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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 43 min ago

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

3 hours 6 min ago

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.”

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

6 hours 53 min ago

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

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)

7 hours 45 min ago

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

8 hours 28 min ago


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.”
      –AnonymousOur 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.

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

Thursday 29th of September 2016 02:19:30 AM

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

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

Thursday 29th of September 2016 12:47:05 AM

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

Wednesday 28th of September 2016 12:23:31 PM


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.

Links 28/9/2016: New Red Hat Offices, Fedora 25 ‘Frozen’

Wednesday 28th of September 2016 11:11:53 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Linux Users v Windows Users, Debian Mourns Another

    The Debian project today shared the news of the passing of a long time contributor on September 17. In other news, the Linux Journal offered a free digital copy of their September 2016 magazine. Bruce Byfield compared Linux users to Windows users and My Linux Rig spoke to elementary OS founder Daniel Foré about his “Linux Setup.”

  • Asian Penguins turn failed program into a Linux success

    The Community School of Excellence (CSE) Asian Penguins are the world’s first and only Linux user group based in a Hmong charter school. A failed Windows laptop program at the school was turned by the Asian Penguins into a Linux success.

    Stu Keroff is the technology coordinator at the Community School of Excellence, a middle school located in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is a licensed elementary education and middle school social studies teacher, and a long-time Linux enthusiast. Stu founded and advises the Asian Penguins.

  • Free Today: September Issue of Linux Journal (Retail value: $5.99)
  • Desktop
    • 7 Ways Linux Users Differ from Windows Users

      To casual users, one person at a keyboard looks much the same as any other. Watch for a while, however, and the differences start to emerge — and whether they are using Linux or Windows is the least of them.

      The fact is, Linux users are different from Windows users in attitude as much as their choice of operating system. Originating as a Unix-type operating system and in opposition to Windows, Linux has developed an expectation and a philosophy in direct opposition to those promoted by Windows. Although many new Linux users have come directly from Windows, average Linux users simply do not react in the same way as Windows users.

    • Microsoft paid me $650 to scrub Windows 10 from my grandpa’s PC, says man

      Microsoft has paid the relative of an Alzheimer’s patient for having to scrub his PC clean of Windows 10.

      Jesse Worley said he’d received a cheque for $650 from Microsoft – seen by The Register – which he told us he’d received after threatening the giant with court action over an unwanted Windows 10 upgrade.

      Tech consultant Worley sought payment from the vendor for the 10 hours it took to rebuild his grandfather’s custom-build PC, re-installing Windows 7 to resemble Windows XP, in order to banish Windows 10.

      However, Worley – inspired by the case of a Californian woman over the unauthorised upgrade of her PC to Windows 10 – told The Reg he wasn’t interested in the money.

      He’d wanted to Microsoft to acknowledge it had slipped up with its notorious Get Windows 10 (GWX) nagware notifications, which he branded “deliberately misleading”.

      “Had Microsoft not gone out of their way to be deceptive, my grandfather pretty clearly wouldn’t have been updated to Windows 10,” he said.

    • Why kid hackers should have a Linux computer

      Kids these days are quite amazing in how fast they learn how to use computers. And what better system for a young hacker than a Linux computer? A writer at Medium recently shared the story of how his young nephew got his very own Linux computer.

  • Server
    • ​Kubernetes 1.4: One DevOps tool to rule all the containers
    • Kubernetes 1.4 promises to make container orchestration easier, more powerful
    • Canonical Releases ‘Core’ Kubernetes Container Distribution
    • Canonical launches Kubernetes public beta distribution
    • Canonical steps up enterprise courtship with Kubernetes bundle
    • Kubernetes 1.4 makes container orchestration bigger — and simpler
    • Canonical Expands Enterprise Container Portfolio with Commercially Supported Distribution of Kubernetes
    • Strategies for Running Stateful Applications in Kubernetes: Volumes

      Mesosphere DC/OS emphasizes running transactional workloads alongside cloud-native applications. Robin Systems, one of the container management companies, is aiming to containerize Oracle and other enterprise databases. The Kubernetes container orchestration engine is gearing up to run stateful workloads through a new concept called Pet Sets, which is a pod of stateful containers. Pet Sets was introduced as an alpha feature in Kubernetes 1.3, released in July.

      Kubernetes abstracts the underlying infrastructure building blocks into compute, storage and networking. When developers and operations teams get started with Kubernetes, they typically get exposed to objects such as pods, labels, services, deployments and replica sets, which provide a mechanism to deal with compute and networking. When it comes to persistence in Kubernetes, users should get familiar with the concepts of volumes, persistent volumes, persistent volume claims (PVC) and the upcoming Pet Sets.

      This article will be a first in a series that discusses the strategies and use cases for each of the storage choices available in Kubernetes. In this chapter, we will take a closer look at volumes, that provide the easiest migration path to Kubernetes.

    • Docker Doubles Down on Microsoft Windows Server [Ed: recall “DockerCon 2015 Infiltrated by Microsoft”]

      Docker for Windows debuts alongside a new commercial support relationship with Microsoft.
      For the most part, the Docker container phenomenon has been about Linux, with the majority of all deployments on Linux servers. But that could soon be changing as Docker Inc. today is announcing the general availability of Docker Engine on Windows Server 2016, alongside a new commercial support and distribution agreement with Microsoft.

      Docker containers rely on the host operating system for certain isolation and process elements in order to run. On Linux, those elements have always been present as part of the operating system, but the same was not true for Windows, which has required several years of joint engineering effort between Docker Inc. and Microsoft.

    • Hadoop Sandboxes and Trials Spread Out

      We all know that there is a skills gap when it comes to Hadoop in the Big Data market. In fact, Gartner Inc.’s 2015 Hadoop Adoption Study, involving 284 Gartner Research Circle members, found that only 125 respondents who completed the whole survey had already invested in Hadoop or had plans to do so within the next two years. The study found that there are difficulties in implementing Hadoop, including hardship in finding skilled Hadoop professionals.

    • Use models to measure cloud performance

      When I was young, I made three plastic models. One was of a car—a ’57 Chevy. Another was of a plane—a Spitfire. And a third was of the Darth Vader TIE Fighter. I was so proud of them. Each one was just like the real thing. The wheels turned on the car, and the plane’s propeller moved when you blew on it. And of course, the TIE Fighter had Darth Vader inside.

      When I went to work on the internet, I had to measure things. As I discussed in my last post, Measure cloud performance like a customer, when you measure on the internet you need to measure in ways that are representative of your customers’ experiences. This affects how you measure in two ways. The first is the perspective you take when measuring, which I talked about last time. The second way is the techniques you use to perform those measurements. And those techniques are, in effect, how you make a model of what you want to know. Those childhood plastic models turn out to offer some solid guidance after all.

    • ODPi Adds Apache Hive to Runtime Specification 2.0

      Today, ODPi announced that the ODPi Runtime Specification 2.0 will add Apache Hive and Hadoop Compatible File System support (HCFS). These components join YARN, MapReduce and HDFS from ODPi Runtime Specification 1.0

      With the addition of Apache Hive to the Runtime specification, I thought it would be a good time to share why we added Apache Hive and how we are strategically expanding the Runtime specification.

    • Ubuntu’s OpenStack on IBM’s Big Iron

      If I were Red Hat I would be looking over my shoulder right now; it appears that Ubuntu might be gaining. In just a few years the Linux distribution has gone from being non-existent in the enterprise to being a powerhouse. This is especially true in the cloud, where it’s a dominant force on both sides of the aisle. Not only is it the most deployed operating system on public clouds, its version of OpenStack accounts for over half of OpenStack cloud deployments, used by the likes of Deutsche Telekom, Bloomberg and Time Warner Cable.

  • Kernel Space
  • Applications
    • Linux and Open Source Hardware for IoT

      Most of the new 21 open source software projects for IoT that we examined last week listed Linux hacker boards as their prime development platforms. This week, we’ll look at open source and developer-friendly Linux hardware for building Internet of Things devices, from simple microcontroller-based technology to Linux-based boards.

      In recent years, it’s become hard to find an embedded board that isn’t marketing with the IoT label. Yet, the overused term is best suited for boards with low prices, small footprints, low power consumption, and support for wireless communications and industrial interfaces. Camera support is useful for some IoT applications, but high-end multimedia is usually counterproductive to attributes like low cost and power consumption.

    • nginx

      Case in point: I’ve been using the Apache HTTP server for many years now. Indeed, you could say that I’ve been using Apache since before it was even called “Apache”—what started as the original NCSA HTTP server, and then the patched server that some enterprising open-source developers distributed, and finally the Apache Foundation-backed open-source colossus that everyone recognizes, and even relies on, today—doing much more than just producing HTTP servers.

      Apache’s genius was its modularity. You could, with minimal effort, configure Apache to use a custom configuration of modules. If you wanted to have a full-featured server with tons of debugging and diagnostics, you could do that. If you wanted to have high-level languages, such as Perl and Tcl, embedded inside your server for high-speed Web applications, you could do that. If you needed the ability to match, analyze and rewrite every part of an HTTP transaction, you could do that, with mod_rewrite. And of course, there were third-party modules as well.

    • Etcher Image Writer Is Now Better Than Ever

      Back in may we spotlighted Etcher, a stylish open-source USB image writer app for Windows, macOS and Linux.

      In the months since our feature the app has released a over 10 small beta updates, with Etcher 1.5 Beta being the most recent release at the time of writing.

    • Audacious 3.8 released

      Audacious 3.8 was released on September 21, 2016.

    • New Version of Audacious Music Player Released

      A new version of Audacious, a popular lightweight audio player, is now available for download.

      Audacious 3.8 introduces a small set of features, including the ability to run more than one instance of the app at the same time. Quite why… no idea.

      New audtool commands have been added, including stream recording toggles, and cue sheet support is said to be “more seamless”.

    • Rambox Puts All Your Favorite Messaging Services In One App

      Rambox is a free, open-source messaging and email app that groups all your favourite web apps into one easy-to-manage window.

      Sound familiar?

