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09.29.16

Links 29/9/2016: Russia Moving to FOSS, New Nmap and PostgreSQL Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 8:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Microsoft is no longer Russia’s first choice of technology provider

    Moscow plans to open the replacement cycle by swapping Exchange and Outlook for email systems developed by New Cloud Technologies and distributed by by state-run carrier Rostelecom PJSC, Bloomberg reports. The software will be eventually deployed to as many as 600,000 computers.

    The city is also considering dropping Windows and Office, but state officials are still looking into alternatives, says Moscow’s head of information technology Artem Yermolaev.

    Putin has been pushing for technological independence after American corporations were forced to sever ties with major Russian institutions following the annexation of Crimea back in 2014.

    To actively encourage the adoption of local solutions, Putin’s internet czar German Klimenko has plans to raise taxes on Western tech companies operating within Russia.

  • Moscow Drops Microsoft on Putin’s Call for Self-Sufficiency

    Moscow city will replace Microsoft Corp. programs with domestic software on thousands of computers in answer to President Vladimir Putin’s call for Russia’s authorities to reduce dependence on foreign technology amid tensions with the U.S. and Europe.

    The city will initially replace Microsoft’s Exchange Server and Outlook on 6,000 computers with an e-mail system installed by state-run carrier Rostelecom PJSC, Artem Yermolaev, head of information technology for Moscow, told reporters Tuesday. Moscow may expand deployment of the new software, developed by Russia’s New Cloud Technologies, to as many as 600,000 computers and servers, and may also consider replacing Windows and Office, Yermolaev said.

  • Why Microsoft is getting the cold shoulder from Moscow

    Since the German city of Munich decided to ditch Microsoft Windows and Office, a growing number of European agencies have followed suit – from France’s national police force to the Italian military.

    The latest authority to turn its back on Microsoft is reportedly Moscow City Hall, which is transferring employee email from Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook to the Russian-built MyOffice Mail.

    About 6,000 Moscow state employees will be switched over, including teachers, doctors and civil servants. If the move is a success, the city will consider shifting 600,000 PCs and servers away from Microsoft, and may also replace Windows and Office, according to Bloomberg.

  • Moscow will replace Microsoft’s products with local offerings

    Microsoft might lose a whole city of customers in Russia. According to Bloomberg, Moscow will begin replacing Redmond’s products with homegrown software as a result of Vladimir Putin’s urging to stop depending on foreign tech. Artem Yermolaev, the city’s head of information technology, told reporters that Moscow will begin by dropping Microsoft’s Exchange Service and by replacing Outlook on 6,000 computers with state-run carrier Rostelecom PJSC’s email system. Authorities are looking to deploy the email software to as many as 600,000 computers in the future. They might even replace Windows and the Office suite entirely, though there seems to be no solid plan for that at the moment.

  • Desktop

    • Alphabet’s Plans to Create Android PCs Should Make Microsoft a Little Nervous

      Four years after Microsoft (MSFT) first tried to give the world unified PC/mobile operating systems via the dual fiascoes known as Windows 8 and Windows RT, Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google appears set to take its own stab at the concept. And there are reasons to think the company will see a measure of success.

      Citing “two independent and reliable sources,” Android Police reports Google plans to launch a notebook in the third quarter of 2017 that will likely be the first new device to showcase Andromeda, a version of Android that will integrate many features associated with Google’s Chrome OS PC operating system.

      The notebook will reportedly be called the Pixel 3, and carry a $788 price. Its feature set reportedly include a 12.3-inch display, an Intel (INTC) processor, a glass trackpad, a tablet mode and stylus support.

    • 4 of the Best Linux Distros for Windows Users

      For the past year Microsoft has offered free upgrades to their latest operating system, Windows 10. This was mainly due to the fact that Windows 8 and 8.1 were poorly received, especially when compared to Windows 7. Unfortunately the free upgrade period has passed, so if you want to give Windows 10 a try, you’ll have to dig into your wallet to do it. If your faith in the tech giant has waned over the years, you’re not alone. The latest versions of Windows have all been heavily criticized, proving that they have been a far cry from the world dominance of Windows XP.

      If you’re one of the many people turned off by the latest iterations of Windows, the jump to Linux might look very appealing. Unfortunately, a new OS often comes with a steep learning curve. Windows, with the exception of the fumble that was 8, has more or less looked and behaved the same for years. Having to re-learn everything can be a daunting task, one that could pressure you into staying with Windows forever.

      However, you do have options. There are many different distributions of Linux out there, with some aiming to replicate the look and feel of Windows. The goal of this is to make transitioning relatively painless. With Linux boasting improved hardware support, long term stability and a wider range of software applications, there is no better time to try it out!

    • Microsoft Applications and Services chief Qi Lu leaves the company [Ed: Microsoft exodus)

      Lu has been heading up the Applications and Services Group — the unit that has encompassed the Office applications team and the Bing search team.

      In an email to employees on September 29, CEO Satya Nadella announced Lu was leaving so as to recover from “health conditions caused by a prior injury.” (A couple of other reports, including the Wall Street Journal’s, say Lu’s injury was related to a biking accident.)

      Lu will continue to act as a “personal advisor” to Nadella and Microsoft Founder Bill Gates after his recovery, but he won’t be returning in his former role, Nadella said in his mail.

  • Server

    • Linux servers deliver greater performance and efficiency ‘than available on any x86-based server’
    • What are configuration management tools?

      For most people, computers don’t stay the same. Software is added, removed, and updated. Configurations are changed. Think about the changes you’ve made to your computer since the first time you booted it up. Now imagine making those changes to 10, 100, or 1,000 more computers. Configuration management tools are what make implemententing and enforcing these changes possible.

    • 5 new OpenStack tutorials and guides
    • Ericsson: The Journey to a DevOps Future in SDN

      There are big transformations going on in the world today that are driving rapid changes to the business of networks, said Santiago Rodriguez, VP of Engineering and head of the product development unit SDN & Policy Control at Ericsson, in his keynote Tuesday at OpenDaylight Summit.

      “Society is transforming, the way we do business is transforming, and accordingly the way we build our networks is transforming,” Rodriguez said.

      The three pillars of this network transformation include: 5G, virtualization and open source.

    • OpenDaylight sets product quality label, metrics for SDN solutions

      Initial OpenDaylight-based products expected to receive the “Powered by OpenDaylight” mark are offerings from Brocade, Ericsson, HPE, Inocybe and Serro.

    • Telstra Sees Quadrupled Data Capacity by 2020

      The latter service led Telstra to re-think its fiber deployment strategy, choosing to use pre-provisioned fiber connections to data centers in advance of customer demand, because the company knew that demand was coming, Blackall said. The strategy worked well with Telstra’s acquisition of Pacnet, which had already deployed SDN capabilities to connect its 27 points of presence around Asia.

    • The Tiny Internet Project, Part I

      As LJ readers well know, Linux drives many of the technologies we use every day, from smart TVs to Web servers. Linux is everywhere—except most homes and classrooms.

      That’s a problem if we want to help breed the next generation of engineers and computer scientists. In fact, if teenagers (or any other group of curious individuals) want to learn about Linux, they often must rely on a geeky friend or parent willing to show them the way.

      This three-part series seeks to change that by offering a way for anyone to learn about Linux by building what is essentially a tiny, self-contained Internet. Using old equipment and free software, you’ll build a private network (with your own domain name), build Web sites, set up an e-mail server, install and use a database, and set up a Linux distro mirror.

      Read more

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Ubuntu 16.10 Doesn’t Change Much With Performance, Clear Linux Still Leads In Most Tests

        Given yesterday’s Ubuntu 16.10 final beta release ahead of the official “Yakkety Yak” debut in two weeks, I decided to run some benchmarks of Ubuntu 16.10 compared to Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS on the same system plus also throwing in the Intel Clear Linux distribution given it tends to be one of the most performant.

        For those that haven’t yet tried out Ubuntu 16.10 nor followed its development, GCC 6.2 is now the default compiler in place of GCC 5.4 from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. Mesa 12.0.3 provides the stock graphics drivers and Linux 4.8 is the stock kernel.

      • DDR4 Memory Speed Tests With The Core i7 6800K On Ubuntu Linux

        A few days ago I posted my first Core i7 6800K benchmarks under Ubuntu Linux compared to various other CPUs. Out of requests from some premium members, here are some straight-forward memory clocking tests of the i7-6800K on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with the Linux 4.8 kernel. Tests were done from dual-channel DDR4 up through quad-channel DDR4 at DDR4-3000MHz.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Calendar Pencils In Great New Features

        GNOME Calendar is one of the few decent desktop calendaring apps available on Linux — and it’s going to get better.

      • The future of GNOME Calendar

        Today, the Calendar Team had the first meeting in history. Isaque, Lapo, Renata, Vamsi and I attended it, and the meeting was extremely productive! In fact, we were able to sketch out the general direction that GNOME Calendar will head towards.

  • Distributions

    • Endless OS 3: Linux for the Net Less

      In the West, we take the Internet for granted. Oh, we may grumble about a slow connection, but that’s a first-world problem. For many, however, the Internet is a “maybe” thing. For those users, Endless’s Endless OS 3, may be just what they need.

    • New Releases

      • Qubes OS 3.2 has been released!

        I’m happy to announce that today we’re releasing Qubes OS 3.2!

        This is an incremental improvement over the 3.1 version that we released earlier this year. A lot of work went into making this release more polished, more stable and easier to use than our previous releases.

        One major feature that we’ve improved upon in this release is our integrated management infrastructure, which was introduced in Qubes 3.1. Whereas before it was only possible to manage whole VMs, it is now possible to manage the insides of VMs as well.

      • Security-Oriented Qubes OS 3.2 Improves the Integrated Management Infrastructure

        Today, September 29, 2016, Joanna Rutkowska announced the general availability of the second point release of the Qubes OS 3 stable series of the security-oriented and open-source Linux-based computer operating system.

        Qubes OS 3.2 is a maintenance release, which means that it mostly adds general fixes and improvements to various of the distribution’s core components and functionalities, including the integrated management infrastructure that was introduced as part of the previous update, Qubes 3.1, allowing users to also manage the “insides” of a virtual machine.

      • Alpine Linux 3.4.4 Is Out, Ships with Linux Kernel 4.4.22 LTS, OpenSSL Patches

        Today, September 28, 2016, Alpine Linux creator and lead developer Natanael Cop has the pleasure of announcing the release of the fourth maintenance update to the latest stable Alpine Linux 3.4 server-oriented operating system series.

        Alpine Linux 3.4.4 is out as the most advanced version, powered by the recently released, long-term supported Linux 4.4.22 kernel and bringing up-to-date components to make your Alpine Linux-based server(s) more stable and reliable than ever. Most of the core components have been updated, but the most important one is OpenSSL 1.0.2j, which received the latest security fixes, just like in the rest of the GNU/Linux distros.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Software Company Red Hat banks on India to hit $ 5 billion turnover in 5 years

        Red Hat, the open-source software company, said its India business was growing at more than double the rate of the overall company and would be an important contributor to its target of reaching $5 billion in the next five years.

        Red Hat has over $2 billion in annual revenue currently and grew over 21% in constant currency last year. Open-source software is freely available, so Red Hat’s business model depends on customers paying for the support and service it offers and not on license fees, making the company’s offerings typically cheaper than proprietary software. “India is one of our fastest growing markets. Red Hat does really when there is net new infrastructure to be set up. And the rapid pace of development that India is seeing sets really well with our offerings,” James Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat, told ET.

      • Red Hat claims headway in Asia, bets big on container and hybrid cloud

        While the smallest in terms of revenue contribution, Asia is Red Hat’s fastest growing region and is likely to continue its upwards trajectory as emerging markets roll out new infrastructure.

        Developing nations in the region were embarking on many net new infrastructure projects, rather than replacement for existing technology, and open source would be involved in a large share of such projects. The decisions on which technology to deploy would rarely be between proprietary or open source, but rather on which open source vendor to go with or to do so internally, said Red Hat President and CEO Jim Whitehurst.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Node.js 6.x LTS coming to EPEL 7

          Node.js® is a JavaScript runtime built on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine. It uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient. Its package ecosystem, npm, is the largest ecosystem of open source libraries in the world. You can read more about Node.js at the project website.

        • Switched to HTTPS

          Perhaps you already noticed it, I have switched all the sites for a secured browsing using HTTPS.

          So, new addresses are:

          https://blog.remirepo.net/ for this Blog (with an automatic and permanent redirection)
          https://forum.remirepo.net/ for the Forum (with an automatic and permanent redirection)
          https://rpms.remirepo.net/ for the Repository, but classical address stay available.

        • Fedora Hubs: Getting started

          Fedora Hubs provides a consistent contributor experience across all Fedora teams and will serve as an “intranet” page for the Fedora Project. There are many different projects in Fedora with different processes and workflows. Hubs will serve as a single place for contributors to learn about and contribute to them in a standardized format. Hubs will also be a social network for Fedora contributors. It is designed as one place to go to keep up with everything and everybody across the project in ways that aren’t currently possible.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu’s Shuttleworth Explains Why Not All Containers are the Same

            Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu Linux, was an early backer of OpenStack as well as containers. This week, Shuttleworth’s company Canonical announced new commercial support for Kubernetes, which is a widely deployed container orchestration and management engine.

            In an interview with Datamation Shuttleworth emphasized that it’s important to understand the different use cases for containers and what the different types of container systems are all about.

          • Ubuntu Linux 16.10 ‘Yakkety Yak’ Beta 2 open source OS now available for download
          • Canonical Jumps On The Container Management Bandwagon With A Commercial Kubernetes Offering
          • ​Ubuntu’s new take on Kubernetes
          • When two tribes go to war: Docker Swarm on the left, easier-to-install Kubernetes on the right
          • Canonical Launches Commercial Support for Kubernetes
          • Canonical Releases Snapcraft 2.18 Tool for Creating Snaps in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

            Canonical, through Sergio Schvezov, announced the release of yet another maintenance update to the Snapcraft open-source utility that helps application developers package their apps as Snaps.

          • Ubuntu Budgie Remix 16.10 Beta 2 Officially Released with Budgie Desktop 10.2.7

            Softpedia was informed today, September 29, 2016, by David Mohammed from the budgie-remix project about the availability of the second and last Beta release of the upcoming Ubuntu Budgie Remix 16.10 operating system.

            Coming hot on the heels of yesterday’s Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Final Beta release, Ubuntu Budgie Remix 16.10 Beta 2 is based on most of the GNU/Linux and Open Source technologies used in Ubuntu 16.10, such as systemd 231 and Linux kernel 4.8, but it’s built around the latest version of the beautiful Budgie desktop environment created by the Solus Project.

          • Budgie-Remix Makes Progress With Ubuntu 16.10 Base, Beta 2 Released

            Budgie-Remix, the unofficial Ubuntu spin making use of the Budgie Desktop, has released its 16.10 Beta 2 milestone following this week’s Yakkety Yak Beta 2 release.

            Budgie-Remix is re-based to the latest Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety package changes. In addition, a number of the Budgie-0Remix packages have been working their way into Debian proper and thus are available to Ubuntu 16.10 users via the official channels. Now available this way is the budgie-desktop package, Moka icon theme, Faba icon theme, and the Arc theme. The Ubuntu repository has also pulled in the Budgie artwork and wallpaper packages too.

          • Yakkety Yak Final Beta Released
          • Canonical Launches Commercial Support for Kubernetes

            Canonical, the lead commercial vendor behind the open-source Ubuntu Linux operating system, is getting into the Kubernetes market. Canonical now offers a freely available implementation of Kubernetes as well as commercial-support options.

            “I have no doubt that Kubernetes will be one of the major container co-ordination systems,” Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, told ServerWatch.

          • [How To] Build an Ubuntu Controlled Sous-Vide Cooker

            I’ll be honest with you from the off: I had zero idea what sous-vide cooking was before I started writing this post. Wikipedia dutifully informs me that’s Sous-Vide is a style of cooking that involves a vacuum, bags, and steam.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu Studio 16.10 to Offer an Up-to-Date Multimedia Oriented Linux Distro

              We reported earlier today, September 28, 2016, on the availability of the Final Beta (Beta 2) development milestone of the upcoming Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) operating system and its official derivatives.

              We’ve already talked here about what’s new in the Beta 2 of Ubuntu MATE 16.10, Lubuntu 16.10, and Kubuntu 16.10, and now we would like to tell you a little bit about Ubuntu Studio 16.10, which promises to offer users an up-to-date multimedia oriented Linux-based operating system.

              That’s right, it looks like today’s Ubuntu Studio 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Beta 2 snapshot comes with all the latest software releases and a bunch of new apps that you might need for audio, video, or graphics processing jobs. But first, we need to tell you that Ubuntu Studio 16.10 is powered by a low-latency Linux 4.8 kernel.

            • Ubuntu GNOME 16.10 Beta 2 Released with Many Apps from the GNOME 3.22 Stack

              As part of yesterday’s Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Final Beta launch, some of the opt-in flavors received their Beta 2 release, including Ubuntu GNOME 16.10, about which we would like to tell you all about in this article.

            • Linux Mint’s XApps to Get Screen Blanking, Sublime-like Search Bar Lands for Xed

              We already know that work on Linux Mint 18.1, the next major release of the popular Ubuntu-based operating system loved by many users, already begun, and Clement Lefebvre shares with us today some of the improvements coming to XApps.

            • Mintbox Mini Pro

              MintBox Mini Pro

              The new model is called “Mintbox Mini Pro”, it’s just as small as the original Mintbox Mini but with much better specifications.

            • Mintbox Mini Pro Linux Mini PC Launches For $395

              This week a new version of the popular Mintbox Mini Linux PC has been launched for $395 in the form of the Mintbox Mini Pro which is now equipped with 120 GB of SSD mSATA together with 64-bit AMD A10-Micro6700T system-on-a-chip with Radeon R6 graphics and features 8GB of DDR3L.

              The latest Mintbox Mini Pro is shipped preloaded with the awesome Linux Mint 18 operating system and includes a microSD card slot a serial port, and a micro SIM card reader.
              The new Mintbox Mini Pro is the same size as the original and measures 4.3 x 3.3 x 0.9 inches in size and weighs in at around 255g. The Linux mini PC incorporates a fanless design and features an all-metal case made of aluminium and zinc.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Expandable, outdoor IoT gateway runs Android on i.MX6

      VIA’s “Artigo A830” IoT gateway runs Android on an i.MX6 DualLite SoC and offers HDMI, GbE, microSD, numerous serial and USB ports, plus -20 to 60° operation.

      As the name suggests, the VIA Technologies Artigo A830 Streetwise IoT Platform is designed for outdoor Internet of Things gateway applications. These are said to include smart lockers, vending machines, information kiosks, and signage devices that run “intensive multimedia shopping, entertainment, and navigation applications.” The outdoors focus is supported with an extended -20 to 60°C operating range, as well as surge and ESD protection for surviving challenges such as a nearby lightning strike.

    • Raspberry Pi Announces PIXEL Desktop Environment

      Today the Raspberry Pi Foundation formally announced the Raspberry Pi PIXEL, their own desktop that will be used in future Raspbian spins.

      PIXEL is short for Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight desktop. PIXEL is derived from the LXDE desktop environment but with both appearance and fundamental changes, including some new applications.

    • Raspberry Pi Foundation Unveils New LXDE-Based Desktop for Raspbian Called PIXEL

      Today, September 28, 2016, Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Simon Long proudly unveiled a new desktop environment for the Debian-based Raspbian GNU/Linux operating system for Raspberry Pi devices.

      Until today, Raspbian shiped with the well-known and lightweight LXDE desktop environment, which looks pretty much the same as on any other Linux-based distribution out there that is built around LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment). But Simon Long, a UX engineer working for Raspberry Pi Foundation was hired to make it better, transform it into something that’s more appealing to users.

    • MintBox Mini updated with faster AMD SoC and 8GB RAM

      CompuLab’s Linux Mint flavored MintBox Mini Pro mini-PC updates the Mini with an AMD A10 Micro-6700T, plus BT 4.0, mini-PCIe, and twice the RAM and storage.

      The CompuLab built, $395 MintBox Mini Pro, which ships with the Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon distribution, updates the $295 MintBox Mini with a lot more performance and features in the same compact 108 x 83 x 24mm footprint. That’s considerably smaller than earlier collaborations between CompuLab and the Linux Mint project, such as the circa-2013 MintBox 2.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • ​Google beats back Oracle again in Java Android case

          To recap, Oracle claimed the 37 Java application programming interface (API) packages Google used to develop Android are covered by copyright. Of course, that’s not really the issue. True, the the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals foolishly ruled that APIs could be copyrighted. But the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in May 2016 that Google’s use of the Java APIs were not subject to copyright licensing fees. Instead, Android’s use of the APIs was covered by “fair use.”

        • Google’s Open Source Fuchsia OS: The Mystery Linux Distro

          Few things are more tantalizing than a good mystery, and Google is making waves for an open source-centric mystery that may end up having profound implications. It all started in August when an extensive and unusual code repository for a new operating system called Fuchsia was discovered online, and now the growing source code set is on GitHub.

          Thus far, Google officials have been mostly mum on the aim of this operating system, although they have made a few things clear in chat forums. Two developers listed on Fuchsia’s GitHub page — Christopher Anderson and Brian Swetland — are known for their work with embedded systems. The Verge, among other sites, has made a few logical deductions about the possible embedded systems focus for Fuchsia: “Looking into Fuchsia’s code points gives us a few clues. For example, the OS is built on Magenta, a “medium-sized microkernel” that is itself based on a project called LittleKernel, which is designed to be used in embedded systems,” the site reports.

          The GitHub postings that confirm that Fuchsia is based on Magenta are particularly notable because Magenta has had applications in the embedded systems space. Here are some direct quotes: “Magenta is a new kernel that powers the Fuchsia OS. Magenta is composed of a microkernel as well as a small set of userspace services, drivers, and libraries necessary for the system to boot, talk to hardware, load userspace processes and run them, etc. Fuchsia builds a much larger OS on top of this foundation.”

