Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 12/12/2018: Mesa 18.3.1 Released, CNCF Takes Control of etcd

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Dell’s 2018 XPS 13 DE—The best “out of the box” Linux laptop gets the best OS
      It has been six years since Dell first introduced its XPS Developer Edition moniker, which refers specifically to the company's XPS laptop models that ship with Ubuntu Linux (and not Windows) pre-installed. Ever since, Dell has been producing some of the best Linux "ultrabooks" in recent memory.

      Ars has already put the Windows-boasting XPS 13 through its paces earlier this year since the device received a serious overhaul in 2018. Dell bumped up the hardware specs, revamped the thermal system, and introduced a new rose and white version, for instance. But how is latest edition of the premier "just works" Linux laptop doing with the added muscle?

    • Microsoft Keeps Track Of Your Activity Even If You Forbid It
      At first, it was just speculation doing rounds on the Reddit, but when Chris Hoffman from How-To-Geek looked further, it was confirmed that Microsoft does keep “Activity History” even when we tell it not to.

      Rather than telling you how the story unfolded, I will instead show you because it’s not just me or Chris, it’s affecting everyone who has a Windows 10 PC.

    • Microsoft Admits Normal Windows 10 Users Are 'Testing' Unstable Updates

    • What is the preferred developer operating system?
      If you compare traditional OSes, the differences shouldn't be that significant for developers.

      We deploy most apps in the cloud now, where you can choose to host them on whichever developer operating system you want -- well, maybe not on macOS, but certainly Windows or Linux. And, even if you deploy your application locally, virtual machines (VMs) make it easy to set up whichever type of OS environment you need.

      Cross-platform portability is an explicit goal for most popular programming languages today, such as C, Java and Python. C was born in the early 1970s as a way to make Unix portable across different hardware platforms. The Java virtual machine greatly simplified cross-OS portability. And Python applications can run on virtually any OS.

      Modern programming languages still aren't entirely OS-agnostic, of course. Developers often have to address OS-specific dependencies when they write an application, and the installation process for most applications differs from one OS to the next.

      Still, by and large, the modern programmer doesn't have to think about the differences between various developer operating systems nearly as much as she did a decade ago. In some cases, you can drag and drop the same application from one OS to another without requiring any configuration changes at all.

  • Server

    • Open Source Is the Future, So Where Does IBM i Fit In?
      The IBM i server reached a milestone this year when it turned 30 years old, an amazing feat for a remarkable system that continues to provide computational value to tens of thousands of organizations around the world. But another birthday was celebrated this year that the IBM i community should take note of: The 20th anniversary of the beginning of the open source movement.

      Now, this birthday is a little bit questionable because open source software existed before 1998, of course. But the time is worth marking because an important meeting took place in Palo Alto, California, where the phrase “open source” was deliberately created by a group of industry leaders.

      That meeting, which was spurred by the release of the source code to the Netscape Web browser, would set into motion a movement that would change the entire IT industry. The concept of freely sharing the guts of software, rather than treating it as private property, started slowly, but it would eventually build into an insurmountable force.


      There’s no reason why both approaches can’t co-exist. IBM can bring machine learning tools like Scikit-Learn and Numpy to the platform via PASE, while others in the IBM i community can develop native open source software, including an ERP package. There will be tradeoffs in performance and usability, of course, but having choices is part of the joy of having a healthy, robust community – and there’s even a place for proprietary software too.

      In the end, the momentum behind the open source software movement is just too great to ignore. Where IBM i sits in 2028, when it celebrates its 40th birthday, will largely depend on how welcoming IBM and the IBM i community are to open source software and modern software development methodologies. The future literally depends on it.

    • Oracle shows up at KubeCon bearing ‘comprehensive cloud native framework’
      Oracle crashed the party at KubeCon today, promising to free developers from vendor lock-in with what it claims is the “most comprehensive cloud native framework”.

      The veteran enterprise software vendor said its Oracle Cloud Native Framework “arms” developers with “a cloud native solution that spans public cloud, on premises and hybrid cloud deployments.”

    • Everything that was announced at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon
      KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2018 is being held this week in Seattle, and naturally a long list of companies and organizations are using the event to update the public on their projects related Kubernetes and Cloud Native Computing.

      The event is hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, under the auspices of the Linux Foundation. The foundation oversees Kubernetes and other open source projects related to microservices.

    • Google's rent-a-cloud biz revs Istio for its Kubernetes service
      As a gathering of DevOps types at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2018 gets under way in Seattle, Washington, Google plans to tell anyone who will listen that its managed Kubernetes service, GKE, now can be ordered with Istio on the side, though you'll have to ladle it on yourself.

      Here's how the Chocolate Factory described the open source software:

      "Istio is a service mesh that lets you manage and visualize your applications as services, rather than individual infrastructure components," said Chen Goldberg, director of engineering at Google Cloud and Jennifer Lin, director of Google Cloud management, in a blog post provided in advance to The Register.

    • Exploring Kubernetes’ impact in hybrid cloud at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2018
      In a computing market constantly chasing more agile methods of deploying data, portable container technologies have become the lynchpin in enterprise multicloud strategy with the Kubernetes container orchestration at the helm. Boasting historic growth and popularity among leading cloud vendors, the relatively young technology is proving fundamental within a market transforming as a result of the freedom and experimentation it has enabled.

      As a shift in favor of hybrid cloud computing prompts cloud leaders to prioritize Kubernetes and, more directly, leverage its capabilities, how will its standardization and widening adoption transform the open-source tool? Moreso, how will Kubernetes continue to transform the market at large?

      Looking to answer these and other questions, SiliconANGLE is at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2018, currently underway in Seattle, Washington, with exclusive commentary and interviews from our roving news desk, theCUBE. TheCUBE coverage will begin at 10:30 a.m. PST Tuesday, Dec. 11, and end at 3:30 pm. Thursday, Dec. 13.

    • CNCF Takes Control of Open Source etcd Data Store Project
      The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which oversees the development of Kubernetes, announced today that the open source etcd distributed key value store has now been accepted as a complementary incubation project. The announcement was made at the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2018 conference today.

      etcd was developed by CoreOS to provide a reliable way to store data across a cluster of machines. CoreOS was subsequently acquired by Red Hat. At its base level, etcd is written in Go and relies on the Raft consensus algorithm to manage a highly available replicated log to manage everything from recovering from hardware failures to portioning networks.

    • Red Hat donates a key open-source Kubernetes tool to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation

    • The Cloud Native Computing Foundation adds etcd to its open-source stable
      The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the open-source home of projects like Kubernetes and Vitess, today announced that its technical committee has voted to bring a new project on board. That project is etcd, the distributed key-value store that was first developed by CoreOS (now owned by Red Hat, which in turn will soon be owned by IBM). Red Hat has now contributed this project to the CNCF.

      Etcd, which is written in Go, is already a major component of many Kubernetes deployments, where it functions as a source of truth for coordinating clusters and managing the state of the system. Other open-source projects that use etcd include Cloud Foundry, and companies that use it in production include Alibaba, ING, Pinterest, Uber, The New York Times and Nordstrom.

    • ​Bitnami Kubernetes Production Runtime released
      If you want to use a safe third-party container, smart people know they should turn to Bitnami. This company packages, deploys, and maintains applications in virtually any format for any platform. Now, at KubeCon in Seattle, Bitnami announced its Kubernetes release: Bitnami Kubernetes Production Runtime (BKPR) 1.0, a production-ready open source project.

      So, with everyone and their cloud provider offering Kubernetes, why should you care? Well, first, BKPR provides built-in monitoring, alerting, and metrics automatically, thereby enabling developers to avoid reinventing the wheel when they rollout a Kubernetes application.

    • Why the Cloud-Native Market Is Expanding at KubeCon
      The KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America event is a beacon for news, with vendors showcasing their wares and making multiple announcements.

      KubeCon + CloudNativeCon runs here from Dec. 11-13 and has brought 8,000 attendees and more than 187 vendors into the exhibit hall. Kubernetes itself is part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which is also the home now to 31 open-source cloud projects.

      In this eWEEK Data Points article, we look at the major areas of innovation and new services announced at the conference.

    • Add It Up: Enterprise Adoption of Kubernetes Is Growing
      A recently updated user survey from monitoring software provider Datadog confirms an increase in Kubernetes adoption. We believe this is the result of three factors: 1) more organizations using containers in production; 2) Kubernetes has emerged as the leading orchestration platform; 3) organizations are choosing to adopt Kubernetes earlier in cloud native voyage. There is also some evidence that Kubernetes adoption is more likely among organizations with more containers being deployed. This article highlights findings from several studies released in conjunction with KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America, a Kubernetes user conference being held this week in Seattle.

      Cloud Foundry’s most recent survey of IT decision makers shows container production usage jumping from 22 percent in early 2016 to 38 percent in late 2018, with these deployments increasingly being described as “broad.” The Cloud Foundry report also found an increase in the number of containers being deployed — in 2016, only 37 percent of cont

    • Oracle Q&A: A Refresher on Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel
      Oracle caused quite a stir in 2010 when it announced its Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux. We’ve checked in with Sergio Leunissen, Vice President, Linux and VM Development at Oracle, for an update on the ABCs of this important introduction as well as the company’s latest take on Linux.
    • Get the Skills You Need to Monitor Systems and Services with Prometheus
      Open source software isn’t just transforming technology infrastructure around the world, it is also creating profound opportunities for people with relevant skills. From Linux to OpenStack to Kubernetes, employers have called out significant skills gaps that make it hard for them to find people fluent with cutting-edge tools and platforms. The Linux Foundation not only offers self-paced training options for widely known tools and platforms, such as Linux and Git, but also offers options specifically targeting the rapidly growing cloud computing ecosystem. The latest offering in this area is Monitoring Systems and Services with Prometheus (LFS241).

      Prometheus is an open source monitoring system and time series database that is especially well suited for monitoring dynamic cloud environments. It contains a powerful query language and data model in addition to integrated alerting and service discovery support. The new course is specifically designed for software engineers and systems administrators wanting to learn how to use Prometheus to gain better insights into their systems and services.
    • Red Hat Container Development Kit 3.7 now available

    • CodeReady Workspaces for OpenShift (Beta) – It works on their machines too
      “It works on my machine.” If you write code with, for, or near anybody else, you’ve said those words at least once. Months ago I set up a library or package or environment variable or something on my machine and I haven’t thought about it since. So the code works for me, but it may take a long time to figure out what’s missing on your machine.
    • OpenShift & Kubernetes: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going Part 2
      The growth and innovation in the Kubernetes project, since it first launched just over four years ago, has been tremendous to see. In part 1 of my blog, I talked about how Red Hat has been a key contributor to Kubernetes since the launch of the project, detailed where we invested our resources and what drove those decisions. Today, that innovation continues and we are just as excited for what comes next. In this blog, I’d like to talk about where we are going and what we’re focused on, as we continue driving innovation in Kubernetes and the broader cloud native ecosystem and building the next generation of OpenShift.

    • Red Hat OpenStack Platform and making it easier to manage bare metal
      Bare metal is making a comeback. At Red Hat we have been observing an increase of the use of bare metal in general. And we aren’t the only ones. In 2017’s OpenStack User Survey there had been a growth of bare metal in production environments from 9% to 20% of the production deployments. The 2018 survey says that adoption of Ironic is being driven by Kubernetes, with 37% of respondents who use Kubernetes on OpenStack using the bare metal provisioner.

      And there are many reasons for this growth. A great blog post about Kubernetes on metal with OpenShift by Joe Fernandes described this growth in the context of containers on bare metal with Kubernetes as a driver for this growth. But, it doesn’t stop there - High-Performance Compute (HPC), access to hardware devices or scientific workloads such as AI/ML or data lake management are also contributing to this increase.

    • etcd finds new home at CNCF
      CoreOS has moved to secure the independence of etcd by donating the distributed key-value store to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

      The project was started by Core OS – now part of Red Hat – in 2013 to handle coordination between container instances so that a system reboot was possible without affecting the uptime of applications running on top. Its name can be seen as an hint to the management of configuration files, which over the years have grown to be stored in /etc directory in Unix systems.

    • Kubernetes etcd data project joins CNCF
      How do you store data across a Kubernetes container cluster? With etcd. This essential part of Kubernetes has been managed by CoreOS/Red Hat. No longer. Now, the open-source etcd project has been moved from Red Hat to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

      What is etcd? No, it's not what happens when a cat tries to type a three-letter acronyms. Etcd (pronounced et-see-dee) was created by the CoreOS team in 2013. It's an open-source, distributed, consistent key-value database for shared configuration, service discovery, and scheduler coordination. It's built on the Raft consensus algorithm for replicated logs.

    • Welcome etcd to CNCF
      Etcd has been written for distributed systems like Kubernetes as a fault-tolerant and reliable data base. Clients can easily watch certain keys and get notified when their values change which allows scaling to a large number of clients that can reconfigure themselves when a value changes.

    • etcd: Current status and future roadmap
      etcd is a distributed key value store that provides a reliable way to manage the coordination state of distributed systems. etcd was first announced in June 2013 by CoreOS (part of Red Hat as of 2018). Since its adoption in Kubernetes in 2014, etcd has become a fundamental part of the Kubernetes cluster management software design, and the etcd community has grown exponentially. etcd is now being used in production environments of multiple companies, including large cloud provider environments such as AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Azure, and other on-premises Kubernetes implementations. CNCF currently has 32 conformant Kubernetes platforms and distributions, all of which use etcd as the datastore.

      In this blog post, we’ll review some of the milestones achieved in latest etcd releases, and go over the future roadmap for etcd. Share your thoughts and feedback on features you consider important on the mailing list:
    • Red Hat contributes etcd, the cornerstone of Kubernetes, to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation
      Today Red Hat is thrilled to announce our contribution of etcd, an open source project that is a key component of Kubernetes, and its acceptance into the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), a vendor-neutral foundation housed under The Linux Foundation to drive the adoption of cloud native systems.

      The etcd project’s focus is safely storing critical data of a distributed system and it demonstrated its quality early on. It is most notably the primary datastore of Kubernetes, the de facto standard system for container orchestration. Today we're excited to transfer stewardship of etcd to the same body that cares for the growth and maintenance of Kubernetes. Given that etcd powers every Kubernetes cluster, this move brings etcd to the community that relies on it most at the CNCF.

    • Banks take next steps to digital refinement
      The financial services industry (FSI) has gotten the message: customer expectations have changed radically. They want to experience banking services through multiple digital channels, and they want those services to go well beyond the generic products that traditional banks typically offer. Customers are looking for personalization, are comfortable with service automation, and are eager to get what they need quickly and easily.

      As the value chain for financial institutions’ services expands along with the need to deliver new and relevant customer offerings, their dexterity is being put to the test, according to an article by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). To enable the flexibility and agility they need to support a dynamic environment, they’ve begun to create a culture of continuous delivery (CD). This allows for continuous cross-channel development, may allow deployment of features in hours rather than months, and lends support for performing system upgrades with zero downtime and without disturbing the customer experience.

    • CentOS 7-1810 "Gnome" overview | The community enterprise operating system

    • How to prepare for digital transformation with Red Hat Virtualization and Veeam
      Red Hat has a history of helping organizations reduce the cost of IT, from infrastructure to applications, while also helping to lay the foundation for open source digital transformation. More recently, Red Hat has sought to help organizations reduce the cost of virtualization, aiming to make it easier to accelerate their digital transformation journey through innovative technologies such as Red Hat Ansible Automation or Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, Red Hat’s comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes Platform.

    • Red Hat schedules stockholder meeting to vote on $34B IBM deal

    • INVESTIGATION NOTICE: Kaskela Law LLC Announces Shareholder Investigation of Red Hat, Inc.

    • Red Hat sets date for stockholders to vote on the merger with IBM
    • Arista Works With Red Hat and Tigera on Container Environments for Enterprises
      Arista Networks is working with Red Hat and Tigera to help enterprises adopt containers in both private and public clouds. The three companies are demonstrating a preview of their upcoming offering this week at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2018 in Seattle.