      We’ve highlighted apps like Rambox before, with Franz and the Gmail-specific Wmail being but two.

    • Stylish Markdown Editor ‘Typora’ Is Now Available for Ubuntu

      In the market for a desktop markdown editor for Linux? You may have helped but notice that you’re rather spoilt for choice. From Abricotine and Scratch to Simplenote, Springseed and Remarkable. Even Gedit can render markdown with the right plugin! With so much choice it can be difficult to know which app to pick.

    • YoutPlayer Floats Your Fave YouTube Videos on The Desktop [Ed: just an Electron app]

      Looking for a neat-o way to play YouTube playlists on your desktop, outside your browser? Take a looksie at Yout, an Electron app that lets you add and watch YouTube playlists on your desktop, floating window stylee. Yout is not the most user-friendly of apps.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • Avoid the pile-up in ‘Clustertruck’, a first-person platformer with day-1 Linux support, it’s great

        We have been steadily getting more 3D “beat the timer” games where you’re up against others times, which is great because they really can be fun. I do love getting competitive in certain games, especially with some of my Steam friends and friends in the wider community. Games like this recently have been something I’ve been repeatedly going back to for a break from life.

        Clustertruck is not only about beating the times of other people, but it’s also a “the floor is lava” game, so if you touch the floor you have to start again. The really funny thing is that the safe pads are moving trucks you have to keep up with. You can at least grab onto the back of a truck if you just about touch it, so it’s not always instant death.

      • Fusion 3, the next generation game engine and editor from Clickteam will support Linux

        The difference between their tools and others, is the event system. Instead of needing to program every single line, you can stack up events and link them together to create a game. It works quite well and I’m pretty excited to give Fusion 3 a go on Linux myself to see what random games I can create for fun.

      • SteamOS 2.93 Brewmaster Beta Adds New Security Fixes from Debian GNU/Linux 8.6

        Valve’s SteamOS 2 gaming operating system is still getting goodies, and it looks like a new Beta update has been pushed on September 26, 2016, to the brewmaster_beta channel for public beta testers.

        That’s right, SteamOS 2.93 Brewmaster Beta is here to replace the previous build announced earlier this month, SteamOS 2.91 Brewmaster Beta, and add the latest security fixes and updates from upstream. This means that SteamOS is now officially based on the recently released Debian GNU/Linux 8.6 “Jessie” operating system.

        “SteamOS brewmaster update 2.93 pushed to brewmaster_beta. Corrects a build issue where the last kernel updates were not actually included. Also updates from the Debian 8.6 release[www.debian.org] and the usual security fixes,” says John Vert, Valve engineer, in the release announcement.

      • There Are Around 2,000 Steam Linux Games Available
      • Steam now has above 2,500 Linux & SteamOS games available

        I’ve seen some posts on reddit and across the wider net about Steam hitting around 2,000 games for Linux. The truth is the number is actually quite a lot higher.

        People seem to be using SteamDB numbers which aren’t up to date. The problem here is that SteamDB is unofficial and a manual process for people to let them know a game works. So you need to own the game and manually tell them, which makes their numbers rather different to the reality.
        Note: SteamDB do truly excellent work, this isn’t a bash attempt, but to let people know how they work and how their list is different.

        The other problem is that the Steam Search when filtering only for Games and only for Linux is still incorrect. It actually lists games that are due soon, or due this month and haven’t released yet. It also still lists games that haven’t updated their release date that were supposed to release before today, but didn’t actually release yet.

      • ‘Farabel’, a turn based strategy game is officially coming to Linux after a days work

        The developers of Farabel [Official Site, Steam, itch] sent word that their game is now officially coming to Linux. They asked for testers and in a single day got the game working properly on Linux and it’s now official.

      • RADV Vulkan Driver Can Now Correctly Render Talos Principle
      • The Talos Principle now renders correctly in ‘radv’, the open source AMD Vulkan driver

        Good news for Vulkan and AMD GPU fans, as David Airlie has put up a new blog post letting us know that The Talos Principle now renders correctly in this new open source AMD Vulkan driver.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GNOME 3.22 Supports Flatpak Cross-Linux Distribution Framework

        GNOME 3.22, the second major update this year to the GNOME desktop environment, debuted Sept. 21—and since then, has made its way into the repositories of Linux distributions, including Fedora and openSUSE. Much as was the case with the GNOME 3.20 update earlier this year, many of the changes in the latest iteration of the popular open-source desktop environment are incremental. Among the most significant capabilities in GNOME 3.22 is support for the Flatpak framework, which is designed to allow an application to be installed on various Linux distributions. The GNOME Builder integrated development environment (IDE) can now also be used by developers to build Flatpak-compatible applications. Flatpak is an alternative approach to Snappy, which provides similar capabilities and was originally developed by Ubuntu. The GNOME Files application continues to evolve and, in this release, adds new capabilities that enable users to open compressed files automatically. Files also enables users to compress files easily in common compression formats. Additionally, Files gained the ability to batch rename files and folders on a user’s system. Here’s a look at the key features of the GNOME 3.20 desktop update.

      • [GNOME Maps:] Planning a trip
  • Distributions
    • The Linux Setup – Daniel Foré, elementary OS

      Daniel is the founder of elementary OS, the distribution that’s famous for its own look. Daniel came to Linux through a love of customizing Windows XP, so it’s no surprise he also came to appreciate the flexibility of Linux. Interestingly, especially given the strong visual aesthetic of elementary, Daniel’s favorite app is the Scratch text editor!

    • New Releases
      • Solus Gets MATE 1.16 Desktop Environment and Linux Kernel 4.7.5, Up-to-Date Apps

        Joshua Strobl from the Solus Project published a new installation of the distribution’s weekly newsletter, This Week in Solus 36, to inform Solus users about the latest software updates and other important changes in the Linux OS.

      • Proxmox VE 4.3 released

        Proxmox Server Solutions GmbH today announced the general availability of Proxmox Virtual Environment 4.3. The hyper-converged open source server virtualization solution enables users to create and manage LXC containers and KVM virtual machines on the same host, and makes it easy to set up highly available clusters as well as to manage network and storage via an integrated web-based management interface.

        The new version of Proxmox VE 4.3 comes with a completely new comprehensive reference documentation. The new docu framework allows a global as well as contextual help function. Proxmox users can access and download the technical documentation via the central help-button (available in various formats like html, pdf and epub). A main asset of the new documentation is that it is always version specific to the current user’s software version. Opposed to the global help, the contextual help-button shows the user the documentation part he currently needs.

      • Proxmox VE 4.3 Officially Released with New Reference Documentation, Updated GUI

        Today, September 27, 2016, Proxmox Server Solutions GmbH proudly announced the immediate availability of the Proxmox VE (Virtual Environment) 4.3 open source, Linux-based hyper-converged server virtualization solution.

        The biggest new feature of the Proxmox VE 4.3 release appears to be a new reference documentation that users can download in various formats, including as EPUB, PDF or HTML, helping newcomers get started with Proxmox much faster. However, it looks like it is based on the Debian GNU/Linux 8.6 “Jessie” and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating systems, running LXC 2.0 and Linux kernel 4.4 LTS.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
    • Red Hat Family
      • How Red Hat is making money on the public cloud with a hybrid approach

        Red Hat hasn’t traditionally played much of a part in public clouds, a fact its CEO Jim Whitehurst underscored in Red Hat’s recent earnings call. Though the company is now dabbling in a true elastic/consumption-based delivery and pricing model via OpenShift, Red Hat remains a primarily on-premises business that only feints toward a true cloud model in terms of service delivery.

        Ironically, the hybrid cloud may be the trend that gets Red Hat fully planted in the public cloud.

      • Red Hat Software Adding Fort Point Offices

        The new location will include an immersive briefing center for visiting executives, the first East Coast location for the company’s innovation labs and a new engineering lab, which will augment Red Hat’s 175,000-square-foot engineering and product headquarters in Westford. The engineering lab will provide collaborative space to take advantage of Boston’s tech ecosystem, Raleigh, North Carolina-based Red Hat said in a statement.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Fedora Join meetings to begin this week

          We’ve had the Fedora Join SIG around for a bit now, but we haven’t been very active. Recently we’ve seen an increase in community members willing to participate in the SIG, and in combination with the work that CommOps is doing to improve the “joining experience” for newbies, we thought that it’s a good time to gain some traction.

        • Fedora 25 Alpha and processing.

          Is simple to use. You can used with java also with python and android mode.
          Come with many examples and tutorials.
          Today I tested with Fedora 25 alpha.

        • Fedora 24 — The Best Distro for DevOps?

          If you have been to any DevOps-focused conferences — whether it’s OpenStack Summit or DockerCon — you will see a sea of MacBooks. Thanks to its UNIX base, availability of Terminal app and Homebrew, Apple hardware is extremely popular among DevOps professionals.

          What about Linux? Can it be used as a platform by developers, operations, and DevOps pros? Absolutely, says Major Hayden, Principal Architect at Rackspace, who used to be a Mac OS user and has switched to Fedora. Hayden used Mac OS for everything: software development and operations. Mac OS has all the bells and whistles that you need on a consumer operating system; it also allows software professionals to get the job done. But developers are not the target audience of Mac OS. They have to make compromises. “It seemed like I had to have one app that would do one little thing and this other app would do another little thing,” said Hayden.

        • Fedora 25 Goes Into Beta Freeze Today, New Features Need To Be Completed

          Today is a big day along the Fedora 25 schedule and stepping towards its official debut in November.

          The Fedora 25 Beta freeze is today ahead of the planned beta release on 11 October. Also very important is today’s the 100% code complete deadline for Fedora 25 changes.

        • Fedora 25 Beta Freeze
        • Fedora 25 Linux Beta Might Land on October 11, 2016, Beta Freeze Now in Effect

          Fedora Project’s Mohan Boddu announced on September 26, 2016, that the upcoming Fedora 25 Beta milestone, which is scheduled for release next month on the 11th, is now officially in freeze stage.