        • As Blackberry pulls out of handset business it has some big patent strategy calls to make
        • Luna Launcher turns your Android phone into a kid-friendly device

          On the fence about whether your child is old enough for their own smartphone? A new app called Luna Launcher can help you warm to the idea, by offering a simple way to limit access to select apps and actions, including who they can call or text – a list you can restrict to family members, for example. Of course, because of the way it needs to interact with your phone’s operating system in order to restrict access, Luna Launcher is only available on Android.

        • Google delays launch of Android Wear 2.0 to next year

          Google’s next-generation smartwatch platform, Android Wear 2.0, will not be seeing the light of day this year. The company announced today that it is delaying the launch of the update, which was originally scheduled for this fall, to sometime in early 2017.

          Instead of launching the final version this fall, Google is extending the developer preview program for Android Wear 2.0, and today it’s releasing the third preview of the platform for developers. The company says that it is using the extra time to fine tune the software via feedback from developers, and it will have another preview build released before the end of the year. Today’s version adds a number of new features, most notable of which is the Play Store for smartwatches.

        • Moto Z series and G4 Plus getting Android 7.0 Nougat update in Q4
        • Android Wear watches aren’t connecting to the iPhone 7
        • Many Android Wear watches aren’t working with the iPhone 7
        • Google Maps gains new voice commands on Android
        • OnePlus 3 Android 7.0 Nougat update is in the works
        • Huawei will introduce its next flagship on November 3
        • This is Google Cloud and G Suite
        • Exchange email down for Android and iOS users

          Microsoft Exchange mobile users on Android and iOS users have been unable to access emails on their phones due to a planned shift away from its Exchange Active Sync (EAS) protocol.

          The issue first appeared yesterday and is still affecting users.

          One customer got in touch to say: “Exchange Mobile device access seems to be up the Swanny for iOS and Android users.” They quipped: “Fortunately neither of the Windows Mobile users are affected.”

        • Latest Fitbit Blaze firmware update finally makes the tracker worth buying

          The Fitbit Blaze is a deceptive little fitness tracker. It may look like a smartwatch on the surface, but dive a little deeper and you’ll find it’s actually missing most of the smartwatch-y features we’ve come to expect from fitness tracker/smartwatch hybrids. When we reviewed the Blaze a few months ago, the lack of third-party notification support and poor selection of watch faces were some of our biggest gripes with this tracker. Thankfully Fitbit has finally heard our cries and released a new update that fixes these issues.

        • Android Wear watches aren’t connecting to the iPhone 7

          One of Android Wear’s biggest strengths is it that the platform is designed to be cross compatible with Android and iOS. However, a number of consumers are reporting that they can’t connected a range of Android Wear smartwatches up to the new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus.

        • Multiple Android Wear smartwatches are not pairing with the iPhone 7
        • Google Allo rockets past 5 million downloads
        • BlackBerry to stop developing its own hardware, will rely on manufacturing partners instead
        • How to copy music to your Android phone
        • Spaces v1.7 adds capability to save posted images [APK Download]
        • Firefox Aurora arrives on the Play Store in “unreleased” state
        • Mercedes and Kia add new Android Auto models

          Buying a new car comes with myriad of considerations. Is it fuel efficient? Is it safe? Will it play nicely with my phone? People sometimes neglect the last one, but you’re going to be carrying the phone literally every time you get in the car, so why not make sure? Mercedes and Kia seem to get that. They’ve added support for Android Auto to a ton of new cars today.

        • Sony Xperia X Compact review: Small Android is still good, but not much better

          Sony’s Xperia X Compact is basically the newest version of the Z5 Compact that hit the US earlier this year. But just because it’s a newer version of the (comparatively) tiny handset doesn’t mean it’s an upgrade in every way. Sony is pushing the camera sensors in the X Compact and the flagship-level XZ, as well as new features like five-axis image stabilization and HDR photo mode. Sony knows cameras, so we know the shooter in the X Compact will at least be competent. However, it has to be good enough to encourage photography buffs to shell out $499 for this unlocked handset while delivering solid performance across the board as well.

        • How I Use Android: Android Central Editor Emeritus Phil Nickinson

          In the meantime, I was able to convince Phil to step out of his metaphorical kitchen for a few minutes to chat about how he uses Android in his day-to-day life. This is a man who has seen and used practically every Android device over the past several years, after all — and a fair number of apps and customization tools, to boot.

          So what devices does someone with so much knowledge carry around in his own trousers, and how does he make the most of what they have to offer?

          Enough with the suspense already. In his own words, this is how Phil Nickinson uses Android.

        • Best Android Phones Under 5.7 Inches

          There’s no question that Samsung hit a home run with its Galaxy S7 line. We already think the smaller GS7 is the best phone under 5.2 inches, and the larger, curved-screen Galaxy S7 edge is our pick for the best phone under 5.7 inches. Why? It takes everything we love about the smaller phone and makes it bigger — but not too much.

Free Software/Open Source

  • But is it safe? Uncork a bottle of vintage open-source FUD

    Most of the open source questioners come from larger organisations. Banks very rarely pop up here, and governments have long been hip to using open source. Both have ancient, proprietary systems in place here and there that are finally crumbling to dust and need replacing fast. Their concerns are more oft around risk management and picking the right projects.

    It’s usually organisations whose business is dealing with actual three dimensional objects that ask about open source. Manufacturing, industrials, oil and gas, mining, and others who have typically looked at IT as, at best, a helper for their business rather than a core product enabler.

    These industries are witnessing the lighting fast injection of software into their products – that whole “Internet of Things” jag we keep hearing about. Companies here are being forced to look at both using open source in their products and shipping open source as part of their business.

    The technical and pricing requirements for IoT scale software is a perfect fit for open source, especially that pricing bit. On the other end – peddling open source themselves – companies that are looking to build and sell software-driven “platforms” are finding that partners and developers are not so keen to join closed source ecosystems.

    These two pulls create some weird clunking in the heads of management at these companies who aren’t used to working with a sandles and rainbow frame of mind. They have a scepticism born of their inexperience with open source. Let’s address some of their trepidation.

  • Real business innovation begins with open practices

    To business leaders, “open source” often sounds too altruistic—and altruism is in short supply on the average balance sheet. But using and contributing to open source makes hard-nosed business sense, particularly as a way of increasing innovation.

    Today’s firms all face increased competition and dynamic markets. Yesterday’s big bang can easily become today’s cautionary tale. Strategically, the only viable response to this disruption is constantly striving to serve customers better through sustained and continuous innovation. But delivering innovation is hard; the key is to embrace open and collaborative innovation across organizational walls—open innovation.

    Open source communities’ values and practices generate open innovation, and working in open source is a practical, pragmatic way of delivering innovation. To avoid the all-too-real risk of buzzword bingo we can consider two definitions of “innovation”:

    creating value (that serves customer needs) to sell for a profit; or
    reducing what a firm pays for services.

  • Minijail: Running Untrusted Programs Safely by Jorge Lucangeli Obes, Google
  • Minijail: Google’s Tool To Safely Run Untrusted Programs

    Google’s Minijail sandboxing tool could be used by developers and sysadmins to run untrusted programs safely for debugging and security checks, according to Google Software Engineer Jorge Lucangeli Obes, who spoke last month at the Linux Security Summit. Obes is the platform security lead for Brillo, Google’s Android-based operating system for Internet-connected devices.

    Minijail was designed for sandboxing on Chrome OS and Android, to handle “anything that the Linux kernels grew.” Obes shared that Google teams use it on the server side, for build farms, for fuzzing, and pretty much everywhere.

    Since “essentially one bug separates you and any random attacker,” Google wanted to create a reliable means to swiftly identify problems with privileges and exploits in app development and easily enable developers to “do the right thing.”

    The tool is designed to assist admins who struggle with deciding what permissions their software actually needs, and developers who are vexed with trying to second guess which environment the software is going to run in. In both cases, sandboxing and privilege dropping tends to be a hit or miss affair.

    Even when developers use the privilege dropping mechanisms provided by the Linux kernel, sometimes things go awry due to numerous pitfalls along that path. One common example Obes cited was trying to ride a switch user function that will drop-root and then forgetting to check the result of the situation relief, or setuid function, afterwards.

  • Intel and Cloudera Give Apache an Open Source Data/Security Tool

    For the past year, we’ve taken note of the many Big Data projects that the Apache Software Foundation has been elevating to Top-Level Status. The organization incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, and has squarely turned its focus to Big Data and developer-focused tools in recent months. As Apache moves Big Data projects to Top-Level Status, they gain valuable community support.

    Recently, the foundation announced that Apache Kudu has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP). Kudu is an open source columnar storage engine built for the Apache Hadoop ecosystem designed to enable flexible, high-performance analytic pipelines. And, Apache Twill has graduated as well. Twill is an abstraction over Apache Hadoop YARN that reduces the complexity of developing distributed Hadoop applications, allowing developers to focus more on their application logic. In another Apache-related Big Data move, Cloudera and Intel have announced that they’ve contributed a new open-source project to the Apache Software Foundation targeted at using Big Data analytics and machine learning for cybersecurity.

  • Twitter Open Sources Stream Processing Engine Heron

    Twitter announced the open sourcing of Heron, a stream-processing engine that is a successor to Apache Storm. Heron is backwards compatible with Apache Storm, which eases its adoption amongst developers. Heron has replaced Apache Storm as the stream data processing engine inside Twitter due to its scalability, debug-ability, ability to work in a shared cluster infrastructure and better performance. A comprehensive list of features is listed in the documentation.

  • Events

    • PyCon 2016

      I come from a place where everyone worships competitive coding and thus cpp, so the experience of attending my first pycon was much awaited for me.

      This year’s PyCon India happened in Delhi and i along with a couple of my friends reached on 23rd September, the first day. We were a bit late but it was all right because, we didn’t miss anything.

    • What do you have to say? Share it at LibrePlanet 2017
    • LibrePlanet returns March 25-26, 2017, call for proposals for annual free software conference now open

      LibrePlanet is an annual conference for free software enthusiasts. The conference brings together software developers, policy experts, activists and computer users to learn skills, share accomplishments and face challenges to software freedom. Newcomers are always welcome, and LibrePlanet 2017 will feature programming for all ages and experience levels.

      This year, the theme of LibrePlanet is “The Roots of Freedom.” This encompasses the historical “roots” of the free software movement — the Four Freedoms, the GNU General Public License and copyleft, and a focus on strong security and privacy protections — and the concept of roots as a strong foundation from which the movement grows.

      “LibrePlanet is an impactful, exciting free software conference. Attendance has grown each year, yet the community-minded atmosphere has grown even stronger,” said John Sullivan, executive director of the FSF.

    • The Linux Foundation Announces Session Lineup for MesosCon Asia

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the schedule for MesosCon Asia, taking place November 18-19 in Hangzhou, China.

    • Tencent: Transforming Networks with SDN

      “SDN can really transform the way we do networks,” said Tom Bie, VP of Technology & Operation of Data Center, Networking and Server, Tencent, during his Wednesday keynote address at the Open Daylight Summit. The China telecom giant should know about the issues of massive scale networks: they have more than 200 million users for QQ instant messaging, 300 million users of their payment service, and more than 800 million users of their VChat service. Bie noted that Tencent also operates one of the largest gaming networks in the world, along with video services, audio services, online literature services, news portals, and a range other digital content services.

    • The Second Wave of Platforms, an Interview with Cloud Foundry’s Sam Ramji

      In today’s world of platforms, services are increasingly connected. In the past, PaaS offerings were pretty much isolated. It’s that new connected infrastructure that is driving the growth of Cloud Foundry, the open source, service-oriented platform technology.

      Sam Ramji is CEO of Cloud Foundry, which is holding its European event in Frankfurt this week. At the conference, we spoke with Ramji to discuss, among other topics:

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • This Week In Servo 79

        In the last week, we landed 96 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

        Promise support has arrived in Servo, thanks to hard work by jdm, dati91, and mmatyas! This does not fully implement microtasks, but unblocks the uses of Promises in many places (e.g., the WebBluetooth test suite).

        Emilio rewrote the bindings generation code for rust-bindgen, dramatically improving the flow of the code and output generated when producing Rust bindings for C and C++ code.

        The TPAC WebBluetooth standards meeting talked a bit about the great progress by the team at the University of Szeged in the context of Servo.

      • Servo Web Engine Now Supports Promises, Continues Churning Along

        It’s been nearly two months since last writing about Mozilla’s Servo web layout engine (in early August, back when WebRender2 landed) but development has kept up and they continue enabling more features for this next-generation alternative to Gecko.

        The latest is that Servo now supports JavaScript promises. If you are unfamiliar with the promise support, see this guide.

        The latest Servo code has improvements around its Rust binding generator for C and C++ code plus other changes.

      • Announcing Rust 1.12

        The Rust team is happy to announce the latest version of Rust, 1.12. Rust is a systems programming language with the slogan “fast, reliable, productive: pick three.”

        As always, you can install Rust 1.12 from the appropriate page on our website, and check out the detailed release notes for 1.12 on GitHub. 1361 patches were landed in this release.

      • Rust 1.12 Programming Language Released

        Rust 1.12 has been released as the newest version of this popular programming language with a focus on “fast, reliable, productive: pick three.”

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • Riak TS for time series analysis at scale

      Until recently, doing time series analysis at scale was expensive and almost exclusively the domain of large enterprises. What made time series a hard and expensive problem to tackle? Until the advent of the NoSQL database, scaling up to meet increasing velocity and volumes of data generally meant scaling hardware vertically by adding CPUs, memory, or additional hard drives. When combined with database licensing models that charged per processor core, the cost of scaling was simply out of reach for most.

      Fortunately, the open source community is democratising large scale data analysis rapidly, and I am lucky enough to work at a company making contributions in this space. In my talk at All Things Open this year, I’ll introduce Riak TS, a key-value database optimized to store and retrieve time series data for massive data sets, and demonstrate how to use it in conjunction with three other open source tools—Python, Pandas, and Jupyter—to build a completely open source time series analysis platform. And it doesn’t take all that long.

    • PostgreSQL 9.6 released

      PostgreSQL 9.6, the latest version of the world’s leading open source database, was released today by the PostgreSQL Global Development Group. This release will allow users to both scale up and scale out high performance database workloads. New features include parallel query, synchronous replication improvements, phrase search, and improvements to performance and usability, as well as many more features.

    • PostgreSQL 9.6 Officially Released With Parallel Query Support
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Office Suite Celebrates 6 Years of Activity with LibreOffice 5.2.2

      Today, September 29, 2016, Italo Vignoli from The Document Foundation informs Softpedia via an email announcement about the general availability of the first point release of the LibreOffice 5.2 open-source and cross-platform office suite.

      On September 28, the LibreOffice project celebrated its 6th anniversary, and what better way to celebrate than to push a new update of the popular open source and cross-platform office suite used by millions of computer users worldwide. Therefore, we would like to inform our readers about the general availability of LibreOffice 5.2.2, which comes just three weeks after the release of LibreOffice 5.2.1.

      “Just one day after the project 6th anniversary, The Document Foundation (TDF) announces the availability of LibreOffice 5.2.2, the second minor release of the LibreOffice 5.2 family,” says Italo Vignoli. “LibreOffice 5.2.2, targeted at technology enthusiasts, early adopters and power users, provides a number of fixes over the major release announced in August.”

    • LibreOffice at 6, New Souped up Mint Mini

      September 28 was the official birthday for LibreOffice and Italo Vignoli looked back at some of the milestones for the project. Elsewhere, the Ubuntu family got new betas and Clement Lefebvre announced a new Mintbox Mini. Jack M. Germain reviewed Panther OS and Ryan Lynch recommended four distributions for Windows users.

      Happy Birthday LibreOffice! It was officially six years ago September 28 that The Document Foundation and LibreOffice were announced. The project consisted of former OpenOffice.org developers and volunteered who feared the worst after its sale to Oracle. Since that time, LibreOffice has grown and matured into an award winning Open Source office suite. Group photos taken at the LibreOffice conference at Brno were also shared including one of the attendees who were there on day one, as Bjoern Michaelsen explained. Although they were the seed, the project has grown to hundreds of contributors from all over the world. Italio Vignoli said the project attracted new developers every month for 72 straight months. He also said tomorrow begins the LibreOffice 5.3 developmental cycle, which is planned for release in January 2017.

    • Merging Communities
    • Happy 6th Birthday, LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice 5.2.2 Now Available to Download
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE Needs To Be Respun Due To Security Issues

      The delayed FreeBSD 11.0 release just suffered another last-minute set-back. While “FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE images” were distributed to FTP mirrors and the official announcement expected today, these images need to be re-spun to contain some security fixes and thus pushing back the official release.

      Glen Barber noted today on the mailing list, “Although the FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE has not yet been officially announced, many have found images on the Project FTP mirrors. However, please be aware the final 11.0-RELEASE will be rebuilt and republished on the Project mirrors as a result of a few last-minute security fixes we feel are imperative to include in the final release.”

    • FreeBSD 11.0 Operating System Lands October 5 Due to Last-Minute Security Issues

      A few minutes ago, Glen Barber informed the FreeBSD community that they should not hurry and install the ISO images of the FreeBSD 11.0 operating system made available a few days ago on the official FTP mirrors.

      These images aren’t safe to use and contain various security vulnerabilities that need to be fixed before the FreeBSD Project will officially unveil the final release of the FreeBSD 11.0 operating system in the coming days. According to the release schedule, FreeBSD 11.0 should hit the streets later today, September 29, 2016.

      However, until then the FreeBSD development team is hard at work patching those nasty security issues and rebuilding the final ISO images, which will be made available on the respective FTP mirrors later today as FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE-p1. If you’re already running FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE, you will soon be provided with instructions to safely update your system

    • OpenBSD Founder Calling For LLVM To Face A Cataclysm Over Its Re-Licensing

      For over one year there’s been talk of LLVM pursuing a mass relicensing from its University of Illinois/NCSA Open Source License, which is similar to the three-clause BSD license, to the Apache 2.0 license with explicit mention of GPLv2 compatibility. As mentioned in that aforelinked article, this re-licensing is moving ahead.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Free Software Directory meeting recap for September 23rd, 2016
    • Don’t be a stranger to GIMP, be GIMP…

      I can try and do more coding, more code reviewing, revive designing discussions… that’s cool, yet never enough. GIMP needs more people, developers, designers, community people, writers for the website or the documentation, tutorial makers… everyone is welcome in my grand scheme!

      Many of my actions lately have been towards gathering more people, so when I heard about the GNOME newcomers initiative during GUADEC, I thought that could be a good fit. Thus a few days ago, I had GIMP added in the list of newcomer-friendly GNOME projects, with me as the newcomers mentor. I’ll catch this occasion to remind you all the ways you can contribute to GIMP, and not necessarily as a developer.

  • Public Services/Government

    • EC approves Slovenia courts data exchange solution

      First CEF AS4-compliant b2b solution developed as open source by a public administration

      The European Commission has tested and approved Laurentius, an eDelivery court documents and case exchange solution compliant with the AS4 profile of the OASIS ebMS standard. In September, Laurentius passed all tests by the EC’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for its so-called “e-SENS AS4 conformant solutions”.

  • Programming/Development

    • SDL 2.0.5 Is Readying For Release: Relative Mouse Mode For Wayland/Mir, Audio Capture

      SDL 2.0 point releases have ranged from being a few months apart to as much as two years apart. Fortunately, SDL 2.0.5 is now being put together for release just nine months after SDL 2.0.4.

      With the Mercurial repository, Sam Lantinga bumped the version in preparation for the SDL 2.0.5 release. The SDL 2.0.5 release hasn’t officially happened yet, but it should be here soon.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open standards default at Slovenia supreme court

      The use of open ICT standards is an IT requirement at Slovenia’s Supreme Court, responsible for the IT support of the entire court system in the country. The Supreme Court’s IT department has a strong preference for the development of modular, reusable software solutions. This strategy provides agility and flexibility, says Bojan Muršec, director of IT.

      The focus on open standards frees up the IT department to concentrate on the business, Muršec says. The IT department takes the modular approach serious: the first reusable module ever developed by the court – a court documents dispatch and delivery system – is re-used by all IT systems across the courts. “Making everything reusable prevents creation of silos in the organisation”, the IT director says.

      A positive side effect of the IT strategy is that the court uses mostly open source software solutions. This in turn helps to keep IT costs down, says the IT director, who estimates that the court saves EUR 400 to 500 thousand per year on licence fees: “The cost of proprietary licences always goes up.”

    • Why there is no CSS4 – explaining CSS Levels

      We had CSS1, and CSS2. We even had CSS2.1 and we then moved onto CSS3 – or did we? This post is a quick explanation of how CSS is versioned today.

      CSS versions 1 and 2 were monolithic specifications. All of CSS was included in one massive document. Selectors, positioning, colour – it was all in there.

      The problem with monolithic specifications is that in order to finish the spec, every component part also has to be finished. As CSS has grown in complexity, and new features are added, it doesn’t make sense to draw a line at which all work is stopped on all parts of CSS in order to declare that CSS version finished. Therefore, after CSS2.1 all the things that had been part of the 2.1 specification were broken down into modules. As the new CSS modules included all that had gone before plus any new features, they all came into being at Level 3. Hence CSS3, and people like me who understood CSS as a single specification referred to the group of Level 3 modules as “CSS3”.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • 6 Ways Driverless Cars Are Going To Kill Lots Of People

      You’ve probably read a few articles about driverless cars over the past couple of years. The technology is coming along quickly, with fleets of test cars already on the roads in some states. It seems like soon we’ll achieve the American dream of stuffing our faces and texting all we want while still managing to avoid public transportation.

      But the reality is quite different. We’re diving into this technology a little too quickly and ignoring all the warning signs about how we are going to screw up on the way to Driverless Car Utopia.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Reporter who quit on air to fight for cannabis legalization could face prison

      Charlo Greene did not plan to curse on live television, but on 22 September 2014, the words came pouring out.