      The integrated product will include Arista’s containerized Extensible Operating System (cEOS) and CloudVision software along with Red Hat’s OpenShift Container Platform and Tigera’s Secure Enterprise Edition.
    • Knative Meshes Kubernetes with Serverless Workloads
      Google Cloud’s Knative initiative launched in July is expanding to include an updated version of Google’s first commercial Knative offering along with a batch of new distributions based on serverless computing framework.

      Knative is a Kubernetes-based platform for building and managing serverless workloads in which cloud infrastructure acts as a server for managing the allocation of computing and storage resources. It is being offered as an add-on to Kubernetes Engine used to orchestrate application containers.
    • Red Hat Steps Up with HPC Software Solutions at SC18
      In this video from SC18 in Dallas, Yan Fisher and Dan McGuan from Red Hat describe the company’s powerful software solutions for HPC and Ai workloads.

    • RedHat contributes etcd, a distributed key-value store project, to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel Developers Discuss Dropping x32 Support
      It was just several years ago that the open-source ecosystem began supporting the x32 ABI, but already kernel developers are talking of potentially deprecating the support and for it to be ultimately removed.

      The Linux x32 ABI as a reminder requires x86_64 processors and is engineered to support the modern x86_64 features but with using 32-bit pointers rather than 64-bit pointers. The x32 ABI allows for making use of the additional registers and other features of x86_64 but with just 32-bit pointers in order to provide faster performance when 64-bit pointers are unnecessary.

    • Linux I/O Schedulers
      The Linux kernel I/O schedulers attempt to balance the need to get the best possible I/O performance while also trying to ensure the I/O requests are "fairly" shared among the I/O consumers. There are several I/O schedulers in Linux, each try to solve the I/O scheduling issues using different mechanisms/heuristics and each has their own set of strengths and weaknesses.

      For traditional spinning media it makes sense to try and order I/O operations so that they are close together to reduce read/write head movement and hence decrease latency. However, this reordering means that some I/O requests may get delayed, and the usual solution is to schedule these delayed requests after a specific time. Faster non-volatile memory devices can generally handle random I/O requests very easily and hence do not require reordering.

    • Btrfs Restoring Support For Swap Files With Linux 4.21
      The Btrfs file-system hasn't supported Swap files on it in early a decade, but that support will be restored again with the upcoming Linux 4.21 kernel.

      Btrfs hasn't supported Swap files on it since 2009 thus making swap partitions necessary unless having a mix of file-systems on your box (or not caring about any swap capabilities), but now with Linux 4.21 that support will be restored for allowing swap files to be reside on Btrfs.

    • Intel's IWD Linux Wireless Daemon 0.13 Adds Opportunistic Wireless Encryption
      Intel's promising IWD open-source wireless daemon continues picking up additional functionality in its trek towards potentially replacing wpa_supplicant. Out this week is IWD 0.13.

      With the IWD 0.13 release there are fixes as well as support for Opportunistic Wireless Encryption and support for the common EAP-TLS framework.

    • Intel Developing "oneAPI" For Optimized Code Across CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs & More
      Intel's 2018 Architecture Day was primarily focused on the company's hardware architecture road-map, but one of the software (pre)announcements was their oneAPI software stack.

    • Intel Working On Open-Sourcing The FSP - Would Be Huge Win For Coreboot & Security
      Intel's Architecture Day on Tuesday was delightfully filled with an overwhelming amount of valuable hardware information, but Intel's software efforts were also briefly touched on too. In fact, Raja Koduri reinforced how software is a big part of Intel technology and goes in-hand with their security, interconnect, memory, architecture, and process pillars and that's where their new oneAPI initiative will fit in. But what learning afterwards was most exciting on the software front.

    • Linux Foundation

      • New Ebook Offers Comprehensive Guide to Open Source Compliance
        The Linux Foundation has released the second edition of Open Source Compliance in the Enterprise by Ibrahim Haddad, which offers organizations a practical guide to using open source code and participating in open source communities while complying with both the spirit and the letter of open source licensing.

        This fully updated ebook — with new contributions from Shane Coughlan and Kate Stewart — provides detailed information on issues related to the licensing, development, and reuse of open source software. The new edition also includes all new chapters on OpenChain, which focuses on increasing open source compliance in the supply chain, and SPDX, which is a set of standard formats for communicating the components, licenses, and copyrights of software packages.

        “Open source compliance is the process by which users, integrators, and developers of open source observe copyright notices and satisfy license obligations for their open source software components,” Haddad states in the book.

      • Inaugural Hyperledger Global Forum Showcases Strong Community Momentum
        Hyperledger, an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies, today kicked off the first day of its Hyperledger Global Forum. The event has drawn more than 650 attendees from as far as Australia and Argentina for an extended conversation about the state of open source enterprise blockchain and vision for the Hyperledger community and technologies.

        Headlined by keynotes like Leanne Kemp, CEO of Everledger, Hyperledger Global Forum addresses a wide range of business and technical topics. Key topics include use cases, production blockchain deployments and live demos of Hyperledger in a range of new systems. Hands-on workshops and technical talks will serve as fuel for the community development at the core of Hyperledger.

      • Hyperledger Adds Alibaba Cloud, Citi, Deutsche Telekom, and 12 more New Members at Hyperledger Global Forum
        Hyperledger, an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies, today announced Alibaba Cloud, Citi, Deutsche Telekom, and 12 more organizations have joined the project. This news came during day one of the inaugural Hyperledger Global Forum in Basel, Switzerland.

        “We are starting Global Forum off with a bang with this impressive line-up of new members,” said Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director, Hyperledger. “The growing Hyperledger community reflects the increasing importance of open source efforts to build enterprise blockchain technologies across industries and markets. The latest members showcase the widening interest in and impact of DLT and Hyperledger.”
      • Firefox 64 Now Available, SoftMaker Office Announces "Load and Help" Fundraising Campaign, the Joint Development Foundation Has Joined The Linux Foundation, Google+ to End in April 2019 and Valve Releases Proton 3.16 (Beta)
        The Joint Development Foundation has joined The Linux Foundation family to "make it easier to collaborate through both open source and standards development". The press release quotes Executive Director of The Linux Foundation Jim Zemlin: "Leveraging the capabilities of the Joint Development Foundation will enable us to provide open source projects with another path to standardization, driving greater industry adoption of standards and specifications to speed adoption."

    • Graphics Stack

      • Linux Is Already In Good Shape For The New Features Of Intel Gen11 Graphics & Icelake
        Besides seeing Icelake demos at the Intel Architecture Day that were running on Ubuntu, with closely tracking the Linux kernel's development most of the new features presented for Sunny Cove and Gen11 graphics have already been merged or at least available in patch form for some months within the Linux ecosystem. Here's a look at the features talked about yesterday and their state on Linux.
      • Intel Details Gen11 Graphics & Sunny Cove For Icelake
        At Intel's architecture day, the company finally detailed their "Gen 11" graphics that we've been seeing open-source Linux graphics driver patches for many months (Intel OTC posted their initial open-source display driver code in early January and has continued the enablement work since) albeit elusive in substantive user details and hardware until Icelake. But today at least we can share more about the significant improvements with Gen11 graphics.

      • mesa 18.3.1
        This version disables the VK_EXT_pci_bus_info extension due to last minute issues spotted in the specification.

      • Mesa 18.3.1 Released To Disable Botched Vulkan Extension
        Mesa 18.3 was released less than a week ago while today Mesa 18.3.1 was issued due to an error in the Vulkan specification.

        The motivating factor for this quick Mesa 18.3.1 release was to disable the VK_EXT_pci_bus_info extension that had just been introduced weeks ago. The Vulkan working group mistakenly assumed that PCI domains are 16-bit even though they could potentially be 32-bit values. The next Vulkan spec update will change the relevant structure to be 32-bit, which is a backwards-incompatible change.

      • High resolution wheel scrolling on Linux v4.21
        Most wheel mice have a physical feature to stop the wheel from spinning freely. That feature is called detents, notches, wheel clicks, stops, or something like that. On your average mouse that is 24 wheel clicks per full rotation, resulting in the wheel rotating by 15 degrees before its motion is arrested. On some other mice that angle is 18 degrees, so you get 20 clicks per full rotation.

        Of course, the world wouldn't be complete without fancy hardware features. Over the last 10 or so years devices have added free-wheeling scroll wheels or scroll wheels without distinct stops. In many cases wheel behaviour can be configured on the device, e.g. with Logitech's HID++ protocol. A few weeks back, Harry Cutts from the chromium team sent patches to enable Logitech high-resolution wheel scrolling in the kernel. Succinctly, these patches added another axis next to the existing REL_WHEEL named REL_WHEEL_HI_RES. Where available, the latter axis would provide finer-grained scroll information than the click-by-click REL_WHEEL. At the same time I accidentally stumbled across the documentation for the HID Resolution Multiplier Feature. A few patch revisions later and we now have everything queued up for v4.21. Below is a summary of the new behaviour.

        The kernel will continue to provide REL_WHEEL as axis for "wheel clicks", just as before. This axis provides the logical wheel clicks, (almost) nothing changes here. In addition, a REL_WHEEL_HI_RES axis is available which allows for finer-grained resolution. On this axis, the magic value 120 represents one logical traditional wheel click but a device may send a fraction of 120 for a smaller motion. Userspace can either accumulate the values until it hits a full 120 for one wheel click or it can scroll by a few pixels on each event for a smoother experience. The same principle is applied to REL_HWHEEL and REL_HWHEEL_HI_RES for horizontal scroll wheels (which these days is just tilting the wheel). The REL_WHEEL axis is now emulated by the kernel and simply sent out whenever we have accumulated 120.

      • Nouveau Lands Initial Open-Source NVIDIA Turing Support - But No GPU Acceleration
        Just in time for the upcoming Linux 4.21 kernel, the developers working on the reverse-engineered, open-source support for NVIDIA GeForce RTX "Turing" GPUs have published their preliminary code. But before getting too excited, there isn't GPU hardware acceleration working yet.

        Ben Skeggs of Red Hat spearheaded this enablement work. He's got the initial support working right now for the TU104 and TU106 chipsets, but not yet TU102 due to hardware access. The TU106 is the RTX 2060/2070 series while the TU104 is the GeForce RTX 2080 and the TU102 is the RTX 2080 Ti and TITAN RTX. Back on launch day the Nouveau community crew started their Turing reverse-engineering work. NVIDIA doesn't support nor hinder the Nouveau driver work, though these days do sample hardware to the developers and are occasionally able to answer technical questions for them.

    • Benchmarks

      • ODROID-XU4: Much Better Performance Than The Raspberry Pi Plus USB3 & Gigabit Ethernet @ $60
        Hardkernel recently sent over the ODROUD-XU4 for benchmarking. This ARM SBC that just measures in at about 82 x 58 x 22 mm offers much better performance than many of the sub-$100 ARM SBCs while also featuring dual USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, eMMC storage, and is software compatible with the older XU3 ARM SBCs. Here's a look at the performance of the ODROID-XU4 compared to a variety of other single board computers.

        This ~$60+ ARM single board computer is built around a Samsung Exynos5422 SoC that features four Cortex-A15 cores at 2.0GHz and four Cortex-A7 cores at 1.3GHz while the graphics are provided by a Mali-T628.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Calamares seeking translators
        Calamares, the Linux system installer for boutique distro’s, is translated into 50 or so languages. It’s not a KDE project, but uses a bunch of KDE technology like the KDE Frameworks and KPMCore. It doesn’t use the KDE translation infrastructure, either, but Transifex.

      • ROOT histograms
        In one of the previous blogs we introduced the new capability of LabPlot to calculate and to draw histograms. Given a data set, the user can calculate the histogram using different binning methods and to visualize the calculated histogram in the new plot type “histogram”. A different workflow is given when the histogram was already calculated in another application and the application like LabPlot is just used to visualize the result of such a calculation and to adjust the final appearance of the plot.

        Couple of weeks ago Christoph Roick contributed a new input filter for ROOT histograms. ROOT is a computational environment developed at CERN that is used for data processing, statistical analysis and data visualization, mainly for purposes in the high energy physics community.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Christmas Maps
        It€´s been ages since I last shared any Maps news, so it€´s probably about time… Some things have happened since the stable 3.30.0 release in September.

        First off we have a new application icon, courtesy of Jakub Steiner using the icon style for the upcoming GNOME 3.32

  • Distributions

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Bosch Group expands Digital Services with SAP HANA on SUSE
        SUSE has just published a new success story with Bosch Group, a global supplier of technology and services. Bosch Group is an innovation leader with expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, offers customers connected and cross-domain solutions. Taking advantage of the digital transformation happening across all industries, Bosch wants to build on its high-quality solutions and expand its offerings with new, digital services.

      • SUSE Cloud Application Platform v1.3 released
        SUSE Cloud Application Platform v1.3 is now available! If you’re in Seattle for Kubecon this week, be sure to stop by our booth for a new pair of socks, a demo, or to learn more. The new version focuses on our continuing effort to provide a cloud native developer experience to Kubernetes users, an improved UI, additional services brokers, and more.

        You can now graphically track metrics and see into the underlying Kubernetes infrastructure with an updated version of Stratos UI. Stratos is a UI web console that manages Cloud Foundry clusters, and the workloads running on them, and is adding additional Kubernetes integration with each release. In this newest version, application and Kubernetes pod attributes such as CPU and memory usage are tracked in a graph over time, and the status of the underlying Kubernetes cluster is now available.

      • Tis the Season for My Top 10 Predictions for 2019
        Tis the season for spending time with loved ones, reminiscing about the past year and of course, technology forecasts and predictions. Whether we like it or not, nothing ever stays the same, in life and in business.


        10. Open source software will continue to thrive and play a pivotal role in all of these predictions

        Why? Because open source communities have become the vanguard of innovation. Open source software plays a pivotal role in all the dominant technology trends and is increasingly relied on by enterprise businesses around the globe.

    • Fedora

      • Fedora 29, second test - Old laptop & Nvidia graphics
        Fedora 29 fresh installation was a completely different experience from the in-vivo upgrade. The latter builds on months of work, tuning, tweaking and making everything behave well, so all of that didn't come to bear in my first review. But it did here, making the overall impression much, much less than before. Networking, media, performance, graphics drivers, none of these were good. The last two are action killers.

        I also had to invest a lot of effort making the distro look and behave, and this can be a fun exercise, but it's ultimately a futile one, because there's no reason why there shouldn't be sane, simple defaults that work well for ordinary folks. There were some nice points, but they can't offset the overall negative feeling. I mean, I have a box that hardly copes with workload, I can't use the graphics card, and it takes effort making it do the basics.

        Alas, Fedora is still a distro for hardcore veterans, most of whom will never care or see the stuff I'm testing, because they will have been upgrading since about Fedora 2, and won't find anything in their daily routines to relate to the 99% of people out there - nor will they relate to Fedora. I am still happy with my first attempt, and I'll show you how to customize the distro to perfection, but in general, this ain't the distro for you. Or me. Shame. Because it started nice, and then just went nowhere. Here comes the rain again.

      • Fedora’s Strategic Direction: An Update from the Council

    • Debian Family

      • Montreal Bug Squashing Party - Jan 19th & 20th 2019

        We are organising a BSP in Montréal in January! Unlike the one we organised for the Stretch release, this one will be over a whole weekend so hopefully folks from other provinces in Canada and from the USA can come.

      • Debian Cloud Sprint 2018
        Recently we have made progress supporting cloud usage cases; grub and kernel optimised for cloud images help with reducing boot time and required memory footprint. There is also growing interest in non-x86 images, and FAI can now build such images.

        Discussion of support for LTS images, which started at the sprint, has now moved to the debian-cloud mailing list). We also discussed providing many image variants, which requires a more advanced and automated workflow, especially regarding testing. Further discussion touched upon providing newer kernels and software like cloud-init from backports. As interest in using secure boot is increasing, we might cooperate with other team and use work on UEFI to provide images signed boot loader and kernel.

