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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 57 min ago

Links 22/7/2016: Wine 1.9.15, KaOS 2016.07 ISO

Friday 22nd of July 2016 11:51:43 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Science
    • UK employers still reluctant to hire recent CompSci grads

      Computer science graduates continue to top the UK’s higher education unemployment rankings, according to the latest figures compiled by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

      Ten per cent of computer science graduates failed to find a job six months after graduation in the academic year 2014/2015 – a figure higher than students who had studied Mass Communications and documentation, Physical sciences, or Engineering and technology (all 7.7 per cent).

      But the percentage is improving, albeit slowly. Last year’s statistics by HESA revealed 11.3 per cent of computer science graduates in 2013/2014 were unemployed.

  • Hardware
    • Digitimes Research: SoftBank chairman overoptimistic about benefits from acquiring ARM

      For Japan-based SoftBank’s plan to acquire a 100% stake in UK-based ARM at GBP24.3 billion (US$32.0 billion), SoftBank chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son indicated that the acquisition is motivated by the large business potential for IoT (Internet of Things). However, Son overestimated real benefits from the acquisition and underestimated difficulties in vertical and horizontal integration of industries for IoT application, according to Digitimes Research.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Civil Society Calls On India To Backtrack On Policy Threatening Global HIV Response

      The International AIDS Society made a statement today at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, voicing concerns about India’s recent policy which, according to the group, is threatening access to HIV treatment in India and around the world.

      The International AIDS Conference is taking place from 18-22 July.

      The statement co-signed by a number of civil society groups, said civil society is concerned “about the closing space both for the civil society groups that have been critical in the AIDS response nationally and internationally and for the public health-supporting policies that ensure quality, affordable generic drugs for the world.”

    • Emails reveal role of Monsanto in Séralini study retraction

      In September 2012 the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) published the research of a team led by the French biologist Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini, which found liver and kidney toxicity and hormonal disturbances in rats fed Monsanto’s GM maize NK603 and very small doses of the Roundup herbicide it is grown with, over a long-term period. An additional observation was a trend of increased tumours in most treatment groups.

      In November 2013 the study was retracted by the journal’s editor, A. Wallace Hayes, after the appointment of a former Monsanto scientist, Richard E. Goodman, to the editorial board and a non-transparent review process by nameless people that took several months.

      Did Monsanto pressure the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) to retract the study? French journalist Stéphane Foucart addresses this question in an article for Le Monde.

    • The U.S. Lags Far Behind Other Developed Countries In Access To Affordable Abortion

      Seventy-four percent of countries with liberal abortion laws cover abortion costs. Why doesn’t the U.S.?

    • New French Law Opens Market For Non-Profits Selling Public Domain Seeds

      New legislation on biodiversity has been adopted by the French National Assembly, opening doors for the sharing and selling of seeds in the public domain to amateur gardeners. For some associations that had been illegally trading public domain seeds, this is seen as a major victory.

      Prior to the newly adopted legislation, only seeds listed in the national catalogue could be commercialised in France. The new law allows non-governmental organisations to transfer, share or sell seeds that are in the public domain to non-commercial users (IPW, Biodiversity/Genetic Resources/Biotech, 7 July 2016).

  • Security
    • As a blockchain-based project teeters, questions about the technology’s security

      There’s no shortage of futurists, industry analysts, entrepreneurs and IT columnists who in the past year have churned out reports, articles and books touting blockchain-based ledgers as the next technology that will run the world.

    • Fix Bugs, Go Fast, and Update: 3 Approaches to Container Security

      Containers are becoming the central piece of the future of IT. Linux has had containers for ages, but they are still maturing as a technology to be used in production or mission-critical enterprise scenarios. With that, security is becoming a central theme around containers. There are many proposed solutions to the problem, including identifying exactly what technology is in place, fixing known bugs, restricting change, and generally implementing sound security policies. This article looks at these issues and how organizations can adapt their approach to security to keep pace with the rapid evolution of containers.

    • Preventing the next Heartbleed and making FOSS more secure [Ed: Preventing the next Microsoft-connected trademarked bug for FOSS and making FOSS more secure from Microsoft FUD]

      David Wheeler is a long-time leader in advising and working with the U.S. government on issues related to open source software. His personal webpage is a frequently cited source on open standards, open source software, and computer security. David is leading a new project, the CII Best Practices Badging project, which is part of the Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) for strengthening the security of open source software. In this interview he talks about what it means for both government and other users.

    • Container Image Signing
    • Friday’s security updates
    • Protecting the open source software supply chain [Ed: FUD for marketing of Sonatype]
  • Defence/Aggression
    • The President of Turkey has launched a bloody coup against his own people, and it’s happening right now

      After a brutal military coup in Turkey against Erdogan’s presidency failed over the weekend, the Turkish president has responded in kind: with his own brutal coup against the Turkish people.

      In the name of defending democracy from the original coup plotters, Erdogan is literally targeting tens of thousands of Turkish citizens. And standing in the firing line are not just his political opponents, but Turkey’s largest ethnic minority, the Kurds.

    • Britain’s nuclear-weapons future: no done deal

      The warheads are developed and assembled at the Aldermaston/Burghfield complex which has annual running costs of at least £1bn a year. The missile submarines need protection by nuclear-powered (but not nuclear-armed) attack submarines, and are also given support from surface warships. One of the functions of the fleet of nine new Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime-patrol aircraft, also just ordered at a cost of a further £3 million, is to provide further protection.

    • State Department Worried About “Backsliding” in Turkey Following Failed Coup, Mass Arrests

      Secretary of State John Kerry said that he and his European counterparts will be paying close attention to developments in Turkey, after thousands of Turkish officials were punished in the wake of a failed coup attempt.

      “Obviously a lot of people have been arrested and arrested very quickly,” Kerry said Monday, in Brussels. “The level of vigilance and scrutiny is obviously going to be significant in the days ahead. Hopefully we can work in a constructive way that prevents a backsliding.”

      Kerry made the statements from a previously scheduled meeting held by the European Council, an EU executive branch organ. The Washington Post described the gathering as having morphed into “crisis management,” in response to developments in Turkey.

    • Wikileaks: Email says AK Party provided Barzani with $200 million in March

      The Wikileaks website released a cache of nearly 300,000 emails allegedly sent by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), some of which were related to the Kurdistan Region, four days after an attempted military coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

      One of the leaked emails dating back to March 12, 2016 stated the AKP gave an unspecified member of the Barzani family $200 million in “financial aid” after a temporary halt in oil exports via the Kirkuk-Yumurtalik pipeline – a major financial lifeline for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

      The KRG is not specifically mentioned in the email and the Kurdistan Region is referred to as “areas under the hand of Peshmerga.”

    • [Older] Jeremy Corbyn may have been proved right on Iraq – but he’s hopeless on the important matter of doing up his tie

      Like Tony Blair, we were all duped by the intelligence on Saddam Hussein – except for the millions that went on marches, and Nelson Mandela, and France, and the Pope, and the chief weapons inspector, and Robin Cook

    • Turkey’s Baffling Coup

      This time, it was very different. Thanks to a series of sham trials targeting secularist officers, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had managed to reconfigure the military hierarchy and place his own people at the top. While the country has been rocked by a series of terrorist attacks and faces a souring economy, there was no inkling of unrest in the military or opposition to Erdogan. On the contrary, Erdogan’s recent reconciliation with Russia and Israel, together with his apparent desire to pull back from an active role in the Syrian civil war, must have been a relief to Turkey’s top brass.

    • Donald Trump Crams Two Errors Into One Statement on Turkey

      In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, after suggesting that he might not defend another member of the NATO alliance in the event of a Russian attack, Donald Trump was asked if he was paying close attention to what was happening in Turkey, following the failed coup attempt last week.

      Trump replied that he had been impressed by the efforts of the Turkish people, who took to the streets to prevent the military from seizing power — but did so in a way that demonstrated his ignorance about a central facet of what took place last Friday night.

    • Erdogan Suspects US Sympathy for Coup

      Reports that Russian President Putin may have tipped off Turkish President Erdogan about last week’s coup attempt – while the U.S. apparently stayed silent – suggest a possible reordering of regional relationships, says John Chuckman.

    • Live updates: Several reported killed in Munich mall shooting

      Police believe three gunmen opened fire on Friday evening at and near a shopping mall in the German city of Munich, killing several people, authorities said. The shooting at Olympia shopping mall “looks like a terror attack,” a police representative said.

    • ‘Boom boom boom – he’s killing the kids’: Gunman shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ executed children in Munich McDonald’s before rampaging through mall killing NINE with police now hunting three attackers
    • Munich shooting: ‘Multiple deaths’ after shots fired at OEZ German shopping centre
    • Nice attack: City refuses police call to delete CCTV images

      The local authorities in Nice have refused a request by French anti-terror police to destroy CCTV images of last week’s lorry attack.
      The Paris prosecutor’s office said the request had been made to avoid the “uncontrolled dissemination” of images.

      But officials in Nice have responded by filing a legal document, arguing the footage could constitute evidence.

      It is the latest evidence of a growing dispute between the local and national authorities in the wake of the attack.

    • Nuclear weapons contractors repeatedly stifle whistleblowers, auditors say

      At laboratories and factories where American nuclear weapons are designed and built, and at the sites still being cleansed of the toxic wastes created by such work, contractor employees outnumber federal workers six to one. That makes them key sentinels when something goes awry, a circumstance that officials say explains why they get legal protections when whistleblowing.

      That’s the theory. It turns out that the Energy Department has actually handed most of the oversight over these protections to the contractors themselves, robbing workers at key nuclear weapons sites of confidence that pointing out security and safety dangers or other mistakes won’t bring retaliation, according to an audit released by the Government Accountability Office on July 14.

      The Energy Department’s decision to embrace contractor self-regulation of its whistleblowing protection system means in many cases that those overseeing it work for the contractors’ top lawyers, who must defend the contractor against employee claims of wrongdoing, or for those officials responsible for deciding about job cuts, the report disclosed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Big Oil, Not Big Tobacco, Wrote the Public Skepticism Playbook: Report

      The playbook on sowing public skepticism about health and climate issues originated not with Big Tobacco—as long believed—but with Big Oil, a new investigation reveals.

      Documents published Wednesday by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) show that the tobacco and fossil fuel industries used the same public relations firms, the same think tanks, and in many cases, the very same researchers, to foment doubt about public interest issues—starting with climate change. The documents show that the “direct connections” between the industries go back even earlier than previously believed, CIEL says.

      “Again and again we found both the PR firms and the researchers worked first for oil, then for tobacco. It was a pedigree the tobacco companies recognized, and sought out,” said the center’s president, Carroll Muffett.

    • Greenland Is Still Melting Away

      A new paper just published by scientists in Geophysical Research Letters presents results of their investigation into the ice sheet covering Greenland. They found that over the four-year period from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2014 Greenland lost over a trillion tons of ice.

    • The “Denial Playbook”: An Original Product Of The Oil Industry

      New documents reveal that the oil and tobacco industries took pages from the same book to engineer their decade long campaigns on denying the existence of climate change and smoking-related cancer. The playbook also appears to have originated not with tobacco, but with the oil industry itself, and the two even appeared to share patents.

      In their research, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), found that the two industries collaborated from the 1950s onwards, more closely and earlier than previously thought. Both industries had used the same PR firms, research institutes and researchers, many of whom began working for first the oil industry, and then tobacco.

  • Finance
    • Success! Leader Pelosi Stands Up for Users and Opposes the TPP

      Thank you, Leader Pelosi, for standing up for users to block this undemocratic, anti-user deal. Combined with the stated opposition to the TPP of both presidential candidates, and the likelihood that other House Democrats will follow Leader Pelosi’s courageous lead, it is now significantly less likely that the TPP will be introduced during the lame duck session, or if introduced, that it will pass the House.

    • HSBC’s Johnson Out on Bond After Airport Arrest in Currency Case

      Federal agents surprised an HSBC Holdings Plc executive as he prepared to fly out of New York’s Kennedy airport, arresting him for an alleged front-running scheme involving a $3.5 billion currency transaction in 2011.

    • Hours Before Hillary Clinton’s VP Decision, Likely Pick Tim Kaine Praises the TPP

      Hillary Clinton’s rumored vice presidential pick Sen. Tim Kaine defended his vote for fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Thursday.

      Kaine, who spoke to The Intercept after an event at a Northern Virginia mosque, praised the agreement as an improvement of the status quo, but maintained that he had not yet decided how to vote on final approval of the agreement. By contrast, Hillary Clinton has qualified her previous encouragement of the agreement, and now says she opposes it.

      Kaine’s measured praise of the agreement could signal one of two things. Either he is out of the running for the vice presidential spot, as his position on this major issue stands in opposition to hers. Or, by picking him, Clinton is signaling that her newly declared opposition to the agreement is not sincere. The latter explanation would confirm the theory offered by U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue, among others, who has said that Clinton is campaigning against the TPP for political reasons but would ultimately implement the deal.

    • Brexit, Austerity and the Future of the European Union

      Many commentators have focused on racism and xenophobia as major factors in the move to leave the EU. Undoubtedly these were important considerations. Many people in England, especially older ones, are uncomfortable with the country becoming more diverse. They fear and resent the people coming in from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere.

      But racism and xenophobia are not new for the United Kingdom. What is new is that these forces are powerful enough to force the country to break with a political union it joined more than four decades ago. Needless to say, there have been other situations where such forces came to dominate politics and they have not ended well.

      The issue in the UK and elsewhere is that there are real grievances which demagogues have been able to exploit. First and foremost is the austerity that had curbed growth in the U.K. and cut back funding for important programs. While austerity has not been as severe in the U.K. as in the euro zone (the U.K. is not in the euro), the conservative government sharply cut government spending in 2010, ostensibly out of concern that deficits and debt were harming the economy.

    • Lori Wallach, Peter Maybarduk and Karen Hansen-Kuhn on Corporate Globalization

      This week on CounterSpin: Few ideas are as hard-wired into current corporate media as the notion that so-called “free trade” agreements of the sort we have are, despite concerns, best for everyone. Given that the deals are not primarily about trade, and that what freedom they entail accrues to corporations and not people, you could say the very use of the term “free trade” implies a bias, against clarity if nothing else. This week, CounterSpin will revisit three interviews we’ve done on this issue.

    • #CETA #TTIP The next generation trade deals – We need to ask who benefits and why?

      The EU on behalf of the member states is current negotiating an EU US trade deal called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Talks around another trade deal between the EU and Canada have concluded – this deal is called The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

      Aside from the lack of coverage in the Irish media of the actual substance of these very critical trade talks, there are a number of concerns being expressed by campaign and civil society groups – in particular that a special court system will be incorporated into CETA & TTIP to allow corporations to sue EU member states who wish to introduce strong legislation to protect public health, food safety and environmental legislation for example.

    • Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street

      Nothing seems to rattle Hillary Clinton quite so much as pointed questions about her personal finances. How much she’s made. How she made it. Where it all came from. From her miraculous adventures in the cattle futures market to the Whitewater real estate scam, many of the most venal Clinton scandals down the decades have involved Hillary’s financial entanglements and the serpentine measures she has taken to conceal them from public scrutiny.

      Hillary is both driven to acquire money and emits a faint whiff of guilt about having hoarded so much of it. One might be tempted to ascribe her squeamishness about wealth to her rigid Methodism, but her friends say that Hillary’s covetousness derives from a deep obsession with feeling secure, which makes a kind of sense given Bill’s free-wheeling proclivities. She’s not, after all, a child of the Depression, but a baby boomer. Hillary was raised in comfortable circumstances in the Chicago suburbs and, unlike her husband, has never in her life felt the sting of want.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Leaked emails reveal Politico reporter made ‘agreement’ to send advanced Clinton story to DNC

      An influential reporter at Politico made an apparent “agreement” with the Democratic National Committee to let it review a story about Hillary Clinton’s fundraising machine before it was submitted to his editors, leaked emails published by WikiLeaks on Friday revealed.

    • DNC Staffers Mocked the Bernie Sanders Campaign, Leaked Emails Show

      A new trove of internal Democratic National Committee emails, stretching back to April 2016, released by Wikileaks show that the organization’s senior staff chafed at Bernie Sanders’s continued presence in the presidential primary. Staffers were also irritated by criticism that they were biased towards Hillary Clinton.

      In May, chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (DWS) reacted to an MSNBC anchor criticizing her treatment of Bernie Sanders during the Democratic presidential primary by trying to force her to apologize.

      On May 18th, DNC staffer Kate Houghton forwarded to Wasserman-Schultz a Breitbart News story highlighting remarks by MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski in which she called for the chairwoman to step down over perceived bias against Sanders during the presidential primary.

      Wasserman-Schultz reacted angrily, writing that this was the “LAST straw” and instructing communications director Luis Miranda to call MSNBC president Phil Griffin to demand an apology from Brzezinski.

    • Wikileaks emails: Democratic officials ‘plotted to expose Bernie Sanders’ as an atheist

      The Democratic National Committee – a supposedly neutral organisation – apparently hatched a plan to try and undermine Bernie Sanders’ campaign against Hillary Clinton by getting someone to claim he was an atheist.

      The Sanders campaign for months complained that people in the DNC were biased in favour of the establishment candidate, Ms Clinton. The campaign even sued the DNC to allow it access to its voter database.

    • New Leak: Top DNC Official Wanted to Use Bernie Sanders’s Religious Beliefs Against Him

      Among the nearly 20,000 internal emails from the Democratic National Committee, released Friday by Wikileaks and presumably provided by the hacker “Guccifer 2.0,” is a May 2016 message from DNC CFO Brad Marshall. In it, he suggested that the party should “get someone to ask” Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders about his religious beliefs.

    • Major Errors In Reporting On Polling Data Must Be Corrected By International And Brazilian Media – OpEd

      A report on polling data first published on Saturday by Folha de São Paulo, Brazil’s largest-circulation newspaper, contained errors that were so “huge and fundamentally important to the current political crisis that they require much more than the usual correction,” according to CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot.

      “Bad polling happens quite often, but these are errors in both polling and reporting of a whole different magnitude,” said Weisbrot.

      As noted by The Intercept yesterday, Folha de São Paulo had reported that according to a poll conducted by the firm Datafolha, 50 percent of Brazilians wanted the interim president Michel Temer to serve through 2018; 32 percent wanted the elected president Dilma Rousseff to do this (the end of her current term of office); 4 percent wanted neither of the two; and just 3 percent wanted new elections.

    • Donald Trump’s Long Rant Thrilled David Duke, But Alienated Many Others

      As Donald Trump shouted for 76 minutes on Thursday night about how horrible everything is in the dystopian fiction he’s confused for America, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan found himself nodding along in agreement.

      So the white supremacist David Duke, who was nearly elected governor of Louisiana in 1991 by channeling white resentment, posted a rave review of the address on Twitter.

    • In Cleveland, Lonely Protesters Marched Through Empty Streets

      In total, 24 people were arrested in convention-related incidents as of Friday morning, most at a flag burning protest on Wednesday. But while legal observers denounced those arrests, and delays in the processing of arrestees, as “troubling,” the final count was significantly lower than what most expected, with the city having announced ahead of the convention that it was prepared to “handle upwards of 1,000 arrests per day.”

    • Republican Leaders Choose Their Own Future Over Donald Trump’s

      Republicans have nominated the least popular presidential nominee in recent history — and it showed. Throughout the week, the biggest names on the convention schedule consciously avoided lavishing too much praise on the nominee himself, for fear of their own political futures.

      House Speaker Paul Ryan mentioned Trump just twice in his address. Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, locked in a tough re-election race, mentioned the nominee just once. Ted Cruz, the second-place finisher in the primary, refused to endorse Trump at all, telling attendees instead to “vote your conscience.”

      And these were the Republicans who showed up to speak. Many major party figures didn’t attend at all. Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake told the press he wasn’t attending because he had to mow his lawn. None of the Bushes showed up.

    • Ivanka Said Her Dad Cares About Child Care. Here’s What Happened When A Woman Asked Him About It.

      Ivanka Trump tried to portray her father as a champion of women while introducing him on the last night of the RNC. But not only is there no evidence that the man who has a reputation for demeaning women is actually a champion for them — an examination of his platform and history indicates quite the opposite.

      [...]

      Trump Organization’s salaries are not public, but that claim doesn’t hold up on his campaign. Trump pays his male campaign staffers 35 percent more money than female staffers. That’s partly because he has only two women among his senior-level staff, and just 28 percent of his staff is made up of women. One former staffer filed a complaint earlier this year saying she was paid $2,000 a month — about half what several men with the same title make.

      She also talked about how Trump would help families. “As president, my father will change the labor laws,” she said, suggested he’d make “child care affordable and accessible for all” and provide support for working mothers.

      While affordable child care is a cornerstone of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Trump has not released any plan for child care. The candidate has also shown zero interest in thinking about the issue. When an organizer asked him for his thoughts on child care back in December, he replied, “I love children” but refused to engage further, saying, “It’s a big subject, darling.”

    • Robert Scheer: Americans Shouldn’t Settle for Candidates ‘Who Have Created This Tremendous Mess’

      In a recent interview on The Real News Network, Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer sat down with Paul Jay, senior editor of The Real News Network, to discuss the current election and the future of the American democratic system. The interview begins with Scheer talking about the Republican National Convention and neofascist rhetoric. “You don’t get fascist movements taking over, rising to power, without people being in pain,” Scheer says. “And we have a situation now in the United States that is increasingly resembling a kind of post-Weimar Germany.”

      Jay then brings the conversation around to new movements like Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street, which Scheer says save “a reasonable established order” by forcing those in power to respond to the needs of the people. “It’s only when the established order is failing to respond to the real needs of people that you get madness and chaos, and that’s what I think you’re hearing at the Republican convention.”

    • Never Mind the RNC — This Is What Voters Care About This Election

      Despite their absence from the Republican National Convention, voters prioritize campaign finance reform and action on climate change.

    • Donald Trump’s Convention Speech Rings Terrifying Historical Alarm Bells

      Donald Trump’s speech tonight accepting the Republican nomination for president will probably go down as one of the most frightening pieces of political rhetoric in U.S. history.

      Even for people who believe the danger of genuine authoritarianism on the U.S. right is often exaggerated, it’s impossible not to hear in Trump’s speech echoes of the words and strategies of the world’s worst leaders.

      Trump had just one message for Americans: Be afraid. You are under terrible threats from forces inside and outside your country, and he’s the only person who can save us.

    • Volatile America

      Then the headlines shifted and, for the moment, “normalcy” returned. It’s a Trump-sated normalcy that’s anything but, of course, and the most recent heavily reported violence (at least as I write these words) — the murder of three police officers in Baton Rouge — blends into the endlessly simmering turmoil known as the United States of America.

      And the civil war, in fact, started long ago. But until recently, only one side has been armed and organized. That’s why the two latest police killings, by disciplined, heavily armed former military men, loose a terrifying despair. The victims are fighting back — in the worst way possible, but in a way sure to inspire replication.

      When people are armed and outraged, the world so easily collapses into us vs. them. All complexity vanishes. People’s life purpose clarifies into a simplistic certainty: Kill the enemy. Indeed, sacrifice your life to do so, if necessary. I fear this is still the nation’s dominant attitude toward its troubles. We’re eating ourselves alive.

      One way this is happening was described in a recent New York Times story, headlined: “Philando Castile Was Pulled Over 49 Times in 13 Years, Often for Minor Infractions.” Castile, who as the world knows was shot and killed by a police officer during a routine traffic stop on July 6, was a young man caught in a carnivorous system pretty much all his adult life. Every time he started his car, he risked arrest for “driving while black.” The Times quotes a Minneapolis public defender, who described Castile as “typical of low-income drivers who lose their licenses, then become overwhelmed by snowballing fines and fees.” They “just start to feel hopeless.”

      The story goes on: “The episode, to many, is a heartbreaking illustration of the disproportionate risks black motorists face with the police. . . . The killings have helped fuel a growing national debate over racial bias in law enforcement.”

      A growing national “debate”? Oh, the politeness! How much racism should we allow the police to show before we censure them? It’s like talking about the “debate” we used to have over the moral legitimacy of lynching.

    • Ted Cruz Booed and Heckled for Refusing to Endorse Donald Trump

      In a remarkable show of disunity at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Sen. Ted Cruz was booed and heckled by many delegates on Wednesday night as it became clear that he had no intention of endorsing Donald Trump for the presidency.

      Cruz, who called Trump “a pathological liar” and “utterly amoral” when he dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination in May, refused to follow the lead of two of the other defeated candidates, Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Marco Rubio, who did endorse the billionaire in their speeches.

      Watching Cruz give what seemed like a campaign speech for himself, Trump’s children sat in silence. Then there were cheers and a ripple of applause from the delegates as Cruz looked into the camera and said, “to those listening, please don’t stay home in November.”

    • Donald Trump is the Loneliest Man in America

      Donald Trump may well be the loneliest man in America. And I’m only 45%-60% kidding. This belief springs from his use of one single word—a word that every native speaker of the English language other than Trump knows does not, in fact, exist: the word “bigly.”

      Consider this: Donald Trump is so rich, so insulated–and so truly bereft of friends—that he’s managed to walk around on this planet for more than 70 years without ever realizing that “bigly” is not an actual word.

    • Chamber of Commerce May Prefer Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump

      The president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday signaled that the big-business community is still undecided between newly minted Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. Chamber President Tom Donohue’s statements to Fox Business News on Wednesday morning represented an astonishing break from the organization’s nearly invariable support for Republican candidates.

      “Trump talks about some important things in energy and taxes and financial areas,” Donohue said. “Hillary perhaps has more experience and businessmen like that — businessmen and women like that — but I don’t think that’ll be decided until you hear the speeches here and next week and you see the first debate, and I think people will start to move more clearly to where they’re going to vote.”

    • On violence, neoliberalism and the hallucinatory anti-politics of the Trump era.

      “If we can’t change consciousness, if we can’t get people to identify with the issues in a way that make them appear very real to their lives, then all of a sudden anger gets distorted and rerouted into something worse – it becomes racism, it becomes a movement mobilized by the need for saviors, it becomes a movement that embodies the worst possible political alternative.”

    • Roger Ailes leaves Fox News in wake of sexual harassment claims

      Roger Ailes, the longtime Fox News chairman who helped found the network and build it into a cable ratings behemoth, has been forced out of the company following allegations that he sexually harassed numerous subordinates, including former host Gretchen Carlson and star anchor Megyn Kelly.

    • Black Cleveland Residents Tell Tale of Two Cities in the Shadow of Republican Convention

      A day after Republican National Convention speakers discussed how to “make America safe again,” a group of young Clevelanders held their own “make America safe again” event at a downtown park.

      As police officers on horseback and bikes fended off a small rally down the block and helicopters buzzed overhead, the group of mostly black and Latino college students huddled around a picnic table Tuesday and talked about how irrelevant and offensive the Republican event is to many residents of its host city.

    • 9 Lies In Donald Trump’s Big Speech To The Republican Convention

      At the beginning of his big RNC-closing speech, Trump called for “a straightforward assessment of the state of our nation,” and said he would “present the facts plainly and honestly.” He didn’t follow through on that promise.

      Trump’s speech was much more scripted than his typically ad-libbed rally performances, which are riddled with falsehoods. But his formal acceptance of the nomination was also full of deception. Here’s a rundown of some of the misleading claims made by the man whose campaign statements were named the “lie of the year” by Politifact.

    • Trump Spent A Lot Of His Speech Fear-Mongering About Crime. These 3 Charts Prove Him Wrong.

      Donald Trump wants you to think that America is a scary, scary place. In his speech accepting the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, Trump claims that “decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this Administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement.” He unleashes a blizzard of cherry-picked statistics all directed at one purpose — convincing you that crime has run amok and that he is the only thing that can save you.

      Don’t believe him. The reality is that crime isn’t just on a downward trend, but it has been for a very long time.

    • Trump Campaign Manager Makes Astonishingly Sexist Argument For Why Women Should Vote For Trump

      “Many women feel they can’t afford their lives, their husbands can’t afford to be paying for the family bills,” Manafort said. “Hillary Clinton is guilty of being part of the establishment that created that problem. They will hear the message. As they hear the message, that’s how we will appeal to them.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • The CIA, NSA and Pokémon Go

      Before heading out to capture Pokémon, you might want to consider the data the game has access to and the history of the company that created the game

    • Snowden: ‘I never thought I’d be saved’ after NSA leaks

      When Edward Snowden leaked highly classified secrets about government spying in 2013, the undertaking took meticulous coordination.

      Snowden, a former NSA contractor, chatted with Guardian reporters Glenn Greenwald and documentary maker Laura Poitras over encrypted email exchanges. Their first meeting hinged on code words and a secret signal involving a Rubik’s cube.

      But when the first article revealing hush-hush surveillance programs went live that June while he was in a Hong Kong hotel room, that’s as far as Snowden had thought things through, he said over a live internet feed from Russia, where he’s been living in exile since the leaks.

    • China To Ban Ad Blockers As Part Of New Regulations For Online Advertising

      Since it’s hard to see the Chinese government really caring too much about the problems that ad-blocking software causes for online publishers, there is presumably another motivation behind this particular move. One possibility is that the Chinese authorities use the tracking capabilities of online ads for surveillance purposes, and the increasing use of ad blockers in China is making that harder. That clearly runs against the current policy of keeping an eye on everything that online users do in China, which is perhaps why the authorities want ad blockers banned in the country, despite the inconvenience and risks for users of doing so.

      It remains to be seen how successful the Chinese government will be in stamping out such popular software, or whether this will be another regulation that is largely ignored.

    • Former Homeland Security Advisor: Tech Companies Have The Burden Of Proving Harm Of Backdoored Encryption

      Last week’s one-sided “hearing” on encryption — hosted by an irritated John McCain, who kept interrupting things to complain that Apple hadn’t showed up to field false accusations and his general disdain — presented three sides of the same coin. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance again argued that the only way through this supposed impasse was legislation forcing companies to decrypt communications for the government. The other two offering testimony were former Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein and former NSA Deputy Director Chris Inglis.

      Not much was said in defense of protections for cellphone users. Much was made of the supposed wrongness of law enforcement not being able to access content and communications presumed to be full of culpatory evidence.

      But one of the more surprising assertions was delivered by a former government official. Wainstein’s testimony [PDF] — like Vance’s — suggested the government and phone makers start “working together.” “Working together” is nothing more than a euphemism for “make heavy concessions to the government and prepare to deliver the impossible,” as Patrick Tucker of Defense One points out. Wainstein says phone manufacturers must do more than theorize that weakened encryption would harm them or their companies. They must hand over “hard data” on things that haven’t happened yet.

    • Wall Street Journal Reporter Hassled At LA Airport; Successfully Prevents DHS From Searching Her Phones

      Welcome to Bordertown, USA. Population: 200 million. Expect occasional temporary population increases from travelers arriving from other countries. Your rights as a US citizen are indeterminate within 100 miles of US borders. They may be respected. They may be ignored. But courts have decided that the “right” to do national security stuff — as useless as most its efforts are — trumps the rights of US citizens.

      Wall Street Journal reporter Maria Abi-Habib – a US-born citizen traveling into the States with her valid passport — discovered this at the Los Angeles International Airport. Her Facebook post describes her interaction with DHS agents who suddenly decided they needed to detain her and seize her electronics.

    • France calls end to Microsoft’s ‘excessive’ user data collection

      France is not happy about the amount of data collection and lack of security in Windows 10 and has given the firm three months to sort it out.

    • Microsoft responds to allegations that Windows 10 collects ‘excessive personal data’

      Yesterday France’s National Data Protection Commission (CNIL) slapped a formal order on Microsoft to comply with data protection laws after it found Windows 10 was collecting “excessive data” about users. The company has been given three months to meet the demands or it will face fines.

      Microsoft has now responded, saying it is happy to work with the CNIL to work towards an acceptable solution. Interestingly, while not denying the allegations set against it, the company does nothing to defend the amount of data collected by Windows 10, and also fails to address the privacy concerns it raises.

      Microsoft does address concerns about the transfer of data between Europe and the US, saying that while the Safe Harbor agreement is no longer valid, the company still complied with it up until the adoption of Privacy Shield.

    • Cloud Encryption Threat Map

      The Cloud has gained quite a bit of popularity within the past decade such that many companies can roll out their own or one hosted by a cloud provider with relative ease. However with this new world come new threats and it is important that organizations adequately model their networks, data and possible threats to ensure sensitive data is kept secure. Kenn White was kind enough to create this threat scenarios mind map and I thought it was worth sharing as it does a great job of showing scenarios that different security technologies help protect against.

    • Tor Could Protect Your Smart Fridge From Spies and Hackers

      There’s a growing fear that the exploding internet of things — from baby cams to pacemakers — could be a goldmine for spies and criminal hackers, allowing them access to all kinds of personal photos, videos, audio recordings, and other data. It’s a concern bolstered by remarks from top national security officials.

    • Opera browser sold to a Chinese consortium for $600 million

      After a $1.2 billion deal fell through, Opera has sold most of itself to a Chinese consortium for $600 million. The buyers, led by search and security firm Qihoo 360, are purchasing Opera’s browser business, its privacy and performance apps, its tech licensing and, most importantly, its name. The Norwegian company will keep its consumer division, including Opera Apps & Games and Opera TV. The consumer arm has 560 workers, but the company hasn’t said what will happen to its other 1,109 employees.

    • Maxthon browser is a wolf in sheep’s clothing

      You may have installed the Maxthon browser on your mobile devices. If so, here’s why you should remove it. Immediately.

      [...]

      What exactly has been discovered that could be so damaging to this underdog browser? Fidelis Cybersecurity reported that Poland-based Exatel uncovered the Maxthon browser regularly sends a file, via HTTP, named ueipdata.zip, to a server in Beijing, China. The ueipdata.zip contains a file called dat.txt which stores information about the following:

      Operating system
      CPU
      Ad blocker status
      Homepage URL
      Browser history
      Installed applications (and their version number)

    • French State of Emergency: Overbidding Mass Surveillance

      Once again. The State of Emergency in France has been extended until January. In reaction to violence shaking the country and with the presidential election of 2017 only a few months away, political leaders are indulging an ignominious orgy of security-driven policy. Not satisfied with merely prolonging the state of emergency, lawmakers have also amended the 2015 Intelligence Act passed last year to legalize domestic mass surveillance.

      It is hard to believe that only 48 hours have passed since the bill was sent to the French National Assembly. With incredible speed, in the middle of summer, the Committee on Legal Affairs of the French Senate has given carte blanche to rapporteur Michel Mercier (UDI – centre-right wing and former Minister of Justice) to erase so-called “rigidities” in the Surveillance Law adopted last year.

      The provision, much criticised during the parliamentary debates at that time, provides for real-time scanning the connection data of individuals suspected of terrorist activities.

    • Snowden director Oliver Stone calls Pokemon Go new level of ‘surveillance capitalism’

      Filmmaker Oliver Stone tore into the Pokemon Go smartphone phenomenon on Thursday, describing it as “a new level of invasion” that could lead to totalitarianism.

      During a panel for his new movie Snowden on the first day of San Diego Comic-Con 2016, the director said the app was part of a larger culture of “surveillance capitalism.”

    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden collaborates on ultra-secure iPhone case
    • Marines, NSA to Bring Combat-Adapted Smartphone Tech to the Battlefield

      The program will mirror a similar approach adopted by the US Army that will provide soldiers with the ability to transmit strike coordinates, access visual maps, and potentially engage weapon systems using a heavily-modified consumer-level smartphone.

    • WSJ Reporter: Homeland Security Tried to Take My Phones at the Border

      On Thursday, a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter claimed that the Department of Homeland Security demanded access to her mobile phones when she was crossing the border at the Los Angeles airport.

    • Edward Snowden’s New Research Aims to Keep Smartphones From Betraying Their Owners

      In early 2012, Marie Colvin, an acclaimed international journalist from New York, entered the besieged city of Homs, Syria, while reporting for London’s Sunday Times. She wrote of a difficult journey involving “a smugglers’ route, which I promised not to reveal, climbing over walls in the dark and slipping into muddy trenches.” Despite the covert approach, Syrian forces still managed to get to Colvin; under orders to “kill any journalist that set foot on Syrian soil,” they bombed the makeshift media center she was working in, killing her and one other journalist and injuring two others.

    • Against the Law: Countering Lawful Abuses of Digital Surveillance

      Front-line journalists risk their lives to report from conflict regions. Casting a spotlight on atrocities, their updates can alter the tides of war and outcomes of elections. As a result, front-line journalists are high-value targets, and their enemies will spare no expense to silence them. In the past decade, hundreds of journalists have been captured, tortured and killed. These journalists have been reporting in conflict zones, such as Iraq and Syria, or in regions of political instability, such as the Philippines, Mexico, and Somalia.

    • Snowden Designs a Device to Warn if Your iPhone’s Radios Are Snitching

      When Edward Snowden met with reporters in a Hong Kong hotel room to spill the NSA’s secrets, he famously asked them put their phones in the fridge to block any radio signals that might be used to silently activate the devices’ microphones or cameras. So it’s fitting that three years later, he’s returned to that smartphone radio surveillance problem. Now Snowden’s attempting to build a solution that’s far more compact than a hotel mini-bar.

    • New Snowden-Developed Smartphone Device Aims to Shield Journalists
    • Edward Snowden Makes An Open Source Anti-NSA Battery Case For iPhone 6
    • Snowden designs device to warn when an iPhone is ratting out users [iophk: "aside from the iphone problem, the real need is for an OSS baseband OS"]
    • Ed Snowden And Bunnie Huang Design Phone Case To Warn You If Your Phone Is Compromised

      Bunnie Huang is having quite a day — and it’s a day the US government perhaps isn’t too happy about. Huang has worked on a number of interesting projects over the years from hacking the Xbox over a dozen years ago to highlighting innovation happening without patents in China. This morning we wrote about him suing the US government over Section 1201 of the DMCA. And now he’s teamed up with Ed Snowden (you’ve heard of him) to design a device to warn you if your phone’s radios are broadcasting without your consent. Basically, they’re noting that your standard software based controls (i.e., turning on “airplane mode”) can be circumvented by, say, spies or hackers.

    • Edward Snowden designed an iPhone attachment that detects unwanted radio transmissions

      Edward Snowden thinks about phone security a lot more than the average person. And with good reason, as the world-famous whistleblower revealed methods of government data collection on phone calls, and even from his exile in Russia, still remains a major advocate for digital privacy.

    • Elon Musk’s Master Plan Includes Turning Tesla Into An Autonomous Uber

      Tesla’s Elon Musk is not afraid to think big and then go for it. He famously published the Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan ten years ago, and has pretty much stuck to that plan.

    • Data ruling should kill off the investigatory powers bill

      The European court of justice ruling that bulk data collection is only lawful if it is used to tackle serious crime (Report, 20 July) makes it clearer than ever that the monstrous (in size and aims) investigatory powers bill currently passing through the House of Lords is simply not fit for purpose.

      The proposed legislation sanctions the mass collection of citizens’ telephone and email data – something that is both ineffective and, as we now know, unlawful – and fails to put in place sufficient safeguards against the misuse of the powers granted to the intelligence services.

      The US last year ended the bulk collection of data from telephone calls when a report found that its counter-terrorism benefits were few or none. Firsthand evidence suggests that mass surveillance makes the security services’ jobs harder, not easier; you don’t look for a needle in a haystack more efficiently by making the haystack bigger.

    • Ed Snowden and Andrew “bunnie” Huang announce a malware-detecting smartphone case

      Exiled NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and legendary hardware hacker Andrew bunnie” Huang have published a paper detailing their new “introspection engine” for the Iphone, an external hardware case that clips over the phone and probes its internal components with a miniature oscilloscope that reads all the radio traffic in and out of the device to see whether malicious software is secretly keeping the radio on after you put it in airplane mode.

    • Film director Oliver Stone thinks Pokemon Go could lead to ‘totalitarianism’
    • ‘Snowden’ director Stone talks NSA, Pokemon GO at Comic Con
    • Oliver Stone Calls Pokemon Go a ‘New Level of Invasion’ at Comic-Con ‘Snowden’ Panel
    • Why Oliver Stone Thinks ‘Pokemon Go’ Could Create Totalitarianism
    • Edward Snowden On Oliver Stone, A Society Of Surveillance & Seeing His Story Onscreen – Comic-Con
    • 35 Years after Saint Reagan’s Order, Treasury Still Dawdles

      The other day, I Con the Record released an updated index of the procedures intelligence components use to comply with Executive Order 12333’s rules on sharing information about US persons. As is typical of I Con the Record, it didn’t admit that this new “transparency” really just incorporates information demanded under FOIA. In this case, the index released three newly available documents liberated by ACLU in their 12333 FOIA. I Con the Record also misrepresented how long the renewed effort to make sure agencies have such procedures in place has gone on; as I’ve noted, PCLOB has been pursuing this issue since 2013.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Foreign embassy staff accused of human trafficking and child sex offences

      Diplomatic staff with immunity, working in embassies in the UK, have been accused of child sex offences and human trafficking, the Foreign Office says.

      A total of 11 “serious and significant” offences were allegedly committed by such people in the past year.

      Diplomatic missions and international organisations ran up nearly £500,000 in unpaid parking fines in London last year, it was also revealed.

      Diplomats and some embassy staff are entitled to diplomatic immunity.

      This means they can be exempt from being tried for crimes.

      The allegations, contained a written ministerial statement by new Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, include someone at the Mexican embassy allegedly causing a child aged 13 to 15 to watch or look at an image of sexual activity.

    • Public servant says Australian Bureau of Statistics forced him out because he was blind

      Ex-Bureau of Statistics worker Matthew Artis says he was unfairly moved around different sections of the ABS, treated as a liability and once told he was a “fish out of water” by one of his bosses.

      Mr Artis is suing his former employer in the Federal Circuit Court where he is alleging he was the victim of serious and blatant disability discrimination by the Commonwealth.

    • Can the British monarchy last forever?

      Increasing awareness of the shady dealings of the monarchy – and the institutions that protect it – are leading to a growing republican movement in the UK.

    • If the Risk Is Low, Let Them Go

      How a man who served 33 years on a 15-to-life sentence is pushing New York’s intransigent parole board to release violent offenders who have aged out of crime, the fastest growing segment of the prison population.

    • Court Says Cop Calling 911 With Suspect’s Phone To Obtain Owner Info Is Not A Search

      The background is this: James Brandon Hill exited a taxi cab without paying, leaving his phone behind. The cab driver reported this to the police and an officer dialed 911 to obtain the owner’s info. The court doesn’t touch the issue of abandonment — which would likely have made the search legal. But its decision that the method used to obtain this info isn’t a search seems to be a bit off.

      While the information received may have had no expectation of privacy, an officer accessing a cell phone without a warrant is questionable under the Supreme Court’s Riley decision. As noted above, the warrantless search still likely would have survived a motion to suppress as the phone was abandoned in the cab. In fact, Hill does not challenge the seizure of the phone — only the search.

    • Police brutality: Is America teetering on edge of sectarian violence?

      The tragic shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile occured because soldiers and police officers alike view themselves on the frontline and dangerous edge of preventing terrorist and criminal attacks.

    • May gets Hollande ultimatum: free trade depends on free movement

      Theresa May was warned by the French president, François Hollande, at their first meeting in Paris that the UK cannot expect access to the single market if it wants to put immigration controls on EU citizens.

      At a joint press conference in the Élysée Palace, Hollande made it clear that the new British prime minister was facing a choice about whether to accept free movement of people in return for free trade.

    • Chinese anti-graft protest leader arrested for taking bribes: Xinhua

      A former leader of a Chinese village who was democratically elected five years ago after taking a stand against corruption has been arrested for taking bribes, said Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

      Lin Zuluan, one of the Wukan village protest leaders in 2011 whose calls for an uprising attracted global attention, had called for fresh protests in June against new land grabs and graft in the fishing village in Guangdong province.

      His arrest is the latest move on the core group of Wukan village protest leaders from 2011.

    • From yurt-dwellers to bankers, Mongolians worn out by ‘corrupt’ politics

      Mongolia is known for the nomadic lifestyle of many of its citizens, its mines of global importance and for being an unlikely – if troubled – democracy landlocked by Russia and China. On 29 June, amid deep economic problems Mongolians showed their discontent by voting opposition Mongolian People’s Party into the State Grand Khural (parliament) in a landslide victory.

      The party took 85% of the seats in the parliament, defeating main rival the Democratic Party, which led a coalition from 2012-2016; about half of the elected candidates are first timers in the Khural. Voter turnout was above 72%, indicative of the electorate’s overwhelming discontent, and its apetite for change. The election period raised questions that stretch beyond the immediate economic crisis, making many reflect on the state of democracy, trust and public ethics.

    • ACLU of Florida Statement on the Police Shooting of an Unarmed Man in North Miami

      “We are extremely disturbed by the police shooting of Charles Kinsey, an unarmed caretaker helping a patient with autism outside a group home facility in North Miami. Thankfully, Mr. Kinsey is alive and not more gravely injured – but had the officer’s weapon been pointed just a few degrees differently, this senseless incident could have been a much greater tragedy.

      “This is the latest in what seems like an endless litany of police shootings of individuals who should not have been shot. Philando Castile in Minnesota, Alton Sterling in Louisiana, Vernell Bing in Jacksonville: there are too many to name them all here. Of the 598 people killed by U.S. police this year, 88 were unarmed. Mr. Kinsey or his patient could very easily have become number 89.

      “We have to stem the tide of violence, both nationwide and here in Florida. It starts with holding people accountable for their actions. There must be a thorough and independent investigation into this shooting that covers both whether officers violated internal use of deadly force policies and whether criminal charges should be brought.

    • With Arms in Air, Unarmed Black Caregiver Shot by Police

      Charles Kinsey, a black man and caregiver at a group home, was shot by police on Monday in North Miami, Florida.

    • Hong Kong ‘Umbrella Movement’ student leaders found guilty

      It’s a dark day for the student leaders of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests in 2014 that came to be known as the “Umbrella Movement.”

      On Thursday, a court convicted Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow for unlawful assembly, for their role in starting the protests.

    • Want police reform? Charge rich people more for speeding tickets

      Soon after the horrific video of Minneapolis-St Paul resident Philando Castile being killed by a cop during a routine traffic stop was broadcast live over Facebook, evidence of just how “routine” the stop actually was also became public.

      Castile, it turned out, had been pulled over at least 52 times in 13 years for a variety of minor infractions – a broken seat belt, an unlit license plate, tinted windows, a missing muffler – or what his mother called “driving while black”.

    • Immigrants Told To ‘Get In Line’ Are Waiting For Years Because Of Court Case Backlog

      Critics often tell immigrants to “get in line” to legally stay in the United States — but the only line in place spans years, as there are now more than half a million cases backlogged in the federal immigration court system.

      Based on new Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) findings by the Associated Press, the total number of immigration cases still pending has reached 500,051 — a number driven by Central American mothers and children who began arriving at the southern U.S. border beginning in late 2013.

      Immigration courts have been inundated with cases after the Obama administration prioritized and expedited court hearings for Central Americans in a process critically called a “rocket docket,” which gives lawyers and immigrants little time to gather evidence to support their claims for humanitarian relief.

    • Texas Governor Latest To Ask For A ‘Hate Crime’ Law That Covers Attacks On Cops

      Yet another politician can be added to the list of people who think police officers just don’t have enough protections as is. Following in the footsteps of legislators in New Jersey and Minnesota — along with Rep. Ken Buck (CO) — Texas governor Greg Abbott has decided it’s time to treat attacking officers as a “hate crime.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • I wanna go fast: HTTPS’ massive speed advantage

      In fact, a bunch of the internet was pretty upset. “It’s not fair!”, they cried. “You’re comparing apples and oranges!”, they raged.

    • CenturyLink Claims Broadband Caps Improve The ‘Internet Experience’ And Empower Consumers

      Broadband ISP CenturyLink this week confirmed it’s following on Comcast’s heels and starting to impose usage caps and overage fees on the company’s already pricey DSL services. As we’ve long noted, there’s no reasonable defense for what’s effectively a glorified rate hike on uncompetitive markets, but watching ISP PR departments try to justify these hikes has traditionally been a great source of entertainment (at least until you get the bill).

  • DRM
    • Statement on DMCA lawsuit

      My name is Matthew Green. I am a professor of computer science and a researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. I focus on computer security and applied cryptography.

      Today I filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, to strike down Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This law violates my First Amendment right to gather information and speak about an urgent matter of public concern: computer security. I am asking a federal judge to strike down key parts of this law so they cannot be enforced against me or anyone else.

    • Why I’m Suing the US Government

      Today I filed a lawsuit against the US government, challenging Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Section 1201 means that you can be sued or prosecuted for accessing, speaking about, and tinkering with digital media and technologies that you have paid for. This violates our First Amendment rights, and I am asking the court to order the federal government to stop enforcing Section 1201.

    • America’s broken digital copyright law is about to be challenged in court

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation is suing the US government over ‘unconstitutional’ use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

    • EFF Lawsuit Challenges DMCA’s Digital Locks Provision As First Amendment Violation

      Computer security professor Matthew Green and famed hardware hacker Bunnie Huang have teamed up with the EFF to sue the US government, challenging the constitutionality of Section 1201 of the DMCA, also known as the “anti-circumvention” clause. As we’ve discussed for many years, 1201 makes it against the law to “manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof” that is designed to “circumvent” DRM or other “technological protection measures.” There are all sorts of problems with this part of the law, including the fact that it doesn’t matter why you have that tool or why you’re circumventing the DRM. For example, it would still be considered infringement if you cracked DRM on a public domain work. That’s… insane.

      The only “safety valve” on this is the ridiculous triennial review process, whereby people can beg and plead with the Librarian of Congress to “exempt” certain scenarios from being covered by 1201. The process is something of a joke, and even if you get an exemption one time, it automatically expires after three years, and the Library of Congress might not renew it.

    • Ever Buy Music From Apple? Use Linux? You Need This Tool

      Sure, you’re a hardcore superuser, but that doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy the finer things in life — like shiny squircles and getting every new app first. But, what’s an OS-indiscriminate person like yourself going to do when it comes time to purchase music? That’s where the recover_itunes tool shines, and if you’re a Linux user with an iPhone, it might just be your new best friend.

      iPhones and other Apple products work great when you’ve purchased music from iTunes, but can be a headache when your music comes from other sources. On the other hand, music purchased from iTunes is notoriously difficult to listen to on anything other than an Apple product. One major reason for the difficulty with the latter is in the way that iTunes handles metadata.

    • EFF sues US government, saying copyright rules on DRM are unconstitutional

      Since the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) became law in 1998, it has been a federal crime to copy a DVD or do anything else that subverts digital copy-protection schemes.

      Soon, government lawyers will have to show up in court to defend those rules. Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit (PDF) claiming the parts of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that deal with copy protection and digital locks are unconstitutional.

      Under the DMCA, any hacking or breaking of digital locks, often referred to as digital rights management or DRM, is a criminal act. That means modding a game console, hacking a car’s software, and copying a DVD are all acts that violate the law, no matter what the purpose. Those rules are encapsulated in Section 1201 of the DMCA, which was lobbied for by the entertainment industry and some large tech companies.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Report: Lifesaving New AIDS Drugs Remain Costly; Older Versions Get Cheaper

      The international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has found that prices of older HIV drugs continue to decline, but newer drugs largely remain expensive.