      Then a reporter for KTVA, a station in Alaska, Greene ended her segment on marijuana by revealing that she was a proponent of legalization – and was the owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, the subject of her news report.

      “Fuck it, I quit,” she said, before abruptly walking off camera. The 26-year-old’s stunt shocked her colleagues and made her a viral sensation overnight.

    • Marijuana Arrests Are At a 20-Year Low

      Marijuana-related arrests are the lowest they’ve been in 20 years, but someone’s still getting busted for weed a little more than once every minute.

      According to new statistics released by the FBI on Monday, there were 574,641 arrests in 2015 for marijuana possession, which is the lowest it’s been since 1996. Between 2011 and 2014, possession arrests hovered above 600,000. And since possession arrests peaked at 800,000 in 2007, that’s a 25 percent decrease.

      As pot gets increasingly normalized, with 10 states considering medical or adult use marijuana legalization in this year’s election, law enforcement may be less likely to see it as a threat. The divide between federal and state laws is also becoming an increasingly absurd policy to enforce. Even Hillary Clinton mentioned in Monday’s debate that the prevalent prison sentences for nonviolent crimes, like marijuana possession, are unnecessary.

      The drop in weed possession arrests likely results from from adult use policies in places like Colorado, where all marijuana-related arrests have plummeted in recent years, Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told Motherboard. “The recent decline in arrests in New York City, as well as in other major metropolitan areas that have imposed decriminalization ordinances in recent years, is also likely playing a role in this nationwide decline.”

    • House passes waterways bill with Flint aid

      The House easily passed a major waterways bill on Wednesday that included a bipartisan compromise to address the drinking-water crisis in Flint, Mich.

      A late-night deal on Flint aid helped resolve Democratic opposition to a stop-gap spending bill that lacked emergency funding for the city, paving the way for Senate passage of a continuing resolution earlier in the day and ending the threat of a government shutdown.

      In a 399-25 vote, House lawmakers approved the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes dozens of water-related infrastructure projects around the country.

      Lawmakers adopted numerous amendments during floor debate, including one from Reps. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) and John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) that would authorize up to $170 million for Flint.

      “We decided we don’t want to create brinksmanship. That doesn’t do anybody any good,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Wednesday at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.

    • Farming mega-mergers threaten food security, say campaigners

      When an Indian farmer plants his cotton crop, there’s at least a 75% chance the seeds have been been bought from a company owned by Monsanto. If a Latin American farmer sprays insecticide on her genetically engineered soya beans, the chemical is more than likely to have been provided by German chemical and drugs company Bayer or by US firm Dupont.

      And when African farmers add chemicals to their maize fields or plant it’s odds-on that they have come from Swiss company Syngenta.

      Until recently, six or seven global agri-food businesses competed with each other for a share of the world market for seeds and chemicals. But if EU and US regulators allow a series of mega-mergers to take place, within months just three companies will be left in control of nearly 60% of the world’s seeds, nearly 70% of the chemicals and pesticides needed to grow food and nearly all of the world’s GM crop genetic traits.

    • Should Kratom Be Banned? Here’s What the Experts Say

      While lots of people reading this are patiently waiting for marijuana legalization to finally reach their state — most likely passing the time by smoking marijuana — lots of others are about to see Prohibition show up at their door for the first time. They are the “kratom” users. That’s a plant-based painkiller which some people describe as “herbal heroin.” It was, up until now, completely legal. I first used it back in 2009 — not because I was in pain, but because I wanted to get high without failing a drug test (like many painkillers, you can also take it for fun). Then, a couple of years ago, I introduced kratom to someone who does live with chronic pain — Cracked contributor Marina Reimann.

  • Security

    • security things in Linux v4.5
    • Time to Kill Security Questions—or Answer Them With Lies

      The notion of using robust, random passwords has become all but mainstream—by now anyone with an inkling of security sense knows that “password1” and “1234567” aren’t doing them any favors. But even as password security improves, there’s something even more problematic that underlies them: security questions.

      Last week Yahoo revealed that it had been massively hacked, with at least 500 million of its users’ data compromised by state sponsored intruders. And included in the company’s list of breached data weren’t just the usual hashed passwords and email addresses, but the security questions and answers that victims had chosen as a backup means of resetting their passwords—supposedly secret information like your favorite place to vacation or the street you grew up on. Yahoo’s data debacle highlights how those innocuous-seeming questions remain a weak link in our online authentication systems. Ask the security community about security questions, and they’ll tell you that they should be abolished—and that until they are, you should never answer them honestly.

      From their dangerous guessability to the difficulty of changing them after a major breach like Yahoo’s, security questions have proven to be deeply inadequate as contingency mechanisms for passwords. They’re meant to be a reliable last-ditch recovery feature: Even if you forget a complicated password, the thinking goes, you won’t forget your mother’s maiden name or the city you were born in. But by relying on factual data that was never meant to be kept secret in the first place—web and social media searches can often reveal where someone grew up or what the make of their first car was—the approach puts accounts at risk. And since your first pet’s name never changes, your answers to security questions can be instantly compromised across many digital services if they are revealed through digital snooping or a data breach.

    • LibreSSL and the latest OpenSSL security advisory

      Just a quick note that LibreSSL is not impacted by either of the issues mentioned in the latest OpenSSL security advisory – both of the issues exist in code that was added to OpenSSL in the last release, which is not present in LibreSSL.

    • Record-breaking DDoS reportedly delivered by >145k hacked cameras

      Last week, security news site KrebsOnSecurity went dark for more than 24 hours following what was believed to be a record 620 gigabit-per-second denial of service attack brought on by an ensemble of routers, security cameras, or other so-called Internet of Things devices. Now, there’s word of a similar attack on a French Web host that peaked at a staggering 1.1 terabits per second, more than 60 percent bigger.

      The attacks were first reported on September 19 by Octave Klaba, the founder and CTO of OVH. The first one reached 1.1 Tbps while a follow-on was 901 Gbps. Then, last Friday, he reported more attacks that were in the same almost incomprehensible range. He said the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks were delivered through a collection of hacked Internet-connected cameras and digital video recorders. With each one having the ability to bombard targets with 1 Mbps to 30 Mbps, he estimated the botnet had a capacity of 1.5 Tbps.

      On Monday, Klaba reported that more than 6,800 new cameras had joined the botnet and said further that over the previous 48 hours the hosting service was subjected to dozens of attacks, some ranging from 100 Gbps to 800 Gbps. On Wednesday, he said more than 15,000 new devices had participated in attacks over the past 48 hours.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • How 1.5 Million Connected Cameras Were Hijacked to Make an Unprecedented Botnet

      Last week, hackers forced a well-known security journalist to take down his site after hitting him for more than two days with an unprecedented flood of traffic.

      That cyberattack was powered by something the internet had never seen before: an army made of more than one million hacked Internet of Things devices.

      The hackers, whose identity is still unknown at this point, used not one, but two networks—commonly referred to as “botnets” in hacking lingo—made of around 980,000 and 500,000 hacked devices, mostly internet-connected cameras, according to Level 3 Communications, one of the world’s largest internet backbone providers. The attackers used all those cameras and other unsecured online devices to connect to the journalists’ website, pummeling the site with requests in an attempt to make it collapse.

    • NHS Hospitals Are Running Thousands of Computers on Unsupported Windows XP

      Hospitals across England are running thousands of out-of-date Windows XP machines, potentially putting patient data and other sensitive information at risk.

      Motherboard has found that at least 42 National Health Service (NHS) trusts in England are still using the Windows XP operating system, with many of them confirming that they no longer receive security updates for the software. Legal experts say that the NHS hospitals may be in breach of data protection regulations.

      “If hospitals are knowingly using insecure XP machines and devices to hold and otherwise process patient data they may well be in serious contravention of their obligations,” Jon Baines, Chair of the National Association of Data Protection and Freedom of Information Officers (NADPO), wrote in an email.

      In April 2014, Microsoft officially ended support for Windows XP, meaning that the company would no longer release security patches for the aging operating system. Any vulnerabilities discovered after that date would therefore be left for hackers to exploit. Governments and businesses could pay Microsoft for a custom extended support deal; the Crown Commercial Service, which is sponsored by the Cabinet Office, spent £5.5 million ($9 million) to continue receiving updates for the public sector, including for the NHS. That agreement ended in April 2015 and was not renewed.

    • Linux.Mirai Trojan causing mayhem with DDoS attacks

      A Trojan named Linux.Mirai has been found to be carrying out DDoS attacks.

      The malicious program first appeared in May 2016, detected by Doctor Web after being added to its virus database under the name Linux.DDoS.87. The Trojan can work with with the SPARC, ARM, MIPS, SH-4, M68K architectures and Intel x86 computers.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Does Free College Threaten Our All-Volunteer Military?

      Does free college threaten our all-volunteer military? That is what writer Benjamin Luxenberg, on military blog War on the Rocks says. But the real question goes deeper than Luxenberg’s practical query, striking deep into who we are as a nation.

      Unlike nearly every other developed country, which offer free or low cost higher education (Korea’s flagship Seoul National University runs about $12,000 a year, around the same as Oxford), in America you need money to go to college. You need the bucks for tuition and books, and for most students, you need the bucks to not work full-time for a couple of years. Typical of America’s top end schools, Harvard charges $63,000 for tuition, room, board and fees. That’s more than a quarter of a million dollars for a degree. Even a state school wants $40,000 a year.

    • White House Is Profoundly Wrong About the Most Embarrassing Thing Senate Has Done

      The White House reacted harshly to the Senate’s overwhelming vote on Wednesday to override President Obama’s veto of a bill that would enable the family members of 9/11 victims to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in U.S. Courts.

      Press Secretary Josh Earnest called it “the single most embarrassing thing the United States Senate has done possibly since 1983.”

      As it happens, the White House’s principled opposition to the bill was based on its worry that it would open the door to lawsuits from foreigners accusing the U.S. government of crimes, possibly including the killing of hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan, torture, deaths of innocent people with drones, and global mass surveillance.

      That makes Earnest’s comment the single most hyperbolic thing he’s said since — well — ever.

    • ‘Peace With Justice Is Still a Long Way Away’ – CounterSpin interview with Mario Murillo on Colombian accords

      The peace deal signed between the government of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC, the largest and oldest insurgency in Latin America, is historic. More than 50 years of fighting have killed more than 220,000 Colombians, overwhelmingly poor civilians. These years have seen executions, disappearances, detentions, torture. The violence has forced some 7 million people from their homes, the largest number of internally displaced people in the world.

    • Forget Blairite Propaganda. Sierra Leone was not Blair’s “Good War”.

      This was my speech to the World Beyond War conference at American University, Washington DC on 24 September.

    • Is Your Nation The Exceptional One?

      Nations such as this just don’t have what it takes to be Exceptional. They may have a few nice traditions that mark them out from other nations, and may even be very nice people. But Exceptional? Get out of here!

    • Can Russia Learn From Brazil’s Fate?

      Everyone should read Engdahl’s article. He reports that part of the attack on Rousseff stemmed from Brazil’s economic problems deliberately created by US credit rating agencies as part of Washington’s attack to down grade Brazilian debt, which set off an attack on the Brazilian currency, the cruziero.

      Brazil’s financial openness made Brazil an easy target to attack. One might hope that Vladimir Putin would take note of the cost of “economic openness.” Putin is a careful and thoughtful leader of Russia, but he is not an economist. He has confidence in neoliberal Elvira Nabiulina, Washington’s choice to head the Russian central bank. Nabiulina is unfamiliar with Modern Monetary Theory, and her commitment to “economic openness” leaves the Russian economy as exposed as Brazil’s to Washington destabilization. Nabiuina believes that the assault on the ruble is due to impersonal “global market forces,” not to Washington’s financial clout.

    • British Parliament Confirms Libya War Was Based On Lies … Turned Nation Into a “Shit Show” … Spread Terrorism

      The UK Parliament just confirmed what the alternative media has been saying for years.

      Specifically, a new report from the bipartisan House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee – based on interviews with all of the key British decision-makers, review of documents, and on-the-ground investigations in Africa – found that the Libyan war was based on lies, that it destroyed the country, and that it spread terrorism far and wide.

    • Trump Promises No First Nuclear Strike, Sort of; New Bill Would Make it Illegal

      Donald Trump tried to ease fears about his finger being on the nuclear button during Monday night’s presidential debate, declaring that “I would certainly not do first strike.” He added: “Once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over.”

      But moments later, the Republican presidential nominee seemed to backpedal, claiming that he “can’t take anything off the table.”

      Two members of Congress don’t want Trump to have the option.

      Responding to the majority of Americans who say they would not trust Trump with the nuclear arsenal, Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass, and Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., introduced legislation Tuesday that would bar the president from conducting a nuclear strike unless Congress had issued a formal declaration of war.

    • Clinton’s Faulty New Scheme to ‘Fight’ ISIS

      Even as Hillary Clinton pushes a new scheme for defeating ISIS, the reality is that contradictory U.S. policies in the Mideast that she helped formulate are fueling the growth of jihadi extremism, writes Daniel Lazare.

    • Congress overrides Obama’s veto of 9/11 bill

      Families of those killed in the terror attacks on 9/11 are now legally allowed to sue Saudi Arabia, after Congress voted Wednesday to override President Barack Obama’s veto of the legislation, the first override of his presidency.

      The votes by the House and Senate were overwhelming. Members of both parties broke into applause on the House floor after the vote.

      The Senate approved the override on a 97-1 vote, with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid the lone Senator voting to sustain the president’s veto. Hours later, the vote in the House was 348-77, with one Democratic member voting “present.”

      White House spokesman Josh Earnest said aboard Air Force One before the House had voted that the Senate’s override is the “single most embarrassing thing the Senate has done since 1983,” referring to the last time the Senate overrode a veto by such a large margin.

    • Barack Obama brands Congress decision on Saudi 9/11 lawsuits bill ‘a mistake’

      Barack Obama says Congress is making a “mistake” and setting “a dangerous precedent” by passing a bill that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government for damages.

      Both the Senate and the House of Representatives voted by an overwhelming majority to override the President’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).

      The votes on Wednesday afternoon were the first time in the whole of Mr Obama’s presidency that he has been overruled by Congress.

      And speaking on CNN in the wake of the decision, Mr Obama warned that it left the US exposed to lawsuits from people around the world who have been affected by American foreign policy.

    • 9/11 bill veto override angers Saudi Arabia, Gulf nations: We “will stand by Saudi Arabia in every way possible”

      Saudi Arabia’s lobbying and warnings to Congress were not enough to blunt the passing of legislation allowing families of Sept. 11 victims to sue the kingdom for the attacks.

      The oil-rich country, which has a long but often troubled relationship with Washington, maintains an arsenal of diplomatic and commercial tools it could respond with.

      They include curtailing official contacts, pulling billions of dollars from the U.S. economy, and persuading its close allies in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council it dominates to scale back counterterrorism cooperation, investments and U.S. access to important regional air bases.

    • Sudanese government ‘killing hundreds of civilians with chemical weapons attacks’ in Darfur – Amnesty

      The Sudanese government has been accused of launching chemical weapon attacks on its own civilians, killing hundreds of people including scores of children, in what would be a dramatic escalation of the Darfur conflict.

      Amnesty International says it has compiled the first credible body of evidence to suggest the forces of President Omar al-Bashir bombed swathes of the crisis-hit Jebel Marra region with chemical agents.

      The charity has released before-and-after satellite images, photographs of horrific burn wounds on children and evidence from more than 200 interviews, and called for a United Nations investigation.

      Chemical weapons attacks on the African continent in the post-war era have been extremely rare, and even the accusation that it has carried them out could represent a major setback for Sudan’s improving relations with the international community.

      But it also serves to highlight the ongoing armed conflict in Darfur that, since the peak of the violence and international attention in 2003, has continued to rage more or less unnoticed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Palm oil company with links to Tory donors accused of failing to prevent ‘thousands of acres’ of rainforest being destroyed

      A palm oil company with links to Tory party donors and friends of David Cameron has been accused of failing to prevent massive fires devastating the rainforest.

      The firm, called Astra Agro Lestari, is a subsidiary of multi-billion dollar conglomerate Jardine Matheson, which owns major retail outlets, a string of luxury hotels and construction firms – as well as selling second-hand cars – mostly in Asia.

      Jardines is largely controlled by the well-connected Keswick family, descendants of its founders as an opium trader in 19th century China.

      David Cameron’s father Ian was a friend of the Keswicks and worked as a stockbroker to the family. In the 1980s, the future Prime Minister briefly worked at the company’s office in Hong Kong.

    • Trump’s Campaign Is Trying to Cover Up His Lies About Climate Change

      In a delicious turn of events at this week’s presidential debate, Donald Trump received his comeuppance over a four-year-old tweet in which he denounced climate change.

      On stage, his opponent, Hillary Clinton, referenced the tweet from 2012, and remarked that “Donald Trump thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.” His reply? An easily fact-checked lie. “I did not. I do not say that,” he scrambled to say, like a child who’s been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

    • Finnish firm creates roofing with integrated solar cells

      A Finnish sheet metal manufacturer has teamed up with MiaSolé, an American company that manufactures thin-film photovoltaic products. The film is integrated into the roofing material at Virte’s Turku factory.

      CEO Jaakko Virtanen is excited about integrated solar electricity systems.

      “I’ve dreamed of building materials that would themselves generate electricity, from roofs, windows and wall. Now that’s becoming a reality,” he tells Yle.

    • Earth is locked into 5 degrees Celsius of global warming? Not so fast.

      On Tuesday, a new climate study sent media outlets into a frenzy. News articles declared that Earth was “locked into” 5 Celsius degrees of warming – an exceptionally dire forecast, since most climate scientists warn that a boost of just 2 degrees C. would be catastrophic.

      But fortunately for coral reefs and coastal communities, scientists now say that prediction was wrong.

      It was Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who led the charge. Dr. Schmidt was perhaps the most vocal of a group of prominent dissenters, all of whom insist that the actual committed warming estimate hovers around 0.5-1 degrees C. That number, while still significant in terms of global effects, is a far cry from the initial findings. So what caused the discrepancy: bad science or bad science journalism?

  • Finance

    • Passengers in Uber’s self-driving cars waived right to sue for injury or death

      Anyone requesting an Uber ride in a 12-sq mile area in the center of Pittsburgh might now be randomly allocated a self-driving Ford Fusion rather than a human-operated vehicle.

      But passengers riding in Uber’s computer-controlled cars today might be surprised at just how experimental the technology is. According to documents obtained by the Guardian under public records laws, until as recently as June anyone not employed by Uber riding in one of its autonomous vehicles (AVs) had to sign a legal document waiving the company of any liability for their injury or death.

      One senior Pittsburgh police officer signed a waiver on 23 June: “I acknowledge that some or all of the AVs in which I ride are in a development phase, are experimental in nature, and that riding in an AV may involve the potential for death, serious injury, and/or property loss.”

      The document was required by Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center (ATC), a research hub that in early 2015 hired dozens of robotics experts from nearby Carnegie Mellon University. Since then the ATC has been working furiously to catch up with the likes of Google and Tesla in self-driving technology – a task Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has described as “basically existential for us”.

    • The Questions That Should Be Being Asked About Trump’s Tax Returns

      A lot has been said about Trump’s refusal to make his tax returns public. But despite the volume of commentary, it’s not clear the right questions even are being asked.

      Trump claims he can’t release his returns because he’s under audit. At some level, that’s a legitimate concern. It would hardly be fair if thousands of tax professionals who oppose Trump politically helped the IRS by publishing their own analyses of the returns. Ultimately, however, it’s a phony excuse.

      But rather than challenge the logic behind Trump’s refusal to release returns, a series of questions should be asked:

      First, what tax years are under audit? Does it go back beyond 2012? If not, can the 2011 return be released? After all, the statute of limitations on the audit of that year has passed, so there’s no exposure to Trump by releasing that return. If not 2011, how about 2010?

      Second, why haven’t the audit notices been released? An audit notice is a short, generic letter from the IRS stating that a taxpayer’s return has been selected for examination. There’s nothing so sensitive in such a generic notice that it could not be made public. At this point, Trump has not even offered up this most basic evidence that he is really even under audit. Why hasn’t proof been demanded?

    • Brexit – who has the power to change UK law?

      Another way of seeing the inconsistency of the Government argument is this. If the Crown has the power to leave the EU without Act of Parliament, then it has always had it. The Referendum Act contains no provision that alters the constitutional position – it provided for a referendum on EU membership, defining the question to be asked, but without specifying what was to be done with the result. For that reason it is often referred to as “advisory”. Therefore, if the Government has the power to take the UK out of the EU today, then it equally had the power one year ago. But I do not think anyone would have seriously argued before the Referendum that the Government could take the UK out of the EU under prerogative power without any Parliamentary approval.

    • Britain’s backdoor to EU influence

      The U.K. has launched a behind-the-scenes diplomatic effort to influence EU affairs during the Brexit process by offering to lend officials to two small countries that will hold the bloc’s presidency next year.

      Britain gave up its six-month slot in the rotating presidency calendar, which had been scheduled for the second half of 2017, after other countries felt it would be inappropriate to have the U.K. setting the political agenda for a union it had voted to leave. But soon after the June referendum, London began hedging its bets by trying to position officials in Malta and Estonia, which will take their turns in the presidency next year.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Donald Trump’s Roger Rabbit Moment

      As usual, what may have been most important is what went unsaid. The phrase “income inequality” came up only once, and that was from moderator Lester Holt. There was little mention of education or health care; some talk of energy policy but almost nothing on global warming other than Clinton’s reference to Trump claim that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese (last night he denied ever saying it, but he has).

      And absolutely no mention of the ruinous influence of money in politics, which in retrospect made it a bit jarring that when Bill and Chelsea Clinton entered the debate auditorium they sat next to Vernon Jordan, a close family friend and adviser, certainly, but also senior counsel at Akin Gump, the biggest and most profitable lobbyist in Washington, prime peddlers of influence and privilege on Capitol Hill.