          Fedora 25 is the next major release of the Red Hat-sponsored computer operating system for power users and anyone else who wants a well-designed Linux-based OS. It has been in development since July 2016, and the Alpha snapshot has hit the streets on August 30, after being delayed by a week due to some nasty regressions and bugs that have been patched quickly.

          The next stop in the Fedora 25 Linux development cycle is the Beta, which, according to the official release schedule, is now in freeze state. The Beta Freeze stage means that developers won’t be allowed to add any other features to the upcoming Beta release, but only to fix blockers and other annoyances that might not offer users a quality product.

    • Debian Family
      • Debian Project mourns the loss of Kristoffer H. Rose

        Kristoffer was a Debian contributor from the very early days of the project, and the upstream author of several packages that are still in the Debian archive nowadays, such as the LaTeX package Xy-pic and FlexML. On his return to the project after several years’ absence, many of us had the pleasure of meeting Kristoffer during DebConf15 in Heidelberg.

      • Derivatives
        • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” to Reach End of Life on September 30, 2016

          The Parsix GNU/Linux developers announced that the end-of-life status is approaching fast for the Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” operating system, urging users to upgrade to the latest release immediately.

          Dubbed Atticus and based on the Debian GNU/Linux 8.5 “Jessie” operating system, Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 was unveiled seven months ago, on February 14, 2016. Running the long-term supported Linux 4.1.17 kernel injected with TuxOnIce 3.3 and BFS patches, it was built around the GNOME 3.18 desktop environment with the GNOME Shell 3.18.3 user interface.

          The end of life (EOL) will be officially reached on September 30, 2016, which means that users of the Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” operating system will no longer receive security and software updates. Therefore, they are urged today to upgrade to the latest, most recent version of the Debian-based distribution, Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 “Erik.”

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 16.10 Final Beta Officially Released with Linux Kernel 4.8, Download Now

            Delayed six days, the Final Beta release of the upcoming Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) operating system launched today, September 28, 2016, as the final development snapshot in the series.

            Today’s Final Beta is in fact the first Beta pre-release version of Ubuntu 16.10, and the only development milestone that you’ll be able to test if you want to see what’s coming to the next major release of Ubuntu Linux. However, we can tell you that it is powered by Linux kernel 4.8, contains up-to-date applications, and still uses the Unity 7 UI.

            “The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the final beta release of Ubuntu 16.10 Desktop, Server, and Cloud products. Codenamed “Yakkety Yak”, 16.10 continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs,” reads the announcement.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • GitHub open-sources internal load-balancing software

    GitHub will release as open source the GitHub Load Balancer (GLB), its internally developed load balancer.

    GLB was originally built to accommodate GitHub’s need to serve billions of HTTP, Git, and SSH connections daily. Now the company will release components of GLB via open source, and it will share design details.

  • GE, Bosch and open source could bring more IoT tools

    Partnerships that could shape the internet of things for years are being forged just as enterprises fit IoT into their long-term plans.

    A majority of organizations have included IoT as part of their strategic plans for the next two to three years, IDC said last week. No one vendor can meet the diverse IoT needs of all those users, so they’re joining forces and also trying to foster broader ecosystems. General Electric and Germany’s Bosch did both on Monday.

    The two companies, both big players in industrial IoT, said they will establish a core IoT software stack based on open-source software. They plan to integrate parts of GE’s Predix operating system with the Bosch IoT Suite in ways that will make complementary software services from each available on the other.

  • Industrial IoT leaders work towards interoperability and open source collaboration
  • GE and Bosch Sign Agreement for Interoperability and Open Source Collaboration
  • Free PPMP from Bosch makes Industry 4.0 open for all
  • Open source tools can help small businesses cut costs and save time

    Imagine if there was a global community of tech experts who were independently building and improving digital tools that you could use for free. Tools that could help you provide a service for, and communicate with, your customers.

    Well, there is. The open source community is made up of amateur and professional computer coders who work on publicly available computer code. Businesses can then take these lines of code from websites such as Github, to use in their software, products and services.

    Open source projects are helping small businesses all over the world to save time and money.

  • OPNFV Colorado platform bolsters open source NFV efforts

    The Linux Foundation’s Open Platform for NFV project claims its third platform release targets accelerating development of NFV apps and services

    The telecom market’s continued move towards integrating network functions virtualization received a boost as the Linux Foundation’s Open Platform for NFV project released its latest Colorado platform release, the third from the open source-based organization.

  • Open-source NFV Project delivers third platform release

    The OPNFV Project, an open source project that facilitates the development and evolution of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) components across various open source ecosystems through integration, deployment, and testing today announced the availability of OPNFV Colorado, the project’s third platform release.

  • Inocybe Technologies Launches Community Version of their Open Networking Platform
  • Open Source Getting on My Nerves

    Open source people are generally not dirt dishers, however. Take Phil Robb of OpenDaylight , where he is senior technical director. Robb was on that MANO panel in Denver, and he spoke to me shortly afterward in an interview on ODL’s new Boron software release. I specifically asked him about the “messy MANO situation” right now.

    His response was frustratingly calm. “I would equate the MANO space with where the controller space was three years ago,” he says. “One of the great things about open source is that real code is going to be up, going to be used, stuff will work or it will fall over. But we’ll fail fast and move on.” (See Carriers Driving ODL’s Boron Release.)

    So having multiple versions in process isn’t a bad thing, Robb says, because it might be that one approach works better for a set of use cases than another. What the industry will come around to “sooner rather than later” is that one approach likely addresses the broadest set of use cases and will be more widely adopted, while others address niches and either are used alongside the major approach or incorporated into it.

  • GENIVI Alliance launches new open source vehicle simulator project
  • Choosing the right metrics for your project

    Last month we discussed setting goals for your community metrics program. These goals serve as a constant reminder of what you want to achieve in the program and should be used as metrics themselves when deciding exactly what you are going to measure.

    This month we’ll document a basic strategy for deciding what to measure, and give examples of specific community metrics we’ve used in practice. Using our knowledge of our community and the goals we previously came up with, we’ll make sure the metrics we choose are relevant.

  • An Open Source Shopping Cart Can Boost Your Online Commerce Efforts
  • Open Source Projects Must Work Together to Survive

    Open source software is in danger of being beaten at its own game by upstart services that are tightly integrated, less complex, and easier to use. That message was at the heart of the cautionary tale told by Stephen O’Grady in his keynote at this year’s ApacheCon North America in May.

    O’Grady, Principal Analyst & Cofounder of RedMonk, recalled his years as a systems integrator, pointing out that open source software took a big bite out of the enterprise software market when it became more accessible and easier to use.

  • Contributing to an Open Source Project

    If you’re interested gaining some tips and insights into how to contribute to open source, this video of a presentation given on September 19 at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco by Gunnar Wagenknecht, a software engineer at Salesforce, and Wayne Beaton, director at the Eclipse Foundation, might be useful to you.

  • Facebook Debuts Open Source Detection Tool for Windows

    Facebook debuted the open source tool in 2014 as cross-platform, but for the last two years it was only supported on Ubuntu, CentOS, and Mac OS X operating systems. Facebook isn’t the biggest Windows shop, but the company confirmed in March that because so many users were asking for it, it was building a version of the tool for Windows 10.

  • Events
    • Report for Software Freedom Day 2016 – China Academy Science

      This year I am asked to present SFD in China Academy Science by the company, so unlucky I am not proper to deliver a Fedora talk then. I bring some DVDs and stickers there, as well as a roll up poster. However there are people asking questions about Fedora so finally I still do some Q&A after the event.

      SFD in China Academy Science this year is hold in Huairou Campus, suburbs of Beijing. So with another Red Hatter, Shiyang, we took train there. Their campus is not easy to find and by the time we arrived at the event it’s 10 minutes before the start of the event.

      Talks started on 2:00 PM. After the hostess introduced the event, Shiyang is the first to talk. He introduces the basic usage of Git and Github. During the Q&A part of his talk, I found that in fact most students not paying much attention to distributions already. They are just users of Linux.

    • OpenDaylight Symposium 2016
    • Keynote: Join or Die! – Stephen O’Grady, Principal Analyst & Cofounder, RedMonk
  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • B2G OS and Gecko Annoucement from Ari Jaaksi & David Bryant

        In the spring and summer of 2016 the Connected Devices team dug deeper into opportunities for Firefox OS. They concluded that Firefox OS TV was a project to be run by our commercial partner and not a project to be led by Mozilla. Further, Firefox OS was determined to not be sufficiently useful for ongoing Connected Devices work to justify the effort to maintain it. This meant that development of the Firefox OS stack was no longer a part of Connected Devices, or Mozilla at all. Firefox OS 2.6 would be the last release from Mozilla. Today we are announcing the next phase in that evolution. While work at Mozilla on Firefox OS has ceased, we very much need to continue to evolve the underlying code that comprises Gecko, our web platform engine, as part of the ongoing development of Firefox. In order to evolve quickly and enable substantial new architectural changes in Gecko, Mozilla’s Platform Engineering organization needs to remove all B2G-related code from mozilla-central. This certainly has consequences for B2G OS. For the community to continue working on B2G OS they will have to maintain a code base that includes a full version of Gecko, so will need to fork Gecko and proceed with development on their own, separate branch.

      • Firefox 53 Will Drop Support for Windows XP and Windows Vista

        Software companies are one by one giving up on Windows XP support for their products, and now it appears that it’s Mozilla’s turn to switch the focus to newer versions of Windows.

        Firefox 53 will be the first version of the browser which will no longer support Windows XP and Windows Vista, so users who haven’t yet upgraded to Windows 7 or newer will have to either stick with Firefox 52 or move to a different browser.

      • Boot 2 Gecko Being Stripped From Mozilla’s Codebase

        At the end of 2015 Mozilla effectively put an end to Firefox OS / Boot 2 Gecko by concluding things weren’t working out for Mozilla Corp and their commercial partners to ship Firefox OS smartphones. All commercial development around it has since stopped and they are now preparing to strip B2G from the mozilla-central code-base.