      The results were released on 21 July in Untangling the Web, the 18th edition of MSF’s report on HIV drug pricing and access, at the International AIDS Conference in Durban.

    • Commitment On Investment In Access To Essential Medicines Signed At UNCTAD14

      A commitment signed this week to facilitate investment in Africa’s pharmaceutical industry is expected to boost the sector’s production and make available essential medicines for millions of needy people.

      UNAIDS and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the African Union (AU), and the Kenyan and South African governments signed the pledge on 21 July, on the sidelines of the fourteen session of UNCTAD (UNCTAD-14), which is convening in Nairobi from July 17-22.

    • Trademarks
      • Running Out Of Puns: Get Ready For The Damn To Burst On Craft Beer Trademark Disputes

        With all the trademark actions we’ve seen taken these past few years that have revolved around the craft beer and distilling industries, it seems like some of the other folks in the mass media are finally picking up on what I’ve been saying for at least three years: the trademark apocalypse is coming for the liquor industries. It’s sort of a strange study in how an industry can evolve, starting as something artisan built on friendly competition and morphing into exactly the kind of legal-heavy, protectionist profit-beast that seems like the very antithesis of the craft brewing concept. And it should also be instructive as to how trademark law, something of the darling of intellectual properties in its intent if not application, can quickly become a major speed bump for what is an otherwise quickly growing market.

      • Dear US Olympic Committee: Tweeting About The Olympics Is Never Trademark Infringement

        It seems the USOC is just getting started with its bullying bullshit this Olympic season. Fresh off the heels of threatening Oiselle, a corporate sponsor of an Olympic athlete (but not a sponsor of the Olympics themselves), over trademark concerns because the company posted a congratulatory tweet for its sponsored athlete that included the Olympic bib she was wearing, the USOC is now sending out a helpful little reminder to other companies that have sponsored athletes but not the games. And by helpful, I mean that it’s helpful in seeing just how blatantly the USOC will outright lie in order to continue its bullying ways.

    • Copyrights
      • Kickass Torrents Gets The Megaupload Treatment: Site Seized, Owner Arrested And Charged With Criminal Infringement

        So just as the US government itself is accused of being engaged in massive copyright infringement itself, the Justice Department proudly announces that it has charged the owner of Kickass Torrents with criminal copyright infringement claims. The site has also been seized and the owner, Artem Vaulin, has been arrested in Poland. As with the original Kim Dotcom/Megaupload indictment, the full criminal complaint against Vaulin is worth reading.

        As with the case against Dotcom/Megaupload, the DOJ seems to ignore the fact that there is no such thing as secondary liability in criminal infringement. That’s a big concern. Even though Kickass Torrents does not host the actual infringing files at all, the complaint argues that Vaulin is still legally responsible for others doing so. But that’s not actually how criminal copyright infringement works. The complaint barely even shows how Vaulin could be liable for the infringement conducted via Kickass Torrents.

        But, of course, that doesn’t matter because the guy at Homeland Security Investigations (formerly: ICE: Immigrations & Customs Enforcement) just spoke to the MPAA and the MPAA said that Kickass Torrents had no permission to link to their content. Yes, link.

      • Amazon, Cable Industry Molest The Definition Of Copyright In Ongoing Scuff Up Over Cable Box Reform

        Last week we noted how copyright has once again become a straw man, this time as part of an attempt to kill the FCC’s plan to bring competition to the cable box. Under the FCC’s plan, cable providers would have to provide their programming to third-party hardware vendors — using any copy protection of their choice — without forcing consumers to pay for a CableCARD. The plan has little to actually do with copyright, but cable providers have tried to scuttle the effort by trying to claim more cable box competition will magically result in a piracy apocalypse (stop me if you’ve heard this sort of thing before somewhere).

        The cable industry’s attack on the FCC’s plan has been threefold: hire sock puppets to make violently misleading claims in newspapers and websites nationwide; push industry-loyal politicians (who have no real clue what the plan does) to derail the plan publicly as the worst sort of villainy, and present a counter proposal packed with caveats that makes it all but useless. This counter proposal involves the cable industry delivering its programming via apps (much like it already does), but forces consumers to continue renting a cable box if they want to record programs via DVR.

        Given the cable industry’s plan is little more than a press release, that’s only the caveat we know of. But anybody thinking the cable industry’s going to just give up $21 billion in set top rental fees and their walled garden control over the user experience is utterly adorable.

      • Following KickassTorrents Death, Streaming Website Solarmovie Disappears
      • IsoHunt Launches A Working KickassTorrent Mirror — kickasstorrents.website

        Shortly after the U.S. Government seized the domains of KickassTorrents, IsoHunt is here with a working mirror of the world’s largest torrent website. The mirror can be accessed by visiting a URL similar to KAT’s domains i.e. kickasstorrents.website. The new website also displays a manifesto, demanding KAT founder’s freedom.

      • How Apple And Facebook Got KickassTorrents Founder Arrested

        The founder of the world’s largest torrent hosting website KickassTorrents is now behind the bars. The cause of his arrest are the legal purchases he made on Apple’s iTunes Store which helped the homeland security department to track him down.

      • Trump campaign admits Melania’s speech plagiarized Michelle Obama

        Donald Trump’s campaign has acknowledged that Melania Trump’s speech on Monday at the Republican National Convention used identical phrasing as a speech from Michelle Obama in 2008.

        The admission came in a written statement (viewable below in its entirety) on Wednesday from Meredith McIver, the writer who worked with Melania on the speech. McIver identified herself as an “in-house staff writer for the Trump Organization” and a friend of the Trump family.

Haar Mentioned as Likely Site of Appeal Boards as Their Eradication or Marginalisation Envisioned by UPC Proponent Benoît Battistelli

Friday 22nd of July 2016 03:05:55 PM

Wouldn’t that be metaphorical given Battistelli's plan (all along) for the boards and mistreatment of ill staff?


Reference: The Killing of Psychiatric Patients in Nazi-Germany between 1939 – 1945 [PDF]

Summary: Not only the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) is under severe attack and possibly in mortal danger; the increasingly understaffed Boards of Appeal too are coming under attack and may (according to rumours) be sent to Haar, a good distance away from Munich and the airport (half an hour drive), not to mention lack of facilities for visitors from overseas

SUEPO (the only dominant EPO trade/staff union) leaders must be busy with their legal cases against EPO management (one to start/resume upon appeal later this year in the Supreme Court at The Hague, the other one having just started exactly a week ago), so it is not saying much about the monumental injustices at the EPO, at least not publicly. Having said that, anonymous voices continue to appear at IP Kat‘s comments, in spite of lack of coverage there about the EPO’s situation (nothing for weeks now).

A few comments there are floating new rumours about the fate of the appeal boards after they got punished for disloyalty (to Battistelli, not to the Office or the Organisation). Much of this began with a discussion about the UPC, which all along threatened to make the appeal boards obsolete, in due time. The UPC was first brought up in light of the decline/demise of justice at patent courts, as we noted a couple of hours ago (tackling patent examination justice). To quote the whole comment:

What good will it be to them to have good patents if their competitors can shut them down with vague and broad patents at the UPC?

A very important fact has been forgotten in Merpel’s article: the president of the council did not distanciate himself from the interference from Battistelli. Look at the text of the decision. Basically, what this means is that both the council and Battistelli view the enlarged board of appeal as subordinate to them and not as independent. The council did not object in their latest session.

In plain words: the enlarged board of appeal was expected to simply rubber-stamp a decision already taken. Even if the investigation was fraught with problems as some of the earliest comments in this thread noted.

These are the standards of justice of Battistelli and, we now understand, from the council. That is basically what the decision says.

Now, the all new UPC is created behind closed doors by the very same persons. How high do you expect the judicial standards of the new court to be?

Bonus question: how do you expect your clients to protect themselves against future decisions of the UPC?

There is a direct response to the above concerns about the UPC. “The danger comes when a court (UPC or any other) starts with a presumption of validity, just because it’s a European patent,” the following comment notes, reminding us of what happens in the USPTO and US courts, especially the ones in Texas:

Not sure I follow the logic here. I’m not saying that the national route produces stronger patents. I’m saying that, whereas the EPO previously provided a useful due diligence service (search and examination), this has now been diluted to the point where the national offices offer a competitive and lower-risk alternative.

Crap patents are fine, just as long as everyone recognises that they’re crap. The danger comes when a court (UPC or any other) starts with a presumption of validity, just because it’s a European patent.

An anonymous response to this said:

Crap patents are not fine, even the USPTO is getting convinced. And if the UPC independence is of the same kind as the enlarged board of appeal indepence, that is not fine either.

The article above describes a very serious problem. In most countries, interfering with the independence of justice would trigger a constitutional crisis.

In response to that, once again, the Turkey analogies came up:

The article above describes a very serious problem. In most countries, interfering with the independence of justice would trigger a constitutional crisis.

Apart from Turkey where a constitutional crisis triggers an interference with the independence of justice …

“The Boards of Appeal are now paying a very high price for asserting their independence,” noted the following commenter, correctly insinuating that this ‘exile’ (not as far as Vienna as feared last year) is a sort of punishment:

The Boards of Appeal are now paying a very high price for asserting their independence. Following the approval by the Administrative Council of the reform proposed by Mr Battistelli, they will firstly be exiled to a corner of the Munich area, viz. Haar, which is very well known for its psychiatric hospital, possibly a humorous touch introduced by the president.

Secondly, renewal of the members’ appointment every five years, which used to be the default (in fact, it has never happened that a member was not re-appointed) is now subject to, among other, a performance evaluation. Coupled with another element of the proposal, i.e. to increase the cost coverage for appeals from 6,3% to 20-25%, firstly by increasing the members’ productivity, there will now be a high pressure on members to focus on production if they don’t want to lose their job. And if they lose their job, taking up another job will now only be possible after approval by the Administrative Council.

Finally, Board of Appeal members will be excluded from “step advancements”, which are open to all other staff at the EPO, i.e. the members’ salaries will be frozen.

It was already known that if Mr Battistelli doesn’t like you, he will hit hard. He has proven this again with the reform package for the Boards of Appeal.

Here is more about the Haar rumour:

Do you have good reason for believing that the BoA will be moved to Haar?

EPO – CA-43-16 Rev. 1:
“As a main precondition, criteria like good traffic links and appropriate accommodation standards were taken into account”.

Although I do not know much about it, I doubt that Haar would satisfy this main precondition. For a start, there appear to be very limited hotel and restaurant facilities in the immediate vicinity of the S-Bahn stop, which is itself a significantly longer journey (by S-Bahn) to / from the airport.

Also, is there not going to be any consultation with users about this? If the decision is Haar, then I can envisage the users getting hopping mad about this – especially as they would be paying significantly more in appeal fees for the “privilege” of having an additional journey out of Munich centre to stay in hotels that may be unappealing to some. And all to address what the users have consistently argued was a non-issue, whilst no real progress (in fact, quite the opposite) has been made in addressing the substantive issues relating to the independence of the BoAs.

I know that a proposal for a new BoA location has to be put to the Budget and Finance Committee, but am unsure if the AC needs to take a formal decision upon that proposal. If so, then it looks like users will need to engage in intensive lobbying of AC representatives if the proposal really is for somewhere outside of Munich centre.

And responding to the above one person wrote:

Like someone wrote above, GET REAL.

What consultations were there in the first place regarding the so-called “reform” of the BoA? What was the public’s input in that hastily load of garbage pompously called a “plan”?

Were the outcries of the public, judges, etc. heeded when a BoA member was given the virtual sack for what was apparently a crime of lèse-majesté?

The latest comment was posted this morning and said:

If the rumours are true, it looks EPO will be gaining an office that is outside of Munich city centre and that (compared to the Isar building) is more difficult for visitors to Munich to reach and is by far less well supplied with hotel accommodation, restaurants and other facilities that such visitors will need.

If the EPO management were being truly practical about this, then they would decide that such an office really ought to be occupied by the department(s) of the EPO that receive the fewest visitors. Given that pretty much everything that the Boards of Appeal do involves summoning visitors to Munich, I am certain that it makes no sense whatsoever to move them to Haar.

With this in mind, if the EPO president really is determined to physically separate the two current residents of the Isar building, then logic dictates that it really ought to be the other resident (that is, the president himself) who moves to Haar. Anyone up for lobbying the representatives to the AC to vote for this alternative?

Well, “lobbying the representatives to the AC,” as the above put it, might be an exercise in futility given their demonstration of (almost) blind loyalty to Battistelli in the last AC meeting. One person earlier on wrote:

The Enlarged Board of appeal did not rubber-stamped the decision that the president and the council asked them.
Probably for this reason they are going to be moved, although several suitable buildings are available in Munich, to Haar, a village outside Munich mostly known for its lunatic asylum.
Next time they will think twice before taking a decision that does not please BB or the council.
So much for the judicial independence.

There is no judicial independence and there is no justice at the EPO anymore. To make matters worse, as one commenter put it:

It seems that some applicants have their offices in the same building complex.

The board members will improve their perceived independence by discussing the inventions directly with the inventors at lunch.

Yes, exactly. What a horrible move that would be. Instead of sending the boards to Haar maybe it’s time to send Battistelli to Haar. As one of the above comments noted, Haar “is very well known for its psychiatric hospital,” which sounds like something Battistelli could use. They can give him some toys to break rather than let him break people (and lives or even families as per the recent survey) at the EPO.

EPO Attaché Albert Keyack Viewed as Somewhat of a Mole, Reporting From the US Embassy in Brazil Until Shortly Before the Temer Coup

Friday 22nd of July 2016 02:19:28 PM

Another French term in Benoît Battistelli’s EPO after his de facto coup d’état


Reference: The Intercept (among many more at the time)

Summary: Public responses to the role played by Albert Keyack on behalf of the United States inside the European [sic] Patent Office

TECHRIGHTS is not a political site in nature, but sometimes it’s impossible to avoid a little bit of politics. Half a decade ago we wrote about the Brazil-based US Ambassador Sobel (now Republican fundraiser) lobbying/working for Microsoft in Brazil in his capacity as a diplomat (Microsoft Brazil President at the time was Michel Levy) — a subject on which we expanded in later posts on the subject, citing diplomatic cables leaked by Chelsea Manning quite shortly thereafter. Corruption levels in Brazil are relatively high and some people try to capitalise on weak regulatory powers. It kind of sounds like Benoît Battistelli and his EPO cronies, but it’s not. We used to say that the only European thing about the European [sic] Patent Office is the staff, but right now even the (external) PR team belongs to a US company (meddling inside European media) and some of the staff — at partial capacity at least — is from the US.

Days ago we wrote about Albert Keyack's new role at the EPO (announced only internally). Keyack is not an EU national. The following comment cites Techrights and says:

Sovereign principality of EPOnia appoints consul to the United States.

My mind is so boggled that it’s becoming numb.

Well, Battistelli breaks the rules, including his very own Code of Conduct, so the above isn’t thoroughly shocking. What’s interesting are the following legitimate points about the sovereignty of the EPO and issues pertaining to loyalty. As one person put it, “could he rather be the US envoy to the province of EPOnia, like Rome or Imperial Britain” (as Battistelli serves the 1% and thinks of himself in Napoleonic ways, the analogy seems apt). Here is the comment in full:

Nomination of Albert Keyack als “EPO Attaché”:

Keyack was reporting from the US Embassy in Brazil as least as late as May 2015, and had an E-mail address from the State Department. That was only one year ago.

The tone of his report linked above reflects the orthodox US foreign policy on “IP”, and Keyack’s affiliation is given to be with the USPTO.

It is rather ironical that the President who wants to control for two full years the lives of anyone “disloyal” enough to leave the EPO actually hired someone whose was serving a “competing” patent office. Isn’t there a line somewhere in whatever is left of the Codex about not accepting any instructions from foreign governments?

Or is the fellow hired on a service contract concluded with an entity created ad hoc for this purpose?

Whose interests is he actually representing? Europe’s? (And then, what is that position, and who defines it?) EPOnia’s? (ditto) European or US industry? Small applicants?

Or could he rather be the US envoy to the province of EPOnia, like Rome or Imperial Britain sent governors to their vanquished peoples? (If then, why should he be paid by the EPO?)

The President does have a little leeway under the Codex to appoint staff under the EPC from states which are soon to become EPC signatories. Could the US accede the EPC? Is EPOnia about to be moved somewhere in Virginia?

Here is another comment which explains why it’s improper or inappropriate:

I thought the ServRegs forbid to hire nationals of non-EPC member states (actually, other way around: allows only hiring of employees with a nationality of member states)…. The last time I checked, the USoA was not a signatory of the EPC…
But then, this person is granted an easy income the next few years, for virtually nothing. Whatever he does will not influence filing strategies anyway….
And since he’s neither French, Corsican, or Croatian, nepotism seems to be less of a problem this time….

Man, I chose the wrong career… But then, I love my job…

Incidentally, in response to “Use of English as an official EU language” (by CIPA) Benjamin Henrion wrote “as long as other languages are not discriminated like for the horrible “automated translations” Unitary Patent deal.”

Well, the EPO’s management now brags about US stakeholders being dominant, even if no country in ‘mainland’ Europe has English as its main language (only a few islands do). MIP’s latest catchup with Canada on trademarks and patents speaks about “Brexit putting the brakes on CETA” and says (the complete summary of the latter part): “A dismissal of a suit against Pfizer indicating consumers cannot be compensated for expenditures on invalidated patents, the NAFTA arbitration hearing of Eli Lilly’s complaint against the government, IP agents getting confidentiality privilege, the Federal Court awarding Janssen nearly C$20 million, and Brexit putting the brakes on CETA were among recent Canadian patent stories” (Brexit also undermines the UPC, as we noted here many times before).

Well, even after Brexit (assuming it happens) the US is working to impose TTIP/ISDS on Britain, reveals the latest article from Dr. Glyn Moody. It’s not hard to see who often holds the leash. We’ll say more on that in our next post.

EPO Insiders Explain Why the EPO’s Examination Quality Rapidly Declines and Will Get Even Worse Because of Willy Minnoye

Friday 22nd of July 2016 01:25:02 PM

Arrogant and abusive top-level management a major culprit

Summary: Public comments from anonymous insiders serve to highlight a growing crisis inside the European Patent Office (EPO), where experienced/senior examiners are walking away and leaving an irreplaceable bunch of seats (due to high experience demands)

THE EPO is in great danger because the people who now run it only care about short-term gains and are willing to destroy the Office (and the whole Organisation) in the long run if that personally suits them better. It’s a question of personal, institutional, and collective accountability. Both Benoît Battistelli and Willy Minnoye (hated even by the Directors, we've been told) are already in retirement age and accordingly, they were not supposed to be given the positions they now hold in the first place (as per the rules/guidelines).

What the heck is going on inside the EPO and what happened to the EPO so many of us were once so proud of?

The following comment makes the point that new recruits take a long time to be productive and for a long period of time they actually slow down their colleagues, meaning that they can either do very little (while on probationary employment period) of just grant lots of patents with minimal examination so as to satisfy Battistelli’s appetite for ‘production’ (as measured by number of grants, which is a terrible yardstick). Here is the comment in full:

Interesting timeline. When are the new recruits expected to start making a positive contribution?

In an area as complex as patents, my own experience teaches me that new recruits usually decrease productivity for quite some time (approx. 1 year). Assuming that it will take 6 to 12 months to recruit the numbers being targeted, that means that the management is effectively expecting the increased capacity provided by the new recruits to enable the backlog to be completely eliminated within about 2 years. Is that at all possible, do you think? Or is this just yet another indicator that quality will go out of the window?

On Wednesday the EPO made it rather apparent that it is unable to recruit the type of people it is looking for, having lost a lot of its talent (as insiders openly admit) and lost public respect. They’re actively lying to staff about it, but the truth of the matter is, the EPO is no longer an attractive employer. The EPO asks: “Know any engineers or scientists interested in joining an international team at the forefront of technology?”

Well, even if I knew of one, I would not recommend setting a single toe in Eponia, seeing the kind of mess Battistelli and his henchmen have sown there. It’s utterly scary and even SUEPO publicly warned about it. It said that the EPO’s management (or HR department) should be more honest/upfront about what it means to join the EPO (potentially ending up unable to find a job for years thereafter, under presidential sanctions).

Here is an EPO sceptic/apologist writing:

I see comments about overrecruiting, inflated production demands for newcomers, contracts for examiners.
It is a pity that there are no numbers attached to these allegations, no evidence.
Could any of you shed some light on this?

As I see it, the EPO has almost 4500 examiners who work, more or less, 30 years as examiner.
Doesn’t this mean that you have to recruit 150 examiners per year just to remain at constant workforce?

Has any examiner been employed on a contract already?

I think it is great that the EPO finally is doing the work they have already been paid for!

The following very detailed comment certainly comes from an insider or a former insider, based on the broad knowledge and in-house terminology. He or she explains why this policy dooms the EPO:

In order to correctly train people at the EPO you need at least three years, and this does not mean that the cost put into training are recouped. It needs in my opinion at least another two years. If the search backlog has to be down by 2020, which means in 4 years, provided the candidates are numerous enough to fill all corresponding posts. One should rather think of 3 years, as any present recruitment efforts will not bring the candidates into the office before 2017.

Creating overcapacity is always dangerous. The only way not to have a permanent problem is to give those people a five year contract. For examiners this is ludicrous for the reasons given above.

So by 2022 those people will have to leave the EPO if they are not fired before. Good scientists and engineers are getting scarce on the market. The perspective of going to The Hague/Berlin or Munich and having to leave again is very high and not encouraging. For sure no scientist or engineer having a good job will leave it for a stint at the EPO, as this also means to transplant the family. The possible candidates will be newly graduates. And for those the grass will be always greener on the other side.

One way to recoup the training costs quicker is simply to lower the training level. And request people to produce in the first year as much as 2/3 of what an experienced examiner produces. Before BEST, training in search and in examination was scheduled to be 3 years for search and 3 years for examination. When BEST came, which allegedly was giving a gain of productivity of 18%, the training time was halved. In three years an examiner has to be a good searcher and a good substantive examiner, i.e. a jack of all trades.

The quickest way to catapult the production/productivity is to use BEST as best as possible (sorry for the pun). Carry out a search with no results and then a direct grant is at the end. If this is in the interest of the applicants, even the big ones, is doubtful. It is certainly not in the interests of the so cherished SME’s by Battistelli and consorts.

And here you have your answer about the quality of what will come out. Skip corners in training and the quality goes inevitably down.

But by then VP1 who only has a faint idea of what a search is as he only ever searched in paper, will benefit from a super pension, and will have been congratulated by the AC for being an extraordinary manager, with probably an extra bonus on top.

On top of this the boards of appeal are wilfully destroyed thanks to Battistelli and consorts, with the help of an AC lacking any spine. One wonders if the AC could even be compared to a spineless shell fish. At least they have a shell. The AC seems to be nothing more than mollusc pushed around by Battistelli and consorts.

It is sickening!

Regarding decreasing experience of examiners and directors who ‘fake ‘production and were promoted for ‘loyalty’, the following comment says:

I am not an examiner, but I have understood that all reference numbers for production have been abolished. In other words: the number of files an examiner is told to produce is entirely decided by his or her director. The director gives you a number at the beginning of the year and the examiner must bring that output in december. There is a formal complaint procedure, but it brings out the same number anyway.

We have old school directors close to retirement who are trying to keep the numbers somewhat reasonable. We have newly promoted directors who have been chosen for “loyalty”.

Newly employed examiners are on a probation period. They get a set of formal courses and then they get a number of files to output till the end of the period. If they don’t bring out the number, they don’t get the contract. I would think that most of them bring out a fairly large output already in the first year. I would expect them to contribute significantly to the reduction of the backlog soon.

The problem will be to get them. Who will be desperate or ignorant enough to come to the office knowing that there will be “overcapacity” in 4 years, that you may be prevented to work for 2 years afterwards and that the Council may change any regulations (including retirement and insurances) whenever they want? The pay may be ok for someone fresh from University, but is not much higher than other places in Munich and whatever career opportunities examiners had (like being promoted to the board of appeal) has disappeared.

The issue with artificial “targets” for examination are brought up in this comment which asks for further information or brings up half-rhetorical questions:

Thanks for the info. Would you happen to know whether the “production” targets for newly-appointed examiners are significantly lower than those of their more experienced colleagues? It would be insane for new recruits to have (nearly) the same targets as experienced examiners, but you never know with the EPO these days…

The response to this was as follows:

I don’t know, but I imagine the number depends on the director. This is why the problem is not out: there are no official instructions, it just depends on the hierarchy being “loyal”. Of course, they were chosen accordingly.

What you should also realise is that the system works entirely in one direction: Minnoye thinks aloud the figures he wants (say: divide the stock by 4 for 4 years…) and the hierarchy pass them down. Reportedly, with the new style of “loyal” directors, some examiners were presented with figures much higher than last year. Tough luck, they just have to comply or face disciplinary sanctions. If I understood correctly, in the next council Battistelli wants to make these dismissals a simple administrative measure.
How do you think we were able to increase production 15% last year with less examiners?

What I don’t understand is how they expect to recruit any people at all, but Minnoye probably has a plan.

Well, with staff suicides and other bad news in the press (the EPO spends a fortune trying to change the media and dilute it with paid puff pieces), how would they attract skilled examiners?

Well, one day in the future we shall give an example of stories of people who favour the UK-IPO over EPO for reasons to do with sheer incompetence at the EPO. It’s too early to write about this because there’s a dispute ongoing and we don’t want to compromise or interfere with it. In light of that consider the following new comment:

Meanwhile, while the EPO has been eroding its USP (excellent search and examination quality), external parameters have changed, and the national route is increasingly attractive. Translation is now very cheap. You don’t need a middleman in each country (at least not in most EU/EEA/EFTA countries), and most importantly you don’t get tied up in fatuous, artificial arguments with examiners who haven’t had time to consider the facts and arguments properly.

To end it with somewhat of a joke:

Secret FAQ …

would like to reassure any applicant that every application will get the same high quality treatment as before, yet we’ll by give more responsibility to the Division (read: pressure to the Division) to bring a case to a conclusion (under pressure).

Early Certainty sooner than you expected.

We need a new thread for this.

Well, as leaked documents serve to show, pressure is put on examiners to grant to Microsoft faster (demonstrating that the above observations are definitely true in practice). Sadly, the EPO sent me a series of threatening legal letters on this matter alone, after my earlier leaks had caused huge backlash from stakeholders.

Today’s EPO is the kind of employer that anyone with a clue would not join (it’s different if one is already there), unless one is fanatic about the “following orders” mentality.

Battistelli, a French republican, has cultivated a culture of fear at all levels (examination, administration, management) and even outside the Office, e.g. appeal boards and delegations. He ruined the whole Office and time will tell if the ‘old’ (widely-respected) EPO can still be salvaged somehow. We sure hope so.

Patents Roundup: BlackBerry, Huawei, PTAB, GAO, Aggressive Universities With Patents, and Software Patents in Europe

Friday 22nd of July 2016 12:28:20 PM

“Patent monopolies are believed to drive innovation but they actually impede the pace of science and innovation, Stiglitz said. The current “patent thicket,” in which anyone who writes a successful software programme is sued for alleged patent infringement, highlights the current IP system’s failure to encourage innovation, he said.”

IP Watch on Professor Joseph Stiglitz

Summary: Various bits and pieces of news regarding patents and their fast-changing nature in the United States nowadays

AS WE wish to resume our EPO coverage (there is a lot more material on the way), we have decided to lump together various bits of news from the (primarily US) patent system, subdivided below and split into themes.

BlackBerry Still Dangerous

When Canadian powerhouse BlackBerry introduced not only one but several Android-based phones were were rather relieved, as at one point several years ago it seemed like BlackBerry was slowly transforming to become a patent troll or preparing to sell its very many patents to notorious trolls (or patent assertion firms/entities, PAEs for short). BlackBerry, which is still struggling based on the number of sales, may somehow be bound to become like a patent troll, judging by this new report which makes the company (now run by a Turbolinux executive who previously sold out to Microsoft on the patent front) sound like a PAE. “He also hinted at a future based around brand and technology licensing,” says the summary. Watch out for BlackBerry because if Android doesn’t give it the success it is looking for, then BlackBerry might simply choose to sue Android OEMs (directly or indirectly, like Ericsson and Nokia). They can always try to blame such aggression on “shareholders!”

China Comes Knocking, Not Knockoffs

“Watch out for BlackBerry because if Android doesn’t give it the success it is looking for, then BlackBerry might simply choose to sue Android OEMs (directly or indirectly, like Ericsson and Nokia).”Yesterday my wife and I had lunch with a businessman who is a distributor of goods from Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines. He warned about Chinese protectionism via SIPO and spoke about unusual restrictions, such as the imperative registration (can take about a year) in order to proceed to the simplest of enforcement inside China (even purely defensive enforcement in the face of counterfeiting or cheap imitations).

Put old stigmas aside for a moment. China is not stupid. China is also more than an imitator. It actually brings out some innovations these days and it is willing to go abroad to sue Western rivals. It’s not just on the defensive and increasingly it’s on the offensive. “Knocking out Chinese patents may be a lot harder than you think,” IAM wrote the other day and Dr. Glyn Moody, citing his colleague (article from 6 years ago), says “Just As We Warned: A Chinese Tech Giant Goes On The Patent Attack — In East Texas”. So, how is it working out for multinational US companies which relied so much on the USPTO and faithfully (or blindly) trusted it for protectionism? “Techdirt,” Moody explains, “has been warning for years that the West’s repeated demands for China to “respect” patents could backfire badly. In 2010 [before Moody wrote for Techdirt], Mike [Techdirt founder] pointed out that Chinese companies were starting to amass huge patent portfolios, which were soon used as weapons against foreign firms operating in China, most notably Apple.”

“China is not stupid. China is also more than an imitator. It actually brings out some innovations these days and it is willing to go abroad to sue Western rivals.”Based on articles like this new one, not only Huawei is suing; it is also being sued, this time by Samsung (from Korea). Samsung and Huawei have become top Android OEMs and there is a lot of money at stake when people pay up to $1,000 per phone. IAM seems to have taken an interest in many east Asian markets recently; one new article is titled “Korea’s antitrust watchdog hints Qualcomm can expect another near $1b fine in patent probe” and another is titled “Transpacific denied Enfish lifeline as Taiwanese companies’ NPE experiment hangs in the balance”. These are IAM’s latest attempts to float software patents because of an old patent case involving Microsoft. To quote: “Sensing a glimmer of hope from the US Federal Circuit’s judgment in Enfish v Microsoft – which went some way towards clawing back patent eligibility for software inventions in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Alice – Kinglite filed a motion asking that the Central California court to reconsider its decision on the invalidity of the ‘304 patent. However, this was rejected on the basis that Kinglite’s patent does not “disclose any of those mathematical algorithms that actually represent an application of the ‘abstract’ idea of securing the BIOS through authentication, nor a new concrete means of applying those algorithms… [unlike] the patent in Enfish which apparently disclosed a new method of building a database”.”

Enfish does not really change much, but IAM would use anything it can to promote the interests of its paymasters, often unproductive (or counterproductive) patent parasites like this one it has just written about.

USPTO Wants ‘Certainty’

“Samsung and Huawei have become top Android OEMs and there is a lot of money at stake when people pay up to $1,000 per phone.”Certainty (or contrariwise, uncertainty) has become one of those buzzwords that David Kappos and fellow patent maximalists (especially proponents of software patents) use to say that Alice is nasty and needs to be buried. Two more articles have been published about the efforts to trigger changes with a new memorandum [1, 2]. The latter says: “The extent to which these disparate analyses can be reconciled will depend, of course, on future case law, leaving the question of subject matter eligibility in its current state of uncertainty.”

When the author (patent maximalist who shamed even a SOCTUS Justice) says “leaving the question of subject matter eligibility in its current state of uncertainty” the simplest translation is “leaving the question of subject matter eligibility in its current state of denying software patents.”

This is a subject which was mentioned here the other day, especially in relation to IBM.

Dying Software Patents

“Certainty (or contrariwise, uncertainty) has become one of those buzzwords that David Kappos and fellow patent maximalists (especially proponents of software patents) use to say that Alice is nasty and needs to be buried.”Upon reassessment most software patents are invalidated these days. There are some exceptions like the BASCOM case and patent lawyers love latching onto those. An article from Jason Rantanen (Patently-O) is an example of this bias among professors as well. He wrote: “Since Alice v. CLS Bank, the Federal Circuit has issued four opinions rejecting a lack of patent eligible subject matter challenge: DDR Holdings, LLC v. Hotels.com, L.P., 773 F.3d 1245 (Fed. Cir. 2014); Enfish LLC v. Microsoft Corp., 2016 WL 2756255 (Fed. Cir. May 12, 2016); Rapid Litigation Management Ltd. v. Cellzdirect, Inc., 2016 WL 3606624 (Fed. Cir. 2016), and BASCOM v. AT&T, with the latter three coming the last few months.”

Well, still, those are clearly in the minority and they come from a crooked court which is responsible for bringing software patents to the US in the first place.

Another software patent has in fact just died, thanks to Alice again. Patent Buddy wrote that “PTAB Holds Lottery Patent Claims Invalid under 101/ Alice: http://assets.law360news.com/0819000/819445/cbm2015-00105_termination_decision_document_36.pdf …”

“Another software patent has in fact just died, thanks to Alice again.”PTAB is very much dedicated to elimination of such patents because it has no incentive to empower plaintiffs, unlike CAFC. The US needs a lot less of CAFC (or anything like CAFC) and more of PTAB. Don’t be misled by all those spinners who equate PTAB with “death squads”. Patent law firms, for instance, still conveniently cherry-pick cases that support software patents (see “Another Software Patent Survives an Alice Challenge” by Seyfarth Shaw LLP). They put “abstract idea” in quotes (probably scare quotes, depending on style) and even add the word “alleged”, certainly not hiding their bias too well. To quote this latest ‘analysis’ (marketing): “In a rather complex case, Yodlee again focused on the definition of the “abstract idea” by the defendant. Many times, defendants frame the alleged “abstract idea” too broadly to improve their 101 invalidity argument, and courts or the PTAB find the definition is too broad. Other times, defendants frame the abstract idea too narrowly and courts agree with the defendant on the definition of the invention, but find such a narrow definition to not be drawn to an abstract idea. Here, the defendant framed the abstract idea in a manner inconsistent with the claimed invention, and the court found no apples to apples comparison.”

Improving Patent Quality

In our previous post we praised the USPTO (or PTAB by extension) for at least working to improve patent quality somewhat. Professor Crouch says that a new U.S. Government Accountability Office (U.S. GAO) report alluded to patent quality. “Patent Office Must Define and Improve Patent Quality” says the headline and the body of the short article says: “Regarding patent quality, the GAO suggested that the USPTO’s standard of patent quality should focus solely on the basics: defining “a quality patent as one that would meet the statutory requirements for novelty and clarity, among others, and would be upheld if challenged in a lawsuit or other proceeding.” However, patent clarity must be an important element of that definition.”

“For those who don’t know it yet, when IAM precedes something with “REPORT” it’s actually a euphemism for “SPONSORED CONTENT” or “ADVERTISING” (disguised as analysis by some particular firm).”This is good news. Compare that to propaganda sites like IAM where there is a new “REPORT” (i.e. paid-for marketing placement for a firm) titled “International report – Federal Circuit distinguishes between tests for obviousness and patent-eligible subject matter”. For those who don’t know it yet, when IAM precedes something with “REPORT” it’s actually a euphemism for “SPONSORED CONTENT” or “ADVERTISING” (disguised as analysis by some particular firm).

GAO’s input basically says that the Office must tighten patent scope, whereas the latter (propaganda/marketing) offers ‘tricks’ for getting around scope restrictions.

Using Taxpayers’ Money for Patent Stockpiling

“GAO’s input basically says that the Office must tighten patent scope, whereas the latter (propaganda/marketing) offers ‘tricks’ for getting around scope restrictions.”We quite liked IP Watch‘s article “Patenting By Universities Unhelpful, Paper Says; WIPO Programme To Be Reviewed” [1]. It was published a few days ago, just in time for IAM’s ‘report’ on Harvard University’s use of patents (granted using public money) to sue the private sector. IAM wrote: “Late last month Harvard University took the very unusual step of filing two infringement lawsuits against semiconductor manufacturers Micron and Global Foundries over their alleged infringement of two patents that are owned by the Ivy League institution. That in itself is a pretty rare occurrence – combing the Lex Machina database I found that Harvard has been a co-plaintiff on just one other patent suit since 2011, so it seems that this is the only case in at least the last five years that it has been the sole plaintiff in an action.”

This isn’t the first time that we write about universities getting aggressive with patents, not just selling patents to trolls who become aggressive with these (like Intellectual Ventures). What they do here is extremely unethical and should be grounds or basis for revocation of government grants. When universities are becoming like patent trolls (not producing but suing) it’s worse than classic patent trolls because taxpayers fund it and get punished for it, usually for the enrichment of some shady people.

“When universities are becoming like patent trolls (not producing but suing) it’s worse than classic patent trolls because taxpayers fund it and get punished for it, usually for the enrichment of some shady people.”In other IAM propaganda this week, watch this spin on patent litigation decline in the US. So patent trolls, which rely on software patents more than most (and pay IAM), lose momentum. A cause for celebration or for sobbing? Probably for sobbing at IAM. Bezos-owned news site Washington Post meanwhile reports, somewhat contradictorily (in light of the latest figures from Lex Machina), that “Patent lawsuits swell and watchdog says the government is to blame” (they actually decreased year-to-year in the past few months). To quote:

Inventors are filing an exploding number of lawsuits against companies that appropriate their products illegally — and a new report puts the blame for these costly disputes squarely at the feet of the federal government.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is so focused on rewarding its employees for the number of applications they review that the quality of patents they give out is in jeopardy, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The result is that licenses conferring someone’s sole right to an invention are “unclear and overly broad” and vulnerable to infringement by competitors.

“Software patents are not legal in Europe, but the likes of Battistelli don’t obey the rules anyway and more attempts to interject software patents into Europe are made by those who could not care less.”Here again we have GAO saying what it has been saying for quite some time. Will anyone listen? Will the advice be taken seriously? See what happened after an Australian (almost) equivalent had said something to the same effect. Local patent law firms got rather aggressive.

Software Patenting in Europe Still Being Attempted

Software patents are not legal in Europe, but the likes of Battistelli don’t obey the rules anyway and more attempts to interject software patents into Europe are made by those who could not care less. According to this article, there’s a Dutch dispute over a patented “superformula” (i.e. algorithm). As the author correctly notes: “Despite the noise being made by Genicap, there’s some question as to whether the company’s patent actually applies to No Man’s Sky. The European Patent Convention says directly that “discoveries, scientific theories, and mathematical methods” are not directly patentable, and US patent law also excepts “disembodied mathematical algorithms and formula” from patentability.”

“The Dutch people don’t need software patents; they’re usually just victims of such patents.”Well, such patents oughtn’t exist in the first place. The last time we heard of software patents in relation to the Netherlands it was Microsoft’s lawsuit against TomTom (Dutch company) and a Dutch developer who had his work killed [1, 2, 3] by a patent aggressor, Shazam. The Dutch people don’t need software patents; they’re usually just victims of such patents.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Patenting By Universities Unhelpful, Paper Says; WIPO Programme To Be Reviewed

    A new publication analysing the relationship between intellectual property and access to science explores ways countries have developed to counter the potential barriers created by IP rights, and says patenting by universities is counterproductive.

Glimpse at Patent Systems Across the World: Better Quality Control at the USPTO Post-America Invents Act (2011), Unlike the EPO Post-Battistelli (2010)

Friday 22nd of July 2016 10:32:03 AM

The pendency at the USPTO stands at around five years, as scrutiny has been increased


Image credit: Professor Dennis Crouch, Patently-O

Summary: While the EPO reportedly strives to eliminate pendency and appeal windows altogether (rubberstamping being optimal performance as per the yardstick du jour), the USPTO introduces changes that would strengthen the system and shield innovation, not protect the business model of serial litigants

PATENT systems across the world vary, but they’re streamlined/unified by various programs which enable litigation across nations and entire continents. We’ve covered some of these programs here before and half a decade ago we wrote numerous articles about the vision of a global patent system, at times citing leaked diplomatic cables that had been published by Wikileaks. ‘National’ patent offices are actually not so national and the ‘European’ Patent Office isn’t really about Europe (some of its member states, for example, are not in Europe). The same is true in the UK-IPO, which is going ‘to bed’ with Facebook right now (surveillance, censorship and propaganda site from another continent). Here is a new MIP article on patent litigation trends in Russia. It’s not often that we hear about Russian plaintiffs in European, Australian or American courts; domestic policy there probably does not incentivise pursuing patents in other countries (especially NATO members), either. As we shall show in a later article, China is increasingly going abroad for litigation, albeit it wasn’t traditionally the case (the West wrongly assumed all China could do was knockoffs or ‘piracy’ [sic] as the think tanks label it).

“It’s not hard to envision the beneficiaries of a global patent system and their actions.”Days ago IP Kat wrote about the Rhodia v Molycorp “patent jurisdiction tussle,” to quote the author’s headline. Here is some background for the uninitiated: “Rhodia is the exclusive licensee of the UK and German designations of a European patent entitled “Ceric Oxide and method for production thereof, and catalyst for exhaust gas clarification”. Rhodia commenced infringement proceedings in the English High Court alleging that the English domiciled Defendant, Molycorp, had infringed the UK and German designations of the patent.” Here we have a reminder of the unifying patent factor which does not even necessitate a so-called ‘unitary’ patent. Do we really need a ‘globalisation’ of patent systems? That is a rhetorical question of course. It’s not hard to envision the beneficiaries of a global patent system and their actions.

One country dominates the world’s patent systems (including the EPO where it’s ranked number one) and that country is not China, albeit it’s by far the largest population in the world. “In today’s free-trade environment, the USITC’s role is somewhat counter — protecting of U.S. industry,” Patently-O wrote the other day about the ITC, guardian of large US corporations, a nationalist body which has the word “international” in its name/acronym. To quote Patently-O, the “USITC Procedure sets up the USITC as the party prosecuting the case rather than the patentee. As such, the agency is the named respondent and will be represented by the Solicitor’s Office. I expect that the patentee BriarTek will also weigh-in. The patent at issue is U.S. Patent No. 7,991,380 and covers an emergency satellite communication system. The asserted claims were found invalid as anticipated and/or obvious. That holding was then affirmed on appeal by the Federal Circuit.”

“Suffice to say, calls to abolish CAFC altogether increased in recent years.”Well, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), as we noted here repeatedly, is an exceptionally abusive court which not only bypasses constitutional issues but also works for large corporations and for patent lawyers rather than the public (or justice). Simply put, it’s corruptible. Suffice to say, calls to abolish CAFC altogether increased in recent years. And speaking of CAFC, MIP says: “The Federal Circuit has provided some guidance on the issue of 180 days’ notice of launch in a recent biosimilars ruling, in Amgen v Apotex, but practitioners say there will be a lot more litigation before the patent dance is fully clarified” (we are not optimistic).

About the USPTO Patently-O wrote that “Patent Filings Rising Slowly,” according to figures plotted by Professor Dennis Crouch. Is this a case of the more, the merrier? Well, for patent lawyers surely it is merrier (more profitable). Here is what Crouch wrote about it:

The chart above shows USPTO application filings for non-provisional patent applications as well as RCE’s. Both have been on the rise for many years. The filing numbers appear to have continued to rise since implementation of the America Invents Act, although at a slower rate (acceleration has slowed). The USPTO expects that applications filed today will receive a first action within 16 months.

America Invents Act (AIA), with PTAB in particular, has served to introduce some new quality control (potential slowdown and greater pendency to be expected), albeit at too slow a pace as PTAB needs to be expanded to be able to deal with more than just a couple of thousands of patents per year (such workload keeps growing fast).

Patently-O wrote another article exclusively about AIA in which it’s said:

Although more than three years have passed since the changeover date, most new patents still fall under the old-rule. This long transition period is explained by the reality that most patents that issue claim priority to a prior patent filing document such as a foreign priority filing, international PCT application, US provisional application or parent non-provisional US filing. Once the non-provisional application is filed, patent prosecution process still that typically takes around three years. This results in an average pendency from priority filing to issuance of around five years.

The chart there shows that, even though there's a patent litigation slowdown (we’ll expand on that in a later article), problems are far from over. There’s a capacity problem and there’s growing demand. An article by Zachary Kinnaird (posted on his behalf by Professor Jason Rantanen), a patent attorney with International IP Law Group, looks at the number of patent practitioners. He shows some fancy charts and notes: “The number of practitioners removed from the USPTO database reveals a practitioner percentage removal trend that can be seen as a retirement estimate for patent practitioners. This trend shows that the longer a practitioner has had a registration number, the more likely they are to have retired, or otherwise been removed, from the roster.

“The health of the patent system worldwide is oftentimes improving, except at the EPO where patent quality declines* (more on that later today) and human rights are routinely violated.”“The chart below shows the percentage of patent practitioners who still remain registered on the USPTO roster as a function of each practitioner’s year of registration. The further to the right, the more recently the practitioner earned their registration number.”

Not much can be deduced from this (the way it’s presented is not too helpful), unless one is interested in a sob story which serves the party line of the patent microcosm, or the industry associated with patent activity as opposed to production of merchandise, software, etc.

The health of the patent system worldwide is oftentimes improving, except at the EPO where patent quality declines (more on that later today) and human rights are routinely violated. As a European national I am sad and ashamed to see what was once the best patent system in the world becoming one of the worst and most notorious (unless one asks the EPO's mouthpieces). Battistelli tramples everyone and everything.
____
* Pressured examiners, unskilled (new) examiners and expensive appeals (short duration, very high fees) in an already-understaffed department make the entire process applicants-friendly at the expense of long-term reputation (which made the EPO appealing and worth the exceptionally high prices).

Blockstream Has No Patents, But Pledges Not to Sue Using Patents

Friday 22nd of July 2016 09:14:56 AM

Read between the lines then…

Summary: Blockstream says that it comes in peace when it comes to software patents, which triggers speculations about coming Blockchain patent wars

THE PAST few years were baffling as companies equated promises not to sue with “Open Source” or “open-source” (with a dash, to help dodge the trademark perhaps). Examples we covered here included, notably, Tesla and Panasonic.

A couple of days ago we saw that Blockstream had claimed the following: “Today we are excited to announce some important steps we are taking on the patent front, why these defensive steps are necessary, and our hope that others will see merit in our approach and follow our lead.

“The system as it stands is inherently hostile towards GNU/Linux and Free/Open Source software, which is what Blockchain is all about.”“Core to the Bitcoin ethos is permissionless innovation. Without it and the level of contribution to which it gave rise Blockstream would not be on the exciting path we find ourselves today. It should not come as a surprise then that permissionless innovation is also core to Blockstream’s ethos. We firmly believe that in order for Bitcoin and related technologies’ potential to be fully realized they must be underpinned by a global platform that is free for any innovator to use without hesitation.”

As Benjamin Henrion rightly asked, “where do you have patents? which numbers?” Another person, a patent attorney who specialises in patent data/statistics, noted that “Blockstream Does Not Have Any Patents Assigned to It.” This is not entirely shocking. Having written about Blockstream in the past (we have very broad scope in our daily links), not once did we mention it in relation to patents. Patently German hypothesised: “Preparation for future #blockchain #patent wars? Blockstream announces defensive patent pledge and patent agreement…” (IBM, a patent bully with software patents, is also heavily involved in the same Linux-centric space)

IP Watch, a decent watchdog of patent matters, wrote the headline “Trust Us, We Won’t Sue You” (it sounds rather humourous or sarcastic). It said that “Blockstream, which developed the blockchain technology and bitcoin, has announced a defensive patent strategy. The crux of it: assurance that users of its technology won’t be sued.”

“It seems like shameless self-promotion or a publicity stunt with a “patents” angle.”The EFF wrote about this as follows: “We’ve written many times about the need for comprehensive patent reform to stop innovation-killing trolls. While we continue to push for reform in Congress, there are a number of steps that companies and inventors can take to keep from contributing to the patent troll problem. These steps include pledges and defensive patent licenses. In recent years, companies like Twitter and Tesla have promised not to use their patents offensively. This week, blockchain startup Blockstream joins them with a robust set of commitments over how it uses software patents.”

Bob Summerwill told me [1, 2]: “I see this as hugely positive. Looks directly analogous to what the GPL does for copyrights. Use system against itself.”

Right, but unless Blockstream actually has some patents (there is no evidence of it so far), what can they really use against the system? The system as it stands is inherently hostile towards GNU/Linux and Free/Open Source software, which is what Blockchain is all about.

Blockstream’s message is suggestive of unknown context (like something they know but are not telling us). It seems like shameless self-promotion or a publicity stunt with a “patents” angle. We have become accustomed to it. One company that should definitely do the same thing (but has not) is Red Hat. OIN membership does not guarantee this and if Red Hat got sold to some relatively hostile entity (like Sun to Oracle), there is no guarantee that Red Hat’s patents would not be used to wreak havoc (like a $10 billion lawsuit over a programming language alone, i.e. an order of magnitude worse than SCO versus IBM).

Links 21/7/2016: Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Xfce Beta

Thursday 21st of July 2016 08:10:34 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • 7 Differences Between Linux and Windows: User Expectations

      When I was a boy, I imagined that other languages were codes, whose words had a one-to-one correspondence to English. In the same way, many Windows users expect Linux to be an exact equivalent.

      The reality, of course, is quite different. Both Windows and Linux are operating systems — the programs used to run other applications — but they often fulfill basic functions in different ways. Like any application, they have their own unspoken logic, and part of learning either is to learn their logic.

    • Feral Linux users should learn when to shut up

      The very words alpha in the name of the release indicate that the Skype which was announced on 14 July is not ready for prime time. That should be apparent to anyone with the IQ of the common cockroach.

      But it is apparently not evident to some Linux users.

      Things do not seem to be clear to some so-called Linux writers, either. Here is one claiming that “The Skype for Linux alpha does not have all the features that will be released into the final version.”

    • Intel Developer Has Been Working On Systemd Support For Chrome OS

      Google’s Chrome OS currently relies upon Upstart as its init system, but work done by an Intel developer is pushing towards systemd support.

    • The Linux Setup – Jerry Bezencon, Linux Lite

      My name is Jerry Bezencon and I’m a technology consultant, investor, programmer and promoter of/advocate for free and open source software.

    • Microsoft ordered to fix ‘excessively intrusive, insecure’ Windows 10

      A French regulator has issued Microsoft a formal warning over Windows 10, saying the operating system collects excessive amounts of personal data, ships that information illegally out of the EU, and has lousy security.

      The warning comes from the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), an independent data privacy watchdog with the power to levy fines against companies. The CNIL has been investigating Windows 10 since its launch and has now drawn up a damning list of criticisms.

      “The CNIL has decided to issue a formal notice to Microsoft Corporation to comply with the Act within three months,” said the group on Wednesday.