    • NYT Makes Bill Clinton’s Sex Life the Lead Story–Without Mentioning Trump’s

      Now we know how candidates can get a piece of information featured in the lead story of the New York Times: They just need to declare that they aren’t going to talk about it during a national debate.

      Thus Donald Trump’s cryptic last-minute debate comment—”I was going to say something…extremely rough to Hillary, to her family, and I said to myself, ‘I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. It’s inappropriate. It’s not nice’”—was unfolded into a piece in the top right corner of the Times‘ front-page (9/27/16), arguably the most valuable journalistic real estate in the United States, about Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs.

    • Lester Holt Asks Zero Questions About Poverty, Abortion, Climate Change

      Presidential debates do as much to illustrate corporate media priorities as they do to showcase the candidates. They provide a snapshot into what the media, in this case represented by NBC’s Lester Holt, prioritizes as issues worthy of discussion.

      A week before the debate, Comcast-owned NBC announced the topics, and one could already tell we weren’t going to be in for a substantive evening: “Achieving prosperity,” “America’s direction” and “securing America.” This generic approach lead to a generic debate that focused mostly on horserace disputes and vague, open-ended questions about taxes and jobs.

      Holt didn’t ask any questions about the following topics: poverty, abortion, climate change, immigration, healthcare, student debt, privacy, LGBTQ rights or drug policy. (NBC reported before the debate that abortion and immigration were two of the policy issues that voters were most interested in, as indicated by Google searches, along with the economy and police shootings.)

      What was discussed: jobs, Trump’s tax returns, who did or didn’t support the Iraq War, raising taxes on the rich, race (framed mostly in a way that pandered to Trump’s theme of a country in disarray), Russian cyberattacks, ISIS, Obama’s birth certificate, Clinton’s physical appearance and whether the candidates would accept the election results.

    • Blow-by-Blow Analysis of the Decisive Moment of the Debate – through the eyes of a former debate coach

      I wasn’t planning to do a second blog about ‘the debate’ but two days after it, as we start to await the first polling to show its impact, I feel the need to write one more blog. I do believe this debate decided the election. I think many will come back to look at that Monday night as the time when Trump folded, and some will also see the brilliance of how Hillary skewered Trump and trapped him to make that debate far worse for Trump than it might have been. So, with the very rare opportunity for me to write a debate review on this blog, why not do something more serious about the blow-by-blow. How did it go? Lets get into the weeds. How did Hillary demolish Trump. I am using the full recording of the debate via Real Clear Politics which had the ABC network feed.

      Trump needed to remain Presidential throughout the first debate, he’d then get something near a tie. Hillary had to clearly win the debate, a tie was not good enough, she was expected to be the superior debater and had to now deliver.

    • Stein trolls Johnson on world leaders gaffe, also fails to name world leaders

      May, Stédile, and Corbyn, however, aren’t technically world leaders, as none holds a top position in their country’s government. May is a member of the Canadian House of Commons. Stédile is an economist and member of Brazil’s Landless Rural Workers Movement, which he helped found. Corbyn is the leader of the Labour Party in Britain.

      Johnson, sitting with Libertarian vice presidential nominee Bill Weld, was asked by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews to “name one foreign leader that you respect and look up to.” Johnson couldn’t name any.

    • Sunday Paper Q&A: Jill Stein

      You may not realize it, but there are actually two women running for president this year. In addition to Hillary Clinton, the first female major-party candidate, voters also have the choice to elect Jill Stein, who represents the Green Party.

      Stein is a practicing physician and an environmental health advocate. While her low polling numbers prevented her from participating in the first debate, Stein remains committed to her campaign. She exclusively sat down with us for this week’s Sunday Paper Q&A to explain why she’s motivated to stay in the race.

    • Endorsement: Libertarian Gary Johnson for president

      Today this newspaper does something it has never done in its 143-year history: endorse someone other than the Republican candidate in a presidential contest.

      Since its founding in 1873, The Detroit News has backed a Republican every time it has made a presidential endorsement (three times we have sat on the sidelines — twice during the Franklin Roosevelt elections and in the 2004 Bush/Kerry contest).

      We abandon that long and estimable tradition this year for one reason: Donald J. Trump.

      The 2016 nominee offered by the Republican Party rubs hard against the editorial board’s values as conservatives and Americans. Donald Trump is unprincipled, unstable and quite possibly dangerous. He can not be president.

    • Gary Johnson tries to get past ‘brain freeze’ with Detroit newspaper’s endorsement

      But Johnson’s self-described “Aleppo moment” on Wednesday night’s MSNBC town hall proved irresistible for critics and rivals. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who has fallen even further back in polls than Johnson, took the opportunity on Thursday to name the foreign leaders she admired — if anyone was curious. (No one she mentioned is currently serving as the head of government in any country.)

    • Politico Tries to Play Gotcha with Jill Stein’s Comments on Gary Johnson’s ‘World Leader’ Gotcha

      Last night on MSNBC, Chris Matthews asked Gary Johnson to name three foreign leaders that he admired. Rather than rejecting the question for its implicitly pro-government bias and as a silly thing to ask someone running for president, Johnson tried to answer by listing former Mexican president Vicente Fox and blanked on the name, saying it was another “Aleppo moment.” (Maybe soon they’ll be calling them Gary Johnson moments)

      Within minutes, social media was ablaze with users who probably couldn’t name a world leader (except maybe for Justin Trudeau, who’s become something of a favorite of social media progressives) claiming that Johnson couldn’t name a foreign leader at all, when the question was about leaders you respected.

      [...]

      Responding to my comment based on Twitter, Stein suggested that Politico was “just trying to play gotcha to distract from their favored candidate’s awful foreign policy record.” It’s hard to disagree with that assessment.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Singapore jails teen blogger Amos Yee for anti-religion posts
    • Amos Yee gets 6 weeks’ jail for wounding religious feeling
    • Amos Yee gets 6 weeks’ jail for wounding religious feelings
    • Amos Yee pleads guilty to 3 charges
    • Jordan Imposes Media Blackout on Christian Writer’s Assassination as Protests Erupt

      Jordanian authorities imposed a blackout on the country’s press and social media Monday, preventing any coverage of the murder of the Christian writer shot dead outside an Amman court as protesters called for the government’s resignation.

      The censorship order by the Jordanian judiciary came after the murder of Nahed Hatter as he arrived at the city’s Palace of Justice on Sunday, accused of sharing a satirical cartoon on Facebook and of breaching the country’s blasphemy laws.

    • Montreal Muslim school president was ‘devastated’ by feminist’s criticisms, slander trial hears

      Quebec’s long-running debate over secularism and the place of religious minorities moved into the courtroom Monday as a slander trial opened against an outspoken critic of Islamic fundamentalism.

      A crowd of supporters, including two who arrived from France, filled the room to hear the case against Djemila Benhabib, who is being sued by a private Muslim school after she likened its teaching to the instruction received in terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

      Benhabib, who was born in Ukraine but spent much of her childhood in Algeria, was invited on to a Montreal radio show in 2012 after writing a blog post about the Muslim School of Montreal.

      Benhabib told 98.5 FM host Benoît Dutrizac that she was shocked by what she found on the school’s website.

      Koranic verses being taught to children were “extremely violent” and “misogynistic,” she told Dutrizac in a recording played in the court. She said the school offers students “an indoctrination worthy of a military camp in Afghanistan or Pakistan.” The school, she said, “is creating fundamentalist activists who in a few years will be demanding accommodations and all sorts of bizarre things … We are an extremely long way from citizenship, from the values that belong to our society.”

    • Migrants Are Racist to Blonde Women, Swedish Ethics Professor Says

      Professor of Ethics Ann Heberlein has argued that blonde people in Sweden are subjected to racist abuse and violence from “people with a non-European appearance”.

      Ms. Heberlein, who appears regularly on Swedish Radio’s “Thoughts for the Day” and “Philosophical Room”, says blonde and Swedish victims of this racism choose to stay silent because “anti-racist” left wingers say that as a “privileged” group, ethnic Swedes have no right to complain.

      The professor at Lund University describes the racist abuse hurled at white women in Sweden, with phrases like “Svenne (meaning ethnic Swede) whore” and “bloody racist whore” shouted at them by people with migrant backgrounds.

    • Singapore jails teenager for hurting God’s feelings

      Amos Yee, a 17-year-old blogger in Singapore, is to spend six weeks in jail for “wounding religious feelings.” It is his second such jail term: he spent a month in jail last year for criticizing Christianity.

    • Donald Trump Happily Repeating Lie About Google Autocomplete Suppressing Negative Hillary News

      While politics isn’t generally a topic we dive into around here, technology policy and issues certainly are. And, since presidential election cycles infect every conceivable topic like a wine stain spreading across your favorite couch, we’ve talked about the two mainstream candidates quite a bit recently. And I get the complaints from all sides against both candidates, but it’s become somewhat breathtaking to watch Donald Trump build a campaign in large part on nonsensical and easily debunked conspiracy theories, such as how the planned internet governance transition will cede control of the web to China and Russia, or that our current sitting President might be a secret communist Muslim clay-person, but maybe not.

      And, of course, there is the constant claim of victim-hood at the hands of that damned liberal establishment, which now apparently includes Google. Some background for you is in order. Over the summer, a really dumb video went viral after claiming to show that Google was manipulating autocomplete searches to keep any bad press out of the results for searches about Hillary Clinton. Compared with Bing, for instance, Google’s autocomplete failed to finish off a search for “Hillary Clinton cr” with “Hillary Clinton crimes”, instead completing as “Hillary Clinton Crimea.” While your drunk uncle lost his goddamned mind over a conspiracy surely proven, Google chimed in to note that it specifically designed its autocomplete feature to keep disparaging results from anyone’s name, not just Hill-Dog’s. This was easily shown by putting in “Donald Trump cr”, which likewise autocompleted as “Donald Trump Crimea.”

      And that really should have been the end of that. But, because Donald Trump’s campaign isn’t one to pass on a good chem-trails story, its candidate tried to deflect a general panning of his debate performance by repeating this already disproved accusation.

    • Censorship is Killing the Spirit of Social Media

      Take Twitter, for example. The online social networking service is often criticized for not protecting its users and allowing pretty much anything on its platform. Because it does allow anything on its platform and that’s part of why people love it so much.

      Twitter is also kind of like a filing cabinet that records and preserves our digital history for us. You can go to Twitter, search a hashtag and find photos, articles and all the opinions you could ever want to hear on a particular moment from (recent) history. That’s pretty cool, when you think about it. But what’s not cool is finding tweets that you never saw, tweets that seemingly disappeared even though the 140-characters were typed.

      Twitter has been caught removing tweets, hiding tweets and deleting trending hashtags. Such accusations have opened the doors to how such a prominent platform—which sources the news for over half the population-gets away with censorship before our very eyes.

      It was just a few months ago that Twitter was accused of censoring tweets under ‘#DNCLeak’ during the WikiLeaks e-mail debacle. In this particular scenario, conservative Twitter users accused the platform of removing the hashtag from the trending bar, despite it displaying an estimated 250,000 tweets about the leaked employee e-mails from the Democratic National Committee.

      On the other side of the political spectrum, of course, is the whole Milo Yiannopoulos situation, which involves permanent censorship in the form of banning. Another accusation comes from Trump supporters, which say the social platform concealed his tweets asking for campaign donations.

      But is this censorship? Or is it just the work of a flawed algorithm?

    • HRC concerned about censorship of publications

      The Human Rights Commission(HRC) has released a statement regarding Freedom of Expression in relation to Cayman’s Prohibited Publications Order.

      The statement has been released during World Banned Books Week which is held each year, the last week in September and is recognised by the American Libraries Association. During the week, attention is focused on freedom of expression in relation to reading and the issue of censorship. In the Cayman Islands censorship of reading materials is found in the Prohibited Publications Order (under the Penal Code) which first came into effect in the Cayman Islands in 1977.

    • Censorship: Facebook Deleted 100,000 ‘Hate Posts, Insults’ in Just One Month

      Facebook revealed that within the last month it deleted 100,000 posts by German users for containing “hate”, but Justice Minister Heiko Maas has blasted the figure as too low.

      At a conference in Berlin, Maas said that to be accountable, social networks must publish the number of posts contested by users. The Justice Minister’s remarks implied that complainants on social media are valid judges of what constitutes criminal speech, something usually only determined by a court.

    • BANNED TOGETHER: A CENSORSHIP CABARET Set for Banned Books Week in NYC
    • Wallace students read banned books aloud to draw attention to censorship
    • Distributed Censorship or Extortion? The IoT vs Brian Krebs
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • UK Government Says Smart Meters Can Definitely Be Trusted Because GCHQ Designed Their Security

      The idea behind smart meters — that detailed information about how you consume electricity will allow you to use power more efficiently and thus cut your bills and your home’s carbon emissions — is a good one in theory. And yet smart meters are still not used very widely, even in countries like the UK, where the government has a strategy to install millions of them by 2020. Actually, the likely savings by users are small, but smart meters also promise to allow the electricity industry to lower salary costs by carrying out meter readings remotely, which is one reason why it is so keen on the idea. Another is because smart meters make it is easy to cut off someone’s supply if they don’t pay their bills.

      The slow uptake of smart meters seems in part to be due to public concerns about security. People are worried that their smart meter will spy on them, sending back information to electricity companies that might be intercepted and used for targeted burglary when they are away. Similarly, there are fears that if the smart meter control system were compromised, domestic electricity supplies might be at risk on a large scale.

      One of UK Parliament’s most important committees, the one monitoring science and technology, has just published a report into the UK smart meter roll-out, offering recommendations for ways to speed it up.

      [...]

      has reported, one of the worst features of the UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill that is currently wending it way through Parliament is that it creates a legal framework to allow GCHQ and the other intelligence agencies to hack into any kind of equipment in order to carry out surveillance. Of course, that’s really rather easy when you were the one who designed its security systems.

    • FBI’s Controversial Surveillance Program Declined After Snowden

      The FBI’s use of a controversial program that collected Americans’ phone records decreased significantly after Edward Snowden exposed it to the world in 2013, a new report has found.

      The program allows the FBI to get access to phone records—but not the content of phone calls—with permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Between 2012 and 2014, that court approved 561 so-called “business records orders,” but that number dropped from a nine-year high of 212 in 2012 to 170 in 2014, a nearly 20 percent decrease, according to a review by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

      The number fell again in 2015 to 142 orders. Snowden’s revelations helped fuel a change in U.S. law that ended the government’s practice of collecting and storing the phone records. Now, the government must request the information from phone companies.

    • Canadian Bank Prohibits Giving Passwords to Police

      While waiting for ten minutes on “hold” to make an appointment with my local branch of Scotiabank, I had time read through the new “Digital Services Agreement. Most of the eighteen pages were unremarkable, but a couple of things stood out.

      When you click “Accept”, you are agreeing to not give your password to police if they ask!

    • WhatsApp refuses to delete user data in India after court ruling

      Changes to WhatsApp’s data sharing rules are causing more controversy this week. The company refuses to comply with a court order from India’s Delhi High Court, which requested that the company delete any and all data collected by users who opted out of the company’s new privacy policy before September 25th.

      Since WhatsApp announced that it would be sharing some user data, including phone numbers, with Facebook, the app has come in for some serious critisism for undermining consumer privacy in India. These changes were made under the guise of cutting down on spam and improving services, but a good portion of users remain unconvinced.

    • EU clamps down on sale of surveillance tech to despotic regimes

      The European Commission has set out new measures to stop European companies exporting surveillance gear to despotic regimes. The proposal would also partially relax the rules on exporting cryptography tools.

      The proposal to overhaul the EU’s export controls on dual-use products—powerful technologies such as crypto software or rocket engines that can be used for good or evil—was presented on Wednesday (PDF) and includes a new human rights dimension.

      “It’s not a revolution. It’s an evolution of our current structure,” a commission source told Ars. “The foundation that is already there, is fairly solid, but this new proposal is more efficient, and will reduce the cost of the control, both for authorities at national level and also for the industries that have to apply for licenses.”

      “This new human security dimension comes from a conviction that our export controls should also enable us to prevent the misuse of items that are used to violate human rights. The types of technologies we are talking about, surveillance, etc., do not fit clearly within the current military regulation,” the source continued.

    • Apple Logs Your iMessage Contacts — and May Share Them With Police

      Apple promises that your iMessage conversations are safe and out of reach from anyone other than you and your friends. But according to a document obtained by The Intercept, your blue-bubbled texts do leave behind a log of which phone numbers you are poised to contact and shares this (and other potentially sensitive metadata) with law enforcement when compelled by court order.

      Every time you type a number into your iPhone for a text conversation, the Messages app contacts Apple servers to determine whether to route a given message over the ubiquitous SMS system, represented in the app by those déclassé green text bubbles, or over Apple’s proprietary and more secure messaging network, represented by pleasant blue bubbles, according to the document. Apple records each query in which your phone calls home to see who’s in the iMessage system and who’s not.

      This log also includes the date and time when you entered a number, along with your IP address — which could, contrary to a 2013 Apple claim that “we do not store data related to customers’ location,” identify a customer’s location. Apple is compelled to turn over such information via court orders for systems known as “pen registers” or “trap and trace devices,” orders that are not particularly onerous to obtain, requiring only that government lawyers represent they are “likely” to obtain information whose “use is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.” Apple confirmed to The Intercept that it only retains these logs for a period of 30 days, though court orders of this kind can typically be extended in additional 30-day periods, meaning a series of monthlong log snapshots from Apple could be strung together by police to create a longer list of whose numbers someone has been entering.

      The Intercept received the document about Apple’s Messages logs as part of a larger cache originating from within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Electronic Surveillance Support Team, a state police agency that facilitates police data collection using controversial tools like the Stingray, along with conventional techniques like pen registers. The document, titled “iMessage FAQ for Law Enforcement,” is designated for “Law Enforcement Sources” and “For Official Use Only,” though it’s unclear who wrote it or for what specific audience — metadata embedded in the PDF cites an author only named “mrrodriguez.” (The term “iMessages” refers to an old name for the Messages app still commonly used to refer to it.)

    • Terrorism Directive: European Parliament to Cowardly Surrender to Outrageous Security Call

      For a few months, the European Parliament has been discussing a directive aimed at updating the European legislation on combating terrorism. After a vote in the LIBE Committee, MEPs agreed to send the text directly to a trialogue discussion; this reduces opportunities for a democratic debate on an issue that bears strong consequences for fundamental rights.
      Today, Wednesday 28 September, the third trialogue between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union is to take place. Faced with the deadlock organised by European institutions, La Quadrature du Net emphasises the dangers of this text.

    • Allo: Snowden Says New Google App Could Become Tool For Police Surveillance

      Google recently released a new messaging application called Allo that it calls “revolutionary,” but whistleblower Edward Snowden warns that the app could be used for government surveillance.

      Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear spoke with Professor Bryan Ford, leader of the Decentralized/Distributed Systems lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, about the app and its potential impact on personal privacy.

    • Why Edward Snowden (NSA Whistleblower) Just Warned People Not to Use Google’s New Chatting App

      According to Edward Snowden, if you want to avoid giving law enforcement the green light to check out all your communications, don’t use it.

      “What is #Allo? A Google app that records every message you ever send and makes it available to police upon request,” the whistleblower tweeted.

      Tech giant Google has been working hard to infiltrate the virtual chatting world, launching Spaces, Duo, and most recently, Allo, all in the past couple of months.

      On its site, Allo is described as “a smart messaging app that helps you say more and do more. Express yourself better with stickers, doodles, and HUGE emojis & text. Allo also brings you the Google Assistant, preview edition.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • For Latinos, the Problem Isn’t Trump—It’s Trumpismo

      Anyone watching this year’s elections knows that Latinos are going to play a critical role. The Age of LatinX is upon us. Without a doubt, LatinXs will play a determinate role in these important elections. As the presidential candidate for the Green Party, I take seriously the urgently critical role of the Latino vote in the 2016 elections. That’s why our campaign continues the work of raising LatinX and other issues.

      In an election where some are depressed because they see no path other than one that winds between two obsolete but deadly choices, this is a race to the bottom between the “lesser evil” and the “greater evil,” Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Such a choice starkly reflects the problems Latinos and we all face, ones that reach far and beyond Donald Trump. Trump’s candidacy is a virulent symptom of a far more sinister problem infecting our entire political system, something every community, including Latinos, experiences in very particular ways, regardless of their political affiliation.

      Growing numbers of Latinos are among the millions who helped push the question—“How do I vote for Jill Stein?”—as a top Google search term for our campaign after Monday’s debate. LatinXs have heard our message and are acting on their desire for change. I am confident and see every day on the campaign trail that even more are preparing to join us in this election. Our presidential platform is packed with the policies and positions—student debt forgiveness, free college education, fair trade, not free trade, labor rights, racial justice and police reform, a Green New Deal, and others—that we all know are necessary, and that Latinos especially have good reason to be concerned with.

    • The Military Logic of Punishing Chelsea Manning’s Suicide Attempt

      Last week, imprisoned whistle-blower Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 14 days in solitary confinement as punishment for her suicide attempt in early July at the prison barracks at Fort Leavenworth. The Fort Leavenworth disciplinary panel could not explicitly punish Manning for attempted suicide. Completed suicide is not a disciplinary violation and, to be guilty of attempting a crime, it’s necessary for the act which is attempted to be one. They disciplined her instead under a charge known as “conduct which threatens,” stating that Manning’s attempt to die interfered with “orderly running, safety, good order and discipline, or security” of the facility. (She is also being disciplined for possessing an unauthorized book). The whistle-blower stated that she was driven to suicide over the prison’s then-failure to appropriately treat her gender dysphoria. Why Manning injuring herself is deemed a threat to the facility’s functioning says much about the nature of that place’s function, says much about the true function of prisons.

