kernel ever created and deployed in the history of computing – Linux.

    So what does the book have to do with SAAS? There’s a reason I shared a book about Libertarian philosophy with Eliza and it wasn’t just because it’s a book with pictures. It’s because she recently stumbled onto watching the Atlas Shrugged movies and was intrigued by the clear way the characters present their thoughts. She could understand how individualism benefits society and how forced charity can lead to destruction. It’s not a philosophy that everyone reading this agrees to, nor should they, but it’s neat to see a young lady become infatuated with ideas instead of boys, fashion, or makeup.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Fedora 25 Planning For Proper Rust Support
        There are some new feature proposals to talk about for Fedora 25, which will be officially released around November.

        The latest self-contained change that is proposed for Fedora 25 is Rust compiler support. In particular, the hope is to package up the LLVM-based Rust compiler and its Cargo build system and offer them via the main Fedora repository. The current plan is for packaging Rust 1.10 and Cargo 0.11.

      • Mozilla Will Begin “Rusting” Of Its Firefox Browser On August 2
        Mozilla is all set to launch multi-processing functionality in the new update. The new version–Firefox 48–is scheduled for a release on August 2. Firefox 48 will have some of its components coded in Rust, a programming language developed by Mozilla.

      • Mozilla begins process of letting Firefox rust
        Mozilla has announced it has taken a small step towards replacing much of Firefox's C++ code with its safer alternative language, Rust.

        When Firefox 48 ships on August 2, it will contain a Rust-built mp4 track metadata parser that will be available on Windows and 32-bit Linux desktops for the first time. Users of Mac OS X and 64-bit Linux have had the new parser available since Firefox 45.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Mirantis Embracing Kubernetes and Containers for OpenStack Cloud
      The world of containers and OpenStack clouds are increasingly coming together, as organizations of all sizes look to become more agile. While the idea of running containers inside of OpenStack is one option, a powerful idea that is now taking shape is to run OpenStack itself as a set of containers, which is then managed by the Kubernetes container orchestration system.

      Among the vendors that are working on enabling OpenStack to run as a set of containers is Miranits, which is currently developing a new version of its Fuel platform to make use of Kubernetes. To date, Fuel has heavily relied on Puppet configuration management technology to help enable many functions. Moving forward, Puppet will still be a part of future Fuel releases, though not quite in the same depth as before.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Better networking with open-source EtherCAT [Ed: openwashing as it has nothing to do with OSS]
      Semiconductor manufacturers and their suppliers – both process tool vendors and providers of sub-fab systems – are looking to an open-source industrial networking methodology, EtherCAT, developed by Beckhoff Automation (Verl, Germany; to address the increasingly stringent control requirements of emerging high-precision processes.

      During SEMICON West, early adopters are promoting EtherCAT as a next-generation real-time Ethernet control solution, with a variety of attributes: it is fast (good for controlling ever-more precise process recipes), open source, and extendable to many more nodes than existing networking protocols. Those attributes make EtherCAT attractive to tool makers such as Applied Materials, Lam Research, and Tokyo Electron Ltd., as well as sub-systems suppliers such as Edwards (Crawley, England).

  • Public Services/Government

    • EU-FOSSA needs your help – A free software community call to action
      The EU-FOSSA project’s mission is to “offer a systematic approach for the EU institutions to ensure that widely used critical software can be trusted”. The project was triggered by recent software security vulnerabilities, especially the Heartbleed issue. An inspired initiative by EU parlamentarians Max Andersson and Julia Reda, the pilot project “Governance and quality of software code – Auditing of free and open source software” became FOSSA. Run under the auspices of DIGIT, the project promised “improved integrity and security of key open source software”. I had been interviewed as a stakeholder by the project during work package 0 (“project charter, stakeholder interviews and business case”), and later worked with the FSFE group that provided input and comments to the project to EC-DIGIT. While I believe that the parliamentary project champions and the people involved in the project at EC-DIGIT are doing great work, I am worried that the deliverables of the project are beginning to fall short of expectations. I also think the free software community needs to get more involved. Here is why.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why I Chose Sterilization at 31
      There are several reasons why I'm getting sterilized. The first one is: I don't ever want to be pregnant again. The only time I have been pregnant was horrible: all-day nausea, unable to eat anything but crackers and ginger ale, basically stuck in bed for two weeks before my abortion. I was unable to work or to do much more than watch TV and sleep all day.

    • Farmers Rebel After Organic 'Elites' Throw Support Behind Sham Label Law
      The Stabenow-Roberts GMO labeling bill, which the House of Representatives is expected to vote on this week, has deepened a rift within the organic industry as farmers and other dedicated opponents of genetically modified (GM or GMO) agriculture are breaking ties with those who support the legislation (pdf), which is backed by both Monsanto and the powerful Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).