      “The purpose of the notice is not to prohibit any advertising on the company’s services but, rather, to enable users to make their choice freely, having been properly informed of their rights. It has been decided to make the formal notice public due to, among other reasons, the seriousness of the breaches and the number of individuals concerned.”

  • Server
    • Containers rated more secure than conventional apps

      Containers are more secure than apps running on a bare OS and organisations that like not being hacked therefore need to seriously consider a move, according to analyst firm Gartner.

    • Evolution of Linux Containers and Future

      Linux containers are an operating system level virtualization technology for providing multiple isolated Linux environments on a single Linux host. Unlike virtual machines (VMs), containers do not run dedicated guest operating systems. Rather, they share the host operating system kernel and make use of the guest operating system system libraries for providing the required OS capabilities. Since there is no dedicated operating system, containers start much faster than VMs.

    • 10 Essential Skills for Novice, Junior and Senior SysAdmins

      As the world evolves for systems administrators, “Linux is exploding with new ideas and it’s a little scary …,” as commenter Mike Tarkowski put it.

      Keeping up with emerging technologies in cloud computing such as OpenStack will be key to navigating this changing landscape, according to Randy Russell, director of certification for Red Hat.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
    • FLOSS Weekly 397: CoreOS Update
    • SJVN Talks FOSS, Linux, Microsoft & More…

      The official Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols LinkedIn page says, “I’ve written over 9,000 articles on business and technology subjects. Highlights include the first popular news story about the web and the first Linux benchmarks. My articles range from features to reviews to OpEd to news reporting.”

      A large percentage of those articles have been about Linux and FOSS, so it was logical for us to ring up SJVN (as he is commonly known) and ask him what’s the biggest news about FOSS so far in 2016, and what we can expect in the rest of the year.

  • Kernel Space
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • GSoC Update: Tinkering with KIO

        Secondly, the ioslave is now completely independent from Dolphin, or any KIO application for that matter. This means it works exactly the same way across the entire suite of KIO apps. Given that at one point we were planning to make the ioslave fully functional only with Dolphin, this is a major plus point for the project.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Writing an ebook about usability?

        I write more about this on my Coaching Buttons blog, that I’m thinking about writing an ebook. Actually, it’s several ebooks. But the one that applies here is Open Source Usability.

      • GNOME Mutter 3.21.4 Released WIth New Screen Capture API, NVIDIA vRAM Robustness

        Various GNOME software components were checked in today in preparation for this week’s GNOME 3.21.4 development release.

        When it comes to the Mutter 3.21.4 compositor / window manager release, there are a few new features on top of fixes. This 3.21.4 release includes the frame-buffer / display work I talked about this morning that should allow multiple monitor setups to have different DPIs, among other design improvements. There is also improved X11 to/from Wayland copy/paste interaction, support for the NV_robustness_video_memory_purge extension, a screen capture API has been added to Mutter itself, and various other fixes/improvements.

      • Mutter 3.21.4
  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • Linux Top 3: Network Security Toolkit, Untangle NG Firewall and IPFire

        There is no shortage of Linux distributions that provide a platform for security researcher to conduct various security research. Among them is the Network Security Toolkit (NST), which was recently updated to version 24-7977. The 24 is a referenced to Fedora, which NST is based on.

        Aside from simply integrating existing tools, NST goes a step further and provides a number of innovative capabilities including a new Multi-Traceroute (MTR) networking tool.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts
    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Alpha 3 Released

        Ludwig Nussel has announced the release today of the third alpha release for the forthcoming openSUSE “Leap” 42.2 update.

        OpenSUSE 42.2 Alpha 3 finishes up the merge of SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 SP2 components, updates to GNOME, KDE Plasma 5.7 integration, and various other changes.

      • openSUSE Leap 42.2 Alpha3 released
      • SUSE LLC’s SUSE Manager

        SUSE Manager is a open-source IT management solution with a centralized console for managing multiple Linux distributions, hardware platforms (x86, IBM Power Systems and z Systems), as well as physical, virtual and cloud environments. SUSE says that the solution helps customers reduce the complexities of managing their IT infrastructures, a key advantage as customers look to cut costs and increase the responsiveness required to adopt DevOps and hybrid cloud solutions.

      • Tally ERP 9 on Linux

        Recently we implemented Tally ERP 9 solution for Antico Pumps. That itself is not interesting, the interesting part is they are using LTSP Fat client system on openSUSE. They have only one server from which all their client computers boot over the network, the clients do not have hard disk, client OS with all softwares they need including wine(Tally is Windows only software), as well as users’ data resides on the server. Once the client boots all the local resources are used so single low power server can be used to serve many clients.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Interoute gets certification from Red Hat

        Interoute was named a Certified Cloud and Service Provider by Red Hat for its networked cloud infrastructure platform, Interoute Virtual Data Centre (VDC).

      • Interoute becomes first European Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider with Red Hat Cloud Access Designation

        Interoute, owner operator of a global cloud services platform and one of Europe’s largest networks, has today announced that it has been named a Certified Cloud and Service Provider by Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, for its global networked cloud infrastructure platform, Interoute Virtual Data Centre (VDC).

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Microsoft Privacy Violations, Fedora: Season’s Pick

          Topping today’s Linux news is the wrist slapping of Microsoft by French Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés for excessive spying. Back in Linuxland, openSUSE 42.2 Alpha 3 and Mint 18 Xfce Beta were released for early testers. Bruce Byfield compares Linux and Windows users and Dedoimedo found another distribution he likes. VarGuy Christopher Tozzi ran down five Open Source projects that didn’t work out and Sam Varghese scolds Linux users for expecting Final quality out of Alpha releases.

        • Fedora 24 – And we represent!

          I am pleased. I am really pleased. Fedora 24 delivers an excellent, modern experience. Such a refreshing departure from all the sadness I had to deal with it in the last two months. While it’s not aimed at new users and does not offer D2D fun right away, Fedora still managed to give a most satisfying and a highly consistent experience. With a little bit of tweaking, it’s superb.

          Looking across the board, we have good networking support overall with a permanent workaround for Realtek woes, good smartphone support, stability, speed, battery life, excellent hardware compatibility, a much improved package management system. After pimping, the fun extends to multimedia and some extra customization. And Gnome isn’t half as bad as it used to be. Really lovely.

          There are some small problems still, here and there, the chief amongst them being the ultra short support life of a typical Fedora release. But then, just look at my CentOS 7.2 reviews, the recent Gnome and Xfce ones. You get pretty much the same experience plus a whooping 10 years of support. That’s what I’ve always been waiting for in Linux. Anyhow, Fedora 24 is a very good summer release. 9/10, and I’ve had a lot of fun sorting things out, because they remained sorted out, there are no silly errors, and the network is solid and stable. Linux as it should be. This is your pick for this season. Enjoy.

        • Fedora APAC FAD KL 2016

          Fedora APAC budget panning FAD 2016 was held on 9th-10th of July 2016 in Malaysia. I was there with Fedora ambassadors from other countries within APAC region.

        • Search for Code in Pagure

          I was trying to get into code search in Pagure, thing that I land up on got really interesting and amazing. If you want to have a code searching mechanism in your website you need to look into something called Indexing.

          The way search happens in some E-commerce sites like Amazon or be it the search happening on Google, with Google its web scrapping and then indexing on the results. The point being the response time , while you are searching for something you get results in few microseconds.

    • Debian Family
      • Reproducible builds: week 62 in Stretch cycle
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • The Ubuntu-powered BQ Aquaris M10 tablet: Almost amazing

            BQ Aquaris M10, the first Ubuntu-powered tablet to ship, has some flaws, but the fact that it runs traditional Linux desktop apps will make many Linux users happy

          • Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition Review – The King of All Ubuntu Phones

            It has been one year since our previous review of an Ubuntu Phone, namely examining the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition, and the time has come for us to take a look at the best handset powered by Canonical’s Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system that you can buy right now, the Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu Edition.

          • Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS released

            The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS
            (Long-Term Support) for its Desktop, Server, and Cloud products, as well
            as other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support.

            As usual, this point release includes many updates, and updated
            installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to
            be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and
            corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining
            stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

          • Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS Released
          • Howdy, Ubuntu on Windows! An Intro From Canonical’s Dustin Kirkland

            Hi there! My name is Dustin Kirkland, a Linux user for nearly 20 years, and an open source developer for almost as long. I worked on Linux at IBM for most of a decade, on site at Red Hat for a bit, and now at Canonical for nearly another decade. I started at Canonical as an engineer on the Ubuntu Server team and eventually evolved into the product manager responsible for Ubuntu as a server and cloud platform. I’ve authored many open source utilities used by millions of Ubuntu users every day. Open source software is my passion, my heart, and my soul.

            I was working in Cape Town, South Africa when I received a strange call from a friend and colleague at Microsoft in January of 2016. The call was decorated with subtlety as he danced around the technology underpinning what you and I today know as “Ubuntu on Windows,” but without any detail. There was plenty of confusion. Confusion around exactly what we were talking about. Confusion about how this could even work. Confusion about how I should feel about this.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Xfce – BETA Release

              Linux Mint 18 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

            • Linux Mint 18 Sarah Xfce released in Beta

              So after the release of Linux Mint 18 sarah in the flavours of Cinnamon and MATE,now the team is focoused on working over other flavours too.As a result Xfce has been choosen to be the next flavour to be provided officially.

              So,If you were waiting for Linux Mint 18 to be available in Xfce DE(Desktop Environment) then Linux Mint team has started to roll the beta release of Sarah in Xfce DE. Linux Mint team announced the release of Linux Mint 18 Xfce Beta with some already known issues and workarounds too.This xfce edition features Xfce 4.12, MDM 2.0 and it is coming with Linux Kernel 4.4.

            • Linux Mint 18 Xfce beta is out

              While the release comes with the new X-Apps, the Mint-Y theme, new artwork, an Ubuntu 16.04 base, and version 4.4 of the Linux kernel, it still runs Xfce 4.12 and MDM 2.0, both of which were present in Mint 17.3. The reason Xfce and MDM are at the same versions is because they are the latest upstream versions. They’ll likely be updated with new point releases in the Mint 18 cycle.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Microsoft Isn’t Going Away Any Time Soon

    The only major negative for Microsoft in this report comes from the usual suspect: mobile. Microsoft phone revenue fell by 71 percent, for a dollar loss estimated by the Register to be $870 million. Even search advertising, which forever was a big loser for Redmond, saw in increase of over a half billion dollars.

  • Science
    • Something Is Causing Siberia’s Tundra to Literally Bubble Underground

      The frigid plains of northern Siberia are becoming a hotspot for mysterious geological phenomena. Over the past couple of years, sudden craters have been exploding from the permafrost-laden ground. Last month, we reported on a giant chasm in the Sakha Republic that looms so wide and deep, locals refer to it as a “gateway to the underworld.”

      Now, the frozen tundra on Siberia’s remote Belyy Island is home to the region’s newest aberration: eerie, rippling, underground bubbles.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • New Report: Problem Care Harms Almost One-Third of Rehab Hospital Patients

      Patients may go to rehabilitation hospitals to recover from a stroke, injury, or recent surgery. But sometimes the care makes things worse. In a government report published Thursday, 29 percent of patients in rehab facilities suffered a medication error, bedsore, infection or some other type of harm as a result of the care they received.

      Doctors who reviewed cases from a broad sampling of rehab facilities say that almost half of the 158 incidents they spotted among 417 patients were clearly or likely preventable.

      “This is the latest study over a long time period now that says we still have high rates of harm,” says Dr. David Classen, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Utah School of Medicine who developed the analytic tool used in the report to identify the harm to patients.

    • Free Trade Agreements Threaten Farmers’ Rights, Food Security, Group Says

      Small farmers around the world are threatened by new free trade agreements, a civil society group has argued. Those agreements go beyond the requirements of agreed international intellectual property rules and jeopardise the ability of small farmers to save, produce, and exchange seeds, the group said.

      GRAIN just published its latest opinion piece [pdf], part of its “Against the grain” series. This one focuses on the potential threat of free trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in Asia.

    • The Significance Of Uruguay’s Win Over Philip Morris International

      The tobacco industry’s global efforts to use bilateral and multilateral agreements to challenge the spread of tobacco control measures such as trademark-minimising plain packages were dealt a significant blow last week when the World Bank dispute settlement body dismissed a case brought by Philip Morris against the government of Uruguay.The decision is seen a landmark for those who view the company as using test cases to continually challenge and delay public health protection measures and discourage other countries, particularly those with fewer resources, from strengthening their health regulations. Additionally, the case reasserted that trademarks are subject to government regulations and also illustrated the role that international organisations and actors can play in support of national governments defending their health measures.

    • After Japan Embraces ‘Sensational’ Anti-Vaxxer Report, HPV Vaccination Rates Collapse

      Just three years after the Japanese government withdrew support for a vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), a new report finds the country’s girls are dramatically more vulnerable to contracting the cancerous disease. Japan’s decision was solely informed by one “sensationalized” report from a non-medical anti-vaccine activist group called Vaccine Victims, which is under investigation by the Japanese government.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Open Source Information Security Tool Aimed at MSSPs

      A Virginia software developer announced today the release of what’s billed as the first open source information security analytics tool for managed security services providers (MSSP) and enterprise.

      IKANOW says its new platform features multi-tenancy, enterprise scalability and is fully customizable.

    • Most companies still can’t spot incoming cyberattacks

      Four out of five businesses lack the required infrastructure or security professionals with relevant skills to spot and defend against incoming cyberattacks.

      According to a new report by US cybersecurity and privacy think tank Ponemon Institute on behalf of cybersecurity firm BrandProtect, 79 percent of cybersecurity professionals say that their organisations are struggling to monitor the internet for the external threats posed by hackers and cybercriminals.

    • HTTpoxy Flaw Re-emerges After 15 Years and Gets Fixed

      After lying dormant for years, flaws in the HTTP Proxy header used in programming languages and applications, such as PHP, Go and Python, have now been fixed.
      Some flaws take longer—a lot longer—than others to get fixed. The newly named HTTpoxy vulnerability was first discovered back in March 2001 and fixed in the open-source Perl programming language, but it has sat dormant in multiple other languages and applications until July 18.

      The HTTPoxy flaw is a misconfiguration vulnerability in the HTTP_PROXY variable that is commonly used by Common Gateway Interface (CGI) environment scripts. The HTTPoxy flaw could potentially enable a remotely exploitable vulnerability on servers, enabling an attacker to run code or redirect traffic. The flaw at its core is a name space conflict between two different uses for a server variable known as HTTP Proxy.

    • Hack The World

      Currently HackerOne has 550+ customers, has paid over $8.9 million in bounties, and fixed over 25,000 vulnerabilities, which makes for a safer Internet.

    • EU aims to increase the security of password manager and web server software: KeePass and Apache chosen for open source audits [“pyrrhic because of Keepass : flushing the audit money down the toilet on MS based cruft” -iophk]

      For the FOSSA pilot project to improve the security of open source software that my colleague Max and I proposed, the European Commission sought your input on which tools to audit.

      The results are now in: The two overwhelming public favorites were KeePass (23%) and the Apache HTTP Server (19%). The EU has decided to follow these recommendations and audit both of these software projects for potential security issues.

    • KeeThief – A Case Study in Attacking KeePass Part 2

      The other week I published the “A Case Study in Attacking KeePass” post detailing a few notes on how to operationally “attack” KeePass installations. This generated an unexpected amount of responses, most good, but a few negative and dismissive. Some comments centered around the mentality of “if an attacker has code execution on your system you’re screwed already so who cares“. Our counterpoint to this is that protecting your computer from malicious compromise is a very different problem when it’s joined to a domain versus isolated for home use. As professional pentesters/red teamers we’re highly interested in post-exploitation techniques applicable to enterprise environments, which is why we started looking into ways to “attack” KeePass installations in the first place. Our targets are not isolated home users.

    • Giuliani calls for cybersecurity push

      Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani made a surprise appearance at the BlackBerry Security Summit, warning of the rapid growth of cybercrime and cyberterrorism.

      Cybercrime and cyberterrorism are both growing at rates between 20% and 40%, said Giuliani, who made a brief return from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to speak at BlackBerry’s New York event.

      “Think of it like cancer. We can’t cure it… but if we catch it early we can put it into remission,” he said. The quicker you can spot an attack, the less chance there is of loss.

    • Notorious Hacker ‘Phineas Fisher’ Says He Hacked The Turkish Government

      A notorious hacker has claimed responsibility for hacking Turkey’s ruling party, the AKP, and stealing more than 300,000 internal emails and other files.

      The hacker, who’s known as Phineas Fisher and has gained international attention for his previous attacks on the surveillance tech companies FinFisher and Hacking Team, took credit for breaching the servers of Turkey’s ruling party, the Justice and Development Party or AKP.

      “I hacked AKP,” Phineas Fisher, who also goes by the nickname Hack Back, said in a message he spread through his Twitter account on Wednesday evening.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • The Coup in Turkey has Thrown a Wrench in Uncle Sam’s “Pivot” Plan

      A failed coup in Turkey has changed the geopolitical landscape overnight realigning Ankara with Moscow while shattering Washington’s plan to redraw the map of the Middle East. Whether Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan staged the coup or not is of little importance in the bigger scheme of things. The fact is, the incident has consolidated his power domestically while derailing Washington’s plan to control critical resources and pipeline corridors from Qatar to Europe. The Obama administrations disregard for the national security interests of its allies, has pushed the Turkish president into Moscow’s camp, removing the crucial landbridge between Europe and Asia that Washington needs to maintain its global hegemony into the new century. Washington’s plan to pivot to Asia, surround and break up Russia, control China’s growth and maintain its iron grip on global power is now in a shambles. The events of the last few days have changed everything.

    • US-Led Airstrikes Kill as Many Civilians as Nice Attack–but Get No Front-Page Headlines in Major US Papers

      A coalition airstrike reported on Tuesday that killed at least 85 civilians—one more than died in the Nice attack in France last week—wasn’t featured at all on the front pages of two of the top US national newspapers, the New York Times and LA Times, and only merited brief blurbs on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, with the actual stories buried on pages A-16 and A-15, respectively.

      According to the London Telegraph (7/19/16), the airstrike killed “more than 85 civilians” after the “coalition mistook them for Islamic State fighters.” Eight families were represented among the dead, with victims “as young as three.” The Intercept (7/19/16) reported the death toll could end up being well over 100.

    • NYT’s ‘Journalistic Detachment’ Before Iraq War Is Detached From Reality

      One has to ask where the New York Times’ “journalistic detachment” was in 2002 and 2003. Rutenberg himself (2/18/03) in the lead up to the invasion reported on the use of “embedded journalists” for the first time since World War II. How “detached” from a war effort can journalists be if they are literally attached to an invading army?

      It’s a subtle piece of revisionism, but an important one: For those in center-left media, the impulse to rewrite their own role in selling the Iraq War is all too tempting–to turn Fox News into a cartoon propaganda outlet, and their own editorial drum-beating, war protester-mocking, aluminum tube-peddling and Dick Cheney water-carrying as “detached” journalism, simply calling balls and strikes. Certainly Ailes’ Fox News was more naked in its war promotion, but the New York Times, with its nominal liberal reputation and air of objectivity, was almost certainly more effective.

    • The ’28 Pages’ Explained

      It took fourteen years for the public to see this document…

    • Stomping the Embers of Turkey’s Democracy

      Whatever motivated Turkey’s failed coup, President Erdogan is exploiting the outcome to round up his political enemies and consolidate his dictatorial style rule, a challenge to the U.S. and E.U., as Alon Ben-Meir describes.

    • Failed Turkish Coup’s Big-Power Impact

      Turkey’s failed “coup” has shaken up the region’s geopolitics, splintering the powerful Turkish military, forcing President Erdogan to focus on internal “enemies,” and undermining the Syrian rebels next door, says ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

    • Orlando Shooter’s Statements Vindicate Ron Paul

      Despite all the articles and analysis in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting, one important fact seems to have been completely overlooked: the shooter validated Ron Paul’s warning that American military intervention in the Mideast causes terrorist attacks.

    • US-Backed Syrian ‘Moderates’ Behead 12-Year-Old

      The grisly beheading of a 12-year-old boy by U.S.-backed Syrian rebels spotlights Washington’s creepy excuses for arming “moderate” jihadists who are barely distinguishable from Al Qaeda and ISIS, reports Daniel Lazare.

    • Cashing in on a Failed Coup

      Mr. Erdogan, who has long attempted to create pliable state institutions, said that the coup was a “gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army”. The government arrested more than 6,000 people from the military and other state institutions. Saying that the Gülen movement had become a “cancer virus” on society, Mr. Erdogan pledged to purge its membership from positions of authority. The ultimate arbiter of who is or is not in the Gülen movement will be left to Mr. Erdogan’s own loyalists, who are likely to remove those who have long resisted the President’s own bid to monopolise power. Mr. Erdogan deliberately linked the Gülen movement to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which the Turkish army has attacked in its bases in south-eastern Turkey and in Iraq. To call both the Gülen movement and the PKK ‘terrorists’ is a convenient way to sweep up all Erdogan enemies into one target and use the coup — a “gift from God” — as the opportunity to go after them with vehemence.

    • The Surprising Popularity of Military Coups

      The attempted military coup in Turkey and the possibility of a President Trump may have more Americans considering the military option.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Hottest ever June marks 14th month of record-breaking temperatures

      As the string of record-breaking global temperatures continues unabated, June 2016 marks the 14th consecutive month of record-breaking heat.

      According to two US agencies – Nasa and Noaa – June 2016 was 0.9C hotter than the average for the 20th century, and the hottest June in the record which goes back to 1880. It broke the previous record, set in 2015, by 0.02C.

      The 14-month streak of record-breaking temperatures was the longest in the 137-year record. And it has been 40 years since the world saw a June that was below the 20th century average.

    • Republicans in Cleveland Deny Climate Change as Arctic Snow Turns Pink

      Donald Trump’s reported top pick for energy secretary, oil and fracking billionaire Harold Hamm, declared on the Republican National Convention stage on Wednesday night, “Every time we can’t drill a well in America, terrorism is being funded.”

      One day earlier, NASA had announced that this June was the hottest June on record, and that the same could be said for every month in 2016 — part of a long-term climate trend that has exacerbated geopolitical conflicts.

      The convention adopted a platform that rejected the Paris climate agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Meanwhile, researchers published a study indicating that climate change worsened a 2003 heat wave enough to kill 570 more people in Paris and London than would have died in an unchanged world.

      Rep. Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee, who will take the convention stage Thursday, told a Cleveland panel on Monday that “the earth is no longer warming and has not. For about the past 13 years, it has begun to cool.”

    • A Climate Change Op-Ed the Wall Street Journal Simply Doesn’t Need

      I bet not many high schoolers read the Wall Street Journal. And, as a recent graduate, I can tell you confidently it’s because we’re too busy with other things. And I don’t mean busy playing Pokémon Go. I guess I’d consider myself an outlier as an unusually high consumer of news and opinion, particularly from the Wall Street Journal. Either way, as a young person that will feel the worst effects of climate change as I get older, it’s extremely important to me that the issue receives the attention it deserves from mainstream media.

      The Wall Street Journal hasn’t exactly been at the forefront when it comes to leading fair and unbiased commentary on climate change, especially on its editorial page. That’s why I was truly shocked by the full page ad series about man-made climate change currently running. I saw the first ad that ran back on June 14 and those that have run every few days since. The shock came partly just because the ad existed, but the fact that it was actually slamming the Wall Street Journal for its overt climate denial was almost unbelievable. I dug deeper and learned through a piece by the Washington Post that only for a fee higher than it normally charges for ad space was the Journal willing to place the ads… not exactly equitable. Does the WSJ charge Big Oil more to run their ads?

    • Trump’s Killer Kids
    • Taxpayer Groups, Environmentalists, Students Call on Congress to End $4 Billion Annual Oil Industry Subsidies

      In an open letter sent to Congress today, a coalition of 40 national taxpayer, labor, environmental and other groups called on the federal government to repeal almost $4 billion in annual tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, calling them wasteful and lambasting Congress for subsidizing activities that will make climate change worse.

      The groups called on Senators to support the FAIR Energy Policy Act, which would slowly phase out nine special tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry.

      “Oil companies receive billions in tax breaks, despite being among the world’s largest and most profitable corporations,” the groups wrote. “For too long, America has subsidized the oil industry’s bottom line at middle class Americans’ expense.”

      Another law passed earlier this year revokes the wind industry’s production tax credit, and the FAIR Energy Policy Act would wind down some of the oil industry’s subsidies on the same schedule.

  • Finance
    • Why Public Needs Go Begging

      For decades, Americans have been sold on rugged individualism and told to disdain collectivism and community, a philosophy that has starved many public institutions and fattened up the few at the top, as Lawrence Davidson explains.

    • Barroso: from Europeanist to Global Banker

      Mr. Barroso’s appointment as Goldman Sachs non-executive chairman is shameful. As a former President of the European Commission, he should be held to higher ethical standards.

    • Sovereignty and responsibility after Brexit
    • US eyes quick post-Brexit trade deal with UK to get stalled TTIP moving

      The US is hoping that a quick trade and investment deal with the UK after it leaves the EU could kickstart the stalled negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which has met increasing resistance on the continent.

      As well as serving the US’s purposes, such an agreement would be welcomed by the UK government as proof that it can recreate the necessary web of trade links post-Brexit.

      The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has just spent two days in the UK talking with the prime minister’s officials and with the new foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, exploring what form such a UK-US trade deal might take.

      As The Guardian explains: “The UK cannot formally sign any trade deals with other countries or trading blocs until it has left the EU, but it appears to be accepted that negotiations on the outline shape of such deals can start before that happens.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Tomgram: Adam Hochschild, Letting Tarzan Swing Through History

      Still, I wouldn’t have missed the film for the world. After all, it’s the first action movie that — as you’ll see from TomDispatch regular Adam Hochschild’s piece today — has ever based itself in any way on a book I edited, in this case his classic King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa. As a result, I left the theater filled with wild fantasies. (Even editors can dream, can’t they?) I began to imagine Who Rules the World?, Noam Chomsky’s latest book, absorbed into a future X-Men: Apocalypse America. Or the late Chalmers Johnson’s Dismantling the Empire as the basis for the next Jason Bourne romp. Or Ann Jones’s They Were Soldiers at the grim heart of American Sniper: The Next Generation. Or, in Tarzan-style, Andrew Bacevich’s writing on America’s twenty-first-century Middle Eastern wars as part of a reboot of Lawrence of Arabia — perhaps King David of Iraq: The Surge to Nowhere.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Top VP Pick Lets Big Banks Know He’s in Their Corner

      Sounding another alarm for progressives wary of the Democratic establishment’s support for Wall Street, the man said to be leading the pack of potential Hillary Clinton running mates—Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine—has just this week sent a clear message to big banks: He’s in their corner.

      Kaine, who is reportedly Bill Clinton’s favorite for the vice presidential slot, signed onto two letters on Monday pushing for financial deregulation—letters that show the Clinton camp “how Kaine could be an asset with banking interests on the fundraising trail,” according to David Dayen at The Intercept on Wednesday.

      The first missive, signed by 16 Democrats and every Republican senator, calls on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to exempt community banks and credit unions from certain regulations.

    • Tim Kaine, Possible Hillary Clinton Pick for Vice President, Goes to Bat for Banks

      Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, considered a leading contender for the Democratic vice presidential nomination, has spent this week signaling to the financial industry that he’ll go to bat for them.

      On Monday, Kaine signed onto two letters, one to federal banking regulators and the other to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, urging them to loosen regulations on certain financial players. The timing of the letters, sent while Kaine is being vetted for the top of the ticket, could show potential financial industry donors that he is willing to serve as an ally on their regulatory issues.

      In the letters, Kaine is offering to support community banks, credit unions, and even large regional banks. While separate from the Wall Street mega-banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, these financial institutions often partner with the larger industry to fight regulations and can be hostile to government efforts to safeguard the public, especially if it crimps their profits.

      They also represent a key source of donor funds, one that has trended away from Democrats. The Independent Community Bankers of America have given 74 percent of their $873,949 in donations this cycle to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Regional banks like PNC Financial Services, SunTrust Bank, and First Republic Bank, have given even higher percentages to the Republicans.

    • Saudi Arabia’s PR Machine Uses the 28 Pages to Blame Iran for 9/11 Attacks

      Last Friday the U.S. government finally released 28 pages of a 2002 congressional report that detail possible ties between the Saudi Arabian government and the 9/11 hijackers.

      The document lists various forms of assistance provided by Saudi agents to the hijackers, including help finding a flight school and various forms of financial support when the hijackers arrived in the United States. Many of the findings in the report have not been fully vetted as several of the Saudi agents named in the 28 pages have refused to cooperate.

      But that has not stopped Saudi-funded lobbyists and media outlets from claiming that the disclosure of the 28 pages ends all speculation about the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 terror attacks. Several outlets controlled by Saudi Arabia’s vast public relations machine are trumpeting the document as a vindication that closes the door on any suggestion that the Saudi government had any ties to the 9/11 terrorists.

      “The question of Saudi involvement in 9/11 should be entirely put to rest,” said Fran Townsend, a former Bush administration official, in a 28 pages-related video posted on social media this week. The video was produced by Focus Washington, an interview series managed by Qorvis MSL, a lobbying firm retained by the Saudi government to influence American policymakers. The Saudi Embassy Twitter account distributed the video.

    • This Is What a Broken Party Looks Like

      Cruz doesn’t disagree with Trump. He thinks Trump is a pretender to the cause, or he remains angry at how Trump personally insulted him, his wife and his father – or both.

      The person who really disagrees with Trump is his vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence, who said in December that “calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.” In 2006 he concluded “it is not logistically possible to round up 12 million illegal aliens.” He supports NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). And he disavowed negative campaigning 25 years ago.

    • VP Choice Pence Reaffirms Israel Devotion

      Donald Trump may alarm Washington’s foreign policy establishment with his “America First” rhetoric but Mike Pence, Trump’s VP choice, reaffirms a commitment to the traditional “Israel First” doctrine, as Sam Husseini shows.

      [...]

      I’ve heard him say that before. Being a journalist based in the Washington, D.C. area, I try to ask tough questions of political figures when I can. Perhaps my favorite question is some variation of “do you acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons?” I’ve asked this of many political figures and virtually no one has given me a straightforward response.

    • In the US, Money Talks When It Comes to Israel

      The grubby underside of US electoral politics is on show once again as the Democratic and Republican candidates prepare to fight it out for the presidency. And it doesn’t get seamier than the battle to prove how loyal each candidate is to Israel.

      New depths are likely to be plumbed this week at the Republican convention in Cleveland, as Donald Trump is crowned the party’s nominee. His platform breaks with decades of United States policy to effectively deny the Palestinians any hope of statehood.

    • This Anti-Feminist Leader Is Very Pleased With The GOP Platform

      As delegates at the Republican National Convention approved a platform banning women from combat, restricting a woman’s right to an abortion in cases of rape or incest, and without any mention of equal pay or paid family leave, Phyllis Schlafly looked on with a huge smile.

      The notorious 91-year-old anti-feminist and RNC delegate sat in her wheelchair in the back of Missouri’s delegation, craning to get a look at Donald Trump as he entered the arena for the first time on Wednesday night. During the 1970s, Schlafly led the opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have amended the Constitution to ban discrimination based on gender. Schlafly, who has participated in every convention since 1952, told ThinkProgress that Trump is the candidate to best represent the needs of women from the White House. In fact, she said, there’s no need for a woman in the Oval Office at all.

    • Folha’s Journalistic Fraud Far Worse Than We Reported Yesterday: A Smoking Gun Emerges

      On Wednesday, The Intercept published an article documenting the extraordinary journalistic fraud committed by Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, in radically distorting the views of Brazilians on the key questions of the country’s political crisis. Specifically, Folha blasted headlines to the country announcing that 50 percent of Brazilians now want the extremely unpopular interim president, Michel Temer, to complete Dilma’s term and remain as president through 2018, while only 3 percent favor new elections and only 4 percent want both Dilma and Temer to resign. That was squarely at odds with prior polling showing vast majorities opposed to Temer and favoring new elections. As we documented, the actual polling data — which Folha’s polling firm, Datafolha, only published days after the article — did not remotely support Folha’s claims.

      But after our article was published, much more evidence was found — through amazing collaborative work by internet sleuths — showing how extreme Folha’s behavior was, including the discovery of a smoking gun proving that it was much worse than we knew when we published yesterday. Do not let the fact that this story involves polling data and methodologies obscure how significant this episode is:

      Weeks before the conclusion of the country’s most virulent political conflict in at least a generation — the final Senate vote on Dilma’s impeachment — Folha, Brazil’s largest and most influential newspaper, not only distorted, but actively concealed, crucial polling data that completely negated what they “reported”: data that establishes that a large majority of Brazilians want “interim President” Michel Temer to resign, not remain in office as the paper claimed. Put simply, this is one of the most remarkable, flagrant, and serious cases of journalistic malfeasance one can imagine.

      [...]

      Most amazingly of all, this was all done in service of denying the need for democracy: deceiving the country into believing that most Brazilians support the person who seized power undemocratically and that there is no need for elections, when in fact the majority of the country wants this “interim President” to quit and new elections to be held to choose the legitimate leader.

      As we noted yesterday, it’s impossible to say whether Folha acted with deliberate intent to deceive or with extreme journalistic ineptitude and recklessness, although evidence suggesting the former is certainly more abundant now than it was yesterday. But motives aside, what is now beyond debate is that Folha misled the country in fundamental ways about this generation’s most consequential political conflict, and hid from the public vital evidence that they only admitted existed once they got caught red-handed doing all this.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Not censorship but responsible journalism is the need of the hour

      Even as newspaper printing resumed in the Kashmir valley on Wednesday after four days, a group of journalists who gathered here for a panel discussion condemned the alleged ban as a gag on the freedom of speech and expression.

      They also said that coverage by a certain section of the media was alienating the local population even further.

      During the panel discussion, Rahul Jalali, president of Press Club of India said, “It was one of the most bizarre incidents of censorship that took place in the country. As of now no assurance has been given to the journalists that they are free to function and would not be touched hereafter.”

    • Editors’ body condemns ‘undeclared censorship’ on newspapers in Kashmir
    • Does Delhi media care enough for Kashmiri media?

      Early this year, in February, the who’s who of Delhi journalism had assembled at the Press Club of India, at Raisina Road, to defend their right to report. The reason was the attack on journalists who were covering the Jawaharlal Nehru University sedition case at the Patiala House Court.

      Almost five months later, a motley group of journalists gathered at the same venue for same reasons – except this time, the attack was not on Delhi media but a ban on Kashmiri media. Barely 10 journalists sat on a dharna at about 1pm at the press club with the placard: “Journalists with Kashmir”.

    • As Constitutional Referendum Nears, Thailand Intensifies Censorship

      Thailand’s military-backed government has authorized the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to shut down TV and radio stations which are found guilty of broadcasting programs that threaten national security. Furthermore, the junta gave NBTC officials immunity from legal accountability.

      Human rights groups believe this ruling aims to prevent activists and other political forces from campaigning against the approval of a draft constitution in a national referendum scheduled for August 7.

    • Stop censorship of student journalists

      Censorship must be resisted on all fronts, at all times, wherever conflict occurs. Nowhere is that message more important than in our schools, and that’s why we applaud a newly re-introduced bill aimed at preventing administrative censorship of student newspapers.

      The bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assembly members Gail Phoebus, R-Sussex, and Troy Singleton, D-Burlington, would be similar to a Maryland initiative that has already been signed into law. It is rooted in concerns that oversensitive school officials have been preventing student publications from using certain stories of which they disapprove. That’s insufficient cause to ignore First Amendment principles, and the bill would forbid any requirement that all content be subject to administrative review before publication.

    • SABC censorship runs deeper than protest ban, says fired journalist

      THE SABC’s protest footage ban is just one of a slew of policies and “draconian anti-journalistic practices” at the public broadcaster, one of the fired journalists said on Thursday.

      “You can withdraw the protest policy but you still have an environment that is not conducive to the practice of ethical journalism in the SABC,” Thandeka Gqubule said.

    • Serbia populists exhibit criticism to fight censorship claim

      Serbia’s ruling populists have created an exhibition highlighting media critical of their leader and his government in a bid to counter mounting allegations of censorship in the Balkan country, which is seeking EU membership

    • Onlinecensorship.org Launches in Spanish

      We are excited to announce that Onlinecensorship.org, a joint project of EFF and Visualizing Impact, is now available in Spanish. Onlinecensorship.org seeks to expose how social media sites moderate user-generated content. By launching the platform in the second-most widely spoken language in the world, we hope to reach several million more individuals who’ve experienced censorship on social media. Now, more users than ever can report on content takedowns from Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube and use Onlinecensorship.org as a resource to appeal unfair takedowns.

    • Censorship in Venezuela: Over 370 Internet Addresses Blocked

      In Venezuela, at least 372 web portals have been blocked by main Internet service providers (ISP). Also, 43 Internet domains have been blocked by these same providers, both public and private.

      Of those, 44 percent are web pages related to black market dollars. An additional 19 percent of the pages are news media and an additional 12 percent feature blogs critical of Nicolás Maduro’s administration.

    • The South African Broadcasting Corporation in court over censorship saga
    • The SABC makes U-turn on its ‘censorship’ ruling
    • Court order prohibits SABC from implementing ‘the censorship decision’
    • SABC interdicted from protest censorship
    • Milo Yiannopoulos, rightwing writer, permanently banned from Twitter
    • Twitter Bans Milo Yiannopoulos for Leading Abuse Campaign Against Actress
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Edward Snowden’s New Research Aims to Keep Smartphones from Betraying Their Owners

      In early 2012, Marie Colvin, an acclaimed international journalist from New York, entered the besieged city of Homs, Syria while reporting for London’s Sunday Times. She wrote of a difficult journey involving “a smugglers’ route, which I promised not to reveal, climbing over walls in the dark and slipping into muddy trenches.” Despite the covert approach, Syrian forces still managed to get to Colvin; under orders to “kill any journalist that set foot on Syrian soil,” they bombed the makeshift media center she was working in, killing her and one other journalist, and injuring two others.

      Syrian forces may have found Colvin by tracing her phone, according to a lawsuit filed by Colvin’s family this month. Syrian military intelligence used “signal interception devices to monitor satellite dish and cell phone communications and trace journalists’ locations,” the suit says.

      In dangerous environments like war-torn Syria, smartphones become indispensable tools for journalists, human rights workers, and activists. But at the same time they become especially potent tracking devices that can put users in mortal danger by leaking their location.

      National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden has been working with prominent hardware hacker Andrew “Bunnie” Huang to solve this problem. The pair are developing a way for potentially imperiled smartphone users to monitor whether their devices are making any potentially compromising radio transmissions. They argue that a smartphone’s user interface can’t be relied to tell you the truth about that state of its radios.

    • The Secret Documents That Detail How Patients’ Privacy is Breached

      When the federal government takes the rare step of fining medical providers for violating the privacy and security of patients’ medical information, it issues a press release and posts details on the web.

      But thousands of times a year, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services resolves complaints about possible violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act quietly, outside public view. It sends letters reminding providers of their legal obligations, advising them on how to fix purported problems, and, sometimes, prodding them to make voluntary changes.

    • Internet of Things in healthcare: What’s next for IoT technology in the health sector

      Internet of Things technology holds the potential to revolutionise the healthcare industry, but not before overcoming barriers of security and data ownership.

      Internet of Things (IoT) refers to any physical object embedded with technology capable of exchanging data and is pegged to create a more efficient healthcare system in terms of time, energy and cost. One area where the technology could prove transformative is in healthcare – with analysts at MarketResearch.com claiming the sector will be worth $117 million by 2020.

    • The Snooper’s Charter still has an encryption problem: Parliament continues to grapple with end-to-end encryption in the Investigatory Powers Bill

      With everything else that has been happening in the UK and abroad over the past month you could be excused for missing a House of Lords debate over the Investigatory Powers Bill last week.

      With the majority of the country distracted by Brexit and the upheaval among the two major political parties – including the former Home Secretary and architect of the controversial Bill Theresa May becoming the UK Primer Minister – this vital legislation has not been quite so high on the news agenda.

      However, discussions around encryption at the 13 July Investigatory Powers Bill committee stage debate could have a huge impact on personal and enterprise data security – in particular the ability to ban end-to-end encryption. You can read the entire debate here.

    • Snooper’s Charter: What you need to know about the Investigatory Powers Bill

      Since December last year, the government’s Investigatory Powers Bill has sparked debate over the balance between privacy concerns and national security in the post-Snowden era, with controversy around encryption, bulk data and hacking being aimed at the former home secretary Theresa May.

    • This Guy Trains Computers to Find Future Criminals

      When historians look back at the turmoil over prejudice and policing in the U.S. over the past few years, they’re unlikely to dwell on the case of Eric Loomis. Police in La Crosse, Wis., arrested Loomis in February 2013 for driving a car that was used in a drive-by shooting. He had been arrested a dozen times before. Loomis took a plea, and was sentenced to six years in prison plus five years of probation.

      The episode was unremarkable compared with the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police, which were captured on camera and distributed widely online. But Loomis’s story marks an important point in a quieter debate over the role of fairness and technology in policing. Before his sentence, the judge in the case received an automatically generated risk score that determined Loomis was likely to commit violent crimes in the future.

    • Revealed: Rail companies’ plans to track your movements and make you pay more to stand on packed trains

      Rail passengers could be forced to pay more to stand on packed trains as the country’s biggest train ticket website plans to monitor their movements to “ease congestion”.

      Clare Gilmartin, chief executive of the Trainline, told The Telegraph that the website was planning to use GPS technology installed within its app constantly to let rail firms update ticket prices, under a scheme which could be rolled out in less than two years.

    • European court rights adviser recommends ‘strict’ guidelines on UK spying laws

      UK GOVERNMENT plans to retain communications data do not sit well with the European Court of Justice, which has warned that such plans should not be rushed through.

      Advocate general Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe and his peers have issued their opinion on British and Swedish plans to make communications providers sit on customer data for an extended period of time.

    • EU Court Of Justice Advisor Suggests UK’s Last Surveillance Bill May Be Legal, But Hints That The New One Might Not Be

      Over at the EU Court of Justice, the Advocate General has weighed in on the legal challenge to DRIPA, the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (DRIPA) that was rushed through the UK Parliament almost exactly two years ago. The law was challenged by a group made up of cross-party Parliament Members, and the Advocate General has sort of punted on the issue. If you don’t recall, the Advocate General’s role in the EU Court of Justice is basically to make a recommendation for the actual rulings. The court doesn’t have to (and doesn’t always) follow the Advocate General’s suggestion, but does so often enough that the opinions certainly carry a lot of weight and suggest what’s likely to happen. In this case, the opinion stated that, even though the court had previously rejected the EU-wide Data Retention Directive as intruding on privacy — the UK’s data retention law might be okay.

      The opinion basically says some data retention laws may be okay if the powers are “circumscribed by strict safeguards” set up by the national courts.

    • Marines, NSA To Bring Smartphones To Rifle Squad

      The Marine Corps and National Security Agency have joined forces to bring cellphones to the battlefield by 2019. Working with the NSA’s new Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) program should let the Marines acquire cutting-edge civilian technology swiftly without sacrificing security, said Maj. Kevin Shepherd of Marine Corps Systems Command.

    • From revolutionary art to dystopian comics: Ganzeer on Snowden, censorship and global warming

      It is 949 years since a global flood of biblical proportions. The world is reliant upon a vast grid of solar panels to power its factories around the clock. Night-time has been consigned to legend. In the aftermath of environmental catastrophe, the world’s clean water is now confined to a network of towers built by the world’s richest man.

      While the dystopian scenario of Ganzeer’s debut graphic novel, The Solar Grid, is science fiction, the story is rooted in history, political and personal. The Egyptian artist, best known for murals that championed the spirit of the 2011 Cairo revolution, took inspiration from his first sighting of the Nile’s Aswan dam. As child, he felt awe. Today, Ganzeer sees the environmental impact of the dam on Egypt as emblematic of humanity’s adverse impact across the whole planet.

    • Former NSA Official Sentenced to 12 Years in Death of Adopted Special-Needs Son

      A former division chief for the National Security Agency was sentenced to prison on Tuesday for causing the 2014 death of his 3-year-old adopted special needs son by throwing him against a wall, PEOPLE confirms.

    • For The Third Time, Whatsapp Blocked (And Then Unblocked) By Brazilian Judges For Failing To Decrypt

      What’s up with Brazilian judges not understanding Whatsapp? In the last few months, judges keep freaking out that Whatsapp messages are end to end encrypted, and that the company is unable to decrypt them at all. On Tuesday morning, the news broke that Judge Daniela Barbosa had ordered Whatsapp blocked yet again, along with a $50,000 per day fine until it decrypts information that it cannot decrypt. While various ISPs set about blocking the extremely popular app, as with the previous times, it took only a few hours for a higher court to suspend Barbosa’s ruling, and to make the app available again.

      Of course, this is the third time that Brazilian courts have done this particular dance. It happened in December and again in May. And who can forget the time in March where a Brazilian judge ordered a Facebook exec arrested over the same issue (Facebook owns Whatsapp).

    • Microsoft kills P2P Skype, native OS X, Linux clients [Ed: Microsoft is making it easier to do mass surveillance; will record all your calls, not just keystrokes.]

      In the same month as Microsoft announced its alpha WebRTC-based Skype for Linux, Redmond has put it and the native OS X Skype client on the end-of-life list due to a rebuild for Skype that will replace its peer-to-peer architecture with cloud-centric code.

    • Forget Trump: Peter Thiel Is So Dangerous and Fascinating You Have to Watch Him Tonight

      Thiel has also postured as a libertarian, and even as his ideology shifts toward something more nihilistic — The Economist now calls him a “corporate Nietzschean” — he continues to rail against government programs like Medicare and Social Security. Meanwhile, he is chairman and co-founder of Palantir Technologies, a mass-surveillance-software company that makes a good deal of its money selling to the government; Palantir’s clients reportedly include the Department of Defense (including the NSA and various military branches), the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the CIA. Thiel is, inexplicably, pro-monopoly. And don’t forget that Peter Thiel believes death is nothing but a bug in the feature set of mankind, and one he can buy his way out of.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Florida police shoot black man lying down with arms in air

      An autistic man’s therapist was shot and wounded by police in Florida while lying on the street with his hands in the air.

      Charles Kinsey, who works with people with disabilities, was trying to get his 27-year-old patient back to a facility from where he wandered, North Miami assistant police chief Neal Cuevas told the Miami Herald.

      Cuevas said police – who were responding to reports of a man threatening to shoot himself – ordered Kinsey and the patient, who was sitting in the street playing with a toy truck, to lie on the ground.

      Kinsey, who is black, lay down and put his hands up while trying to get his patient to comply. An officer fired three times, striking Kinsey in the leg, Cuevas said. No weapon was found on either Kinsey or his patient.

    • American Academy Of Pediatrics Claims Broad Consensus On Violent Media Effect That Doesn’t Remotely Exist

      Search through all of our stories about the supposed link between violent movies and games and real world violence by those that enjoy them, and you should come away with the impression that, at the very least, the science isn’t settled on the issue. The more specific impression you should get is that violent media might — might — have a short-term impact on behavior, but that there isn’t anything like a general agreement on the long term effects, which is obviously the vastly more important question.

    • Kudos To Senator Leahy: Fighting To Keep Privacy & Civil Liberties Board From Being Hobbled

      While I think that Senator Patrick Leahy has been ridiculously and dangerously wrong on copyright issues for years, he’s actually quite good on a number of other issues that are of interest to us here at Techdirt. In particular, he’s been a strong supporter of civil liberties on the internet and protecting the 4th Amendment (it’s unfortunate that he doesn’t see how his desired copyright policies might undermine some of that, but that’s another post for another day). Thankfully, his latest move is to push back against a plan by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees to strip the federal government’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Board (PCLOB).

      Back in May, we wrote about this effort, whereby Congress appeared to be deliberately stripping powers from the PCLOB in order to limit the board’s ability to actually make sure that the intelligence community wasn’t abusing its powers. Senator Leahy has now sent a fairly direct letter to Senate Intelligence chair Senator Richard Burr and vice chair Senator Dianne Feinstein calling out how terrible this plan is.

    • Turkey coup attempt: Crackdown toll passes 50,000

      More than 50,000 people have been rounded up, sacked or suspended from their jobs by Turkey’s government in the wake of last week’s failed coup.

      The purge of those deemed disloyal to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan widened on Tuesday to include teachers, university deans and the media.

      The government says they are allied to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who denies claims he directed the uprising.

    • Turkey Coup: Erdogan declares three-month state of emergency

      Turkey’s president has declared a state of emergency for three months following a failed coup to oust his government.

      President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the measure was being taken to counter threats to Turkish democracy. He said the move was not intended to curb basic freedoms.

      Speaking after a meeting of the National Security Council in Ankara lasting nearly five hours, he said the state of emergency was needed “to remove this threat as soon as possible”.

    • In Secret Email, CIA’s Chief Lawyer Mocked ‘Pesky Little International Obligations’

      Bush administration lawyers made the law into a joke, and no one has been held accountable.

      In response to an ACLU Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the government has released several documents that shed new light on Bush administration lawyers’ attempts to evade the absolute prohibition on torture and abuse of prisoners. The documents concern the widely-discredited legal process that purported to authorize the CIA to commit war crimes and include shocking new details.

      One revelation is an email by John Rizzo, the CIA’s acting general counsel, which displays the ways in which government lawyers actively undermined the laws they were sworn to uphold. Rizzo, a key architect of the torture program, has claimed, “[M]y major concern as the chief lawyer was: Were these techniques legal?”

    • Cleveland Police to RNC Protesters: Don’t Hide Your Faces (Facial Recognition)

      Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams issued a warning to an undisclosed number of masked protesters outside the Republican National Convention: “If you are a member of a group that causes you to have to hide your face, then you probably need a different cause.”

    • Welcoming Constitutional Expert David Cole as Our New National Legal Director

      Cole will oversee the ACLU’s Supreme Court practice and the work of the organization’s nearly 300 lawyers

      We’re excited to tap David Cole, a leading constitutional law expert and litigator, to become our National Legal Director, leading our Supreme Court practice and overseeing the work of the organization’s nearly 300 lawyers. The ACLU has participated in nearly every landmark case involving political expression, freedom of the press, speech on the internet, and separation of church and state in the U.S. Supreme Court during the last 96 years. Cole will replace Steven R. Shapiro, who has served as National Legal Director for a quarter century.

      In his role as National Legal Director, Cole will direct a program that includes approximately 1,400 state and federal lawsuits on a broad range of civil liberties issues. He will directly manage 100 ACLU staff attorneys in New York headquarters, oversee the organization’s U.S. Supreme Court docket, and provide leadership to more than 200 staff attorneys who work in ACLU affiliate offices in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. Another 1,700 volunteer cooperating attorneys throughout the country are engaged in ACLU litigation. With an annual headquarters budget of $140 million, and 1.3 million supporters, the ACLU is the nation’s largest and oldest civil liberties organization.