      Before 1823 in England, according to early common law, if a person committed suicide, they would be posthumously punished. The body would be buried at the crossroads of a highway, impaled by a stake, often with a stone laid over the face (to prevent resurrection as a ghost or vampire). The deceased’s property would be forfeited to the king. Suicide was criminal because sovereignty over life and death did not then reside with the individual but with God, and with his chosen earthly emissary, the king. And since suicide was deemed an ungodly, criminal act, so too was an attempt—at times punishable by hanging. There’s no contradiction here: To execute a person who has herself tried to die is still punishment, not wish fulfillment. It’s the punishment of removing every last shred individual sovereignty; it’s the state’s reminder of where sovereignty really resides. Current state punishment of attempted suicide, in its rare cases like Manning’s, serves the same purpose.

    • Does The FTC Get To Ignore Section 230 Of The CDA?

      The case involves weight loss products, including colon cleanses, vended by LeanSpa. To generate more sales, LeanSpa hired LeadClick to act as an affiliate marketing manager. LeadClick coordinated promotion of LeanSpa’s products with LeadClick’s network of affiliates. Some affiliates promoted the products using fake news sites, with articles styled to look like legitimate news articles and consumer comments/testimonials that were fake. Apparently, all of this added up to big business. LeanSpa paid LeadClick $35-$45 each time a consumer signed up for LeanSpa’s “free” trial (which was a negative billing option). LeadClick shared 80-90% of these sign-up fees with affiliates and kept the remainder for itself. In total, LeadClick billed LeanSpa $22M, of which LeanSpa paid only $12M. Still, LeanSpa turned into LeadClick’s top customer, constituting 85% of its eAdvertising division’s sales.

    • An Ongoing Lack Of Technical Prowess Is Resulting In Bad Laws, Bad Prosecutions, And Bad Judicial Decisions

      Everyone in government is talking cyber-this and cyber-that, even though a majority of those talking don’t have the technical background to back up their assertions. This leads to dangerous lawmaking. The CFAA, easily one of the most abused computer-related laws, came into being thanks to some skittish legislators who’d seen one too many 80′s hacker films. (“WarGames,” to be specific.)

      Faulty analogies have led to other erroneous legislative conclusions — like the comparison of email to snail mail — which has led to the government treating any unopened email as “abandoned” and accessible without a warrant.

      But the problem goes further than the legislative branch. The executive branch hasn’t been much better in its grasp of technical issues, and the current slate of presidential candidates guarantees this won’t change for at least another four years.

      The judicial branch has its own issues. On both sides of the bench, there’s very little technical knowledge. As more and more prosecutions become reliant on secretive, little-understood technical tools like cell tower spoofers, government-deployed malware, and electronic device searches, unaddressed problems will only multiply as tech deployment ramps up and infusions of fresh blood into the judicial system fail to keep pace.

    • Court Dumps Cops’ Complaint They Were Unfairly Treated After Shooting Two Unarmed Suspects 47 Times

      In 2012, Cleveland police officers engaged in perhaps the most one-sided “shootout” ever with two suspects at the tail end of an (unauthorized) police chase. By the time it was over, officers had fired 139 bullets into a vehicle they had trapped in a school parking lot. Twenty-three of those hit the driver. Twenty-four hit the passenger. Both vehicle occupants were killed.

      One officer — Michael Brelo — apparently thought he was starring in his own action film. He unloaded 49 rounds in just over 20 seconds while standing on the hood of the stopped vehicle. All told, more than 75 Cleveland PD vehicles joined the chase/shooting. At the end of a yearlong investigation, 63 officers were suspended for their participation. Six officers were charged.

      The genesis of the horrific debacle was nothing more than a car backfiring. One cop mistook this for a gunshot and all hell broke loose. No weapons were recovered from the vehicle.

      One of the stranger offshoots of the infamous shootings was a lawsuit filed by several Cleveland police officers who took part in the chase. In their view, they were punished more harshly than African American officers who also participated in the unauthorized pursuit.

    • Help Me Choose a Nominee for the Hugh Hefner First Amendment Award

      The Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards were established in 1979 to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to protect the First Amendment rights of Americans. They are looking for nominees for this year’s awards, and I’d like to send them a name.

    • Agent who interrogated Abu Zubaydah: ‘Where we went wrong as a nation’

      “His case represents the A to Z of where we went wrong as a nation,” said former FBI agent Ali Soufan, who interrogated some of the most prized captives of the war on terror, and considered Abu Zubaydah “a high-ranking terrorist” at his capture. “In a way, it was the original sin that led to the institutionalization of the so-called Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.”

    • Police Brutality Is a Campaign Issue, So Departments Ignore It on Social Media

      There’s zero doubt that police forces across the nation are caught between the crosshairs of politics and systemic racism; their losses and crimes either championed or hurriedly swept beneath the rug on the campaign trail.

      Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump addressed race relations in the United States as a symptom of a larger criminal justice problem. Trump went as far as to call America’s legacy of police brutality a matter of “law and order,” mirroring the strategic oversimplification of racism that has contributed to the killings of 285 black and Hispanic people by police officers in 2016 alone.

      But despite desperate efforts by citizens to document the unlawful abuse of minorities by officers, police departments still wield considerable control over their images and public messages. Thanks to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, police are attempting to humanize themselves online, whether or not they’re physically repairing their relationships with America’s communities.

    • Russian journalist arrested for ‘illegal’ voting after exposing fraud in Duma elections

      An award-winning journalist who exposed voting fraud during Russia’s parliamentary elections has himself been arrested for alleged fraud.

      Denis Korotkov, a correspondent for the independent news website Fontanka, was scheduled to appear in court in St Petersburg on Wednesday on charges of “illegally obtaining a ballot”.

      But campaigners say Mr Korotkov was working undercover to expose vote rigging in the Duma elections, which have provoked international concern, and is now being harassed for his work.

      Mr Korotkov documented how he posed as a voter on 18 September and was given a sticker by polling station officials, who then arranged for him to be transported around St Petersburg with others to cast multiple ballots for specified candidates.

    • Denmark reverses course on refugee ‘child brides’

      Specifically, the agency concluded that the separate living quarters would violate the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to one’s “private and family life”.

      Josephine Fock, an MP for The Alternative who raised the issue with DIS, cheered the reversal.

      “It is completely outrageous. We are talking about people who have fled to Denmark who are being split from each other. Some of them have children together and investigating individual [asylum] cases takes an unbelievably long time,” Fock told Metroxpress.

      In January, the Integration Ministry obtained an overview of the Danish asylum system that revealed that there are currently 27 minors who have spouses or partners. According to an earlier report in Metroxpress, there are two married 14-year-old girls at Danish asylum centres. One is married to a 28-year-old man, while the other is pregnant and has a 24-year-old husband.

    • [Older] Woman who mocked burka goes into hiding after online trolls offer bounty for her murder

      In a controversial article, Lejla Colak said forcing women to wear the Islamic headscarf was like forcing them to strap a sex toy to their heads.

      Twisted online trolls have launched a sick hate campaign against the Bosnian reporter, offering a cash prize if anyone kills or rapes her.

      One social media user, reportedly a member of the Bosnian army, wrote: “Are there any volunteers to rape lovely Lejla? I will personally pay for it.”

    • When ‘Yelling Commands’ Is the Wrong Police Response

      The story out of El Cajon, Calif., a San Diego suburb, had an eerie familiarity: The police respond to a person exhibiting some kind of disturbing behavior, but the subject — perhaps lost in his own, altered world — does not comply with the usual commands, does not heed the standard warnings, acts in a way that seems to invite danger, and ends up dead.

      An officer in El Cajon fatally shot a man identified as Alfred Olango on Tuesday, after Mr. Olango’s sister called 911 for help because he was acting erratically. The police released a still frame from a bystander’s video showing Mr. Olango, 30, mirroring the shooting stance of the officer facing him — feet apart, hands clasped and pointed at the officer. But one man had a gun and the other, it turned out, did not.

      “I called for help; I didn’t call you guys to kill him,” the sister wailed on a Facebook video recorded by a bystander.

      Far too little is known about what happened in El Cajon to judge the officer’s conduct, law enforcement experts and advocates for mentally ill people say. But the police use of force — sometimes lethal — against those with diminished mental capacity is distressingly common. The experts and advocates say that while training and practices have improved in the last generation, officers in many agencies still receive little or no education in how to recognize and deal with people who may not behave rationally.

      Like other police uses of force, confrontations involving people with diminished mental capacity have increasingly been caught on video and turned into national news. In July, officers in Sacramento shot and killed a man who was walking and running in the street, gesticulating wildly, and who refused to obey orders to drop the knife he was holding or to lie down.

    • Stand in solidarity with imprisoned writers in Saudi Arabia

      English PEN is continuing to hold monthly vigils in support of imprisoned writers Raif Badawi, Waleed Abulkhair and Ashraf Fayadh. Please join us to show them they have not been forgotten.

      English PEN has been holding regular vigils outside the Saudi Embassy in London in support of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi and his lawyer Waleed Abulkhair since January 2015 when Badawi was first flogged for his peaceful activism. While Badawi has not been flogged since, he is continuing to serve a ten-year prison sentence, while Abulkhair is serving 15 years in prison for his human rights activism.

      PEN is also continuing to call for the immediate release of Palestinian poet and artist Ashraf Fayadh. Originally sentenced to death, Fayadh is now serving 8 years in prison and, like Badawi, continues to have the threat of hundreds of lashes looming over him.

      Please join us on Friday 30 September from 9 – 10am for a peaceful vigil at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London. Activists are asked to meet at the Curzon Street entrance to the Embassy. (note: the postal address of the Embassy is 30-32 Charles Street, Mayfair, London).

    • Teen boy in Saudi Arabia arrested for “unethical behaviour” after flirty chat with YouTube teen girl star

      Abu Sin (his name means “toothless”) and Christina Crockett jokingly declared their love for one another in a silly YouNow stream that has since been uploaded to YouTube. They struggled through language barriers and acted like goofy young people.

      Evidently, being a cute kid is a crime in Saudi Arabia, where the 19 year old internet goofball lives.

      A Saudi attorney told Okaz newspaper the videos violate the country’s interpretation of Sharia law and internet regulations. Abu Sin could face up to three years in prison.

    • Man hit by tram after mass brawl breaks out between migrants in Vienna

      At least 20 people were involved in the fight, believed to have been between a group of Chechen and Turkish migrants, in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Tuesday evening.

      Austrian media reported that the trouble started when a Chechen man approached a group of 15 Turkish men socialising in an internet cafe and told them to be quiet.

      A brawl ensued, spilling out of the cafe and into the streets of the city’s Favoriten district.

      There was reports that one man was armed with a knife.

      Vienna is also home to a large population of Chechen migrants.

    • Interview: John Kiriakou On Supporting Jeffrey Sterling So He Doesn’t Die In Prison

      Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who served a prison sentence at a federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, joined Shadowproof managing editor Kevin Gosztola to talk about the case of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, which they have both followed closely.

      Kiriakou’s reporting describes how officials at the Englewood federal prison, where Sterling is confined, failed to give him proper medical treatment for heart attack symptoms. Gosztola recently exchanged letters with Sterling and published a report on how the Bureau of Prisons is failing him.

      During the interview, Kiriakou shares his experiences with prison medical care and how all too often those who need care are denied proper treatment. He talks about how the Bureau of Prisons thinks prisoners like Sterling are malingering, which means they are lying about and faking serious health problems. He also describes why it is so important for a person in this situation to have outside support.

      Sterling has demanded the prison give him access to an outside doctor so that he can have his severe heart problems addressed.

    • Inside the Chicago Police Department’s secret budget

      When the clerk called Willie Mae Swansey’s case in a crowded courtroom last February, the 72-year-old approached the judge slowly, supporting herself with a four-pronged cane. It had been a busy afternoon in the Daley Center’s civil forfeiture courtroom, with more than a dozen quick hearings and a pair of trials preceding her own. The crush of defense lawyers and hopeful claimants had thinned by the time Swansey stepped up to the bench. She steadied herself beside a prosecutor and stood with a stately straightening of her back.

      Swansey was here to reclaim her car. The Chicago Police Department had seized the 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser two years prior, arresting the driver, Swansey’s son, and charging him with manufacturing or delivering 15 to 100 grams of heroin. The car had been impounded ever since. Swansey herself was never charged with a crime, and it was her name, not her son’s, on the title. All the same, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office had agreed with CPD that the vehicle, which the office valued at $1,400, was worth keeping for good.

      [...]

      “I’m a poor black woman,” Swansey says. “I don’t have no money for an attorney.” Instead, she continued to represent herself.

      At her next appearance in May, she informed the court that her son’s criminal case was over. He had pleaded guilty, and having been under house arrest for 745 days, he was credited with time served and put on probation, according to county records.

      So on June 30, Swansey’s trial date finally arrived, two years and four months after CPD took her car. She had brought her son with her to court to testify that he had taken her keys without her knowledge. But the judge she saw that day, Paul Karkula, didn’t want to hear from him, she says.

      Instead, Swansey recalls, “The judge said, ‘I can’t give you back your car, because it would be right back on the road with drugs.’ ” (Karkula declined to comment for this story.)

      The decision struck Swansey as racist and deeply unfair. Swansey says she watched as four other cases that day were called and resolved, including one involving a wheelchair-bound white woman with a case very similar to hers. This woman got her car back, Swansey says. She did not.

    • How I Taught A Jury About Trolls, Memes And 4Chan — And Helped Get A Troll Out Of Jail

      A few weeks ago, CNN had a story on how a jury failed to convict Peter Wexler, an unemployed IT worker, who had been arrested and spent nearly a year in jail (without bail) for writing some mean stuff on his blog. He was literally arrested for five blog posts (which came with 20 criminal charges, as they had multiple charges on each post) and was facing up to 15 years in jail for those posts. Ken “Popehat” White blogged briefly about it, noting that it was a huge First Amendment win in a case where the defense team included one of his partners, Caleb Mason (along with lawyer Marri Derby, who was appointed by the court to represent Wexler through the Criminal Justice Act). It’s also a case that involved… me. I was an expert witness in the case, brought in to explain to the jury the nature of internet discourse, including how trolls quite frequently say outrageous things to get attention, and how it’s (for better or worse) not that uncommon to see people post angry rants on the internet, or to talk about how certain people should die, or to photoshop famous people into weird scenarios.

      I’ve avoided writing about the case up until now, mostly because of my involvement. And since Wexler was found not guilty on some charges, while the other charges resulted in a hung jury (the jury foreperson said that they voted 8 to 4 to acquit on those other charges), there’s a chance there may be a second trial. So recognize that it’s a case that I may still have future involvement in — and where I’m choosing my words carefully (the prosecutors in the case tried to take some of my posts on Techdirt out of context to attack my credibility, and it’s possible that could happen again — though I will admit to some confusion over being asked, twice, on the stand if I consider myself “an advocate for internet freedom,” as if that were a bad thing).

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Postpones Vote on Set-Top Box Reform in a Blow to Chairman Wheeler

      The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday postponed a vote on its highly-anticipated proposal to increase competition in the video “set-top box” market after the chairman of the agency failed to secure the necessary votes to approve the plan.

      The delay amounts to a humbling setback for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who had made reforming the $20 billion set-top box market a centerpiece of his pro-consumer agenda. With 40 days to go before a presidential election that will determine the makeup of the FCC going forward, the fate of the reform measure is now in doubt.

      As recently as Thursday morning, the vote was still scheduled, but Wheeler was ultimately unable to come to an agreement with his fellow Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who had previously raised concerns about his plan, and who represents the key swing vote at the five-member agency.

      “Commissioner Rosenworcel came to Chairman Wheeler’s office with a bunch of edits on the order, and those edits were unacceptable to his office,” according to a person familiar with the matter. “And that led to an impasse. As of 8 a.m. this morning the vote was on, and then by 9 a.m. the vote was pulled.”

    • FTC won’t give up fight against AT&T unlimited data throttling
    • The FCC Wants To Know Why Journalists Had To Pay $200 For WiFi At Presidential Debate
  • DRM/Broadcast

    • Don’t Hide DRM in a Security Update

      Over 10,000 of you have joined EFF in calling on HP to make amends for its self-destructing printers in the past few days. Looks like we got the company’s attention: today, HP posted a response on its blog. Apparently recognizing that its customers are more likely to see an update that limits interoperability as a bug than as a feature, HP says that it will issue an optional firmware update rolling back the changes that it had made. We’re very glad to see HP making this step.

      But a number of questions remain.

      First, we’d like to know what HP’s plans are for informing users about the optional firmware update. Right now, the vast majority of people who use the affected printers likely do not know why their printers lost functionality, nor do they know that it’s possible to restore it. All of those customers should be able to use their printers free of artificial restrictions, not just the relatively few who have been closely following this story.

    • 46 California Cities Join Rush To Impose ‘Netflix Tax’

      Last year, Chicago proudly declared that the city would be expanding its 9% amusement tax (traditionally covering book stores, music stores, ball games and other brick and mortar entertainment) to online streaming services and cloud computing. While Chicago was hungrily pursuing the $12 million in additional revenue the expanded tax would provide, it ultimately faced a lawsuit questioning the legality of Chicago’s move. The ongoing lawsuit by the Liberty Justice Center claims Chicago violated city rules by not holding a full vote on the changes, and is violating the Internet Freedom Tax Act.

      Legal or not, Chicago’s push to impose a Netflix tax has opened the floodgates.

    • What Cord Cutting? Cable Sector Hiked TV Prices 40% In Last Five Years

      We’ve noted time and time again that the cable and broadcast industry could compete with cord cutting by lowering prices, it just chooses not to. Even with last quarter seeing the biggest quarterly defection by paying subscribers ever recorded, time and time again you’ll see sector sycophants proclaim that cord cutting either doesn’t exist, or has been violently over-hyped and isn’t worth taking seriously. In fact, most sector executives still believe that the shift away from traditional cable will magically end once Millennials start procreating (protip: it won’t).

      As such, they’ve continued to raise cable TV rates at an absurd rate in the belief that they can keep milking the legacy cable TV cash cow in perpetuity. And while broadcasters certainly take the lion’s share of the blame for raising the cost of programming, you’d be hard pressed to find a cable TV provider that isn’t making things worse by also saddling consumers with misleading fees for nothing and soaring cable box, modem, and other hardware rental costs.

      The end result is users paying 40% more for cable TV than they did just five years ago. In fact the average cable bill is now $103.10 per month, an increase of 4% in the past year. And while the cable sector is quick to proclaim that this just reflects the “increased value” of cable TV, the reality is that most cable ops are trimming back overall channels to try and offset the bloated, soaring cost of sports programming.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • UN Panel Report On Access To Medicines Seen As Holding Potential For Change

      Speakers at a side event to the United Nations General Assembly last week commended a new report on access to medicines prepared by a high-level panel hand-chosen by the UN secretary general as containing fresh ideas and the potential to bring change to a longstanding problem.

      The breakfast dialogue, entitled, The Role of Health Technology: Innovation & Access in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, was organised on 23 September by the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, whose report was released last week (IPW, United Nations, 14 September 2016).

    • WIPO staff council legal rep demands immediate removal of Gurry after distribution of misconduct report [Ed: about time?]

      The legal counsel to the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Staff Council has called for the immediate removal of Francis Gurry as the UN agency’s director general and the lifting of his diplomatic immunity so that he might face possible criminal investigation or civil proceedings over the findings of a report into alleged misconduct that was delivered to the Chair of the WIPO General Assemblies in February.

      The demand is contained in a letter sent to “All Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva” yesterday. IAM has obtained a copy of the letter and has verified that it is authentic.

      The letter was sent following the distribution earlier this week of a heavily redacted version of the findings of an investigation, carried out by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), into a series of allegations originally levelled at Gurry by the former deputy director general of the organisation James Pooley back in April 2014. Although the OIOS submitted its findings in February it is only now that WIPO member states have been able to see a copy of the report – albeit one in which large chunks have been blacked out.

    • Signs Of Changing Trends In FTAs’ IP Chapters, Speakers Say At WTO

      On intellectual property, the EU has published factsheets and position papers on what they would like to see in the agreement, she said. One of the focuses of those documents is raising awareness on the benefits of IP, and “we regret that the focus is not also on the human right to access information,” she said.

    • Trademarks

      • Lee v. Tam: Supreme Court Takes on the Slants

        In the case, Simon Tam is seeking to register a mark on his band name “The Slants.” The USPTO refused after finding that the mark is disparaging toward individuals of Asian ancestry.

      • US Supreme Court to hear Slants case

        The US Supreme Court has granted cert in Lee v Tam, the case involving Asian-American band The Slants and the issue of offensive trade marks.

        The issue presented is: “Whether the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act, 15 USC 1052(a), which provides that no trademark shall be refused registration on account of its nature unless, inter alia, it ‘[c]onsists of . . . matter which may disparage . . . persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute’ is facially invalid under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.”

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube Hires Music Executive as a Liaison to the Industry

        For the last year, the music industry has been waging a bitter war against YouTube, accusing the popular video site of paying too little in royalties. The conflict has often seemed tribal, with record companies and stars on one side, and Silicon Valley on the other.

        Now, YouTube has brought over a major player from the music side.

        Lyor Cohen, who got his start in the early days of hip-hop and went on to top executive positions at Def Jam and the Warner Music Group — earning a reputation as the most tenacious force in any deal — has joined YouTube as the service’s global head of music, YouTube announced on Wednesday.

        It is the latest effort by a tech company to fortify itself by hiring a music insider. Two years ago, Apple bought Beats, which was founded by Dr. Dre and the producer Jimmy Iovine; in June, Spotify hired Troy Carter, the former manager of Lady Gaga.

        In a statement, Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer, suggested that Mr. Cohen’s role was, to some degree, to be a bridge to the music world.

      • Kim Dotcom’s Extradition Appeal Concludes, Will He Get a “Fair Go”?

        After more than four weeks the extradition appeal hearings of Kim Dotcom and his former Megaupload colleagues have concluded. In his closing arguments, Dotcom’s lawyer urged the court to carefully weigh the facts and give his client a “fair go,” which he says the District Court failed to do. However, even if the High Court sides with the defense, the case is still far from over.