        The news to report on now is that Ari Jaaksi and David Bryant have announced, “Today we are announcing the next phase in that evolution. While work at Mozilla on Firefox OS has ceased, we very much need to continue to evolve the underlying code that comprises Gecko, our web platform engine, as part of the ongoing development of Firefox. In order to evolve quickly and enable substantial new architectural changes in Gecko, Mozilla’s Platform Engineering organization needs to remove all B2G-related code from mozilla-central. This certainly has consequences for B2G OS. For the community to continue working on B2G OS they will have to maintain a code base that includes a full version of Gecko, so will need to fork Gecko and proceed with development on their own, separate branch.”

  • SaaS/Back End
  • CMS
    • Open source application portal adds new ITS applications for download

      The Open Source Application Development Portal (OSADP) web-based portal provides access to and supports the collaboration, development, and use of open-source ITS-related applications. The OSADP has added a number of new ITS-related applications that are available free to the public, including:

  • Public Services/Government
    • Wyoming’s open source enterprise code library a secret no more

      Wyoming’s 250-person Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) group knew it had a good thing in its Enterprise Extensible Code Library, but it chose to keep things under wraps outside of the state until last week when members of that team attended an annual confab for state government CIOs.

      It was at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) convention in Orlando that the ETS code library project was honored with a Recognition Award for Enterprise IT Management Initiatives, and the inquiries from other states and organizations started streaming in.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Inside the Drone Journalism Lab’s open source operations manual

      Across the world, journalists are increasingly using drone technology to augment their reporting at a fairly inexpensive price.

      In order to help journalists become more adept drone users, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Drone Journalism Lab recently released a free operations manual online.

      The manual, produced by Matt Waite, founder of the Drone Journalism Lab, is open source and Creative Commons licensed.

    • Open Source Malaria’s First Paper

      Open Source Malaria (OSM) publishes its first paper today. The project was a real thrill, because of the contributors. I’d like to thank them.

      Skepticism about open source research is often based on assumptions: that people will be too busy or insufficiently motivated to participate, or that there will be a cacophony of garbage contributions if a project is open to anyone. I’m not sure where such assumptions come from – perhaps people look first for ways that things might fail. We can draw upon many experiences of the open source software movement that would suggest such assumptions are poor. We can draw on successful examples of open collaboration in other areas of science, such as the Human Genome Project and the projects it has spawned, as well as examples in mathematics and astrophysics. This OSM paper addresses open source as applied to drug discovery, i.e. experimental, wet lab science in an area where we normally expect to need secrecy, for patents. It is based on the experience of 4-5 years of work and describes the first series examined by OSM.

    • Open Access/Content
Leftovers
  • Video claiming drilling into iPhone 7 will reveal hidden headphone port goes viral

    A video claiming that users can add a headphone socket to the iPhone 7, which only has a Lightning port, by drilling into the bottom of their phone has been watched almost 10m times.

    The prank video shows a man drilling a 3.5mm hole into the bottom left edge of the iPhone 7 held in a vice. It points to the row of small holes on the left side that replaced the headphone socket present on the iPhone 6S and claims that drilling into the second hole on the left reveals a hidden socket.

    Once the hole has been drilled the video shows an iPhone 7 playing music, although the sound comes out of the speakers, not the white headphones now inserted in the DIY hole.

  • Tempers flare in Venice as angry protesters block cruise ships

    Hundreds of demonstrators have taken to the water in Venice to protest against visiting cruise ships, as relations between tourists and locals reach a new nadir.

    Flare-waving protestors used gondolas and small boats to prevent cruise ships, including a vessel belonging to Thomson, from passing through the lagoon on Sunday.

    During peak season some 30,000 cruise ship passengers disembark in Venice every day, which locals claim is ruining their city, both environmentally and culturally.

  • Disney Is Working With an Adviser on Potential Twitter Bid

    Walt Disney Co. is working with a financial adviser to evaluate a possible bid for Twitter Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

    After receiving interest in discussing a deal, Twitter has started a process to evaluate a potential sale. Salesforce.com Inc. is also considering a bid and is working with Bank of America on the process, according to other people, who asked not to be named because the matter is private.

    Representatives for Twitter and Disney didn’t respond to requests for comment.

    Speculation that Twitter will be sold has been gathering steam in recent months, including last week’s news of Salesforce’s interest, given the social-media company’s slumping stock and difficulties in attracting new users and advertising revenue. Disney, the owner of ABC and ESPN, could obtain a new online outlet for entertainment, sports and news. Jack Dorsey, chief executive officer of Twitter, is on the board of Disney.

  • Science
    • Archaelogists discover 200-year-old underground pub in Manchester

      Archaelogists have discovered a 200-year-old underground pub during building work on a office building in central Manchester.

      Excavators discovered untouched bottles full of of brandy and crockery branded with the 18th-century landlord of the Astley Arms.

      Archaelogists were brought to the site of a future 13-storey skyscraper as part the planning process and found the remains of houses as well as the pub.

  • Security
    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • New Open Source Linux Ransomware Divides Infosec Community

      Following our investigation into this matter, and seeing the vitriol-filled reaction from some people in the infosec community, Zaitsev has told Softpedia that he decided to remove the project from GitHub, shortly after this article’s publication. The original, unedited article is below.

    • Fax machines’ custom Linux allows dial-up hack

      Party like it’s 1999, phreakers: a bug in Epson multifunction printer firmware creates a vector to networks that don’t have their own Internet connection.

      The exploit requirements are that an attacker can trick the victim into installing malicious firmware, and that the victim is using the device’s fax line.

      The firmware is custom Linux, giving the printers a familiar networking environment for bad actors looking to exploit the fax line as an attack vector. Once they’re in that ancient environment, it’s possible to then move onto the network to which the the printer’s connected.

      Yves-Noel Weweler, Ralf Spenneberg and Hendrik Schwartke of Open Source Training in Germany discovered the bug, which occurs because Epson WorkForce multifunction printers don’t demand signed firmware images.

    • Google just saved the journalist who was hit by a ‘record’ cyberattack

      Google just stepped in with its massive server infrastructure to run interference for journalist Brian Krebs.

      Last week, Krebs’ site, Krebs On Security, was hit by a massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that took it offline, the likes of which was a “record” that was nearly double the traffic his host Akamai had previously seen in cyberattacks.

      Now just days later, Krebs is back online behind the protection of Google, which offers a little-known program called Project Shield to help protect independent journalists and activists’ websites from censorship. And in the case of Krebs, the DDoS attack was certainly that: The attempt to take his site down was in response to his recent reporting on a website called vDOS, a service allegedly created by two Israeli men that would carry out cyberattacks on behalf of paying customers.

    • Krebs DDoS aftermath: industry in shock at size, depth and complexity of attack

      “This attack didn’t stop, it came in wave after wave, hundreds of millions of packets per second,” says Josh Shaul, Akamai’s vice president of product management, when Techworld spoke to him.

      “This was different from anything we’ve ever seen before in our history of DDoS attacks. They hit our systems pretty hard.”

      Clearly still a bit stunned, Shaul describes the Krebs DDoS as unprecedented. Unlike previous large DDoS attacks such as the infamous one carried out on cyber-campaign group Spamhaus in 2013, this one did not use fancy amplification or reflection to muster its traffic. It was straight packet assault from the old school.

    • iOS 10 makes it easier to crack iPhone back-ups, says security firm

      INSECURITY FIRM Elcomsoft has measured the security of iOS 10 and found that the software is easier to hack than ever before.

      Elcomsoft is not doing Apple any favours here. The fruity firm has just launched the iPhone 7, which has as many problems as it has good things. Of course, there are no circumstances when vulnerable software is a good thing, but when you have just launched that version of the software, it is really bad timing.

      Don’t hate the player, though, as this is what Elcomsoft, and what Apple, are supposed to be doing right.

      “We discovered a major security flaw in the iOS 10 back-up protection mechanism. This security flaw allowed us to develop a new attack that is able to bypass certain security checks when enumerating passwords protecting local (iTunes) back-ups made by iOS 10 devices,” said Elcomsoft’s Oleg Afonin in a blog post.

    • After Tesla: why cybersecurity is central to the car industry’s future

      The news that a Tesla car was hacked from 12 miles away tells us that the explosive growth in automotive connectivity may be rapidly outpacing automotive security.

      This story is illustrative of two persistent problems afflicting many connected industries: the continuing proliferation of vulnerabilities in new software, and the misguided view that cybersecurity is separate from concept, design, engineering and production.

      This leads to a ‘fire brigade approach’ to cybersecurity where security is not baked in at the design stage for either hardware or software but added in after vulnerabilities are discovered by cybersecurity specialists once the product is already on the market.

    • Sloppy programming leads to OpenSSL woes
    • OpenSSL Fixes Critical Bug Introduced by Latest Update

      OpenSSL today released an emergency security update after a patch in its most recent update issued last week introduced a critical vulnerability in the cryptographic library.

    • The Internet Of Poorly Secured Things Is Fueling Unprecedented, Massive New DDoS Attacks

      Last week, an absolutely mammoth distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack brought down the website of security researcher Brian Krebs. His website, hosted by Akamai pro bono, was pulled offline after it was inundated with 620Gbps of malicious traffic, nearly double the size of the biggest attack Akamai (which tracks such things via their quarterly state of the internet report) has ever recorded. Krebs was ultimately able to get his website back online after Google stepped in to provide DDoS mitigation through its Project Shield service.

    • Trump Offers More Insight On His Cybersecurity Plans: 10-Year-Old Relatives Vs. 400-lb Bedroom Dwellers

      Look, anyone who refers to cybersecurity or cyberwarfare as “the cyber” is probably better off not discussing this. But Donald Trump, in last night’s debate, felt compelled to further prove why he’s in no position to be offering guidance on technological issues. And anyone who feels compelled to portray hackers as 400-lb bedroom dwellers probably shouldn’t be opening their mouth in public at all.

      With this mindset, discussions about what “the Google” and “the Facebook” are doing about trimming back ISIS’s social media presence can’t be far behind. Trump did note that ISIS is “beating us at our game” when it comes to utilizing social media. Fair enough.