    • Cornel West: Justice and Accountability are Necessary to End Tension over Killings by Police

      We discuss the killing of three police officers in Baton Rouge and the recent nationwide protests against police brutality with Cornel West. Cornel West is a professor at Union Theological Seminary. “When I hear the authorities call for peace,” West says, “I say, yes, but it’s not the absence of tension. It’s got to be the presence of that justice and accountability.”

    • Terror, Tennis Balls and Tamir Rice

      Welcome to Cleveland, where the Republican National Convention (RNC) is underway. The RNC is a highly scripted, elaborately staged and lavishly publicly funded private party. Here, credentialed Republican delegates, most of them party activists from around the country, circulate within a militarized perimeter of what authorities have designated a “national special security event.” As such, the U.S. Secret Service is handed complete control of an area, in the case downtown Cleveland. The area is ringed with a temporary but imposing black steel fence, patrolled by the full spectrum of law enforcement, from local police to federal SWAT teams. Yet because Ohio has extremely lenient gun laws, people can “open carry” here. And they do. Scores of Trump supporters have proudly shown up with their guns at their sides, including semi-automatic AR-15s, walking the downtown streets.

      It is not a total free-for-all, however. Many things are banned: tennis balls, sleeping bags, selfie sticks and canned goods. To highlight the absurdity of the situation, the women’s peace organization Code Pink staged a demonstration at the security checkpoint to enter the RNC. In their bags, the dozen or so pink-clad women carried 500 pink and green tennis balls with the phrase “Ban Guns, Not Balls” written on them. They began tossing them to each other.

      A line of Cleveland police officers quickly formed and tried to encircle the protest. They started to confiscate the tennis balls. There was confusion, as one officer asked a superior, “What do we do with the balls?” “Put them in your pocket,” came the exasperated reply. The police aggressively expanded their line, pushing observers, and us journalists, farther away. We managed to dodge them and got in close to ask Code Pink member Chelsea Byers what was going on: “We’re here saying that it’s ridiculous that the RNC has banned tennis balls, and yet they continue to let open carry happen in these streets. If they’re concerned about safety, they should be taking the guns off of these streets, not banning toys.” To reinforce the Cleveland police, a large contingent of Indiana State Police showed up, then riot police were deployed. Finally, a phalanx of police on horseback arrived. All this for about 15 women and one man from Code Pink and their 500 tennis balls.

      The second evening of the RNC was about to begin. Thousands were packing into the Quicken Loans Arena. For the first time ever, an official from the National Rifle Association was invited to address the convention.

      Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin told us at the protest, “We think that the NRA has, unfortunately, been setting the agenda for this entire nation, especially the Republican Party. It’s unfortunate that the NRA has so much power in this country. That’s why we see guns on our streets and people being shot every single day, every single hour of every single day.” Eventually, with all the tennis balls safely confiscated, the police marched away.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Tennessee Study Shows State Remains A Broadband Backwater Thanks To AT&T Lobbyists, Clueless Politicians, And Protectionist State Law

      We’ve talked at great lengths about how AT&T’s gruesomely cozy relationship with many state legislatures has severely damaged broadband expansion and adoption across huge swaths of the country. That’s particularly true in Tennessee, one of nineteen states where AT&T lobbyists have literally written protectionist state laws defending AT&T’s monopoly from broadband competition. AT&T’s goal has been to stop the rise of public/private partnerships, which have only emerged as a direct response to AT&T’s apathy.

      AT&T lobbyists have been happily getting such laws passed for fifteen years with little attention by the media. That began to change with the rise of efforts like Google Fiber, which more clearly illustrated how public/private partnerships have become essential in bringing broadband competition to countless areas incumbent ISPs deem “not profitable enough” to care about. Last year, the FCC finally woke up from its own long slumber on the subject, stating it would be preempting measures in two such state laws (in North Carolina and Tennessee) that hindered municipal broadband efforts from expanding.

      Tennessee’s response? To sue the FCC — claiming that state rights were being violated (letting AT&T write bad state law? Perfectly ok, though).

    • Internet 3.0: How we take back control from the giants

      AT THE heart of the internet are monsters with voracious appetites. In bunkers and warehouses around the world, vast arrays of computers run the show, serving up the web – and gorging on our data.

      These server farms are the engine rooms of the internet. Operated by some of the world’s most powerful companies, they process photos of our children, emails to our bosses and lovers, and our late-night searches. Such digital shards reveal far more of ourselves than we might like, and they are worth a lot of money. They are not only used to target advertising and sell stuff back to us, but also form the building blocks for a new generation of artificial intelligence that will determine the future of the web.

      “Very big and powerful companies own a huge chunk of what happens on the web,” says Andrei Sambra, a developer with the World Wide Web (W3) Consortium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the main standards organisation for the web. But we – the ones producing this valuable data – have lost control.

      The time has come to push back. Sambra is part of a growing movement to wrest back control over our digital lives by breaking the monopolies of the server farms and the people who own them. Tweak the technology on which the web runs and we can each keep our own little part of it in our pockets, they say – and determine who or what makes money out of who we are.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • WHO Updates Patent Status Info For New Hepatitis C Medicines

      The World Health Organization has issued updated information on the patent status of hepatitis C medicines, including assessments of hurdles for affordable generic versions of latest drugs.

    • Quia timet, de minimus and Novartis v Hospira: Mr Justice Arnold speeds through Napp v Dr Reddy pain dispute

      The invention lay in the use of certain penetration-enhancing excipients which are solid at room temperature and were therefore thought to be of limited use in assisting diffusion out of the matrix into the skin. The patent disclosed that on melting and cooling, these excipients formed so called “supercooled melts”, which have a melting point above room temperature, but remain liquid after cooling to room temperature.

    • Trademarks
      • Miami Brewing Co. Sends Cease And Desist To M.I.A. Beer Co. Over Trademark Concerns

        We talk a lot about silly trademark disputes here at Techdirt. But the really infuriating trademark stories tend to deal with not just overly broad terms that have been granted marks by the USPTO, but terms that are so broad because they are simple geographic identifiers. The other aspect of trademark disputes that can be face-palm inducing are claims of confusion that are laughable in the extreme. The dispute we’re about to discuss mixes both of these, supercharging the frustration to dangerous levels.

      • Federal Court of Justice greenlights colour mark red

        In the ongoing dispute between the Sparkassen Group and Banco Santander, which led to the CJEU’s decision in cases C‑217/13 and C‑218/13, the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has annulled the decision of the Federal Patent Court which invalidated Sparkassen’s contourless colour mark “red” and held that the mark had acquired distinctiveness at the time of the Federal Patent Court’s decision in 2015.

        Sparkassen Group has been using the colour red in connection with financial services, namely retail banking, in Germany since the 1960s. In 2002, it filed a trade mark application for the contourless colour “red” (HSK 13) for financial services, namely retail banking, which was granted – after an initial rejection – sometime in 2007. Banco Santander and Oberbank, two new entrants to the German retail banking market that also used the colour red in their home markets, filed for invalidity. In 2009, the German IPO (DPMA) dismissed the actions. On appeal, the Federal Patent Court referred several questions to the CJEU, which the CJEU answered in joined cases C-217/13 and C-218/13 in 2014.

      • US Justice Department Nails Three In Mass Mailing Trademark Scam

        US Justice Department Nails Three In Mass Mailing #Trademark Scam http://www.ip-watch.org/2016/07/20/us-justice-department-nails-three-in-mass-mailing-trademark-scam/

    • Copyrights
      • Research and Remixes the Law Won’t Allow

        Some day, your life may depend on the work of a security researcher. Whether it’s a simple malfunction in a piece of computerized medical equipment or a malicious compromise of your networked car, it’s critically important that people working in security can find and fix the problem before the worst happens.

        And yet, an expansive United States law, passed in 1998 and emulated in legal codes all over the world, casts a dark legal cloud over the work of those researchers. It gives companies a blunt instrument with which to threaten that research, keeping potentially embarrassing or costly errors from seeing the light of day.

        That law is Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Simply put, Section 1201 means that you can be sued or even jailed if you bypass digital locks on copyrighted works—from DVDs to software in your car—even if you are doing so for an otherwise lawful reason, like security testing.

      • EFF Lawsuit Takes on DMCA Section 1201: Research and Technology Restrictions Violate the First Amendment

        Washington D.C.—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the U.S. government today on behalf of technology creators and researchers to overturn onerous provisions of copyright law that violate the First Amendment.

        EFF’s lawsuit, filed with co-counsel Brian Willen, Stephen Gikow, and Lauren Gallo White of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, challenges the anti-circumvention and anti-trafficking provisions of the 18-year-old Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). These provisions—contained in Section 1201 of the DMCA—make it unlawful for people to get around the software that restricts access to lawfully-purchased copyrighted material, such as films, songs, and the computer code that controls vehicles, devices, and appliances. This ban applies even where people want to make noninfringing fair uses of the materials they are accessing.

        Ostensibly enacted to fight music and movie piracy, Section 1201 has long served to restrict people’s ability to access, use, and even speak out about copyrighted materials—including the software that is increasingly embedded in everyday things. The law imposes a legal cloud over our rights to tinker with or repair the devices we own, to convert videos so that they can play on multiple platforms, remix a video, or conduct independent security research that would reveal dangerous security flaws in our computers, cars, and medical devices. It criminalizes the creation of tools to let people access and use those materials.

      • Section 1201 of the DMCA Cannot Pass Constitutional Scrutiny

        Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act forbids a wide range of speech, from remix videos that rely upon circumvention, to academic security research, to publication of software that can help repair your car or back up your favorite show. It potentially implicates the entire range of speech that relies on access to copyrighted works or describes flaws in access controls—even where that speech is clearly noninfringing.

        At EFF, we’ve been worried about this law since before it was passed. We were counsel in one of the first major tests of the law, but in those early days, we failed to convince the courts of its dangerous risk to speech. Ever since, we’ve documented those speech consequences. We’ve called on Congress to reform the law, to no avail. So today, we’re going to back to court, armed with nearly twenty years of knowledge about Section 1201’s interference with lawful speech and with key Supreme Court cases that have been decided in that time. For more about the problems caused by this law, see our companion post on the issue.

        Section 1201 was billed as a tool to prevent infringement by punishing those who interfered with technological restrictions on copyrighted works. After the DMCA was passed, the Supreme Court was asked to evaluate other overreaching copyright laws, and offered new guidance on the balance between copyright protections and free speech. It found that copyright rules can be consistent with the First Amendment so long as they adhere to copyright’s “traditional contours.” These contours include fair use and the idea/expression dichotomy.

      • KickassTorrents Alternative? KAT Makes A Comeback With ‘Dxtorrent.com’ Domain

        It looks like the world’s most popular torrent website KickassTorrents is back with a new domain dxtorrent.com. The website features the same layout and seems like a mirror of notorious torrent sharing website KAT. The original KickassTorrents domain was recently seized by the U.S. Government.

      • Paris Court Says Search Engines Don’t Need To Block Torrent Searches

        Copyright rulings in France have occasionally been a complete disaster in the past, so it’s nice to see the High Court of Paris recognize that Google and Microsoft cannot be forced to block any searches that include the word “torrent.” The two separate lawsuits were brought by SNEP, which could be seen as the French version of the RIAA. The organization argued that since the law allowed “all appropriate measures” to be used to block infringement, it could demand that search engines block any searches that include the word torrent.

      • Prenda (Mostly) Loses Again; Court Says ‘We Warned You To Stop Digging, But You Still Did’

        Because Steele and Hansmeier can’t help themselves, they appealed again, leading to this latest ruling. Believe it or not, Steele actually may be temporarily happy with this latest ruling as he actually won on one point (but may lose even bigger in the long run). Still, the court is clearly not happy with either Steele or Hansmeier. It does note that since Hansmeier has filed for a (highly questionable) bankruptcy, he cannot pursue the appeal and thus his appeal is dismissed out of hand.

      • U.S. Government Sued for Software Piracy, Maker Claims $600m
      • Alleged founder of world’s largest BitTorrent distribution site arrested
      • Feds Seize KickassTorrents Domains, Arrest Alleged Owner (Updated)
      • KickassTorrents domains seized after alleged owner is arrested in Poland
      • KickassTorrents Domains Seized, Alleged Founder Arrested

        KickassTorrent, the world’s most popular torrent website, has faced a major setback. The U.S. Government has arrested the alleged owner of the website and seized all of its domains.

      • More Copyright Law ≠ Less Copyright Infringement

        If you only listened to entertainment industry lobbyists, you’d think that music and film studios are fighting a losing battle against copyright infringement over the Internet. Hollywood representatives routinely tell policymakers that the only response to the barrage of online infringement is to expand copyright or even create new copyright-adjacent rights.

Links 21/7/2016: An Honorary Degree for Alan Cox, Looks Back at DebConf16

Thursday 21st of July 2016 07:44:45 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Has open source become the default business model for enterprise software?

    The announcement this week that Splice Machine is open-sourcing its product has become just the latest reminder that — in emerging technology markets — open source is increasingly the rule, not the exception.

    Open-source software is one of those overnight successes that’s been a decade and more in the making. It’s a far cry from the early aughts when Red Hat and JBoss blazed a trail that still has doubters. Arguably, there’s still the issue of whether Red Hat, a publicly-traded, open source company, is a Unicorn from a different twist. Nonetheless, today, when we get acquainted to a new startup, one of the first questions that we pop is whether they’re open source.

  • Spark-powered Splice Machine goes open source

    Splice Machine, the relational SQL database system that uses Hadoop and Spark to provide high-speed results, is now available in an open source edition.

    Version 2.0 of Splice Machine added Spark to speed up OLAP-style workloads while still processing conventional OLTP workloads with HBase. The open source version, distributed under the Apache 2.0 license, supplies both engines and most of Splice Machine’s other features, including Apache Kafka streaming support. However, it omits a few enterprise-level options like encryption, Kerberos support, column-level access control, and backup/restore functionality.

  • 3 lessons from Gratipay’s take-what-you-want compensation experiment

    This is the second in a two-part series on hiring and compensation practices in open organizations. In Want the best employees? Let them hire themselves, I introduced the concept of open hiring with examples from Drupal (the well-known CMS) and Gratipay (a payments start-up and open organization; I’m the founder). We saw how open source thinking about onboarding best practices can lead naturally to including new collaborators in money distribution.

  • Healthcare colored with blockchain’s open-source foundation

    Technological change forces economic growth. Technology extends the science of discovery and produces artifacts used in everyday life. It’s the small technical discoveries that make larger scientific endeavors possible. It’s also these seemingly unrelated breakthroughs that make their way into our daily lives.

  • Apache Foundation Crucial to Hadoop, Big Data’s Success

    Looking back at 10 years of Hadoop, project co-founder and Cloudera Chief Architect Doug Cutting can see two primary factors in the success of open source big data technology: a heap of luck and the Apache Foundation’s unique support.

  • What is DevOps? Gareth Rushgrove Explains

    Gareth Rushgrove is known by many people as the creator and editor of the popular DevOps Weekly email newsletter, and he spent several years working for the U.K. Government Digital Service (GDS) on GOV.UK and other projects. As Senior Software Engineer at Puppet, you can find him building some of the latest infrastructure automation products when he isn’t speaking at events on a wide variety of DevOps and related topics.

  • Coffee Shop DevOps: Clearly defining and communicating team goals

    Last month I interviewed the Cockpit team about team practices. We had an interesting conversation from many different angles, but most notable were the themes we kept returning to: understanding goals, the importance of feedback loops, and committing to open and transparent communication. I found I could easily correlate each of these back to other teams I have worked with in the past. When you inspect the behaviors and inner workings of a team, these themes seem to be remarkably central to team conflict.

  • Google’s Magenta Seeks to Leverage TensorFlow for Art and Music

    As we’ve noted, artificial intelligence and machine learning are going through aamini-renaissance right now. Google recently made a possibly hugely influential contribution to the field of machine learning. It has open sourced a program called TensorFlow that is freely available. It’s based on the same internal toolset that Google has spent years developing to support its AI software and other predictive and analytics programs.

    In a related open project from the Google Brain team, dubbed Magenta, Google is calling for efforts to leverage TensorFlow and machine learning to create compelling art and music. Some of the early examples from this effort are eye-opening.

  • Nintendo NX Spec Rumors Say The Console’s Games May Support Open-Source Virtual Reality

    Nintendo NX spec rumors keep coming, and the latest chatter suggests that the console may support open-source virtual reality for certain games. This would allow the 2017 machine to compete with the likes of Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR.

    The news comes to Design & Trend via Chinatimes as referenced by the sometimes-accurate Digitimes. The report should be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s certainly interesting.

    As indicated by the secondary source, Nintendo allegedly has a production partnership with a certain chipmaker called Pixart. While the outfit is most known for its heart-rate monitoring hardware, mentions are also made to “tape-out chips supporting VR technology by the end of 2016.” These chips “will support next-generation Nintendo NX game machines.”

  • Learn an instrument with this open source music teacher

    Playing musical scores is a heavy kind of art. The Nootka app will help you understand the basics of music notation reading, and help you improve by practicing various kinds of exercises. Nootka gives real-time feedback, has multiple difficulty levels, and is customizable.

  • Open source offers job security as businesses navigate an IT talent war

    If you’re in open source and looking for a job, chances are you won’t have to search long. According to recent research, businesses are going out of their way to find—and hang onto—their best open source talent. Last month, the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report found that 79% of hiring managers have increased incentives to retain their current open source professionals.

  • Google Leverages its AI Tools to Slash Data Center Energy Consumption
  • Tutorials, workflows, and a place to showcase high-quality FOSS photography

    There’s a special place to chat with fellow photographers, learn about high-end FOSS photography software, and share your work with others. It’s called PIXLS.US, and it’s a large and wonderful world beyond Photoshop.

    This is truly a golden age in the hobby of photography. Never before has it been so inexpensive and easy to take and share great photos. The rise of smartphones has fueled an explosion in casual photography, and the ecosystem is further extended through the proliferation of media-sharing apps like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Lower costs for better cameras has enabled many budding photographers to take up the hobby. Unfortunately, while much of the underlying software that fuels the apps and platforms is built on free/open source software, there is little fanfare for the projects that are available directly to photographers.

  • Events
    • Solskogen 2016 videos

      I just published the videos from Solskogen 2016 on Youtube; you can find them all in this playlist. The are basically exactly what was being sent out on the live stream, frame for frame, except that the audio for the live shader compos has been remastered, and of course a lot of dead time has been cut out (the stream was sending over several days, but most of the time, only the information loop from the bigscreen).

    • REMINDER! systemd.conf 2016 CfP Ends in Two Weeks!

      Please note that the systemd.conf 2016 Call for Participation ends in less than two weeks, on Aug. 1st! Please send in your talk proposal by then! We’ve already got a good number of excellent submissions, but we are interested in yours even more!

      We are looking for talks on all facets of systemd: deployment, maintenance, administration, development. Regardless of whether you use it in the cloud, on embedded, on IoT, on the desktop, on mobile, in a container or on the server: we are interested in your submissions!

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Reducing Adobe Flash Usage in Firefox

        Browser plugins, especially Flash, have enabled some of our favorite experiences on the Web, including videos and interactive content. But plugins often introduce stability, performance, and security issues for browsers. This is not a trade-off users should have to accept.

        Mozilla and the Web as a whole have been taking steps to reduce the need for Flash content in everyday browsing. Starting in August, Firefox will block certain Flash content that is not essential to the user experience, while continuing to support legacy Flash content. These and future changes will bring Firefox users enhanced security, improved battery life, faster page load, and better browser responsiveness.

  • SaaS/Back End
    • Empowering Growth Hackers with Big Data

      Growth hacking often leverages customer data in the experimentation process, in the form of A/B testing. The goal is to use big data to gain a better understand of the customer, via a complete view across every touch point of the organization, in order to enable an optimal customer experience. Growth hackers—who can be anyone from marketing professionals to product manager and engineers—are seeking insights to help optimize marketing campaigns across channels, increase customer loyalty and retention, and enhance the customer experience.

    • TP empowers Singapore students with big data analytics skills

      Temasek Polytechnic (TP), Singapore and Cloudera have teamed on cultivating the next generation of data professionals through the Cloudera Academic Partnership (CAP) program.

    • TP, Cloudera to help S’pore students prepare for big data-related roles

      Temasek Polytechnic (TP) and Cloudera are working together to cultivate the next generation of data professionals through the Cloudera Academic Partnership (CAP) program. Through this program, students from Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Informatics & IT (IIT) have access to the latest Apache Hadoop curriculum, software and skills training for the Hadoop platform.

    • Apache Hadoop at 10 – Doug Cutting, Chief Architect, Cloudera
    • Report Shows Hadoop Growing at 53.7% CAGR, But Complexity Remains an Issue

      The latest in a string of market research reports has arrived forecasting huge growth for big data analytics platform Hadoop, but not everyone agrees that Hadoop adoption is going so smoothly. According to researchers at Stratistics MRC, the global hadoop market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 53.7% over the forecast period 2015 to 2022. ” Increasing investments in data management, rising amount of structured and unstructured data, hasty growth in consumer data and rapidly increasing demand for big data analytics are the factors influencing the market growth,” the study’s authors report.

      Here are some of the details, and some of the warning signs coming in pointing to too much complexity required in deploying Hadoop.

    • 5 Stages of Cloud Adoption
  • Databases
    • Splice Machine Launches Open Source RDBMS Sandbox

      Splice Machine, which provides an RDBMS powered by Hadoop and Spark, has announced a cloud-based sandbox for developers to put its just launched open source Community Edition to the test. The company is making available an open source standalone and cluster download, and has announced the general availability of V2.0, and the launch of its developer community site.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LIBOCon: get around Brno

      Yesterday I added Get around Brno page to the LibreOffice Conference website. There you can find comprehensive information about public transport in Brno, how to buy tickets, how to get to the hotel/venue if you arrive by train/bus/car/plane etc. All accompanied with maps and pictures of described places. So hopefully no one will get lost on their way to the hotel or venue, or struggle purchasing tickets.

    • LibreOffice developer interview: Winfried Donkers

      In this week’s developer interview, we talk to Winfried Donkers, a Dutch coder who has been using LibreOffice (and its predecessors) for almost two decades, and today works on Calc.

  • CMS
    • Koha Integrated Library System Brings FOSS to Libraries

      Randal Schwartz, from TWiT.tv’s “FLOSS Weekly,” interviews Nicole Engard and Brendan Gallagher, about the open source Koha Integrated Library System (ILS), which originated in New Zealand in 1999. Along with being a web developer, Nicole is a prolific blogger on Opensource.com and last year was recognized by Red Hat for her significant contributions to open source advocacy.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Public Services/Government
    • Results of the EU-FOSSA survey

      Between 17 June and 8 July, you sent the EU-Fossa project 3282 answers, to help us choose which open source software to audit.

      First, thank you very much for the many interesting and encouraging comments!

    • EC to audit Apache HTTP Server and Keepass

      The European Commission is preparing a software source code security audit on two software solutions, Apache HTTP server and Keepass, a password manager. The source code will be analysed and tested for potential security problems, and the results will be shared with the software developers. The audits will start in the coming weeks.

    • NZ govt agencies now have open source software at their side

      Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) is helping government agencies pave the way for open source software use, opening doors for software developers keen to shape new innovative software, says Land Information Minister Louise Upston.

      The NZGOAL Software Extension guidelines were themselves developed using open source tools and facilitated through Loomio, an online group decision-making platform. The final drafts were crafted through GitHub, an open source repository.

    • UK.gov digi peeps hunt open source chief

      The British government’s Digital Service is looking for a chief penguin to head up open source.

      GDS has created a brand-new position for an individual to conduct open source technology projects, adoption and working practices for the government’s IT arm.

      Moreover, the chosen candidate will be charged with forging relationships with individuals and projects outside government in the open-source community.

      Until now, GDS had a number of people working in different roles taking the lead on open source. The new individual will be nestled in GDS’s technical architecture team.

    • ‘GovStrap’ open source kit helps sites replicate GDS website theme

      Open Source Software specialist OpusVL has created a way to take the Gov.UK website theme created by the Government Digital Service (GDS) and reproduce it quickly in designing and building public sector websites.

      The solution uses Bootstrap, an HTML, CSS and JavaScript framework originating from Twitter, which is used for creating front end websites and applications. With an increase in the variety of devices used to view websites, Bootstrap is a standard toolkit for building responsive design and enabling websites to be mobile and tablet friendly.

      With sharing and re-use of software and technology high on the GDS agenda, OpusVL adopted the principle by importing the GDS work and “re-factoring” it in the form of the Bootstrap framework in addition to the methods originally created by GDS.

    • As it Mandates Open Source, is Bulgaria Opening Questionable Doors?

      For decades now, open source tools and applications have been gaining enormous traction in parts of Europe, and cities such as Munich have even been involved in a multi-year effort to transform technology infrastructure by throwing out proprietary applications and using open source tools instead.

      In the latest move on this front, Bulgaria recently passed legislation requiring that government software be open source. The move underscores how pervasive open source applications and platforms have become. Now, though, there is growing debate about whether Bulgaria is making a wise move, or one that could open it up to security threats.

    • Could Bulgaria’s open source law transform government software worldwide?

      Ripples from Bulgaria’s recent decision requiring all software written for the government to be open source could build into something bigger.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • The Importance of Following Community-Oriented Principles in GPL Enforcement Work

      The GNU General Public License (GPL) was designed to grant clear permissions for sharing software and to defend that freedom for users. GPL’d code now appears in so many devices that it is fundamental to modern technology. While we believe that following the GPL’s requirements is neither burdensome nor unreasonable, many fail to do so. GPL enforcement — the process to encourage those who fail to correct problems and join our open software development community — is difficult diplomacy.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Open-Source Farming Machine Plants And Waters Seeds

        While it is nice to have access to produce that is not in season, the unseen use of pesticides and other harmful additives is a difficult problem to avoid.

      • California dreaming: DIY, open-source SoCs with RISC-V

        With its customizable, open-source SoCs built on the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture, SiFive, a San Francisco start-up, is poised to reverse the industry’s rising licensing, design and implementation costs.

        With on the one hand Moore’s Law ended or approaching the end and on the other, vast investments required for to develop a modern, high-performance chip, it looks impossible for smaller system designers to join the traditional economic model of chip building. However, the body of software and tools available from the open-source community under the guidance of the RISC-V Foundation, can substantially cut the cost of developing custom silicon. System designers can use the SiFive Freedom platforms to focus on their own differentiated processor without having the overhead of developing a modern SoC, fabric or software infrastructur

      • Lawn Da Vinci Open Source RC Lawnmower (video)

        If you find the prices of the current range of robotic lawnmowers just a little too high for your budget, you might be interested in a new open source remote control lawnmower which has been created called the Lawn Da Vinci.

        Okay so it’s not completely autonomous but you can still add a little extra fun to those lawn mowing days, with the addition of a little remote control to the humble petrol powered lawnmower.

      • A open source toolkit for building your own home

        The evidence is overwhelming that large scale collaboration leads to superior technology. FOSS showed us the way and now free and open source hardware is rapidly gaining traction. There is a growing list of open source hardware projects, which are bringing millions (billion?) of dollars of value to the world. Now a new initiative from the Open Building Institute (OBI) is adding “house” to the list of killer open hardware apps.

      • Open Source Hardware: What It Means and Why It Matters

        You’ve heard of open source software. But what about open source hardware? Here’s an overview of what open source hardware is, what the challenges are and why open hardware is poised to grow in importance as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to boom.

      • The Ember 3D Printer: High-Resolution, Open-Source 3D Printing on Your Desktop

        Though Autodesk’s interest in 3D printing was not unknown, it may have been a bit of a surprise when the CAD developer entered the industry with its own 3D printer in 2014. Ember, Autodesk’s first hardware product, is a digital light processing (DLP) 3D printer capable of high-resolution prints for prototyping and even end part production. What may be most unique about the Ember is that both the printer and one of its materials are open-source, a bold move for a large corporation like Autodesk.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • AT&T, Orange target NFV, SDN open source, standards

      AT&T and Orange signed a deal to tackle NFV and SDN open source and standards issues that continue to plague the telecom industry

      AT&T signed a deal with European operator Orange to work on open source and standardization initiatives linked to the carrier’s push toward increasing control of its network resources using software-defined networking and network functions virtualization technology.

    • DIGST: ‘Denmark should update eInvoicing systems’

      Denmark’s public administrations should overhaul their eInvoicing solutions, writes the Agency for Digitisation (Digitaliseringsstyrelsen – DIGST). The agency wants public administrations to prepare to introduce a European-wide eInvoicing standard, and to concentrate on the use of Danish 2010 eInvoicing standard, OIOUBL. Its forerunner, OIOXML, is to be phased out.

Leftovers
  • The Dig: Is Your School’s Plan Right for Your Special Needs Child?

    Recently, I got a plea from the mother of a child with special needs. She asked: “Can you do a column on how to investigate your child’s special education file?” Two thoughts flashed to my mind: 1) That’s such a fundamental and important thing to be able to investigate. And 2) I don’t know anything about it.

    Luckily, one of the joys of working at ProPublica is being surrounded by super smart people. And our education reporter, Heather Vogell, is uncommonly sharp, having covered the most important stories in education for years. (Remember the cheating scandal in Atlanta schools? Heather and her colleagues at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution uncovered that.)

  • Science
    • Putting Your Computer Inside Oil Sounds Crazy, But It’s Super Useful. Here’s How To Do It

      Very few of you would be knowing about the existence of mineral oil-cooled PCs. These are custom made computers submerged in non-conductive mineral oil. Compared to regular air cooling , the mineral oil cooling setup works with up to 5-times more efficiency. If you find this interesting, you can read ahead and watch some useful videos that detail the process of making a mineral oil-cooled PC.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • WHO: Countries Need To Step It Up On Noncommunicable Disease Commitments

      Despite “remarkable” progress by some countries on addressing noncommunicable diseases like cancer and diabetes, there is a need to accelerate efforts in order to meet agreed global commitments, the World Health Organization said this week.

    • Jeremy Hunt has broken NHS funding pledges, report finds

      The government has broken its pledges on NHS funding and is misleading the public about how much extra money it is actually putting into the health service, a committee of MPs has said.

      In a highly critical report, the House of Commons health select committee accuses Jeremy Hunt and other ministers of giving the cash-strapped NHS “less than would appear to be the case from official pronouncements”.

      The cross-party group of MPs refutes the health secretary’s persistent claim the government will have given the NHS in England an extra £8.4bn by 2020-21 compared with 2015-16. That was one of the Conservatives’ key pledges in last year’s general election campaign, and was repeated many times after that by David Cameron and George Osborne while they were still the prime minister and the chancellor.

    • Damning Probe Finds EPA ‘Turning Blind Eye’ to Toxic Chemical Cocktails

      While the use of one toxic chemical—on our foods, lawns, and elsewhere—has its inherent risks, scientists warn that the combination of two or more such ingredients in common pesticides could have an even more noxious impact, one which is commonly overlooked.

      In fact, a investigation released Tuesday by the environmental watchdog Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) found that over the past six years the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved nearly 100 pesticide products that contain these so-called “synergistic” compounds, effectively “increasing the dangers to imperiled pollinators and rare plants.”

      As CBD explains, “[s]ynergy occurs when two or more chemicals interact to enhance their toxic effects,” turning “what would normally be considered a safe level of exposure into one that results in considerable harm.”

      “The EPA is supposed to be the cop on the beat, protecting people and the environment from the dangers of pesticides. With these synergistic pesticides, the EPA has decided to look the other way, and guess who’s left paying the price?” asked Nathan Donley, a scientist with the Center and author of the report, Toxic Concoctions: How the EPA Ignores the Dangers of Pesticide Cocktails (pdf).

  • Security
    • Mental Note: Keep Working Email on Forum Account
    • No Passwords Stolen During Ubuntu Forums Data Breach
    • SQL Injection Exposes 2 Million Ubuntu Forum Users
    • Ubuntu forum breach traced to neglected plugin
    • Ubuntu Forums Database Hacked
    • Passwords not compromised by Ubuntu Forums data breach
    • Ubuntu forum breach traced to neglected plugin
    • Canonical warns users after Ubuntu forum data breach
    • Flaw in vBulletin add-on leads to Ubuntu Forums database breach
    • CrypTech — Internet Engineers’ New Open Source Weapon Against ‘Creepy’ Governments

      The CrypTech project is an independent security hardware development effort that consists of an international team. CrypTech Alpha is an open source crypto-vault that stores the private/public keys and separates the digital certificates from the software using them. It has been developed as a hardware secure module (HSM) to make the implementation of strong cryptography easier.

    • Entrepreneur in £10m swoop for hacking team

      One of the northwest’s best-known entrepreneurs has splashed out about £10m on a cyber-security venture that helps businesses repel hackers.

      Lawrence Jones, who runs the Manchester-based internet hosting and cloud computing specialist UKFast, has bought Pentest, an “ethical hacking” firm whose staff help detect flaws in clients’ cyber-defences.

      Jones, 47, will merge Pentest’s 45 staff into his own cyber-security outfit, Secarma. “It’s become obvious that there is a massive need to put emphasis on cyber-security,” said the internet tycoon, whose wealth is calculated by The Sunday Times Rich List as £275m.

    • Guilt by ASN: Compiler’s bad memory bug could sting mobes, cell towers

      A vulnerability in a widely used ASN.1 compiler isn’t a good thing: it means a bunch of downstream systems – including mobile phones and cell towers – will inherit the bug.

      And an ASN.1 bug is what the Sadosky Foundation in Argentina has turned up, in Objective Systems’ software.

      The research group’s Lucas Molas says Objective’s ASN1C compiler for C/C++ version 7.0.0 (other builds are probably affected) generates code that suffers from heap memory corruption. This could be potentially exploited to run malware on machines and devices that run the vulnerable compiler output or interfere with their operation.

    • Security advisories for Tuesday
    • BlackBerry Inks Software Deal With U.S. Senate
    • BlackBerry inks security software deals, shares slip
    • BlackBerry Announces String of Small Security Software Deals
    • BlackBerry inks U.S. government software deals; shares slip
    • Carbanak Gang Tied to Russian Security Firm?

      Among the more plunderous cybercrime gangs is a group known as “Carbanak,” Eastern European hackers blamed for stealing more than a billion dollars from banks. Today we’ll examine some compelling clues that point to a connection between the Carbanak gang’s staging grounds and a Russian security firm that claims to work with some of the world’s largest brands in cybersecurity.

      The Carbanak gang derives its name from the banking malware used in countless high-dollar cyberheists. The gang is perhaps best known for hacking directly into bank networks using poisoned Microsoft Office files, and then using that access to force bank ATMs into dispensing cash. Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab estimates that the Carbanak Gang has likely stolen upwards of USD $1 billion — but mostly from Russian banks.

    • Now you can ask Twitter directly to verify your account

      Do you have an army of imposters online pretending to be you? Probably not, but now you can still request for a verified Twitter account.

      On Tuesday, Twitter launched an official application process so that any account can be verified and receive a blue checkmark badge next to its username. Twitter users interested in applying should have a verified phone number and email address, as well as a profile photo that reflects the person or company branding.

      Verified accounts get to filter their mentions to only see those from other verified accounts. But that seems to be the only real feature or perk that comes from having a blue badge–aside from bragging rights, of course. Additionally, verified accounts can’t be private, and the username must remain the same or you will have to seek verification all over again. If you are rejected, you can reapply after 30 days. Previously, the verification process was never clear-cut, and it seemed to require a direct connection to a Twitter rep.

    • Software flaw puts mobile phones and networks at risk of complete takeover [Ed: proprietary software]

      A newly disclosed vulnerability could allow attackers to seize control of mobile phones and key parts of the world’s telecommunications infrastructure and make it possible to eavesdrop or disrupt entire networks, security experts warned Tuesday.

      The bug resides in a code library used in a wide range of telecommunication products, including radios in cell towers, routers, and switches, as well as the baseband chips in individual phones. Although exploiting the heap overflow vulnerability would require great skill and resources, attackers who managed to succeed would have the ability to execute malicious code on virtually all of those devices. The code library was developed by Pennsylvania-based Objective Systems and is used to implement a telephony standard known as ASN.1, short for Abstract Syntax Notation One.

    • https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/07/rebooting-digital-security

      Wednesday, July 20 is the final day of EFF’s Summer Security Reboot, a two-week membership drive that focuses on taking stock of our digital security practices and bolstering the larger movement to protect digital civil liberties. Besides a reduced donation amount for the Silicon level membership, the Reboot features sets of random number generators: EFF dice with instructions on how to generate stronger and more memorable random passphrases. EFF even produced three new passphrase wordlists to improve upon Arnold Reinhold’s popular Diceware list, first published in 1995.

      EFF is a longtime advocate for personal security, and over the years we have continued to fight threats to user privacy and freedom. With the Summer Security Reboot, we want the public to engage with the larger questions of how one can and should control personal information in spite of high-profile attempt after attempt to compromise our devices. The world has increasingly recognized privacy and strong crypto as integral parts of protecting international human rights. A recent Amnesty International report states encryption is “an enabler of the rights to freedom of expression, information and opinion, and also has an impact on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and other human rights.” Strong passphrase use is but one basic part of a diverse toolkit that can help you protect personal information, whether from identity thieves or government surveillance (ideally both!).

    • Hacking Facebook By Stealing Facebook Access_tokens In Device Login

      A security researcher has located a flaw in Facebook’s device login feature that allows one to easily authorise apps on IoT devices. Due to the lack of CSRF protection, an attacker can fool Facebook’s systems and grab the access_token of the victim. Facebook has now fixed the bug and awarded $5,000 bounty to the white hat hacker.

    • Neutrino EK adopts new exploit after open source POC release

      The Neutrino exploit kit (EK) added a former Internet Explorer zero-day vulnerability affecting to its arsenal.

    • Arbor Networks Report: Largest DDoS Attack Of 579Gbps In The First Half Of 2016

      Arbor Networks has published the statistics of the DDoS attacks in the first half of 2016. The largest one went up to 579Gbps. An interactive map shows the DDoS attacks made on a global level.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • How many mobile phone accounts will be hijacked this summer?
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Hell Hath No Fury Like a Teflon Sultan

      When Turkish President/aspiring Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan landed at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport early Saturday morning, he declared the attempted coup against his government a failure, and a “gift from God.”

    • Again? Op-ed by Philippe Aigrain in the aftermath of the Nice attacks

      Yet another? But yet another what? One does not even know. Once more tens of people killed, many more injured. Once more, a human being has carried them over towards death and suffering in his trajectory of violence and self-destruction. And both ISIS and most western commentators rush to describe him as the soldier of a cause when one does not even know if and when he discovered it.

    • The political strategy for peace

      The success of peace requires not only the legal security of the agreements, but also, importantly, a grassroots political process that includes popular support. To date, the government and guerrillas have done little to win public support over the agreement. In fact, many critics have opposed the advances of the Negotiating Table in La Habana, and some, including former president Álvaro Uribe, have called for a “civil resistance” claiming that the agreement promotes impunity. Levels of citizen knowledge about the agreements are low, legitimacy and popular confidence of the peace process have decreased in the latest months, polarization continues to grow with post-paramilitary groups committing human rights abuses, and political strategies to encourage support are non-existent.

    • Mhairi Black on Trident

      Note that the government benches are almost empty. The people who bothered to be present and listen to the debate were overwhelmingly those who voted against Trident. With all Scotland’s MPs but one opposing, this is yet another reason to get a move on with Indyref2. I don’t share the criticism of the Tories for calling this debate and vote – it helpfully clarifies that the representatives of Scotland are treated with contempt, and that the Blairite majority in the Parliamentary Labour Party are in hock to arms industry interests.

    • Ryan Richardson and Siddhattha Gurung: Kurdish Autonomy, Under Siege

      On a hot Friday afternoon in April, hundreds gather at the House of Mourning to pay their respects to the fallen youth of the Kurdish city of Diyarbakır. Among the crowd are families and friends, neighbors and colleagues, municipal officials and local politicians, as well as leaders of the Kurdish movement and many of its most committed supporters. At the invitation of our hosts, we are here to witness the funeral of Yusuf, 19, one of hundreds of young Kurds killed during recent clashes with Turkish forces in the ancient neighborhood of Sur.

    • Fox, Gould, Werritty and Israel – Please write to your MP

      It is to me disgusting that a politician so thoroughly disgraced as Liam Fox should be back in power. Answers were blanked on the actual purpose of the Werritty connection, and I think collectively we should try to do something about that.

    • ‘Fraud’ Alleged in NYT’s MH-17 Report

      An amateur report alleging Russian doctoring of satellite photos on the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 case – a finding embraced by The New York Times – is denounced by a forensic expert as an “outright fraud,” reports Robert Parry.

    • Erdogan Unleashes Unprecedented Crackdown: Fires All University Deans; Suspends 21,000 Private School Teachers

      Over the weekend, after the initial reports of the purge unleashed by Erdogan against Turkey’s public, we previewed the upcoming, far more dangerous counter-coup as follows: “it was the next step that is the critical one: the one where Erdogan – having cracked down on his immediate military and legal opponents – took his crusade against everyone else, including the press and the educational system.”

    • Summer Convention Fun: Keep an Eye (Ear) Out for the LRAD

      The LRAD was first deployed for use in Iraq, and quickly found its way onto Navy and commercial ships sailing amongst Somali pirates. The bad boy is a sound cannon.

      The LRAD company prefers to label its product a tool to broadcast messages and pain-inducing “deterrent” tones over long distances. The device produces a sound that can be directed in a beam up to 30 degrees wide, and the military-grade LRAD 2000X can transmit at up to 162dB up to 5.5 miles away.

      Fun fact: A jet engine at 100 feet is 140dB. Sound at 180db will cause tissue damage.

      But of course the LRAD is non-lethal, so its maker says that anyone within a 100 meters of the device’s sound path will experience extreme pain. The version generally utilized by police departments (the LRAD 500X) is designed for short bursts of directed sound that cause severe headaches in anyone within a 300 meter range. Anyone within 15 meters of the device’s audio path can experience permanent hearing loss.

      Permanent hearing loss begins at 130dB, and if the device is turned up to 140dB, anyone within its path would not only suffer hearing loss, they could potentially lose their balance and be unable to move out of the path of the audio.

    • Civilian Death Toll From Coalition Airstrikes in Syria Could Be Single Largest in U.S.-Led War on ISIS

      Scores of civilians trapped in Islamic State-controlled territory in northern Syria were reportedly killed Tuesday by airstrikes from Western coalition aircraft. The reported death toll, potentially the highest ever to result from a coalition bombing in the international campaign against ISIS, continued to climb as The Intercept reached out to monitoring groups tracking operations in the area.

      The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 56 civilians were killed when their convoy of vehicles attempted to slip out of an area north of the city of Manbij in the predawn darkness, as U.S.-backed forces pushed forward in an increasingly bloody offensive in the area. In a brief phone interview, a representative from the Britain-based organization said that while coalition aircraft were believed to be responsible for the air raid, the group suspected it was a “100 percent mistake.”

      Airwars, a nonprofit that tracks claims of civilian casualties resulting from the international air campaign against ISIS, said incoming reports indicated the death toll may prove to be well over 100 civilians — potentially making it the largest single loss of civilian life resulting from coalition airstrikes since the U.S.-led campaign to destroy ISIS began nearly two years ago. Tuesday’s reports were the latest in a string of recent incidents in which coalition aircraft have been implicated in the deaths of civilians in the Manbij area.

      “Really these civilians are in a desperate situation,” Chris Woods, head of Airwars, told The Intercept. “We’ve never seen anything like this.”

    • Chris Christie and Karl Rove’s US Attorney Project

      The Republicans were supposed to talk about how they plan to Make America Work Again last night. And I supposed Paul Ryan — and to a lesser extent Mitch McConnell, when he wasn’t being booed — presented a vision of how they think Republicans run the economy. That vision doesn’t actually resemble the protectionist big government approach Donald Trump has been running on. But given the revelation that Trump offered to let John Kasich run both domestic and foreign policy if he would be his VP candidate (Kasich was still reluctant), perhaps we should focus more on how Mike Pence wants to suffocate the economy.

      Instead, as most people have focused, Republicans continued to attack Hillary (Hillary continues to attack Trump, though I suspect she will focus somewhat more on policy next week than Republicans have thus far). Many people have unpacked Chris Christie’s rabble inciting witch hunt last night, but Dan Drezner backs his review of it with some data on the risks to democracy (click through to read all of, which is worth reading).

    • Senator Ron Johnson Lies About Hillary Clinton to Accuse Her of Dishonesty on Benghazi

      It has become an article of faith among Republicans that the anti-Islam video, which had sparked protests in Cairo in the hours before the attack in Benghazi, and across the Arab world in the days after it, had absolutely nothing to do with the killing of the Americans. Inside that bubble, carefully nurtured by Fox News, any suggestion that the offensive video — a trailer for a film biography of the prophet made to antagonize Muslims — acted as a catalyst for the assault by Islamist militants was part of a cover-up by the Obama administration.

      According to a subsequent investigation by New York Times reporters, however, “extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack” suggested that the violence was indeed “fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”

    • Turkey’s Nukes: A Sum of All Fears

      The post-coup chaos in Turkey is a reminder about the risk of leaving nuclear weapons in unstable regions where they serve no clear strategic purpose but present a clear and present danger, explains Jonathan Marshall.

    • 9/11: 28 Pages Later

      Why the long wait, and what do the 28 pages reveal?

      If we’re to believe the headlines in Saudi media (e.g. Al Arabiya) and mainstream American media (e.g. Time and the Washington Times) the big news is what they don’t reveal: A “smoking gun” connecting the government of Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 attacks.

      If we’re to believe the 28 pages themselves, the big news is that they do, in fact, reveal a “smoking gun” connecting the government of Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 attacks.

      Here’s the opening sentence from the newly released material: “While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected with the Saudi government.”

    • Military Regimes Shouldn’t be Recognized

      The military upheaval in Turkey, whose final consequences are yet to be seen, highlights a major weakness in worldwide efforts to promote democracy. This event underscores the need to establish binding international legal principles to ban the recognition of military regimes as a result of coups d’état. Establishment of such principles, and the creation of the legal mechanisms for applying them, would foster democracy throughout the world.

      The circumstances in Turkey mimic several similar situations in recent history: the coming to power of governments without support from the military. Once confronted with a threat to their political hegemony, the military either overthrow the civilian government or refuses to surrender power to democratically elected civilians.

      Overt recognition by Western democracies or implied recognition through ambivalent signs of disapproval have encouraged military officers to overthrow many constitutional governments freely chosen by the people. The military relinquish power only when forced by popular will, or when its own incapacity to govern has made its position untenable.

      This happened to the Greek junta after its debacle in Cyprus, to the Chilean regime under Augusto Pinochet and to the Argentine military after the Falklands conflict. New principles could be developed, however, that would automatically bar the recognition of such de facto regimes.

      Given the need to expand the role of the United Nations in keeping peace, the General Assembly and its International Law Commission could be called upon to draw up appropriate legislation. As the late Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold once said, the United Nations is “the most appropriate place for development and change of international law on behalf of the whole society of states.”

      Establishment of non-recognition of post coup d’état a universal principle raises some difficult practical questions. What about already established and recognized military regimes? These cases show the difficulties of applying the principle retroactively.

      But what if a country’s military forces stage a coup against an oppressive or corrupt civilian regime? An ousted civilian government that has been freely elected by the people should not be denied recognition in favor of a post-coup military regime unless the overthrown government was responsible for gross human rights violations. Further, after a coup, recognition should be withheld until another civilian government is chosen in free and democratic elections.

    • Should Police Use Bombs To Kill Criminals?

      In the wake of the two seemingly outrageous slayings of African American men by police in Minnesota and Louisiana and the equally heinous retaliatory killings of five police officers in Dallas by a black former Army Reservist, questions have been raised in all three cases about excessive police behavior.

    • US air strike in Syria kills nearly 60 civilians ‘mistaken for Isil fighters’

      A US air strike killed nearly 60 civilians, including children, in Syria on Tuesday after the coalition mistook them for Islamic State fighters.

      Some eight families were hit as they tried to flee fighting in their area, in one of the single deadliest strikes on civilians by the alliance since the start of its operations in the war-torn country.

      Pictures of the aftermath of the dawn strikes on the Isil-controlled village of Tokhar near Manbij in northern Syria showed the bodies of children as young as three under piles of rubble.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Prolific FOIA Requester Celebrates 50th Anniversary Of FOIA Law By Suing FBI Over Its Document Search Methods

      No better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act than filing a lawsuit claiming an agency is refusing to comply with it. FOIA enthusiast Ryan Shapiro has done exactly that, suing the DOJ [PDF] for the FBI’s continued refusal to perform anything more than a cursory search, using its most outdated software, for responsive records.

    • Justice department ‘uses aged computer system to frustrate Foia requests’

      Shapiro told the Guardian that the reason the DoJ gave for refusing to use its $425m Sentinel software to process Foia requests after ACS had failed to recover records was that a Sentinel search “would be needlessly duplicative of the FBI’s default ACS UNI index-based searches and wasteful of Bureau resources”.

    • Judge Tells DOJ Lawyers That A Search For FOIA Docs Requires More Than Chatting With A Couple Of Employees

      Jason Leopold is back in court (is he ever NOT there?) battling the NSA and the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) over the release of documents related to the NSA and FBI’s surveillance of federal and state judges. The two parties had already been told to do more looking around for responsive records by Judge Tanya Chutkan, who rejected their original request for summary judgment last July.

      The two agencies went back and performed another search. And still came up empty-handed.

      Let me rephrase that: the two agencies went back and performed another “search.” Here’s what that “search” actually entailed, as described in the opinion [PDF].

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Federal Agents Went Undercover To Spy on Anti-Fracking Movement, Emails Reveal

      When more than 300 protesters assembled in May at the Holiday Inn in Lakewood, Colorado — the venue chosen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for an auction of oil and gas leases on public lands — several of the demonstrators were in fact undercover agents sent by law enforcement to keep tabs on the demonstration, according to emails obtained by The Intercept.

      The “Keep it in the Ground” movement, a broad effort to block the development of drilling projects, has rapidly gained traction over the last year, raising pressure on the Obama administration to curtail hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, and coal mining on federal public lands. In response, government agencies and industry groups have sharply criticized the activists in public, while quietly moving to track their activities.

      The emails, which were obtained through an open records act request, show that the Lakewood Police Department collected details about the protest from undercover officers as the event was being planned. During the auction, both local law enforcement and federal agents went undercover among the protesters.

      The emails further show that police monitored Keep it in the Ground participating groups such as 350.org, Break Free Movement, Rainforest Action Network, and WildEarth Guardians, while relying upon intelligence gathered by Anadarko, one of the largest oil and gas producers in the region.

    • ‘World’s saddest polar bear’ exhibited in Chinese shopping centre

      More than 285,000 people have signed a petition calling for the closure of an aquarium in southern China that is home to an animal dubbed “the world’s saddest polar bear”.

      The lethargic bear, whose name is Pizza, is on show at an “ocean theme park” located inside the Grandview shopping centre in the city of Guangzhou.

