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posted by martyb on Wednesday March 27 2019, @07:03PM   Printer-friendly
from the Tractors-and-combines-are-just-iphones-on-wheels dept.

Farmers have been getting screwed by a combination of DRM linked to DMCA legalisms that effectively make farmers into criminals if they modify their own farming equipment, forcing them to choose between breaking the law or paying extortionate fees to equipment manufacturers for both hardware and software fixes.

Elizabeth Warren recently announced a new broad policy agenda focused on helping farmers. But buried in it is something everybody here can get behind too - the right to repair:

Consolidation is choking family farms, but there’s a whole lot of other ways in which big business has rigged the rules in their favor and against family farmers. I will fight to change those rules.

For example, many farmers are forced to rely on authorized agents to repair their equipment. Companies have built diagnostic software into the equipment that prevents repairs without a code from an authorized agent. That leads to higher prices and costly delays.

That’s ridiculous. Farmers should be able to repair their own equipment or choose between multiple repair shops. That’s why I strongly support a national right-to-repair law that empowers farmers to repair their equipment without going to an authorized agent. The national right-to-repair law should require manufacturers of farm equipment to make diagnostic tools, manuals, and other repair-related resources available to any individual or business, not just their own dealerships and authorized agents. This will not only allow individuals to fix their own equipment — reducing delays — but it will also create competition among dealers and independent repair shops, bringing down prices overall.


Original Submission

posted by FatPhil on Thursday March 21 2019, @04:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the copycat-copyright dept.

Last week we wrote a critical analysis of Elizabeth Warren's big plan to break up "big tech." As we noted, there was a lot in the plan that was nonsensical, unsupported by the facts or just plain confused. We'll be talking more about some of these ideas a lot over the next few years I imagine (stay tuned), but there was one line in Warren's plan that deserved a separate post: it appears that a part of Warren's big attack on big tech... is to give a massive handout to Hollywood. Here's the line:

We must help America's content creators — from local newspapers and national magazines to comedians and musicians — keep more of the value their content generates, rather than seeing it scooped up by companies like Google and Facebook.

That may sound rather basic and lacking any details, but what's notable about it is that the language reflects -- almost exactly -- the language used in the EU in support of the absolute worst parts of the EU Copyright Directive (specifically, Article 11 and Article 13). For example, this Q & A page by the Legislative Affairs Committee of the EU Parliament uses quite similar language:

The draft directive intends to oblige giant internet platforms and news aggregators (like YouTube or GoogleNews) to pay content creators (artists/musicians/actors and news houses and their journalists) what they truly owe them;

Why, that sounds quite familiar. Indeed, Warren's announcement even uses "keep more of the value their content generates," which appears to be a reference to the completely made up notion of a "value gap" between what internet platforms make and what they should be paying artists.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday March 17 2019, @07:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the at-least-the-House-and-Senate-agreed-on-something dept.

breitbart.com/politics/2019/03/15/donald-trump-vetoes-attempt-to-block-national-emergency

President Donald Trump vetoed a bill designed to block his emergency declaration at the Southern Border on Friday, in a ceremony at the White House.

“Today, I am vetoing this resolution,” Trump said. “Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it. And I’m very proud to veto it.”

Also at CBS News, CNBC, and USA Today.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday March 14 2019, @01:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the 3rd-time-lucky? dept.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-47547887:

Theresa May's EU withdrawal deal has been rejected by MPs[*] by an overwhelming majority for a second time, with just 17 days to go to Brexit.

MPs voted down the prime minister's deal by 149 - a smaller margin than when they rejected it in January.

Mrs May said MPs will now get a vote on whether the UK should leave the EU without a deal and, if that fails, on whether Brexit should be delayed.

She said Tory MPs will get a free vote on a no-deal Brexit.

That means they can vote with their conscience rather than following the orders of party managers - an unusual move for a vote on a major policy, with Labour saying it showed she had "given up any pretence of leading the country".