      • Derivatives

        • Third Point Release of Univention Corporate Server 4.3-3
          With UCS 4.3-3 the third point release for Univention Corporate Server (UCS) 4.3 is now available, which includes a number of important updates and various new features.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Everything You Need to Know About Using PPA in Ubuntu
            An in-depth article that covers almost all the questions around using PPA in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions.

          • Canonical Launches MicroK8s
            Canonical, the parent company of Ubuntu, has announced MicroK8s, a snap package of Kubernetes that supports more than 42 flavors of Linux.

            MicroK8s further simplifies the deployment of Kubernetes with its small disk and memory footprint. Users can deploy Kubernetes in a few seconds. It can run on the desktop, the server, an edge cloud, or an IoT device.

            Snap is a self-contained app package solution created by Canonical that competes with Flatpak, which is backed by Red Hat and Fedora. Snap offers macOS and Windows-like packages with all dependencies bundled with it. A snap package of Kubernetes means any Linux distribution that supports Snap can benefit from MicroK8s

          • Compiz: Ubuntu Desktop's little known best friend

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 resolutions for open source project maintainers
    I'm generally not big on New Year's resolutions. I have no problem with self-improvement, of course, but I tend to anchor around other parts of the calendar. Even so, there's something about taking down this year's free calendar and replacing it with next year's that inspires some introspection.

    In 2017, I resolved to not share articles on social media until I'd read them. I've kept to that pretty well, and I'd like to think it has made me a better citizen of the internet. For 2019, I'm thinking about resolutions to make me a better open source software maintainer.

  • Lessons in Vendor Lock-in: Shaving
    The power of open standards extends beyond today into the future. When my son gets old enough to shave, I can pass down one of my all-metal, decades-old antique razors to him, and it will still work. While everyone else in a decade will have to shave with some $20-per-blade disposable razor with three aloe strips, seven blades, and some weird vibrating and rotating motor, he will be able to pick any razor from my collection and find affordable replacement blades. This is the power of open standards and the freedom to avoid vendor lock-in.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 64 Released With Multi-Tab Management & Smart Suggestions
        The latest version of Mozilla Firefox for desktop and Android, version 64 just got released, and it brings a handful of useful features along.

        The biggest change here is the new tab management features. Press CTRL+Shift+click to select multiple tabs from the tab bar and you can move them around, close, bookmark, or pin very quickly.

      • Firefox 64.0 Released
        Firefox 64.0 is available today as the last major feature update to Mozilla's web browser for 2018.

      • Firefox 64 Released
        Firefox 64 is available today! Our new browser has a wealth of exciting developer additions both in terms of interface features and web platform features, and we can’t wait to tell you about them. You can find out all the news in the sections below — please check them out, have a play around, and let us know your feedback in the comment section below.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Help us to make document compatibility even better
      The Document Liberation Project (DLP) is a sister project to LibreOffice, and provides many software libraries for reading and writing a large range of file formats – such as files created by other productivity tools. Thanks to the DLP, LibreOffice (and other programs) can open many legacy, proprietary documents, but there’s always room for improvement! Check out this short video to learn more:

  • CMS

    • What’s New in WordPress 5.0 “Bebo” (Features and Screenshots)
      WordPress is a free and open source Content Management System for creating beautiful websites, blogs, and apps. It powers 32% of the web and boasts a community of developers, site owners, and content creators in their thousands who meet up monthly in 436 cities worldwide.

      WordPress is always getting updated but it recently received its biggest update in the form of version 5.0 (codenamed “Bebo”) with changes that make it a lot easier to use and powerful to work with. The most important changes are its new editor and default theme.

      Let’s talk a look at what’s cool about them.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 12.0 Officially Released
      FreeBSD 12.0 has made its debut as the latest stable version of this popular BSD operating system.

      FreeBSD 12.0 brings its compiler toolchain updated against LLVM 6.0.1, switches to OpenSSL 1.1.1a, the NUMA option is flipped on by default for AMD64 generic, significant VT driver improvements, various graphics driver improvements, NVMe device emulation for the Bhyve hypervisor, and a variety of other hardware support improvements.

    • FreeBSD 12 released: Here is how to upgrade FreeBSD 11 to 12
      The FreeBSD project announces the availability of FreeBSD 12.0-RELEASE. It is the first release of the stable/12 branch. The new version comes with updated software and features for a wild variety of architectures. The latest release provides performance improvements and better support for FreeBSD jails and more. One can benefit greatly using an upgraded version of FreeBSD.

      FreeBSD 12.0 supports amd64, i386, powerpc, powerpc64, powerpcspe, sparc64, armv6, armv7, and aarch64 architectures. One can run it on a standalone server or desktop system. Another option is to run it on Raspberry PI computer. FreeBSD 12 also runs on popular cloud service providers such as AWS EC2/Lightsail or Google compute VM.

    • FreeBSD 12.0 is now out!
      12.0, which marks the first release of the stable/12 branch. This version is available for the amd64, i386, powerpc, powerpc64, powerpcspe, sparc64, armv6, armv7, and aarch64 architectures.


    • GNU Guix: Back from SeaGL 2018
      SeaGL 2018 has concluded. Thank you to everyone in the local Seattle community who came to participate!

      As previously announced, Chris Marusich gave a talk introducing GNU Guix to people of all experience levels. Some very Guixy swag was handed out, including printed copies of this handy Guix reference card. The room was packed, the audience asked great questions, and overall it was tons of fun!

      If you weren't able to come to SeaGL this year, that's OK! You can watch a video of the talk below.

  • Programming/Development


  • Science

    • Blockchain: What's Not To Like?

      I gave a talk at the Fall CNI meeting entitled Blockchain: What's Not To Like? The abstract was:

      We're in a period when blockchain or "Distributed Ledger Technology" is the Solution to Everythingâ„¢, so it is inevitable that it will be proposed as the solution to the problems of academic communication and digital preservation. These proposals typically assume, despite the evidence, that real-world blockchain implementations actually deliver the theoretical attributes of decentralization, immutability, anonymity, security, scalability, sustainability, lack of trust, etc. The proposers appear to believe that Satoshi Nakamoto revealed the infallible Bitcoin protocol to the world on golden tablets; they typically don't appreciate or cite the nearly three decades of research and implementation that led up to it. This talk will discuss the mis-match between theory and practice in blockchain technology, and how it applies to various proposed applications of interest to the CNI audience.

  • Hardware

    • Amazon’s Homegrown Chips Threaten Silicon Valley Giant Intel

      Amazon does not plan to sell this chip directly to customers, but the decision by one of the world’s biggest buyers of computer processors to go the do-it-yourself route is likely to have a major impact on Intel, the iconic Silicon Valley chip maker.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • PETA and the ‘S’-Word
      Those “disturbing” and “offensive” maniacs over at PETA are back at it, this time with an “extreme” suggestion that people stop using expressions which, in the organization’s view, “trivialize cruelty to animals.” Substitute other expressions, PETA proposes.

      Instead of “kill two birds with one stone,” say “feed two birds with one scone”; instead of “beat a dead horse,” say “feed a fed horse”; and so on. PETA is clearly being waggish here, as is their wont, but the underlying point is the same one they’ve been making for almost forty years: harming animals is wrong and we shouldn’t do it.

      The alternative idioms were presented in a computer-generated chart via Twitter, along with the following statement: “Words matter, and as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it. Here’s how to remove speciesism from your daily conversations.”

      In a follow-up statement PETA wrote: “Just as it became unacceptable to use racist, homophobic, or ableist language, phrases that trivialize cruelty to animals will vanish as more people begin to appreciate animals for who they are.”

      Within hours the headlines proliferated, all to the same effect. USA Today titled their story: “PETA ridiculed, criticized for comparing ‘speciesism’ with racism, homophobia and ableism.”

    • Illinois Regulators Are Investigating a Psychiatrist Whose Research With Children Was Marred by Misconduct
      Illinois regulators have launched an investigation into a prominent former University of Illinois at Chicago psychiatrist whose research into children with bipolar disorder was shut down because of her misconduct.

      The state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has issued three subpoenas to UIC seeking records related to Dr. Mani Pavuluri, who resigned from the university in June amid controversy. She has since opened her own medical practice, the Brain and Wellness Institute, in Lincoln Park.

      The subpoenas were issued by the IDFPR division that evaluates and grants doctors’ licenses. One was from the state’s medical disciplinary board, which reviews complaints about Illinois doctors and decides if discipline is appropriate. The board approved issuing the subpoena at a September meeting; it ordered UIC to provide records related to a clinical trial that Pavuluri oversaw studying the effects of the powerful drug lithium on children and teenagers.

      ProPublica Illinois revealed in April that, in a rare rebuke, the National Institute of Mental Health ordered the university to repay $3.1 million in grant money it had received for the study.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • War, Anniversaries and Lessons Never Learned
      On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entered the Second World War. A war of horrors, it normalized the intensive, barbaric bombing of civilian populations. If the Spanish Civil War gave us Guernica and Picasso’s wrenching painting, WW2 offered up worse: London, Berlin, Dresden to name a few, the latter eloquently described in Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughter House Five.” Against Japan, the firebombing of Tokyo, and above all the revulsion of Hiroshima and Nagasaki radiated a foretaste of ending life on the planet.

      Reparations demanded from Germany had led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and a thirst for revenge. Thus Hitler demanded France’s 1940 surrender in the same railway carriage where the humiliating armistice was signed in 1918.

      If the war to end all wars — its centenary remembrance a month ago — killed 20 million plus, the successor tripled the score. Disrupted agriculture, severed supply chains, fleeing civilians, starvation and misery; civilian deaths constituting an inordinate majority in our supposedly civilized world.

      One of the young men baling out of a burning bomber was George H. W. Bush. He was rescued but his crew who also baled out were never found, a thought that is said to have haunted him for the rest of his life. He went on to serve eight years as vice-president under Ronald Reagan and then four more as president. Last week he passed away and was honored with a state funeral service in Washington National Cathedral.

    • Why Green New Deal Advocates Must Address Militarism
      In the spirit of a new year and a new Congress, 2019 may well be our best and last opportunity to steer our ship of state away from the twin planetary perils of environmental chaos and militarism, charting a course towards an earth-affirming 21st century.

      The environmental crisis was laid bare by the sobering December report of the UN Climate panel: If the world fails to mobilize within the next 12 years on the level of a moon shot, and gear up to change our energy usage from toxic fossil, nuclear and industrial biomass fuels to the already known solutions for employing solar, wind, hydro, geothermal energy and efficiency, we will destroy all life on earth as we know it. The existential question is whether our elected officials, with the reins of power, are going to sit by helplessly as our planet experiences more devastating fires, floods, droughts, and rising seas or will they seize this moment and take monumental action as we did when the United States abolished slavery, gave women the vote, ended the great depression, and eliminated legal segregation.

      Some members of Congress are already showing their historic mettle by supporting a Green New Deal. This would not only start to reverse the damage we have inflicted on our collective home, but it would create hundreds of thousands of good jobs that cannot be shipped overseas to low wage countries.

    • Stand with Okinawa
      “Don’t cry here,” an 86-year-old Okinawan grandmother I had never met before told me. She stood next to me and took my hand. I had been visiting my family in Okinawa with my four children early in August and had traveled to Henoko, in the northeastern region of our main island, to join the protest against the U.S. military’s relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station from Futenma, located in the center of an urban district, to Camp Schwab, in a more remote coastal region. My teenage daughter, Kaiya, and I had spent the day with a crowd of elders holding protest signs in front of the gates of Camp Schwab. Rows and rows of more than 400 trucks hauling large rocks passed by, ready to outline an ocean area for the new base, equivalent to the size of 383 football fields. Our beautiful, tropical ecosystem with all of its internationally proclaimed and protected biodiversity was to soon be crushed, destroying coral and marine life. This, despite the overwhelming opposition of Indigenous island people. I began to cry as I held up my protest sign.

      “Grandma is going to cry when I get home tonight so I will be crying with you,” she said squeezing my hand. “Here, we fight together.” We watched as trucks flooded through the gate of the military base where Japanese police had pushed us away moments before. With tears in her eyes she said, “It wouldn’t be strange if we all jumped in front of every one of those trucks, because this is our ocean. This is our island.”

    • Good Panopt, Bad Panopt: Does It Make A Difference?
      The Harry Truman Show double-tapped the “Japs” in ‘45, not to end World War 2 ASAP, but to flourish the Yankee saber before the Ruskies at Potsdam and ensure they knew who the sheriff was in the new world order that followed, according to some accounts. Like two ancient warrior tribes, the Anglos and the Vikings, say, the Americans have been rattling words and swords ever since, from Sputnik to Stuxnet, from Lee Harvey Oswald to Edward Snowden. They are inextricably linked in modern history and, like the synthetic product of a Hegelian dialectical struggle, have revolutionized the world together.

      You could draw a straight line from Sputnik to Stuxnet, from the early battle to control outer-space to the World War Cyber we are currently in. Sputnik, the world’s first man-made satellite, was seen as a Russian warning shot across the bow of the growing American talk-soft-Exceptionalism-and-carry-a-big-nuclear-stick empire. Out of the ensuing reactionary panic, the Pentagon developed the first internet (ARPANET), which was designed, in part, to be a Doomsday communication system to ensure that American ICBM missiles could retaliate, should the Cold War get hot in a hurry.

      It was a long time in coming, but Stuxnet, like Sputnik, is a firing-across-the-bow, an American warning to the world, but especially to the Russkies, that it’s game on in cyber-space. Stuxnet was the first virus designed to take out not code but hardware: Iranian nuclear centrifuges overheated with a resulting system catastrophe. Imagine a virus that targeted the fan of your laptop, resulting an overheating that destroyed the motherboard. Now imagine the world of industry — electric grids, oil wells, and yes, military hardware, etc. — targeted by tailored viruses. That’s the world we live in now.

    • Ahead of Historic War Powers Vote to End US Complicity in Yemen, 'Tell Your Senators You'll Be Watching'
      With the humanitarian crisis in Yemen getting worse by the day as Saudi Arabia continues to bombard the impoverished nation with the enthusiastic backing of the Trump administration, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday will have a historic opportunity to end America's "participation in this horror" by voting on a War Powers resolution that would cut off military assistance the Saudi kingdom.

      "Tell your senators you'll be watching their vote today on our bill to end U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who is sponsoring the resolution alongside Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah.), declared in a series of tweets. "The bombs dropped on children. The shrapnel left behind. The planes in the sky. All of this is made in America, sold to the Saudis, and used to perpetrate war crimes against the people of Yemen."

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Court in Ecuador to consider appeal of Wikileaks founder Assange,says lawyer
      An Ecuadorian court will consider the appeal submitted by the defense of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange against the demand of the country's government to comply with a protocol containing rules specially developed for him, Assange’s lawyer in Ecuador, Carlos Poveda said.

      The whistleblower has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012.

      Assange has repeatedly suggested he might be apprehended outside the embassy and extradited to the United States,reported Sputnik.

    • Ecuador court to hear appeals of Julian Assange on Wednesday

    • Ecuador court to hear appeals of Julian Assange on Wednesday

    • Court In Ecuador To Consider Appeal Of Wikileaks Founder Assange On Wednesday - Lawyer

    • Ecuador court to hear appeals of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday
      An Ecuadorian court will consider on Wednesday the appeal submitted by the defense of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is living in the country's embassy in London, against the demand of the country's government to comply with a protocol containing rules specially developed for him, Assange's lawyer in Ecuador, Carlos Poveda, told Sputnik.

      The whistleblower has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012. Assange has repeatedly suggested he might be apprehended outside the embassy and extradited to the United States. Over the past months, the Ecuadorian authorities have been putting various restrictions on the conditions of Assange's stay in the embassy, which the whistleblower's defense called the violation of human rights.

      "We hope that the court will adequately analyze our petition and accept 15 facts of evidence that were requested in order to leave the protocol and restrictions on visits in place," Poveda said.