      The farmer-controlled Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) announced Wednesday that it has withdrawn its membership from the influential Organic Trade Association (OTA).

      The decision was made by a unanimous vote by the group's Board of Directors and was prompted by what OSGATA describes as "duplicity towards organic farmers and consumers" when OTA signed off on the bill, despite the fact that it "would immediately preempt existing strong state GMO labeling laws that are widely supported by the Organic community and ninety percent of consumers."

  • Security

    • Security updates for Wednesday

    • Download This Security Fix Now — All Versions Of Windows Operating System Hackable
      As a part of its monthly update cycle, Microsoft has released security patches for all versions of Windows operating system. This update addresses a critical flaw that lets an attacker launch man-in-the-middle attacks on workstations. This security vulnerability arises as the print spooler service allows a user to install untrusted drivers with elevated privileges.

    • The Truth About Penetration Testing Vs. Vulnerability Assessments
      Vulnerability assessments are often confused with penetration tests. In fact, the two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are worlds apart. To strengthen an organization’s cyber risk posture, it is essential to not only test for vulnerabilities, but also assess whether vulnerabilities are actually exploitable and what risks they represent. To increase an organization’s resilience against cyber-attacks, it is essential to understand the inter-relationships between vulnerability assessment, penetration test, and a cyber risk analysis.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Why America needs a truth commission
      In the United States, gun deaths over the last three decades far exceed those reported in truth commissions and civil wars around the world in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

    • Between a Rock and a Hard (South China) Place
      What transpired in The Hague certainly won’t solve the riddle, asargued here. Beijing had already made it very clear, even before the ruling, it would fiercely reject all findings.

    • Is Kerry Right? Are Freemen of Syria and Army of Islam Radical Terrorists?

      In his opinion piece, Rogin characterizes what Kerry said as a gaffe that yielded to the Russian position that all rebels against the al-Assad regime in Syria are terrorists. Rogin also defended Ahrar al-Sham (Freemen of Syria) as not an al-Qaeda affiliate or in the line of command of al-Qaeda, though he admitted that it is Salafi and wants a radical Muslim dictatorship.

      I’m not sure why the State Department officials who anonymously blasted Kerry think that Freemen of Syria are good guys just because they aren’t al-Qaeda.

      And the fact is that they are in fact in a formal political and military coalition with al-Qaeda. I.e. they are playing Mulla Omar and the Taliban to al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri (the 9/11 mastermind to whom the Syrian Nusra Front reports).

    • China may dispute South China Sea verdict, but it's a huge setback

    • China told: World is watching you

    • Beijing warns against 'cradle of war' in South China Sea
      China warned rivals Wednesday against turning the South China Sea into a "cradle of war" and threatened an air defence zone there, after its claims to the strategically vital waters were declared invalid.

      The surprisingly strong and sweeping ruling by a UN-backed tribunal in The Hague provided powerful diplomatic ammunition to the Philippines, which filed the challenge, and other claimants in their decades-long disputes with China over the resource-rich waters.

      China reacted furiously to Tuesday's decision, insisting it had historical rights over the sea while launching a volley of thinly veiled warnings at the United States and other critical nations.

    • Taiwan sends warship to South China Sea after ruling
      A Taiwanese warship set sail for the South China Sea on Wednesday "to defend Taiwan's maritime territory", a day after an international tribunal ruled China has no historic rights in the waterway and undermined Taipei's claims to islands there.

    • South China Sea ruling won’t stop plundering of ecosystem, experts say
      An international tribunal's ruling that China has caused severe harm to coral reefs and endangered species in the South China Sea will not stop further damage to an already plundered ecosystem, scientists and academics said.

      The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled on Tuesday that China did not have historic rights to the South China Sea and that it had breached Philippine sovereignty by endangering its ships and fishing and oil projects in the energy-rich waters.

    • Beijing accuses UN judges of taking bribes from the Philippines after they ruled against national claim to the South China Sea

    • Chinese Official On Tribunal Ruling: 'It's Nothing But A Scrap Of Paper'
      After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

    • China Slams the South China Sea Decision as a ‘Political Farce’
      Beijing has made it clear that it has no intention of heeding an international tribunal decision that rejects China's claims to the contested South China Sea

    • Clinton vetting ex-NATO military chief Stavridis for vice-president – report
      The Clinton camp is reportedly vetting retired four-star Admiral James Stavridis as a potential vice presidential running mate. The former NATO brass served as the DoD’s top adviser during the Iraq War and has speculated on nuclear war with Russia.

      Retired Admiral James G. Stavridis, who is now dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, is being considered as a possible running mate by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a source familiar with the matter told the New York Times on Tuesday.

      The source said Clinton would probably have “someone with military experience" on her vice-presidential shortlist, and Admiral Stavridis would “fit the description.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Hillary Clinton, Her Email and a Body Blow to the Freedom of Information Act
      Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey announced that his agency is recommending no charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of an unclassified personal email server while secretary of state. Comey offered that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against Clinton.