The PM had made a last minute plea to MPs to back her deal after she had secured legal assurances on the Irish backstop from the EU.

But although she managed to convince about 40 Tory MPs to change their mind, it was not nearly enough to overturn the historic 230 vote defeat she suffered in January, throwing her Brexit strategy into fresh disarray.

[*] MP: Member of Parliament; PM: Prime Minister


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday March 11 2019, @10:02AM   Printer-friendly
from the just-line-up-the-sights-on-your-toe-and-squeeeeeeze dept.

Here in the U.S., the presidential election season, like Christmas, seems to start earlier and earlier each time.

In keeping with this, the Democratic National Committee is making waves by announcing that it will exclude Fox News, which has the largest viewership of the major cable news networks by a considerable margin, from debate coverage of DNC presidential candidates.

Thomas Lifson outlines a number of reasons this may not be a good move.

One is that from a historical and strategy perspective:

Presidential debates inevitably favor the challengers. Trump can push them in that direction by agreeing to debates only if Fox News is included. That forces them to either accept FNC or have no debates at all. If they accept, that makes FNC the debate worth watching. The rest are discredited as Democrat "safe spaces,"

And it appears he has pounced and done exactly that from his twitter account:

Democrats just blocked @FoxNews from holding a debate. Good, then I think I’ll do the same thing with the Fake News Networks and the Radical Left Democrats in the General Election debates!

Really all either party has to do is A) not be crazy and/or B) keep their idiot mouths shut to win.

Neither of these seems to be in the cards dealt to either side, so it should be a heck of a ride.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Sunday March 10 2019, @04:44AM   Printer-friendly
from the no-more-fast-lanes dept.

Democrats in the U.S. Congress plan to unveil legislation on Wednesday to reinstate “net neutrality” rules that were repealed by the Trump administration in December 2017, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

Pelosi told lawmakers in a letter that House Democrats, who won control of the chamber in the November 2018 elections, would work with their colleagues in the U.S. Senate to pass the “Save The Internet Act.”

The text of the proposed legislation has not been released.

The Federal Communications Commission repealed the rules that bar providers from blocking or slowing internet content or offering paid “fast lanes.” The repeal was a win for providers like Comcast Corp, AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, but was opposed by internet companies like Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc.

The Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, voted in May 2018 to reinstate the net neutrality rules, but the House did not take up the issue before Congress adjourned last year.

A U.S. federal appeals court last month held lengthy oral arguments in a legal challenge to the FCC’s decision to repeal the net neutrality rules.

In its 2017 decision, the Republican-led FCC voted 3-2 along party lines to reverse the net neutrality rules. The agency gave providers sweeping power to recast how users access the internet but said they must disclose changes in users’ internet access.

A spokeswoman for FCC chairman Ajit Pai did not immediately comment on Monday.

Related:
FCC Struggles to Convince Judge That Broadband Isn't "Telecommunications"
It's Now Clear None of the Supposed Benefits of Killing Net Neutrality Are Real
FCC Chairman Pai Celebrates Congress Failing to Bring Back Net Neutrality


Original Submission

posted by takyon on Saturday March 09 2019, @12:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the monopoly-money dept.

CNet:

"Today's big tech companies have [too much power over] our economy, our society, and our democracy," wrote Warren in a blog post. "They've bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation."

Warren said that big tech companies use mergers to swallow competition and sell products on their own e-commerce platforms, which hurt smaller businesses' opportunities to succeed. Weak antitrust enforcement also resulted in "a dramatic reduction" in competition and innovation in the tech industry, according to Warren's blog post.

With conservative voices decrying Big Tech censorship, internet activists decrying privacy violations, and now Senator Warren calling for outright dismemberment, Big Tech might be in for a rocky stretch of road.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Friday March 08 2019, @07:18AM   Printer-friendly
from the believe-it-when-you-see-it dept.