      The aquarium made international headlines after its opening in early January with one Hong Kong-based animal rights charity denouncing it as a “horrifying” animal prison.

    • This Ridiculously Low Oil Spill Fine Is What’s Wrong With Environmental Enforcement

      Six years after spilling more than 27,000 barrels of oil into local rivers, Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership is finally facing the music: a $177 million settlement with the U.S. government.

      The music is a little soft.

      The settlement covers two spills, but one of them was a doozy. On July 25, 2010, an Enbridge pipeline ruptured, ultimately spilling 20,000 barrels of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River and becoming the largest ever on-shore tar sands oil spill. Tar sands oil, extracted primarily in Canada and piped into and across the United States, is heavy, thick, and mud-like. Unlike most other oils, it sinks, making it even more difficult to clean up. After the Kalamazoo spill, Enbridge had to dredge the river and then replant native vegetation. At the five-year mark of the spill, the river’s ecology had not fully returned.

  • Finance
    • What Donald Trump doesn’t get about ‘free trade’

      The future Republican presidential nominee is right to criticize so-called ‘trade’ deals like NAFTA, but he does so for the wrong reasons.

    • The Republican Platform’s Surprise Revival of Glass-Steagall Legislation

      The last-minute decision to include in the Republican platform a call to restore the firewall between commercial and investment banking comes as a surprise, because Donald Trump himself has never publicly addressed or endorsed such a reform in his year-long presidential run.

      Trump did once say at a debate in New Hampshire, “nobody knows banking better than I do,” but a review of the transcripts of all twelve Republican debates shows that he never endorsed restoring Glass-Steagall, legislation first passed in 1933. Websites devoted to detailing Trump’s positions find no record of him having any opinion on the Depression-era law. The issues pages of Trump’s presidential website steer clear of anything related to banks or finance.

    • The Corporate Liberal in America

      Sound familiar? King’s white moderate and Marx’s ostensible friend is our corporate liberal. Same spin, different decade. The corporate liberal is an embodiment of the idea that political parties are the graveyards of movements. Hedges himself wrote a book called, “Death of the Liberal Class” five years ago. It should’ve been the elegy before the interment of the Democratic Party as a serious option in electoral politics. Yet here we are, about to anoint another corporate liberal to the highest seat in the land. In that case, consider this article yet another epitaph awaiting its headstone. Let’s hope it’s not a long wait. Voices like Sawant’s and the momentum of movements like BLM give us reason to think it won’t be.

    • What’s The Rent? NYC Housing Officials Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

      The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development is flouting a rent-reporting requirement for apartments built under the city’s single biggest housing tax break. Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t seem to mind.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Exclusive: Trump could seek new law to purge government of Obama appointees

      If he wins the presidency, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would seek to purge the federal government of officials appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama and could ask Congress to pass legislation making it easier to fire public workers, Trump ally, Chris Christie, said on Tuesday.

    • Trump Supporters Accused of Bullying Delegates Who Don’t Fall In Line

      Some Republican convention delegates are complaining that pro-Trump thugs harassed and threatened them for not falling into line behind the nominee.

      This is not a new phenomenon; there’s even a Delegate Defense Hotline set up by the Ted Cruz campaign in April that bullied delegates can call.

      Kera Birkeland, a delegate from Utah, said she was confronted by two women in the bathroom at the Quicken Loans Arena Monday night. “They yelled at me, called me names,” she wrote on Facebook. “They said I should die. They said the police should be pulled from the Utah delegation and we should all die. They never touched me. They did not say they would kill me. They just said I should die.”

      Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, joked about the incident on Tuesday. “I think I have a pretty good sense of what’s going on in this convention, but I haven’t gone in to the bathrooms yet,” he told reporters.

      Birkeland was part of a group of delegates who unsuccessfully called for a roll call vote on the convention’s rules on Monday – widely seen as the last gasp of a #Nevertrump movement. Birkeland initially supported Rand Paul for president, then Ted Cruz.

      Tommy Valentine, a 22-year-old Virginia delegate, told ThinkProgress that representatives from the Trump campaign threatened him about the petition for a roll call vote: “I had one Trump staffer who came to me and said, ‘When Trump becomes president, he will remember,’” Valentine said. “They were going around to the delegates who would sign the documents intimidating them and telling them to take their names off it.”

    • Trump Adviser Calls For Hillary Clinton’s Execution

      RNC delegates and convention-goers can buy merchandise calling Hillary Clinton a “bitch” and a “tramp.” On both Monday and Tuesday, the floor has broken out in chants of “lock her up!” Listening to the speaker after speaker spend a significant chunk of their time denouncing Clinton, one might be led to believe hating on Hillary is an official plank in the Republican Party’s platform.

    • G.O.P. Formally Nominates Donald Trump for President
    • RNC Headliners Avoid Talking About Jobs and Donald Trump on Day to Talk About Jobs and Trump

      Tuesday was “Make America Work Again” day at the Republican National Convention, which also happened to coincide with the party formally nominating Donald Trump as its nominee.

      But neither jobs nor Trump got much attention as a grab-bag of Republican headliners Tuesday spent most of their time demonizing Hillary Clinton and talking about themselves without offering an affirmative case for the nominee or a concrete economic policy agenda.

      The keynoter, House Speaker Paul Ryan, spoke nearly 1,500 words, but mentioned Trump’s name just twice. Promising he’ll be standing alongside “Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump” at next year’s State of the Union address, Ryan spent the lion’s share of his time castigating the Democratic Party instead.

    • Will Clinton VP Pick Be ‘Pronounced Middle Finger’ to Millions Who Voted for Bernie?

      Appropriate progressive response to inadequate choice, says one Democratic delegate, ‘would be expressions of outrage and nonviolent protest, from the convention floor in Philadelphia to communities across the country.’

    • GOP Crazy Talk Comes to Cleveland

      The Republican National Convention has been an orgy of crazy talk – mixed in with some plagiarism by Donald Trump’s wife and a vast kangaroo court convicting Hillary Clinton – a truly remarkable spectacle, as Michael Winship describes.

    • Donald Trump’s Most Idiotic Moments
    • The Coronation of a Charlatan

      Years from now, bright-eyed children will look up at Grandma or Grandpa and ask, “Where were you when they nominated Donald Trump?” Far too many prominent Republicans will have to hang their heads in shame.

      As the garish imperial coronation in Cleveland reaches its climax, there will be much commentary—some, no doubt, from me—about fleeting events. Did So-and-so’s speech help Trump or hurt him? Did one line of attack against Hillary Clinton seem more or less promising than another? All of this is news, but we must not lose sight of the big picture: The “Party of Lincoln” is about to nominate for president a man who is dangerously unfit for the office.

      Trump is a brilliant showman, no question about that. His life’s work has been self-aggrandizement, not real estate, and all those years of practice served him well when he turned to politics. He knows how to work a crowd. He understands television and social media. He dominated and vanquished a field of experienced campaigners as if they were mere apprentices.

    • Boris Johnson grilled over past ‘outright lies’ at uneasy press conference

      Boris Johnson was embarrassingly forced on to the back foot during his first London press conference as foreign secretary on Tuesday as he was repeatedly pressed to explain his past “outright lies” and insults about world leaders, including describing the US president as part-Kenyan and hypocritical.

      Standing alongside John Kerry, the US secretary of state, Johnson claimed his remarks had been misconstrued, that his past journalism had been taken out of context, and world leaders he had met since his appointment fully understood his past remarks.

    • A Lens on the RNC: Dispatches From Day 1 of the Convention (Photos)

      What happens outside Quicken Loans Arena during the 2016 Republican National Convention may be more interesting than what happens inside the star-spangled halls.

      Photojournalist Michael Nigro is in Cleveland to provide Truthdig with a view of noteworthy moments from around the convention centers, where protesters and activists have gathered to express their views.

    • Inside The Delegate Revolt At The RNC

      Boos, screams of “no,” and cries of “shame” rang throughout the Republican National Convention’s arena Monday afternoon as party leaders rejected demands from at least ten states to allow a vote on the rules that bind delegates to vote for Donald Trump.

      The delegates leading the eleventh-hour rebellion, including Colorado’s Kendal Unruh, were furious. She told ThinkProgress minutes after the vote that she felt cheated by her own party and its nominee.

    • Anti-Trump Dead-Enders Hit a Dead End

      Party divisions over Donald Trump reached the floor of the Republican Convention on Monday afternoon as anti-Trump delegates attempted a complicated procedural maneuver: petitioning the convention’s chairman to force a roll call vote over the acceptance of the convention’s rules.

      It was an act of desperation.

      “I think Trump is the absolute worst candidate that the Republican Party could put forth,” said Craig Licciardi of Flint, an alternate delegate from Texas who said that he supported the roll call vote. (Nearly half the delegates attending the convention are technically “alternates,” who don’t get an actual vote on the floor.)

      Like many from his state’s delegation, he wore a Lone Star shirt and a cowboy hat. “He’s a Democrat in disguise,” Licciardi said. “I would hope that everything he says has a measure of truth to it, but it was only a few years ago that he was praising Hillary and Bill as his good friends, and good people.”

    • The Long, Sad, Corrupted Devolution of the GOP, From Eisenhower to Donald Trump

      The Intercept and our partners at AJ+ produced the video above documenting the GOP’s 60-year-long de-evolution

      The Republican Party is poised to nominate a presidential candidate who has built his platform on promises to ban a billion people from entering the United States based on their religious faith and build a gigantic wall south of the border.

      But Donald J. Trump is not an accident. The GOP has in the last 40 years relentlessly devolved away from addressing the needs of ordinary people, catering instead to extreme ideologies and the wealthiest donors.

      Rather than addressing pressing problems like income inequality and climate change, the modern GOP focuses instead on cutting taxes for the super-wealthy, expanding earth-killing carbon extraction, and endless war.

      But it wasn’t always this way. Sixty years ago, the Republican Party was advocating for civil rights and gender equality, a stronger welfare state, and to protect the environment. This is the story of the Republican Party that once was.

    • American Pravda: Relying Upon Maoist Professors of Cultural Studies

      Last week America suffered the loss of Sydney Schanberg, widely regarded as one of the greatest journalists of his generation. Yet as I’d previously noted, when I read his long and glowing obituary in the New York Times, I was shocked to see that it included not a single word concerning the greatest story of his career, which had been the primary focus of the last quarter century of his research and writing.

      The cynical abandonment of hundreds of American POWs at the end of the Vietnam War must surely rank as one of the most monumental scandals of modern times, and the determined effort of the mainstream media to maintain this enormous governmental cover-up for over four decades raises serious doubts about whether we can believe what our newspapers report about anything else.

      A couple of mainstream academics, one liberal and one conservative, whose names would be recognized as those of prominent public intellectuals, dropped me notes strongly applauding my effort to reopen the POW controversy and help get the truth out at last.

    • GOP Leans In To Misogyny During Convention

      Each day of the Republican National Convention, as tens of thousands of delegates, reporters, and curious onlookers pushed and shoved their way down a single narrow street leading to the arena’s main stage, a group of vendors hawked t-shirts and buttons attacking Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

    • R.I.P., GOP?

      The Republican Party came to life as the bastion of “Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Speech, Free Men.” It was a reformist party dedicated to stopping the spread of slavery and to fighting a “Slave Power” its founders saw as undermining free institutions.

      The new political organization grew out of the old Whigs and reflected the faith that Henry Clay and his admirer Abraham Lincoln had in the federal government’s ability to invest in fostering economic growth and expanding educational opportunity. Its partisans embodied what John C. Calhoun, slavery’s chief ideological defender, described disdainfully as “the national impulse.” It was, in fact, a good impulse.

    • Trump-Loving KKK Leader: Jewish Speechwriter Sabotaged Melania Trump

      In the last 24 hours, the Donald Trump campaign has offered a number of dubious excuses for why Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention’s opening night appeared to lift passages of First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic Convention speech word-for-word. Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, who has enthusiastically endorsed Trump, offered a novel explanation: the Jewish agenda.

      Trump initially refused to disavow the notorious white supremacist’s endorsement, eventually distancing himself from Duke after pressure from the party establishment. But Duke has continued to vociferously defend Trump against all accusations of racism, generally by blaming the Jews.

    • Melania Trump Remarks on Values Plagiarized From Michelle Obama

      A central portion of Melania Trump’s speech to the Republican National Convention on Monday night, about the core values her parents instilled in her and her sister as children, seems to have been lifted almost word for word from the speech Michelle Obama gave on the first night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

    • GOP Platform Calls for Elimination of Almost All Campaign Finance Laws

      A key part of Donald Trump’s campaign to become the Republican presidential nominee was based on claiming to self-fund his campaign while calling his opponents “puppets” of big contributors. But the 2016 Republican platform takes some of the most extreme positions on money in politics, measures that would force almost all politicians to seek out their own personal puppet masters.

      First, the GOP platform advocates “raising or repealing contribution limits” on donations directly to politicians.

      Currently individuals can give only $2,700 per election directly to a candidate. Primaries count as separate elections, so you can give Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s campaigns $5,400 – half for the primary and half for the general elections.

      Thanks to Citizens United and related rulings, you can also — if you can afford to — give unlimited amounts to Super PACs that are theoretically uncoordinated with campaigns.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • GCHQ and Leamington charity aim to inspire girls to take up a career in cyber security [Ed: Today's femmewashing]
    • Surveillance, power and communication

      Algorithms make digitally mediated surveillance or watching over technically very easy. Applications can support and mitigate the damage of disasters, they can help protect people in public spaces, they can help signal health risks and in that sense, they combat disease. They help in monitoring climate change. Algorithms are being used to help companies to boost profits and countries are (in some cases) experiencing economic growth as a result – that is the claim and it can be verified. Algorithms also of course support sousveillance or undersight as Steve Mann and others call it; and so algorithmic based watching from below also supports a radical politics of resistance.

    • What Could Go Wrong With Asking Teachers To Monitor Kids for ‘Extremist’ Beliefs?

      The FBI wants to implement a program to counter extremism in U.S. schools that’s similar to a disastrous one in the U.K.

      Are these the tell-tale signs of kids at risk of committing violence: An 8-year-old who wore a t-shirt saying he wanted to be like a seventh-century Muslim leader? A 17-year-old who sought to draw attention to the water shortage in Gaza by handing out leaflets? A 4-year-old who drew a picture of his dad slicing a vegetable?

      Teachers and school officials in the United Kingdom thought so, and they referred these children for investigation as potential terrorists. They were interrogated by U.K. law enforcement. They’re likely subject to ongoing monitoring, with details of their childhoods maintained in secret government files potentially indefinitely.

      A report released last week by Rights Watch (UK) highlights these and other children’s experiences under a U.K. countering violent extremism (CVE) program known as Prevent. Prevent imposes a legal obligation on schools to implement policies assessing whether children have “extremist” views or are at risk of engaging in terrorism, and to “intervene as appropriate.” Intervention may include referring the child to a related program in which panels of police officers, teachers, and other government employees identify children they think are vulnerable to terrorist recruitment.

      Why should any of this concern Americans? Because the FBI wants to do something a little bit too close for comfort in U.S. schools, and American schoolchildren may come under similar suspicion and scrutiny.

    • France orders Microsoft to stop collecting excessive user data

      The French data protection authority on Wednesday ordered Microsoft to stop collecting excessive data on users of its Windows 10 operating system and serving them personalized ads without their consent.

      The French data authority, Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), said the US company had three months to stop tracking browsing by users so that Windows apps and third-party apps can offer them targeted advertising without their consent, failing which it could initiate a sanctions procedure.

      A number of EU data protection authorities created a contact group to investigate Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system following its launch in July 2015, the French privacy watchdog said.

    • Now You Can Hide Your Smart Home on the Darknet

      The privacy software Tor has aided everything from drug dealing marketplaces to whistleblowing websites in evading surveillance on the darknet. Now that same software can be applied to a far more personal form of security: keeping hackers out of your toaster.

      On Wednesday, the privacy-focused non-profit Guardian Project, a partner of the Tor Project that maintains and develops the Tor anonymity network, announced a new technique it’s developed to apply Tor’s layers of encryption and network stealth to protecting so-called “Internet of things” or “smart home” devices. That growing class of gadgets, ranging from refrigerators to lightbulbs to security cameras, are connected to the Internet to make possible new forms of remote management and automation. They also, as the security research community has repeatedly demonstrated, enable a new breed of over-the-Internet attacks, such as the rash of hackers harassing infants via baby monitors or the potential for hackers to steal your Gmail password from your fridge.

    • White privilege protects Taylor Swift’s Instagram while racist slurs force Leslie Jones off Twitter

      Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift had an exhausting day on the internet on Monday. In the immediate aftermath of Kardashian releasing video footage confirming that Swift did, in fact, have a conversation with Kanye West about her name drop in his song “Famous,” public opinion has taken a dramatic turn against Swift.

    • Instagram Protects Taylor Swift While Twitter Lets Racist Trolls Attack Leslie Jones

      Censorship on social media is a tricky issue. Platforms like Twitter and Instagram have to balance community policing with freedom of expression. When does bullying cross the line? Should hate speech be banned? And who gets to decide? It’s often a gray area — except when it’s black and white.
      Since Kim Kardashian uploaded snippets on Sunday night of Kanye’s conversation with Taylor Swift — you know, the phone call about “Famous” that Swift insisted never happened — Kimye supporters have been hard-core trolling Swift’s Instagram response to the debacle. Commenters have been calling her a liar, a fake, and things much nastier than that — or simply resorting to the snake emoji, as inspired by this tweet of Kardashian’s. Not nice — but nothing egregious or unusual, either.

    • Tor Veteran Lucky Green Exits and Withdraws Critical ‘Tonga’ Node and Relays
    • Health Gadgets and Apps Outpace Privacy Protections, Report Finds

      The federal patient privacy law known as HIPAA has not kept pace with wearable fitness trackers, mobile health apps and online patient communities, leaving a gaping hole in regulations that needs to be filled, according to a much-delayed government report released today.

      The report, which was supposed to be complete in 2010, does not include specific recommendations for fixing the problem, even though Congress asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide them.

    • Russia Asks For The Impossible With Its New Surveillance Laws

      It’s been a rough month for Internet freedom in Russia. After it breezed through the Duma, President Putin signed the “Yarovaya package” into law—a set of radical “anti-terrorism” provisions drafted by ultra-conservative United Russia politician Irina Yarovaya, together with a set of instructions on how to implement the new rules. Russia’s new surveillance laws include some of Bad Internet Legislation’s greatest hits, such as mandatory data retention and government backdoors for encrypted communications—policies that EFF has opposed in every country where they’ve been proposed.

      As if that wasn’t scary enough, under the revisions to the criminal code, Russians can now be prosecuted for “failing to report a crime.” Citizens now risk a year in jail for simply not telling the police about suspicions they might have about future terrorist acts.

      But some of the greatest confusion has come from Internet service providers and other telecommunication companies. These organizations now face impossible demands from the Russian state. Now they can be ordered to retain every byte of data that they transmit, including video, telephone calls, text messages, web traffic, and email for six months—a daunting and expensive task that requires the kind of storage capacity that’s usually associated with NSA data centers in Utah. Government access to this data no longer requires a warrant. Carriers must keep all metadata for three years; ISPs one year. Finally, any online service (including social networks, email, or messaging services) that uses encrypted data is now required to permit the Federal Security Service (FSB) to access and read their services’ encrypted communications, including providing any encryption keys.

    • Deep Dive: EFF’s New Wordlists for Random Passphrases

      Randomly-generated passphrases offer a major security upgrade over user-chosen passwords. Estimating the difficulty of guessing or cracking a human-chosen password is very difficult. It was the primary topic of my own PhD thesis and remains an active area of research. (One of many difficulties when people choose passwords themselves is that people aren’t very good at making random, unpredictable choices.)

    • The Things We Need to Know

      The national security state steps out of bounds.

      [...]

      After 9/11, Hayden and a small group of White House officials, intelligence officers, and lawyers secretly put in place a warrantless wiretapping program whose purported legality relied on radical exceptions to both the Fourth Amendment and a federal statute that strictly governs foreign-intelligence surveillance on domestic soil. Even as he defends the program, codenamed “Stellarwind,” as a “logical response” to 9/11 and “not the product of demented cryptologic minds,” Hayden calls it “the agency’s edgiest undertaking in its history.” (He may be right, but he devotes just five lines to describing the program’s most legitimate competitor for that title: the vast domestic spying, detailed in the 1975 and ’76 Church Committee Reports, that he calls a “scandal” in scare quotes. He mentions government surveillance of “the likes of” Jane Fonda, Joan Baez, and Benjamin Spock; he leaves out a host of legislators and civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr.) Situating the controversy Stellarwind ignited, Hayden writes my favorite sentence in the book: “Domestic intelligence has always been countercultural in America.”

    • Pokemon Go Cheat Fools GPS with Software Defined Radio

      Using Xcode to spoof GPS locations in Pokemon Go (like we saw this morning) isn’t that much of a hack, and frankly, it’s not even a legit GPS spoof. After all, it’s not like we’re using an SDR to spoof the physical GPS signal to cheat Pokemon Go.

    • DOJ Pushes Out Legislation Proposal To Undercut Microsoft Case Decision About Overseas Searches

      No sooner had the ink dried on the Second Circuit Appeals Court decision regarding Microsoft and its overseas servers than new legislation designed to undercut the court’s finding has been printed up by the DOJ and presented to the administration.

      Microsoft successfully argued that the US government couldn’t force it to unlock a server in Dublin, Ireland, so it could rummage around for evidence. Nor could the DOJ force the company to act on its behalf, performing a search of its overseas servers for documents the US government couldn’t access otherwise.

      Since that decision obviously just won’t do, the DOJ has presented proposed legislation [PDF] that would alter existing Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) so the agency can do the very thing a court just said it couldn’t do.

      The details are discussed in, um, detail over at the Lawfare blog by none other than a former DOJ lawyer (David Kris). Needless to say, the post skews towards “supportive,” but the analysis is thorough and offers some excellent insight on what the DOJ hopes to open up — and what it’s willing to concede in return for this new power.

    • Former Marine Dad Blames Son’s Beating Death on PTSD
    • Md. dad who killed adopted son sentenced to 12 years in prison
    • Former NSA Employee Sentenced for Adopted Son’s Death
    • Former NSA official gets 12 years in death of adopted son

      A former division chief for the National Security Agency, who admitted that he hurled his 3-year-old adopted son against a wall in his Maryland home, was sentenced to 12 years in prison Tuesday for the boy’s death.

    • War veteran gets 12 years in prison for brutally killing three-year-old adopted son
    • PTSD claim helps deadly dad get low end sentence
    • Former NSA official sentenced to 12 years in death of adopted son

      Much of the six-hour hearing dealt with O’Callaghan’s mental state. He had served tours in Kosovo and Iraq as a Marine, saw the dead bodies of children, and was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, testimony showed. His attorney, Steven McCool, described that history as a mitigating factor in the crime.

    • Theresa May wrong to pass spy law, and DRIPA opinion proves it—MP says

      Politicians, lawyers, and civil rights groups have slammed the UK government’s present and future surveillance laws in light of the advocate general’s opinion on the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA)—which said that Theresa May’s emergency spy law is legal if strong safeguards are in place.

      [...]

      Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson—who, alongside Tory MP and the government’s new Brexit chief David Davis—brought the original legal action against the UK’s DRIPA legislation, said: “This legal opinion shows the prime minister was wrong to pass legislation when she was home secretary that allows the state to access huge amounts of personal data without evidence of criminality or wrongdoing.”

      Human rights group Liberty, which represented Watson in the courts, said that if the CJEU judges agree with the advocate general’s opinion, “the decision could stop the government’s fatally flawed Investigatory Powers Bill in its tracks and mark a watershed moment in the fight for a genuinely effective, lawful, and targeted system of surveillance that keeps British people safe and respects their rights.”

    • Germany Wants To Put Black Boxes In Self-driving Cars, Just Like Airplanes
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • There Will Be No Second American Revolution: The Futility of an Armed Revolt

      America is a ticking time bomb.

      All that remains to be seen is who—or what—will set fire to the fuse.

      We are poised at what seems to be the pinnacle of a manufactured breakdown, with police shooting unarmed citizens, snipers shooting police, global and domestic violence rising, and a political showdown between two presidential candidates equally matched in unpopularity.

      The preparations for the Republican and Democratic national conventions taking place in Cleveland and Philadelphia—augmented by a $50 million federal security grant for each city—provide a foretaste of how the government plans to deal with any individual or group that steps out of line: they will be censored, silenced, spied on, caged, intimidated, interrogated, investigated, recorded, tracked, labeled, held at gunpoint, detained, restrained, arrested, tried and found guilty.

      For instance, anticipating civil unrest and mass demonstrations in connection with the Republican Party convention, Cleveland officials set up makeshift prisons, extra courtrooms to handle protesters, and shut down a local university in order to house 1,700 riot police and their weapons. The city’s courts are preparing to process up to 1,000 people a day. Additionally, the FBI has also been conducting “interviews” with activists in advance of the conventions to discourage them from engaging in protests.

    • Court Says There’s No Remedy For Person Whose Vehicle Was Subjected To Civil Forfeiture After An Illegal Search

      A bizarre case comes out of the Texas court system — landing squarely in the middle of a legal Bermuda Triangle where illegal searches meet civil asset forfeiture… and everything is still somehow perfectly legal. (via FourthAmendment.com)

      The facts of the case: police officers arrested Miguel Herrera and seized his 2004 Lincoln Navigator. An inventory search of the vehicle uncovered drugs and the state moved to seize the vehicle itself as “contraband” using civil (rather than criminal — this is important) asset forfeiture. Herrera argued that the stop itself was illegal and anything resulting from it — the drugs and the civil seizure of the vehicle — should be suppressed.

      The Supreme Court of Texas examines the facts of the case, along with the applicable statutes, and — after discarding a US Supreme Court decision that would have found in Herrera’s favor — decides there’s nothing he can do to challenge the seizure. He can’t even move to suppress the evidence uncovered following the illegal stop — the same search that led to the state seizing his vehicle under civil forfeiture statutes.

    • FBI, Police ‘Visited’ Activists’ Homes Ahead of the Republican National Convention

      In another step towards the fascist state Donald Trump has warm dreams envisioning, FBI agents and Cleveland police officers “visited” the homes of local activists in an attempt to gather intelligence on possible planned demonstrations surrounding the Republican National Convention.

    • Republican Congressman Steve King Sets White Supremacist Tone in Cleveland

      Steve King, a Republican congressman from Iowa, insisted on Monday that there was nothing wrong with the lack of diversity at the Republican National Convention since, he said, members of other races had contributed relatively little to human civilization.

      King’s literal assertion of white supremacy, in response to criticism of the party by the Esquire blogger Charlie Pierce, came during a live appearance on MSNBC, and seemed to stun the host, Chris Hayes, as well as Pierce and April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks’ Washington bureau chief.

    • Amid Unrest, South Sudanese Journalist Arrested

      Alfred Taban, a prominent South Sudanese journalist and editor-in-chief of the Juba Monitor, was arrested by government national security service agents on Saturday, according to the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (DefendDefenders). His arrest reportedly stemmed from his recent editorial calling for the removal of South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir and his first vice president Riek Machar, following a new round of bloodletting in South Sudan’s long-running civil war.

      “What Alfred wrote was within the constitutional right (freedom of expression), it is not an offense,” Edmund Yakani, the executive director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, a civil society organization that tracks the harassment of journalists, told The Intercept by email.

    • The dangerous denial of dangerous instincts

      Power-seeking demagogues appeal, unknowingly, to our dangerous instinct to fear and hate rival groups: unknowingly, partly because the scientific community denies the existence of instinct.

    • Puerto Rican Police Officials Find Out They Can’t Force Officers to Pray or Demote Them When They Refuse

      It’s really simple: Government officials cannot punish subordinates for refusing to pray.

      How does a 13-year veteran of the Puerto Rico Police Department go from being a patrol officer to washing police cars? In the case of Officer Alvin Marrero-Méndez, all it took was refusing to participate in his boss’s official Christian prayers. After Officer Marrero-Méndez, an atheist, objected to the unlawful practice and declined to join his colleagues in prayer, he was demeaned by his supervisors, stripped of his gun, and effectively demoted to a messenger and car-washer.

      In 2013, the ACLU and ACLU of Puerto Rico filed a federal lawsuit against Officer Marrero-Méndez’s supervisors. Today, ruling against the supervisors, a federal appeals court affirmed the obvious: The government cannot punish someone for refusing to pray, and officials who violate this basic constitutional principle can be held liable in court for their conduct.

      The defendants had argued that they should be immune from liability because, according to them, the law at the time was not clearly established. But as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit explained today, “If these actions do not establish religious coercion, we would be hard-pressed to find what would.”

    • Police officer among three stabbed as Hyde Park water fight turns ugly

      One police officer was stabbed and another injured after a water fight in London’s Hyde Park on the hottest day of the year turned violent.

      Two other people suffered stab wounds in addition to the police officer as the park descended into a “war zone”.

    • Hyde Park disorder – two police officers injured and two others stabbed
    • Security, Territory and Population Part 2: Initial Discussion of Security

      The first lecture in the series Foucault calls Security, Territory and Population is primarily a discussion of security. Instead of a definition, Foucault gives two sets of examples. The first group involves penal statutes. In the simplest case, there is a prohibited practice (you shall not steal) and a punishment (amputation). In the second, the disciplinary case, the prohibition and the punishment are present, but in a more complex context, including a system of supervisions, inspections and checks to identify the likelihood that a person will commit a crime; and instead of a spectacular punishment like amputation or banishment, there are incarceration and efforts at transforming the person. In the third case, the first two remain in place, but we add a supervisory regime of statistics and other efforts to understand the problem created by the prohibited practice and to set up mechanisms that are cost-effective in trying to keep the prohibited acts at a tolerable level with cost-benefit analysis and other constructs.

      The second set of examples concerns illness. In the Middle Ages, leprosy was dealt with using a strict protocol of separation. A bit later, the Plague was treated with a robust series of quarantines, inspections and other regulatory steps to prevent spread. In the third case, there is smallpox, treated with inoculations, so that the crucial questions are the effectiveness of the vaccine, the modes of insuring widespread inoculation, and other more formal statistical understandings.

    • The choice before the Labour party

      Underlying this question for the party was a question for the country as a whole, the fundamental and perennial question, ‘who is to be master?’ Is society to be dominated by a few hundred thousand bankers, industrialists and landowners? Or will the whole nation come to comprehend and control its economic policy and ‘distribute the product of its labours in accordance with some generally recognised principles of justice?’

    • Brazil’s Largest Newspaper Commits Major Journalistic Fraud to Boost Interim President Temer

      One of the looming mysteries during the last several months of Brazil’s political crisis (as The Intercept has repeatedly noted) has been the complete absence of polling data from the country’s largest media outlets and polling firms. The lower house voted on April 17 — more than three months ago — to send to the Senate impeachment charges against democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff, which resulted in the temporary installation of her vice president, Michel Temer, as “interim president.”

      Since then, there had been no published polls from Datafolha — the polling firm used by Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de.S Paulo — asking Brazilians if they favor Dilma’s impeachment, if they favor the impeachment of Temer, and/or if they want new elections to choose a new president. The last Datafolha poll prior to the impeachment vote was on April 9, and it found that 60 percent favored Dilma’s impeachment, while 58 percent favored the impeachment of Temer. It also found that 60 percent wanted Temer to resign after Dilma was impeached, and 79 percent favored new elections once they both left.

    • Former STL Cardinals Scouting Director Gets Jail Time For Illegally Accessing Astros Scouting Database

      If you’ll recall, early on this year we wrote about the very strange story in which the at-the-time scouting director for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chris Correa, used the old passwords of a former employee who had since taken a job with the Houston Astros to break into the opposing team’s scouting database. The actions were fairly brazen, leading many to wonder how in the world Correa thought he was going to get away with this. The government charged him under the CFAA, to which Correa pleaded guilty. At the time, I concluded the post guessing that Correa, given his standing and the fact that he isn’t named Aaron Swartz, would get off with minimal if any jail time.

    • Cardinals Employee Sentenced to Almost 4 Years in Prison for Guessing a Password

      Christopher Correa, the former scouting director for Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals, has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for guessing the password of a Houston Astros manager.

    • Rudy Giuliani Brags About Treating All Muslims Like Criminal Suspects

      In his grab-the-pitchforks address to the Republican National Convention on Monday night, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani insisted the enemy wasn’t “most of Islam,” just “Islamic extremist terrorism.”

      But in an interview with The Intercept on the convention floor Tuesday night, Giuliani enthusiastically defended policies that treat all Muslims like criminal suspects.

      Asked whether he supports Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s proposals to have police spy on mosques, Giuliani replied “I was the mayor who put police officers in mosques, in New York and New Jersey.”

      Giuliani even claimed credit for a longer history of police surveillance of New York area mosques than is widely known, predating the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “We did it for the eight years I was mayor,” he said. Giuliani was mayor from 1994 through December 2001.

      “After the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center by Islamic extremist terrorists from New Jersey, I did it in early January of 1994.”

      After the 9/11 attacks, the New York Police Department launched a now well-documented but then-secret program of spying on every mosque within a 100-mile radius of New York City, including in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New England. The department acknowledged in 2012 court testimony that the program had never generated an investigative lead and in 2014, Mayor Bill De Blasio shut down the program’s most controversial unit.

    • Cleveland Police Swarm Protestors Brandishing Tennis Balls

      Dozens of police officers swarmed protestors from the activist group CodePink outside a main entrance to the Republican National Convention Tuesday, because they were holding tennis balls.

      In June, the City of Cleveland added tennis balls to its list of prohibited items inside a 3.3 square mile “event zone,” surrounding the Quicken Loans Arena. Other prohibited items included tape, rope, bike locks, and any stepstool that could be used to address a crowd. But the prohibition did not apply to guns – meaning that convention attendees and onlookers are allowed to openly carry firearms, including assault weapons.

      Cleveland Police requested that Ohio Gov. John Kasich suspend open carry laws inside the “event zone,” but he denied the request.

    • Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Long Nightmare at Guantánamo Is Finally Coming to an End

      After 14 years, the author of ‘Guantánamo Diary’ has been cleared for release from indefinite detention by the government.

      After 14 long years languishing at Guantánamo without charge or trial, Mohamedou Slahi has finally been cleared for release.

      Today the Periodic Review Board — a panel of national security, intelligence, and other officials — made that decision after determining that Slahi poses no significant threat to the United States. The government of his native Mauritania has said that it would welcome him home.

      Slahi is the author of the best-selling memoir “Guantánamo Diary,” and he appeared before the Periodic Review Board on June 2. We provided the PRB with a slew of evidence and support for Mohamedou’s release. We especially appreciate the letter of support from a former U.S. military guard at Guantánamo who was assigned to Slahi for 10 months, and another support letter from former chief prosecutor for the Guantánamo military commissions, Col. Morris Davis.

      A campaign to free Slahi spearheaded by the ACLU has gathered major support both in the U.S. and abroad. The ACLU and Change.org have collected more than 100,000 signatures calling for his release. High-profile supporters of the petition include Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Roger Waters. In the U.K., several members of Parliament signed a letter urging the British government to call on the U.S. to release Slahi.

    • “Guantánamo Diary” Author Cleared for Release After 14-Year Imprisonment

      An interagency review board has determined that Guantánamo detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi poses no threat to the United States and has recommended that he be released, setting the bestselling author on the path to be reunited with his family.

      Slahi was arrested in his native Mauritania in 2001, and was held and tortured in secret prisons in Afghanistan and Jordan before being secreted to Guantánamo, an odyssey he recounted in a memoir, Guantánamo Diary, which became a bestseller last year. He has been imprisoned for over 14 years without being charged with a crime.

      In early June, Slahi made his case to the Periodic Review Board as part of a sort of parole process instituted by the Obama administration to evaluate the cases of the remaining men at Guantanamo to determine if they might be safely transferred to another country.

      At that hearing, Slahi’s advocates, including his lawyer and two representatives from the military, described his plans to continue writing and to start a small business, and noted the strong network of family and other supporters who could help him. They spoke to his unusual language skills and warm relationship with his lawyers and even the guards assigned to him. The military representatives described him as “an advocate for peace,” and stated that they were “certain that Mohamedou’s intentions after Guantánamo are genuine, and that he possesses sound judgment, and that he is good for his word.” One former guard submitted a letter attesting that he “would be pleased to welcome [Slahi] into my home.” (In keeping with the general secrecy of proceedings at Guantánamo, Slahi was not allowed speak during the open portion of the review, and he declined to have his own statement from the closed session made public.)

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • La Quadrature du Net answers to BEREC EU consulation on Net Neutrality

      Today ends the BEREC consultation on Net Neutrality. This consultation aimed at consulting the people on the guidelines clarifying the implementation of the telecom regulation1. The version sent by La Quadrature du Net is the one written by the FDN Federation, we believe this answer is appropriate and we support its provisions.

    • Europe Builds a Network for the Internet of Things. Will the Devices Follow?

      With much industry fanfare last month, Dutch telco KPN announced that it had completed nationwide coverage of the Netherlands in a wireless Internet of things network. Like a traditional cellular network, but with far lower costs and energy requirements, KPN’s network can connect sensors monitoring everything from rail switches at Utrecht Central station to depth sounders at the Port of Rotterdam and baggage handling at Schiphol Airport.

    • Handover of internet control to ICANN now officially blocked by Republican policy

      The planned transition of the internet’s critical technical functions from the US government to a technical body may come under further attack after the Republican Party officially agreed to block it on Monday.

      The Republican Platform for 2016 [PDF] was formally approved during a chaotic first day of the party’s national convention in Cleveland, and among its 66 pages of policy positions is its stance on “Protecting Internet Freedom.”

      In contrast to most of the document, the effort to move ultimate control of IANA from the US Department of Commerce (DoC) to non-profit DNS overseer ICANN is covered in largely hyperbolic terms.

    • IoT Gateways

      IoT Gateways connect IoT Devices to IoT back-end systems. Gateways connect to devices using interfaces like Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth, 6LoWPAN, RS-485 and CANbus. Gateways connect to back-end systems through the Internet, commonly using Ethernet, WiFi, or cellular connections. Gateways perform multiple tasks, including concatenation of multiple devices, protocol conversion, device management, and security. Gateways may also perform application processing.

  • DRM
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • EU Anti-Counterfeiting Rapid Intelligence System: One Database For All Data On IPR Infringement

      The Anti-Counterfeiting Rapid Intelligence System (ACRIS) is new database created by EUIPO’s Observatory in cooperation with DG Trade. The database provides EU companies with an overview of IP risks in third countries and offers a collection of IPR infringement cases. In the database, information is also given on the actions taken by third country local authorities in response to IP infringements. This information is intended to help companies to make informed decisions as to their business strategies in third countries and how to avoid and mitigate risks of IP infringement.

    • UK Government Called To Action To Further Boost IP Enforcement

      The United Kingdom-based Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) industry group launched a “manifesto” earlier this month, calling on the government to establish a more effective and comprehensive response to intellectual property crime.

      A summary press release and the manifesto can be found here.

      The UK government is estimated by industry to lose £1.3 billion in unpaid tax from the sale of counterfeits. Additionally, whilst there has been an increase in the counterfeit products entering the UK markets, there has unfortunately been a decrease in the number of these products being seized at EU borders, the group said.

    • Patenting By Universities Unhelpful, Paper Says; WIPO Programme To Be Reviewed

      A new publication analysing the relationship between intellectual property and access to science explores ways countries have developed to counter the potential barriers created by IP rights, and says patenting by universities is counterproductive.

    • AIDS Conference: Will The UN High-Level Panel Report Deliver R&D And Access To Medicines?

      The lessons derived from the history of AIDS treatment have become a rallying call for civil society organisations globally. Not being able to afford AIDS medicines should not be repeated for people with other diseases, including HIV co-infections, treatment activists told world leaders here.

    • Copyrights
      • German Software Company Sues US Gov’t For Copyright Infringement

        A German software company, Bitmanagement Software, is now suing the US government for copyright infringement and demanding almost $600 million. The lawsuit, which was filed in the US Court of Federal Claims (basically a special court set up just for cases involving suing the US government for money), says that the US Navy copied Bitmanagement’s 3D virtual reality software, BS Contact Geo. Apparently, the Navy had tested the software and had an evaluation license allowing the software to be used on 38 computers. And then the Navy just copied it onto hundreds of thousands of computers.

        The lawsuit notes that the Navy had specifically requested the removal of Bitmanagement’s usage tracking code, and then told the company that it wanted to license the software for upwards of 500,000 computers — but also that it started doing those installs while the company was still negotiating a license. While that negotiation was ongoing, someone (accidentally, apparently) forwarded an email to Bitmanagement indicating that the software had already been installed on 104,922 computers. Apparently, a few months later, the Navy also disabled some other tracking software, called Flexwrap. This part is a bit confusing in the lawsuit, since earlier it notes that the evaluation contract required Bitmanagement to remove tracking software, but then the lawsuit notes that later on it was the Navy that removed Flexwrap, “in violation of the terms” of the license.

      • The conflict between social media and copyright

        Sharing is an inherent feature of social media. But, asks Alice Gatignol, is there any way this can be reconciled with established principles of copyright protection?

      • How Google Fights Piracy? 523,000,000 Pirate Links Removed In 2016

        Copyright holders running after pirates is not a new tune to our ears. Google, the biggest search engine provider on the planet, publishes regular reports of their fight against removing pirated content. They’ve managed to blank out around 523 million links from Google Search this year and will continue to remove more of them in the coming months.

      • Francis Gurry appoints Sylvie Forbin, lobbyist for Vivendi, as new head of copyright at WIPO

        Francis Gurry has appointed the new Deputy Director General for the Copyright and Creative Industry Sector. She is Sylvie Forbin, a national of France, and most recently Senior Vice President for Public and European Affairs, for Vivendi. Here is the WIPO announcement: as PDF.

        If the past is a guide, she is a hardliner for the industry, opposing user rights and favoring very aggressive enforcement measures.

        Among other things, she has described the social movements for access to knowledge as “very organized” and “opaque networks” that serve technology giants.

      • A Fan’s Case For Putting Batman & Superman In The Public Domain

        The crux of the argument is that these iconic characters currently appear to be in a bit of a death spiral. Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman met with a mixed-at-best response from fans and critics, and while both made good money in the big picture, they also showed some worrying signs — like failing to catch up to Marvel’s superhero movies (which was the whole point) and breaking records of audience drop-off between the much-hyped opening night and the following week (when word begins to get around that the movie sucks). Schmidt is not the first to attribute this to the creators’ disdain for the characters: Zack Snyder has openly expressed his lack of real interest in Batman and Superman, and made it clear that he doesn’t really understand their appeal. Writer David Goyer has made similar comments. And the same people are already hard at work on the follow-up Justice League films, which seem unlikely to break the pattern of mediocrity.

      • Farmers Demand Right to Fix Their Own Dang Tractors

        This might be hard to believe for non-farmers, but owners of tractors aren’t actually allowed to fix them, thanks to a set of laws designed to protect software intellectual property.

      • Cable Industry’s False Copyright Claims Are Killing Cable Box Reform Efforts

        In the quest to stop the FCC from bringing competition to the set top box, the cable industry has trotted out all manner of misleading arguments, most of which have been pushed in editorials in newspapers nationwide without highlighting author ties to the sector. Some of them have tried to pretend that cable box competition will create a piracy apocalypse. Others have tried to somehow argue that better, cheaper hardware and choices will somehow harm minority communities. Most of those are just flimsy attempts to try and keep the FCC from cracking open a $21 billion monopoly on cable box rental fees.

        Fearing their own loss of control, the entertainment industry has joined the cable sector in also claiming new cable box rules will somehow violate copyright law. Under the FCC’s original proposal (pdf), the agency simply states that existing cable content must be delivered to third-party hardware using the copy protection of the industry’s choice. Nothing in the rules will change that, or magically give third-party vendors the right to violate copyright. Still, opponents of the rules have consistently tried to claim the rules are some kind of cabal by Google to freeload off of and repackage “their innovation.”

EPO USA: Under Battistelli, the ‘European’ Patent Office Emulates All the Mistakes of the USPTO

Wednesday 20th of July 2016 09:43:53 AM

Patent maximalism (rubberstamping), low examination quality, fiscal preference for large corporations and much more

Summary: Conservative Benoît Battistelli is trying to impose on the European Patent Office various truly misguided policies and he viciously attacks anyone or anything that stands in his way, including his formal overseers

MYSELF and others at Techrights worry deeply. We worry that Battistelli (of UMP, the French conservative party) will turn the Office into another large corporations-leaning USPTO and London (or some other European cities) into the next Eastern District of Texas, complete with venue shifting (dragging defendants to a distant and plaintiff-friendly court), high/unbearable litigation costs that favour settlement in spite of injustice (unless the defendant has deep pockets), massive scope of injunctions (beyond an entire continent), and of course software patents (among other low-quality patents). One reader told us yesterday, “have you heard of the latest load of rubbish from the EPO?” See the above screenshot. No comment is even necessary. How much Europe is there in the ‘European’ Patent Office when foreign companies are enjoying a fast lane?

“How much Europe is there in the ‘European’ Patent Office when foreign companies are enjoying a fast lane?”EPO workers are rightly afraid. Their job security (and their entire employer) has been compromised and is now at mortal risk (stakeholders know what’s happening) because of Battistelli and his friends. Battistelli does not even seem to mind. He attacks sceptics, not just critics. He is like Munich’s Erdoğan. Stability is not the goal; implementing his self-serving vision is the goal. Megalomaniacs can never admit their mistakes and change course.

News sites have learned to distrust Battistelli. Yesterday, for example, Managing IP asked readers about the latest lies from Battistelli's PR department rather than publish an article about it, perhaps seeing it for what it really is (propaganda). Yesterday the EPO PR people were trying to spread the message, but we have not yet seen a single Web site (even IP sites) covering it. Journalists seem to have learned their lesson; Battistelli has zero credibility and zero approval rating among his staff.

“Journalists seem to have learned their lesson; Battistelli has zero credibility and zero approval rating among his staff.”Looking at IP Kat yesterday, we saw nothing but affirmation that people now know better that there is a profound problem at the EPO. “In this context,” one person wrote, “I am also reminded of persistent rumors that the EPO quality is down.” Here is the comment in full:

I reread the discussion again and it seems indeed that the days of the board of appeal are counted. Unfortunately, that also means that the examiners quality will not be controlled any more. When I talk to examiners, their main concern is that the BOA would turn over one of their decisions. THAT is what prevents them from cutting corners.
In this context, I am also reminded of persistent rumors that the EPO quality is down. And I also know that the Office is hiring less competent examiners, quite simply because the pay is not as attractive as it was. Munich is expensive, local firms are not finding the engineers they need and have raised their entry salaries accordingly while the EPO has lowered theirs.

I also read here that some patent attorneys are suggesting that the applicants use the national route, for increased legal certainty. How will that solve their problems when the competitor comes with an infrigement case based on an unclear, vague patent granted by the EPO and validated by the UPC, which will have force of law in all EU states?

Another person wrote that “at least in 2015, the EPO faced significant problems in recruiting.” We keep hearing from numerous sources that the EPO is struggling with brain drain and accordingly it lowered the recruitment bar. New workers don’t receive the same type of salaries and almost none of the benefits (not even job security). They are pressured to grant a lot of patents to justify their place at the EPO, which is exactly what happens at the USPTO (with notorious quality control in recent years). Here is the comment in full:

If you want to know the future of the EPO, take a peek at the official “social report”:

http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponet.nsf/0/CA803AEC70D6E89FC1257FF40042DAA4/$File/social_report_2015_en.pdf

Despite being nothing more than a dry and dusty collection of statistics, the report contains some interesting figures.

Some of these clearly demonstrate that, at least in 2015, the EPO faced significant problems in recruiting. For example, relative to the figures for 2014:

Numbers of advertised vacancies: up >25%
Number of job applications received: down 12%
Nationalities decreased presence: GB (-32), DE (-29), NL (-28), AT (-10), SE (-7), DK (-6), CH (-5), IE (-3), PT (-1), LU (-1)
Nationalities increased presence: RO (+9), ES (+8), IT (+6), PL (+6), TR (+4), BG (+3), RS (+3), LT (+2), FI (+1), FR (+1), HR (+1), MK (+1)
Permanent staff: down 1.3%
Contract staff: up 13.45%
New hires: down 30%
Termination of employment: up 44%
Increases in termination: retirement (+51%), resignation (+44%), invalidity (+36%)

The figures also show signs of increasingly aggressive management tactics, such as no strikes allowed in 2015 (vs. 22 days in 2014), 99% of all internal appeals rejected (vs. 88% in 2014). The trend at ILOAT, however, is going in the opposite direction (with allowed or partially allowed cases virtually doubling in percentage).

Given the shocking trends that it reveals (which appear to point to an organisation that is in crisis), I am somewhat surprised that this report was produced at all.

What do the AC have to say about this? Figures that speak for themselves surely cannot be brushed under the carpet so easily.

Responding to the above, one person wrote: “Of course they can – at the European Patent Office the money brought in by the increased productivity speaks louder than any figures.”

“It is true that the office is experiencing difficulties at recruiting,” another person noted:

It is true that the office is experiencing difficulties at recruiting. But that did not stop Minnoye to start a project to eliminate all examination stock backlog until end 2020. The project involves recruiting enough examiners to deal with the backlog (=hundreds) thereby creating “overcapacity”. The project started this month, the first applicant were sent letters requiring them to state wether they were still interested in examination.

Minnoye will push this at all cost: stock must be zero within 4 years.

The EPO’s “AC is a permanent fixture, and so will eventually have to deal with the mess that is currently being created,” one person wrote. The comment in full:

Sure, but the increase in money will only be a short-term effect. Unlike BB, the AC is a permanent fixture, and so will eventually have to deal with the mess that is currently being created. From this perspective, I still find it somewhat puzzling that the AC is doing so little to stop BB dynamiting the foundations upon which the EPO (and its reputation) is built.

It won’t be long before the general public, not just insiders at the EPO, recognise this crisis and demand change. It’s not too late to save the EPO, especially if there is public acknowledgement of the errors and then an effort to fix the errors. The main problem, however, remains; attracting again the same experienced examiners (some of whom left or retired early) is impossible and revisiting all the erroneously-granted patents would be laborious and harm ‘customer’ confidence.

Battistelli has secured his place in history books for the same reason Erdoğan has.

Links 19/7/2016: ARM and Opera Buyout

Tuesday 19th of July 2016 11:25:24 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Bryan Lunduke and Matt Hartley – The Boys Are Back

    After some “going back and forth”, Bryan and I have decided it was high time we did a proper show together. Here are the details you need to know. Yes, it’s actually happening!

  • Top 6 Desktop Linux Blunders

    Ever since I first tried Linux on my desktop years ago, I’ve found myself wincing at what I felt were avoidable blunders. This observation doesn’t affect one distro more than another, rather it’s ongoing issues I’ve watch in utter amazement happen time and time again.

    No, I’m not giving a free pass to proprietary operating systems as they also have their share of epic blunder moments. But with Linux on the desktop, I guess you could say it just hits a bit closer to home. Remember, these are not merely bugs – I’m also talking about avoidable issues that affect folks even if they don’t realize it.