      The implications of these statements, and what happened before and after the announcement, represent what most likely represent the virtual end of the 2016 election cycle. Come November votes will be counted but the single, major, unresolved issue standing in the shadows behind Clinton is now resolved in her favor.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • This Is Why You Could Lose Your Life Protecting Honduras’ Environment
      On Thursday, news broke first in Honduras and then in the international press: Urquía’s family had found the activist leader dead in a municipal landfill. It was a gruesome sight. Urquía, a sympathizer of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), and a vocal opponent of hydroelectric development in the La Paz region, was dumped on top of trash bags. According to authorities, her head showed signs of massive trauma done with a blunt object. Police said they suspected it all stemmed from a bike robbery, though COPINH quickly attributed the killing to her activism.

    • A massive heat wave is poised to envelop the U.S. from coast to coast next week
      Following on the heels of the hottest June in the history of the lower 48 states, an extended, intense and widespread heat wave is likely to develop next week.

      The heat wave will start in the Plains states and parts of the intermountain West, eventually spreading to the West Coast, South and Midwest by Thursday, July 21. The heat wave is also likely to seep northward into southern Alberta and Ontario.

      Cities like Dallas, Denver, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Chicago, Minneapolis, Fargo and eventually New York City and Washington, D.C. may experience sizzling heat and stifling humidity by the end of the week.

    • Why These Parents and Grandparents are 'Fasting for the Future'
      Upwards of 30 parents and grandparents are fasting outside Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's office this week, calling for a stronger and more ambitious Clean Air Rule ahead of a Thursday evening hearing on the issue.

      A group of 19 people began the fast at 8 am Tuesday morning; they were joined by 15 additional supporters on Wednesday.

      "It is no wonder we are here," said great-grandparent Judy Bea-Wilson, who joined the action on Wednesday. "There is nothing stronger than a parent's love for their child and, right now, with this weak draft rule, both our Governor and the Dept. of Ecology are failing our children in an unforgivable manner."

      The hearing on Thursday concerns the state's draft Clean Air Rule, which aims to cut carbon emissions from 70 of Washington's biggest polluters by 1.7 percent a year. Completion and adoption of the rule was court-ordered, thanks to a group of intrepid young people who fought in court for their rights to clean air and a stable climate.

      But environmentalists say the proposal is just business as usual.

  • Finance

    • Abe seeks TPP approval in autumn
      Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has suggested that he will seek approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal at an extra session of the Diet this year.

      Abe was speaking to business leaders including Sadayuki Sakakibara, the chair of Japan’s largest business federation, Keidanren.

      Japan and 11 other countries signed the TPP last year but none has completed domestic procedures needed for the deal to take effect.

      Abe suggested that Japan take the initiative to raise momentum for implementing the TPP soon so that it will produce results as early as possible.

    • TPP Opponents Take Aim at Pelosi: Let's Build a Firewall of Resistance
      Social change network CREDO Action has amplified its call to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), calling for "an onslaught of grassroots opposition" coupled with a "firewall" of Democratic resistance in the House of Representatives to prevent the trade deal from being rammed through Congress.

      In a video released Wednesday, CREDO combines footage of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) speaking out against the TPP, and urges viewers to sign a petition that calls on House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to help stop a "lame-duck" vote on the TPP.

      The footage of Clinton is from her joint rally with Sanders on Tuesday, when she got his endorsement.

      She says in the video: "And we're going to say no to attacks on working families and no to bad trade deals and unfair trade practices, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership."

      The footage of Reid shows the senator saying the TPP "puts us at a disadvantage. So the answer is not only no, but hell no," while Warren—already featured in a separate anti-TPP video released last week by CREDO—says the deal "would tilt the playing field even more in favor of multinational corporations and against working families."

    • Free Trade and a Textile Fire Tragedy
      So-called “free trade” in textiles has led retailers to seek out the cheapest labor and to neglect safety measures, factors in a devastating Bangladesh fire in 2013 that killed more than 1,000 workers, recalls Dennis J Bernstein.

    • Denmark Seeks EU Fix To ‘Div-Arb’ Deals
      A Danish politician is asking the European Commission to examine stock loan deals that drain the country and many of its neighbors of tens of millions of dollars in forgone tax revenues.

      The request, made by Jeppe Kofod, a Danish member of the European Parliament, could open a new front in lawmakers’ efforts to stamp out the deals, which help large shareholders avoid paying their share of taxes on dividends paid out by corporations in Denmark and elsewhere.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • When our watchdog becomes a bloodthirsty attackdog, be wary
      Jeremy Corbyn has been variously described in the British press as unelectable, comic and highly dangerous. How should a healthy democracy respond to politicians pursuing a different kind of democracy?