      According to the lawyer, these arguments include letters from individuals and organizations that were not allowed access to Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

    • 4 Journalists and a Newspaper Are Time’s Person of the Year
      Time magazine on Tuesday recognized journalists, including the slain Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi, as its 2018 Person of the Year in what it said was an effort to emphasize the importance of reporters’ work in an increasingly hostile world.

      The designation wasn’t intended as a specific message to the magazine’s runner-up choice, President Donald Trump, who has denounced “fake news” and called some reporters enemies of the people, said Ben Goldberger, executive editor.

      Time cited four figures it called “the guardians.” Besides Khashoggi, they are the staff of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, where five people were shot to death in June; Philippine journalist Maria Ressa; and Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who have been jailed in Myanmar for a year.

    • Dems demand Pompeo brief Congress on whether he discussed Assange with Ecuadorian official
      A group of top Democrats is requesting that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brief Congress on his meeting last month with Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia, specifically demanding he provide details on whether WikiLeaks’s founder Julian Assange’s future in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London was discussed.

      In the letter, sent Tuesday, the Democrats — including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) — wrote that they “remain deeply interested” in whether Pompeo discussed Assange with Valencia.

      “As you are aware, in January 2017, the unclassified report by the U.S. Intelligence Community assessed with high confidence that Russian military intelligence used proxies to transfer hacked data obtained in cyber operations to WikiLeaks,” the letter reads. “These activities were explicitly intended to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

      The lawmakers asked Pompeo to inform Congress next week if he asked Valencia to confirm a report that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy, as well as for logs and other information tracking Assange’s visitors.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Controversial Australian Climate Science Denier Cardinal George Pell Removed from Vatican Advisory Group
      Australian Cardinal George Pell has been removed from his role as one of the Vatican's key advisors as Pope Francis moves to distance himself from the controversial figure.

      Pell last year took an indefinite leave of absence from his job as the Vatican’s economy minister to defend himself from prosecution for historical child sexual offences.

      Francisco Javier Errázuriz of Chile - also the subject of allegations related to sexual abuse,- has also been removed from C-9, a prominent advisory group, Reuters reports.

      Pell is the highest-ranking Catholic official in the world to be facing trial over historical sexual offence allegations. In June, Pell was charged with historical sexual assault offences by Australian police in the state of Victoria. Pell denies all the allegations.

      Pope Francis and Cardinal Pell, described by some as number three in the church’s hierarchy have divergent views on climate channge. Whilse Pope Francis has been widely praised for his “encyclical”, in which he described climate change as “one of the principal challenges facing humanity, Cardinal Pell has conaistently promoted climate science denial.

      In Laudato Si’ – On Care For Our Common Home, the Pope set out the strong moral case for action. He wrote: “We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay.”

    • Concluding #COP24 Without Bold Climate Action Plan 'Would Be Suicidal,' UN Chief Warns
      "To waste this opportunity in Katowice would compromise our last best chance to stop runaway climate change," he declared. "It would not only be immoral, it would be suicidal."

      "In my opening statement to this conference one week ago," Guterres said, "I warned that climate change is running faster than we are and that Katowice must—in no uncertain terms—be a success, as a necessary platform to reverse this trend."

    • Petrochemical Booster Rick Perry Rides to the Rescue of the Fracking Industry
      When he took the job, Energy Secretary Rick Perry didn’t seem to know what the Department of Energy actually did. But since then, he has committed himself to one mission: promoting fossil fuels and petrochemicals.

      Specifically, Perry is pushing a massive petrochemical buildout in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, which would turn the Tri-State area into a new epicenter of highly polluting petrochemical manufacturing to rival the Gulf Coast. Last week, the Energy Department released a Report to Congress boasting the erroneous benefits of a key piece of infrastructure called the Appalachian Storage Hub. Secretary Perry also gushed about the storage hub on the op-ed page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

      The Trump administration’s push for petrochemicals is perfectly in sync with what major corporate powers are proposing. Right now, investors are pouring billions of dollars into Appalachia to create a cluster of gas infrastructure and plastics and petrochemical factories. An alliance of industry players, government officials and regional universities have also been promoting this substantial investment.

      Two of the facilities are petrochemical crackers that turn the natural gas liquid ethane into a chemical used to make plastic (one in Pennsylvania is under construction, while the other is proposed in Ohio). The third piece is the Appalachian Storage Hub in Ohio, which received partial approval early this year for a $1.9 billion Department of Energy loan. The Storage Hub would hold natural gas liquids like ethane underground and connect with a web of pipeline infrastructure to supply regional petrochemical and plastics facilities.

    • Typhoon Haiyan Survivor: Fossil Fuel Companies Killed My Family by Hastening Climate Change
      As we broadcast from the U.N. climate summit in Katowice, Poland, world leaders and officials from nearly 200 countries are here to negotiate how to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement. But three years after Paris, they appear no closer to curbing global emissions and halting catastrophic climate change. New studies show global carbon emissions may have risen as much as 3.7 percent in 2018, marking the second annual increase in a row. As the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that humanity has only a dozen years to mitigate climate change or face global catastrophe, we speak with Joanna Sustento, who has already felt the harrowing effects of climate change and has dedicated her life to climate activism as a result. Her life was turned upside down in 2013, when Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest cyclones in recorded history, devastated the Philippines, killing five members of her family and thousands of others.

    • Trump’s Energy Adviser Runs Away When Questioned by Democracy Now! at U.N. Climate Talks
      The Trump administration is promoting fossil fuels at the U.N. climate summit in Katowice, Poland, despite outcry from climate activists and world leaders concerned about the devastating threat of climate change. Chief among Trump’s representatives at the climate summit is Wells Griffith, special assistant to the president for international energy and environment. He is a longtime Republican operative who served as deputy chief of staff to Reince Priebus when Priebus was chair of the Republican National Committee. Amy Goodman attempted to question Wells Griffith about the Trump administration’s climate policy at the U.N. summit Tuesday. Griffith refused to answer questions and ran from our camera team for about a quarter-mile, retreating to the U.S. delegation office.

    • Countries that Blocked 'Welcoming' of Major Climate Science Report at UN Talks have Dozens of Delegates with Ties to Oil, Gas, and Mining
      Dozens of delegates from four countries that forced the UN climate negotiations to weaken language around the acceptance of a major climate science report have ties to the oil, gas and mining industries.

      At least 35 delegates from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia and the US are either currently employed or used to work for companies and organisations involved in the petrochemical and mining industries or lobbying on behalf of those industries.

      On Saturday, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) “noted” the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) landmark 1.5 degrees report at the annual talks in Katowice, Poland. Poor and undeveloped countries, small island states, Europeans and many others called to change the wording to “welcome” the study, Climate Home reported.

      The IPCC’s report, released in October 2018, warned that the world has 12 years to radically cut emissions to avoid catastrophic climate change. The report was commissioned by countries at the annual climate talks in Paris in 2015.

      Of the 35 delegates DeSmog UK has identified with ties to the fossil fuel and mining industries, 12 are representing Saudi Arabia, and nine are representing Russia. NGO Climate Tracker previously identified 13 delegates representing Kuwait that worked for the fossil fuel industry.

    • In Early Holiday 'Gift to Polluters,' Trump Guts Protections for 60 Percent of Nation's Streams, Wetlands, and Waterways
      Sixty percent of U.S. waterways will be at risk for pollution from corporate giants, critics say, following the Trump administration's announcement Tuesday that it will roll back an Obama-era water rule meant to protect Americans' drinking water and all the waterways that flow into it.

      The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the Obama administration's 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule (WOTUS) rule would be redefined and no longer protect many of the nation's streams and wetlands.

      "This is an early Christmas gift to polluters and a lump of coal for everyone else," said Bob Irvin, president of the national advocacy group American Rivers. "Too many people are living with unsafe drinking water. Low-income communities, indigenous peoples, and communities of color are hit hardest by pollution and river degradation."

    • Bringing a Life Into a Dying World: A Letter From a Father to His Unborn Son
      In February 2019, I will become a Father. One thing I am learning about the capitalist marketing of parenthood is the endless list of items one “needs” for their infant. Cribs, changing pads, clothes, boopies, bottles, bassinets, rockers, car seats, lotions, oils, and then what do you need when your little one soils his or herself?

      Then there’s classes to take to prepare for your upcoming project of parenthood like birthing and new born classes. Don’t get me wrong these things are supposed to make a parent’s life easier and knowing what is happening inside your partner’s body and how to take care of the infant once it hits the outside world is vital, but it all becomes overwhelming and some of items marketed for infants taps into our excessive culture of consumption for temporary fulfillment and usage.

      It’s as if becoming a parent is being marketed as going to war. And in a capitalist economy war is a racket, this war on newfound parenthood is a racket on your bank account, and the capitalists wouldn’t have any other way. One would think the human species would have never reached 7.6 billion people and counting without various forms of plastic equipment to guide your children through infancy.

      Figuring out how a diaper genie works is not what keeps my mind racing and thoughts popping into my head late into the evening. Wishing that I could rub the diaper genie to have an actual genie appear before me to grant me three wishes is what I think about.

    • Sport, Fashion, and Tourism: Corporate Greenwash’s New Frontiers at the UN Climate Talks
      What do Adidas, Hilton hotels, and the World Surfing League all have in common?

      They’re all climate champions, apparently.

      They also have a lot of customers and fans. Much more than most climate activists - just take a look at their Twitter followings - which could explain why this year’s annual UN climate talks welcomed them with open arms.

      But are the industries serious about addressing the problem, or are they simply following a greenwash playbook rolled out by the fossil fuel industry each year at the talks?

    • Calling Promotion Betrayal of Planet, Groups Denounce Schumer for Giving 'Fossil Fuel Servant' Joe Manchin Top Spot on Energy Committee
      "Appointing Senator Manchin as ranking member of the Energy Committee is completely at odds with any plan for real climate action," May Boeve, executive director of, said in a statement. "Manchin has taken every opportunity to put Big Oil before the health and safety of communities and our climate."

      Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth, argued that the appointment of the pro-coal West Virginia senator to a top Energy Committee slot is a "stark failure of Chuck Schumer's leadership" in the midst of dire scientific warnings that the world must cut carbon emissions in half by 2040 to avert planetary catastrophe.

    • Democratizing Money
      The Green New Deal has been in the air lately. In a recent piece on this website, Rob Urie writes that the Green New Deal is “the last, best hope for environmental and social resolution outside of rapid dissolution toward dystopian hell.”

      Quite a claim. Let’s take a closer look.

      The Green New Deal, first articulated by the Green Party but now supported by many progressive Democrats, calls for “real financial reform” to address the twin problems of climate change and economic insecurity.

      Included are some of the standard proposals we regularly hear, such as restoring the Glass-Steagell Act (separating commercial and investment banking), breaking up the big banks, ending bank bailouts, reducing debt burdens, regulating derivatives, and taxing bank bonuses.

    • 'Gas is Not a Solution to Climate Change’: Activists Interrupt Fossil Fuel Lobby Group Event at UN Climate Talks
      Activists interrupted a keynote address by a gas industry lobbyist to demand the European Union do more to prove itself as a climate leader, and stem the flow of gas across the continent.

      Around 30 activists conducted a “symbolic walk out” during a talk by Marco Alvera, president of lobby group GasNaturally. The campaigners rose from their seats as Alvera declared that the industry “fully supports the Paris Agreement” and said there was an opportunity for the gas industry to “capitalise” as other fossil fuels are phased out.

      Gas emits less carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels such as coal and oil when burned. But scientists say that use of natural gas could have to reduce “by more than 50 percent” by 2050 if the world is going to prevent warming of 1.5 degrees, or unless new technology to capture and store the fuel’s emissions is developed.

      Simon Roscoe Blevins, an anti-fracking campaigner from the UK who was part of the action, told the media “natural gas is not the solution to climate change. There is no place for it, now or in the future”.

    • Canadian Government Declares Oil Trains Safe and Plans to Get Into the Oil Train Business
      As Canadian oil-by-rail numbers reach record new volumes (and expected to rise), Canada's Transportation Safety Board (TSB) announced recently that it would no longer list shipping the hazardous material by rail as a top safety concern.

      Just a month later, the Alberta provincial government — where the majority of tar sands oil is produced — announced plans to bail out the tar sands industry by getting into the oil-by-rail business.

      Here's why that's bad news for the communities in both Canada and the U.S. where this influx of oil train traffic will pass.

    • Collaboration Failure: Trump Trashes Sage Grouse Protections
      Last week the Trump administration announced it was slashing the area dedicated to protecting imperiled sage grouse populations from 10.7 million acres to 1.8 million acres and opening the rest to drilling and mining. For the faux conservation collaborators who were crowing about their great victory in keeping sage grouse from being protected by the Endangered Species Act, it’s another huge loss for collaboration and a win for industry and developers.

      Sage grouse are native ground-dwelling birds about the size of chickens that only a century ago numbered 16 million across 13 Western states and three Canadian provinces. Latest estimates put their decimated population at somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000, primarily due to habitat destruction through sagebrush eradication, industrial impacts and development.

      Sage grouse have been candidates for listing under the Endangered Species Act since 2002, but in 2015 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was congressionally prohibited from listing the birds as threatened for 10 years. That should have been a wake-up call to those who profess to being advocates for sage grouse protection and restoration that politics, not science, would call the shots in the future. Unfortunately, instead of putting up a fight for giving the birds the full protection of the Endangered Species Act, various groups and agencies opted for collaboration to halt the precipitous population decline.

    • How Regenerative Agriculture Could Be Key to the Green New Deal
      With the 2018 mid-term election and the prospect of 2020, people are finally beginning electing more climate realists over fossil fuel apologists. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and her band of newly elected progressive congresswomen, and Bernie Sanders, the most popular politician and likely presidential candidate, have proposed a Green New Deal. This paln would put the government’s economic resources behind a definitive move to renewable energy and an end to fossil fuel dominance. With the recent IPCC report predicting that the earth will reach critical thresholds as early as 2030, there’s not a moment to waste.

  • Finance

    • Tencent Music Sets $1.1 Billion IPO at Bottom as Markets Gyrate

      Tencent Music will debut at a valuation of about $21.3 billion, falling short of the $23.3 billion of Spotify Technology SA, the Swedish peer that’s also an investor in the Chinese company. Its less-than-optimal IPO pricing doesn’t bode well for mainland companies considering their own coming-out parties, and follows recent lackluster debuts by the likes of Mogu Inc.

    • China bans sale of most iPhone models after granting Qualcomm an injunction against Apple

      The ban does not cover the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Plus or iPhone XR, which were not yet available when Qualcomm filed its lawsuit. The phones covered by the ban make up about 10% to 15% of current iPhone sales in China, according to Daniel Ives, analyst at Wedbush Securities.

      The court granted a pair of preliminary injunctions requested by Qualcomm, an American microchip maker. Qualcomm claims that Apple violates two of its patents in the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. The patents allow people to edit and resize photos on a phone and to manage apps by using a touchscreen, according to Qualcomm.

    • Charter School Teachers in Chicago Organize to Strike
      Noting that “the conflict between educators, the two corporate controlled political parties, and the unions that falsely claim to represent teachers has now reached a new stage,” in November 2018, Kristina Betinis reported for the World Socialist Web Site that teachers at four charter school operators in Chicago had voted overwhelmingly to strike. Teachers at Acero Schools and Chicago International Charter Schools, which together operate 19 schools, approved a strike with above 95% support of teachers from all schools. Subsequently teachers at two more Chicago charter school operators, Civitas Education Partners and Quest Management, authorized walkouts.

      As Betinis reported, Chicago charter school teachers sought to organize strikes and walkouts to demand better pay, smaller class sizes, longer parental leave, and increased resources and wages for special education and paraprofessionals.