    • New, stronger crypto standard lacks backward compatibility

      The Internet Engineering Task Force is on the verge of approving a new standard for encrypted internet traffic that will make the web a safer place to shop, bank and browse — but it could also break a lot of stuff for people who don’t update their browsers. Transport Layer Security, or TLS, is an encryption protocol that works with web browsers. It’s the math, and the shared standards, that underlie the green padlock users see — the symbol which gives users the confidence that they are connected to the right site and is private enough to share personal or financial data. TLS supersedes SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer — a protocol dating back to 1995 that has proven to be thoroughly broken. But the latest TLS version was finalized in 2008 and in recent years has been the subject of many high profile attacks and newly discovered bugs.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Duterte ‘about to cross the Rubicon’ with US, wants alliances with Russia & China

      Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has reiterated his intention to distance his country from the US, its former colonial master, saying he is about to pass “the point of no return” with the US.

      “I am about to cross the Rubicon between me and the US,” the controversial Pacific leader told reporters, without elaborating.

      Duterte reiterated that the Philippines would seek closer ties with Russia and China, the two nations that challenged American ambition for global leadership. But, he added, the ties with the US would not be broken completely, only driven to a point that would allow Manila to have an independent policy.

    • Carter: Afghanistan War Supplemental Request Coming in November

      Defense Secretary Ash Carter plans to present Congress with a request for a supplemental spending measure to fund US troops in Afghanistan come November, he said Monday.

      However, Carter would not give a sense of how large the monetary request may be, saying only that there is a “range” that the department’s budgetary experts are considering.

    • Jordanian writer on trial for ‘anti-Islam’ cartoon shot dead outside court

      A gunman on Sunday killed prominent Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar outside a court where he was facing charges for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam, state news agency Petra reported.

      Hattar was struck by three bullets before the assailant was arrested, said Petra. Witnesses told AFP that a man had opened fire in front of the court in Amman’s Abdali district.

      The 56-year-old Christian was arrested on August 13 after posting a cartoon mocking jihadists on his Facebook account.

      He was charged with inciting sectarian strife and insulting Islam before being released on bail in early September.

    • Writer Charged With Insulting Islam Is Killed as Extremism Boils Over in Jordan

      Some of the most extreme elements in Jordan made clear in recent weeks that Nahed Hattar should pay for a provocative cartoon he posted online depicting a bearded man in bed with two women ordering God to bring him cashews and wine.

      So when Mr. Hattar, 56, a prominent writer from a Christian family, showed up at a court on Sunday to face criminal charges of insulting Islam, at least one man with a gun decided a trial was not enough. As three bullets ripped through the writer in front of the courthouse, Jordan’s simmering tensions boiled over.

    • France: What Is Hidden Behind the “Burkini Ban”

      In Sisco, Corsica, on August 13, a group of Muslim men arrived on a beach in the company of women wearing “burkinis” (full-body bathing costumes). The Muslim men firmly asked the tourists on the beach to leave and posted signs saying “No Entry”. When a few teenagers resisted, the Muslim men responded with a harpoon and baseball bats. The police intervened — but it was just the beginning.

      In the following days, on beaches all over France, Muslim men showed up, accompanied by women in burkinis, and asking beachgoers to leave. Tourists packed up and fled. Several mayors of seaside resorts decided to ban the bathing costume, and the “burkini ban” scandal was born.

      Some politicians said that banning the burkini “stigmatized” Muslims and infringed on their “human rights” to wear whatever they liked. Other politicians, including Prime Minister Manuel Valls and former President Nicolas Sarkozy, called the burkini a “provocation”, and asked for a law to ban it. The Council of State, the highest legal institution, eventually declared that banning the burkini was against the law; the ban was lifted.

      What is important to explain is what lies behind the “burkini ban.”

      Thirty years ago, France was a country where Islam was present but where Islamic demands were virtually absent and Islamic veils were rare.

      Then, in September, 1989, in a northern suburb of Paris, three female students decided to attend high school with their heads covered by a scarf. When the dean refused, the parents, with the support of newly created Muslim associations, filed a complaint. The parents won.

    • One dead and three injured in Malmo shooting as bomb found outside primary school

      Witnesses reported hearing 20 gunshots fired in bursts of three during a football derby at around 7pm local time between Malmö FF and Helsingborgs IF on Sunday.

      One eyewitness claimed the shots were fired by people in an Audi which drove off at high speed.

      Police found shell casings at the scene in Censorgatan and say the suspects may have escaped by moped – four people were injured, including one who was shot in the head.

    • Liberals’ MP hit by hate messages
    • India Says Pakistan Believes Terror Will Bring Territory

      Pakistan continues to believe terrorist attacks will allow it to obtain territory it covets in Jammu and Kashmir, India’s foreign minister said Monday.

      In her speech before the U.N. General Assembly, Sushma Swaraj also rejected accusations made by Pakistan’s prime minister from the same podium last week that India violates human rights, calling them “baseless.”

      She said India has a man in custody “whose confession is a living proof of Pakistan’s complicity in cross-border terror. But when confronted with such evidence, Pakistan remains in denial.”

      “It persists in the belief that such attacks will enable it to obtain the territory it covets,” Swaraj said. “My firm advice to Pakistan is: abandon this dream. Let me state unequivocally that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so.”

    • Pakistani journalist suing US for killing his son, brother in drone attack

      A Pakistani journalist has sued the United States government in Pakistani courts alleging that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had killed his brother and a son in a drone strike in the tribal region of the country in 2009.

      According to Karim Khan, his brother and the son were innocent and had no terror links at all. His brother Asif Iqbal had Masters degree in Modern Languages and was a teacher at a local school. The 16-year-old son, Zahinullah, was a student of grade 10.

      In an interview with Al Jazeera, Khan vowed to pursue the case against the CIA and the US government. “We would show their tyrannous face to the whole world…that’s all. They cannot bring back my brother or my son…but I will fight against them as far as I can,” he said.

      Since 2004, the Central Intelligence Agency has conducted over 400 drone attacks in Pakistan, killing about 3,000 people. The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism claims that at least 966 civilians, including 207 children were also among those killed by the drones.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Evolution of global temperature over the past two million years

      Reconstructions of Earth’s past climate strongly influence our understanding of the dynamics and sensitivity of the climate system. Yet global temperature has been reconstructed for only a few isolated windows of time, and continuous reconstructions across glacial cycles remain elusive. Here I present a spatially weighted proxy reconstruction of global temperature over the past 2 million years estimated from a multi-proxy database of over 20,000 sea surface temperature point reconstructions. Global temperature gradually cooled until roughly 1.2 million years ago and cooling then stalled until the present. The cooling trend probably stalled before the beginning of the mid-Pleistocene transition3, and pre-dated the increase in the maximum size of ice sheets around 0.9 million years ago. Thus, global cooling may have been a pre-condition for, but probably is not the sole causal mechanism of, the shift to quasi-100,000-year glacial cycles at the mid-Pleistocene transition. Over the past 800,000 years, polar amplification (the amplification of temperature change at the poles relative to global temperature change) has been stable over time, and global temperature and atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations have been closely coupled across glacial cycles. A comparison of the new temperature reconstruction with radiative forcing from greenhouse gases estimates an Earth system sensitivity of 9 degrees Celsius (range 7 to 13 degrees Celsius, 95 per cent credible interval) change in global average surface temperature per doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide over millennium timescales. This result suggests that stabilization at today’s greenhouse gas levels may already commit Earth to an eventual total warming of 5 degrees Celsius (range 3 to 7 degrees Celsius, 95 per cent credible interval) over the next few millennia as ice sheets, vegetation and atmospheric dust continue to respond to global warming.

    • Singaporeans are choking on smoke floating over from Indonesia – here’s why this is happening

      Every year, forest fires from Indonesia choke a swathe of Southeast Asia with a smoky haze for weeks. This phenomenon harms the planet and angers neighbors. It is also a health hazard.

      So what is fueling this? The world’s desire for palm oil.

      The edible oil is used in cookies, noodles and other packaged foods as well as soaps, shampoos, lipsticks and many other consumer goods.

      Farmers in Indonesia, the world’s biggest supplier of the commodity, often illegally burn the world’s oldest rainforest or use fire to clear old oil palms on existing plantations, and the smoke from the flames drifts across Singapore and Malaysia.

  • Finance
    • Dingell seeks transparency in trade deal negotiations

      Automakers such as Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler oppose the deal, in part because it doesn’t go far enough in addressing currency manipulation by other nations. Michigan lawmakers have suggested the state has lost tens of thousands of jobs in part because of currency manipulation by China, Japan and other countries.

      The office of U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman declined to comment on Dingell’s bill.

      Froman’s office has highlighted its transparency efforts regarding TPP, including the publication of detailed summaries of U.S. objectives in negotiating the agreement; the solicitation of public input on negotiating priorities; and the holding of public hearings to gather input on the negotiations.

    • TTIP: Negotiations ‘in the void’

      Negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are forging ahead, despite opposition from a number of countries. And the American elections are almost certain to compromise the deal. EurActiv France reports.

      Despite attempts by citizens and several governments to derail TTIP, EU member states have confirmed their aim of finalising the free trade deal with Canada (CETA) and pushing ahead with talks with the United States, despite the approaching elections.

    • Ministers aim to wrap up services trade deal in early December

      Countries negotiating an international agreement on trade in services plan to meet in early December to try to finalize the deal, U.S. Ambassador to the World Trade Organization Michael Punke told reporters on Monday.

      The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), which would provide stronger international rules for sectors such as communications and banking, is being negotiated among 23 WTO members, including the 28-country European Union, that account for 70 percent of global services trade.

      “The TiSA ambassadors met today and agreed to a ministers’ meeting on Dec. 5 and 6 in Geneva to conclude TiSA,” Punke said, adding: “Establishing 21st century trade rules for services, for 70 percent of the globe’s services economy, is a big deal.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Asymmetry between the major parties fries the circuits of the mainstream press

      On the eve of the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I thought I would write down some of the precepts and maxims I have used to understand press behavior during this long and startling campaign season. If I have done this right, you should be able to test the usefulness of my list in the final six weeks of the U.S. election. (And during coverage of the debates!)