    • Bernie Sanders Abandons the Revolution
      Bernie Sanders’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton has hugely disappointed millions of his supporters. Many of those inspired by his call for a political revolution had held out hope, even until now, that he would refuse to endorse Wall Street’s favored candidate.

      But those hopes have come crashing down.

      Not only did Sanders endorse his neoliberal opponent, he has begun to campaign for her, even before the Democratic National Convention, where he had previously committed to continue the fight. Appearing at her rally in New Hampshire, he signaled his intention to further accompany her on the campaign trail.


      Instead, Bernie’s endorsement will be used in an attempt to prop up that same rotten establishment, including the corporate-owned leadership of the Democratic Party which has fought against him at every step, and which just booed him in the last week. Further, if Jill Stein were not running, or received little support, polls already show that the two right-wing candidates, Libertarian Gary Johnson, and Republican Donald Trump, would be the beneficiaries of the anti-establishment vote – helping to grow the base for right-wing populism.

      Sanders endorsement of Clinton is a fundamental failure of leadership. Sanders has the trust of millions of the most dedicated, committed workers and young people. They are looking to him. He has a responsibility to lead them in the way forward, not into a political dead end.

      While my organization, Socialist Alternative, and I actively supported Sanders’s campaign by launching Movement4Bernie, we always openly disagreed with his decision to run in the Democratic Party primary. But we also said that this mistake could be corrected as experience clarified the deeply hostile character of the Democratic Party to progressive politics. We urged Bernie if he was defeated within the (un)Democratic primary, as we expected, to continue running as an independent or Green, and launched a petition that has been signed now by nearly 125,000 people.

    • The UK’s New Prime Minister Is Walking Onto The Glass Cliff
      On Wednesday, Theresa May will become the next prime minister of the UK, taking over after former Prime Minister David Cameron resigned in the wake of his country’s vote to exit the European Union. She will be the country’s second female prime minister in all of its history.

      That this historic turn of events comes at a time of high political turmoil, however, is likely no coincidence.

      The UK’s vote to leave the European Union — which has come to be known as its “Brexit” — immediately roiled financial markets and has continued to leave a big imprint on the British economy. Businesses are saying that the decision to leave the union is making them tighten their purse strings and consider cutting jobs. Credit Suisse is already predicting that the country will fall into a recession next year thanks to the economic impact of the exit.

    • Farewell, David Cameron, It's Theresa May's Turn to Mess Things Up Now
      Britain bid farewell to David Cameron on Wednesday as the reign of Prime Minister Theresa May began.

      Over the six years he was installed at 10 Downing Street, Cameron—who resigned in the wake of the Brexit referendum—drew criticism over his support for austerity policies, disregard for the environment, callous approach toward refugees, and hawkishness on the bombing of Syria.

    • Amazing Brexit: Identity and Class Politics
      Metaphorically speaking, in the genetically racist United States, “race” operates a strange alchemy on portions of the liberaliat and the compatible left. When it comes to bombing people in the darker corners of the earth, they are silent or compliant; when, however, it comes to sporting the anti-racist colors in a comfortably conformist context, they sing like parrots. This is liberal imperialism. None other than the by now politically compromised George Orwell confessed the hypocrisy behind the imperialist liberal mindset. In his psychologically penetrating essay, “Shooting an Elephant” (1936), using himself as a representative of the liberal anti-imperialist class, he concedes that theoretically he was all for the “natives” freeing themselves from the yoke of British imperialism. At the same time, he admits that nothing would have given him a greater pleasure than “to stick a bayonet in a [troublesome] Buddhist priest’s guts.” These conflicted feelings, he wrote, were the by-product of imperialism.

    • Bernie Sanders Endorses Hillary Clinton, Candidate of Wall Street and Corporate Power
      Bernie Sanders threw in the towel today in his epic campaign to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, standing on a stage in Portsmouth, New Hampshire beside the woman he had spent the whole primary season denouncing as a tool of the corporate elite and especially of the Wall Street banking cabal, and saying he endorsed her as the party’s candidate for president of the United States.

      The event marked the sad, if widely predicted, end to what for a brief time had electrified millions of young and working class voters: a major party candidate for president openly calling himself a socialist, proudly harking back to his days as a radical civil rights activist instead of trying to hide his past and his arrest record, and unabashedly condemning the greed, corruption and lust for power of the nation’s ruling elite.

      I confess to having been inspired by Sanders’ quixotic campaign myself, and while I’m disappointed that he has ended it in such a dismal and humiliating manner, I’m not sorry he ran. Thanks to Bernie Sanders, the word “socialism” is no longer a pejorative in American politics. It is a political philosophy to which millions of young people are now drawn. That is something that can and will be built upon. For at least two generations it was not possible to call one’s self a socialist and be taken seriously in the United States of Capitalism. Of course, Sanders didn’t achieve this breakthrough by himself. His campaign built directly upon the struggles of the Occupy Movement, which in 2011 gave us “We are the 99%!” and made it clear that it is the 1% of the nation’s wealthiest people who basically own and run the country.