      Charter schools have grown rapidly in Chicago. In 2010, charter school approximately 35,000 students in Chicago attended charter schools. By 2017, that figure had risen to an estimated 65,000 students. Increases in charter school enrollments reduce attendance at—and funding for—the city’s public schools.
    • Teacher Strikes and the Shortcomings of Establishment Reporting
      In August 2018, Los Angeles public school teachers voted to strike, following high-profile teacher walkouts in other states across the country, including West Virginia, Arizona, and Oklahoma, as Michael Sainato reported for the Guardian. A study by Frederick Hess and RJ Martin found that, although the increase in strikes by teachers has been covered by corporate media, these reports consistently marginalized the voices of the major parties affected—parents and students—and neglected to give a clear understanding of teacher compensation (including health care benefits, pensions and salaries).

      Teachers across the country have gone on strike to focus public attention on their concerns, but corporate coverage has tended to ignore how the lack of funds for public education is at the core of these actions. The Guardian reported that, depending on the criteria used to rank states, California’s spending per student consistently ranked from 37th to 50th in the country.
    • UK Special Education Programs at Risk Following Budget Cuts
      In November 2018, the Guardian discovered information requests and council reports indicating that funding for children with special needs in England has been cut in several districts. This is due to massive overspending on special needs programs, such as the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) program. Because of this increase in spending, councils across the nation are scrambling to find financial stability while also maintaining support for special needs students. So far, the Guardian has identified approximately forty councils who are either cutting funding, contemplating cutting funding, or using money from other education budgets to sustain themselves until a solution can be found.

      This unfortunate incident has led to parents taking legal action against councils who are considering defunding or making cuts to SEND. This funding supports children with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other disabilities.

      The Guardian estimated that €£315 million (approximately $354 million) from the education budget will be used to fill gaps in special needs funding by the end of the year. This increased spending for SEND funding draws from an increased need for special education programs, which benefit students across the nation. Reported data from 117 councils (out of 152) has identified that this spending rose from €£61 million to €£195 million from 2015-2018.
    • Who’s More Likely to Be Audited: A Person Making $20,000 — or $400,000?
      When Natassia Smick, 28, filed her family’s taxes in January, she already had plans for the refund she and her husband expected to receive. Mainly, she wanted to catch up on her credit card debt. And she was pregnant with their second child, so there were plenty of extra expenses ahead.

      Since Smick, who is taking classes toward a bachelor’s degree, and her husband, a chef, together earned around $33,000 in 2017, about $2,000 of that refund would come from the earned income tax credit. It’s among the government’s largest anti-poverty programs, sending more than $60 billion every year to families like Smick’s: people who have jobs but are struggling to get by. Last year, 28 million households claimed the EITC.

      Smick, who lives outside Los Angeles, thought she’d get her refund in a month or so, as she had the year before. But no refund came. Instead, she got a letter from the IRS saying it was “conducting a thorough review” of her return. She didn’t need to do anything, it said. Smick waited as patiently as she could. She called the IRS and was told to wait some more.

      It wasn’t until four months later, in July, that she got her next letter. The IRS informed her that she was being audited. She had 30 days to provide “supporting documentation” for basically everything. As she understood it, she needed to prove that she and her husband had earned what they’d earned and that her child was her child.
    • The Brexit Shambles Rambles On
      This week was meant to be the denouement of the UK’s divorce from the EU, as the House of Commons was due to vote on the final EU divorce deal Theresa May had hammered out with EU leaders.

      May however postponed the vote the day before it was due to be held, saying that “if we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow the deal would be rejected by a significant margin”.

      Allegedly May wanted more time to return to Brussels to plead with EU leaders for concessions that would sweeten her deal, even if only cosmetically.

      More than 100 of her own backbenchers indicated they would not support May’s deal, as had her Northern Irish DUP allies, and with Labour also opposed, she would have lost this vote by a large margin.

      May’s trip to Brussels with be a waste of time. The eurocrats have been unyielding in their dealings with the UK on Brexit, and sure enough, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, tweeted this week that the EU “will not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop”.

      The “backstop” refers to the open border between the north and the south of Ireland that is the cornerstone of the Good Friday peace agreement. If the border remains open after the divorce, there will be a part of the UK (Northern Ireland) that will have the same border with an EU country (Ireland) that all EU members have with each other.

    • The Co-Opting of French Unrest to Spread Disinformation

      Online, a more insidious war rages. On Twitter, outsiders with little or no association with France or French politics—including far-right figureheads, conspiracy theorists, and pro-Kremlin influence networks—are capitalizing on interest in the gilets jaunes to spread disinformation, push state-sponsored propaganda, and advance their own political agendas. Research reviewed by WIRED indicates that these accounts are responsible for at least tens of thousands of posts on Twitter, many of which were then shared by thousands of others, often unaware they were spreading disinformation. The campaigns have echoes of the Russian-inspired disinformation effort in the US during the 2016 election.

    • Blacking Out the Yellow Vests on Cable News: Corporate Media Doing its Job
      The deletion of events that don’t fit with the reigning ideology is part of how ruling class-owned media works to manufacture mass consent to unjust hierarchy.

      I spent much of last week in a cable-television-equipped U.S.-American apartment with CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News at my fingertips. As I inhabited this abode, flicking between sports and cable news, a political crisis of the state was unfolding in one of the world’s richest and most powerful states. France was gripped by an historic working- and middle-class uprising. In the biggest popular unrest seen there since May of 1968, many hundreds of thousands of Gilets Jaunes (“yellow vests”) took to French roadways and other public space in their fourth straight week of explosive mass protests.

    • The Housing Affordability Crisis and What Millennials Can do About It
      When millennials head home for the holidays this month, many who are city dwellers will be hosted by parents or grand-parents whose housing is far more spacious and financially secure than their own. Even guests with well-paid jobs in relatively stable rental markets will cast an envious eye at the benefits of baby boomer house buying decades ago.

      That’s because these holiday visitors belong to a “generation priced out” of America’s hottest urban markets for single-family homes, condos, and rental apartments. According to Berkeley author Randy Shaw, skyrocketing prices for all three forms of housing have created a generational divide, with major political implications for progressive city governments and advocates of affordable housing.

      On one side, we find older Americans, of varying income levels, who were able to take advantage of past market conditions, local zoning practices, or home ownership incentives to secure affordable housing that’s now in short supply for their own off-spring. On the other side are growing numbers of younger people—poor, working class, and even professional middle-class–who struggle to put a roof over their head that’s not on top of someone else’s garage. (As we saw in Sorry to Bother You, Boots Riley’s ode to millennial life in rapidly gentrifying Oakland, its better, in a rent-paying pinch, if the garage owner is your uncle!).

    • There’s a Hunger Crisis in North Carolina
      We have a hunger epidemic in North Carolina, and it’s getting worse.

      North Carolina is the ninth-hungriest state in the nation, with 16.2 percent of residents receiving some amount of federal assistance to buy food in the form of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

      One in eight individuals in the state were food insecure last year — food insecurity is defined as not having reliable access to your next meal. According to the North Carolina Department of Housing and Human Services, 56 percent of public-school children are eligible for free or reduced lunch, and one in five children face hunger on a daily basis.

      The North Carolina General Assembly’s Committee on Food Desert Zones reported over 350 food deserts in the state in 2014. These numbers are significantly larger in 2018. According to the NC Action Research Center, 18 percent of elderly individuals struggle with hunger.

      In short, all kinds of people in North Carolina — children, adults and seniors — face food insecurity and hunger.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The somewhat absurd controversy over Maine’s ranked choice voting system, explained

      The new system allows voters to number the candidates on their ballot; their alternate choices come into play if no candidate receives the majority (50 percent plus 1) of first preferences. If that happens, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and their votes redistributed to whomever those voters ranked second. This is repeated in rounds until one candidate reaches a majority. It resembles the run-off style elections held in states like Mississippi, but without needing to hold a whole new election — in a sense, simulating a series of runoff elections.

      Depending on whom you ask, the new method of voting is either a push toward a more democratic system or a logistical hellscape. Despite the fact that it’s used in multiple countries around the world with little fuss, in Maine, it’s proven more the latter, thanks in part to political resistance and legal challenges from the state’s Republicans.

    • 'If You Don't Want Negative Search Results, Don't Do Negative Things,' Ted Lieu Tells GOP During Google Hearing
      That's what Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) told his Republican colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday during a hearing that featured testimony from Google CEO Sundar Pichai and amid ongoing, yet unfounded, complaints by right-wing lawmakers and commentators that the search giant is biased against them.

      To make his point, Lieu used the example of Google news searches he did on two House Republicans named Steve: one was Steve Scalise of Louisiana, and the other was Steve King of Iowa.

      After reading aloud headlines from each set of results—the Scalise articles were generally positive, while the King results noted his record of racists remarks and retweets—and asking Pichai to confirm that the algorithms of the search engine don't order results based on ideological leanings, the congressman offered some advice.
    • UK’s human rights abuses – Does Theresa May have a link to the Ariana Grande concert bombing? (E691)
      Historian Mark Curtis reveals that Britain bears responsibility for around 10 million deaths since WW2. He goes over Britain’s support for repressive regimes throughout the period, bloody conflicts Britain has been involved in, and massacres Britain has been complicit in which have been wiped from the history books.

    • Theresa May’s Britain
      I have only ever been able to discern two underlying motivations in Theresa May’s career; a love of office and a hatred of immigrants. It is possible to love office without loving power; loving power means you want to do something with it, whereas loving office is just for prestige and personal economic opportunity. I do not imagine May’s hatred of immigrants is driven by actual racism, easy though it is to read that into her hostile environment, go home van, end free movement, career. It is rather that the incredibly successful Tory narrative remains the false attribution of working class poverty to immigration, rather than its actual cause, massive inequality and an entire legal structure and system of government geared to promoting the interests of the super wealthy.

      I do not understand the notion that we have a constitutional crisis. The solution seems self-evident. England and Wales voted to leave the EU, by a large margin if you take those two countries, which share a legal system, alone. Let them leave the EU. Scotland voted by a still larger majority to remain in the EU. Let it become Independent, remain in the EU, and not need to thwart the will of the English and Welsh to leave. And let Ireland forget its bigots and be a united country.

      Constitutional crisis over. Indeed, that there is no other viable solution, and the UK is no longer a viable political unit, I can guarantee you will be universally recognised by the year 2030 as having been a self-evident truth. The actual dissolution of the UK will come ten years before that.


      The decline of leisure is not something to be celebrated. The shrinking of the “economically inactive” figure to 21% means that many pensioners are forced to keep on working because they cannot make ends meet on the developed world’s most miserly pensions, that parents of young children are forced both to stay in jobs rather than provide all the love, protection and affection they may wish. Every time Theresa May is questioned on the heartless fiasco of universal credit, she states its aim is to “get people back into work”, by which she means choose between starvation and vicious drudgery; with no rights, no prospects and low paid hours handed down as a favour.
    • UK’s May to Face No-Confidence Vote by Lawmakers
      British politics was thrown into chaos and Brexit into doubt Wednesday as Conservative lawmakers triggered a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Theresa May that will see her removed as party and government leader if she loses.

      May vowed to fight the challenge “with everything I’ve got,” after Graham Brady, who heads a committee overseeing Conservative leadership contests, said he had received letters from at least 48 lawmakers asking for a vote.

      As a result, he said, “the threshold of 15 percent of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence in the leader of the Conservative Party has been exceeded.”

      Brady said the vote would be held in Parliament between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. (1800GMT and 2000GMT) on Wednesday evening, with the results announced soon after.

    • With or Without Theresa May, Says Corbyn, Brexit Chaos Proves Tory Party's "Total Inability to Govern"
      The United Kingdom's Tory government is on the verge of total collapse, and many believe Prime Minister Theresa May could soon be on her way out.

      Following May's abrupt decision to postpone a vote on her widely condemned Brexit plan after it became clear the 600-page agreement would be soundly rejected by Parliament, the prime minister on Wednesday will face a no-confidence vote brought by members of her own party that could ultimately oust her from power—if she doesn't offer to step down first.

      But in a speech on the floor of Parliament ahead of the planned vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused the Conservative government of "running away" from May's Brexit crisis and argued the outcome of the no-confidence vote "is utterly irrelevant to the lives of people across our country."

    • Conservatives Own the Ongoing Disaster That Is Brexit
      I’ve just returned from a whirlwind visit to the United Kingdom, where the elephant in every room seems to have grown to such proportions that Brits can hardly breathe without mentioning it with a groan. I’m talking about Brexit, of course, the U.K.’s ill-fated divorce from the European Union, which began over two years ago with a referendum that launched British politics into chaos.

      Since that June day in 2016, nothing’s been quite the same in Britain, and almost nothing else has been more pressing on the minds and mouths of Britons everywhere. Turn on any channel in the U.K., pick up any paper on your way to the tube, step into any pub from Aberdeen to London or visit any British news website, and you’ll likely see or hear at least one mention of Brexit, if not several.

      And yet, nothing has actually happened. Well, a few things have. The gamble-prone David Cameron resigned as prime minister in disgrace, a quick leadership contest in the Tory party led to the rise of former Home Secretary Theresa May over the infamous “Leave” campaigner Boris Johnson, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty was triggered to begin the divorce negotiations, May called for a snap election that actually led to Tories losing seats in Parliament, and through it all Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has held his own against threats to his leadership within his party, a hostile media and even a possible government-funded conspiracy.

      But in terms of Brexit, the U.K. is no closer now than it was in 2016 to even beginning its formal departure from the EU. May’s government has spent the better part of two years negotiating with the European Union, only to come up with a deal that pretty much no one likes, and that Corbyn calls “the worst of all worlds.”

    • Statement on Strasbourg attack: response from Molly Scott Cato MEP
      Responding to last night's attack in Strasbourg, in which three peolle were killed and 12 others injured, Green MEP Molly Scott Cato, who was close to the attak when it happened, said:

      "Following the shocking attack in Strasbourg last night I would like to offer my sympathy to the families of those who were killed and the many people who were injured and to send solidarity to everybody in the city who feels shaken and brutalised this morning.

      "Strasbourg is at the centre of the European peace project and also the heart of human rights in our continent since it houses both the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights. As Greens we therefore restate our total commitment to both these idealistic and hopeful projects this morning.
    • What We Now Know about Manafort, Cohen and “Individual-1” — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast Extra
      Court filings by prosecutors last week shined a light on the business lives of two men who worked get Donald Trump elected president: former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

    • 'We Need an Unprecedented Transformation in Every Sector': 250 Climate Activists Stage Sit-in at Pelosi's San Francisco Office
      That's what 24-year-old Morissa Zuckerman—one of 250 youth climate activists and constituents who staged a sit-in at the San Francisco office of presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday—wants to know.

      "If Nancy Pelosi is up to date on the latest climate science, then she knows that we need an unprecedented transformation in every sector of the economy over the next 12 years," Zuckerman said in a statement. "Planning for a Green New Deal is common sense. It's the Democratic Party's ticket to the White House."

      While a surge of support since Monday—after at least 1,000 youth activists flooded Capitol Hill and more than 140 were arrested—has brought the total number of incoming House Democrats calling for the creation of a select committee for a Green New Deal to 35, Pelosi is not yet among them. The protesters hope to change that.
    • If Democrats Fracture, This Will Be the Fault Line
      Back in the closing years of the 20th century, the British Labour Party leader Tony Blair thoroughly redefined his party’s essence. Labour, Blair believed, had to shake off the past and become a political force “on the side” of the upwardly mobile, not just workers and their unions.

      Blair’s chief strategist, Peter Mandelson, would capture the new Blairite sensibility with a quip that would go viral in the UK, even before the days of social media.

      “We are intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich,” Mandelson opined, “as long as they pay their taxes.”

      And those taxes would stay modest in the years after Blair’s electoral triumph in 1997. Prime minister Blair would pay precious little attention to the increasing concentration of British income, wealth, and power in the hands of a filthy rich few.

      How did that benign neglect work out for average people in the UK? Not so well. Families in Britain’s industrial belt, reeling ever since the 1980s free-market fundamentalism of the Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher, continued on a dispiriting economic slide.