  • Desktop
    • Microsoft Releases Patch to Block Linux from Running on the Original Surface RT [Ed: but Microsoft loves Linux]

      The Register claims that MS16-094 fixes a loophole that allowed users to install other operating systems on Windows RT devices, including here Linux. With Windows RT becoming an OS with no future, many have looked into ways to install a different operating system on the Surface RT, but most attempts failed because of the locked bootloader and the other security systems that Microsoft put in place.

  • Kernel Space
    • Intel Developer Proposes “Kernel NET Policy” For Better Linux Network Performance

      Intel developer Kan Liang has published a set of 30 patches amount to more than two thousand lines of new kernel for implementing what he calls the Kernel NET Policy.

    • SGX For Linux — Intel Open Sources A Tool To Protect Your Code And Data

      As promised, Intel has open sourced an early version of its SGX tool for Linux. Intel SGX is a set of instructions that create a private region for sensitive code and data. This enclave is invisible to even the machine’s CPU with root privileges. At the moment, this release only supports Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit version.

    • Hardware Design for Linux Engineers by Grant Likely

      At the Embedded Linux Conference, Grant Likely — who is a Linux kernel engineer, and maintainer of the Linux Device Tree subsystem used by many embedded systems — described his embedded hardware journey in a presentation called “Hardware Design for Linux Engineers” — or as he put it, “explaining stuff I only learned six months ago.”

    • Graphics Stack
      • Intel Has More DRM Graphics Fixes Needed For Kabylake In Linux 4.7

        The Linux 4.7 kernel is expected to be officially released this coming weekend, but a pile of Intel Kabylake fixes are needed if the DRM graphics support is to be in order.

        Intel’s Daniel Vetter sent in a request to DRM subsystem maintainer David Airlie to consider pulling these Kabylake (KBL) fixes for Linux 4.7. He explained, “here’s the pile of kbl cherry-picks assembled by Mika&Rodrigo. It’s a bit much, but all well-contained to kbl code and been tested for a while in drm-intel-next. Still separate in case too much, but in that case I think we’d need to disable kbl by default again (which would be annoying too) in 4.7.”

      • Maxwell OpenGL Improvements Coming To Nouveau
      • Intel Finishes Up Another OpenGL ES 3.2 Extension In Mesa
      • libinput 1.4.0

        libinput 1.4.0 is now available. New features since the RC are a reduced
        middlebutton area on Dell clickpads. All Dell touchpads have a visible
        marker between the left and the right button so the middle button can be
        smaller too – users have a visual guide where to click.

      • Libinput 1.4 Officially Released With Graphics Tablet Modes & More

        Libinput 1.4 was officially released over night to add new features to this input handling library used by Wayland, X.Org, and Mir systems.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Qt WebBrowser 1.0

        We have recently open sourced Qt WebBrowser!

      • Qt WebBrowser 1.0 Open-Sourced
      • KDE Neon OS, a review

        After hopping between Red Hat Linux, CentOS, Fedora, and Ubuntu LTS over the past decade, I recently decided to give KDE Neon a shot.

        The potential of a cutting edge desktop environment on a stable 16.04 Ubuntu base really attracted me, the first because I’m a stickler for a good GUI based UX, and the latter because most current software is built against RHEL/Ubuntu.

        However I should preface this by saying that I spend more time on Windows than the GNU/*nix based OS’s combined, and so my perspective in this review may be different than how you feel.

      • System Settings help needed

        First of all I need help, but before you help me I’d like to show you what a user without development skills can do to make plasma better.

        I already post about the system settings redesign and cause developer are busy with other tasks, I reviewed the existing modules and update them to fit (more) our vision. I know it’s not how I would prefere in the end but I did the changes without development skills (no compiling, no new code). I use qt-creator for edit the ui files and play around with qml.

        The Mouse cursor theme was updated, by move the buttons to bottom as in most other kcm’s. The height of the resolution depandant button will be change soon. (left plasma 5.7 right 5.8)

      • Current status for mailrendering in kube & kmail
      • From LaTeX to ConTeXt

        Every year I start to create a new book, every year I delete the book folder because I think it’s going into the wrong direction, and ths year is no different, I’m starting to write a book about Qt5 programming with C++11, I hope this time things can go different. And what I usually do is setup my LaTeX enviroment (kile, texlive, a few libraries and all that) – but I was hitting a UTF8 issue that \includepackage[utf8 or utf8-x][inputenc] didn’t solved… And if you are not well versed in Tex debugging things can go hairwire in just no time.

  • Distributions
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • Mageia 6 Wallpaper, OpenMandriva 3 RC, Desktop Blunders

        Today in Linux news the Mageia project announced the winner of their artwork contest for upcoming version 6 as well as some of the other being included. OpenMandriva 3.0 Release Candidate 1 is available for download although the project has yet to announce it and Korora 22 is nearing the end of support. Matt Hartley identified the top six Linux desktop blunders and several Linux reviews caught my eye today.

      • And the winner is….

        We have completed the artwork contest and would like to extend our thanks to everyone that took part, there were some excellent pieces submitted and choosing the winners was a tough task.

        We would like to congratulate Jacques Daugeron on winning the background contest, the runners up will be available in the extra theme package as well.

        Here is the signature background for Mageia 6, it will be included in the next updates to the theme packages.

      • Breeze everywhere

        The first half of this year, I had the chance to work on icon and design for two big free-software projects.

        First, I’ve been hired to work on Mageia. I had to refresh the look for Mageia 6, which mostly meant making new icons for the Mageia Control Center and all the internal tools.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Red Hat Shoots to Solve Container Storage with Gluster and OpenShift

        Red Hat is the newest organization to take a stab at the persistent storage challenge for containers. Last month, the open source giant announced a new Gluster-based storage option for OpenShift, the company’s open source platform for running containerized apps.

        Gluster and OpenShift are two key parts of the Red Hat technology stack. Gluster provides open source distributed storage, while OpenShift offers an integrated, one-stop platform for deploying and managing containers using Docker and Kubernetes.

      • Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 Xfce – As good as it gets

        CentOS 7.2 Xfce is the most satisfactory distribution on the market today, alongside Trusty. Not perfect, not plug-n-play, but it is supported, stable and quite friendly. I did need several hours to sort things out, and that’s the price for converting a server distro into a home operating system.

        In this guise, it works well, with a few small exceptions, one or two outstanding niggles that need fixing, and the knowledge that I needed some third-party gear to achieve the level of productivity that I normally seek. That precludes CentOS 7 from being perfect or a candidate for my production setup, but it might be just the thing for you. If you’re not as bothered as I am around unofficial repos and adding some extra software on your own, then look no further. CentOS 7.2 Xfce is a slick, modern, good-looking choice with all the goodies for a healthy modern life. It is better than KDE and Gnome flavors, and comes with the unbeatable blend of simplicity and functionality.

        If anyone out there is interested in making the perfect home distro, based on Red Hat, please consider my words as a template for what needs doing. Drivers (signed), third-party software, basic customization. And that’s it. So simple. Then again, so difficult. But this is the most sensible formula for desktop use you will have seen in a long, long time. Enjoy.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Korora 22 Is About to Reach EOL

          As Korora uses Fedora as the base for our distribution and thus follow the Fedora Project’s life cycle, Korora 22 Selina will reach it’s End Of Life status on 22nd July.

        • Fedora APAC budget FAD

          Last week I attended the Fedora APAC budget planning FAD for FY’18. Ie. planning for Fedora activities that we expect to conduct between Mar 2017 – Feb 2018 and requisite budget for the same. Last year with Fedora.next reforms, we adopted a new approach to regional budget planning with an aim to increase transparency in the process. In this, each geographical region(ex. APAC) elects three delegates who handle major regional responsibilities. The Treasurer manages regional finance. The Logistician takes care of swag/media/banner production, dispatch and general coordination for Fedora presence at various events. And the Storyteller would collate information about regional events/activities and their impact/benefits to the Fedora project and report the same to the Fedora Community Action and Impact Lead(FCL) and the Fedora Council.

        • Design Prototypes – Week 2
        • FESCo Elections: Interview with Dominik Mierzejewski (rathann)

          I have a degree in software engineering. For over 12 years, I’ve worked as a Unix system administrator, with a short stint as a software engineer. Currently, I work for Citi as a senior IT infrastructure analyst. My primary responsibility at work is expert-level support of a heterogeneous environment consisting of RHEL, Solaris and AIX systems, both physical and virtual machines. Working at Citi while simultaneously being a Fedora developer allowed me to see both ends of the distribution development process and made me appreciate the excellent work of Fedora contributors even more. My past jobs include development of a particle detector model at CERN and system and network administration at the supercomputing centre of the University of Warsaw.

    • Debian Family
      • Enter new tool for newbie: Handy Linux

        Handy Linux has come out with handy Linux its new weapon in its arsenal. It is quite a simplified version to use the Linux operating system on desktop. The Handy Linux surfaced at around three years ago, however in June the latest version was released.

        The developers have made it easy to remove the layers of Handy Linux to reveal the more standard Linux environments which the users can learn. The users who do not need the IT installation tools included in the initial installation can delete them using Handy2Ddebian app from Handy’s main menu.

        Handy Linux is a standard Debian based OS which is light and shows some mix of Xfce desktop ecosystem. The remixed desktop is the signature mark for the Handy Linux.

      • Video: Systemd in Debian, a status update

        On July 5th, 2016 Michael Biebl spoke at DebConf16 on systemd in Debian.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu Demo Wireless Convergence on Bq M10 Tablet

            A video demoing wireless convergence on the Bq M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet has been shared by Canonical today.

            Ubuntu phone fans will know that wireless display technology was made available to users of the Meizu PRO 5 Ubuntu phone in last month’s OTA-11 update.

            But for its latest over-the-air update Ubuntu is bringing it to the Bq Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition slate, which went on sale earlier in the year.

            “Our latest OTA-12 has just landed and we’re excited that you can now wirelessly connect your M10 tablet to a monitor,” Canonical say in the description accompanying the video.

            OTA 12 is, at the time of writing, scheduled to begin phased roll out from July 27, so don’t panic if you don’t get the update just yet!

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • 3 open source data visualization tools for Hadoop

    Looking for ways to draw meaningful conclusions from big data?

    In his lightning talk at Great Wide Open 2016, Rommel Garcia gives us quick takeaways for three open source tools that help Hadoop users do just that…

  • Splice Machine 2.0 combines HBase, Spark, NoSQL, relational…and goes open source

    Splice Machine is a well-kept secret though; Zweben told me the company has about 10 customers. Although he hails from the world of commercial software, Zweben believes that open sourcing the Splice Machine product will help spread the word more widely. So version 2 of the product will be available in a free and open source Community Edition with the full database engine. A paid Enterprise Edition, that includes professional support and DevOps features like integration with LDAP and Kerberos as well as backup and restore, will provide the monetization model for the company.

  • Splice Machine Open Sources Dual-Engine Big Data Technology
  • Splice Machine’s New Open-Source RDBMS Sandbox Goes Live on Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • As Splice Machine’s Database Goes Open Source, Apache Spark Could Spur it On

    Around the time that Splice Machine announced a milestone version of its RDBMS, which it bills as “the first hybrid in-memory RDBMS powered by Hadoop and Spark,” its fortunes were starting to rise along with Hadoop’s and Spark’s. In the big data space, there is tremendous need to marry powerful data analytics tools with powerful database tools. If you’re focusing on the Big Data and NoSQL arenas, along with relational databases, Splice Machine is worth a look.

    Now, Splice Machine is going open source, and it is also going live in a sandbox version on Amazon Web Services (AWS), so you can easily give it a try.

    Splice Machine aims to be a database solution that incorporates both the scalability of Hadoop, ANSI SQL, ACID transactions, and the in-memory performance of Spark.

  • How Open Source Guides Digital Transformation

    Almost everyone can agree the digital era is being fueled by five primary forces — mobile, social, sensor technologies, big data and the cloud. But doesn’t open source play a role in digital transformation as well?

    That was one of the topics discussed last week during a roundtable discussion sponsored by MIT Technology Review Custom and EnterpriseDB (EDB). The explored how open source software is helping organizations transform their infrastructures to meet today’s data-driven demands.

  • This Open Source Tool Can Map Out Bitcoin Payments

    Bitcoin is not anonymous. Anyone who has followed the dark web or the continuing regulation of the cryptocurrency should be familiar with that idea. If someone manages to link a real identity to a wallet—something that we’ve seen is possible—they can then follow other transactions around the public blockchain to see where else that person’s money has traveled.

  • CIR’s open-source Impact Tracker is live

    Almost two years ago, I began the process of building an Impact Tracker at The Center for Investigative Reporting to help us better understand the results of our work. Flash forward to today, and we have a custom-built platform that is being used by more than 20 organizations around the world.

    Today, we are releasing an open-source version, available to any organization.

  • OpenWest conference emphasizes importance of open-source technology

    Over 2,000 individuals wearing circuit board badges learned and talked about all things open source this past weekend at the South Towne Expo Center. The OpenWest conference is the largest regional tech conference promoting all things open— hardware, software, data, standards and more.

    The conference is put on by Utah Open Source and sponsored by V School, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Podium and Protocol, among others.

    Open source refers to software that anyone can see and edit. Open-source code is typically created in collaboration with both online and real-life communities. Liz Sands-Adams, OpenWest’s Director of the Privacy Education Track, said, “OpenWest survives because of a volunteer community that believes in empowering the open-source communities around them.”

  • Getting Exposure for Your Open Source Project

    With so many great open source projects spreading like wildfire, it is a great time to be a developer! I spend a considerable amount of time looking for great ideas across the open source community. For me, I’m always searching for modules we might include in our distributions, projects that could be enhanced and commercialized, or even crossovers into other areas for innovations. If something really resonates with our business we will apply resources to furthering that project.

    Generally, the first thing I do is hit the project description to see if it makes a connection with me. If it does, I’ll try it out or tag it for further research, perhaps even mention it on Twitter or discuss internally on a relevant Slack channel. Note, I did not look at your code, I looked at the idea. If you want your code to get out into the community, and actually ignite something bigger, you need to make sure your project is discoverable.

  • Web Browsers
  • SaaS/Back End
    • Prometheus unbound: Open source cloud monitoring

      Prometheus, an open source system for monitoring and alerting a wide spectrum of enterprise IT events, including containers, released its 1.0 revision this week.

      It’s also the second product in what amounts to a portfolio assembled by the CNCF (Cloud Native Computing Foundation) for realizing the promise of a container-powered cloud built entirely on open source and open standards.

    • Prometheus reaches 1.0
    • Simplify your OpenStack installation with open source tools

      To avoid any confusion, let’s make this clear: OpenStack is a cloud-operating system. OpenStack is not a VM, but rather sits on top of VMs. Also, OpenStack is written in Python.

      As you install each component, OpenStack installs a command-line tool that works in tandem with it. The problem is that each component — of which there are dozens — has its own command-line tool, each with its own name and parameters. For example, you run Keystone to install users and roles in the Identity Service. Then you run Glance to load VM images. You would then use Nova to deploy those images. After a while, the sheer number of components and their respective command-line tools can get overwhelming.

      So, other than the command line, what options do we have to simplify the OpenStack installation process? Let’s have a look.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • Why we use OpenBSD at VidiGuard

      At VidiGuard, we care a lot about physical security. In fact, it’s our job. But equally important to physical security is the security of our customers’ data. We also need a robust, reliable platform that can run with minimal interaction. To make both of those happen, we employ OpenBSD in our on-premise equipment and our data infrastructure. Why OpenBSD?

    • Building a home firewall: review of pfsense

      For some time now, I’ve been running OpenWRT on an RT-N66U device. I initially set that because I had previously been using my Debian-based file/VM server as a firewall, and this had some downsides: every time I wanted to reboot that, Internet for the whole house was down; shorewall took a fair bit of care and feeding; etc.

      I’ve been having indications that all is not well with OpenWRT or the N66U in the last few days, and some long-term annoyances prompted me to search out a different solution. I figured I could buy an embedded x86 device, slap Debian on it, and be set.

    • LLVM 3.9 Has Been Branched, LLVM 4.0 Will Be Up Next

      Right on schedule the LLVM 3.9 code was branched today in preparation for its formal release next month.

      LLVM 3.9 is another six-month feature update to the LLVM compiler stack. We’ll have more on its features and performance in the weeks ahead, in addition to the LLVM Clang benchmarks we already do daily with it at LinuxBenchmarking.com.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
  • Programming/Development
    • The Slashdot Interview With Larry Wall

      I run firefox on Linux, and chrome on my ancient Google phone, but I’m not a browser wonk. Maybe I’ll have more opinions on that after our JS backend is done for Perl 6…

    • Pulp 2.8.6 Generally Available

      This release includes a small number of fixes to severe bugs in Pulp Platform, the RPM plugin, and the Docker plugin.

    • 11 Programming Languages For DevOps Success

      DevOps uses languages for software development and languages for deployment automation. If you want to be successful with either side of DevOps, these languages will help.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • Physicists Achieve Atomic Data Storage

      Researchers from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have created a rewritable data-storage device capable of storing information at the level of single atoms representing single bits of information.

      The technology, which is described in the current issue of Nature Nanotechnology, is capable of packing data as dense as 500 terabytes per square inch. Theoretically, the device could store the entire contents of the US Library of Congress within a 0.1-mm-wide cube—though the proof-of-concept demonstrated by the group topped out at 1 kilobyte.

  • Hardware
    • Hardware Acceleration Teams Up with Software

      Like far too many things in this world, enterprise networking seems to bounce between two extremes. One year, hardware acceleration is all the rage. The next, a software-only approach seeks to transform the way networks are built and deployed altogether. In reality, new networking approaches such as software-defined networking (SDN) and networking functions virtualization (NFV) will require a balance between hardware and software.

    • SoftBank to acquire ARM

      The boards of directors of SoftBank and ARM have announced that they have reached an agreement on the terms of a recommended all-cash acquisition of ARM for GBP24.3 billion (US$32.2 billion).

    • ARM chip designer to be bought by Japan’s Softbank

      UK technology firm ARM Holdings is to be bought by Japan’s Softbank for £24bn ($32bn) it confirmed on Monday.

      The board of ARM is expected to recommend shareholders accept the offer – which is around a 43% premium on its closing market value of £16.8bn on Friday.

      The Cambridge-based firm designs microchips used in most smartphones, including Apple’s and Samsung’s.

    • ARM Is Being Bought Out By Japan’s SoftBank

      HARDWARE –
      Many news reports this morning are indicating that Japan’s SoftBank is working out a deal to buy ARM Holdings and that a deal could be officially announced as soon as this morning.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Field Drug Tests: The $2 Tool That Can Destroy Lives

      It only takes $2 and a few minutes to ruin someone’s life. Field tests for drugs are notoriously unreliable and yet they’re still considered to be evidence enough to deprive someone of their freedom and start a chain of events that could easily end in joblessness and/or homelessness.

      Ryan Gabrielson and Topher Sanders — writing for the New York Times magazine — take a detailed look at these field tests, filtered through the experience of Amy Albritton, who spent 21 days in jail thanks to a false positive.

      A traffic stop that resulted in a vehicle search turned up an empty syringe and a “suspicious” crumb of something on the floor. The field test said it was crack cocaine. Albritton was taken to a county jail where she spent the next three weeks after pleading guilty to possession, rather than face a trial and a possible sentence of two years.

      The crumb of whatever had been sent on to a lab for verification, but with Albritton’s guilty plea, there was no hurry to ensure the substance retrieved from Albritton’s car was actually illegal. In fact, with the case adjudicated and closed, the evidence could simply have been destroyed. It wasn’t. Long after Albritton had been released, the substance was tested.

    • The Indian Point Nukes: a Disaster Waiting to Happen

      “Indian Point” is a film about the long problem-plagued Indian Point nuclear power plants that are “so, so risky—so close to New York City,” notes its director and producer Ivy Meeropol. “Times Square is 35 miles away.”

      The plants constitute a disaster waiting to happen threatening especially the lives of the 22 million people who live within 50 miles from them. “There is no way to evacuate—what I’ve learned about an evacuation plan is that there is none,” says Meeropol. The plants are “on two earthquake fault lines,” she notes. “And there is a natural gas pipeline right there that an earthquake could rupture.”

      Meanwhile, both plants, located in Buchanan, New York along the Hudson River, are now essentially running without licenses. The federal government’s 40-year operating license for Indian Point 2 expired in 2013 and Indian Point 3’s license expired last year. Their owner, Entergy, is seeking to have them run for another 20 years—although nuclear plants were never seen as running for more than 40 years because of radioactivity embrittling metal parts and otherwise causing safety problems. (Indian Point 1 was opened in 1962 and closed in 1974, its emergency core cooling system deemed impossible to fix.)

    • Defeat Of Philip Morris In Its Corporate Sovereignty Case Against Uruguay Likely To Open Floodgates For Tobacco Packaging Legislation

      Last December, Techdirt wrote about Australia fending off an attempt by Philip Morris to use corporate sovereignty to overturn the country’s plain-packaging regulations. As we pointed out, this wasn’t proof that investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) was no threat to national sovereignty, despite what some were claiming. Australia won on purely procedural grounds, not because the ISDS tribunal agreed that Australia had a fundamental right to regulate.

  • Security
    • Flaw in vBulletin add-on leads to Ubuntu Forums database breach

      Ubuntu support forums users should be on the lookout for dodgy emails after the website’s database of 2 million email addresses was stolen.

      Canonical announced the security breach on Friday after being notified that someone was claiming to have a copy of the UbuntuForums.org database. An investigation revealed that an attacker did get access to the website’s user records through a vulnerability.

    • Flaw in vBulletin add-on leads to Ubuntu Forums database breach
    • Canonical hack exposes private data of 2 million forum members
    • Canonical sets off alarm after Ubuntu forum data breach
    • Ubuntu Linux forums hacked
    • Canonical warns of Ubuntu Forums breach
    • The Hacking of Ubuntu Linux Forums: Lessons Learned
    • Ubuntu Forums Breach Affects Two Million Users
    • Two Million Passwords Breached in Ubuntu Hack
    • VBulletin flaw exploited in breach of Ubuntu Forums

      A known SQL injection vulnerability affecting vBulletin software was exploited by an attacker to breach the Ubuntu Forums database.

    • Ubuntu Forums data breach exposes 2 million users

      Ubuntu aficionados beware, as a data breach of the Ubuntu Forum has resulted in the leak of information for two million users. It should be noted that the breach has not hit Canonical Ltd., which runs the Ubuntu operating system, but rather the forum, so other services are still safe.

      The notice from Canonical explains that the breach was made possible through an SQL injection vulnerability in the forum’s Forumrunner add-on, which had not been patched. By injecting certain formatted SQL into the forum database, the hacker could then reach any table, particularly the “user” table.

    • Ubuntu Forums Suffer Data breach; Credit Goes to SQL Flaw
    • Ubuntu Forums Hacked, Attackers Get Away With Names, Emails And Salted Passwords
    • Ubuntu Linux forum hacked, data of 2 million users leaked
    • Notice of Ubuntu Forums breach; user passwords not compromised
    • Ubuntu Forums hacked (again)

      Ubuntu Forums was previously hacked in 2013.

    • Ubuntu Forum Hack Exposes 2 Million Users

      Ubuntu Linux developer Canonical has confirmed that a data breach exposed personal information of two million users of its forum.

    • How to scam $750,000 out of Microsoft Office: Two-factor auth calls to premium-rate numbers

      Gaming two-factor authentication systems with premium rate phone numbers can be very profitable – or it was until the flaws got reported.

      Belgian security researcher Arne Swinnen noticed that the authentication systems used by Facebook-owned Instagram, Google and Microsoft allow access tokens to be received by a voice call as well as a text message. By linking accounts to a premium-rate phone number he controlled and could pocket money from, he was able to scam the three companies out of cash – in some cases potentially thousands of dollars a day.

    • How Do Hackers Easily Crack Your Strongest Passwords — Explained
    • Security Skills Give Open Source Professionals a Career Advantage

      In today’s market, open source professionals with security expertise are crucial players on an employer roster. The growing use of cloud and big data, as well as the overhaul and expansion of many companies’ tech infrastructures, are driving the demand and need for professionals with this skillset.

      According to the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report, 14 percent of hiring managers and recruiters surveyed believe security to be the most important open source skill to date, ranking third just behind cloud technologies (51 percent) and networking (21 percent). Employers aren’t the only ones that see the value in security; 16 percent of open source professionals surveyed cited security as the most important open source skill and the biggest driver for open source growth in 2016.

    • AT&T Unveils Powerful New Security Platform

      AT&T this week unveiled a new powerful security platform, using big data analysis based on a Hadoop architecture which allows the company to ingest and analyze 5 billion security events in less than ten minutes.

    • Software security: Does quality provide a blueprint for change?

      Software security has been in the news a lot lately, between various high profile social media hacks to massive data breaches it feels like people in the industry are always talking about security, or more appropriately, the lack thereof. While having a conversation with somebody from my company’s internal security team a few weeks ago I had a bit of an epiphany: security in 2016 is much like quality was in 1999.

      Let’s think back 17 years and remember what the quality process was like in 1999. Code was written in rather monolithic chunks with very little thought (if any) given to how that code was to be tested. Testers were on completely separate teams, often times denied access to early versions of the software and code. Testers would write massive sets of test cases from technical specifications and would accept large drops of code from developers only after a feature was considered completed. Automation was either a pipe dream or only existed for very stable features that had been around for a while. A manual testing blitz would then kick off, bugs would be filed, work thrown back over the wall, rinse and repeat. After several of these cycles it was the testers job to give a go/no-go on whether the product was good enough to ship, essentially acting as gatekeepers.

    • As a blockchain-based project teeters, questions about the technology’s security

      There’s no shortage of futurists, industry analysts, entrepreneurs and IT columnists who in the past year have churned out reports, articles and books touting blockchain-based ledgers as the next technology that will run the world.

      In the middle of all this hype is a small fire that threatens to put some of those words to ash: The hijacking last month of around US$40 million of dollars worth of a cryptocurrency called ether – named after its blockchain platform, Ethereum — from The DAO, a crowd-sourced investment vehicle that has so far raised over US$100 million in the digital currency. Instead, the DAO has become paralyzed and on the verge of collapse.

    • Sandia Labs Researchers Build DNA-Based Encrypted Storage

      Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico are experimenting with encrypted DNA storage for archival applications.

      Husband and wife team George and Marlene Bachand are biological engineers with a remarkable vision of the future.

      The researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies foresee a time when a speck of DNA on a piece of paper the size of a millimeter could securely store the entire anthology of Shakespeare’s works.

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Using a HooToo Nano as a magic VPN box
    • opensshd – user enumeration
    • Criminals plant banking malware where victims least expect it

      A criminal gang recently found an effective way to spread malware that drains online bank accounts. According to a blog post published Monday, they bundled the malicious executable inside a file that installed a legitimate administrative tool available for download.

      The legitimate tool is known as Ammyy Admin and is used to provide remote access to a computer so someone can work on it even when they don’t have physical access to it. According to Monday’s blog post, members of a criminal enterprise known as Lurk somehow managed to tamper with the Ammyy installer so that it surreptitiously installed a malicious spyware program in addition to the legitimate admin tool people expected. To increase their chances of success, the criminals modified the PHP script running on the Ammyy Web server, suggesting they had control over the website.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Germany axe attack: Assault on train in Wuerzburg

      Initial reports said up to 20 people had been injured but it was later revealed that at least 14 had been treated for shock.

      The motive for the attack is not yet clear.

      Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the attacker was a 17-year-old Afghan refugee who had been living in the nearby town of Ochsenfurt.

    • Hyping Terrorism, Stoking Fear Following Nice, France Incident

      Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called for banning Sharia. Will greater war on Islam follow than already?

      Wall Street Journal editors hyped Islamophobia, saying “Jihad has become the default assumption of our age.”

      They urged strengthening NATO, shamelessly claiming it’s to protect freedoms from “21st-century barbarism,” ignoring the real thing.

      State-sponsored war on humanity is terrorism’s most extremist form. Expect lots more coming – an endless body count of imperial victims.

    • Donald Trump Doesn’t Care If He’s a Hypocrite About Mike Pence’s Iraq Vote

      Donald Trump has condemned the Iraq War as a “disaster,” but he showed little concern during a 60 Minutes interview, broadcast Sunday, that his vice presidential candidate, Indiana’s Republican Gov. Mike Pence, was an outspoken advocate of that invasion.

      After Trump proclaimed that the United States should not have invaded Iraq because it had no involvement in 9/11, interviewer Lesley Stahl reminded him that his running mate, then-Indiana Republican Rep. Mike Pence, voted to authorize the war.

    • Would Turkey Be Justified in Kidnapping or Drone-Killing the Turkish Cleric in Pennsylvania?

      Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan places the blame for this weekend’s failed coup attempt on an Islamic preacher and one-time ally, Fethullah Gulen (above), who now resides in Pennsylvania with a green card. Erdogan is demanding the U.S. extradite Gulen, citing prior extraditions by the Turkish government of terror suspects demanded by the U.S.: “Now we’re saying deliver this guy who’s on our terrorist list to us.” Erdogan has been requesting Gulen’s extradition from the U.S. for at least two years, on the ground that he has been subverting the Turkish government while harbored by the U.S. Thus far, the U.S. is refusing, with Secretary of State John Kerry demanding of Turkey: “Give us the evidence, show us the evidence. We need a solid legal foundation that meets the standard of extradition.”

      In light of the presence on U.S. soil of someone the Turkish government regards as a “terrorist” and a direct threat to its national security, would Turkey be justified in dispatching a weaponized drone over Pennsylvania to find and kill Gulen if the U.S. continues to refuse to turn him over, or sending covert operatives to kidnap him? That was the question posed yesterday by Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor of Guantánamo’s military commissions who resigned in protest over the use of torture-obtained evidence:

      That question, of course, is raised by the fact that the U.S. has spent many years now doing exactly this: employing various means — including but not limited to drones — to abduct and kill people in multiple countries whom it has unilaterally decided (with no legal process) are “terrorists” or who otherwise are alleged to pose a threat to its national security. Since it cannot possibly be the case that the U.S. possesses legal rights that no other country can claim — right? — the question naturally arises whether Turkey would be entitled to abduct or kill someone it regards as a terrorist when the U.S. is harboring him and refuses to turn him over.

    • Of density, banality and terror

      Once again there will be an influx of notes of sorrow, by now customary calls for unity in face of the terror gripping our cities, our streets: the spaces of our public, convivial existence.

      But there is already something not-quite-right about the prime sentiment that grips some of us this morning as we skim through the endless videos of Nice’s howling urban beach-front stampede. The feeling that the city’s screaming agony is on the verge of becoming as commonplace as the street lights and the wide avenues on which it unfolds: an inseparable, however unwelcome, by-product of urban life.

    • Military Coups, Turkey and Flimsy Democracy

      Any aspect of instability in the state of Turkey is going to be greeted with trepidation by those partners who bank on its security role between East and West. The European Union, that rattled club of members who fear the next onslaught against its institutional credibility, have been bolstering Ankara in the hope to keep refugees at bay. There are security exchanges, and promises (always promises) of sweeter deals regarding the movement of Turkish citizens.

    • Turkey’s Faltering Democracy

      Turkish President Erdogan crushed a military coup this weekend but this victory for civilian rule will do little to revive Turkish democracy which Erdogan has been strangling with his autocratic grip on power, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • China’s Bad Day in Court
    • Theresa May Says “Yes,” She’s Prepared to Kill Hundreds of Thousands in Nuke Attack

      Newly installed U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is prepared to authorize a nuclear strike that could kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

      So she said before Parliament on Monday, as the body debated whether to renew Trident, Britain’s aging nuclear weapons system.

      According to the Independent, May was challenged on her support for the program by the SNP’s George Kerevan, who asked: “Are you prepared to authorize a nuclear strike that could kill hundreds of thousands of men, women and children?”

    • Iraq must not be forgotten: The humanitarian crisis worsens

      As ISIS continues to have devastating effects on Iraq, the country is facing some of the most profound challenges it has seen in the last decade. Rachel Sider, Humanitarian Policy Advisor, comments on the need for governments to prioritize the area as they meet this week in the United States at a donor pledging conference.

    • Israel’s Wolf-Crying about Iran’s Bomb

      Despite Israeli and neocon-led doomsday talk, the year-old Iranian nuclear agreement has achieved its principal goal of stopping Iran from getting the Bomb and has even quieted alarums from Israel, writes Trita Parsi.

    • CODEPINK Marches to Oppose Unlimited Funding for War Abroad While Millions Live in Poverty at Home

      CODEPINK will be part of the Coalition to Stop Trump and March on the RNC and the End Poverty Now! March on Monday, July 18th to protest the GOP’s corporate backers profiteering off of endless war abroad while the shameful epidemic of poverty continues unabated in the richest country on the planet.

    • Long Knives in Ankara: Victorious Erdogan begins Purge of Judiciary, Army

      President Tayyip Erdogan is taking advantage of the failed coup against him to purge the judiciary and security forces of anyone who is lukewarm toward or actively critical of him.

      These steps are, of course, the opposite of the ones Erdogan should be taking– he should be attempting to bring the country together in unity and to re-include in the polity those he has isolated and excluded in recent years. Instead, he is scapegoating and purging.

      Erdogan characterizes this purge as against the secretive and cult-like Gulen movement, one element in Turkey’s landscape of the religious Right. He blames the Gulen movement for the attempted coup, though its leader (in exile in Pennsylvania), Fethullah Gulen, denies the allegation.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Offshore wind powers ahead in Europe

      A building boom is underway offshore in Europe. Up to 400 giant wind turbines are due to be built off the northeast coast of the UK in what will be the world’s largest offshore wind development.

      Output from the Dogger Bank project will be 1.2 Gigawatts – enough to power more than a million homes.

      Next year, a 150-turbine wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands is due to start operating, and other schemes along the Dutch coast are in the works.

    • The British Climate Department Is Gone — But It Could Have More Power Than Ever

      The fallout from Brexit continues. The pound has hit record lows against the dollar.

      [...]

      “This is shocking news. Less than a day into the job and it appears that the new Prime Minister has already downgraded action to tackle climate change, one of the biggest threats we face,” Friends of the Earth U.K. CEO Craig Bennett said in a statement emailed to ThinkProgress.

      But while changing the actual name of the office that works on climate change might seem extreme, the change in branding might not be indicative of where the government plans to go.

      Simon Bullock, a spokesperson for Friends of the Earth, noted that Greg Clarke, the new head of the newly formed department, is “decent” on climate. “It’s reassuring that although [climate change] is not in the new department’s title, Clark at least sees climate as a part of his role,” Bullock said in an email.

  • Finance
    • Ukip’s trade policy would leave Britain isolated and vulnerable

      Say what you like about the UK Independence party, but do not call them economic isolationists. Ukip is mustard-keen on free trade as long as the EU is not negotiating on Britain’s behalf. Buoyed by its European election victory and clutching sweat-stained copies of David Ricardo’s pro-trade economic treatise, Ukip is promising a new trade deal as soon as Britain’s exit liberates the UK from the dead hand of European protectionism.

    • Revoking an Article 50

      The vote on 23 June for the UK to leave the EU is beginning to expose uncertainties in the withdrawal procedure laid down by Article 50 of the EU Treaty. Among the issues currently being debated is whether it would be possible to revoke a formal Article 50 notice to withdraw from the EU before the withdrawal process has been completed. In other words, would the die have been cast irretrievably for the UK to exit the European Union once Article 50 is triggered, or could the process be reversed before its conclusion if the UK wished to do so?

    • Lao Holdings continues legal battle on Savan Vegas sale

      Sanum Investments Ltd and its parent company, Lao Holdings NV, say they filed on Friday the latest move in a legal battle concerning the Savan Vegas Hotel and Entertainment Complex – a casino hotel in Savannakhet, Laos.

      The legal move opposes what is known as a ‘motion to dismiss’ filed earlier by San Marco Capital Partners LLC, a U.S.-based private investment firm that had been asked by the Laos government to handle the sale of Savan Vegas.

      The opposition to the motion to dismiss was filed with the United States District Court in Delaware.

    • SNP MPs at Westminster are giving their £7,000 pay rise to charity

      Westminster MPs of all parties are getting a 10 per cent, £7,000, boost to their pay packets after the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority said they were not paid enough.

    • Greenpeace replaces Brexit battle bus ‘lies’ with ‘messages of hope’ in Westminster stunt

      Greenpeace has acquired the Vote Leave battle bus and parked it in Westminster where it has been covered with thousands of messages for the new Government.

      They overhauled the bus to replace the “lies” about EU funding with demands for the “truth” in a stunt outside Parliament on Monday morning.

      The environmental activists are calling on members of the public to send in messages for the “rebranding” of the bus.

    • My 350 on BREXIT: Last call for new leaders?

      If the political discourse in the coming months and years changes to successfully countering populists with “popularizers” as leaders, preserving the European (western) order, and further reforming it, we could yet be thanking the UK for saving us by the alarm bell.

    • Bill Gates’ Silver-Bullet Misfiring at the Mandela Memorial Lecture

      But compare what can be termed Gates’ ‘philanthro-capitalism’ with Ford Foundation President Darren Walker’s proposal for a more appropriate approach to giving in the 21st century: “We foundations need to reject inherited, assumed, paternalist instincts… We need to interrogate the fundamental root causes of inequality, even, and especially, when it means that we ourselves will be implicated.”

      In contrast, Gates specialises in top-down technicist quick-fixes – ‘silver bullets’ – which often backfire on the economic shooting range of extreme corporate influence and neoliberal policies. As Global Justice Now’s Polly Jones complained in a report last month, Gates’ “influence is so pervasive that many actors in international development, which would otherwise critique the policy and practice of the foundation, are unable to speak out independently as a result of its funding and patronage.”

      Amongst the few exceptions are Katharyne Mitchell and Matthew Sparke, whose research critiques Gates’ “highly targeted investments, market-mediated partnerships, rapid technological fixes, constant assessment, quick exits, and the use of competition, benchmarking and rankings to set funding priorities.”

      [...]

      But the most damage done within South Africa was Gates’ promotion of intellectual property (IP) rights. Long-term monopoly patents were granted not only to Gates for his Microsoft software, but for life-saving medicines.

      IP became a fatal barrier to millions of HIV+ people who, thanks to Big Pharma’s profiteering, were denied AIDS medicines which cost R150 000/year fifteen years ago. The Gates Foundation was part of the problem by insisting on Merck-branded drugs in its Botswana AIDS clinics, complained Zackie Achmat of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in 2001.

      [...]

      Self-interest was perhaps a factor, because Gates got rich from IP illegitimately acquired thanks to blatantly anti-competitive practices, such as bundling Windows with the slow, security flaw-ridden Internet Explorer web-browser, according to US prosecutors. The emails that Gates and his colleagues sent each other unveiled their cutthroat, illegal approach to IT (and Gates’ own slipperiness), notwithstanding the internet’s massive government subsidies.

      And as Edward Snowden showed, Microsoft is in league with the United States National Security Agency’s Prism snoop service to hack your computer, Outlook, Hotmail and Skype accounts.

      Speaking of secrecy, Microsoft’s offshore tax-avoidance policies today earn the company more money than Gates gives annually in donations (less than $4 billion/year).

      [...]

      These forces show, objectively, that the world urgently needs far less corporate power – including in the hands of Bill Gates and Microsoft – and many more bottom-up activist initiatives to achieve thorough-going wealth redistribution.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Hillary Clinton’s Citizens United Pledge Doesn’t Matter; Her Small-Donor Matching Pledge Definitely Does

      Presidents play essentially no role in amending the Constitution. Any amendment Clinton proposed would have to be passed by a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, and then would have to be ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states.

      That’s never going to happen. The U.S. has amended the Constitution just once in the past 45 years, with the non-earthshaking 27th Amendment prohibiting Congress from voting itself a pay raise that takes effect before the next election. (Moreover, the 27th Amendment was submitted to the states in 1789; it then took 203 years for three-fourths of the states to ratify it in 1992.)

      So Clinton’s constitutional amendment pledge is empty grandstanding. Citizens United will either be overturned by the Supreme Court, or it will remain law.

      On the other hand, Clinton’s pledge to “fight” for small-donor matching funds is genuinely important. Over the past several years, almost all Democrats in the House and many in the Senate have signed on in support of the idea, and it would change the dynamics of money in politics in a way that even overturning Citizens United would not.

    • Donald Trump’s Shotgun Wedding in Cleveland

      The rift between establishment conservatives and Tea Party insurgents was on full display. The billionaire dilettante and presumptive nominee was attempting to pivot from rabble-rouser to peacemaker. It wasn’t going to be easy.

    • Donald Trump and the Revolt of the Proles

      Liberals and progressives love to point across the aisle and accuse their opponents of racism, misogyny and xenophobia, but that’s not what the Trump campaign is all about. And that’s not what Brexit was about. While it’s true that anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise in Europe and the US, the hostility has less to do with race than it does jobs and wages. In other words, Brexit is a revolt against a free trade regime in which all the benefits have accrued to the uber-rich while everyone else has seen their incomes slide, their future’s dim and their standard of living plunge.

    • Two Delegates Propose Banning Corporate Lobbyists From the RNC, Get Crushed

      Donald Trump has denounced his opponents as being controlled by “special interests, the lobbyists, and the donors,” but a number of pro-Trump delegates helped crush an effort by two members of the Republican Party’s rules committee last week to ban for-profit lobbyists from the Republican National Committee.

      Republican state Reps. Mary Anne Kinney of Maine and Cindy Pugh of Minnesota introduced an amendment at a rules committee session that would ban registered lobbyists for for-profit entities from serving as members of the RNC.

      “This amendment is meant to keep those with a financial stake in being on the RNC [out]. … Nonprofit lobbyists are exempt,” Ted Cruz delegate Kinney explained, saying that lobbyists for pro-life groups, for instance, would not be barred.

    • Trump Resistance Swells at RNC Kickoff

      Protests, discord, and heightened security announced the start of the Republican National Convention (RNC) on Monday as thousands marched on downtown Cleveland calling on the GOP to reverse its racist policies and “Dump Trump.”

      The peaceful March on the RNC ended with a rally outside the heavily-fortified perimeter that encircled the Quicken Loans Arena during which participants denounced the “racist, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim” policies of the GOP and its presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

    • Trump 2016: The Three Shadows Haunting Cleveland

      When Donald Trump’s Republican Party convenes in Cleveland, three shadows will haunt the arena. They won’t talk about these shadows on television, but if you look closely you’re sure to see them.

      The first shadow is that of the extremist Republican right. Since the infamous Lewis Powell memo of 1970 it has invested billions in think tanks, academia, and politics to promote its agenda of individual greed over the common good.

    • Stephen Colbert Tells Us What He Really Thinks About Clinton in This Hilarious Rap (Video)

      The seemingly fed up—but inevitably comical—“Late Show” host “took [his] gloves off” in his take on the Democratic presidential candidate’s email scandal, rapping, “You’re so bad at running for president, the only person you could beat is Donald Trump.”

    • Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All

      Last June, as dusk fell outside Tony Schwartz’s sprawling house, on a leafy back road in Riverdale, New York, he pulled out his laptop and caught up with the day’s big news: Donald J. Trump had declared his candidacy for President. As Schwartz watched a video of the speech, he began to feel personally implicated.

      Trump, facing a crowd that had gathered in the lobby of Trump Tower, on Fifth Avenue, laid out his qualifications, saying, “We need a leader that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.’ ” If that was so, Schwartz thought, then he, not Trump, should be running. Schwartz dashed off a tweet: “Many thanks Donald Trump for suggesting I run for President, based on the fact that I wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.’ ”

      Schwartz had ghostwritten Trump’s 1987 breakthrough memoir, earning a joint byline on the cover, half of the book’s five-hundred-thousand-dollar advance, and half of the royalties. The book was a phenomenal success, spending forty-eight weeks on the Times best-seller list, thirteen of them at No. 1. More than a million copies have been bought, generating several million dollars in royalties. The book expanded Trump’s renown far beyond New York City, making him an emblem of the successful tycoon. Edward Kosner, the former editor and publisher of New York, where Schwartz worked as a writer at the time, says, “Tony created Trump. He’s Dr. Frankenstein.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • South African bishops urge lawmakers to address media censorship

      South Africa’s bishops have lent their support to demonstrators who have protested censorship at the state-run South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), including the suspension of employees who sought to cover riots.

      “An impression has been created that the SABC is failing to report fully and objectively on events that have the capacity to diminish the holding of free and fair elections,” said Bishop Abel Gabuza, chairman of the justice and peace commission of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference. “Certainly, this is a serious matter that requires urgent intervention by the National Assembly.”

    • Israeli College Department Head Resigns Over Censorship of Political Artwork

      A department head at Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art has resigned to protest the college’s censorship of a drawing…

    • At Cleveland Repub Convention, ‘First Amendment Zones’ Will Detain Protesters Far Away From Trump

      Once upon a time, all of America was a First Amendment Zone. That’s now as dead as Alexander Hamilton.

      The city of Cleveland revealed part of its security plan for the Nuremberg rally Republican National Convention. Securing the convention will require a heavily policed, fenced off 3.3 square-mile First Amendment Zone. A fun fact is that the First Amendment Zone is about the same size as Baghdad’s Green Zone.

    • 100 Naked Women Hold Mirrors Up to RNC to Protest Anti-Women Rhetoric

      On Sunday, the day before the Republican National Convention (RNC) began, 100 naked women held up mirrors to the RNC-hosting Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland as a political statement against the anti-women rhetoric of the Republican party.

      The staged protest artwork by the artist Spencer Tunick, titled “Everything She Says Means Everything,” was meant to “express the belief that we will rely upon the strength, intuition and wisdom of progressive and enlightened women to find our place in nature and to regain the balance within it,” Tunick wrote. “The mirrors communicate that we are a reflection of ourselves, each other, and of, the world that surrounds us. The woman becomes the future and the future becomes the woman.”

    • Call Him Out. Call Him Out.

      The two recent police shooters were ex-military. Two minds cocked and loaded by the country they turned on. The police who recently killed black citizens, also cocked, loaded and afraid. Human beings on hair triggers and for a year we have had a steady bark from a sociopath shrieking simplistic violent solutions to all issues. The two police shooters had the military training but the uniforms they targeted changed. Not sure what kind of training the policemen in Baton Rouge and St. Paul had. But an atmosphere gave the release. If you can say, which is said ad nauseum, our hearts and prayers are with the families – there was also a heartlessness and a counter prayer that preceded the killing.

    • University’s China campus has less censorship than its U.S. campus, American student says

      New York University student Ella Reider had to go to China to find the freedom to debate things she’d never be allowed to say or hear in Manhattan.

      That’s her surprising takeaway from the past year studying at NYU Shanghai, whose openness to controversial ideas stands in stark contrast to the American campus, which is increasingly “hostile to political views that differ from the predominant views on campus.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Admiral Rogers Talks Openly About The NSA But Not Quite [Ed: AOL puff piece]
    • Foreign govts could serve warrants on US firms

      The United States is working with foreign governments to draft agreements that would allow the latter to serve warrants for email searches and wiretaps on US technology companies doing business in these countries.

      According to the Wall Street Journal (paywall), the plans were discussed at a public forum in Washington DC by Brad Wiegmann, a senior Justice Department official, who said the first agreement was being worked out with the UK.

      The news comes a few days after Microsoft won a landmark case to prevent the US government from using a domestic warrant to gain access to the email data of one of its clients which was stored in Ireland. The US had claimed the data was relevant to a drug-trafficking operation.

    • Germany to require ‘black box’ in autonomous cars

      Germany plans new legislation to require manufacturers of cars equipped with an autopilot function to install a black box to help determine responsibility in the event of an accident, transport ministry sources told Reuters on Monday.

      The fatal crash of a Tesla Motors Inc Model S car in its Autopilot mode has increased the pressure on industry executives and regulators to ensure that automated driving technology can be deployed safely.

      Under the proposal from Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt, drivers will not have to pay attention to traffic or concentrate on steering, but must remain seated at the wheel so they can intervene in the event of an emergency.

    • Facebook and Google show how the world really will be blanketed in 5G

      Facebook has outdone even Google recently, in its efforts to shake up the mobile industry and accelerate the delivery of broadband services (and its revenue generators) to the entire planet. This is no longer just about using balloons and new spectrum to push affordable wireless access to underserved communities. It is about blowing apart the traditional mobile network supply chain, and the way those networks are deployed.

      First came TIP (Telecoms Infrastructure Project), a telecoms network version of its Open Compute Project to drive commoditized, massively scalable platforms. Then came its own R&D projects geared to affordable, easily deployable, but powerful open RANs, Terragraph and Aries.

      And now it has announced OpenCellular, which brings the two ideas together in many ways, providing an open source platform for low cost, dense networks.

    • UK prime minister Theresa May’s Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) isn’t

      UK prime minister Theresa May’s Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) isn’t necessarily incompatible with European fundamental rights, a senior advisor at Europe’s top court said on Tuesday.

      European Court of Justice (ECJ) advocate general Saugmandsgaard Øe has published his non-binding legal opinion on DRIPA arguing that “a general obligation to retain data imposed by a member state on providers of electronic communication services may be compatible with EU law.”

      The case was brought by a cross-party alliance of British MPs—the now Brexit secretary of state David Davis and deputy Labour leader Tom Watson.

    • Core TOR Browser Developer Leaves Project, Shuts Down Critical Node Relays

      A core contributor to the Tor network has announced that he would be shutting down all the relays and Tor-related services under his control and leaving the project. Known as Lucky Green, he has indicated some recent development as the cause and finds them behind the bounds of ethics for initiating such action.

    • What’s The Reason China Fears Pokemon GO?

      The overnight success of Pokemon GO has been on the center stage for another interesting reason — this time for acting as a potential medium for disclosure of military zones in China. The flow of posts regarding the same has begun to appear on the microblogging site Weibo

    • Sen. McCain Unhappy Apple Turned Down His Invitation To Be Encryption Hearing Punching Bag

      Thanks, but no thanks. McCain and others attending the hearing pretend the encryption problem can be solved by “working together.” But Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance used part of his testimony to basically accuse Apple of offering encryption-by-default just to spite the government. The others testifying didn’t go quite as far as Vance did in portraying the company as the enemy of justice, but there was really nothing in it for Apple. There’s no “working together” going on here, not if the committee offers three invitations to people opposed to encryption (or at least far more sympathetic to law enforcement’s requests) but the only outsider asked to attend is one that spent the running time of the last hearing listening to ignorant statements and wild allegations.

    • Cy Vance Still Arguing For Mandated Encryption Backdoors; Believes Third Party Doctrine Supports His Theory

      The United States Senate Committee on Armed Services held a hearing about the coming darkness cellphone encryption Friday morning. There was almost no attempt made to address both sides of the issue, most likely because Senator John McCain — who headed up the “discussion” — has already made up his mind on how this problem should be handled.

      Testimony — all from government officials — was presented, with Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance leading off. Vance’s tune hasn’t changed. Encryption is still (apparently) an insurmountable problem and the only “answer” runs directly through Congress. Vance spent most of his speaking time [PDF] criticizing Apple and suggesting its decision to provide encryption by default on its phones was done purely to spite him and the government.