    • 6 Ways The RNC Platform Is Already Shaping Up To Be Crazy
      The Republican National Committee is meeting this week to finalize the document that will lay out the party’s vision for the future — which, if the first day is any indication, includes a lot of “traditional” families, conversation therapy, and Bible study.

    • Et Tu, Bernie?
      What an embarrassment for Bernie Sanders and those, myself included, who thought he would not descend so cravenly into the swamp of political sellout.

      It is one thing to hold one’s nose and vote for Hillary Clinton as the lesser evil. It is quite another to suddenly absolve the Clintons and other top Democrats who have, as Sanders repeatedly pointed out during his campaign, contributed so much to the national crisis.

    • Theresa May Is Britain’s New Prime Minister After David Cameron’s Resignation
      Theresa May took office as Britain’s prime minister on Wednesday afternoon, after her predecessor, David Cameron, tendered his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.

      At Buckingham Palace, the queen asked Ms. May, who had been home secretary, to form a government. Ms. May, 59, is the queen’s 13th prime minister; the first was Winston Churchill.

      Ms. May arrived at the palace moments after Mr. Cameron left. In his final remarks as Britain’s leader, Mr. Camerons spoke briefly outside 10 Downing Street in London, joined by his wife, Samantha, and their three children.

      “It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve our country as prime minister over these last six years, and to serve as the leader of my party for almost 11 years,” Mr. Cameron said. “My only wish is continued success for this great country that I love so very much.”

    • 'We will build a better Britain not just for the privileged few': Prime Minister Theresa May issues statement of intent

    • The Sanders Endorsement and the Political Revolution
      But the sentiment is real. The Sanders insurgency was fueled by a revolt against the big-money politics that Clinton personifies. Clinton delivered one of her most populist speeches in response to the Sanders endorsement, but doubts about her commitments are widespread, even among those intending to vote for her.

    • Impeachment Effort May Fail in Brazilian Senate
      Some press reports on the crisis in Brazil seem to imply that the removal of President Dilma Rousseff, re-elected in 2014 for a four-year term, is a done deal. Of course the interim government is acting as though they are the product of some huge electoral victory, even though the elected president is merely suspended pending her upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate. Beginning with a cabinet of all rich, white males, in a country where more than half identify as Afro-Brazilian or mixed race descent, they have tried to create the impression that they are the new government that will rule at least until there are new presidential elections in 2018. But the chances that they will be gone before September are increasing every day.

    • Billionaires in Brazil: Understanding How Extreme Wealth and Political Power Overlap Everywhere
      Alex Cuadros spent years covering the billionaire class of Latin America for Bloomberg. A Portuguese-speaking American journalist who spent years based in Brazil, he has now written a highly entertaining and deeply insightful book about the particularly powerful, flamboyant, assertive, and often-crazed class of Brazilian billionaires. Entitled Brazillionaires: Wealth, Power, Decadence, and Hope in an American Country, his new book was released yesterday.

    • An Interview With Michael T. Flynn, the Ex-Pentagon Spy Who Supports Donald Trump
      Flynn is now taking his message to the biggest stage possible: the 2016 presidential election. Last week, the New York Post reported that Flynn, a registered Democrat, was being considered as a running mate for Donald Trump on the Republican ticket. In the days since, Flynn has been making the media rounds praising the GOP frontrunner.


      For Flynn, the decision to step into public life preceded the rise of Trump and boiled down to two core issues: perceived lies peddled by the Obama administration and his self-imposed duty to confront them. “I watched our own government lie to us about a number of things,” Flynn told The Intercept.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Privacy Critics Raise Alarm over Pokémon GO's Collect-It-All Power
      Sen. Al Franken questioning "extent to which Niantic may be unnecessarily collecting, using, and sharing a wide range of users' personal information"
    • FBI Created Child Porno Website Playpen, Defends Its “Good” Malware In Court
      In order to catch child pornography watchers, FBI created a website Playpen and hosted it on the dark web. Later in the case, the judges ruled out evidence due to lack of a proper warrant. FBI has filed a petition that the malware created by them shouldn’t be considered as malicious.

    • Watch out, Theresa May! Max Schrems is coming for your planned spy law
      Max Schrems, the man who brought down Safe Harbour, has told Ars that although he sees huge problems with Privacy Shield, he probably won’t be the one to challenge it. Instead he’s looking towards the UK, following its vote to leave the European Union.

      “Basically it would be a very similar case to the Safe Harbour one and the thrill isn’t there any more,” he joked. “But I really hope someone else will challenge it,” he added. That similarity is at the core of most of the criticism of Privacy Shield.