      • Dotcom Petitions Appeals Court For Rehearing Over Seized Millions

        Last month, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected efforts by Kim Dotcom to regain control over millions of dollars in assets seized by the US Government. Yesterday, Dotcom’s legal team petitioned the Court for a rehearing and rehearing en banc on the issues of forfeiture of assets and fugitive disentitlement.

Team UPC is Interjecting Itself Into the Media Ahead of Tomorrow’s Lobbying Push Against the European Council and Against European Interests

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 10:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Also see: European Digital SME Alliance: Unified Patent Court (UPC) “Unconstitutional”, Harms SMEs, Brings Software Patents to Europe, “Should be Based on EU Law and Not on an International Agreement.”

European Digital SME Alliance

Summary: A quick look at the growing bulk of UPC lobbying (by the legal firms which stand to benefit from it) ahead of tomorrow’s European Council meeting which is expected to discuss a unitary patent system

THE EPO has been paying various media companies, including British giants that continue to produce UPC propaganda ahead of the big day tomorrow (embedding talking points from Team UPC). This is beyond a disgrace and should be a very major scandal, but somehow the EPO managed to paralyse the media, including so-called ‘IP’ ‘media’ (trying to play nice with the EPO by simply being silent when catastrophic mistakes are being made). FTI Consulting much?

Reluctantly, as we prefer to make allies rather than foes, earlier today we published a rant about IP Kat, which had become somewhat of a Bristows platform for Bristows' shameless lobbying for the UPC. This afternoon, much to our regret, WIPR did something similar. An article titled “European Council to discuss unitary patent system” got published and it’s little more than a copy-paste job of Bristows talking points. Here is a fragment:

As the UPC is listed as “any other business” for this week’s meeting, there is not likely to be any substantive discussion, according to law firm Bristows.

[...]

Alan Johnson, partner at Bristows, told WIPR: “Everyone has to accept that the result of the UK referendum will delay the commencement of the UPC—and not just by a few months. It is unrealistic politically to expect the UK to ratify as if the vote had never happened, but also without some real certainty that the UK can continue to participate post-Brexit.

“The main question for me is whether the other states involved will be patient and try to work with the UK to find a solution which would allow continued UK participation. It’s not enough, no matter how well-meaning, just to offer words of reassurance that a solution will be worked out in the future if we sign up now.”

He added: “It’s better to get on immediately with the work required to put a modified system together. This is not starting again, but a question of working out a new legal arrangement which the Court of Justice of the European Union will find lawful. If the UK knows exactly what it needs to sign up to, and has the certainty that it will be lawful, it can then take a decision.”

Johnson continued: “I really hope the other states will wait for the UK and work toward this, but if they won’t, that is their choice and there is probably not much the UK can do to stop them. And it should be remembered that if the other states do go down this route, they still have work to do to reach a replacement agreement excluding the UK, including resolving the political question of where the London branch of the central division should go.

“Plus they would have to go through a new round of ratifications, and I can’t see that being a particularly quick process either.”

Hey, who needs the media anymore? Just paste a link to Bristows’ own Web site and be done with it. WIPR should know (and probably does know) that Bristows isn’t a mere observer when it comes to the UPC; it is still interjecting itself into the media for agenda and it’s not alone. Bird & Bird do this as well and this afternoon we found another example. Some patent firms are still fantasising about the UPC that will probably never become a reality (ever!). Well, even from IAM comes a response to this tweet, saying “Well, it’s not likely to be London anymore!”

So clearly, as before, IAM does not believe the UK will ratify anything related to this. Why does Bristows keep fighting? Because it bet the farm on it. It even rebranded accordingly, with its silly Bristows UPC blog (as if it’s trying to ‘own’ the UPC).

In responses to the previous Bristows lobbying, which got published yesterday, commenters are nowhere as optimistic as the Bristows lobby. Virtually all the comments are pessimistic. Here they are in full (so far). Here is the first comment:

Finally, people seem to be addressing the elephant in the room that so far seems to have been almost completely ignored by all interested parties including the EPO, CIPA, and big business: regardless of the pros and cons the current political reality in the UK is that the government will not sign the UK up to any system that requires the acceptance of the supremacy of EU law over UK law. The sooner this is accepted the better. Then people can start working on the practical reality of the situation, no matter how much they dislike that reality.

And then:

I don’t know whether you’ve noticed: nobody seems to know what the political realities are.

So far, the fat lady has not sung – and the thin lady is simply saying Brexit means Brexit and telling the three Brexiteers to keep schtum.

The question of who can trigger Article 50 is a live issue before the UK courts.

Uncertainty reigns and chaos beckons.

Fine, but here it is not supremacy of EU law. It is supremacy of an international agreement over national law, which is quite widely accepted.

Any international agreement, be it on free trade or on the privileges of diplomats, usually has supremacy over national law.

You may well be right on the current political reality, but it is besides the point.

“I think that the UPCA will never enter into force,” one person added, “unless of course the UK decides to remain.” Well, it seems very unlikely at this point and there’s not much time left to decide, either.

Legally speaking, it is absolutely impossible for a non-EU UK to stay in the UPCA (see e.g. art. 1), unless the agreement is amended with an unanimous vote (art. 87.3).

Since the UPCA has been already signed by 26 EU States and ratified by 11 States, I think that the UPCA will never enter into force, unless of course the UK decides to remain.

This is why we’re likely to see nothing emanating from this:

This is from Counsel’s opinion on the UK joining the UPC:

“The Unitary Patent Court is required to “apply Union law in its entirety and … respect its primacy” (Article 20). Union law must therefore be applied in preference to the other sources of law mentioned in Article 24.”

Article 24 specifies national law as an other source of law. That is, the UPCA explicitly requires acceptance of the supremacy of EU law over UK law. The current government may not be pressing full-steam ahead with Brexit at the moment but they certainly aren’t going to ratify any agreement, international or otherwise, that requires this.

And finally (for now):

It is not just any international agreement. It is signing up to an agreement, the rules of which are outwith your control. If the UK does leave the EU, eventually, it will effectively be an observer who recognises and implements the EU laws. That would place it in the position of EPC validation states such as Morocco but still having to participate as a court. That isn’t run of the mill.

In the next 24 hours we should expect a lot more lobbying, timed strategically for tomorrow’s meeting. Bristows has already expressed intent to publish some more of their tripe today (at IP Kat). Don’t let them steal democracy for their own selfish motivations (profit through increased litigation that would be ruinous to SMEs).

IP Kat is Lobbying Heavily for the UPC, Courtesy of Team UPC

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 6:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not news; mostly agenda in disguise, courtesy of Battistelli’s “useful idiots” and collaborators

Bristows LLP and EPO

Summary: When does an IP (or patent) blog become little more than an aggregation of interest groups and self-serving patent law firms, whose agenda overlaps that of Team Battistelli?

THE EPO no longer comes under scrutiny from IP Kat, as we noted late last night. But to make matters worse, when it comes to UPC matters in particular, IP Kat became somewhat of an advocacy platform. They hopefully, at the very least, realise this and can acknowledge this.

“…when it comes to UPC matters in particular, IP Kat became somewhat of an advocacy platform.”It is no secret that the UPC would harm SMEs; their representative groups even say so explicitly. But they’re looked down upon by patronising self-serving elements which claim to speak about what’s good for them, if not falsely speak on ‘their behalf’. This is outrageous.

Part of the problem is Team UPC, which includes Bristows that’s a major lobbyist for the UPC, even saying something to that effect (very blatant disregard for democracy). Annsley Merelle Ward from Bristows has been exploiting IP Kat for a weekly (if not more frequent) UPC lobby. Yesterday was no exception. Her headline is a lie, the ‘article’ is just more lobbying with selective evidence, and this was promoted in Twitter yesterday.

“The countdown has seemingly begun again,” she wrote, “but the stakes seem to be even higher. The IPKat will be back tomorrow to report on the Competitiveness Council’s session tomorrow and future debates on this topic.”

“Has IP Kat become UPC Kat? Or Bristows Kat?”So now it’s a daily lobbying spiel? Has IP Kat become UPC Kat? Or Bristows Kat? When a writer is using the blog for her employer (she’s not the only writer there from Team UPC) we can’t help but feel that we’re seeing very low journalistic standards and basically alignment with at least a certain element at IP Kat with Team Battistelli.

Bristows lobbying for the UPC is not limited to IP Kat. We are seeing more of the latest Milan talking points in Bristows’ own blog. It is evident that this firm continues to stomp over British and European democracy with this abomination known as UPC, noting in Twitter that “UPC EPLC Rules amended to include additional Italian qualification, by @Liz_Cohen_” (they’re pushing in this direction, essentially meddling in politics). In another new post they are quoting other members of Team UPC, i.e. the echo chamber, arguing that “DAV says UK could still participate in the UPC system after Brexit and ‘a quick decision of the UK is needed’” (again, they’re trying to rush British officials into an unacceptable trap, using panic and trauma).

We have come to expect this dirty playbook from Bristows, but why has IP Kat been dragged down like this? Why does IP Kat keep pushing for the UPC under the guise of news while no longer criticising the EPO? Here is a recent example where they say “To be, or not to be?”

“They just keep renaming and repurposing the same garbage, dodging the negative publicity (from the press and politicians, not to mention public interest/advocacy groups such as FFII).”Well, it’s clear that the UPC cannot happen in the UK after the Brexit vote. Why even make it seem like a probability? “Post #Brexit everyone is lining up their bargaining chips,” one member of the patent microcosm wrote the other day. “the UPC is just one of those.” (reporting from a CIPA event)

The UPC is little more than a conspiracy of patent law firms trying to steal democracy and then pocket European companies’ money. The EPO helps them for obvious reasons and the public is never being consulted at all. This is the kind of behaviour which motivated Brits to vote for Brexit in the first place. I have personally written about the UPC (in previous incarnations) for nearly a decade; I’m not unfamiliar with it. They just keep renaming and repurposing the same garbage, dodging the negative publicity (from the press and politicians, not to mention public interest/advocacy groups such as FFII).

“To say [the UPC can] “take years to build” is optimistic,” I told Bastian Best last night, as “my bet is, it’ll never happen, just be rebranded, repackaged” (remember EU Patent, Community Patent and other names).

“The UPC is little more than a conspiracy of patent law firms trying to steal democracy and then pocket European companies’ money.”WIPR‘s David Brooke, in the mean time, writes about “Opportunities after Brexit,” having just published this article. Team UPC must recognise that Brexit was the winning side (I was against it by the way) and that UPC won’t happen; neither in the UK nor in the rest of Europe (Spain for sure). We’re disappointed to see what IP Kat has turned into quite recently. When you know you’re misleading people and people call you out on it, why carry on? It’s an exercise in futility when one writes for one’s greed and self interest; or whenever speaking ‘on behalf’ of the public, hoping that nobody will pay attention or reject/refuse the obvious deception. When the only criticism of the UPC can be found in IP Kat comments rather than in IP Kat articles you know someone is suppressing one side of the argument (the side which represents the interests of more than 99% of the European public).

Team UPC are very, very sneaky. They pretend things will happen even before they happen (and they never happen). Remember those UK job advertisements for the UPC? How did that work out for applicants?

Leaked: Conclusions of the Secretive EPO Board 28 Meeting (8th of September 2016)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO Board 28 Meeting

Summary: The agenda and outcome of the secretive meeting of the Board of the Administrative Council of the EPO

LAST night we wrote about the EPO‘s further union-busting escalation, based on evidence extracted from the conclusions of Board 28. We are pleased to report that, after repeated requests, the entire document has been leaked to us. We present it below with highlights on important bits, excluding the cover page (seen above):

The Board of the Administrative Council (“the Board”) held its 74th meeting in Munich on 8 September 2016, with Mr Kongstad in the chair. Mr Debrulle had sent his apologies.

1. Adoption of the provisional agenda (B28/8/16 e)

1. The Board adopted the provisional agenda set out in B28/8/16 e.

2. Follow-up of the 148th meeting of the Administrative Council

2. -

3. Preparation of the 149th meeting of the Administrative Council

3. The Board discussed the draft agenda for the 149th meeting of the Administrative Council.

4. Concerning AC and General Affairs,

- the Board noted new elements of information provided by the President on the disciplinary case of a Council appointee. Following an exchange of views, it indicated that it would reflect on the information, pending receipt of a legal note from the President;

- the Board noted information provided by the President about three current investigations/disciplinary proceedings involving SUEPO members in The Hague. Three requests for review addressed to the Council were also briefly discussed.

5. Concerning Appointments/Elections,

- the Board noted that the vacancy notice for the Presidency of the Boards of Appeal had been published and that the intention was for the Boards of Appeals Committee (BOAC) and the President to submit a joint proposal for the Presidency of the Boards of Appeal to the Council meeting in December 2016. The Board agreed that whilst BOAC members should represent the diversity of the Council, qualifications took precedence over nationality. External BOAC members should be judges with experience in the functioning of judicial bodies rather than IP experts and should be highly regarded by the judges’ community in Europe;

the Board noted the President’s thinking with regard to Vice-Presidencies VP 2 and VP 4 as well as Boards of appeal appointments and reappointments.

6. Concerning Building Matters, the Board agreed that the contract for the rent of the new building of the Boards of Appeal Unit would first be submitted for opinion to the Budget and Finance Committee in October 2016, followed by a decision in the Council either at its meeting in December 2016, or earlier, by written procedure, if the rent negotiations imposed time constraints.

7. Concerning Personnel/Policy Matters and Financial Matters/Budget Planning,

- the Board noted information given by the President on the Social Conference, which would take place in Munich on 11 October 2016, as well as on the Social, Financial and Risk Assessment studies. It noted that these would be made available to staff and would be presented first for information to the Council at its meeting in October 2016 and later submitted for opinion/decision to the Council at its meeting in December 2016. The Financial study would first be discussed in the Budget and Finance Committee meeting in October 2016 with a view to preparing the discussion in the Council meeting in December 2016. The President informed that the Social and Financial Studies were complementary and that the Organisation now, for the first time, had a “positive equity” covering all its liabilities in the next 20 years;

- regarding the Revision of the Service Regulations-Standards of conduct and administrative fact findings as well as the Reviews of the disciplinary procedures framework and of Articles 52 and 53 ServRegs, the Board noted and discussed comments received from a Board member as well as presentations given by the Office on revised proposals. These proposals already addressed some of the Board member’s comments and issues raised at the Council meeting in March 2016. The Board had an in-depth discussion on the (i) right to silence/duty to co-operate, (ii) hierarchy of norms and resulting competences of the President and the Council, (iii) need for efficient proceedings, but also for a perception of fairness of the proceedings from the outside, (iv) need for an atmosphere of mutual trust etc. The Board agreed to discuss proposals which were further revised at its next meeting on 22 September 2016;

- the Board also noted information given by the President about various legal proceedings initiated by SUEPO against the EPO, both in The Hague and Munich.

4. Any other business

The Board noted information provided by the President on a global package to be submitted to the Council meeting in December 2016, in closed session, concerning IT and physical security.

A few minor remarks about the above-mentioned bits that are highlighted in yellow:

  1. VP 4 is a thug with history (even predating the EPO)
  2. Tenders at the EPO are farcical and sometimes don't exist (for large projects)
  3. The social ‘study’ was mentioned here on Friday and it's a load of nonsense or hogwash
  4. Regarding the social climate, there has been an escalation in union-busting (it gets worse by the week/month), so clearly enough that Council has accomplished nothing and Battistelli still acts like a lunatic autocrat
  5. Battistelli is wasting a lot money on bodyguards for him and Bergot (and conveniently this is discussed only “in closed session”); insiders tell us there is absolutely no need for these, but it helps perpetuate the atmosphere of fear and the perception that the staff is armed, violent and dangerous (fiction for an opportunistic politician)

That is all for now. Board 28 is clearly part of the problem because it refuses to tackle any of the hard questions.

Letter From the Dutch Institute of Patent Attorneys (Nederlandse Orde van Octrooigemachtigden) to the Administrative Council of the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Netherlands Institute of Patent Attorneys
Source: Netherlands Institute of Patent Attorneys

Summary: The Netherlands Institute of Patent Attorneys, a group representing a large number of Dutch patent practitioners, is against Benoît Battistelli and his horrible behaviour at the European Patent Office (EPO)

“An interesting new document has come to light,” told us a source this morning about the EPO. “It is a letter dated 12th of February 2016 which was apparently sent on behalf of the Dutch Institute of Patent Attorneys or Nederlandse Orde van Octrooigemachtigden to the Administrative Council of the EPO. The letter does not pull any punches and is worth reading in full.”

“The letter does not pull any punches and is worth reading in full.”
      –Anonymous
Our source “doesn’t know whether Kongstad actually distributed this letter to the other members of the Administrative Council or whether he colluded with Battistelli to suppress it. But now that it has finally come to light it may be worth publishing.”

We have taken a look at this letter and highlighted important bits below. Worth noting is the attorneys’ concern about the reputation of the Office and the lack of action from the Administrative Council.

European Patent Organisation
Administrative Council
C/o Mr. Jesper Kongstad, Chairman
Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1
D- 80469 Munich
Germany

Also by e-mail:
jko@dkpto.dk/ council@epo.org/ council_secretary@epo.org

The Hague, Februari 12th, 2016

Dear Mr. Kongstad,

On behalf of the Dutch Institute of Patent Attorneys or Nederlandse Orde van Octrooigemachtigden (Orde), we want to draw your attention to the following issues. The Dutch Institute of Patent Attorneys is the professional organisation of Dutch patent attorneys. The existence of the Orde is enshrined in the Dutch Patent Act and membership is mandatory for all Dutch patent attorneys. Our members (around 500) are active in private practice as well as in the industry. Most of our members are also European Patent Attorneys and act regularly before the EPO.

The European Patent System is on the brink of a new era. The Unitary Patent System (UPS) and the associated Unitary Patent Court (UPC) is a new and significant step forward. It will improve the patent system in Europe and make it more reliable and attractive for its users, both legally and economically. In particular, the UPS/UPC intends to make Europe more attractive compared with the other major patents systems such as those of the United States, Japan, China and South Korea. The Orde believes that such enhanced cooperation is the way forward in a globalising economy wherein the value of an enterprise more and more relies on the value of its intellectual property. We fully support and endorse such endeavours.

The Orde understands that organisations such as the EPO have to reinvent themselves from time to time in order to remain state of the art. The Orde applauds the ambition of the EPO to “set worldwide standards in quality and efficiency“(source: EPO vision). The existing roadmap to achieve this (the ‘why’ and ‘what’) is not disputed by us. We believe that indeed the EPO can be a leading patent office in the world. We notice and acknowledge that the EPO has been able to substantially improve the speed and quality of its patent processes as well as the communication with its users (applicants/patent attorneys).

However, the Orde has to express its serious and on-going concern about the way in which this reinventing process is taking place and the effects that it has on the image of the EPO. The Orde follows with growing worries the developments at the EPO. In particular, we are concerned about the developments regarding the organisation and government of the Boards of Appeal and the treatment of the EPO personnel. It is the ‘how’ that now brings us to this letter.

We observe that the reorganization process towards increased independence of the Boards of Appeal is not progressing or too slow. Earlier proposals for reform by the President do not guarantee adequate independence. The undesirable lack of independence has also been found by the Enlarged Board of Appeal. The observation that the President does not appear to listen to the valuable input of the Boards (who have been qualified one by Sir Robin Jacob as “judges in all but name”), is a striking denial of their qualities. The Orde is of the opinion that Boards have a crucial role in determining the validity of European Patents. Consequently, the impartiality and independence of the Boards of Appeal without any interference or control of the President of the EPO is essential for the proper functioning of the EPO judicial system. Now and in the future.

We observe in the 2016 EPO Business Distribution Scheme of the Technical Boards of Appeal that there are about 10% vacant positions in Boards of Appeal in 2016. More than 25% of the boards seem to be without chairman, effectively deactivating the Boards in question. We observe that there is no apparent reason for doing so. The Boards have an essential role in preserving the quality of the European Patent System. Their role in the Unitary Patent System remains crucial and must be properly facilitated. With the current understaffing of the Boards, we are worried that appeal procedures will be unduly delayed, creating legal uncertainty and adversely affects the quality of the European patent system. The Orde is of the opinion that the quality and staffing of the Boards of Appeal is to be maintained.

We observe that the employment conditions at the EPO and the basic rights of employees are seriously compromised. In the beginning it appeared as common and understandable reactions to changes that every organisation experiences. However, over time the information that reached the public became more and became more serious. The latest incident being that officials of SUEPO are subjected to disciplinary measures, downgraded, pension reductions and some SUEPO members plainly fired. We have already seen that any form of normal communication between SUEPO and EPO is severely flawed or is non-existent. We see many reports of oppressive rules and regulations. We note that, when we seek information from EPO employees, they are reluctant to communicate in fear of retribution by internal investigative units. It seems that the people at the EPO are afraid of their own management. The Orde rejects this situation vehemently. We cannot understand that the President of an organization that envisages to “set worldwide standards in quality and efficiency“ is not capable or not willing to apply the same standards to its people management. We refer also to the ruling of the Dutch Appeal Court that the EPO appears to be violating basic human rights.

A disgrace, irrespective whether the EPO benefits from its immunity as an international organisation or not. A reputable international organization such as EPO should not have it’s employment conditions and employee rights held up against such a basic thing as human rights.

We observe repeated demonstrations of large groups of EPO personnel in Munich or The Hague. We know many of the employees of the EPO. Either from a professional relationship as examiner or because many of them live among us in the Netherlands and we share schools and clubs with them. We know that they are highly motivated, highly intelligent, capable and reasonable people that care about the patent system and the organisation they work for. We hear that most of them understand the ‘why’ and ‘what’. The observation that they demonstrate repeatedly in large groups is nevertheless a clear indication that they are unhappy. They do not deserve to be led by a President who, regardless of other qualities, seems to have an intolerant and destructive people management style as part of the ‘how’.