    • Defense Department Issues Opsec Guidelines For Safe And Secure Pokemon Hunting

      Given the cultural phenomenon that is Pokemon Go, it was only a matter of time before security-conscious government agencies would be forced to confront the inevitable: that their employees would be joining in the quasi-AR madness.

      Kristan J. Wheaton of the Sources and Methods blog was handed an apparently official document from the Defense Department that lays down several common sense rules for employees throwing imaginary balls at imaginary creatures. (A screenshot of the original document can be seen in Thomas Rid’s tweet, embedded at the bottom of this post.

    • Pre-Snowden Whistleblower Explains How NSA Got ‘Unleashed’ To Spy On Everyone

      Thomas Drake was a 48-year-old decorated Air Force and Navy veteran, and a senior executive at the National Security Agency, the NSA, when he decided he had to speak up against what he considered the spy agency’s abuses.

      That’s when he anonymously contacted a reporter at The Baltimore Sun, helping her expose wrongdoing at the agency in a series of articles. Two years later, the FBI raided his home, and the US government launched an investigation into Drake for leaking classified information and espionage.

      All of a sudden, Drake faced the possibility of spending most, if not all, of the rest of his life in jail. Looking back now, after he escaped jail and only pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, Drake says it was all worth it.

    • Security chief claims there are more Russian spies in the UK now than at the height of the Cold War [Ed: THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING !!! Like headlines from the 70s today. John Bayliss, a former GCHQ official, warning about the Russians is like GSK warning about Swine Flu.]
    • More Russian spies are trying to gather intelligence in Britain now than at the height of the Cold War, warns former GCHQ official
    • More Russian spies in Britain than during the COLD WAR, top intelligence official warns
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Half Of TSA’s 30,000 Employees Accused Of Misconduct; Nearly A Third Multiple Times

      The TSA is a multibillion dollar agency with nearly zero redeemable qualities. It can only act in hindsight, does almost nothing to make traveling safer, and seemingly devotes most of its screening efforts to toddlers, cancer patients, and ensuring carry-on liquids do not exceed three ounces.

      What it lacks in competency, it makes up in misconduct. Lines at security checkpoints have slowed to a crawl. Making it through the tedious, invasive process sometimes means inadvertently “donating” expensive electronics to sticky-fingered agents. The TSA’s morale is generally on par with Congress’ approval rates. And, when it’s all said and done, the people hired to protect travelers just plain suck at their job.

      [...]

      As Katherine LaGrave of the Conde Nast Traveler points out, the problem is only getting worse. Complaints are up 28% over the last three years, with larger airports averaging a complaint a week. Long lines may be causing a spike in the complaints, but the misconduct detailed in the report has very little to do directly with this issue.

      Attendance issues are part of the problem, but the offenses listed in the report range from missing work to smuggling drugs/humans to “engaging in child pornography activities.” Although processes are in place to handle disciplinary issues, they are both bureaucratic and inconsistently applied. Worse, the investigation found that the agency has no specific process in place to fire problem employees.

    • Almost Half of All TSA Employees Have Been Cited for Misconduct

      Despite the Transportation Security Administration’s ten-point action plan to reduce long lines at airports across the country, lengthy queues remain. Now, the TSA’s summer may be getting even worse: According to a recent report from the House Homeland Security Commission entitled “Misconduct at TSA Threatens the Security of the Flying Public”, nearly half of the TSA’s 60,000 employees have been cited for misconduct in recent years.

      The bad news doesn’t stop there. Citations have increased 28.5 percent from 2013 to 2015, and in 2015, the average U.S. airport received 58 complaints each year—more than one a week. (Unsurprisingly, some of the nation’s largest and busiest airports—Los Angeles International Airport, Newark International Airport, and Boston Logan International Airport—saw the highest rates of misconduct.) The complaints can come from frustrated passengers, sure, but also from fellow TSA employees and other government workers.

    • The Sun wants to know why a TV presenter in a hijab was allowed to talk about the Nice attack

      Ex-editor and columnist for the Sun Kelvin MacKenzie caused furore on Monday with a piece asking “Why did Channel 4 have a presenter in a hijab fronting coverage of Muslim terror in Nice?”

    • Muslims Were The Real Victims Of The Nice Terror Attack, The BBC Explains
    • Nice and the Mathematics of Killing

      As I watch the news on television and see another atrocity unfold in front of my eyes, innocent people crushed to death as they were celebrating Bastille Day, by the weapon of mass destruction that is a white van, the absurdity of the situation becomes hard to miss. 84 – 84 dead, many amongst them children. 84 innocent people crushed to death by a mad man behind wheels, hurling his vehicle at them with the intent to do maximum harm. And so he did, until his turn came to die an early death under the blaze of gun bullets aimed to kill. Every last second of an insignificant life laid to bare on the world stage, analyzed, repeated, studied and vilified. 84 dead. In the coming days, the lives, loves and stories of these people cut down in their prime will fill magazines. Images, anecdotes and testimonies will make them come alive again for a few moments only to heighten that feeling of loss when it is brought home again that because of a mad man behind a wheel, Stephanie will not get her dream wedding and Jeff will not play for the home team, and our eyes will well up in tears.

      Meanwhile the world we knew and functioned in comfortably will have changed again to an even more aggressive and unwelcoming place to all who do not come from the West. You are blamed and asked to carry the shame of the act of a lone madman, but was he alone? Or was he following the orders of a higher entity that is fighting to destroy the freedoms the West benefits from. ISIS or IS or Al-Qaeda, these boogie men in the dark who hate western values, western freedoms and consider the rest infidels, sending their radicalized disillusioned soldiers to do Allah’s work in our midst.

    • Rough Passage: Reporters Find Abuse, Neglect and Death Aboard Private Prison Vans

      Raines was one of some 50 current and former guards who spoke to Hager and Santo for “Inside the Deadly World of Private Prisoner Transport,” a devastating examination of the for-profit van companies used by prisons to transport inmates. The reporters found that a dozen prisoners died in such vans in the last 16 years; a dozen more suffered serious injuries; at least 60 managed to escape, and many alleged sexual and physical abuse at the hands of drivers and guards. This week the reporters join the ProPublica podcast to tell us how their effort grew from a tip on one prisoner who was beaten to death to a full and rare examination of a dangerous, virtually unregulated industry.

    • The Police Are Victimized By Their Training

      It is too early to know if the shooting of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge are the beginnings of acts of retribution against police for their wanton murders of citizens. The saying is that “what goes around, comes around.” If police murders of citizens have provoked retribution, police and those who train them need to be honest and recognize that they have brought it upon themselves.

      Killings by police have gone on too long. The killings are too gratuitous, and the police have largely escaped accountability for actions that, if committed by private citizens, would result in life imprisonment or the death penalty.

      There has been no accountability, because the police unions and the white community rush to the defense of the police. In rare instances when prosecutors bring charges, as in the case of Freddie Gray, the police are not convicted.

      Presstitutes treat killings by police as acts of racism, and that is the way the public sees them. This infuriates black communities even more as the indifference of whites to the murders is regarded as racist acceptance of the murder of black people.

    • Mike Pence Argued For Criminalization Of Adultery Before Joining Trump Ticket

      Before his career as an elected official, Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) hosted both a radio and television show in the 1990s, with the name, “The Mike Pence Show.” While his commentaries from that time in defense of cigarettes and in opposition to the feminist message in Disney’s Mulan have made news, one less noticed piece suggested that adultery should be a crime in the United States. It appeared on the website for his television show on WNDY, retrieved through the Internet Archive WayBack Machine.

      In May of 1997, Pence railed against the news that U.S. Air Force Lt. Kelly Flynn had received a general dischrage despite having been accused of two adulterous affairs. While Pence said he was glad she had received compassion, he took aim at society for making extramarital affairs acceptable. “Did anyone else notice the incredulous looks on the faces of Lt. Flynn’s most ardent defenders anytime the term ‘adultery’ was mentioned? Many of her defenders were less concerned, it seemed, about the facts of the case than about the fact that somewhere in this society adultery is still a crime.”

    • Three Years After Global Garment Industry’s Worst Disaster, 38 Indicted for Murder

      Over 1,100 people died when Rana Plaza garment factory building collapsed near Dhaka

    • The Post-Dallas Kumbaya Window Begins to Close

      There was a true kumbaya moment after the Dallas cop massacre similar to the moment after 9/11 when sympathy was expressed for America from many unexpected quarters around the world. That window began to close when US leaders took a hard line and vengefully attacked an un-implicated nation to counter the very sense of vulnerability that moved people of the world to sympathize with us. Similarly, the sympathy for attacked cops in Dallas may be evaporating thanks to a familiar sociological dynamic involving in-group, out-group identification.

    • America’s Failure to Protect Voting

      America may call itself democracy’s gold standard, but it fails to guarantee the right to vote and permits the dominance of political money, a shameful anomaly that requires a constitutional amendment, writes William John Cox.

    • Profile of Baton Rouge Police Shooter Begins to Emerge

      The shooter, who was killed at the scene, has been identified as 29-year-old Gavin Eugene Long of Kansas City, Missouri. He was honorably discharged from the Marines in 2010 holding the rank of sergeant. During his five-year stint in the service, which included a June 2008 to January 2009 deployment in Iraq, he received several medals, according to media reports citing military records.

    • Beyond Panic and Punishment: Brock Turner and the Left Response to Sexual Violence

      The Brock Turner case has reminded us of the bitter truth of the adage that in America it is better to be guilty and rich than to be innocent and poor. In early June, Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner, a Stanford student who was convicted on three counts of sexual assault, to six-months in jail and three years of probation. The sentence, shorter than the six years requested by prosecutors, spurred an eruption of public outrage. Anger has poured out at Turner’s mother and father for excusing his actions and in particular at Judge Persky. The Turner case exemplifies a problematic pattern in American policymaking. The case, similar to other sensationalized instances of leniency for sexual assault, has animated calls for harsher punishments, mandatory minimums and removing judicial discretion. All of these law-and-order responses, coming particularly from the left, continue a tradition in the United States of channeling efforts to address sexual violence into demands for punishment. Far from being progressive, however, this strategy contributes to the expansion of the carceral state, which is ineffective at reducing crime, incapable of healing victims, and devastating for those caught in its web. A more substantively progressive and feminist strategy for addressing these issues is needed in order to draw the connection between sexual violence and material inequality.

    • Newt Should Check out Mike Pence’s Christian Sharia

      Newt Gingrich suggested late last week on cable tv that Muslim Americans should be asked if they believe in “sharia” and if they answer yes, they should be deported. You can’t deport US citizens, so the whole remark was ridiculous.

      Sharia for Muslims is the equivalent of Canon Law for Catholics, Halakhah for Jews, and I guess the entire Bible for some fundamentalists (though there are laws in Deuteronomy that it is hard to imagine anyone actually practicing). All religions have laws. Sharia is the Muslim one. But it is fluid and an arena of contention within Islam. It forbids murder, theft, adultery, and drinking. You’d think people would be happy about all that. In any case, observant Muslims would all say they believe in sharia, just as observant Jews would say that the believe in Halakhah or observant Catholics would say they believe in canon law.

    • A Border Wall Isn’t Very Popular Among The People Who Actually Live There

      Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump built his political career on a campaign promise to build a border wall along the U.S. border with Mexico if elected president. But a new poll has found that a large majority of residents living in major cities along the southern U.S. border with Mexico aren’t excited about that prospect.

      About 72 percent of people living on the U.S. side of the border and 86 percent of people living on the Mexican side are opposed to building a wall, a poll funded by Cronkite News, Univision News, and Dallas Morning News found. Building out a border wall also isn’t on the top of their priority list — 77 percent of Mexicans and 70 percent of Americans found that the economy, crime, and education were more important than border issues. Another 69 percent of Mexicans and 79 percent of Americans said that they depend on the other country for economic survival.

    • Judge Hands Down Another Acquittal for Officer in Freddie Gray Case

      Baltimore Police Lt. Brian Rice, the highest ranking officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray, was on Monday acquitted on all counts.

      It marks the fourth time prosecutors have failed to secure a conviction in the case, the Baltimore Sun notes, and in turn “is likely to renew calls for Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby to drop the remaining charges[...] including from the union that represents the city’s rank-and-file officers.”

      Rice was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office by Circuit Judge Barry Williams in a bench trial. Williams previously handed down acquittals for officers Caesar Goodson and Edward Nero. The trial for Officer William G. Porter ended with a hung jury in December. A retrial is set for September 6.

    • FCC will let jails charge inmates more for phone calls

      The Federal Communications Commission is trying once again to limit the prices prisoners and their families pay for phone calls, proposing a new, higher set of caps in response to the commission’s latest court loss.

      A March 2016 federal appeals court ruling stayed new rate caps of 11¢ to 22¢ per minute on both interstate and intrastate calls from prisons. The stay remains in place while appeals from prison phone companies are considered, but FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn last week proposed new caps of 13¢ to 31¢ per minute in an apparent attempt to satisfy prison phone companies and the courts.

    • Police lock down Cleveland in what looks like martial law as poorly organized convention begins

      So far, the RNC has been low on organization and high on police presence.

      In fact, organizers did not even release a detailed schedule of speakers until Monday afternoon, when the convention began.

      The official guide for the RNC — which does not include a schedule — did, however, open with a photo of a smiling Donald Trump embraced by his wife, Melania.

      [...]

      Police are preparing for massive protests. Sunday did not have a lot of protest activity. The official convention began on Monday. Large demonstrations are planned to be held throughout the week.

      Cleveland spent $50 million in federal grant money on police for the RNC. The city spent $20 million on riot gear and equipment — including at least 2,000 full-body riot suits, 24 sets of ballistics body armor and 300 patrol bikes. It also spent another $30 million on “personnel-related expenditures.”

      The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, sued Cleveland in June for “placing unacceptable restrictions on free speech and other rights of people living and visiting downtown Cleveland for the RNC.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • BT must put house in order or face split

      In its report the Culture, Media and Sport Committee says BT is “significantly under investing” in Openreach, its infrastructure subsidiary. Based on a report commissioned from a panel of independent experts, the Committee concluded the shortfall in investment could potentially be hundreds of millions of pounds a year.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • UNCTAD Conference Opens With High-Level Calls For Action On Trade And Development

      The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 14th Session opened here yesterday, with leaders calling for deeper and broader cooperation between trade and development.

    • Trademarks
      • Australian Company Files Bogus Defamation/Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Over A Nine-Year-Old Blog Post

        How Assef came across this single post, floating in the internet backwater, is a mystery. But there it is. Before suing the Doe behind the single-post “blog,” Lincoln Crowne tried suing Google for defamation in Australia, presumably to use local laws to route around Section 230 protections. It didn’t work. Google briefly took down the blog post before restoring it.

        Having failed in this attempt, Lincoln Crowne is now trying to sue the anonymous blogger, using a poorly-constructed lawsuit with more than a few deficiencies. It not only claims the content is defamatory, but that the defendant’s URL is a violation of its trademark. It’s a mess, which is somewhat surprising because the firm is being represented by lawyers who seem otherwise competent.

      • Australian Financier’s Abuse of Trademark Law to Suppress a Critical Blog: A Perpetual Problem in the N.D. Cal.

        There is somebody on the other side of the Pacific Ocean who has a strongly negative perspective on Nicholas Assef, the head honcho at an Australian financial services firm called Lincoln Crowne – or at least, somebody held such views nine years ago. We know at least that much because, in 2007, an anonymous individual created a small Google blog, using the URL lincolncrowne.blogspot.com, and posted a “warning” urging people who were considering doing business with Assef and his company to do their due diligence first. And even though the blog is buried deep in the Google search results for someone entering a search using lincoln crowne as the search string (currently, it is on the tenth page of results), Assef is plainly rankled by this criticism. We know that first of all because seven years later, after Google refused to take down the blog, Lincoln Crowne sued Google for defamation in Australia (which lacks the US protection for online hosts that section 230 affords). Google initially responded to the lawsuit by taking down the blog, but later restored the blog to its DOT.COM domain. It is not clear to me whether Lincoln Crowne ever pursued the suit against Google to judgment. The company’s papers do not make reference to any judgment, so I assume there was none.

    • Copyrights
      • Just As Open Competitor To Elsevier’s SSRN Launches, SSRN Accused Of Copyright Crackdown

        A couple of months ago, we wrote about how publishing giant Elsevier had purchased the open access pre-publisher SSRN. SSRN is basically the place where lots of research that we regularly report on is published. Legal and economics academics quite frequently post their journal articles there. Of course, Elsevier has a well-known reputation for being extreme copyright maximalists in dangerous ways. Having Elsevier take over SSRN concerned a lot of academics, and even led to calls for alternatives, including many asking the famed arXiv to open a social science research operation as well.

        Indeed, it appears that arXiv was paying attention, because just about a week ago, SocArXiv was announced, and it already has a temporary home hosted by Open Science Framework.

      • How copyright trolls plunder both US citizens and… rights holders

        German extortion outfit Guardaley, together with its US collaborators — Voltage Pictures and a network of ethically handicapped attorneys — has been filing frivolous, evidence-free lawsuits across the US for years, extracting millions from alleged pirates and innocents alike. To maintain the fog of legitimacy and to shield Voltage from bad publicity, dozens of shell corporations were created — one per film — to serve as (sometimes bogus) plaintiffs in thousands of copyright infringement lawsuits filed either against individual defendants or about a dozen of John Does lumped together.

      • Ted Cruz Campaign Infringed On Copyright, But Will Probably Be Treated With Kid Gloves Just Because

        It’s typical for these types of complaints to be layered in nuance and interpretation, with a dash of one side or the other misunderstanding how licensing, copyright, and the rights that surround public performances work. This does not appear to be one of those cases, as the agreement Madison McQueen agreed to is fairly straightforward and specifically forbids the exact use for which the music was incorporated. As Goldman notes, whereas most campaigns would simply apologize and pay to have all of this go away, the Cruz campaign instead offered up a motion to dismiss. That motion didn’t rebut any of the allegations. Instead, Cruz’s lawyers argued that the musicians had only applied for copyright registrations and had yet to have that process completed, that it’s unclear how many times it should be said that the campaign infringed on the copyrights for the songs, that Audiosocket can’t stack its copyright complaint alongside its breach of contract complaint, and that all of this is a moot point because — not making this up — Cruz lost and gave up on his candidacy.

      • Rome Court of First instances confirms once again that takedown requests do not need to include URLs

        The Tribunale di Roma (Rome Court of First Instance) is back with yet another decision on the liability of online intermediaries (ISPs) for third-party copyright infringements.

      • Copyright in the Animal Kingdom

        Reading coverage of the new Great Animal Orchestra exhibition got this Kat thinking about the relationship between animals, artwork, performance and IP. The “biophony” exhibition is made up of natural soundscapes – estimated to come from over 5,000 hours of sound recordings made by Bernie Krause, and edited together with visual rendering by United Visual Artists. The product is an immersive collage of squeaks, calls, howls, waves and so on, which have also somehow previously been adapted to a symphony (by composer Richard Blackford), and a ballet. The exhibition is named after Krause’s book of the same title.

        The various intellectual property involved in the Great Animal Orchestra and its adaptations has not been the subject of any great, wild, public dispute – falling quite understandably behind other priorities such as drawing attention to the fact that over the 50 years of Krause’s recording, around half of the habitats have been silenced by humans. But, recently, of course, the issue of animal copyrights has been in the legal spotlight…

Large Corporations’ Software Patenting Pursuits Carry on in Spite of Patent Trolls That Threaten Small Companies the Most

Tuesday 19th of July 2016 02:27:07 AM

Hostile environment in which trolls thrive owing to software patents and cashless startups that must settle

Summary: With unconvincing excuses such as OIN, large corporations including IBM continue to promote software patents in the United States, even when public officials and USPTO officials (like Bahr on the left) work towards ending those

SOFTWARE patents remain a very major barrier not just to FOSS developers but to all software development. Such patents, unsurprisingly, are being promoted by monopolists and their facilitators, to whom they’re a major source of revenue. Those monopolists continually rig the whole system in their favour as they can definitely afford it; in fact, it might be considered part of the obligation to shareholders (protectionism through legislation).

The mainstream media or corporate media no longer talks about software patents. Instead it speaks about “patent trolls” and by patent trolls it means the small ones, not the media owners. Apple, for instance, is directly connected to some major media conglomerates, so bias in patent coverage is to be expected in some cases (we wrote about this in past years). Let’s be easily deluded and just ignore Apple demanding billions (not millions) from Android OEMs (patent aggression and sometimes trolling includes big vendors) and also forget Apple’s unique role in Intellectual Ventures (explained here several years ago), the world’s largest patent troll which goes after Android vendors. The article “Apple will pay $25M to patent troll to avoid East Texas trial” is eye-catching and so is “Newegg’s Three-Step Solution to Fighting Patent Trolls” by Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of Consumer Technology Association (CTA). This group likes to focus on patent trolls rather than patent scope. Here is some of the latest from Gary Shapiro:

Lee Cheng is a troll trapper. As chief legal officer for Newegg.com, the second-largest online only retailer in the United States, Cheng has successfully battled the almost three dozen trolls that have attacked his company in the last ten years. And not just fight them, but win.

Patent trolls — sometimes called “non-practicing entities,” or NPEs — don’t actually create any products or services. Instead, they scoop up patents for the express purpose of using them to extort money from real companies large and small that can’t or don’t want to pay high legal defense costs. NPEs focus on settlements and generally have no desire to test their generally poor-quality patents in trial and through appeal. Even bad patents can generate millions in settlement dollars.

A newly-updated Harvard Business School study finds patent trolls sue cash-rich firms “seemingly irrespective of actual patent-infringement” — because that’s where the money is. The Harvard researchers noted trolls are taking a toll on innovation at the firms they target: “After settling with NPEs (or losing to them in court), companies on average reduce their research-and-development (R&D) investment by more than 25 percent.” So instead of funding development of the Next Big Thing in consumer technology, these American small businesses are handing over legalized extortion payments to trolls.

Research estimates that patent trolls drain a prodigious $1.5 billion a week from the economy. I sat down with Lee Cheng to get a from-the-trenches account of the patent troll problem, and to let him share his lessons for taking down the trolls.

“They also rely a great deal on software patenting, as a look at their patent portfolio easily and instantly reveals.”What Gary Shapiro misses here is that patent trolls are often part of a broader shell game played by large corporations such as Microsoft. They also rely a great deal on software patenting, as a look at their patent portfolio easily and instantly reveals. All the focus is now being shifted towards trolls, both in the media and US Congress. Just see this new tweet (“VIDEO: Sen. Jeff Flake Targets Patent Trolls”).

Proskauer Rose LLP, which likes to cherry-pick cases in promotion of software patents, recently released this so-called ‘analysis’. They try to maintain a grip on software patents no matter what. Some large corporations are doing the same thing and it’s not limited to Microsoft. Consider IBM.

IBM’s commitment to Free software, especially now that it pays lobbyists like David Kappos for software patentability, should be seriously doubted. It just likes “Linux”. Manny Schecter, a patent chief at IBM, is an ardent proponent of software patents and he has just linked to “Latest very brief USPTO update to patent examiners on subject matter eligibility in view of recent cases…”

This is a PDF of a new Robert Bahr (Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy) letter regarding the Rapid Litigation case and Sequenom case (both covered here earlier this month). Herein he is alluding to Mayo and Alice as he might try to gently challenge these or begrudgingly adopt what the ‘pesky’ Supreme Court said. Here is a quote from the PDF: “In summary, the USPTO’s current subject matter eligibility guidance and training examples are consistent with the Federal Circuit’s panel decisions in Rapid Litigation Management and Sequenom. Life sciences method claims should continue to be treated in accordance with the USPTO’s subject matter eligibility guidance (most recently updated in May of 2016). Questions should be referred to Technology Center subject matter experts or your SPE.”

Where does IBM stand on the subject? It’s hardly even a mystery. IBM does not like Alice because IBM loves software patents and actively works to expand these to more countries/continents. At the same time IBM brags about OIN as though it magically makes IBM’s patent policies absolutely fine and compatible with FOSS. “I don’t think there is an alternative choice when you are small entity,” told me someone today. “When has OIN actually helped a small company? Even as a deterrent,” I replied. “When your entity is relatively small,” he said, “OIN represents a potential shield to provide you even a minimum of security.”

“Life sciences method claims should continue to be treated in accordance with the USPTO’s subject matter eligibility guidance (most recently updated in May of 2016).”
      –Robert BahrBut how in practice can OIN protect one against a troll for example? It cannot. OIN is totally useless against patent trolls. Don’t ever forget that. I saw that firsthand when I was part of E-mail thread I had initiated. Small companies sometimes try taking rivals to court with their patents. If the rival is big enough, then countersuit is massive (IBM has a massive portfolio which virtually every software patents infringes on), defeating the very point of bothering with a lawsuit in the first place. Large companies may use trolls as satellites/proxies, so the lawsuits/countersuits can come from all sorts of mysterious directions.

“Intel and McAfee Sued for Patent Infringement,” writes Patent Buddy this week. Security Profiling LLC (LLCs are usually patent trolls) is suing in the Eastern District of Texas. What can Intel do about it? Nothing. Intel is now trying to sell/offload McAfee, based on last week’s news reports (see our daily links for half a dozen such reports). Has it become too much of a burden perhaps? The point about patent trolls and OIN sticks, no matter what. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has just fallen for the OIN public relations machine, joining the chorus which began with an 'exclusive' puff piece. OIN is not a “Linux” thing as some want it to be widely viewed; it’s mostly an IBM, Sony etc. thing. It helps legitimise software patents rather than acknowledge that they are not compatible with FOSS or Linux and thus need to be ended.

Battistelli Has Implemented De Facto EPO Coup to Remove Oversight, Give Himself Total Power, and Allegedly Give UPC Gifts (Loot) to French Officials

Tuesday 19th of July 2016 01:08:51 AM

Using (or milking) the Office for his personal purposes?


Things are not always as simple as they may seem

Summary: Benoît Battistelli’s agenda at the EPO is anything but beneficial to the EPO and suspicions that Battistelli’s overall agenda is transitioning to the UPC to further his goals grow feet

EIGHT years ago we wrote about vendor capture in relation to ISO. Individuals or companies sometimes take advantage of police departments (see famous example above), public institutions or even other companies and the EPO appears to become a good example of this.

Some anonymous voices openly allege that Battistelli is not only surrounding himself with French people (former colleagues, family members etc.) at the top-level management (astronomical salaries and job security) but is also serving French buddies of his in France (he is politically-affiliated, in defiance of ILO or EPO rules), looking to empower himself in Paris (several sources sent us rumours over the years about his pursued role inside UPC). The following new comment repeats what we too have been saying regarding the UPC and Battistelli’s controversial actions, only to be proven correct by EPO management. They even explicitly admitted to it when asked by Dr. Glyn Moody several months ago. Here is what the comment says about the board of appeals (which relate to DG3):

I have been suggesting for ages that BB [Benoît Battistelli] is busy “clearing the path” for the UPC and its seat in Paris. For as long as DG3 exists, some litigants might prefer to dispute validity in Munich rather than in Paris. How badly will that hinder the growth of a healthy caseload docket in Paris?

But now it seems that the UPC is dead. No docket then for Paris, in the foreseeable future.

Time for the AC to press BB to stop clearing the path, to change direction and reinvigorate DG3, so it can dispatch cases in reasonable time? Wake up industry. Put pressure on your governments to instruct their AC representative accordingly.

Here is another comment on the subject:

Let me just say this: it is going to be the UPC, it is going to be in Paris and the board of appeal members will have nothing to say about it. They will never get employed by the UPC. The council and the president agree, nothing can stop them.

This was, as it turns out, noted also in the German media, not just Ars Technica (the aforementioned article from Glyn Moody). To quote:

That is certainly the plan of BB & Co. as was revealed in the Süddeutsche Zeitung in October 2015.

One alleged aim of the failed coup attempt against BB was “… to prevent the Office from facing the biggest change in its history: the transition to the single European patent and a new jurisdiction with the Court in Paris, including branch offices, also in Munich. The Enlarged Board would be replaced as soon as all States have ratified the agreement.

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/europaeisches-patentamt-der-erfundene-skandal-1.2695424

Unfortunately in the meantime the Süddeutsche seems to have stopped reporting about EPO affairs:

http://techrights.org/2016/07/17/suddeutsche-and-epo-pr/

Battistelli’s attempt to ‘revolutionise’ the EPO for his own benefit goes quite a while back, also to his very appointment. “If you look at ILOAT 3699, it is about Bernard Paye,” one source told us, “the ex-head of Internal Audit, who was pushed aside because of the abolition of the Audit Committee, which he objected to.”

Something such as the Audit Committee existed for the function of oversight — something which Battistelli absolutely could not (and still cannot) stand — and he took little time — once he had seized power — to totally destroy it, as we first noted here in 2014 (the Audit Committee and independence of Internal Audit was abolished).

Internal Audit, as we noted before (years ago), is directly under Battistelli’s control now. We also mentioned this more recently, even a in relation to the EPO’s Investigative Unit. The story of how this came about must be recalled. Bernard Paye has now won his case against the Office, but not many people will have noticed (let alone remember him). “The ILOAT is pretty damning of the Office,” a source told us, and “the language is quite strong, “inconsistent arguments”, etc.”

“Battistelli’s attempt to ‘revolutionise’ the EPO for his own benefit goes quite a while back, also to his very appointment.”We spent some time converting this decision into HTML and adding highlights in yellow. This once again reminds us of the important of whistleblower protections at the Office. As the decision below helps reaffirm, Bernard Paye was assigned to (or offered) a fictitious post — a similar thing to what happened in Croatia when Battistelli’s ‘bulldog’ tries to get rid of people (we covered this before). He was effectively fired for not agreeing with Battistelli and his “yes men”. The UPC is mentioned there too, namely “the strategic responsibilities inherent in the new post of Senior Advisor for planning and preparation of the unitary patent” (it all boils down to the UPC quite so often).

The decision below was reached (not yet published) earlier this month, so it took several years to reach a conclusion, at which point the chance of redemption, justice etc. was rather hard to reason about. In fact, this long delay would likely serve as a deterrent against future such cases (complaints) and the compensation offered is only a sixth of what was requested, which makes this entire ordeal (long process) less than worthwhile, except maybe as a matter of principle and setting the record straight.

Here is the full decision’s text (in English this time, not French):

Organisation internationale du Travail Tribunal administratif
International Labour Organization Administrative Tribunal

Registry’s translation,
the French text alone
being authoritative.

P. (No. 2)
v.
EPO

122nd Session
Judgment No. 3699

THE ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL,

Considering the second complaint filed by Mr B. Y. P. against the European Patent Organisation (EPO) on 20 June 2013 and corrected on 12 July, the EPO’s reply of 11 November 2013, the complainant’s rejoinder of 31 January 2014 and the EPO’s surrejoinder of 10 June 2014;
Considering Article II, paragraph 5, of the Statute of the Tribunal;
Having examined the written submissions and decided not to hold oral proceedings, for which neither party has applied;
Considering that the facts of the case may be summed up as follows:
The complainant challenges the decision to transfer him to a Senior Advisor post.
At the material time, the complainant held the grade A6 post of Head of the Internal Audit department, that is, Principal Directorate 0.6 of the European Patent Office, the EPO’s secretariat. When the President of the Office proposed that the Administrative Council abolish the Audit Committee – one of its subsidiary bodies – the complainant expressed his disagreement. On 30 June 2011 the Administrative Council adopted decision CA/D 4/11 abolishing the Audit Committee with immediate effect.
By a letter of 21 July 2011, the President of the Office informed the complainant that his public “opposition” to the decision to abolish Judgment No. 3699 the Audit Committee made it impossible for him to continue as Head of Internal Audit, and that he considered that this was no longer in the interests of the service. Under Article 12, paragraph 2, of the Service Regulations for permanent employees of the EPO, the President therefore proposed to transfer the complainant to a post of “special advisor” and asked him to submit his “reactions” by 1 August.
A vacancy notice for the grade A6 post of Senior Advisor planning and preparation of the unitary patent – which was to be filled by way of a transfer – was published on 6 September. On 16 September the complainant wrote to the President stating that he did not intend to apply for that post as he did not believe he had the necessary qualifications and experience. By a letter of 29 September the complainant was notified that in the Office’s interests the President had decided to transfer him to the post with effect from 1 October. On 14 December 2011 the complainant filed an internal appeal against this decision, submitting that it constituted an abuse of authority, a hidden disciplinary sanction and an affront to his dignity. He requested the cancellation of the decision, his reinstatement in a post that corresponded to his qualifications, experience and level, and redress for the injury that he claimed to have suffered.
The Internal Appeals Committee, to which the matter was referred, delivered its opinion on 14 December 2012 after hearing both parties. Considering in particular that the complainant’s transfer to a post that did not really correspond to grade A6 had injured his dignity, the Committee unanimously recommended that the President cancel the decision to transfer the complainant, award the complainant 25,000 euros in moral damages and take prompt action to reassign him to a genuine grade A6 post with a view to allowing the complainant to end his career on a positive note. Failing this, the complainant should be awarded additional damages of 5,000 euros. By a letter of 25 March 2013, which constitutes the impugned decision, the complainant, who had retired on 31 December 2012, was notified of the President’s decision to dismiss his internal appeal.

The complainant asks the Tribunal to rule that the impugned decision to transfer him to the post of Senior Advisor was unlawful and to award him 60,000 euros in compensation for the moral injury he considers he has suffered as well as 2,000 euros in costs.

The EPO asks the Tribunal to dismiss the complaint in its entirety.

CONSIDERATIONS

1. In his complaint, the complainant asks the Tribunal to rule that the decision of the President of the Office to transfer him to a post of senior advisor unlawful and to award him 60,000 euros in compensation for moral injury as well as costs in the amount of 2,000 euros. In support of his complaint, he submits that his “transfer constituted an abuse of authority and a hidden disciplinary sanction and that the post to which [he] was transferred was fictitious and was created to suit the circumstances
in violation of the applicable procedures”. He further submits that the post in question was not commensurate with his grade.

2. The EPO denies that the decision to transfer the complainant was unlawful. It further submits that, contrary to the complainant’s assertion, he was transferred to a post with grade A6 duties in keeping with his qualifications and experience.

3. This case presents two material questions. The first is that of whether or not the complainant’s transfer was wrongful. The second relates to the grade of the duties which the complainant was assigned; in other words, did the post of Senior Advisor to which the complainant was appointed correspond to a grade A6 position?

4. According to the complainant, his transfer was wrongful and was in fact a hidden sanction. He adds that the post to which he was assigned was “fictitious”. The defendant submits that the complainant was transferred in the EPO’s interests in light of his continuing opposition to the abolition of the Audit Committee.

5. Although the complainant believes that his transfer was a hidden sanction, he does not bring any evidence in support of this allegation. His submissions merely contain an unsubstantiated assertion that his transfer to the contested post of Senior Advisor was a hidden sanction for his refusal to apply for that post. Furthermore, in his rejoinder he writes that he has “never disputed the right of the President of the Office to order a transfer in the Organisation’s interests, of which he is the judge”. There is no doubt here as to the Organisation’s interests: as the defendant argues persuasively, “it was no longer in the Office’s interest for the complainant to remain as Head of Internal Audit given that his continuing opposition to the abolition of the Audit Committee demonstrated a marked divergence of opinion regarding the conditions in which Internal Audit was to operate and its position”. Moreover, the evidence shows that, contrary to what the complainant asserts, the post to which he was assigned involved duties that were real – irrespective of their level, which will be addressed below – and the post cannot therefore be regarded as “fictitious”.

6. The complainant submits that the post of Senior Advisor to which he was transferred was not commensurate with his A6 grade. In this regard, he stated in his internal appeal that Senior Advisor posts were “posts held by staff members who held grade A4 at most and who [did] not exercise any authority”. He added that the grade A6 responsibilities outlined in the “Job Descriptions” appended to the Service Regulations, according to which “[t]he Officer runs a prominent organisational unit covering several specialised fields or is chairman of a Board of Appeal [and] duties primarily consist in developing [...] authoritative guidelines [...] and taking decisions in particularly difficult and important cases”, were not involved in the task assigned to him, which merely consisted in “conduct[ing] an in-depth analysis of the situation and draft[ing] proposals”. The EPO maintains that the complainant’s duties in his new role of Senior Advisor corresponded to grade A6.

7. It is to no avail that the EPO attempts to show that the complainant’s duties were of grade A6 level. First, it invites the Tribunal to interpret the job description appended to the Service Regulations liberally as, in the defendant’s view, it would not be possible for the Office to perform its functions properly “if it were obliged to apply the generic post descriptions strictly to the letter, without regard to the particular circumstances of the case in question”. Next, it poses the question, tailored to this particular case, of “whether, in the circumstances of the present case, the complainant’s new role was reasonably commensurate with his grade”, and not that of whether it corresponded exactly to grade A6 duties. Lastly, it asserts that “the strategic responsibilities inherent in the new post of Senior Advisor for planning and preparation of the unitary patent, though involving no management responsibilities, were nevertheless at the same level as those of a grade A6 post”. These inconsistent arguments, submitted by the defendant to convince the Tribunal that the complainant’s new duties were at grade A6 level, poorly disguise the fact that this was not at all the case. The defendant itself acknowledges in its submissions that “the complainant’s new role did not entail all of the characteristics of a grade A6 post according to the generic description provided in the Service Regulations”. The Tribunal concludes that the complainant’s new duties were not commensurate with grade A6. The complainant did not run a prominent organisational unit covering several specialised fields; he was neither a Principal Director nor a Chairman of a Board of Appeal; he could not take decisions in particularly difficult or important cases. Hence, the contested transfer decision must, as the complainant requests, be ruled unlawful.

8. The EPO will be ordered to pay the complainant the sum of 10,000 euros as redress for the moral injury incurred as a result of that decision.

9. As the complainant succeeds in part, he is entitled to an award of costs, set at 2,000 euros. For the above reasons,

1. The impugned decision is quashed and the contested transfer decision is declared unlawful.

2. The EPO shall pay the complainant 10,000 euros in moral damages.

3. It shall also pay him 2,000 euros in costs.

In witness of this judgment, adopted on 28 April 2016, Mr Claude Rouiller, President of the Tribunal, Mr Patrick Frydman, Judge, and Ms Fatoumata Diakité, Judge, sign below, as do I, Dražen Petrović, Registrar.

Delivered in public in Geneva on 6 July 2016.
(Signed)

CLAUDE ROUILLER
PATRICK FRYDMAN
FATOUMATA DIAKITÉ
DRAŽEN PETROVIĆ

Battistelli’s abuses may as well end up bankrupting/fossilising the Office (compensations, millions spent on buying the media for UPC promotion and setting up lobbying events). He has already, based on reports made to us, reduced demand for EPO services as stakeholders recognise the sharp decline in quality of service and thus go elsewhere or recommend/advise clients to turn to national offices etc.

There are more cases like the above and we intend to mention or properly cover them in the future as they serve to highlight/establish Team Battistelli’s guilt.

EPO Social [sic] Report is a Big Pile of Lies That Responsible Journalists Must Ignore

Monday 18th of July 2016 04:10:33 PM

Here’s why…

Summary: A reminder of where the EPO stands on social issues and why the latest so-called ‘social’ report is nothing but paid-for propaganda for Battistelli’s political ambitions

THE EPO is in a state of crisis (as even the entire Organisation admits). The President has 0% approval rating and there is growing unrest. Later this year EPO management will probably be chastised by the Dutch Supreme Court (and Dutch politicians, never mind Dutch media) and another trial at The Hague began on Friday. There are clearly several cases against EPO management at The Hague right now. The latter is about the attack on staff representatives (more of them silently got sacked recently) and the former about a variety of issues less severe (but nonetheless ones for which the EPO was found guilty).

EPO workers, we recently learned, are already doing fund-raisers for a post-Battistelli party. This party would probably take a while to actually take place and additionally, his departure isn’t the end of it all. He has polluted the entire management rank. It’s full of his cronies now. If Battistelli’s craziness and his paranoia continue to escalate, soon enough he’ll hire people with jobs skills like “eating” to test (or taste) his food for him. He has become just about as insane as Erdoğan or other tyrants which history turned into iconic symbols (not just Napoleon). “Still no comment from the EPO President about the coup attempt in Turkey,” one person wrote earlier today. “Doesn’t he care about what is going on there? Let us not forget that Turkey is an EPO member state!!!”

The EPO has said nothing about Turkey but instead it has just released a pile of lies (they call it “social report” rather than “social study”, maybe to help dodge — SEO-wise — the negative association with the long-malign ‘study’). We wrote about this study many times before, e.g. in [1, 2, 3]. Insiders have warned about how it was done and why it would tell lies once released. Right now the EPO's PR team and its outside help (FTI Consulting, with over a million Euros of EPO budget) must be pressuring journalists to repeat their ‘social’ lies. How many will they manage to bamboozle and/or co-opt? That remains to be seen.

It typically takes a day or two for the EPO to mention its blog posts or “news” [sic] in its Twitter account. Over at Twitter today the EPO is promoting this event in Madrid, Spain. In spite of or because Spain is a thorn in the EPO’s side? Remember that Spain is one of the biggest barriers to the UPC and mind the fact that “EPO management is still busy with the UPC,” according to this new comment. Here is the comment in full: “People discuss the future of the board of appeal as it it had a future. The president said it many times: in his mind, there is no need for the board of appeal with the UPC. The board of appeal members missing have not been replaced in the past years (just check how many posts are still vacant) and will not be replaced. The move to another place is classical in French politics, just check how it was done at French Telecom (it’s in the press): they moved people around to harass them and force them to resign. The EPO management is still busy with the UPC, BTW. They believe brexit is not a problem.”

“This so-called ‘social’ report (propaganda to mislead about the management’s antisocial behaviour) is just the latest distraction.”The EPO can ignore Brexit all it wants, but it pretty much rendered the UPC dead (or dying, or in a limbo for several years to come). Looking beyond the failed UPC, Sweden opens a new specialised court of its own. “A new era for the Swedish intellectual property market will be ushered in on September 1 2016 with the opening of the Patent and Market court in Stockholm,” wrote a sister site of WIPR. “On the whole, Swedish participants in this year’s WTR 1000 research process are expecting the introduction of a specialised, IP-exclusive court to be an overwhelmingly positive development for their jurisdiction.”

Things are not working out so well for the EPO these days. This so-called ‘social’ report (propaganda to mislead about the management’s antisocial behaviour) is just the latest distraction.

Links 18/7/2016: Vista 10 a Failure, FreeType 2.7

Monday 18th of July 2016 10:02:35 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Microsoft’s Windows RT security patch also stops you from loading Linux

    It was big news when Microsoft announced it was working on a version of Windows that would run on tablets with ARM-based processors… but by the time Windows RT actually launched it was a lot less exciting. Devices like the Microsoft Surface and Surface 2 couldn’t run desktop Windows apps and weren’t significantly cheaper than Intel Atom-powered tablets running the full version of Windows, and they didn’t even get better battery life.

  • Desktop
    • Microsoft blocks Linux installations

      Microsoft has closed a backdoor left open in Windows RT even though the OS is pretty much dead in the water as Vole can’t be bothered with it any more.

      This vulnerability in ARM-powered locked down Windows devices was left by Redmond programmers during the development process. Exploiting this flaw, a hacker could boot operating systems of his/her choice, including Android or GNU/Linux.

    • “Windows 10 Is A Failure” — According To Microsoft’s Own Metric [Ed: in spite of very dirty if not illegal tricks]

      Microsoft has accepted that Windows 10 has failed to perform as expected. The software giant hoped that by mid-2018, Windows 10 will be running on 1 billion devices. Now, this number seems far-fetched due the constantly shrinking PC market and poor performance of Windows 10 Mobile.

  • Kernel Space
    • Graphics Stack
      • Wayland’s Weston Now Working On Libweston-Desktop

        Wayland developers continue working on Libweston, which is aiming to make more of the Weston reference compositor reusable by other Wayland compositors. This library offers much of the boilerplate code around the Wayland protocols to allow more sharing by compositors and making it more straight-forward to get things up and running. The latest component is Libweston-desktop.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Herding Cats, or Managing Complexity

        Determined to find a rational web based development environment, something stable, that works, has support and is flexible enough to deal with future demands, as well has minimal html involved, I ended up using Angular 2 on a Meteor base.

      • Gsoc 2016 Neverland #7

        When I was working with Mediawiki, I realized its source code isnt good.

      • #29: GSoC with KDE Now – 7
      • The KApiDox poll results (at last!)
      • About my GSoC project

        My mentor gave me a task (it was one of the first ones) to refactor QMap structure, which was holding archive entries metadata, into an Archive::Entry class, which would use QProperty system. Such refactoring would bring more extensibility and allow to pass and manipulate data in more convenient ways. And of course QProperty is a big step forward for possible future using QtQuick and other nice modern Qt stuff. Today I’m finished with it. That was a huge amount of work in order to complete that task. It was not hard itself, but rather routine, because this structure was used by large part of code. Though after that I faced a tough challenge to fix all the bugs I’ve done with that refactoring. Now I’m happy I can proceed to other important things.

      • Accelerating Vector Tile Creation

        Late summer brings a couple of interesting dates for the Marble community: On the Desktop we’ll release Marble 2.0 and around the same time our Android app Marble Maps will have its first stable release. Later on in September it’s time to celebrate the 10th birthday of the Marble project!

        The common theme to the upcoming release is the introduction of the Vector OSM map: A beautifully styled map based on data from the OpenStreetMap project that spans the entire world from globe to street zoom level. In order to make this possible we’re working very hard behind the scenes to optimize both the tile data and the rendering in Marble to give you a smooth experience.

      • 17th FISL, KDE Brazil and cake!

        In this last week happened in a cold city called Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, the 17 edition of FISL, the Free Software International Forum.

        Well… KDE has always participated in this forum, and the organization gave to us all day in a room, so the KDE Community could make a lot of talks.

      • KDEPIM ready to be more broadly tested

        As was posted a couple of weeks ago, the latest version of KDE has been uploaded to unstable.

        All packages are now uploaded and built and we believe this version is ready to be more broadly tested.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GSoC 2016: The adventure begins

        Hello! I am Razvan, a technology & open-source enthusiast and I am working on what is probably the most interesting project for me so far, Nautilus. So far, this has been the highlight of my experience – lots of interesting things learned while coding and a great interaction with the community. This is mainly thanks to Carlos, captain of Nautilus, who always finds the time to help me and other contributors whenever we get stuck. On top of this, the funny chats with him and people from the GNOME community make contributing so much more enjoyable! Up until now I’ve been titled King of the Trash™, I’ve learned about some file system magic from Christian Hergert, and I’ve also been threatened by a katana-wielding GNOME samurai. Awesome, right?

      • Extraction support in Nautilus

        As a result, the output will always have the name of the source archive, making it easy to find after an extraction. Also, the maximum number of conflicts an extraction can have is just one, the output itself. Hurray, no more need to go through a thousand dialogs!

      • Improved File Extraction Coming To GNOME’s Nautilus

        As part of Google Summer of Code, improved extraction support for compressed files is being worked on for the Nautilus file manager.

      • Builder Happenings

        Over the last couple of weeks I’ve started implementing Run support for Builder. This is somewhat tricky business since we care about complicated manners. Everything from autotools support to profiler/debugger integration to flatpak and jhbuild runtime support. Each of these complicates and contorts the problem in various directions.

        Discovering the “target binary” in your project via autotools is no easy task. We have a few clever tricks but more are needed. One thing we don’t support yet is discovering bin_SCRIPTS. So launching targets like python or gjs applications is not ready yet. Once we discover .desktop files that should start working. Pretty much any other build system would be easier to implement this.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Linux Lite 3.0

        Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Linux Lite 3.0 is a lightweight distribution with the Xfce 4.12 desktop. In addition to being lightweight, it is also aimed at providing a familiar user experience for users transitioning from Microsoft Windows. In the wide array of Ubuntu derived distributions, Linux Lite has a lot of competition, so what sets Linux Lite apart from the other options? I downloaded the 955MB 64-bit install media to find out and below I share my experience with this very nice, polished distribution.

        Booting and installing the distribution is a very familiar experience for anyone who has used Ubuntu or any distribution based on Ubuntu. The standard Ubiquity installer walks the user through the install experience providing guidance and making the experience pretty straight forward. In this regard, Linux Lite 3.0 is almost identical to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

        Because Linux Lite 3.0 is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, it features version 4.4 of the Linux kernel and supports a wide variety of hardware out of the box using open source drivers. If the user needs proprietary drivers, all the drivers that are available for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS can be installed. Unfortunately users who need to use the proprietary ATI Catalyst drivers will run into problems because Linux Lite 3.0, just like Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, does not support the Catalyst drivers. One other hardware related issue to note is that the Linux Lite documentation recommends switching the computer’s BIOS to Legacy mode instead of using UEFI mode and Secure Boot. The documentation states that “Linux Lite does not support or advocate the use of Secure Boot” and it notes that the distribution can be made to work with UEFI booting, but “The solution requires intermediate knowledge of Linux” and provides a link to a YouTube video which provides instructions.

    • New Releases
      • Solus 1.2.1 Releases Tomorrow

        We’re really excited to be releasing our last “traditional” release, Solus 1.2.1, tomorrow. We opted to delay by a day just to ensure we don’t push ourselves too hard after the recent Hackfest, as well as being able to take the time to do additional QA.

    • Red Hat Family
      • CentOS 7 – Daily papercut fixes

        That’s all for today. A bunch of small, innocent and possibly personal fixes that you might not like and appreciate, but they should come useful if you decide to embark on a serious day-to-day mission of using and taming CentOS. And not because it’s bad and needs extra effort compared to the Ubuntus and Mints and Fedoras of this world. Because it stays put once tweaked, in a loving, predictable fashion. Something that compels me to keep on trying despite an occasional hiccup here and there. What’s the word I’m looking for? Right. No regressions! That’s that one! Fix once and forget about it – not dread what will happen in six months. Jolly good. These fine little tips and tricks just make the whole thing even more pleasurable.

        I will expand this list as I continue exploring the CentOS 7 desktops more and more. We also have the Xfce adventure ahead of us. Truth to be told, I have never been so excited about CentOS before. Something had always been amiss. When I had modern hardware, CentOS 6 was approaching its zenith. Then CentOS 7 came about, but my laptops became outdated, and the newest box refused to boot this distro. Until now.

        With the right combo of modern – on both the hardware and software side, I can finally give CentOS its full attention. And this means more games, more tweaking, and far more detail than almost any other distro attempt. It has taken the bulk of my Linux time, and I am really enjoying the experience. So you should expect more articles, more guides. One day, we might actually nail the perfect distro formula for all eternity. Stay sweet.