      Safe Harbour—the deal struck between the EU and the US to facilitate the transfer of European personal data to the US—was necessary because the US otherwise doesn't meet EU adequacy requirements for data protection. However, following Edward Snowden’s disclosures of National Security Agency spying, Austrian law student Schrems launched a case against Facebook for not sufficiently protecting his data. Last year his case ended up in the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which ruled that the Safe Harbour framework invalid.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • FBI Greenlights Crackdown on Black Lives Matter Protesters
      The FBI is using the actions of a lone gunman as a pretext to attack the Black Lives Matter movement.

    • Police Officers Working WNBA Game Walk Out After Players Wear ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-Shirts
      On Saturday night, four off-duty Minneapolis police officers walked off their jobs working security at a WNBA Lynx game when the players wore T-shirts with the phrase “Black Lives Matter” and held a press conference focusing on healing the divide between law enforcement and the black community.

    • Just One Year Ago, Robot That Killed Suspected Dallas Shooter Was Used to Deliver Pizza
      After using a robot to kill armed suspect Micah Johnson early Friday morning, the Dallas police were hesitant to release the robot's make and model, and justifiably so. Johnson is the first civilian to be killed by a U.S. police robot, which raises some ethical questions.

    • Charge Abu Zubaydah With a Crime or Free Him
      “High-value detainee” Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Husayn—better known as Abu Zubaydah—described to his attorney in a 2009 statement, only recently released to the public, details of the torture he underwent at the hands of the CIA at a secret site overseas.

    • Gestapo America

      FBI Director James Comey got Hillary off the hook but wants to put you on it. He is pushing hard for warrantless access to all of your Internet activity.

      Comey, who would have fit in perfectly with Hitler’s Gestapo, tells Congress that the United States is not safe unless the FBI knows when every American goes online, to whom they are sending emails and from whom they are receiving emails, and knows every website visited by every American.

    • Baton Rouge: "Put Those Damn Weapons Down!"
      "Put those damn weapons down. I'm not going to tell you again, goddamn it. Get those goddamn weapons down." That was the first command of one of Louisiana’s most revered figures, General Russell Honore, when he arrived in New Orleans in 2005 to direct the military recovery after Hurricane Katrina. The General’s directions have not been followed in Baton Rouge.

      Since the police killing of Alton Sterling, thousands of people in Baton Rouge have been non-violently protesting day and night all over the city. There has been no arson in Baton Rouge, no looting, no burning cars, no windows broken, and no people beaten. Police report that a rock or other material was thrown at them but there is no video of such action nor have there been any arrests for such actions.

    • UN Human Rights Expert to Visit Baton Rouge, Ferguson, and Convention Host Cities
      With the nation in angst about impending protests at the conventions and deadly police shootings, he'll have his hands full.

      In the first visit of its kind, the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association began a 16-day trip across the U.S. to monitor the status and protection of assembly and association rights in our country. With much of the nation in angst about impending protests at political conventions and deadly police shootings, the special rapporteur will undoubtedly have his hands full.

      Maina Kiai, a Kenyan lawyer and renowned international human rights expert, was appointed as the U.N.’s special rapporteur in 2011 following strong advocacy by the United States to create the mandate. His mission to the United States will culminate in a report that will be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council next year and will address gaps in First Amendment protections between U.S. law and policy and international standards.

      The report will be an important test of the United States’ reputation and self-perception as a human rights champion. Ever since protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, the U.S. has been under international scrutiny because of its failure to hold police accountable for the killing of unarmed Black men and the use of excessive police force against protesters. Kiai’s visit comes at a time when local police departments across the country are gearing up for further confrontation with protesters, especially after five Dallas police officers were killed during a nonviolent protest against the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

    • Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, Dallas
      A thick strand in the history of U.S. policing is rooted back in the slave patrols of the 19th century. Patty rollers were authorized to stop, question, search, harass and summarily punish any Black person they encountered. The five- and six-pointed badges many of them wore to symbolize their authority were predecessors to those of today’s sheriffs and patrolmen. They regularly entered the plantation living quarters of enslaved people, leaving terror and grief in their wake. Together with the hunters of runaways, these patrols had a crystal clear mandate: to constrain the enslaved population to its role as the embodiment and producer of massive wealth for whites and to forestall the possibility that labor subordinated to the lash might rebel at the cost of white lives.

    • Still Second-Class Citizens
      An infamous Supreme Court ruling once denied African Americans any and all rights as human beings. Has anything changed?

    • A Wake-Up Call for White Progressives
      The night after Alton Sterling was killed by police, I got home from work late. When our three children were asleep, my wife and I finally had a moment together.

      The first thing she said, as if she had been sitting on it all day, was: “I feel like we need to get a Black Lives Matter sign for our yard. I know it would be unusual in our neighborhood.”