We call upon the Administrative Council to instruct the President to acknowledge and normalise the basic human right of the EPO employees to organize themselves and come up for their position. The reinvention process of the EPO should be a firm yet healthy discussion between management and employees who, in the end, have the common interest of the organisation at large in mind.

We observe also that the dispute between the President and the EPO has attracted the public interest already more than once. The EPO does not live in a diplomatic vacuum. The EPO is part of today’s society and everything that that happens inside the EPO will find its way to the outside. Very quickly and very complete via internet and social media. Various newspapers and TV-programmes have paid attention to the quarrels at the EPO.

In addition to the information from public media, we receive information from our members that that they are increasingly being questioned about what is happening at the EPO. These questions come from their foreign colleagues (patent attorneys around the world) as well as direct clients, i.e. inventors and applicants. These people are the primary clients of the EPO and they wonder what is going on. The fact that the Orde is a Dutch organisation does not make a difference for our clients, our members also act before the EPO. For our clients and applicants, we are all part of the same patent system. These observations and questions from clients and applicants mean that the credibility and reputation of the EPO is already tainted in Europe and abroad. The Orde does not see this as a healthy situation. The Orde is of the opinion that the role of President of the EPO also contains the responsibility of maintaining and furthering the reputation of the EPO for the general public.

We sincerely believe that the current situation at the EPO has spun out of control by the actions of its President. The Orde believes that the EPO, with the President as its leading official should practice the vision of the EPO: “All our relationships – within our Office and with partners around the world – will prosper through trust, transparency, fairness and mutual respect.”

We are of the opinion that the current situation demands serious and concrete efforts by the Administrative Council to stop the President of the EPO from continuing these unproductive and destructive practices. We call upon the Administrative Council to take up its responsibility, to supervise the EPO and take control of the situation.

Sincerely,

On behalf of the Nederlandse Orde van Octrooigemachtigden

Robbert-Jan de Lang
President

It is not surprising to see their views on the UPC, but suffice to say their interests are not the same as Europe’s. We shall tackle the UPC in our next post.

09.28.16

EPO’s Board 28 Notes Battistelli’s “Three Current Investigations/Disciplinary Proceedings Involving SUEPO Members in The Hague.”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Decapitation and union-busting strategies carry on unabated at the EPO

Headless

Summary: The attack on SUEPO (EPO staff representatives) at The Hague appears to have been silently expanded to a third person, showing an obvious increase in Battistelli’s attacks on truth-tellers

THE level of distortion of the facts inside the EPO is truly flabbergasting. People are expected to believe that all is well because staff representatives are fired, terrified, or both.

Thankfully, we sometimes get a word from the inside. Mr. Prunier, for instance, is being falsely accused and in his own words, he faces “demonstrably fabricated accusations,” as we noted earlier this month. He’s not alone though. People all across the EPO (various branches, including independent ones) have come under attack. Here is a new comment (published today) about how Battistelli might be planning to get rid of a judge whom he considered to be a thorn on his side because he had allegedly spoken about abuses by Team Battistelli (like, simple facts):

After the nomination of the BoA president, it will be easy to dismiss a BoA member.

Art. 21. (…) “the President of the BOA will be responsible for proposing disciplinary action to the Administrative Council with regard to the members, including the Chairmen, of the BOA and the members of the EBA”.

Just keep the case pending until the nomination of a BB friend as BoA president then the BoA suspended member will be dismissed.

Earlier this year we wrote about defamation complaint/s on behalf of the judge. A “criminal complaint for defamation allegedly filed with the state prosecutor in Munich,” says the following comment, “was reported in the Süddeutsche Zeitung in December 2014 and elsewhere in the German press.” Well, as far as we know the EPO too came under complaints of defamation, after it had allegedly ‘planted’ defamatory claims about the judge, including in Süddeutsche Zeitung. Here is the comment in full:

Another rumour currently doing the rounds in Munich concerns a criminal complaint for defamation allegedly filed with the state prosecutor in Munich by a senior official of the EPO some time ago. This was reported in the Süddeutsche Zeitung in December 2014 and elsewhere in the German press.

It is now rumoured that this complaint was recently rejected by the state prosecutor who seems to have taken the view that no act of defamation had been committed.

Maybe this is the new element referred to by the President ?

The following new comment says rather clueful things about aforementioned claims:

@One of those

Point 18 of the decision in case Art 23 1/16 makes it clear that at least the Enlarged Board of Appeal takes the issue of res judicata seriously, even if they did not apply it in that case. Of course, ILO-AT is a completely different kettle of fish.

@Anon 06:03

What you are suggesting is that “a proposal from the Enlarged Board of Appeal” (Article 23(1) EPC) could soon simply be interpreted as “a proposal from the President of the Enlarged Board of Appeal”. Interesting suggestion. That certainly would not be my interpretation of Article 23(1) EPC. The EBoA and its president are not synonymous, and so my view is that the one cannot stand in for the other when it comes to explicit provisions of the EPC.

Trouble is, what recourse would there be if (yet again) the EPO and the AC took action that arguably contravened the provisions of the EPC? Who is there to hold them to account? Perhaps this particular lacuna will prove to be the worst mistake of all by the founding fathers of the EPC.

@Nolle prosequi

I see that you have your tongue firmly in your cheek when suggesting that the (alleged) dismissal of VP3′s defamation claims could amount to the “new element”.

But perhaps we should not rule out a link. If the defamation claims have been rejected, then it becomes clear that there is no sound legal basis for dismissing the accused member on the grounds of defamation. It is undoubted that this development could prove to be a major embarrassment for BB and his coterie (who, by the way, could stand safe behind their immunities if it ever were determined that they defamed anyone). What better way to take the sting out of this threat by going on the offensive and dragging up new “allegations” (related to the other allegation in case Art 23 1/16) that provide renewed justification for the investigation into the BoA member?

With the disciplinary case closed, and with one of the allegations against the member (allegedly) being dismissed by an independent body, it is very hard to come up with a valid reason why the Office would adopt a “press on regardless” tactic. The actions of the Office therefore provide ample material for the generation of theories involving sinister conspiracies. So much for defending the reputation of the Office!

Not to worry. No doubt there will be an “independent” study issued in which it is confirmed that the Office has acted with utmost propriety… oh wait, it has already issued! I am particularly impressed by PwC’s range of expertise. If an above commentator (Empty) is correct, then it appears that “PWC have found that the office’s actions have met the requirement of the EPO’s legal framework”. Amazing. I never realise that PwC employed individuals who were experts in patent law. Or, based upon what some allege is standard practice of certain accountancy firms (when producing financial audits), perhaps should we should instead interpret their statement to mean “this is what the EPO has told us and we have no reason to doubt the accuracy of their statement (though, sotto voce, we have not conducted any form of independent verification)”. In this context, the rather odd choice of an accountancy firm to conduct a social study starts to make a lot more sense.

Here’s more:

“this development could prove to be a major embarrassment for BB and his coterie”

Pray, a major embarrassment in front of whom exactly? It appears that, given their supposed “immunity”, these people don’t give a s*§t about what the external word thinks.

And for the AC, it will certainly not be informed of this major development but lavishly showered at the next meeting with fabulous production figures and the deriving money.

Nothing to see here, move along …

The most interesting bit however was this comment which claims to quote the secretive board. See the bit highlighted below:

Have you seen this one in MICADO ?

SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS
of the 74th meeting of the
BOARD OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL
Munich, 8 September 2016

under 4. Concerning AC and General Affairs

“the Board noted information provided by the President about three current investigations/disciplinary proceedings involving SUEPO members in The Hague.”

This serves to reinforce the belief expressed in the followup comment. It states that Team Battistelli basically “decapitated the ranks of SUEPO in Munich and now they go for those in The Hague”. Here is the full comment:

“the Board noted information provided by the President about three current investigations/disciplinary proceedings involving SUEPO members in The Hague.”

Yep. They decapitated the ranks of SUEPO in Munich and now they go for those in The Hague – of course, “a simple coincidence” as VP1 would say.

And since the Investigation Unit is there to conveniently provide proof of guilt to the President, they are already dead meat.

The AC will obviously look the other side …

A lot of new information is contained above. Some of it is speculative, but some of it quotes an internal document which we hope to get a full copy of. These comments in IP Kat are very hard to find because they’re buried in some additional pages in a comment thread of a very old article (these deserve more attention, hence we often repost these here). Sadly, since the EPO banned IP Kat for almost a whole working day (perhaps some kind of a warning sign) there has been virtually no criticism of the EPO over there. Tomorrow we’ll show just to what degree the pro-EPO element has grown at IP Kat.

Links 28/9/2016: Alpine Linux 3.4.4, Endless OS 3.0

Posted in News Roundup at 7:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source is not to blame for a lack of industry standards

    Carol Wilson wrings her hands over the “boring” nature of open source standardization, declaring that “Open source processes can take the fun out of everything, particularly technology wars.” Putting aside for a minute the irony of expecting standards to ever be anything more than mind-numbingly dull, Wilson’s larger argument misses the point.

    The problem with open source standards aren’t that they’re boring; it’s that they’re largely the same as the proprietary standards that preceded them. In practice, this presents no problem at all.

  • Down the rabbit hole, part 2: To ensure security and privacy, open source is required

    If my goal is to secure all of my computing devices, I need access to the source code in order to do a complete and effective security appraisal of the software I am running.

    It really is that simple. The need for open source software, in this case, has nothing to do with any ethical implications of software freedom—nor do the benefits of open source to software developers enter into this discussion. But having access to the source code is an undeniable benefit in ensuring the security of a piece of software.

  • Linaro organisation, with ARM, aims for end-end open source IoT code
  • Linaro start open-source development for IoT on ARM Cortex-M
  • ARM open source group address IoT software confusion

    Linaro has worked with ARM, Canonical, Huawei, NXP, RDA, Red Hat, Spreadtrum, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and ZTE on the new IoT software, as part of what it calls the Linaro IoT and Embedded (LITE) Segment Group.

    Group says it wants to address the design problems created by the proliferation of choices for IoT device operating systems, security infrastructure, identification, communication, device management and cloud interfaces.

    It hopes to be able to reduce fragmentation in operating systems, middleware and cloud connectivity software, through the creation of open source device reference platforms.

    Initial technical work will be focused on delivering an end to end, cross­vendor solution for secure IoT devices using the ARM Cortex-­M architecture.

  • Open Source Community Continues Fight Against Cybercrime with Apache Spot (incubating)
  • Apache Spot Aims to Fetch Open Network Insights

    The project formerly known as Open Network Insights moves to the Apache Software Foundation and gets a new name—Apache Spot. It now includes support for DNS and Proxy in addition to Netflow.

    The Open Network Insight (ONI) project, backed by Cloudera, Intel and others and focused on helping organizations use big data for security insights, became generally available earlier this year. The ONI project is now being donated to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF)—home to Hadoop and many big data efforts—and is now getting a new life as the Apache Spot project.

  • Meet Apache Spot, a new open source project for cybersecurity

    Hard on the heels of the discovery of the largest known data breach in history, Cloudera and Intel on Wednesday announced that they’ve donated a new open source project to the Apache Software Foundation with a focus on using big data analytics and machine learning for cybersecurity.

    Originally created by Intel and launched as the Open Network Insight (ONI) project in February, the effort is now called Apache Spot and has been accepted into the ASF Incubator.

    “The idea is, let’s create a common data model that any application developer can take advantage of to bring new analytic capabilities to bear on cybersecurity problems,” Mike Olson, Cloudera co-founder and chief strategy officer, told an audience at the Strata+Hadoop World show in New York. “This is a big deal, and could have a huge impact around the world.”

  • Meet Apache Spot, a new open-source project for cybersecurity
  • Strata + Hadoop World: Apache Spot looks to tackle cybersecurity
  • Cloudera Approves First Grant Applications for Precision Medicine Initiative
  • Cloudera Broadens its Collaboration with Thorn to Include Software and Services to Fight Child Sexual Exploitation
  • Open source storage hits the mainstream

    Open source storage has gained mainstream acceptance in high performance computing, analytics, object storage, cloud (OpenStack) and NAS use, but can it crack the enterprise?

  • Rogue Wave Improves Support for Open Source Software with IBM
  • Rogue Wave Software to improve open-source software support with IBM

    Rogue Wave Software announces it is working with IBM to help make open source software (OSS) support more available. This will help provide comprehensive, enterprise-grade technical support for OSS packages.

  • Vendors and Customers Gettin’ Open Sourcey With It

    Basically, “open source enablement” seems to be about teaching customers how to embrace open source principles, both in terms of internal processes as well as external communities and ecosystems. As I’ve worked with many engineering and product teams over the years, I’ve seen many open source initiatives fail to reach their potential because of ingrained cultural obstacles that usually manifest in the form of corporate inertia that blocks forward progress.

  • Digium Announces Asterisk 14 Open Source Communications Software

    Digium®, Inc., the Asterisk® Company, today at its annual AstriCon users and developers conference, announced Asterisk 14, the next major release of the world’s most popular open source communications platform. Asterisk 14 continues the track of previous major releases, such as Asterisk 12 and Asterisk 13, by offering developer- and administrator-focused features and capabilities to simplify the scaling and deployment of Asterisk within large, service-based ecosystems.

  • Announcing the open source release of MORI, from Chalkbeat

    In 2014, Chalkbeat developed and started using a WordPress plugin for tracking impact. We called it MORI — Measures of Our Reporting’s Influence. As we wrote then, MORI grew out of one of our key beliefs: Journalists can make a difference, but the ability to measure the difference we make can multiply our impact over time. If we can document how, why, when, and where we made a difference, we are more likely to repeat our success.

    The quantitative data we track in MORI lets us see the big picture of how our work affects the world, beyond raw readership analytics; the qualitative narrative we record helps us tell the story. Our editorial teams can put important impacts in the hands of our fundraising team and others to turn around and share with the broader education community.

  • ODL: Open Source Hastens Software Usability

    Open Daylight Summit — Open source is connecting users and developers more intimately, and that’s a good thing, OpenDaylight Executive Director Neela Jacques said here today.

    In kicking off the OpenDaylight Summit, Jacques said the ability of users and developers to work side-by-side is evolving, and helping drive the faster pace at which open source can bring solutions to the industry.

    “Users can sit next to the developers of the code they use, and the interaction doesn’t go one way,” he said. “The real difference is the way users interact with developers. This is why we are able to get production-grade solutions so much faster than you ever would in proprietary world.”

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla has “stopped all commercial development of Firefox OS”

        Remember when Mozilla said it was ceasing development of Firefox OS for smartphones, but that it wasn’t giving up on the browser-based operating system altogether? Yeah, now the organization has pretty much thrown in the towel.

        After shifting the focus from phones to smart TVs and other Internet of Things products for a while, Mozilla senior engineering program manager Julie McCracken says development of the operating system was “gradually wound down” and that as of the end of July Mozilla has “stopped all commercial development of Firefox OS.

      • Firefox’s Test Pilot Program Launches Three New Experimental Features

        Earlier this year we launched our first set of experiments for Test Pilot, a program designed to give you access to experimental Firefox features that are in the early stages of development. We’ve been delighted to see so many of you participating in the experiments and providing feedback, which ultimately, will help us determine which features end up in Firefox for all to enjoy.

        Since our launch, we’ve been hard at work on new innovations, and today we’re excited to announce the release of three new Test Pilot experiments. These features will help you share and manage screenshots; keep streaming video front and center; and protect your online privacy.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Tools Cauldron 2016, ARMv8 multi-arch edition

      That is what my England trip for the GNU Tools Cauldron was, but that only seemed to add to the pleasure of meeting friends again. I flewin to Heathrow and started on an almost long train journey to Halifax,with two train changes from Reading. I forgot my phone on the trainbut the friendly station manager at Halifax helped track it down andgot it back to me. That was the first of the many times I forgotstuff in a variety of places during this trip. Like I discovered thatI forgot to carry a jacket or an umbrella. Or shorts. Or full lengthpants for that matter. Like I purchased an umbrella from Sainsbury’s but forgot to carry it out. I guess you got the drift of it.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • FAQ: What’s so special about 802.11ad Wi-Fi?

      Here are the broad strokes about 802.11ad, the wireless technology that’s just starting to hit the market.

    • 2.5 and 5 Gigabit Ethernet Now Official Standards

      In 2014, multiple groups started efforts to create new mid-tier Ethernet speeds with the NBASE-T Alliance starting in October 2014 and MGBASE-T Alliance getting started a few months later in December 2014. While those groups started out on different paths, the final 802.3bz standard represents a unified protocol that is interoperable across multiple vendors.

      The promise of 2.5 and 5 Gbps Ethernet is that they can work over existing Cat5 cabling, which to date has only been able to support 1 Gbps. Now with the 802.3bz standard, organizations do not need to rip and replace cabling to get Ethernet that is up to five times faster.

      “Now, the 1000BASE-T uplink from the wireless to wired network is no longer sufficient, and users are searching for ways to tap into higher data rates without having to overhaul the 70 billion meters of Cat5e / Cat6 wiring already sold,” David Chalupsky, board of directors of the Ethernet Alliance and Intel principal engineer, said in a statement. “IEEE 802.3bz is an elegant solution that not only addresses the demand for faster access to rapidly rising data volumes, but also capitalizes on previous infrastructure investments, thereby extending their life and maximizing value.”

Leftovers

  • Yahoo Mail is down for some across the UK and Europe

    POOR OLD Yahoo can’t catch a break after users reported that its webmail service appears to be down.

    Some here at the INQUIRER are unable to access Yahoo Mail, while others have flocked to Twitter to moan that it’s not currently accessible.

  • Science

    • Never forget a face? You might be a super recogniser

      Your recognition skills are supported by a complex network of brain regions that rapidly develop during infancy and childhood, finally peaking at the age of 30.

    • Google swallows 11,000 novels to improve AI’s conversation

      When the writer Rebecca Forster first heard how Google was using her work, it felt like she was trapped in a science fiction novel.

      “Is this any different than someone using one of my books to start a fire? I have no idea,” she says. “I have no idea what their objective is. Certainly it is not to bring me readers.”

      After a 25-year writing career, during which she has published 29 novels ranging from contemporary romance to police procedurals, the first instalment of her Josie Bates series, Hostile Witness, has found a new reader: Google’s artificial intelligence.

      “My imagination just didn’t go as far as it being used for something like this,” Forster says. “Perhaps that’s my failure.”

    • The Power Paradox: The Surprising Science of How We Gain and Lose Influence

      What causes us to mishandle the power paradox, Keltner argues, is our culture’s traditional understanding of power — a sort of time-capsule that no longer serves us. Predicated on force, ruthlessness, and strategic coercion, it was shaped by Niccolò Machiavelli’s sixteenth-century book The Prince — but it is as antiquated today as the geocentric model of the universe that dominated Machiavelli’s day. What governs the modern world, Keltner demonstrates through two decades of revelatory studies, is a different kind of power — softer, more relational, predicated on reputation rather than force, measured by one’s ability to affect the lives of others positively and shift the course of the world, however slightly, toward the common good.

    • How a Pythagoras Cup works

      His YouTube channel is packed with similarly excellent videos wherein lab assistant Neil is persuaded to execute unnerving experiments. (previously.)

  • Health/Nutrition

    • CDC whistleblower claims agency has been using wrong Zika test

      In the midst of the fight to control Zika, the top public health agency in the United States has been engaged in an intense internal debate about the best way to test whether someone has been infected with the mosquito-borne virus.

      At the center of the debate at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is one of the leading experts on Zika virus. Robert Lanciotti is chief of the CDC lab responsible for developing tests to diagnose viral diseases such as Zika that are transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Facebook, Uber, Slack, and Pandora Pros Praise Free Security Tools

      Proponents of open source software argue that by letting passionate developers get involved and tweak underlying code, the tools they create are stronger and more reliable. Plus, for companies looking to bolster their digital defenses, the software has the added benefit of being free.

    • LibreSSL 2.5
    • LibreSSL 2.5 Released With New Features, iOS Support

      LibreSSL 2.5.0 is available today as the newest version of this growing fork of OpenSSL led by the OpenBSD project.

      LibreSSL 2.5′s libtls implementation now supports ALPN and SNI while handling four cipher suite groups, there is tightened error handling in some areas, support for OCSP intermediate certificates, initial support for Apple’s iOS platform, and a variety of other fixes and functionality improvements.

    • A quick fix for stupid password reset questions

      It didn’t take 500 million hacked Yahoo accounts to make me hate, hate, hate password reset questions (otherwise known as knowledge-based authentication or KBA). It didn’t help when I heard that password reset questions and answers — which are often identical, required, and reused on other websites — were compromised in that massive hack, too.

      Is there any security person or respected security guidance that likes them? They are so last century. What is your mother’s maiden name? What is your favorite color? What was your first pet’s name?

    • French hosting provider hit by DDoS close to 1TBps

      A hosting provider in France has been hit by a distributed denial of service attack that went close to one terabyte per second.

      Concurrent attacks against OVH clocked in at 990GBps.

      The attack vector is said to be the same Internet-of-Things botnet of 152,464 devices that brought down the website of security expert Brian Krebs.

      OVH chief technology officer Octave Klaba tweeted that the network was capable of attacks up to 1.5TBps.

    • Latest IoT DDoS Attack Dwarfs Krebs Takedown At Nearly 1Tbps Driven By 150K Devices

      If you thought that the massive DDoS attack earlier this month on Brian Krebs’ security blog was record-breaking, take a look at what just happened to France-based hosting provider OVH. OVH was the victim of a wide-scale DDoS attack that was carried via network of over 152,000 IoT devices.

      According to OVH founder and CTO Octave Klaba, the DDoS attack reached nearly 1 Tbps at its peak. Of those IoT devices participating in the DDoS attack, they were primarily comprised of CCTV cameras and DVRs. Many of these types devices’ network settings are improperly configured, which leaves them ripe for the picking for hackers that would love to use them to carry our destructive attacks.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Senate Votes to Override Obama Veto on 9/11 Victims Bill

      A sweeping bipartisan majority in the Senate on Wednesday rejected President Obama’s veto of legislation that would allow families of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for any role in the plot, all but assuring that Mr. Obama would suffer the first override vote of his presidency.