      Corporate and banking honchos, meanwhile, stuffed their pockets and eventually crashed the British economy. For an encore, they helped shove Great Recession Britain into years of austerity that placed the full burden of economic recovery onto the backs of low- and middle-income households.

    • I’m with Progressives Against Impeachment
      Why? Because it bypasses democratic politics in favour of the legal system, or the quasi-legal impeachment process. But democratic electoral politics operates in its own, independent realm.

      For instance, Marion Barry was a U.S. civil rights leader who got elected mayor of Washington D.C. in the ’80s. The FBI entrapped him in a crack sting and he went to jail. Then he got reelected. His slogan was, “He isn’t perfect but he’s perfect for D.C.” Voters got the distinction.

      Take a Canadian example. In the 1830s, William Lyon Mackenzie was elected to Ontario’s legislature. The aristocrats in the Family Compact expelled him because he wanted democratic reform. Basically, they impeached him — four times. But the voters returned him each time.

      In Brazil, the right used impeachment to remove progressive president Dilma Rousseff and the courts jailed former president Lula to stop him from running again because he’d have won.
    • Stacking the Deck Against Democracy in Wisconsin
      The power grab by Wisconsin Republicans to limit the incoming authority of the Democratic Attorney General and Governor is about pettiness and being a sore loser. But it is not the only instance of such pettiness–Michigan too is experiencing this, as did North Carolina a few years ago when the Democratic governor ousted the Republican. Pettiness seems to be de rigueur, inspired by Donald Trump’s brand of politics, violating two norms, one informal, the other constitutional.

      Pettiness and being a sore loser is not a unique feature of contemporary American politics–it tradition goes back perhaps as early as 1800. Then, when Thomas Jefferson and his fellow Democrats took control of the White House and Congress and ousted John Adams and the Federalists, the latter retaliated with a series of late minute acts that included judgeships to stack the courts. This resulted in the appointment by John Adams of a judicial commission to William Marbury, who, while confirmed by the Senate, did not have his judgeship delivered in term and which Thomas Jefferson refused to honor. The dispute resulted in the arguably the most important and famous Supreme Court case in American history–Marbury v. Madison–which established the principles of judicial review, constitutional supremacy, and separation of powers as fundamental values in American law and politics.

      The incidents surrounding Marbury are twofold important. First, the 1800 elections were arguably the most significant in American history, establishing a pattern of peaceful transition of government power from one party to another. A hallmark of democracy is the acknowledgment by one party that it has lost and its willingness to give up the reigns of power peacefully to the opposition. Yes, in 1800 the Federalists were sore losers, but power transferred without gun shots and the election established the unwritten norm of how parties ought to observe one another–not as enemies or criminals to be locked up–but as rivals with whom you disagree but nonetheless will not seek to illegitimately undermine.

    • How To Elect Democrats Who Actually Answer To Workers
      Over the past decade in particular, right-wing forces have doubled down on their multifaceted effort to rig the rules of governmental elections. Examples include unlimited and unaccountable spending by the employer class, restrictions on who is eligible to be on the voter list itself, and gerrymandering galore.

      Many of these tactics will feel familiar to workers, whose power has been undermined for decades by bosses manipulating the system. Employers routinely “gerrymander” workplaces before union elections, removing pro-union workers from the eligible voter pool with gimmicks that include drastically reducing their hours or alleging they have newfound management duties.

      At times it’s blatantly obvious that the right-wing electioneers are borrowing straight from the union-busting playbook. In blue-state Massachusetts, voters statewide got a taste of one of the most effective tools in the union avoidance industry, captive audience meetings, where workers are forced to sit through anti-union presentations as a condition of work. Hospital bosses went to such extremes to defeat a November 2018 ballot initiative to secure safe patient limits for nurses that they forced patients and families entering emergency rooms, checking in for surgery, or undergoing any procedure to sit through briefing sessions where they were told that voting “no” on the initiative was the only way to ensure the hospital or clinic would remain open. (The bosses won.)

      The employer class has eviscerated workplace democracy over the past 40 years. Using many of the same weapons, they’ve got their sights set on civic elections. To preserve democracy and rebuild working-class power requires a key tactic revived in 2018, in the nick of time: the all-out strike.

      Strikes are a uniquely powerful form of the political education required to prepare workers to pull the levers in the voting booth because they clarify the most important political lesson urgently needed today: There are only two sides, the owners and the rest of us. Unions that still win great contracts—which generally requires their having a credible strike threat—can point the way, as educators did earlier in 2018 from West Virginia to Oklahoma to Arizona and beyond. The #Red4Ed movement led to unprecedented numbers of educators running for office and winning, and made support for public education a key issue up and down the ballot. In Arizona, the movement soundly defeated a Koch Brothers-backed initiative to expand private-school vouchers. This suggests that to build effective political operations, unions should understand that more strikes are key to winning elections, not just good contracts.

    • 'This Is Why People Hate Congress': With Buried Provision in Must-Pass Farm Bill, House GOP Uses Last Days in Power to Block Yemen Vote
      As the U.S. Senate prepared Wednesday to vote on a resolution to cut military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, House Republicans in their last days in power moved to undermine efforts to end U.S. complicity in the assault that's dragged on for more than three years in the impoverished country.

      The House Rules Committee advanced the Farm Bill to a floor debate Tuesday evening, with progressives celebrating the absence of work requirements for low-income families who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—but hidden in the annual agricultural bill was a provision keeping lawmakers from forcing a vote on any legislation invoking War Powers resolutions for the rest of the year.

    • Exhuming Franco: Spain’s Immemorial Divisions
      Beware the corpse that never truly expires. General Francisco Franco might well be entombed in the Valley of the Fallen (Valle de los Caídos) – at least for the moment – but his remains are set for exhumation, to be disturbed on the wishes of Spain’s socialist government led by Pedro Sánchez. Fernando Martínez of the Justice Ministry, entrusted with handling matters on the delicate subject of historical memory, explains the rationale. “In a democratic society, there cannot be a dictator who is the subject of homages, or whose tomb is a site of fascist pilgrimage, or who has a monument in his honour.”

      This might be all well and good, though it tends to jar with the delicate transition process Spain endured in the 1970s. It also sits uncomfortably with voters, whether as a priority or as a necessity. Sigma Dos, in a July poll for the daily El Mundo, found a mere 41 percent of Spaniards in agreement with moving the remains, while 54 percent also felt that the issue was not of importance at this time.

      What came after the general’s death was a matter of political juggling, as much a case of rehearsed, and encouraged amnesia, as it did archiving matters of the mind. This form of forgetting had much practice, perfected by Franco himself before his death through what was termed “recuperation”. Reconciliation was off the books, though Franco, in his last message, sought “pardon of all my enemies, as I pardon with all my heart all those who declared themselves my enemy, although I did not consider them to be so.”

      To attain the goal of democracy came with its own distasteful compromises, not least of all an acceptance that Francoist officials would be left untouched by any prosecuting process. Victims of Franco’s Spain duly felt confined to the status of víctimas de segunda– “second class citizens”, contributing to the new, and reformed country, in painful silence.

    • What’s behind Mike Pence’s stony visage? Trump may plan to dump him for Nikki Haley
      It looks as if The Trump Show will take some interesting turns in the new season, which begins Jan. 3. The teaser we saw on Tuesday was a doozy. Minority Leader and soon-to-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer went up to the White House to meet with the president about the looming government shutdown and all hell broke loose before the meeting even started. When the fur starts flying at the photo-op, you know that things are going to get crazy.

      Trump did his normal thing: Lying, exaggerating, threatening, bragging, complaining. But instead of the usual GOP sycophants clapping like a bunch of trained seals, this time he got pushback. He's not used to that and it didn't go well for him.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Google CEO Argues for Company's China Return in Congress

      Pichai has been under pressure from politicians, activists and staff to stop building a censored search engine for China. The company has said it’s not close to launching such a product, although details of the project were exposed by media reports earlier this year.

    • The Sundar Pichai Hearing Was a Major Missed Opportunity

      The hearing was more than a missed opportunity for both lawmakers and members of the public. It was a foreboding reminder of Congress's continued technological ignorance, and a sign that while lawmakers almost unilaterally agree that something must be done about tech giants' tremendous power, they remain unwilling to set aside partisan squabbles to actually do anything about it.

    • The rise of academic mobs

      In each case, the letters, intended for publication and widespread dissemination, are designed to shame the individual and their institutional employer. They are better described as petitions, with the ensuing rush to gather signatures a thinly veiled witch-hunt. The aim is the squashing of research, opinions or even just awkward questions through public disapproval and humiliation.

      These academic pile-ons, complete with grandstanding public declarations, are most often based on a disingenuous and mendacious interpretation of the target’s research.

    • Guardians of the truth? Some of TIME’s ‘Person(s) of the Year’ choices are perplexing
      TIME magazine has chosen a group of journalists it refers to as ‘The Guardians’ as its 2018 most influential ‘Person of the Year’ – but some of the journalists the magazine included for honors have raised a few eyebrows. The decision to pick journalists for the annual title was perhaps not so surprising in the era of Donald Trump, who is constantly at odds with the media at large, labeling any report he isn’t fond of as “fake news” – but there is a niggling sense that TIME’s decision to put the spotlight on the media as the Guardians of truth is not entirely sincere.

      TIME explains its reasoning under the headline “The Guardians and the War on Truth” and, while it would be difficult to quibble over including murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi – or Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were arrested covering the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, some of the other choices are more surprising.

      Take Ukrainian journalist Arkady Babchenko. For many in the West, the first they had heard of Babchenko was the news of his untimely death at the hands of alleged Russian state assassins; It turned out to be one of the biggest fake news stories of the last year, orchestrated by none other than Babchenko himself, along with the SBU, Ukraine’s security service (SBU). While Time seems to applaud Babchenko’s fakery, which, they note, turned him into a “pariah” among some of his Ukrainian colleagues who felt their own credibility was damaged after the stunt.
    • European Parliament calls for automated and private censorship of the Web for security purposes
      As we feared last Monday, European Parliament has just adopted a Report pushing for the outsourcing of Web censorship to Facebook and Google, using the pretext of the fight against terrorism.

      This Report suggests, among numerous others recommendations, that it would be necessary to “achieve automatic detection and systematic, fast, permanent and full removal of terrorist content online” and to prevent “the re-upload of already removed content”. The text specifies that it “welcomes the Commission’s legislative proposal on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online”, “calls on the co-legislators to urgently work on the proposal” and “invites the Member States to put in place national measures if the adoption of legislation is delayed” (€§47).

      Three amendments would have allowed the European Parliament to stand out from the willingness of Emmanuel Macron and the European Commission to submit the whole Web to the surveillance and automated censorship tools provided by Facebook and Google, as we have denounced it with 58 others organisations.

      A first amendment proposed that the censorship of “terrorist content” could not be “automatic” ; this amendment has been rejected by 311 votes against 269 (77 abstentions). A second amendment proposed that this censorship could not imply an active “detection” of content, nor a “systematic and fast” removal ; it has been rejected by 533 votes against 119 (4 abstentions). A third amendment proposed that platforms should not have an obligation “to remove [the content] fully” ; it has been rejected by 534 votes against 105 (14 abstentions).

    • Censoring This Documentary Only Plays Into AIPAC's Hands
      On Wednesday, in keeping with its image as a progressive leader in social policy, the City of West Hollywood, Calif., was scheduled to host a film screening and panel discussion on the painful birth of Israel and the Palestinian refugee crisis. Instead, the city is playing censor, “postponing” the event until further notice.

      The screening of the new documentary, “1948: Creation and Catastrophe,” and panel, which I was invited to join, are part of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speaker Series, co-sponsored by PBS SoCal. But after spurious allegations of anti-Semitism by local rabbi Denise Eger, the city pulled the plug. City Council member Lindsey Horvath said she didn’t want West Hollywood to become a “refuge for hate.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • China’s Surveillance & Social Credit system alive & kicking in Berlin…
      Earlier this week I was giving a speech on Data Ethics in Copenhagen when I was approached by one of the participants who wanted to ask me about a service they recently started using in Berlin called Mobike. They were concerned that the app which is required to use the service (which is a dock less bicycle sharing service) was collecting all their location data and sending it back to China (where Mobike is based). They also mentioned that the App had a form of discriminative pricing whereby if you broke their “rules” your monthly subscription price would increase. Obviously this piqued my interest for a number of reasons. At first glance of the app it was obvious that there is a scoring system similar to the controversial Chinese Social Credit system and in order to determine your score minor infringements (such as not parking in a public parking zone) were being constantly monitored — in fact other users of the service are encouraged to report bikes parked in unauthorized zones. If you think this sounds creepy, it is because it is.

    • How Bike-Sharing Services And Electric Vehicles Are Sending Personal Data To The Chinese Government
      A year ago, Techdirt wrote about the interesting economics of bike-sharing services in China. As the post noted, competition is fierce, and the profit margins slim. The real money may be coming from gathering information about where people riding these bikes go, and what they may be doing, and selling it to companies and government departments. As we warned, this was something that customers in the West might like to bear in mind as these Chinese bike-sharing startups expand abroad. And now, the privacy expert Alexander Hanff has come across exactly this problem with the Berlin service of the world's largest bike-sharing operator, Mobike...
    • UK Spies Say They're Dropping Bulk Data Collection For Bulk Equipment Interference
      The lawfulness depends on the "double lock" process. The government alone can't give GCHQ permission to engage in bulk EI. There's a judge involved now, making this more of a warrant process than a subpoena process, to make a somewhat clumsy analogy. According to this report, bulk EI is still waiting in the wings. If true, it's a good thing because the double-lock process didn't actually go into effect until the end of November.

      What bulk EI is remains somewhat of a mystery. But some of what's described in a 2016 report [PDF] containing several hypotheticals sounds like a lot of large-scale intrusion, ranging from Stingray-esque device location to tactics that have been left up to the imagination thus far.

      This sounds a bit like the FBI's child porn hunting Network Investigative Technique: serving up malware to collect information on devices and their users.

    • Techly Explains: Why Australia’s new encryption laws are so alarming
      The Australian Labor Party decided not to oppose a controversial new bill that gives Aussie law enforcement unprecedented powers to crack encryption. The new law gives security agencies the ability to access the encrypted messages of suspected criminals. Notice how it says suspects, not actual criminals.

      The bill even gives government agencies the power to request that tech companies create new ways for them to access messages. That means secret backdoors accessible by them – and potential hackers.

    • European split over Huawei ‘threat’ risks ruffling Western alliances as EU states build 5G partnerships despite accusations of spying
      As international pressure mounts on Huawei amid allegations about spying, European nations are walking a fine line between their economic and security interests in an issue that could divide them.

      The United States is leading the charge that the company is a security threat, but the claim is not shared by all Western nations and no evidence has been produced.

      So far, none have gone as far as the US, Japan, New Zealand or Australia and issued an outright ban on their governments using Huawei’s technology. But signals coming from the EU are mixed as to how to respond to the push from the US and European security agencies.

    • Facebook plays down relevance of location prediction patent
      Facebook has played down the importance of a patent application linked to technology that could predict a user’s future location.

      The patent, filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, uses previously logged location data from a user as well as other people to make predictions on where they are likely to go next.

      However, the social network said the application should be not seen as confirmation of any plans to implement any such system. “We often seek patents for technology we never implement, and patent applications – such as this one – should not be taken as an indication of future plans,” a Facebook spokesman said.

    • Surveillance Capitalism at the BBC

      Here’s hoping that when the folks at the BBC see this, they will do some soul searching and revise their policies. At the very least, please do not include a third-party tracker in video embeds. Innocent people who just want to share videos should not find themselves unknowingly complicit in web tracking and profiling.

      As for all of you looking for ethical alternatives to surveillance-based video services for your own content, check out Peertube.

    • Facebook wants to patent tech to predict where users are going

      The patent sounds like something you'd expect to see in an episode of Black Mirror or in some near-future dystopia pretending to be a pristine utopia designed to make you feel safe and sound by predicting your every move.