Submitted via IRC for chromas

NSA might shut down phone snooping program, whatever that means

The US National Security Agency (NSA) has created a boatload of buzz over the past few days with these two headline-makers:

First, a senior Republican congressional aide suggested over the weekend that the agency might be shuttering its phone metadata slurping program instead of renewing it in December (suppress your glee: the news is less encouraging for surveillance-adverse citizenry than it appears at first blush) and....

...Second, by releasing Ghidra, a free software reverse engineering tool that the agency had been using internally for well over a decade.

First, the political cat-and-mouse game:

News of the NSA potentially killing off its mass phone-spying program – exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 – came on Saturday in the form of a Lawfare podcast interview with Luke Murry, national security advisor to House minority leader Kevin McCarthy.

At 5 minutes in, Murry said that the NSA hasn’t been using its metadata collecting system for spying on US citizens for the past six months, due to "problems with the way in which that information was collected, and possibly collecting on US citizens.” The program is due for Congressional reauthorization in December 2019, but Murry suggested that the administration might not bother:

I’m not actually certain that the administration will want to start that back up given where they've been in the last six months.

[...] On a far more security-crowd-pleasing note, there’s the NSA’s release of Ghidra:

The NSA released Ghidra, a software reverse engineering tool, at the RSA security conference on Wednesday. It marked the first public demonstration of the tool, which the agency has been using internally and which helps to analyze malicious code and malware tracks down potential vulnerabilities in networks and systems.

ZDNet, reporting from the conference, said that the NSA’s plan is to get security researchers comfortable working with the tool before they apply for government cybersecurity positions, be those jobs at the NSA or at the other government intelligence agencies with which the NSA has privately shared Ghidra.

At this point, Ghidra is available for download only through its official website, but the NSA also plans to release its source code under an open source license on GitHub.

The initial reviews have been, overall, positive, in large measure because "free" is a lot cheaper than the alternative tool, IDA Pro. The commercial license for IDA Pro costs thousands of US dollars per year. Here are some early reviews from well-known security pros:


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday March 06 2019, @05:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the muscle-flexing dept.

The United States warned Turkey against moving ahead with plans to buy a sophisticated Russian missile defence system that the Pentagon believes would threaten its advanced F-35 fighter aircraft.

The State Department made the remarks on a day when the head of US European Command spoke to politicians on Capitol Hill and said Turkey should reconsider its plan to buy the S-400 from Russia this year.

"We've clearly warned Turkey that its potential acquisition of the S-400 will result in a reassessment of Turkey's participation in the F-35 programme, and risk other potential future arms transfers to Turkey," said deputy spokesman Robert Palladino on Tuesday.

The US agreed to sell 100 of its latest fifth-generation F-35 fighters to Turkey and has so far delivered two of the aircraft. But Congress last year ordered a delay in future deliveries.

[...] The S-400 can track a large number of potential targets, including stealth targets such as the US F-35 fighter jet. Other advantages included its high mobility, meaning it can be set up, fired and moved within minutes.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday March 03 2019, @06:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the Space-Force-or-Space-Farce? dept.

The Washington Post has an editorial by Vice President Pence, asking Congress to pass our National Defense Authorization Act for, or of 2020. Which will create a 6th branch of the United States military, called the United States Space Force. It's going to be part of the Air Force, but, this one won't be in the air. It will be in space. And there's no air, there. An excerpt:

Under this proposal, the Space Force would be within the Air Force, similar to the placement of the Marine Corps within the Navy. More than any other organization, the Air Force has been at the vanguard of building the world’s best military space programs. So, creating the Space Force within the Air Force is the best way to minimize duplication of effort and eliminate bureaucratic inefficiencies.

Just as the Air Force began within the Army before becoming a separate military department, so too will this first step in establishing the Space Force pave the way for a separate military department in the future. The Space Force is the next and the natural evolution of U.S. supremacy in space.

Also at Chicago Tribune.


Original Submission