      A word on how I came up with this list. I’ve been a close reader and critic of campaign coverage American-style since 1988. That’s eight “cycles,” as people in the industry say. After I started PressThink in 2003, I could write about the gatekeepers without their permission — hurray for blogging! — and so my pace increased during the 2004, 2008, and 2012 elections. This year I have done a little less at my blog (eight pieces since May 2015, plus one for the Washington Post) and put more into the real time conversation on Twitter, which includes most of the people doing campaign coverage, as well as the heaviest users of it.

    • Fact Check: Has Trump declared bankruptcy four or six times?

      Trump’s companies have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which means a company can remain in business while wiping away many of its debts. The bankruptcy court ultimately approves a corporate budget and a plan to repay remaining debts; often shareholders lose much of their equity.

      Trump’s Taj Mahal opened in April 1990 in Atlantic City, but six months later, “defaulted on interest payments to bondholders as his finances went into a tailspin,” The Washington Post’s Robert O’Harrow found. In July 1991, Trump’s Taj Mahal filed for bankruptcy. He could not keep up with debts on two other Atlantic City casinos, and those two properties declared bankruptcy in 1992. A fourth property, the Plaza Hotel in New York, declared bankruptcy in 1992 after amassing debt.

      PolitiFact uncovered two more bankruptcies filed after 1992, totaling six. Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts filed for bankruptcy again in 2004, after accruing about $1.8 billion in debt. Trump Entertainment Resorts also declared bankruptcy in 2009, after being hit hard during the 2008 recession.

    • 24 Arrested Outside Hofstra University While Demanding An Open Presidential Debate

      Hundreds protested the exclusion of alternative ideas and candidates from the first presidential debate

    • Colin Kaepernick: ‘Embarrassing’ that Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton are candidates

      Colin Kaepernick watched “a little bit” of Monday’s presidential debate, and he didn’t come away impressed with either candidate.

      [...]

      “It was embarrassing to watch that these are our two candidates,” Kaepernick told reporters Tuesday. “Both are proven liars and it almost seems like they’re trying to debate who’s less racist.

      “And at this point … you have to pick the lesser of two evils. But in the end, it’s still evil.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • When cyber gets physical: why we need the NSA [Ed: This shallow article (must enable JS) conflates cyberdefence with mass surveillance (which is what NSA does)]
    • Kuwait lawyers fight world’s first mandatory DNA sampling law

      Lawyers in Kuwait have issued a legal challenge to the only law in the world forcing citizens and visitors to give samples of their DNA to the government.

      The Kuwait government has said that the law is needed to combat terrorism. DNA testing is reportedly due to begin within weeks.

      When the law was passed in July last year, Adel AbdulHadi of the Kuwaiti law firm Adel AbdulHadi & Partners and his colleagues began researching and drafting their challenge to it. Their principal argument is that the law violates privacy and human rights provisions in the country’s own constitution, as well as those enshrined in international treaties to which Kuwait is a signatory.

    • Local Lawyers Challenge New Kuwaiti Law Creating Mandatory DNA Database Of All Citizens And Visitors
    • Snowden movie ‘preposterous’, says former NSA deputy director

      The former deputy director of the National Security Agency has taken issue with Oliver Stone’s biopic of one-time NSA employee Edward Snowden.

      Speaking to National Public Radio, Chris Inglis, who retired in 2014 after 28 years at the agency, said the film’s narrative “was a gross mischaracterisation of what NSA’s purposes are. And a gross exaggeration of Edward Snowden’s own particular role in that. To the point where you could come away from looking at that movie, saying, ‘Why are 50,000 people at the NSA dead wrong? And one is absolutely correct?’”

      An NSA deputy director does feature in the film, played by Patrick Joseph Byrnes, and commissions Snowden to lead an important project in Hawaii.

    • Military pressing for broader surveillance mandate

      New legislation is being prepared at the Ministry of Defense for inclusion in a broader package of laws aimed at upgrading surveillance by security officials that would include the possibility of monitoring data carried by cables crossing the country.

      At present, Finland does not have a law providing the military with a mandate to carry out these kinds of intelligence operations. The new legislation in the works will include this, and spell out oversight of intelligence gathering and the division of duties among various officials and agencies.

      The Finnish military has a signals intelligence unit known as the Finnish Intelligence Research Establishment which organizationally falls under the Air Force.

      The head of Finnish military intelligence services, Major General Harri Ohra-aho told Yle that operations are not only concerned with information gathering about the military picture in the region, but also with assessing social developments.

      “We don’t count tanks, rather create a broad analysis of the situation in our vicinity. Technological advances are changing the security environment,” said Ohra-aho.

    • Swiss endorse new surveillance powers

      Swiss voters have given a strong approval to a law on new surveillance powers for the intelligence agencies.

      The new law would allow the authorities to tap phones, snoop on email and deploy hidden cameras and bugs.

      It would help Switzerland catch up with other countries, supporters say.

      Opponents have feared it could erode civil liberties and put Swiss neutrality at risk by requiring closer co-operation with foreign intelligence agencies.

      Some 65.5% of voters agreed to accept the proposal. It will allow the Federal Intelligence Service and other agencies to put suspects under electronic surveillance if authorised by a court, the defence ministry and the cabinet.

    • Microsoft goes AI crazy: Now Office 365 can track what you really get up to in meetings

      At its annual Ignite conference this week in Atlanta, GA, Microsoft is showing off new AI features across its core products for the enterprise. According to CEO Satya Nadella, this AI-everywhere strategy amounts to Microsoft “democratizing AI” for everyone to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.

      “To do this, we’re infusing intelligence into everything we deliver, from the agent to applications, services and infrastructure,” said Nadella.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • A New Intelligence Award for “Reporting Wrongdoing” [Ed: this is a trap]

      Professional integrity may be welcome everywhere, but “speaking truth to power” is rarely welcomed by “power.” Often it is not even acknowledged as “truth.” (Apparently, the IC envisions itself here as the domain of truth, and not of power. Or will those who challenge the IC leadership itself be eligible for the new award?) Meanwhile, “reporting wrongdoing” often seems to end badly for the reporter, as the frequency of whistleblower reprisal claims indicates.

    • House Intelligence Panel Gets Dozens of Whistleblower Complaints Every Year

      Critics of leakers have often argued that whistleblowers have legitimate channels through which they can report their grievances, but in the murky world of intelligence, it’s hard to know how many complaints are filed, and what, if anything, happens as a result. Now, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence says it sees “dozens” of such complaints every year.

      The committee will not disclose details on individual cases, however.

      “We receive whistleblower-type complaints both through the [Intelligence Community inspector general] — which includes complaints filed through the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act — and via individuals who approach the committee directly,” said Jack Langer, communications director for Committee Chair Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. Those complaints number in the “dozens” each year, he added.

      The legal process for whistleblowing has been at the center of renewed debate following public disclosures made by Edward Snowden in 2013. Snowden, who worked as an NSA contractor, insists he tried to raise complaints internally, but eventually gave up on the system, for fear of reprisal or dismissal.

    • Torture and False Testimony Leaves Mexico on a Journey to Nowhere

      For many in Mexico, the disappearance of 43 young students from the Ayotzinapa teaching college two years ago remains a painful emblem of a profound national failure—the failure of the state to protect its own people. Among other things, the case highlighted collusion among drug gangs, local politicians, and police, the failure of federal authorities to carry out a credible investigation, and—glaringly—the degree to which torture remains part of the standard operating procedure of criminal investigation.

      Take the case of Patricio Reyes Landa, an alleged member of the Guerrero Unidos criminal gang. Two years ago, Mexico’s attorney general called a press conference and showed a video in which Reyes Landa and three other suspects demonstrated how they supposedly threw the students’ ashes in a river, after incinerating their bodies at a garbage dump. Now, Reyes Landa and some 90 other suspects detained during the investigation say they were tortured into making false confessions about what they did or saw.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Verizon Claims Nobody Wants Unlimited Data, Wouldn’t Be Profitable Anyway

      Back in 2011, Verizon and AT&T eliminated unlimited wireless data plans, instead pushing users toward share data allotments and overage fees as high as $15 per gigabyte. And while the companies did “grandfather” many of these unlimited users at the time, both companies have made at art form out of harassing or otherwise annoying these customers until they convert to costlier shared plans. And despite the fact that such overage-fee-based plans confuse the living hell out of most customers (who have no idea what a gigabyte is), both companies continue to insist that customers don’t actually want unlimited data.

  • DRM
    • EFF calls on HP to disable printer ink self-destruct sequence

      HP Inc. should apologize to customers and restore the ability of printers to use third-party ink cartridges, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said in a letter to the company’s CEO yesterday.

      HP has been sabotaging OfficeJet printers with firmware that prevents use of non-HP ink cartridges and even HP cartridges that have been refilled, forcing customers to buy more expensive ink directly from HP. The self-destruct mechanism informs customers that their ink cartridges are “damaged” and must be replaced.

    • Demand that HP make amends for its self-destructing printers [SIGN AND SHARE!]

      I’ve written an open letter to HP CEO Dion Weisler on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, asking him to make amends for his company’s bizarre decision to hide a self-destruct sequence in a printer update that went off earlier this month, breaking them so that they would no longer use third-party ink cartridges.

      The letter points out that this is bad business — and it’s also bad for security. HP printers have previously been shown to be vulnerable to malware that spreads through sneaky codes in documents you print, that can steal your private data, raid your network, and become part of website-killing botnets.

      HP hid its self-destruct sequence in a software update, making future updates — like those that patch this kind of defect — suspect, and decreasing the likelihood that HP’s customers will install them.

      Worse still: HP can use Section 1201 of the DMCA to threaten security researchers who reveal similar defects, and to attack competitors who restore full functionality to your printer.