      But what it plans to do, at least in the short term, is to predict where people plan to go "based at least in part on previously logged location data".

    • Facebook Filed A Patent To Calculate Your Future Location

      In a statement, Facebook spokesperson Anthony Harrison said, “We often seek patents for technology we never implement, and patent applications — such as this one — should not be taken as an indication of future plans.” While a patent application doesn’t necessarily mean that Facebook plans to implement the technology, it does show the company’s interest in tracking and predicting your locations, an important tool for helping it serve you more effective ads.

    • Facebook’s Scheeler new man at the top of CEBIT

      Former Facebook Australia and New Zealand CEO Stephen Scheeler has been appointed chairman of CEBIT Australia.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Georgia Charter School Reinstates Corporal Punishment
      On September 10, 2018, Lauren von Bernuth, writing for Citizen Truth, reported that a Georgia charter school had reinstated an outdated form of school punishment for the 2018-2019 academic school year. Consent forms were sent to the parents of each child at the Georgia School for Innovation and Classics, asking for their permission to inflict corporal punishment, within means, on their children, as part of the school’s new three strike policy.

      Von Bernuth reported that over one hundred consent forms were returned to the school and about one third of parents will allow their children to be paddled. This law would apply only to students between Kindergarten and 9th grade. Students will face corporal punishment as a consequence of their third documented infraction. Children of parents who did not give consent will be suspended from school for five days if they receive a third strike. Citizen Truth quotes directly from the consent form, highlighting that students will be brought into an office with closed doors and will “place their hands on their knees … and will be struck on the buttocks with a paddle.”

    • Hidden But Prevalent Racism in Georgia’s Special Education Programs
      On October 1, 2018, The New Yorker reported that the state of Georgia has been using disproportionate diagnoses of developmental and behavioral issues in black children to segregate them into the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS). This was the first article to frame the story of GNETS schools as a racial issue. The article focuses on a boy named Seth Murrell in Seminole County during the fall of 2015. Seth originally attended his local public school, but Seth’s teachers decided to send him to a GNETS school due to his disruptive behavior in class. GNETS have a ten percent graduation rate and there have been reports of experimentation on and violence against the students in the schools.

      GNETS schools are set up in school buildings that were formerly meant for black students during segregation. At best, they are holding centers for black students with disabilities who do not fit in the current educational infrastructure, despite the responsibility of public schools to provide space and resources for them. At worst, they are centers for physical and mental abuse, as detailed by Suzie Dunson, grandmother to a student at the Woodall Center. GNETS is a statewide institution, so families cannot escape the system by moving to a different district once their child has been identified as disabled.

    • Imagine a World Without War, Where Migrants Are Welcomed, Where Women Are Not Targets
      It is worthwhile to point out that it was the Indian delegate—Hansa Mehta—who objected to the phrase “all men are born free and equal.” She insisted that it be changed to “all human beings are born free and equal.” Hansa Mehta was thinking of women when she made that alteration. She knew that the costs of war and hunger are borne so sharply by women. So did Minerva Bernardino (Dominican Republic) and Begum Shaista Ikramullah (Pakistan), both of whom made key interventions into that declaration.

      This year, two important events took place on December 10. First, the nations of the world signed on to a Global Compact for Migration. Second, the Nobel Peace Prize went to Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege, both campaigners against sexual violence as a weapon of war. These are two events that drive forward the good side of history.

    • Huawei CFO Gets Bail; China Detains Ex-Canadian Diplomat
      A Canadian court granted bail on Tuesday to a top Chinese executive arrested at the United States’ request in a case that has set off a diplomatic furor among the three countries and complicated high-stakes U.S.-China trade talks.

      Hours before the bail hearing in Vancouver, China detained a former Canadian diplomat in Beijing in apparent retaliation for the Dec. 1 arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and daughter of the company’s founder.

      After three days of hearings, a British Columbia justice granted bail of $10 million Canadian (US$7.5 million) to Meng, but required her to wear an ankle bracelet, surrender her passports, stay in Vancouver and its suburbs and confine herself to one of her two Vancouver homes from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

    • In the Hands of Justice: White Supremacist Gets Life In Prison Plus 419 Years For Murdering Heather Heyer
      A jury has sentenced 21-year-old, very sick, evidently remorseless neo-Nazi James Alex Fields Jr. to life in prison plus 419 years for killing activist Heather Heyer and seriously injuring 35 others when he rammed his car into a crowd of protesters at the August 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA. Fields, who was convicted last week of first degree murder, also faces fines of $480,000, presumably a moot point other than symbolically. The jury tacked on the additional 419 years for his other charges: 70 years for each of five malicious wounding charges, 20 years for each of three other malicious wounding charges, and nine years on one charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving a death. Judge Richard Moore accepted the jury's recommendation; a formal sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 29.

      Fields must still stand trial next year on federal hate crime charges, for which he faces the death penalty. FBI Special Agent in Charge Adam Lee said Fields' crimes, and his fate, offer "a grim reminder to those who are motivated by hate and intent on committing violence: We are going to be there." Many others echoed the same determination that, post-Charlottesville, hate would not win. After Fields' conviction, residents marched downtown declaring, "We have reclaimed our streets"; others sang, "We will walk with you, Charlottesville, and sing your spirit home." At the sentencing hearing, survivors wept as they described their "living nightmare," and Heyer's mother Susan Bro, who has taken up her daughter's activism, testified, "The darkness has tried to swallow us whole." She doesn't hate her daughter's killer - "I'm leaving him in the hands of justice" - but neither will she accede to his hate-filled world view. "Heather was full of love, justice, and fairness," Bro said. "Mr. Fields tried to silence her. I refuse to allow that."

    • Congress Must Reauthorize VAWA
      One troubling example is with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization of 2018. Sadly, it isn’t the first time that Republicans have attempted to block VAWA, literally using women’s lives as a bartering tool.
    • Trump’s Attorney General Nominee Helped Bush Sr. Get Away With Murder
      Donald Trump has been president for almost 700 days now. In all that time, I have managed to find exactly one redeeming quality in the man: I thoroughly enjoyed the prodigious hard time he gave his now-departed attorney general, Jefferson Beauregard Sumpter Appomattox Shiloh Both Bull Runs Sessions III. Even that small pleasure, however, is poisoned.

      Aside from Scott Pruitt, who managed to defoliate the Environmental Protection Agency while stealing everything that wasn’t nailed down or glued to a desk, Sessions was Trump’s most effective cabinet secretary by far and away. His backlit segregationist tendencies, his ruthless pursuit of child-parent separation at the southern border, and his retrograde approach to the criminal legal system and the so-called “war on drugs” all conspired to make me loathe Sessions without restraint. Trump hated Sessions because Sessions wouldn’t protect him from Robert Mueller, which thoroughly spoiled my enjoyment of that spectacle while it lasted.

      The Trump-Sessions passion play ended a day after the 2018 midterms with all the class and collegiality of a car accident, to the great surprise of nobody. Three weeks later, we are three weeks away from the arrival of a new Congress, which will have on its plate Trump’s nominee to replace Sessions. Trump has tapped William Barr to be his next attorney general. In the context of the ongoing Mueller investigation, the nomination of Barr is both appalling and unsurprising in equal measure.

    • I Walked Right Up to Militarized Police at the Border
      Recently, I was arrested on our southern border for acting on my convictions.

      I had joined about 400 faith leaders from many different traditions at the entrance of Border Field State Park in San Diego for a demonstration to launch the Love Knows No Borders: A moral call for migrant justice week of action.

      We had marched together on flooded paths through the historic park, which sits on the U.S.-Mexico border, making our way around large puddles, singing and chanting the whole time. It was inspiring to feel the spirit of unity that motivated this group of people to act together with one voice.

      We walked to the beach where the border wall can be seen extending out into the ocean. As we approached, a line of U.S. Border Patrol officers wearing riot gear ordered us to stop.

      I spoke out in blessing, feeling the support of everyone around me, saying in part that, “We bring this consecrated water to pour out here near the border wall. Water knows no borders, and love knows no borders.”
    • Criminally Insane in Oregon Attack Twice as Many People Than Previously Known, New Data Shows
      People freed by Oregon officials after being found criminally insane are charged with new felonies more often than convicted criminals released from state prison, with family members and first responders often the targets of violence, a new analysis by the Malheur Enterprise and ProPublica shows.

      All told, 23 percent of people freed by the state’s Psychiatric Security Review Board are charged with felonies within three years of their release, compared with 16 percent of those released from Oregon prisons.


      In November, the Enterprise and ProPublica reported that the rate of new criminal charges was roughly similar among those released from oversight by the board and those freed from prison. That was based on data officials provided this year when the Enterprise requested the names of everyone freed by the board in the last decade and searched public records to establish how many had been arrested.

      A week after publication, the board’s executive director, Alison Bort, told the newsrooms that officials had not, in fact, shared the identity of everyone it had discharged from state custody. (The board turned over information in two batches. The data for the years 2013 to 2017 included the identities of everyone the board had released. For 2008 to 2012, the board provided only the names of people for whom they granted early discharge, not those released once they completed the sentences they would have served had they been found guilty in criminal court.)

      Within a day, the board gave the Enterprise the missing names for 192 people who successfully pleaded insanity in a felony case and were later freed by the state. As we did with the earlier names, we searched public records to identify those who were charged with new crimes.

    • Fascists Find Fertile Recruitment Ground in Anti-Choice Movement
      Those on the far right who have long discussed and acted upon their desire to dominate women’s sexual and reproductive rights are pushing that agenda into the political mainstream with help from the anti-choice movement.

      The traditional right wing in the United States tries to distance itself from fascists, but far-right groups are weaponizing traditionalism and “normie optics” to infiltrate anti-choice platforms to recruit and organize young white men.

      Attacks on reproductive rights are nothing new, but fascist groups’ infiltration of anti-choice groups and recruiting around anti-choice organizing in their genocidal agenda is an escalation. Leaked conversations between white supremacist groups using the Discord messaging site show users discussing recruiting members based on their opposition to abortion rights. “March for life never has effect until White Nationalists join [sic],” the Discord user “Commander Davis” said in the Traditionalist Worker Party chatroom, a now disbanded neo-Nazi group. March For Life is a decades old radical anti-choice movement and protest popular among Republicans. President Trump addressed the March for Life rally in January.

      Under the Trump administration, a surge in white nationalist organizing and policies has meant an uptick in threats against abortion providers and clinics, creating an even more unsafe environment for patients as Republican lawmakers further erode their rights. Threats of violence against abortion clinics have nearly doubled since 2017, and trespassing incidents have more than tripled, according to data compiled by the National Abortion Federation.

    • On Being Breathless in the Age of Trump
      As people set upon Khashoggi, he started fighting for air, repeating, “I can’t breathe” at least three times.

      As aficionados of human suffering may recall, these were precisely the same final words uttered by Eric Garner on July 17, 2014 on Staten Island when New York Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo put him in a chokehold. Police accosted Garner for allegedly selling cigarettes without a tax stamp and pulled him down to the sidewalk.

      While four other officers restrained him and Pantaleo pushed his face into the sidewalk, Garner repeated “I can’t breathe” eleven times before losing consciousness. Neither the officers nor the emergency medical technicians they called performed CPR on Garner, who was pronounced dead at the hospital.

      The medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide, but a grand jury opted not to indict Pantaleo. Only the man who took a video of the incident was jailed. A public outcry and various demonstrations protesting police brutality to Garner caused the City of New York to settle out of court with Garner’s family for $5.9 million.

    • Bayou Bridge Pipeline Foes Say Moonlighting Sheriff's Deputies Protect Corporate Interests at Expense of Constitutional Rights
      Iraq war veteran and pipeline opponent Ramon Mejia was trying to stop Energy Transfer Partners from illegally constructing a pipeline on a cypress tree-covered swath of land deep in Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin when St. Martin Parish Sheriff's deputies arrived.

      Mejia had a letter dated July 25 confirming he and other activists had been invited to the property by one of the hundreds of co-owners of the 38-acre property. He wasn’t on the easement, the part of the property where construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline was in full swing.

      When deputies told him he was trespassing, he at first thought it was a misunderstanding.

      If anybody should be in trouble that morning of Aug. 18, it should be the pipeline company, he reasoned. Without legal permission, it had cut a large swath of centuries-old trees and was in the process of installing the pipeline in a deep, water-filled trench it had cut through the property.

      Minutes after arriving, deputies arrested Mejia -- along with two other activists and this reporter -- for felony trespassing on “critical infrastructure,” which was defined to include oil pipelines and pipeline construction sites under a Louisiana law that took effect Aug. 1.

    • Tijuana Crossing: Asylum Seekers Hold Out Hope in the Face of Trumpism
      Fear and caution are drawn in the face of Efraín. It’s 7:00 am. A man’s voice announces “480” while the people around listen attentively for their turn outside the sentry box of San Ysidro in Tijuana, Mexico. Efraín asks others for the waiting time regarding the numbering running daily — his family got the number 512 — and someone told them that, if luck smiles at them, they will soon have made it. At the site, dozens of parents and children, especially mothers and children, are added to a notebook containing numbers and names.

      Efraín, his wife and their three children under the age of 14 believe that it will probably take around five weeks until they can cross the border. (Time is not written on the pages of the notebook.) They are coming from Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, Mexico, a place hit by crime, drug trafficking and violence. Days ago, they arrived at the site where the digits represent the door to a new landscape: the United States. Here, they have an appointment with hope.

    • Refused Right to Seek Asylum, Honduran Refugees Demand Reparations for Destructive US Foreign Policy in Central America
      A month after arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in hopes of being granted asylum in the U.S, about 100 refugees from Honduras marched to the U.S. Consulate in the border city of Tijuana on Tuesday to tell officials that they will return to home—but only if the country that's refused to observe their right to asylum pays them reparations for the destruction and destabilization its foreign policy has caused in their home country and throughout Central America.

      The group demanded $50,000 each from the U.S. government in return for turning back to their home country, asking the the U.S. answer its request within 72 hours. The sum would be enough, the group reasoned, for each asylum-seeker to start a small business or otherwise rebuild their life in a country where two-thirds of the population live in poverty and one in five people survive on less than $2 per day.

      The letter condemned the United States' foreign policy in Honduras—including the 2009 military coup backed by the Obama administration—which has contributed to the circumstances that many are fleeing now.

      "We remind you that if the U.S. does not want more migration, it should put a stop to the economic, political, and military intervention in our territory," wrote the asylum-seekers in the letter, which Common Dreams obtained. "Therefore, we ask you to take away your 13 military bases and all their extractive companies that offend and loot our native land."

    • “Landmark” Maternal Health Legislation Clears Major Hurdle
      Congress moved a big step closer on Tuesday toward addressing one of the most fundamental problems underlying the maternal mortality crisis in the United States: the shortage of reliable data about what kills American mothers.

      The House of Representatives unanimously approved H.R. 1318, the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, to help states improve how they track and investigate deaths of expectant and new mothers.

      The bipartisan bill authorizes $12 million a year in new funds for five years — an unprecedented level of federal support — for states to create review committees tasked with identifying maternal deaths, analyzing the factors that contributed to those deaths and translating the lessons into policy changes. Roughly two-thirds of states have such panels, but the legislation specifically allocates federal funds for the first time and sets out guidelines they must meet to receive those grants.

      “We’re going to investigate every single [death] because these moms are worth it,” Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., the lead sponsor, testified at a hearing in September. Lisa Hollier, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, called the legislation a “landmark.”

    • Receiving "Inspiration of the Year" Award From Christine Blasey Ford, First Nassar Accuser Says, "Be Willing to Hear the Truth"
      Christine Blasey Ford, the college professor who accused now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, presented Sports Illustrated's Inspiration of the Year Award on Tuesday night to Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Larry Nassar of sexual assault, saying the former gymnast's courage "galvanized future generations to come forward, event when the odds are seemingly stacked against them."