      The vote was 97 to 1, with only Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, siding with the president.

      With the House nearly certain to follow the Senate later on Wednesday, the 9/11 bill will become law in a remarkable yet complicated bipartisan rebuke. Still, the measure itself remains contentious, and even some of those who cast a vote against Mr. Obama conceded that they did not fully support it.

      Mr. Obama’s greatest allies on Capitol Hill, who have labored for nearly eight years to stop most bills he opposes from even crossing his desk, turned against him, joining Republicans in the remonstrance.

    • Orlando Terror Attack ‘Triggered’ by Pentagon Drone Strike

      The domestic terrorist behind the Orlando nightclub massacre was motivated by a Pentagon drone strike in Iraq a month before the shooting, according to police transcripts made public last week.

      Conversations between Omar Mateen and an Orlando police negotiator on June 12 were kept secret by FBI and local police until Friday. The secrecy contributed to misleading media accounts of the terrorist’s motives in the days after the killings.

      The transcripts were released by Orlando police Friday after a Florida court hearing held in response to a lawsuit filed by several news organizations.

      Mateen killed 49 people during the attack on the Pulse, a gay nightclub, and wounded 53 others. Police eventually stormed the club and killed Mateen in a shootout after talks aimed at convincing him to surrender failed.

    • Senate overwhelmingly votes to override Obama veto on 9/11 bill

      The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to override President Obama’s veto of legislation allowing lawsuits against foreign sponsors of terrorism, setting up an almost certain and historic defeat for the White House on the bill.

      The House is expected to follow suit within hours, making it the first veto of Obama’s presidency that has been overturned by Congress.

      Obama vetoed the legislation Friday because he said the bill — known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA — would infringe on the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy. It was the 12th veto of his presidency.

    • After 9/11 Bill, Could Saudi Arabia Really Sell All Its U.S. Assets?

      It’s easier to make a $750 billion threat than carry it out.

      The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged connection to the attacks, pushing the kingdom one step closer to having to follow through on its pledge to sell hundreds of billions of dollars of United States assets that could be frozen by the courts. Carrying out that divestment pledge will be a long, difficult, complicated and likely costly process.

      “The idea that they could just flip a switch and sell them all, it just doesn’t compute,” George Pearkes of Bespoke Investment Group, an independent research firm, told HuffPost. “It’s just too much. No one’s going to be able to take that risk off your book,” Pearkes said, using the industry term for a portfolio.

      “You’re going to lose money doing it because everyone knows you’re going to do it, and … it immediately has an impact on your currency and balance of payments,” he added, noting that the Saudi currency is pegged to the U.S. dollar and the kingdom continually receives dollars for its oil exports.

    • US Senate Overrides Obama’s Veto – Chaos Imminent

      The Saudis have promised to pull their assets out of USA, hundreds of $billions in treasury bills and many other investments. 2016 could undo the tidy recovery USA has made in Obama’s term. Even a gradual withdrawal could lower the value of the dollar, raise interest rates, ding the stock-market, possibly trigger a nuclear arms race in the region and raise the price of gold.

    • Armed Forces personnel suspected of IS ties comprise just 1pct of militants detected

      Armed Forces personnel suspected to be involved with Islamic State (IS) make up just one per cent of militants detected by authorities so far.

      Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said despite the low number, the Ministry takes the matter seriously and has ordered that comprehensive action be taken to curtail the terrorist group’s ideology from spreading to security personnel.

      He said the Armed Forces Religious Corps and Royal Intelligence Corps have been tasked to detect soldiers who show interest in extremist groups, and warn members of the security forces against terrorism.

      The initiative includes educating soldiers on the true meaning of Islam and jihad.

      Hishammuddin, who spoke to reporters after launching the 40th Pacific Armies Management Seminar at a hotel here earlier today, however, did not reveal the exact number of soldiers who have been detected to be influenced by IS.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Journalists must fork over $200 for Wi-Fi at presidential debate

      News organizations attending Monday evening’s presidential debate must pay $200 for a “Secure Wireless Internet Connection” at Hofstra University in New York state. The debate is set to begin at 9pm Eastern.

      While profiteering during a high-profile occasion such as this is not unheard of—$15 for a patch cable?—what’s worse is that event staff at Hofstra University are reportedly using a $2,000 device to actively scan for hotspots and other ad-hoc Wi-Fi networks.

    • FCC official: “Something’s not right” with Wi-Fi at Monday’s debate

      One of the members of the Federal Communications Commission, Jessica Rosenworcel, has asked the agency to investigate the Monday evening ban on journalists’ Wi-Fi personal hotspots at the presidential debate held at Hofstra University.

      As Ars reported on Monday evening, the host venue demanded that journalists pay $200 to access the event’s Wi-Fi and were told to shut down their own hotspots or leave the debate. At least one photo, taken by Kenneth Vogel of Politico, showed a handheld device that was being used to scan for and locate “rogue” Wi-Fi networks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The world passes 400ppm carbon dioxide threshold. Permanently

      Because carbon pollution has been increasing since the start of the industrial revolution and has shown no signs of abating, it was more a question of “when” rather than “if” we would cross this threshold. The inevitability doesn’t make it any less significant, though.

      September is usually the month when carbon dioxide is at its lowest after a summer of plants growing and sucking it up in the northern hemisphere. As fall wears on, those plants lose their leaves, which in turn decompose, releasing the stored carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. At Mauna Loa Observatory, the world’s marquee site for monitoring carbon dioxide, there are signs that the process has begun but levels have remained above 400 ppm.

      Since the industrial revolution, humans have been altering this process by adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than plants can take up. That’s driven carbon dioxide levels higher and with it, global temperatures, along with a host of other climate change impacts.

  • Finance

    • BEANO: Brexit Existing As Name Only

      This speech follows the recent statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that EU funding will be guaranteed until 2020.

      Could it be that the United Kingdom is not heading for a Hard Brexit or a Soft Brexit, but a Brexit existing as a name only?

      Could there be a BEANO Brexit?

    • Greece asks for suspension of TTIP negotiations

      Temporary suspension of negotiations on the Transatlantic Partnership Trade and Investment (TTIP) asked the Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, George Stathakis, the Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers for Trade, held today in Bratislava.

      The Minister stressed that in the negotiations on the TTIP «has not seen any progress in sensitive European issues” regarding reciprocity in the liberalization of public procurement, the shipping issues, farm products with a geographical indication, the protection of consumers against genetically modified products, and complex environmental protection issues.

      It acknowledged that the TTIP is a major political issue for the European Union and that this time there are a number of important issues pending. Closed the placement of saying “need a new framework for negotiations, a new start on a new basis and at the appropriate time.”

    • Saudi Arabia’s monarch cuts ministers’ pay by 20%

      Saudi Arabia cancelled bonus payments for state employees and cut ministers’ salaries by 20 per cent, steps that further spread the burden of shoring up public finances to a population accustomed to years of government largesse.

      The government also decided to suspend wage increases for the lunar year starting next month and curbed allowances for public-sector employees, according to royal decrees and a cabinet statement published by state media.

      The salaries of members of a legislative body that advises the monarchy were cut by 15 per cent.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Clinton campaign in ‘panic mode’ over Florida black voters

      To kill Donald Trump’s chances of capturing the White House, Hillary Clinton needs to win Florida. And to do that, she needs a big minority turnout.

      But Democrats are beginning to worry that too many African-American voters are uninspired by Clinton’s candidacy, leading her campaign to hit the panic button this week and launch an all-out blitz to juice-up voter enthusiasm.

      Bill Clinton, once nicknamed the “first black president,” embarks on a North Florida bus tour Friday in an attempt to draw African-American crowds. At the same time, Clinton herself will host events in Broward and St. Lucie counties, which have black populations higher than the statewide average.

    • 5 Conspiracy Theories That PROVE This Election Is The Worst

      The 2016 presidential election is well on its way to cementing its place in history’s annals of crazy. But do you know who finds it even crazier? Crazy people! Conspiracy nutjobs and other tinfoil hat cases follow political news too, and just as is the case with everyone else, there are candidates they do and don’t like. As such, the dark, sticky underbelly of the internet is inundated with madcap election theories that are somehow even more far-fetched than the accusations the actual candidates have been throwing around.

    • Michael Moore to Clinton supporters: Trump ‘won’

      Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore is telling Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s supporters to treat the first presidential debate of 2016 as a Donald Trump victory and to not get complacent.

      Moore took to Twitter Tuesday, arguing that Clinton had “too much preparation, too much class,” and he wished she had gone “full throttle” on Trump, the Republican presidential nominee.

    • FBI silent on pending Clinton perjury probe

      FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday refused to provide the House Judiciary Committee with any clue about whether the bureau will comply with a request to investigate Hillary Clinton for perjury.

      “You cannot tell us whether you are indeed investigating?” Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) asked during a hearing on FBI oversight.

      Comey said he would not comment on a pending referral.

      “When do you expect you will be able to tell us?” Goodlatte asked.

      “I don’t know,” Comey said.

      Goodlatte, along with Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), in July issued a criminal referral to U.S. District Attorney Channing Phillips, asking him to investigate whether Clinton lied to Congress during her marathon 11-hour testimony before the Select Committee on Benghazi.

    • I sold Trump $100,000 worth of pianos. Then he stiffed me.

      At Monday night’s debate, Donald Trump was called out for stiffing the people who work for him. Trump has been accused of failing to pay hundreds of contractors. And so far, he hasn’t seemed very sorry. When asked about failing to pay someone by Hillary Clinton this week, Trump replied, “Maybe he didn’t do a good job and I was unsatisfied with his work.”

      I take that attack personally. I’m one of the many small business owners who’ve been used by Trump, exploited and forced to suffer a loss because of his corporation’s shady practices.

      My relationship with Trump began in 1989, when he asked me to supply several grand and upright pianos to his then-new Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City. I’d been running a music store for more than 30 years at that point, selling instruments to local schools and residents. My business was very much a family affair (my grandsons still run the store). And I had a great relationship with my customers — no one had ever failed to pay.

    • Jill Stein EXCLUSIVE: The debate through the Green Party lens

      Despite the efforts to silence the competition for the two establishment parties by excluding us from the televised presidential debates, we were able to reach millions of voters with our message using the open Internet and a cutting edge social media campaign.

      The debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a front group created by the Democratic and Republican parties to fool the American public, are anti-democratic. The two parties should not have the power to decide that their opponents cannot debate. That is not what democracy looks like.

      When the CPD was founded by former chairs of the Democratic and Republican National Committees, both made it clear their goal was to keep challengers out of the debate. Republican Frank Fahrenkopf, who remains a co-chair, indicated at the news conference that the CPD was “not likely to look with favor on including third-party candidates in the debates.”

      The NY Times quoted Democrat Paul Kirk, who was more blunt: “As a party chairman, it’s my responsibility to strengthen the two-party system.” Kirk’s successor as co-chair is Michael McCurry, former press secretary for Bill Clinton. The arbitrary criteria set by the secretive CPD are not designed to exclude “non-viable candidates”, but rather to prevent any candidate outside the Democratic-Republican duopoly from becoming viable in the eyes of the public.

    • Bernie Sanders’s brother to fight David Cameron’s seat for Green party

      Larry Sanders, the older brother of Democrat politician Bernie Sanders, is hoping to emulate his sibling’s success by standing for the Green party in David Cameron’s Oxfordshire seat.

      Bernie Sanders gave Hillary Clinton an unexpectedly tough fight in the Democratic presidential primaries, riding a wave of idealism among a predominantly young voter base.

      Now his brother Larry, 82, a retired social worker and former Green party councillor, plans to attempt a similar feat for the Greens in the byelection for the rock-solid Conservative constituency of Witney.

      It will be a tall order. “It hasn’t always been the richest turf for the Green party,” a party spokesman said. To become MP for Witney, he would have to overturn Cameron’s 22,700-vote majority in a seat where the last Green candidate won just 5.1% of the vote.

    • The Great Debate That Never Was

      If the Green Party’s Jill Stein had been allowed in this week’s presidential debate, it would have transformed the discussion and altered the race. That’s why Democrats and Republicans kept it a duopoly-only affair. “The only circumstances in which either Trump or Clinton can muster a minimally compelling argument, is against each other.” Thanks to Democracy Now!, we got a glimpse at what a real debate might be like. Clinton and Trump would lose.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • AP: Across US, police officers abuse confidential databases

      No single agency tracks how often the abuse happens nationwide, and record-keeping inconsistencies make it impossible to know how many violations occur.

      But the AP, through records requests to state agencies and big-city police departments, found law enforcement officers and employees who misused databases were fired, suspended or resigned more than 325 times between 2013 and 2015. They received reprimands, counseling or lesser discipline in more than 250 instances, the review found.

      Unspecified discipline was imposed in more than 90 instances reviewed by AP. In many other cases, it wasn’t clear from the records if punishment was given at all. The number of violations was surely far higher since records provided were spotty at best, and many cases go unnoticed.

    • Justice Department Is Fighting Fired FBI Agent’s Use of Whistleblower Defense

      John Parkinson, an Iraq War veteran who led a special operations unit in FBI’s Sacramento field office, first filed whistleblower complaints almost a decade ago when he became concerned with his coworkers’ behavior. He identified a colleague as having “a career-long pattern of soliciting prostitutes,” who used an FBI’s surveillance plane to travel to Reno to pay for sex. He alleged another colleague had a porn habit, even viewing explicit material at work. At one point, Parkinson removed furniture from an FBI office to keep it from getting soiled by the colleague, according to court documents.

      After filing his complaint, Parkinson found himself the subject of what he says was a retaliatory investigation, and was eventually fired. He has been fighting that decision for the past four years through a Kafkaesque maze of courts and internal appeals.

      On Monday, his attorneys filed a brief to the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals arguing for his right to raise a whistleblower retaliation defense.

    • Letter From CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Details Federal Prison’s Scandalous Treatment

      Dear Jeffrey,

      I have followed your case closely, and I have also read recent updates from John Kiriakou, whose case I also covered extensively. I published his prison letters from FCI Loretto. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions I have about your current struggle to obtain proper medical treatment for your heart condition.

      As of September 26, what is your current condition? What symptoms do you continue to endure? How critical do you believe it is that FCI Englewood take your symptoms seriously and grant you access to proper medical treatment? In other words, what do you need FCI Englewood to do for you now?

      How has your condition changed over the past months, and how responsive are officers within FCI Loretto to your insistence or requests for medical treatment? When you complain about pain, how long does it take until you finally see a doctor or medical professional?

      I understand you are expected to exhaust the administrative process before going outside this system to force the prison to give you proper medical treatment. What do you think of this process?

      I also recognize you, and your wife, Holly, have attempted other actions to convince the prison to take care of your urgent medical needs. What have you tried and what effect do you believe these actions have had?

      John Kiriakou reported on August 28 that Warden Deborah Denham had reversed her decision and would put a request into the “Bureau of Prisons Regional Office in Denver” that you “be taken to an outside cardiologist for testing.” Did you get to see a cardiologist? Is that how you found out you had high levels of Troponin?

    • The Proper Channels For Whistleblowing Still Mostly A Good Way For Messengers To Get Shot

      Whistleblower protections offered by the federal government are great in theory. In practice, they’re a mess. This administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined. The proper channels for reporting concerns are designed to deter complaints. Those that do use the proper channels are frequently exposed by those handling the complaints, leading to retaliatory actions that built-in protections don’t offer an adequate remedy for.

      Perhaps the ultimate insult is that the proper channels lead directly to two committees that have — for the most part — staunchly defended agencies like the NSA against criticism and any legislative attempts to scale back domestic surveillance programs. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are the “proper channels,” whose offered protections can only be seen as the hollowest of promises, especially after the House Intelligence Committee’s lie-packed response to calls for Snowden’s pardon.

      What the federal government offers to whistleblowers is a damned if you do/don’t proposition. Bypass the proper channels and brace yourself for prosecution. Stay within the defined lanes and expect nothing to change — except maybe your security clearance, pay grade, or chances of advancement within the government.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • ISP Feebly Tries To Defend Usage Caps By Comparing Them To…Oreos

      Earlier this month, we noted how Netflix had complained to the FCC about broadband usage caps, quite-correctly noting they’re little more than price hikes on uncompetitive markets. Netflix also was quick to highlight how caps can be used anti-competitively against streaming video providers, something the FCC opened the door to when it decided to turn a blind eye to the practice of zero rating (or exempting your own or a paid partners’ content from counting against the cap). As such, Netflix urged the FCC to finally crack down on usage caps using its authority under Section 706 of the Telecom Act.

    • AT&T Sues Nashville To Keep Google Fiber At Bay

      We’ve been talking about how the latest front in the battle for better broadband competition is the boring old utility pole. As Susan Crawford highlighted last month, getting permission from an ISP that owns a city’s utility poles can be a slow, bureaucratic nightmare, since the incumbent ISP has every incentive to stall would-be competitors. As such, Google has been pushing for “one touch make ready” proposals that use an insured, third-party contractor agreed to by all ISPs to move any ISP’s gear during fiber installs (often a matter of inches).

      But again, because this would speed up Google Fiber’s time to market, incumbent ISPs like Comcast, AT&T, Frontier and Time Warner Cable have all been fighting these reform efforts. Excuses provided by the ISPs range from claims that such reform violates their Constitutional rights, to unsubstantiated claims that such a policy would result in massive new internet service outages. AT&T has taken things one step further, and has been suing cities like Louisville for passing such reform laws.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • 10 highlights from the MARQUES Annual Conference in Villaitana

      Indigenous rights, EU trade mark reforms, geographical indications, design rights and much more were discussed at the recent MARQUES Annual Conference.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • BBC iPlayer: New TV licence rules come into force

        All viewers who use the iPlayer to watch any BBC programmes must now be covered by a TV licence after new rules came into force on Thursday.

        Previously, iPlayer users only needed a licence if they were using the service to watch live broadcasts.

        That meant it was legal to watch programmes after broadcast on catch-up without paying the annual £145.50 fee.

        But the TV licence requirements have now been extended to include catch-up, online premieres and online-only shows.

      • Cloudflare: We Can’t Shut Down Pirate Sites

        As one of the leading CDN and DDoS protection services, Cloudflare is used by millions of websites across the globe.

        This includes thousands of “pirate” sites, including The Pirate Bay, who rely on the U.S. based company to keep server loads down.

        Copyright holders are generally not happy that Cloudflare is doing business with these sites. While most stop at complaining, adult entertainment outfit ALS Scan took the matter to court.

Cementing Autocracy: The European Patent Office Against Democracy, Against Media, and Against the Rule of Law

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 7:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rule of law
Reference: Rule of law

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) actively undermines democracy in Europe, it undermines the freedom of the press (by paying it for puff pieces), and it undermines the rule of law by giving one single tyrant total power in Eponia and immunity from outside Eponia (even when he breaks his own rules)

THE situation at the EPO has gotten so bad that the EPO is now buying the media for some Milan spin (among other spin) to help sell the UPC to the gullible public officials. This culmination in lobbying demonstrates the moral depravity to which Battistelli and his goons are willing to sink.

The UPC is an assault on EU democracy (and in the UK what we are seeing in that regard is total disregard for the referendum), which is effectively being stolen by lobbyists and patent lawyers of large corporations. The “UPC [is] on the Council agenda of this Friday,” Benjamin Henrion wrote, “I told you so. Italian minister seems to lobby for Milan without even a discussion in Parliament.”

We first wrote about it last night. Italians should protest that day, along with their media (already covered UPC).

Was the public consulted on this? Why does the media, which was paid by the EPO, support this with some puff pieces that involve Team UPC? How corrupt can things get and when will European politician start to genuinely care? And not just because they perceive it as an opportunity to promote their political party, e.g. in France…

The Battistelli regime has gotten so oppressive recently that SUEPO is silent (not a single word for three weeks) and the attack on the appeal boards intensifies behind closed doors (the secretive Board 28). “This Office has really become a banana republic,” one comment says today. “Looks like a last, desperate attempt of Battistelli and his henchmen to avoid that at the next AC the disciplinary case is closed,” this person notes, in relation to the news about Battistelli trying to prevent the scapegoat from getting his job back (or basically return to work before the end of his term). Here is another new comment about it:

If the matter were not so serious for the accused (or should that be former accused and/or victim?), this Wile E Coyote-esque persistence would draw a chuckle.
As one person has pointed out, late filed submissions are required to be prima facie relevant and OK, maybe, if you can give us another reasoning because the one you have come with isn’t good enough, isn’t normally the procedure to follow.
I note that, in the Social Study (?), PWC have found that the office’s actions have met the requirement of the EPO’s legal framework. The mind boggles about what wouldn’t.

We wrote about the PWC 'study' just after its release on Friday. It’s hogwash. It’s just ammunition for lobbying in next month’s Administrative Council’s meeting (there are also court rulings from the Netherlands coming up very soon).

One person added that “there is no “Res Judicata” at the EPO, nor does ILO-AT require this of its member organisations (and the EPO is not a member of ILO-AT).”

Another person remarked on “the issue of res judicata” as follows:

They would not go for the same accusations.

Actually, rumors were circulating around the last meeting of the AC that the president had a completely new strategy to deal with the suspended member of the AC, since the first one did not work.

A new accusation would have been made according to which the suspended member had discussed with an external IP lawyer a case in front of the BoA, thus contravening the requirement of confidentiality for anyone working at the office.

That would have been considered as “misconduct” – the punishment for which we all know is dismissal.

I have no further details – such as “when did this discussion take place”, “was at an informal meeting”, “which proof did they have”, “did the office require the Lawyer to testify” or anything else.

I understand the defense of the suspended member was aware of these rumors.

We shall be keeping a close eye on this. If anyone out there has access to internal affairs of Board 28, please consider getting in touch with us. Information lapses and secrecy currently achieve nothing but harm staff. This also harms the EPO as a whole by making redemption improbable.

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