    • Capcom Releases DRM For Street Fighter 5, Promptly Rolls It Back When It Screws Legitimate Customers

      It should be quite clear by now that DRM is a fantastic way for video game makers to keep people from playing their games. Not pirates, though. No, those folks can play games with DRM just fine, because DRM doesn’t actually keep piracy from being a thing. No, I’m talking about legitimate buyers of games, who in example after example after example suddenly find that the games they bought are unplayable thanks to DRM tools that work about as well as the American political system. And yet DRM still exists for some reason, as game makers look for some kind of holy grail piece of software that will turn every past pirate into a future dollar sign.

      This search for the perfect DRM continues, as we have just the latest story of DRM gone wrong. This story of the Street Fighter V DRM, though, is a special kind of stupid because it was put in place via a software update release, meaning that a game that worked perfectly one day was bricked the next.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Copyright Theft Is Grounds For Deportation, Board Says
      • Immigration Board Says You Can Be Deported For Copyright Infringement

        While we still wait to see if Kim Dotcom can be taken against his will from another country into the US for “copyright infringement” claims, apparently the DOJ has also decided that it can work the other way. The Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals has said that people can be deported for copyright infringement. Apparently the law (the Immigration and Nationality Act) says that non-citizens can be deported if they commit crimes “involving moral turpitude” but had never weighed in on whether or not copyright infringement counted.

        [...]

        To be fair, this was a case of criminal copyright infringement, and not civil copyright infringement — and the board noted that because criminal copyright infringement requires the showing of “willfulness,” it suffices for the “moral turpitude” question. The person in question, Raul Zaragoza-Vaquero, had been arrested for selling 800 copied CDs to an RIAA investigator. He received 33 months in prison and had to pay $36,000… and was then told he had to leave the country.

      • EFF White Paper Hopes To Educate Cops On The Difference Between An IP Address And A Person

        Judges have pointed out to copyright trolls on multiple occasions that an IP address is not a person. Trolls still labor under this convenient misconception because they have little else in the way of “proof” of someone’s alleged infringement.

        Unfortunately, law enforcement agencies also seem to feel an IP address is a person — or at least a good indicator of where this person might be found. This assumption leads to blunders like ICE raiding a Tor exit node because it thought an IP address was some sort of unique identifier. After having IP addresses explained to it by the EFF, ICE returned the seized hard drives and promised to make the same mistake in the future.

        In another case, the Seattle PD raided a Tor exit node in search of a person downloading child porn. It didn’t find the target it was looking for, but went ahead and demanded passwords so it could search files and logs at the unfortunate citizen’s home before realizing it had the wrong person.

        The EFF is kind of sick of having to explain the difference between an IP address and a person to government entities. It has put together a white paper [PDF] that should be required reading anywhere government employees feel compelled to act on “evidence” as useless as IP addresses.

      • The EU’s Proposed Copyright Directive Is Likely To Be A Wonderful Gift — For US Internet Giants

        Even if the Copyright Directive manages to pass through the EU legislative system without any changes — which seems unlikely — Google would be in a strong position, because it already has the content ID technology in place that will allow it to comply. Although McNamee suggests that as a result Google would be “uniquely placed to license such software to European internet providers,” it’s more likely that it would keep it for its own exclusive use. However, the US company Audible Magic would doubtless be more than happy to license its widely-used content identification system as an alternative. And irrespective of whether it’s based on technology from Google or from Audible Magic, it’s hard to see how this outcome helps the European tech industry.

Team Battistelli Intensifies the Attack on the Boards of Appeal Again

Tuesday 27th of September 2016 11:23:54 PM

While publicly stating to the media that they have gained independence (which is a lie)


Back to East German standards in Munich

Summary: The lawless state of the EPO, where the rule of law is basically reducible to Battistelli’s ego and insecurities, is again demonstrated with an escalation and perhaps another fake ‘trial’ in the making (after guilt repeatedly fails to be established)

THE EPO has become a rogue institution under Battistelli. It not only abolished quality control but also started attacking anyone who dares talk about it.

According to this, the “EPO does not even invite critics of swpats [software patents] when it makes an event, looks like an echo chamber for patentees” (links to an event that was mentioned here in another article from this morning).

Jesper Lund responded by saying that the “EPO has even stopped saying computer implemented inventions instead of #swpat” (software patents).

“Remember that Battistelli, who cooked up several fake ‘trials’ (internally, no oversight), relied on a USB device as ‘evidence’ and then spread some defamation in the Dutch and German media regarding the claims made by the accuser (himself).”They just keep changing the words they use to dodge the negative connotation. See how they say UPC instead of EU Patent and Community Patent, among other names for the same bad scheme. The EPO used to speak of “computer-implemented inventions,” a euphemism for software patents. They used to do this in their older Web pages (in the old site) and sometimes said CII, as we showed earlier this year. So basically, our fears of software patents under Battistelli are justified and insiders tell us that they do in fact grant software patents.

Who can stop this madness? Usually the boards of appeal. They already contributed to narrowing of scope in the past (to prevent frivolous litigation*). This morning we published a post that mentioned Board 28 and the latest stunt from Battistelli. He is quietly putting up the fire on the boards — all this while the media is supposed to believe that the 'exile' in Haar is an improvement (Wim Van der Eijk, Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA), is already on his way out).

Remember that Battistelli, who cooked up several fake ‘trials’ (internally, no oversight), relied on a USB device as ‘evidence’ and then spread some defamation in the Dutch and German media regarding the claims made by the accuser (himself). Here is the latest on this:

yeah, just saw it too.
How can there be new material NOW?
Or did one of the newly hired guys find new evidence somewhere in the stack of material on the famous USB-storage element?

Incredible.
The most important thing hammered to me in the EPO-academy for examiners-to-be, was that every single communication should be as complete as possible, including ALL objections.
We should not create new cases every time with new objections based on grounds previously known or foreseeable, but not formulated. We should not be lazy. Writing all down is procedurally efficient and gives better legal certainty to the party concerned and the public.
Maybe we should politely ask the administration representatives to join the academy, so that they do learn this important element of procedure.
It also causes one to reflect a bit more when hearing/reading something, before jumping to conclusion and action.

One might be led to the “conclusion that the AC and the President are colluding to subvert the provisions of the EPC,” one person asserted today. Here is the full comment:

So there are “new elements of information” on the suspended member of the Boards of Appeal. So what? The sole disciplinary authority for that member has closed the case against him. The charges have effectively been dismissed.

Some time ago, I posed the question of what the AC would do in the light of the disciplinary case being closed. I guess that we now have our answer: an “excuse” has been found for not immediately following the only legally sound course of action open to the AC, namely reinstatement (and appropriate compensation) of the member in question.

Do I take it that the member (and his legal tem) has been fully informed of the “new elements of information” and has been provided with an opportunity to comment upon them (as well as the issue of res judicata)? Or is there not even a pretence at formal investigation / disciplinary proceedings here?

If this carries on, then it will become impossible to avoid the conclusion that the AC and the President are colluding to subvert the provisions of the EPC. Whilst the immunities afforded to him mean that President can afford to be sanguine about the possible consequences of this, the members of the AC would do well to remember that their immunities are much more limited.

As we pointed out before, the attacks on the staff continue to escalate and become more severe. Staff in at least three EPO sites is said to be affected (the Dutch branch and apparently the Berlin branch also).

We are still curious as to why SUEPO has said nothing for so long; maybe SUEPO just hopes that the EPO’s union-busting agenda will slow down a bit if they say little or nothing to the general public.

The EPO is in shambles and Battistelli does everything to ensure it stays that way. No wonder staff is leaving in droves and it is difficult to recruit suitable people.
_____
* There is this new report today (actually a press release) about an EPO patent coming under fire, EP1575758B. It’s likely to happen a lot more after Battistelli’s regime has led to the issuance of many bogus patents and has damaged the appeal process.

After the EPO Paid the Financial Times to Produce Propaganda the Newspaper Continues to Produce UPC Puff Pieces, Just Ahead of EU Council Meeting

Tuesday 27th of September 2016 10:38:56 PM

Remember what they did right before Brexit?

Summary: How the media, including the Financial Times, has been used (and even paid!) by the EPO in exchange for self-serving (to the EPO) messages and articles

THE EPO gives over a million Euros per year to a US-based and rather notorious PR firm. The EPO is essentially corrupting the European media at the expense of EPO budget, i.e. taxpayers and/or fee payers.

A very core part (if not flag bearer) of Team UPC, Bird & Bird, gets a platform or gets embedded in a new article (behind paywall) and then brags about it by saying: “Our @twobirdsIP partner, Rob Williams, speaks to the @FT about the effect of Brexit on the Unitary Patent Court” (“speaks to” means it’s a puff piece in the form of an interview, like those puff pieces that Managing IP has been doing with Battistelli, after prefiltering questions based on what some other journalists told us the EPO likes to do — a form of sanitisation).

The Financial Times was paid (one might even say bribed) by the EPO for UPC puff pieces several months ago, with a huge budget at Battistelli's disposal derived or extracted for lobbying purposes. The EPO gave money to media companies including the Financial Times and it even did this at a strategic time, almost certainly in order to influence the British referendum. Political meddling from such an institution should, in its own right, be a major scandal.

Regarding the piece itself (behind a paywall, so we must go by clues), based on the headline it’s once again the Milan fantasies, pretending that Milan can magically become London. It’s utter nonsense.

A more realistic take on the UPC came today from Dr. Glyn Moody. Unfortunately, his main citation points to CIPA, which has been working closely with the EPO on this (to undermine/steal democracy). Here is a portion of his article, which links to IP Kat:

It will still be possible for the UK to participate in the pan-EU Unified Patent Court (UPC) system after Brexit, according to a new legal opinion, but only if the UK is willing to “submit itself to the supremacy of EU law in the field of patent disputes.” Once established, the UPC will rule on cases involving unitary patents, which proponents say will reduce the costs of using and litigating patents in the EU.

Before the Brexit referendum, the UK was one of the main supporters of the idea of setting up the UPC. The UK government has already signed a lease for the London section of the Central Division and the UK Local Division of the new court system. Whether or not it can still participate in the UPC is therefore a crucial question.