      We live in Chevy Chase, D.C., in one of the wealthiest Zip codes in the city. There are about 30 houses on my block, and only one African-American family that I know of. But it didn’t surprise me that my wife wanted a public display of solidarity. In 1990, when she was 16, her classmate Phillip Pannell was shot in the back and killed while fleeing police at the elementary school they had attended in Teaneck, New Jersey. It molded her thinking on race and justice.

    • Assassination by Robot: Denying Due Process in Dallas
      Due process is an integral part of our legal system, and protects US citizens from over-zealous authorities. For that reason, it is especially important to apply due process protections to suspects when it is most difficult to do so.

      Unfortunately, that’s not what happened in Dallas this morning. The Dallas police department violated Micah Johnson’s right to due process under the law in the wake of his rampage through the city.

      Johnson’s attack on downtown Dallas claimed the lives of five police officers and wounded seven more people, including two civilians participating in a protest march for a recent spate of murders perpetrated by the police.

      Police negotiated with Johnson, an Army veteran, for hours as he holed up in a Dallas parking garage. Eventually they sent in a robot armed with a bomb to kill him.

      The Dallas Police Department’s decision to send in an armed robot is understandable from a certain point of view. Johnson said he wanted to kill as many officers as possible. This was unmistakably a life-threatening situation.

    • On The Passing of David Margolis, the DOJ Institution
      Sally Yates is spot on when she says Margolis’ “dedication to our [DOJ] mission knew no bounds”. That is not necessarily in a good way though, and Margolis was far from the the “personification of all that is good about the Department of Justice”. Mr. Margolis may have been such internally at the Department, but it is far less than clear he is really all that to the public and citizenry the Department is designed to serve. Indeed there is a pretty long record Mr. Margolis consistently not only frustrated accountability for DOJ malfeasance, but was the hand which guided and ingrained the craven protection of any and all DOJ attorneys for accountability, no matter how deeply they defiled the arc of justice.

    • Leaked Data Reveals How the U.S. Trains Vast Numbers of Foreign Soldiers and Police With Little Oversight
      At 9:30 a.m. on a gray winter Monday, the State Department officials began certifying the names at a rate of one every two minutes and 23 seconds.

      In rapid succession, they confirmed that 204 police officers, soldiers, sailors, and airmen from 11 countries had committed no gross human rights violations and cleared them to attend one of more than 50 training efforts sponsored by the U.S. government. The programs were taking place at a wide variety of locations, from Italy, Albania, and Jordan to the states of Louisiana and Minnesota.

      Thirty-two Egyptians were approved for instruction in, among other things, Apache helicopter gunship maintenance and flight simulators for the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk. Azerbaijanis were cleared for a U.S. Army course on identifying bio-warfare agents in Maryland and underwater demolition training with Navy SEALs in San Diego. Thirty-three Iraqis were certified to attend a State Department training session for bodyguards, held in Jordan. Bosnians were bound for Macedonia to prepare for deployment to Afghanistan. Ukrainian police were selected for peacekeeping training in Italy. Romanians would study naval operations in Rhode Island and counterterrorism in Skopje.

      This was only the beginning of one day’s work of vetting security personnel for U.S. training. A joint investigation by The Intercept and 100Reporters reveals the chaotic and largely unknown details of a vast constellation of global training exercises, operations, facilities, and schools — a shadowy network of U.S. programs that every year provides instruction and assistance to approximately 200,000 foreign soldiers, police, and other personnel. The investigation exposes the geographic and political contours of a U.S. training system that has, until now, largely defied thorough description.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Verizon Tries To 'Debunk' News Reports Pointing Out Its New Wireless Plans Stink
      Last week, we noted how Verizon had unveiled some new wireless data plans intended to be a competitive response to T-Mobile. In very Verizon-esque fashion, the new plans involved first and foremost raising already-industry high data prices another 17%, then scolding media outlets that called it a rate hike. The new plans also involved taking a number of ideas T-Mobile and other carriers had implemented years ago, then somehow making them worse.

      For example, Verizon belatedly introduced a "Carryover" rollover data option. Under most implementations of this idea (as with T-Mobile), you're allowed to take any unused data at the end of the month and store it in the bank for future use. But under Verizon's implementation, this data only lasts one month -- and you have to burn through your existing allotment of data before it can even be used. This is Verizon's attempt to give the illusion of offering an innovative and competing service, but saddling it with caveats to make it incredibly less useful.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • France Might Allow NGOs To Sell Public Domain Seeds To Non-Commercial Buyers. Might?
      When Techdirt has written about seeds in the past, it tended to be in the context of patents, and how Big Agribusiness is trying to use multiple layers of intellectual monopolies to prevent patented seeds from entering the public domain. By contrast, seeds that are already in the public domain -- that is, owned by no one and thus everyone -- ought to be unproblematic.