      • Red Hat adds SDN support to latest cloud management platform

        Red Hat, Inc. has announced the general availability of Red Hat CloudForms 4.1, the latest version of its open hybrid cloud management solution. With support for Google Cloud Platform, Red Hat CloudForms 4.1 now supports greater choice and flexibility for customers who want to run hybrid cloud workloads on Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • New guidelines for Fedora Ambassadors and Design

          This week, some Ambassadors, CommOps, and Design Team members collaborated on improving and redefining the guidelines for how to request artwork and other art assets. As the advocates and representatives of Fedora across the globe, the Ambassadors often need many tools and resources for demonstrating Fedora. Examples of this might be fliers, banners, tablecloths, stickers, badges, and more. Until recently, the process for requesting artwork assets was not well-defined and somewhat unclear. This can cause problems when Ambassadors need something designed for an event. Sometimes it can draw out the request or end up in an accident, such as purple DVD media covers!

        • GSoC 2016 Weekly Rundown: Documentation and upgrades

          This week and the last were busy, but I’ve made some more progress towards creating the last, idempotent product for managing WordPress installations in Fedora’s Infrastructure for GSoC 2016. The past two weeks had me mostly working on writing the standard operating procedure / documentation for my final product as well as diving more into handling upgrades with WordPress. My primary playbook for installing WordPress is mostly complete, pending one last annoyance.

    • Debian Family
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Hardware
    • ARM grabbed for £24.3bn by Japan’s SoftBank

      British microprocessor designer ARM, an icon of the UK’s technology sector, has agreed a £24.3bn cash sale to Japan’s acquisitive SoftBank Group in a surprise deal announced this morning in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.

      The purchase by SoftBank will be one of the biggest-ever M&A deals in tech – and certainly the biggest in the UK. The agreed takeover may spark a bidding war for ARM, whose technology has become the de facto standard for mobile microprocessors, while the company represents the main competition for chip giant Intel.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Washington Is Politicizing The Olympics Again

      Washington and its Canadian vassal are trying to use a Western media-created Russian athletic doping scandal to ban Russian participation in the Olympic games in Brazil. Washington and Canada are pressuring other countries to get on board with Washington’s vendetta against Russia. The vendetta is conducted under the cover of “protecting clean athletics.”

      You can bet your life that Washington is not motivated by a respect for fairness in sports. Washington is busy at home destroying fairness to the poor, and Washington, which disregards the sovereignty of countries and international law against naked aggression, is busy abroad destroying millions of lives for hegemonic purposes.

    • Your Hands in the Soil: Tending the Garden of a Nation

      Serious gardening is meditation. It is a long pause in the cupped hand of life itself. There is a good deal of work involved in creating something from nothing, in taking a blank space and painting it green and red. I put my hands in the dirt and smell the soil between my knuckles, I feel the sun on my neck, I shoo away the early summer flies and plant at pace, seed here and seedling there. I watch the weather like a meteorologist to know when to water and when to let it ride because a soft rain beats the sprinkler any day. I watch the leaves for signs of yellow. I watch for buds and flowers. All the while, I am outside in an ocean of green and blue with hummingbirds and hawks and dragonflies, and I am also inside myself, diving deep as I perform the rote duty of tying a stalk to a stake.

    • Industry Report Tracks Innovation’s Value To AIDS Treatment In Developing Countries

      A new report launched in time for this week’s AIDS conference in South Africa analyzes factors relating to access to HIV/AIDS treatments over the past 15 years. The analysis includes a look at government policies used during that time, the contribution of generic and research-based industries, and the importance of voluntary licensing.

    • Public Health Takes a Hit Even as Uruguay Prevails in Infamous Philip Morris Investor-State Attack

      Thankfully, a years-long campaign to shame Philip Morris and the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system for the tobacco giant’s infamous ISDS attack on Uruguay ultimately prevailed, but not without leaving deep and damaging scars to global tobacco-control efforts. An ISDS tribunal ruled that Uruguay did not have to compensate Philip Morris after the firm attacked Uruguay’s public health law requiring that 80 percent of tobacco product packages feature graphic medical warning labels.

      But what happens when a government “wins” an ISDS attack should be a cautionary tale for the threats posed by the Trans-Pacific Partnerships (TPP). If enacted, the TPP would double U.S. ISDS liability overnight.

  • Security
    • The sad state of Linux download security

      Installation images for many of the most popular Linux distributions are difficult or impossible to obtain securely via download.

    • Why we use the Linux kernel’s TCP stack

      Let’s start with a broader question – what is the point of running an operating system at all? If you planned on running a single application, having to use a kernel consisting of multiple million lines of code may sound like a burden.

      But in fact most of us decide to run some kind of OS and we do that for two reasons. Firstly, the OS layer adds hardware independence and easy to use APIs. With these we can focus on writing the code for any machine – not only the specialized hardware we have at the moment. Secondly, the OS adds a time sharing layer. This allows us to run more than one application at a time. Whether it’s a second HTTP server or just a bash session, this ability to share resources between multiple processes is critical. All of the resources exposed by the kernel can be shared between multiple processes!

      [...]

      Having said that, at CloudFlare we do use kernel bypass. We are in the second group – we care about performance. More specifically we suffer from IRQ storms. The Linux networking stack has a limit on how many packets per second it can handle. When the limit is reached all CPUs become busy just receiving packets. In that case either the packets are dropped or the applications are starved of CPU. While we don’t have to deal with IRQ storms during our normal operation, this does happen when we are the target of an L3 (layer 3 OSI) DDoS attack. This is a type of attack where the target is flooded with arbitrary packets not belonging to valid connections – typically spoofed packets.

    • Ubuntu user forums hack leaks millions of user details [Ed: Canonical continued using proprietary software that had already been breached, now gives GNU/Linux a bad name again. Many journalists out there cannot tell the difference between operating system and forums software, never mind proprietary and Free software. How many so-called "technology" journalists still say "commercial" software instead of proprietary software, as if FOSS is non-commercial?]

      Attacker took advantage of unpatched software.

      Canonical, the parent company of popular Linux distribution Ubuntu, has disclosed that its user web forums have suffered a major data breach.

      Over the weekend, Canonical said that it had come across claims that a third party had a copy of the Ubuntu Forums database.

      The company was able to verify that a breach had taken place, with a database containing details of two million Ubuntu Forums users being leaked.

    • As Open Source Code Spreads, So Do Components with Security Flaws[Ef: Catalin Cimpanu's headline would have us believe that proprietary software has no "Security Flaws", only FOSS]

      The company that provides hosting services for the Maven Central Repository says that one in sixteen downloads is for a Java component that contains a known security flaw.

    • OpenSSH has user enumeration bug

      A bug in OpenSSH allows an attacker to check whether user names are valid on a ‘net-facing server – because the Blowfish algorithm runs faster than SHA256/SHA512.

      The bug hasn’t been fixed yet, but in his post to Full Disclosure, Verint developer Eddie Harari says OpenSSH developer Darren Tucker knows about the issue and is working to address it.

      If you send a user ID to an OpenSSH server with a long (but wrong) password – 10 kilobytes is what Harari mentions in his post – then the server will respond quickly for fake users, but slower for real users.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • You, Too, Armenia?

      Come on, give us a break, will you? Most of us are still digging out of news on France’s latest terror attack, the 28-pages released on Friday, and Turkey’s so-called coup. Couldn’t you wait until later this coming week?

      Apparently not.

      Reliable reports are even more scarce than for Turkey as Armenia is even more aggressive in its monitoring and policing of social media. What reports have emerged indicate an organized, armed hostage-taking event demanding the release of a political prisoner rather than a coup.

    • Military Regimes Shouldn’t Be Recognized

      The military upheaval in Turkey, whose final consequences are yet to be seen, highlights a major weakness in worldwide efforts to promote democracy. This event underscores the need to establish binding international legal principles to ban the recognition of military regimes as a result of coups d’état. Establishment of such principles, and the creation of the legal mechanisms for applying them, would foster democracy throughout the world.

      The circumstances in Turkey mimic several similar situations in recent history: the coming to power of governments without support from the military. Once confronted with a threat to their political hegemony, the military either overthrow the civilian government or refuses to surrender power to democratically elected civilians.

      Overt recognition by Western democracies or implied recognition through ambivalent signs of disapproval have encouraged military officers to overthrow many constitutional governments freely chosen by the people. The military relinquish power only when forced by popular will, or when its own incapacity to govern has made its position untenable.

    • Turkey coup arrests hit 6,000 as Erdogan roots out ‘virus’

      Turkey has arrested 6,000 people after a failed coup, with President Erdogan vowing to purge state bodies of the “virus” that caused the revolt.

      Mr Erdogan’s top military aide Col Ali Yazici is among those now in custody.

      The overall death toll for the weekend violence has risen to 290, the foreign ministry said. More than 100 of those were participating in the coup.

    • Fears for Turkey’s Democracy Build as Post-Coup Crackdown Continues

      The fallout from the failed military coup in Turkey extended through the weekend, as the number of people arrested rose to about 6,000 and world leaders continued urging restraint from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has said the plotters would pay a “heavy price.”

      Erdoğan on Sunday vowed to “clean all state institutions of the virus” of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish president blamed for the uprising. He said members of the “Gülen group” have “ruined” the country’s military and are being taken into custody throughout all ranks.

      “This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army,” Erdoğan said.

      Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, has denied involvement in the revolt, which began late Friday night and was quashed by citizens responding to Erdoğan’s call to action.

    • Turkey’s Attempted Coup

      Turkey’s democracy is dead. It was dying anyway, as President Recep Tayyib Erdogan took over media outlets, arrested political opponents and journalists, and even re-started a war with the Kurds last autumn in order to win an election. But once part of the army launched a coup attempt on Friday night, it was dead no matter which way the crisis ended.

    • 6 Police Officers Shot, At Least 3 Dead in Baton Rouge Ambush

      Six police officers were shot and three are dead after a shoot-out took place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Sunday morning.

      The attack was said to be an ambush, after police reportedly received a call of a “suspicious person walking down Airline Highway with an assault rifle,” according to a CNN source. When police arrived, the man, reportedly clad in black and wearing a face mask, opened fire on them.
      Six law enforcement officers were shot—three are dead and three others are injured, Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola told CNN.
      The suspect, who was killed at the scene, has been identified by police as Gavin Eugene Long.

    • Police Officers Reportedly Shot in Baton Rouge

      Three police officers have been confirmed killed and at least three others were injured in a shooting Sunday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, according to the sheriff’s office.

    • Two Baton Rouge police officers killed in shooting Sunday, mayor’s office confirms

      At least one police officer has been shot in Baton Rouge on Sunday morning, and there’s an active shooter situation in the area of Airline and Old Hammond highways, Baton Rouge police confirm.

    • Three Police Officers Dead in Baton Rouge Shooting

      Six police officers have been shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and three are dead, according to local news reports citing police sources.

      At a Sunday afternoon press conference following the shooting, Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson said that “there is no active shooter scenario going on in Baton Rouge. We believe that the person that shot and killed our officers was shot and killed at the scene.”

    • Nuclear weapons have almost been launched accidentally 13 times – it’s time to stop believing in the fantasy that Trident keeps us safe

      It is my firm view, based on the best available evidence, that renewing Trident will not only fail to improve Britain’s security, but in fact poses significant dangers to us. These weapons of mass destruction have the potential to cause death on an unimaginable scale, and they do nothing to hinder the real threat of lone gunmen or extremists. Their very presence here – and the transport of nuclear warheads on our roads – is not only a target for terrorism but a continued risk of accidents linked to human error or technical failure. A recent report from Chatham House confirms this threat, listing 13 occasions from across the world when nuclear weapons were nearly launched accidentally. These weapons present a huge risk – and there’s no evidence to suggest they keep us any safer.

      If we’re serious about ridding the world of nuclear weapons and fulfilling our obligations under the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, then genuine disarmament is non-negotiable. Keeping these weapons sends a dangerous signal to the rest of the world that security is dependent on being able to use weapons of mass destruction, and thus drives proliferation.

      The UN is currently working on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Britain can play a part in ridding the world of these weapons, but not if we refuse to lay down our own nuclear arms.

    • Cleveland Police Ask For Emergency Suspension Of Open Carry Laws During Republican Convention

      The request will put Governor Kasich in an awkward position. In general Republicans argue that open-carry laws are an important party of the right to bear arms and improve public safety. The research does not support this argument.

    • Turkey’s Erdogan Expands Post-Coup Crackdown To Target Judges, Key Military Leader

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is further enforcing his reputation as a shrewd political operator in the aftermath of Friday’s attempted coup, arresting some 6,000 people, including a prominent military official, connected to Friday’s events.

      General Bekir Ercan Van — the commander of the Incirlik Air Base — was just one of thousands of soldiers and members of the judiciary to be arrested. Erdogan said the coup was “a gift from God…because this will help us claim our military from these members of this gang.”

      Analysts say Erdogan is using the coup to dispose of his known opponents in government. Erdogan and his moderate Islamist party AKP was once widely hailed as a reformist leader who helped ease tensions with Kurdish separatist groups and played a positive role in regional events. But after around a decade in power, Erdogan began attempts to consolidate his power and advance his own political values and influence in Turkey. Friday’s attempted coup will likely further embolden Erdogan to crack down on his opponents in government and beyond.

    • MH-17: Two Years of Anti-Russian Propaganda

      Two years ago, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot out of the sky over eastern Ukraine killing 298 people and opening an inviting path for a propaganda campaign toward a new Cold War with Russia, writes Robert Parry.

    • MH-17: Russia Convicted By Propaganda, Not Evidence
    • Here’s Why Activists Don’t Buy Hillary Clinton’s Justification for the Honduras Coup

      In April 2016, Hillary Clinton was asked about her role in Honduras’ 2009 coup by Democracy Now’s Juan González. The coup, which took place while Clinton was Secretary of State, ousted the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya and plunged the country into chaos. Today, Honduras is one of the most violent countries on earth, particularly for activists. On March 3, 2016, Berta Cáceres, a Honduran indigenous Lenca and a leading human rights activist and environmentalist, was assassinated in Honduras. Shortly before her death she singled out Clinton for criticism, holding her accountable for legitimizing the country’s current political situation.

    • Trump Campaign Weighs In On Open Carry At The Republican Convention

      Hours after the head of Cleveland’s police union pleaded with the governor to suspend Ohio’s open-carry laws during the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump’s spokesperson told ThinkProgress she is “not nervous at all” that people are walking around the city with assault weapons.

      “I am recommending that people follow the law,” Katrina Pierson said Sunday when asked whether she believes people should arm themselves in the convention zone. Under Ohio law, residents over 21 years old who have permits can openly carry guns in public.

    • 29 Pages Revealed: Corruption, Crime and Cover-up Of 9/11

      First and foremost, here is what you need to know when you listen to any member of our government state that the newly released 29 pages are no smoking gun – THEY ARE LYING.

      Our government’s relationship to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is no different than an addict’s relationship to heroin. Much like a heroin addict who will lie, cheat, and steal to feed their vice, certain members of our government will lie, cheat, and steal to continue their dysfunctional and deadly relationship with the KSA – a relationship that is rotting this nation and its leaders from the inside out.

      When CIA Director John Brennan states that he believes the 29 pages prove that the government of Saudi Arabia had no involvement in the 9/11 attacks, recognize that John Brennan is not a man living in reality – he is delusional by design, feeding and protecting his Saudi vice.

      When Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Anne W. Patterson, testifies – under oath – that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an ally that does everything they can to help us fight against Islamic terrorism, recognize that her deep, steep Saudi pandering serves and protects only her Saudi vice.

    • The Saudis Did 9/11

      News reports about the recently released 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks are typically dismissive: this is nothing new, it’s just circumstantial evidence, and there’s no “smoking gun.” Yet given what the report actually says – and these news accounts are remarkably sparse when it comes to verbatim quotes – it’s hard to fathom what would constitute a smoking gun.

      To begin with, let’s start with what’s not in these pages: there are numerous redactions. And they are rather odd. When one expects to read the words “CIA” or “FBI,” instead we get a blacked-out word. Entire paragraphs are redacted – often at crucial points. So it’s reasonable to assume that, if there is a smoking gun, it’s contained in the portions we’re not allowed to see. Presumably the members of Congress with access to the document prior to its release who have been telling us that it changes their entire conception of the 9/11 attacks – and our relationship with the Saudis – read the unredacted version. Which points to the conclusion that the omissions left out crucial information – perhaps including the vaunted smoking gun.

    • The Trojan Drone

      Think of it as the Trojan Drone, the ultimate techno-weapon of American warfare in these years, a single remotely operated plane sent to take out a single key figure. It’s a shiny video game for grown ups — a Mortal Kombat or Call of Duty where the animated enemies bleed real blood. Just like the giant wooden horse the Greeks convinced the Trojans to bring inside their gates, however, the drone carries something deadly in its belly: a new and illegal military strategy disguised as an impressive piece of technology.

      The technical advances embodied in drone technology distract us from a more fundamental change in military strategy. However it is achieved — whether through conventional air strikes, cruise missiles fired from ships, or by drone — the United States has now embraced extrajudicial executions on foreign soil. Successive administrations have implemented this momentous change with little public discussion. And most of the discussion we’ve had has focused more on the new instrument (drone technology) than on its purpose (assassination). It’s a case of the means justifying the end. The drones work so well that it must be all right to kill people with them.

    • Scores of educators held for inciting terrorism in Bangladesh

      Bangladeshi police have discovered that dozens of university professors and high school teachers have been inciting their students to engage in Islamic terrorism.

      One English teacher is quoted by a school caretaker as saying that ““Muslims are being persecuted around the world, so let us attack non-Muslims”.

    • Erdogan Had It Coming: But the Turkish Coup Failed

      Recep Tayyip Erdogan had it coming. The Turkish army was never going to remain compliant while the man who would recreate the Ottoman Empire turned his neighbours into enemies and his country into a mockery of itself. But it would be a grave mistake to assume two things: that the putting down of a military coup is a momentary matter after which the Turkish army will remain obedient to its sultan; and to regard at least 161 deaths and more than 2,839 detained in isolation from the collapse of the nation-states of the Middle East.

      For the weekend’s events in Istanbul and Ankara are intimately related to the breakdown of frontiers and state-belief – the assumption that Middle East nations have permanent institutions and borders – that has inflicted such wounds across Iraq, Syria, Egypt and other countries in the Arab world. Instability is now as contagious as corruption in the region, especially among its potentates and dictators, a class of autocrat of which Erdogan has been a member ever since he changed the constitution for his own benefit and restarted his wicked conflict with the Kurds.

    • Hello and Goodbye Turkey

      And then we got word of the military coup d’état that was launched while she was airborne that rocked Turkey and the world. Had our kid had a slightly later connection, she would have been out of luck because Ataturk Airport was shut down for about the next 24 hours. She would have to sleep there and then be jostled by thousands of anxious passengers all trying to get the hell out at the same time. Thankfully, that was not to be, and with our personal concerns out of the way, my Turkish wife and I stayed glued to all channels trying to understand what in Allah’s name was going on in the fatherland.

    • Russia, America, it’s time to talk face-to-face

      During the late 1980s, superpower leaders demagnitised international confrontation by speaking directly to the other side. Why shouldn’t we do this again?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Op-ed: TransCanada lawsuit highlights need to scuttle TPP

      The Obama administration is still trying, against the odds, to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment agreement (TPP) through the lame-duck session of Congress after the November presidential vote. The administration knows that TPP can’t pass before the election because both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump oppose it; therefore, they are hoping for a stealth Senate vote between the election and inauguration of the new president in 2017. We can therefore “thank” TransCanada for reminding us why the TPP needs to be scuttled.

    • Yes on 1 for the Sun: The Florida Anti-Solar Ballot Initiative from Utilities

      Last week, the Florida utility-backed anti-solar initiative officially launched their campaign to block solar leasing in the sunshine state with the confusing name, “Yes on 1 for the sun.” The utility-backed group running the initiative campaign, called the “Consumers for Smart Solar” has been funded by nearly $7 million in contributions from the investor-owned utilities and fossil fuel front groups to date.

      Energy & Policy Institute previously revealed that Consumers for Smart Solar is funded by utilities and front groups seeking to prevent changes to state law that would open the solar market in Florida and specifically allow third party solar leases. Third party solar accounted for 72 precent of residential solar installed across the country in 2014.

  • Finance
    • Popular Uprising Backs Striking Teachers in Southern Mexico

      In Chiapas, Mexico, what started as a fight for teachers union power has exploded into a popular movement against the privatization of public education and the entire public sector.

      Fifty thousand teachers, students, parents, and small-business owners marched at sunset July 11 through the streets of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital city of Chiapas—in just one of at least 10 protests across five states.

      Meanwhile an hour east, in the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas, parents, students, social justice organizations, and members of civil society were gathering for the 15th night of their highway blockade.

    • This year’s GOP platform pushes federal land transfers

      The Republican Party is drafting its 2016 platform, which represents a hard swerve to the right on social issues. But other parts of its stance have long been consistent – most notably, its push for transferring federal lands to state control.

      [...]

      “Congress should reconsider whether parts of the federal government’s enormous landholdings and control of water in the West could be better used for ranching, mining, or forestry through private ownership… The enduring truth is that people best protect what they own.”

    • India ‘gold man’ battered to death

      An Indian man who bought one of the world’s most expensive shirts made entirely of gold has been allegedly battered to death, police said.

      Datta Phuge shot into the global limelight in 2013 when he bought a shirt made with more than 3kg of gold and worth $250,000 (£186,943).

      A money lender based in western Pune, Mr Phuge was called “the gold man”.

      Four persons have been detained for questioning. Police suspect a dispute over money led to the murder.

    • With Wall Street Fees in Danger, Bloomberg Tries to Make Mom and Pop Afraid

      Bloomberg News is really pushing the frontiers in journalism. In order to give readers a balanced account (7/14/16) of a proposal by Rep. Peter DeFazio to impose a 0.03 percent tax on financial transactions (that’s 3 cents on every hundred dollars), it went to the spokesperson for the Investment Company Institute, the chief investment officer from Vanguard and an academic with extensive ties to the financial industry. It also presented an assertion about the savings from electronic trading from Markit Ltd. Based on this diverse range of sources, Bloomberg ran the headline:

      Democrats Assail Wall Street With Plan That May Hit Mom and Pop

      If Bloomberg were interested in views other than those of the financial industry, it might have found some people who supported the tax to provide comments for the article. Or it might have tried some basic arithmetic itself.

      Most research finds that trading is price elastic, meaning that the percentage change in trading in response to a tax is larger than the percentage increase in trading costs that result from the tax. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center assumed an elasticity of -1.25 in its analysis of financial transactions taxes.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Trustworthy Hillary

      Hillary Clinton’s 6-point lead over Donald Trump in last month’s CBS News poll has now evaporated.

    • A Prime Day to Celebrate the Boss’s Business

      That was the lead on a news story in the Washington Post (7/13/16)—owned, of course, by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

      And the story discloses that parenthetically: “(Jeffrey P. Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, owns the Washington Post.)” But there seems to be some confusion: While welcome, disclosure is not an inoculation. We still look askance at a news story with lines like, “That the sale drew such strong spending from shoppers for a second year suggests that Amazon is making inroads establishing this as an appointment summer shopping event.”

    • ‘We Can Stand Together’: Protesters Prep for Cleveland as RNC Nears

      Cleveland, Ohio is preparing for what many expect to be a volatile Republican National Convention (RNC) on Monday, as protesters and supporters converge on the city and controversy around presumptive nominee Donald Trump and his divisive running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, continues to build.

      About 50,000 people are expected to take part in protests and rallies for the four days of the convention, from July 18-21. The Guardian reports that thousands of police officers, secret service, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents “swarmed the downtown area throughout the weekend.”

      As Common Dreams reported last week, officials are readying extra jail space and keeping courts open late “in case protesters are arrested en masse.”

      Activists are rallying against Trump’s caustic rhetoric, now signature to his speeches, as well as the issues of police brutality and racism—particularly significant in Cleveland, where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by officers in November 2014.

    • Does the Trumpence Nightmare Coalition Have a Chance? Yeah, Because It’s 2016 and Chaos Reigns

      So here we are, at a major pivot point in the unfolding narrative of America’s Stupidest Election Ever. (Admittedly I haven’t gone back and taken a hard look at “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.”) Our two major political parties head into their conventions with two deeply flawed and widely disliked candidates, who despite their divergent styles and opposed positions come from the same elite caste in American life, and have known each other for years. There has been yet another presumed or probable terrorist attack in France, a gruesome event whose timing in terms of the American presidential election was coincidental, but whose symbolism was not. If the deranged Islamic radicals of Europe don’t actually support Donald Trump, they are nonetheless doing their damndest to get him elected.

    • Is there any hope for New Age politics?

      Picture a human anus superimposed on President Obama’s mouth, or a smiling Hilary Clinton attached to the giant belly of a hog, or a presidential primary debate “featuring Donald Trump comparing his genitals with those of a group of fellow frat boys.” Disgusting right? Welcome to election season in America.

    • NBC Gives Glenn Beck A Platform To Re-Mainstream Himself

      NBC’s Chuck Todd gave noted-conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck a national platform to re-mainstream himself on the July 17 edition of Meet The Press. Todd introduced Beck as “founder of the conservative website and TV network The Blaze” and a “vocal critic of Donald Trump right from the start.”

      During his appearance, Beck criticized presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his vice presidential running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — who Beck alleged has previously criticized Trump behind closed doors — and lamented that “the problem is in our society that there’s no authenticity. You can’t trust anybody.” Beck also criticized Republican officials, including RNC chairman Reince Priebus.

    • That Far Left Entryist Takeover of the Labour Party

      At its height in the 1980’s, Militant claimed 8,000 members. In 2013 its descendant, the Socialist Party, claimed 2,500 members and crowed that it was now bigger than the Socialist Workers Party. The SWP replied, not by claiming to have more than 2,500 members, but by saying that the Socialist Party’s claim of 2,500 was inflated. The various manifestations of the Communist Party are smaller. An umbrella group, the People’s Assembly against Austerity, incorporates more or less all of these disparate elements plus much of the organised left of the Labour Party and trades union supporters. Its mailing list, which includes many Greens and other radicals like me, is 40,000 people. That is probably an exaggeration of the membership of the formal left in the UK and it should be noted that a significant proportion of that 40,000 are long term Labour members. Momentum, the Blairites’ bete noir, has only about 10,000 members.

      I have therefore watched with bemusement the claims that the 120,000 new Labour members now banned from voting, and perhaps half of the remaining 400,000 Labour electorate, are entryists from organisations of the “hard left”. Anybody who believes there are over 300,000 members of “hard left” groups in the UK is frankly bonkers.

    • The Dream is Over: Bye, Bye Bernie

      Bernie Sanders has gone over to the enemy side; it is now written in stone. Everyone who felt the Bern will have to deal with that as best they can. The dream is over.

    • ‘The Sham Is Over’: Elizabeth Warren Has the Last Word on ‘Thin-Skinned Fraud’ Donald Trump

      Outside of a humiliating defeat in November, Donald Trump’s biggest nightmare has to be the continuing attacks by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren who continually leaves him in a stuttering rage, only able to use smears about her heritage that likely cost her former opponent, Scott Brown, his seat in the Senate.

      Warren stomped all over Trump’s big day on Saturday when the presumptive GOP presidential announcing his Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his choice of a running mate.

    • Donald Trump’s Big Show: Get Ready for Wild Conspiracy Theorists and Pistol-Packin’ Bikers

      No sooner had word broken in news reports that three police officers were shot to death Sunday morning in Baton Rouge, La., than Republican presidential nominee apparent Donald J. Trump did what a brave man does: He took to social media to declare himself the “law and order candidate.” The reason for the shootings, Trump proclaimed, was a “lack of leadership” —a taunt aimed at President Barack Obama.

      Trump’s good buddy, Alex Jones, the far-right conspiracy theorist whose InfoWars radio show Trump has frequented, attributed the shootings to “Obama-sponsored terrorists.”

      Before you yell at me for alleging guilt by association, consider that on Monday in Cleveland, as the Republican National Convention gets underway here, Jones, together with Republican political operative Roger Stone, will host an “America First Unity Rally” — and that Trump has lauded Jones for his “amazing” reputation. (Well, that wasn’t exactly a lie; it is a pretty amazing thing. Consider his Space Lizard riff on Obamacare.)

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Its World Emoji Day, let’s talk about Microsoft’s censorship of LGBT and “profane” emoji

      Since we’ve already patted Microsoft on the back for keeping up with the trends with regards to the sheer number and variety of emoji, its time to tut at them for what appears to be a cynical move with regards to expressive emoji.

      I’ve noted this down a while back when Microsoft launched new emoji for Windows 10 but refrained from commenting on this, but this seems a good time as ever to say this; Microsoft censors emoji on their platforms.

    • How Bollywood is fighting ‘irrational’ censorship in India

      Udta Punjab is currently the eighth highest-grossing Bollywood film of the year. But a month ago, the makers of the film worried if it would ever release, due to censorship issues. BBC Asian Network’s Haroon Rashid speaks to Bollywood actors and writers about creative freedom and censorship in India.

      The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had asked the Udta Punjab filmmakers to make 94 cuts, including removal of expletives, references to cities in Punjab and any shots of drugs being consumed, ironically in a film about drug abuse.

    • POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: News censorship at SABC heads for court

      THE issue of the SABC’s self-censorship will come to the boil this week, when the high court hears an application from the Helen Suzman Foundation for an urgent interdict against a ban on screening footage of violent protests.

      Also, with a little over two weeks before the local government elections, the general political temperature in the country is likely to increase, as campaigning from all political parties intensifies.

      SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng and board chairman Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe have yet to file responding papers to the court.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Abuse victim ‘appalled at intimidation’ by church

      A British man who travelled to Verona in an attempt to forgive the Catholic missionary who sexually abused him at Mirfield seminary in Yorkshire almost 50 years ago is being prosecuted in the Italian courts on three counts of “trespassing, stalking and interference in private life”.

    • A hard truth for Leave voters: Brexit means big government

      Without the European Union’s shackles, Britain will be free to develop new products and innovate for greater success. Like a gleaming stallion racing away from the herd, the UK will leave Europe’s deadbeat economy in the dust. It’s a Brexiters’ image that also pictures Europe falling back, unable to maintain its poise while protecting the interests of unionised workers and ageing elites.

      The most recent economic figures appear to bear this out, with lower growth posing a fresh problem for Brussels and European Central Bank boss Mario Draghi, who had presumed that increases in GDP, while still only moderate, were steady and assured.

      And it’s true that policymakers in Denmark, Sweden and even some quarters of liberal Germany fear that, without the UK, Europe will turn inwards and ossify, forcing them to question their own membership.

    • Mississippi’s prison town are in danger of collapse, thanks to tiny reforms in the War on Drugs

      Towns in Mississippi and other Tea Party-ruled states with large (often private) prison industries are totally reliant on state/fed funding transfers to local prisons for cash and jobs, forced prison labor to provide local services for free, and War on Drugs arrests and minimum sentencing to fill those jails. The first tiny steps toward criminal justice reform have eroded the underpinnings of the whole system, leaving the towns facing collapse.

      Increasing vacancy rates in these prisons mean less revenue (and less free, forced labor), but the counties and towns still have to keep up payments on the bonds they floated to raise the money to build their prisons.

      Meanwhile, “fiscally responsible” states run by slash-and-burn Tea Party governors have cut services and transfer payments (except the per-prisoner/per-diem payments), eroding the towns’ infrastructure (see also), leaving the towns in a state of absolute precarity.

    • After the Horror, We Must Build One America

      “It is more dangerous to be black in America. You’re substantially more likely to be in a situation where police don’t respect you.”

      [...]

      The challenge now — for every concerned American — is how we react to the injustice and the violence. We know that our justice system suffers from massive and systematic racism. It is more dangerous to drive while black. African Americans are more likely to be stopped, more likely to be searched, more likely to be arrested if stopped, more likely to be charged if arrested, and more likely to be jailed if convicted. The budget of many small towns is based upon the fines, penalties and fees largely paid for by African-American offenders. Police, state’s attorneys and judges tend to have a shared perspective, an organizational kinship.

    • In Ukraine, not only heroes deserve justice

      A Ukrainian blogger sentenced for his scandalous views on the conflict in the Donbas has just been released.

    • Police Already Have Broad Powers to Detain Us; and the Supreme Court Gave Them Even More

      I don’t want to end up like Alton Sterling.

      Or Philando Castile. Or Eric Garner. Or Freddie Gray. Or Amadou Diallo. I don’t want to end up dead after a police stop, probably based on wrongful suspicion, which leads cowardly police officers to resort to unjustifiable force.

      I don’t want to die like this. Nobody does.

      But the statistical fact is that black men are likelier to be victims of the criminal justice system. Black men are victimized by lengthier sentences. They’re victimized daily by harassment and stop-and-frisk. And in the worst cases, they are victims of police who kill them, an act that is rarely prosecuted.

    • Continues to Rise: Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)

      Muhammad Ali’s life could be summed up in a single statement: freedom is always worth fighting for.

    • Noam Chomsky on Anarchism, Communism and Revolutions

      As global capitalism, with neoliberalism being a necessary accompaniment, has covered now the entire globe, it is extremely useful to revisit some of the great radical traditions of the 19th and 20th centuries — namely, anarchism and communism. What do they stand for? What are their main differences? Did Soviet Communism represent an authentic form of socialism or was it a “reformed workers’ stage” — or, even worse, a tyrannical form of stage capitalism? In this exclusive interview for Truthout, Noam Chomsky shares his views on anarchism, communism, and revolutions in hopes that the new generation of radical activists does not ignore history and continue to grapple with questions about strategies for social change.

    • Writing as Resistance

      Ringelblum formed his small army of writers clandestinely. Nazi discovery of any writer’s involvement meant his or her immediate execution or deportation to a death camp.

    • Cleveland Protesters Counter Noise of Hate With Silence and Love

      On a day that started with news of the murder of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, thousands of people gathered here on the eve of the Republican National Convention in a “a nonpartisan, no-labels, no-issue event” designed to “Circle the City with Love.”

      On Sunday afternoon, thousands of people, many in white T-shirts declaring Standing in Love, walked in two lines onto the art deco Hope Memorial Bridge over the Cuyahoga River. Once the marchers were in place and formed a circle, the Dixieland band stopped playing and conversation ended as the group observed a half-hour of silence. Many held hands, some prayed, and when an air horn signaled the end of the silent period, the crowd broke into good-natured cheers, exchanged hugs, and began leaving the bridge.

    • Erdogan is using this failed coup to get rid of the last vestiges of secular Turkey

      The sweeping purge of soldiers and officials in the wake of the failed coup in Turkey is likely to be conducted with extra vigour because a number of close associates of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are among the 265 dead. The number of people detained so far is at 6,000 including soldiers, and around 3,000 judges and legal officials who are unlikely to have been connected to the attempted military takeover.

      On Sunday, Erdogan attended the funeral of the elder brother of his chief adviser, Mustafa Varank. Varank’s older brother, Dr Ilhan Varank, studied at Ohio State University, and was the chairman of Computer and Technology Education Department at Istanbul’s Yildiz Technical University, according to Anadolu Agency (AA). It says that the 45-year-old was shot at and killed as he demonstrated in front of the Istanbul Municipality building on the night of the coup, 15 July.

    • OiThe Cyberpower Crushes Coup

      I am not a military strategist, but I have lived through a couple coups in Thailand, so I have some first hand experience of what they look like. The guide book to running a coup is still Luttwak’s Coup d’État, but it needs to be revised to reflect the use of cyberpower. In the same vein, people who talk about cyberpower need to understand what it actually is (hint: it isn’t a stockpile of exploits, it’s the ability to create and maintain advantage.)

    • The International Labour Organization: workers rights champion or 90-pound weakling?

      In 1969, at the height of its global influence, the International Labour Organization (ILO), a specialized agency of the UN, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its work in protecting labour rights, a vital subset of social rights. However, by the early twenty-first century, with the liberal-social democratic consensus left in tatters by the onslaught of globalization, the authors of a volume on international labour standards described the ILO as “the 90-pound weakling of UN agencies.”

      Few would deny that the ILO is having a difficult time promoting labour rights in the age of economic globalization when political actors seem to have ambivalent views about the very idea of labour rights.

      Making things more difficult for the ILO is the principle of national sovereignty that, though more porous now, remains a central feature of international relations. States are free to ignore the urgings and determinations of international organizations, including those of the ILO.

      That said, the ILO has brought a lot of its impotence upon itself. Member states are deeply reluctant to make use of the stronger measures at its disposal. For the most part, the ILO relies on its reporting mechanisms to encourage compliance with its standards and little else.

    • Why Black Lives Matter Won’t Go Away: a Primer on Systemic Racism in America

      Intellectually lazy. Willfully ignorant. Blinded by privilege. Drunk with prejudice. These are some of the words that come to mind when I think of the 30 percent of Americans in 2016 who agree “our country has made the changes needed to give blacks equal rights to whites.” There’s no excuse for such irresponsible comments considering the mountain of statistical data showing American institutions treat citizens very differently based on race.

      The shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling have re-energized a Black Lives Matter movement that’s remained remarkably vigilant over the years. I have no interest in judging the specifics of the Castile and Sterling shootings in this piece, or in judging the police officers involved in the court of public opinion prior to official legal action being taken. Individual stories and anecdotes can be spun any which way supporters and opponents of Black Lives Matter wish. But at the end of the day, these stories are just that – stories. They are symbolically powerful, but they won’t convince many who didn’t already agree that America is racist. What I’m interested in are the comprehensive studies of racial prejudice in American political and social institutions.

    • Living in the shadows of slavery

      Everybody agrees on the importance of bringing together the study of ‘old’ slave systems with research on the contemporary marginalities and exploitation that fall under the category of ‘modern’ or ‘new’ slavery. But how to do so is a different question entirely, since each step paves the way for disagreement. ‘Old’ and ‘modern’, for example, are in quotes because they are relative terms: north Atlantic slavery is ‘modern’ compared to that of Antiquity and the Mediterranean world; and the ‘modern’ and ‘new’ slaveries that anti-slavery organisations target are new in relation to the slave systems of the 18th and 19th centuries that abolition wiped out. Yet not all agree on this naming.

    • Jail for Sharing Your Netflix Password? Understanding the Law That Could Make it a Federal Crime

      It’s become so common that it’s almost a joke. One person has a Netflix account and three other people are using it. A recent court ruling found that because of a law called the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), using someone else’s password could be considered a federal crime with an extremely harsh punishment. Someone who violates the CFAA can face decades in prison and large fines.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Time Is Running Out to Save Net Neutrality in Europe

      One month after a US federal court upheld strong rules protecting net neutrality—the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible—the battle over how to protect the internet’s open, freewheeling nature has shifted to Europe.

      A coalition of prominent open internet advocates, including Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, is mounting a last-ditch campaign urging European officials to stand up to the telecom industry and strengthen the EU’s net neutrality policy before the bloc’s regulatory public consultation period ends on Monday.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Taylor Swift is taking on YouTube, and it won’t be an easy fight

        When Apple announced its plans to offer customers a three-month trial of its Apple Music streaming service, Taylor Swift kicked off. The free trial meant no royalties for artists, and Tay-Tay wrote an open letter describing the terms as “shocking” and “disappointing” – and revealed she’d be withholding her music from the platform. Her tens of millions of fans magnified her protest and the tech giant made a rapid and uncharacteristic U-turn.

        Now Swift and other music artists are publicly taking on YouTube, calling for better protections against copyright infringement and better pay for artists. But this time she’s unlikely to win.

      • Google Wipes Record Breaking Half Billion Pirate Links in 2016

        Copyright holders asked Google to remove more than 500,000,000 allegedly infringing links from its search engine in 2016 thus far. This nearly equals the number of takedown notices it received for the whole of 2015. Rightsholders see the surge as evidence of a failing system, but Google clearly disagrees.

Exploiting Perceived Emergencies/Disasters, Suspending the Rule of Law, and Suspending Judges: How Erdoğan is Like Battistelli, Except the Coup

Sunday 17th of July 2016 11:29:07 PM

All Battistelli Needs Right Now is a Reichstag Fire or Parliamentarian Attack (Not Bicycles)


Original photo: Erdoğan, 2012

Summary: Pretexts for crackdown on law-abiding people or figureheads who are remote and independent the hallmark not only of Erdoğan but also the EPO’s President, Benoit Battistelli

THIS afternoon we took note of an analogy involving Erdoğan. It has gone viral today (if not yesterday). Battistelli, like Erdoğan, is taking advantage of emergency — real or perceived — to seize total control/endless power and crack down on potential competition/opponents while surrounding oneself by people who even mess around with a bailiff. OpenDemocracy called the coup d’état attempt against Erdoğan “Turkey’s Reichstag fire” and many people haven’t been missing the stunning similarities/parallels when it comes to the EPO. Earlier today someone wrote: “Just wait, the EPO President will probably condemn the Cout détat in Turkey, just wait…”

“…many people haven’t been missing the stunning similarities/parallels when it comes to the EPO.”Given how Battistelli, inherently a politician, takes advantage of political events to further his agenda (he last did this a few days ago [1, 2]), they rightly suspect he might spin this one too. As a side note, Fethullah Gülen, whom Erdoğan blames for the coup (in spite of him being half the globe away), alleges that this whole coup may have been staged (coordination at the top, but no knowledge of the plot among the troops down under).

“What an embarrassment to Turkish democracy and to the rule of law (or lack thereof) at the EPO.”Another person wrote: “The Frenchman Battistelli expresses heartfelt sympathy to the people of France. But only in English. Presumably for reasons of administrative efficiency. Who actually writes this sanctimonious bull***t, anyway? And who cares what the European Patent Office “firmly believes”? It’s just a patent office, FFS. Now eagerly anticipating Battistell’s statement expressing solidarity with President Erdogan.”

A nice analogy in this case can be highlighted here (“”Turkey’s Erdogan Expands Post-Coup Crackdown To Target Judges”) and many other articles about the coup. Battistelli and Erdoğan are both going after judges as if they are the root of all evil. What an embarrassment to Turkish democracy and to the rule of law (or lack thereof) at the EPO.

The Impotence of Gene Quinn

Sunday 17th of July 2016 10:51:07 PM

The sort of ‘journalism’ software patents proponents would stoop down to

Summary: Attacking the enforcer of Alice v CLS because it’s doing harm to his source of income, which makes him angry

AS EVERY reader probably knows by now, software patents are dying in the US and PTAB helps end them without even trials, based on technical reassessments [1, 2].

Technology Center 3600 has become the scapegoat of Gene Quinn (and his chums). That was earlier today. Watch this “WatchTroll” (as we’ve called him for a number of years) as he attacks PTAB, which merely does its job. It invalidates a lot of software patents, but WatchTroll uses sexual dysfunction connotation and picture of marionettes to imply misconduct, malpractice or incapacity. “What is happening in TC 3600,” he said, “is prosecution is being re-opened for the purpose of issuing Alice rejections.”

“WatchTroll, like Kappos, is trying to shame the USPTO or pressure political figures/officials to put an end to Alice (or those enforcing it).”Yes, what’s wrong with that?

“Of course,” he adds, “Alice v. CLS Bank was decided in June 2014, so this is not a new development.”

So what? So suddenly it’s “too late” to do justice? Better late than never. The EPO could take a lesson from this.

WatchTroll, like Kappos, is trying to shame the USPTO or pressure political figures/officials to put an end to Alice (or those enforcing it). They show no respect for the Supreme Court.

“Maybe the problem here isn’t Technology Center 3600 but the greedy WatchTroll (and the likes of him).”WatchTroll’s closing words are harsh and they urge the Patent Office to punish people who are doing their job. He wrote: “Re-opening these cases was an abuse of power plain and simple. Will the Patent Office do anything about what is going on in Technology Center 3600? Time will tell, but it is becoming increasingly impossible to believe that senior management of the Office is not well aware of the fundamental unfairness applicants in TC 3600 face. It is also becoming increasingly difficult to believe they do not at least tacitly authorize the behavior.”

Maybe the problem here isn’t Technology Center 3600 but the greedy WatchTroll (and the likes of him). It’s no secret that they are patent maximalists who pursue patents on algorithms without even understanding the concept of algorithms (WatchTroll said he had written code but could not name a single example when I asked him to, whereupon he ran away).

No doubt some patent attorneys support software patents (I debated one of them earlier today), but shouldn’t the will of software developers count when it comes to their own discipline? Why is it that media which covers patents is so saturated or stuffed with people who aren’t in fact developing software but are happy to encourage software patenting because they profit from it?

After the FTI Consulting-EPO Reputation Laundering Deal’s Expansion in Germany Süddeutsche Zeitung ‘Forgets’ That the EPO Even Exists

Sunday 17th of July 2016 07:23:36 PM

Summary: Relative apathy if not complete silence regarding the EPO at Süddeutsche Zeitung following reports of FTI Consulting’s deal expansion (media positioning in Germany), with hundreds of thousands of Euros (EPO budget) thrown at the controversial task

FOR THOSE WHO don’t know this already, Süddeutsche Zeitung is a Munich-based publication, so one might expect it to write about the EPO very frequently (the EPO is headquartered in Munich). There is no lack of EPO scandals to write about; there are — if anything — too many of them to keep abreast of. So where on Earth has Süddeutsche Zeitung gone? Panama? Mind the EPO connection

Süddeutsche used to do some proper journalism regarding the EPO (e.g. [1, 2]), but as soon as FTI Consulting got involved a judge got defamed by Süddeutsche. It was never the same anymore. Was Süddeutsche ‘sabotaged’ by the Office, to put a spin on their ludicrous (and now infamous) headline? We don’t know for sure, but we heard stories…

A lot of the traditional/objective tone at Süddeutsche changed after the EPO had signed the FTI Consulting deal, later to be expanded specifically in Germany (for reputation laundering purposes, not necessarily at or just at Süddeutsche Zeitung). Around that time I made some private inquiries, as poor reporting gradually turned into silence (unwillingness to cover).

Here is one message that I sent them months ago:

BRINGING FORWARD / WIEDERVORLAGE

I would like to enquire, with humble and good intentions, why you have been silent about the demonstrations at the EPO in Munich, The Hague, and the general situation at the EPO. The media, including the media in Munich, has an obligation to inform the public about such issues.

Has the EPO been in contact or used pressure to affect your angle on this? If so, you are not alone. Please explain why there has been such a silence for a very long time; it’s not reasonable to just pretend nothing is happening at the EPO.

If it’s possible for somebody, e.g. Katja Riedel, to contact me (E-mail or phone) to explain the reasons for not publishing anything, that would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,

I sent several more messages, but I have not received a response from Süddeutsche. I never did. However, someone told me that something had been going on internally at Süddeutsche. They probably just didn’t want to talk about it. If any of our readers might be willing to challenge their silence and get their explanation for it, please write to muenchen-region@sueddeutsche.de. We know for a fact that there is something nefarious therein and we leave it for readers to explore further. Maybe when they received enough such queries they will eventually feel compelled to respond.

Benoît Battistelli and Persistratos

Sunday 17th of July 2016 07:03:54 PM

Circulating around the World Wide Web today

Summary: Reminds you of someone?

Whistleblower Protection Desperately Needed at the European Patent Office

Sunday 17th of July 2016 06:28:16 PM

Benoît Battistelli has a lot to fear if people actually get such protections


Whistleblower ist weder Datendieb noch Erpresser

Summary: EPO scandals are not publicly accessible or known to many people and not many such scandals are known at all because people are afraid of Battistelli’s Fabius Maximus strategies

THINGS at the EPO may seem to have calmed down (there are court proceedings for representatives to focus on, having prepared for a while), but there are many stories that still ought to be told. Some cannot be told. Some cannot be told just yet. Some just need further corroborating evidence. Publishing these in the form of rumours and presenting them as such is clearly permissible.

“Publishing these in the form of rumours and presenting them as such is clearly permissible.”Some time ago we learned from a reliable source (with track record of accuracy) about fraud at the EPO. We are talking about financial fraud here (like payment orders), but people are afraid to speak about it directly to the public, to the authorities, or to journalists. Having witnessed how Battistelli and his circle treat even the gentlest of critics, who can blame them? Battistelli engages in managerial terrorism. He created an atmosphere of so much fear that even people who have truly credible arguments and evidence to back it up with dare not speak to anyone about it.

In the case of fraud, there is a criminal nature to it and one’s ability (or courage) to step forward would typically depend the severity of the fraud and certainty of prosecution (vindicating the messenger). Under Battistelli’s terrifying regime it takes a lot of courage to speak out about such things. Maybe it’s just a matter of time. Typically, whistleblowers are protected by the law itself, but in Eponia lawlessness prevails (Battistelli and his minion even brag about it!). These whistleblowers should not really need any protection from the employer but from anticorruption entities (the EPO's press spokesperson came from one, effectively defecting); but what anticorruption entities are there inside Eponia? None. It’s just absurd. The EPO conveniently ignores national laws but at the same time it enforces employment embargo/sanctions on EPO staff after their departure from Eponia. It also legally threatens people outside Eponia, myself included.

We are pretty certain that there is fraud going on, but at this stage we have to classify this “rumour” (however strong) and revisit the claim if or when this becomes public knowledge.

More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: Software

Emulation or WINE

Fedora: The Latest

  • New "remi-php71" repository
  • PHP on the road to the 7.1.0 release
  • First round of Fedora 24 Updated Lives now available. (torrents expected later this week)
    As noted by my colleague on his blog the first round of F24 Updated Lives are now available and carry the date 20160720, Also as mentioned last week on his blog F23 Respins are not going to be actively made, however we and the rest of the volunteer team will field off-off requests as time and resources permit. We are considering a new/second tracker for the Updated Spins but as of today there are only .ISO files available at https://alt.fedoraproject.org/pub/alt/live-respins [shortlink] F24 Live-Respins . The F24 respins carry the 4.6.4-200 Kernel and roughly ~500M of updates since the Gold ISOs were released just 5 weeks ago. (some ISOs have more updates, some less)

Leftovers: Ubuntu

  • Snappy Packaging Happenings In The Fedora, Arch Space
    This week Canonical hosted a Snappy Sprint in Heidelberg, Germany where they worked to further their new package management solution originally spearheaded for Ubuntu Touch. This wasn't an Ubuntu-only event, but Canonical did invite other distribution stakeholders. Coming out of this week's event were at least positive moments to share for both Arch and Fedora developers. The Arch snaps package guy made progress on snap confinement on Arch. Currently when using Snaps on Arch, there isn't any confinement support, which defeats some of the purpose. There isn't any confinement support since it relies upon some functionality in the Ubuntu-patched AppArmor with that code not yet being mainlined. Arch's Timothy Redaelli has got those AppArmor patches now running via some AUR packages. Thus it's possible to get snap confinement working on Arch, but it's not yet too pleasant of an experience.
  • PhantomJS 2.1.1 in Ubuntu different from upstream
    At the moment of this writing Vitaly's qtwebkit fork is 28 commits ahead and 39 commits behind qt:dev. I'm surprised Ubuntu's PhantomJS even works.
  • Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS released
    Ubuntu 16.04 is a LTS version of Ubuntu.Now Ubuntu team has announced the release of it's first point release,Ubuntu 16.04.1.This first point release includes many updates containing bug fixes and fixing security issues as well and as always what most of users want from a distribution and most of distributions tries to perform,Stability.This release is also well focoused on stabilty as Ubuntu 16.04.