      "Her courage inspired other survivors to end their silence. And we all know the result," Blasey Ford said in a video statement presenting the award. "We all have the power to create real change, and we cannot allow ourselves to be defined by the acts of others," the psychology professor added.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality bill 38 votes short in Congress, and time has almost run out

      Legislation to restore net neutrality rules now has 180 supporters in the US House of Representatives, but that's 38 votes short of the amount needed before the end of the month.

      The Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution, already approved by the Senate, would reverse the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules. But 218 signatures from US representatives (a majority) are needed to force a full vote in the House before Congress adjourns at the end of the year.

    • If You're Surprised By Verizon's AOL, Yahoo Face Plant, You Don't Know Verizon
      While some folks reacted with "shock" on Twitter, none of this should really have been a surprise to anybody who has watched Verizon do business over the last decade or two.

      Pretty much every time Verizon wanders outside of its core competencies (operating admittedly excellent networks, lobbying to hamstring competition, being misleading about net neutrality), Verizon falls flat on its face. Whether it's the company's failed Go90 platform, failed video joint venture with RedBox, failed news website Sugarstring (which you may recall tried to ban reporters from talking about surveillance or net neutrality), its app store, its "me too" VCAST apps, or any of a dozen other countless efforts to expand into less familiar territory, Verizon failed. Usually semi-spectacularly.

      This happens because having spent the better part of a generation engaged in turf protection and lobbying, telcos really can't innovate. We've known this for more than a decade, yet somehow, each time Verizon announces some new pivot, we forget. Telecom executives tend to think they can overcome this character flaw via megamerger, which usually just saddles the company with oodles of additional debt, but doesn't really address any of the sector's core shortcomings, built on the back of being largely government-pampered natural monopolies for the better part of a generation.

    • The Trump Administration Just Killed Net Neutrality for Text Messages
      The Trump administration just made it a lot easier for big wireless providers like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile to interfere with texting, all in the name of protecting consumers from spam, according Democrats and digital rights groups.

      Have you ever signed up to receive text blasts from an activist campaign? Does your doctor’s office text you reminders about upcoming appointments?

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted along party lines on Wednesday to classify SMS and MMS text messaging as a Title I “information service” rather than a Title II “telecommunications service” under federal law, a move that congressional Democrats and digital rights groups say will give wireless providers the power to block and censor text messages and widen the digital divide.

    • ISPs Say That Poor People Don’t Deserve Fast Internet Speeds

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Amgen's Biosimilar IP Win Was Wrong, Hospira Tells Fed. Circ.
      Hospira has urged the Federal Circuit to toss a $70 million jury verdict finding its biosimilar version of Amgen Inc.’s blockbuster anemia treatment Epogen infringed an Amgen patent,..

    • Indigenous IP And Climate Change Subject Of New Book
      The book, titled Intellectual Property and Clean Energy, seeks to provide a critical analysis of the impact of the Paris Agreement on climate adaptation and mitigation technology.

      Matthew Rimmer, professor in intellectual property and innovation law at the Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia, authored several chapters of the book.

      In one of them, he considers the atmospheric trust litigation in the case of Nelson Kanuk v. State of Alaska over “the climate inaction of the State of the Alaska.” According to Rimmer, the case “is a compelling case study in respect of constitutional law, the public trust doctrine, climate change, intergenerational justice, Indigenous rights, and Indigenous intellectual property.”

      The question of indigenous rights was “prominent during the negotiations over the Paris Agreement 2015,” and there have been concerns “that the international climate law framework is inadequate and insufficient to address Indigenous rights,” he said in the book. From an intellectual property perspective, the chapter looks at the impact of climate change upon traditional knowledge.

      In another chapter, Rimmer explores the larger questions about the treatment of indigenous rights under international law.

    • The Danish Maritime & Commercial Court issues ruling on the potential bias of judges
      With the Danish patent litigation community being limited in numbers and the pool of legal judges and expert judges available to the Danish specialty patents court being likewise limited in numbers, The Maritime & Commercial High Court (“MCC”) – along with its appellate branches – has long since decided that judges deciding an application for an interlocutory injunction are not prima facie biased in relation to hearing an ensuing action on the merits.

      In a pending matter, however, a somewhat different aspect came up when a party applied for an injunction to be lifted (repealed) by MCC – which had also granted the injunction – due to a subsequent decision in a parallel matter in which an application for an interlocutory injunction had been denied by the MCC.

    • Trademarks

      • Iowa State Tells Students To Piss Off And Continues Its New Trademark Policy Despite Their Concerns
        We've been discussing Iowa State University's bold attempt to twist itself into a knot over its trademark policy for some time now. This all started when the school attempted to bow at the alter of certain Iowa state government reps to disallow a pro-marijuana alumni group from using school iconography. For its efforts, the alumni group beat the school in court on First Amendment grounds, eventually resulting in a $600k judgement against the school. Rather than learning its lesson, the school reacted to all of this by rewriting its trademark policy for student groups, pulling back permission of all kinds for groups to use the school's name and symbols. This, predictably, led to a full on revolt by students, with all kinds of groups refusing to associate themselves with the school at all. The student government, meanwhile, pointed out that the policy was written with zero input from students or student representatives.

    • Copyrights

      • BREAKING: AG Szpunar advises CJEU to rule that unlicensed sampling MAY be a copyright infringement and German free use may be contrary to EU law
        Last year The IPKat reported that the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) had referred the longstanding Metall auf Metall litigation to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The case is now Pelham and Others, C-476/17.
      • Malware Purveyors Targeting Pirate Sites With Bogus DMCA Takedown Notices
        That's the way the law works. Takedown notices claiming DRM circumvention (most pirated software involves some sort of circumvention) cannot be contested. Google is allowing replies in these cases, but what it's doing isn't mandated by law. Google, however, is obliged to comply with requests unless it feels the complaint isn't legitimate. How strongly it feels sometimes depends on the manpower available... or the attention the issue is receiving elsewhere on the web. The notices collected by TorrentFreak hardly seem legit, even with only a cursory review. They're littered with typos and make unrealistic/absurd claims, like supposedly filing on behalf of Steam even though Steam doesn't actually own or produce the game titles listed in the takedown notice. As TorrentFreak notes, thousands of URLs have already been taken down, pushing malware-loaded sites higher in search listings. Internet users seeking free games now may find they've picked up bitcoin-mining hitchhikers after visiting these scammers' sites.
      • CC’s 4.0 license suite now in Greek
        All six of the Creative Commons licenses v4.0 are now available in Greek as a result of the joint and volunteer effort of the University of Cyprus, the Pedagogical Institute of Cyprus, and the legal firm Ioannides Demetriou LLC. The multi-year process began when the first draft translation of the Creative Commons license into Greek was submitted to CC HQ in 2016.All six of the Creative Commons licenses v4.0 are now available in Greek as a result of the joint and volunteer effort of the University of Cyprus, the Pedagogical Institute of Cyprus, and the legal firm Ioannides Demetriou LLC. The multi-year process began when the first draft translation of the Creative Commons license into Greek was submitted to CC HQ in 2016.
      • Legacy Copyright Industries Lobbying Hard For EU Copyright Directive... While Pretending That Only Google Is Lobbying
        Have you heard that all of the opposition to the EU Copyright Directive and its hugely problematic Articles 11 and 13 is really being driven by Google lobbying? Most of you probably realized this was nonsense, but it now turns out that not only was the lobbying almost entirely dominated by the legacy copyright players, but a key plank of their lobbying campaign was to falsely allege that all opposition was just Google.

        If you've been paying attention at all to the crazy fights over the EU Copyright Directive, you may have heard some claims being passed around that it's somehow "Google" lobbying heavily against the bill. Indeed, all over Twitter, that's the talking point from tons of EU Copyright Directive supporters. After the EU Parliament put the breaks on the bill back in July, I even saw a former RIAA exec (who has since blocked me on Twitter, so I can't show it to you) tweet that this was a clear perversion of the "will of the people" by Google's corporate lobbying. Of course, it's hilarious for that to come from an ex-RIAA exec, who was heavily involved over the past 3 decades in pushing through all sorts of protectionist, anti-public, anti-musician legislation and trade agreements.

        But... it's a talking point. And it's one that lots of people have jumped on. Digital Music News, who is always quick to restate the recording industry's talking points, claimed that Google spent more than $36 million lobbying over Article 13. Billboard Magazine published a similar claim. Various music industry groups, in what appeared to be closely coordinated messaging, all started blaming Google and "the tech giants" for any opposition to the EU Copyright Directive -- which, mind you, would change the fundamental ways in which the internet works. Yet, in their minds, all of the opposition came from the internet giants.

      • Activists to Deliver 4 Million Anti ‘Article 13’ Signatures to EU Parliament

        Ahead of the final trilogue negotiations this Thursday, activists will deliver an anti "upload filter" petition signed by four million people to the European Parliament. Lawmakers will try to agree on the final text of the controversial Article 13 this week. The latest proposals stress that any measures platforms take should not remove legitimate content.

      • Article 13 isn't quite as messy as Brexit, but its still a confused mess

        The latest summary document about the wider EU Copyright Directive has been published and seems to contain some weasel words, which suggest that there would be no filters applied to uploading to the internet, but only because it thinks that calling them something else is the same as not having them. It isn't.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Why Virtually All the Wikileaks Copycats, Forks, and Rivals Basically Perished
Cryptome is like the "grandpa" of them all
In the United Kingdom Google Search Rises to All-Time High, Microsoft Fell Nearly 1.5% Since the LLM Hype Began
Microsoft is going to need actual products or it will gradually vanish from the market
Why We're Revealing the Ugly Story of What Happened at Libre-SOC
Aside from the fact that some details are public already
Removing the Lid Off of 'Cancel Culture' (in Tech) and Shutting It Down by Illuminating the Tactics and Key Perpetrators
Corporate militants disguised as "good manners"
FSF, Which Pioneered GNU/Linux Development, Needs 32 More New Members in 2.5 Days
To meet the goal of a roughly month-long campaign
Lupa Statistics, Based on Crawling Geminispace, Will Soon Exceed Scope of 4,000 Capsules
Capsules or unique capsules or online capsules are in the thousands and growing
Links 24/07/2024: Many New Attacks on Journalists, "Private Companies Own The Law"
Links for the day
Gemini Links 24/07/2024: Face à Gaïa, Emacs Timers for Weekly Event, Chromebook Survives Water Torture
Links for the day
A Total Lack of Transparency: Open and Free Technology Community (OFTC) Fails to Explain Why Over 60% of Users Are Gone (Since a Week Ago)
IRC giants have fallen
Trying to Put Out the Fire at Microsoft
Microsoft is drowning in debt while laying off loads of staff, hoping it can turn things around
GNU/Linux Growing at Vista 11's Expense
it's tempting to deduce many people who got PCs with Vista 11 preinstalled are deleting it, only to replace it with GNU/Linux
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, July 23, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, July 23, 2024
[Meme] Was He So Productive He Had to be Expelled Somehow? (After He Was Elected and Had Given Many Years of Work to Earn a Board Seat)
Things like these seem to lessen the incentive to devote one's life to Free software projects
GNOME Foundation is Causing Itself More Embarrassment With Secrecy Than With Full Transparency
It also arouses suspicion and hostility towards Codes of Conduct, which gave rise to 'secret courts' governed by large corporations
Links 23/07/2024: NetherRealm Layoffs and Illegitimate Patent 'Courts' (Illegal)
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/07/2024: AM Radio, ngIRCd, and Munin
Links for the day
A Lot of GNU/Linux Growth on the Client Side is Owing to India (Where GNU/Linux Has Reached 16%)
A lot of this happened in recent years
Insulting Free Software Users in Social Control Media (Proprietary, Bloated With Opaque JavaScript) is Like Insulting Amish on TV
Why bother? Don't take the bait.
When Wikileaks Sources Were Actually Murdered and Wikileaks Was Still a Wiki
when Wikileaks was a young site and still an actual wiki
statCounter: Dutch GNU/Linux Usage Surged 1% in Summer
Microsoft is running out of things to actually sell
Microsoft's "Results" Next Week Will be Ugly (But It'll Lie About Them, as Usual)
Where can Microsoft find income rather than losses as its debt continues to grow and layoffs accelerate?
Julian Assange is Still Being Dehumanised in Media Whose Owners Wikileaks Berated (With Underlying Facts or Leaks)
Wikileaks and Free software aren't the same thing. Nevertheless, the tactics used to infiltrate or discredit both ought to be understood.
A Month Later
We're optimistic on many fronts
Links 23/07/2024: Downsizing and Microsoft and Still Damage Control
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/07/2024: Friends and Solitaire
Links for the day
Why the Media is Dying (It Sucks, No Mentally Healthy People Will Tolerate This for Long)
linking to actual news articles helps fuel the spam, too
Censorship in Eklektix's Linux Weekly News (LWN)
Medieval system of speech, where the monarchs (Linux Foundation) dictate what's permissible to say
10 Years of In-Depth EPO Coverage at Techrights (Many Others Have Abandoned the Topic)
Listen to staff
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 22, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, July 22, 2024
[Meme] The Latest in the Microsoft Windows Blame Game
Microsoft found the culprit and came to everyone's rescue!
Links 22/07/2024: Overworking and Performance Issues From Europe
Links for the day
Microsoft Eliminates 67% of the Building Occupancy - That's Some Truly Massive Layoffs
Half a dozen floors? Microsoft cuts that down to two.
[Meme] Signs of a Dying Patent Office
"Bribe the media to say you excel"
This Month's General Consultative Committee (GCC) Webchat ('Meeting') Covered the European Patent Office's Attacks on Its Own Interpreters
The Central Staff Committee is currently circulating a report with appendices about the GCC meeting [sic] (webchat) that took place less than a fortnight ago
A Byzantine European Patent Office Where Staff Must Beg for Help With Contraception (Worse Than the Rest of Europe)
The Central Staff Committee (EPO staff representation) has just circulated a report
[Teaser] EPO Run by Children
"Daddy, why was I born?"
Let's Encrypt About to Fall Below 100 (Capsules) in Geminispace, It's Basically in a Freefall
The "self-signed" portion keeps growing
Gemini Links 22/07/2024: Spacewalk Dies and Old Computer Challenge in the Rear View
Links for the day
For the First Time Since May (Linux Foundation) Published Something. It's All Spam.
Can we trust the Linux Foundation to look after anything at all? Look what it turned this once-thriving site into.
Honduras: Windows Down, Android Peaking Again
Honduras does not have many stakes in Microsoft
[Meme] Twitter (X) Will Reject the Concept of a Female President
Twitter (X) is controlled by misogynists, who socially control (or socially-engineer) their fake concept of "media"
Second Family Photo of Julian Assange Since His Release (First Since His Birthday)
His wife shows the 4 of them for the first time (2 hours ago)
Protesters in Kenya Need Software That is Free (Libre) and Supports Real Encryption in Order to Avoid Capture and Torture (Sometimes Execution)
There's more to fight over than economic issues
The Ludicrous Idea That GNU/Linux is a "Poor Man's" Operating System
Seeing the trends in countries such an Norway, it ought to be abundantly clear that adoption of GNU/Linux has nothing to do with poverty
Links 22/07/2024: Internet Optimism and Kamala Harris Policies Debated
Links for the day
Something is Happening at OFTC
It looks like it shrank by 20,000 users
GNU/Linux Usage in Guadeloupe Rises Closer to International Average, Based on Web Data Collected by statCounter
It should be noted that the estimates of GNU/Linux usage are now in 4.5% territories
The Impact of OFTC's Latest Changes on the Perceived Scale of IRC Globally
IRC is still one of the more potent alternatives to the social control media conglomerates
New: Why They Really Went After Assange
Uploaded by Chris Hedges
Links 21/07/2024: Health, Politics, and Kamala Harris in Focus
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, July 21, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, July 21, 2024
A Drop in Half (From 208 to 104): Sharp Decline in Number of Gemini Capsules That Use Let's Encrypt CA Since December
Gemini is increasing its independence from Certificate Authorities (CAs)