    • Opposition To Kenyan “Anti-Innovation” ICT Bill Grows
      A bill introduced in Kenya’s parliament intended to streamline, govern and regulate the country’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector has been met with opposition from different quarters over fears that it could put ICT technicians out of practice and stifle the country’s innovation capacity if passed into law.

    • New Book On Price-Reducing Strategies For Essential Medicines Under IPRs
      A new book and website released today examine the impact of intellectual property rights on access to new essential medicines and call for measures used to reduce prices of patented HIV medicines to be applied in the case of essential medicines.

    • Gilead’s Use Of Patents For $10B Tax Dodge Could Ignite Move For Policy Change
      Gilead is the US company whose use of patents to charge $1000 per pill for a hepatitis C medicine in the United States helped make high drug prices a developed country household issue and fodder for elected officials seeking change. Now the company has come under further fire after being found to have moved some US$10 billion overseas to avoid US taxes – even after having received US taxpayer support for its activities – which it orchestrated by moving its patent rights overseas. A new report detailing the company’s tax dodge includes a proposal for a way to clamp down on this type of patent activity.


      The company appears to have begun the process by shifting its economic rights to the US patent for Sovaldi over to Ireland in 2013. This “most likely” created a patent licensing arrangement allowing it to report lower US profits and therefore pay much less in taxes, Americans for Tax Fairness said.

      “Gilead claimed that despite booking two-thirds of its revenues here and charging higher drug prices than anywhere else in the world, it made only about one-third of its profits in the United States,” says the report.

      “How could that be possible? The most likely explanation is transfer pricing,” it said. “This accounting trick involves sending valuable assets—such as the license to use prescription drug patents—to a company’s offshore subsidiaries. Those subsidiaries can then impose large licensing fees on the U.S. parent company for the right to sell the patented medications in America. The fee costs reduce the reported U.S. profits and resulting taxes, while the fee income goes offshore where it is taxed lightly or not at all.”

      “In early 2013, Gilead’s chief financial officer announced on a conference call with stock analysts that the formula for Sovaldi had been “domiciled” in Ireland, a well-known tax haven, which she said would allow the company’s tax rate to “decline over time.”

      “This meant that Gilead had transferred the economic rights to its Sovaldi patent to an Irish subsidiary and created a patent licensing arrangement that would enable it to report lower U.S. profits and, therefore, pay much less in federal taxes,” it continued.

      “Of course, the drug was actually developed in the United States with all the attendant, taxpayer-funded benefits: supported with federal research money, studied and approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and granted an American patent, which receives the full protection of the U.S. legal system.”

    • Copyrights

      • Google Issues Its Latest 'Stop Blaming Us For Piracy' Report
        Google is big and successful. Some legacy entertainment companies have been struggling. For whatever reason, many of those companies have decided that Google's success must be the reason for their downfall, and they've been blaming Google ever since. It's pervasive and it's deeply ingrained. A few years ago, I ended up at a dinner with a recording industry exec (and RIAA board member) who was so absolutely positive that Google was deliberately trying to destroy his business that it was reaching delusional levels. Of course, these legacy players have been banging on this drum for so long that they've convinced some others that it must be true, including some content creators and politicians. They all believe that the correlation of Google's success and their own struggles must be about Google, and not their own failures to innovate. And their number one argument seems to be (ridiculously) that Google "profits" from piracy and therefore Google encourages piracy.

        As this drumbeat has gotten louder and louder, Google has felt the need to respond. The company has, for many years, actually done plenty to try to stop piracy, rather than encourage it, and it's reached the point where Google is (stupidly, in my opinion, though perhaps politically necessary) actively appeasing the legacy industries, sometimes actively making its own search product worse. And, of course, as you would expect, these efforts are never enough for those industries. So now Google has taken to putting out a semi-regular report on how it fights piracy.

      • American Medical Association Claims False Copyright Over President Obama's Journal Article
        Whatever you might think of the President's health care policy, you should absolutely appreciate the willingness to publish data and details like this -- and to make it freely available online. But there's something that's still problematic here. And it has a lot more to do with the American Medical Association than the President. And it's that -- in typically idiotic closed access medical journal fashion -- JAMA is claiming the copyright on the article. There's a copyright permissions link in the righthand column, and if you click on it, you get taken to a page on, a site run by the Copyright Clearance Center, claiming that the copyright for this document is held by the American Medical Association...
      • Misuse of CC-licensed photo leads to apologies, recovery of legal costs
        A CC-licensed photo that was incorrectly used in an Italian festival's promotional materials has led to a public apology by the organisers for not respecting the terms of the licence, and the reimbursement of legal costs incurred.

        The picture in question was taken by Niccolò Caranti, who is a professional photographer and an active member of the Wikipedia community—nearly 900 of his images are available on Wikimedia Commons. The photo was used by the Festival delle Resistenze 2016, held in Trentino-Alto Adige, in northern Italy.

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