A post on the IPKat blog explains that the legal opinion was put together for the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA). The institute has been “lobbying for positive participation in the UPC after putting in so much work in advance of preparing the system,” and therefore is keen for the UK to remain a part of the UPC system even post-Brexit.

Benjamin Henrion already told him, “too bad you did not mention Stjerna paper. And Council meeting in 2 days.”

Based on Bristows of Team UPC (update today): “The UPC Preparatory Committee is meeting on 10 October 2016 in Paris. Regarding the Competitiveness Council, as the UPC is an ‘AOB’ item for this week’s meeting there is not likely to be any substantive discussion; the Council’s next meeting is on 28/29 November 2016.”

The “EU Council [is] to meet this Thursday, 29 September to discuss UPC and unitary patent,” they noted separately. As a reminder, Bristows of Team UPC is scheming to undermine both British and EU democracy. All it cares about are its own selfish interests. More patent litigation would mean more business for Bristows and its ilk (companies like Bird & Bird)

Here, incidentally, is a person in favour of the UPC saying that the UK should not ratify and explains why. The following comment was published today (“Meldrew” seems to be a British patent attorney):

I agree with Meldrew that it is better to be in the system than out – but otherwise disagree. Ratifying now creates problems we do not currently have (and we have plenty as it is) – it could lead to the UPC and UP commencing when it is uncertain whether the UK can or will remain in the project. If it can’t, but the UK has ratified in the meantime and the system commences, the situation for UPs covering the UK, the existence and locations of the UK local division and central division branch, the position of the UK judges and the enforceability of UPC judgments handed down pre Brexit are all unclear. None of these are sensible uncertainties to create in the hope that it will all be sorted out through some pragmatic political discussion. Nor do I believe the remaining EU member states will somehow reward the UK for being neighbourly in allowing the UPC to commence without delay, or punish us for not doing so – it is likely to be an irrelevance in the overall negotiations.

This doesn’t even touch on whether ratification now of what is a treaty between EU member states (even if technically not an EU instrument), which requires recognising the supremacy of EU law (in general, not expressly limited to patent law), is politically possible. It is impossible in my view to reconcile ratification with the referendum vote (which went the wrong way, as far as I am concerned), at least until the Brexit terms are known and agreed (and are such that it is politically consistent to ratify).

I am a realist. And sadly, the pragmatic – and sensible – thing to do is simply not to ratify, then wrap the whole UP/UPC/UK discussion in with general Brexit negotiations. This of course means delay since it is difficult to see how the remaining member states can actually proceed without the UK while it remains an EU member state and a signatory to the UPC Agreement. If we end up out, then the UPC can go ahead without the UK at that point, if the momentum remains. If we are in, so much the better, though I see dragons and lions in the path there.

And for what it’s worth, I am a supporter of the UPC/UP system even though I do not believe it to be quite as good or as “necessary for industry” as many have said it is.

Don’t be fooled by the UPC fantasies. The UPC isn’t happening, but Team UPC wants us to think otherwise so that guards are taken down and opposition reverts back to defeatism.

Beware the Patent Law Firms Insinuating That Software Patents Are Back Because of McRO

Tuesday 27th of September 2016 04:26:39 PM


McRO at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) is just a drop in the ocean

Summary: By repeatedly claiming (and then generalising) that CAFC accepted a software patent the patent microcosm (meta-industry) hopes to convince us that we should continue to pursue software patents in the US, i.e. pay them a lot more money for something of little/no value

THE PREVIOUS post, a short article regarding SCOTUS, mentioned the legacy of Alice. It’s a living nightmare for patent law firms, some of which reportedly went out of business (we covered one high-profile example exactly a month ago).

“It’s a living nightmare for patent law firms, some of which reportedly went out of business…”“Once a patent is deemed to be directed to an abstract idea, the burden appears to shift against the patentee,” Patently-O wrote yesterday in relation to Alice step 2 (the abstractness test), noting also that “Enfish substantially increased the overlap between Steps One and Two of the eligibility analysis. Typically, if a claim includes an eligible inventive concept then it will not be deemed directed to an abstract idea in the first place.”

Enfish hardly changed anything at all, but patent law firms kept talking about it and shoving it into the media for about a month! They were hoping to change policy and practice by means of selective emphasis. It’s a politician’s foreign policy trick, e.g. misleading chronology or selective coverage of just one side’s agony.

Take the area of digital payment patents. They’re basically as dead as can be and statistics associated with failure/success rate are undermining Patently German‘s case when he says that “Mining giant BHP Billiton introduces Ethereum-based file sharing sys to improve suppl chain. Pioneering non-financial #blockchain application” (Accenture is trying to get patents in this area, as we noted earlier this week).

“They were hoping to change policy and practice by means of selective emphasis.”Thankfully, with Alice as a precedent, software patents in this area are very much buried (about 90% of those being tested in a court or an appeal board get invalidated).

In relation to this new article, one patent attorney asks: “Will there be a war for Blockchain patents? No, because Alice is killing most all the patent applications” (well, good).

The EPO may be going in the opposite direction, but in the US there are more appeals right now and patents are being crushed in this area a lot more often than they are being upheld. It’s too risky to even file a lawsuit with such patents. In fact, it’s dangerous to even assume that once granted a patent, not to ever be asserted in a court of law, this patent would somehow be safe. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) changed a lot of this by introducing inter partes reviews (IPRs).

“Referring to the headline,” Patently-O wrote about inter partes reviews (PTAB appeals), “The PTAB (acting on behalf of the PTO Director) held that traditional equitable defenses do not apply to IPR proceedings. Because this holding was made as part of an IPR institution decision, the appeal was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.”

“In fact, it’s dangerous to even assume that once granted a patent, not to ever be asserted in a court of law, this patent would somehow be safe.”So in this particular case, PTAB was not effective for clerical or bureaucratic reasons rather than technical reasons.

Speaking of the above-mentioned PTO Director, the previous one, David Kappos, who was responsible for a lot of the mess including a surge in patent trolling and software patents, is now in the lobbying industry. He is trying to use his previously-acquired connections to influence the law on behalf of massive corporate clients such as Microsoft, IBM, and Apple. He wants to marginalise Alice, under the guise of “clarity”. He is not alone, either. The patent microcosm backs him and here we have a couple of patent law firms putting forth their interests through Watchtroll — a site which cannot stop attacking the Supreme Court’s judgement because it wants software patents (profit). “Is it Time To Amend 101?” says their headline. But why? It’s fine. Unless one is a patent lawyer that strives to patent everything…

Jonas Bosson from FFII Sweden told us about McRO, stating that “the decision is bad. Have you seen any good analysis of the effects?”

“I’d like EFF or TechDirt to put some attention to this, as it seems software patent proponents are playing this big.”
      –Jonas Bosson“I have seen dozens,” I told him. “Same as in Enfish, lots of noise, no profound effect. SCOTUS won’t revisit software patents any time soon.”

“I’d like EFF or TechDirt” he responded, “to put some attention to this, as it seems software patent proponents are playing this big.”

Yes, software patents proponents like Microsoft and patent law firms can’t stop hyping up McRO, as if they want us to forget that CAFC broadly rejects software patents. Here is Bilski Blog (proponent of software patents) coming up with “More Lessons from McRo” (later reposted in some sites of patent lawyers). The site says “there are a couple of issues that McRo should have addressed but did not. First, the court could have further clarified that the preemption analysis should be from the perspective of a person of ordinary skill in the art (POSITA), and not a lay court. Using POSITA makes the analysis objective, technology neutral, and adaptive to changes in technology over time. POSITA is the only objective framework in the patent law and is already employed for claim construction, enablement, written description, obviousness, and the doctrine of equivalents. My partner Dan Brownstone and I set forth this theory, what we called Objective Preemption, in our amicus brief in Alice.”

“Well, such is the nature of selling agenda (and one’s own services)…”One does not need to look too far to realise what they pushed for in Alice, and the same goes for Bilski. Software patents profiteers can’t stop lobbying for change and even more than 2 weeks after McRO we still see propaganda in the form of ‘analysis’ [1, 2] or “Free Webinar”. One example we found yesterday was published by Gunnar Leinberg and Bryan Smith from LeClairRyan. “Federal Circuit Provides Additional Support to Software Patents” was their misleading headline. How come they never wrote anything about any of the decisions where CAFC looked into software patents and found them invalid? Well, such is the nature of selling agenda (and one’s own services)…

The US Supreme Court Might Soon Tighten Patent Scope in the United States Even Further, the USPTO Produces Patent Maximalism Propaganda

Tuesday 27th of September 2016 03:23:45 PM

Interesting timing as the USPTO has just come under criticism from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for issuing far too many patents

Summary: A struggle brewing between the patent ‘industry’ (profiting from irrational saturation) and the highest US court, as well as the Government Accountability Office (GAO)

The Supreme Court in the US (SCOTUS) has contributed a lot to woes for patent lawyers and a relief to software developers. It is abundantly clear that Mayo and Alice are being taken quite seriously by lower courts, especially the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC).

“In short, this is just self-serving USPTO propaganda, serving perhaps to distract from the recent GAO report which chastised the USPTO for patent maximalism.”It is not hard to see that patent lawyers are frightened and mortified by SCOTUS and CAFC, both of which have been limiting patent scope more so than district courts and the USPTO (trying to just maximise its own income rather than provide a service*). Design patents may be next to be axed by the US Supreme Court, as we noted earlier this year (in summertime) and various maximalists of patents speak about it, including Watchtroll [1, 2] (the Kool-Aid of patent law firms if not somewhat of a lobbying site).

“USPTO publishes new estimates of “IP-Intensive” industries, spin results,” according to KEI (very good Web site by the way). “We have seen same spin in Europe,” Benjamin Henrion wrote. To quote all the key points about this think tank-esque activity:

USPTO has just published its new estimates of “IP-intensive” jobs for the US economy. The report is titled: Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: 2016 Update, and is available as a PDF file here. USPTO press release here:

I took a quick look at the report, and below are some initial bullet points:

1. In the new USPTO study of “IP-intensive” jobs, 85 percent are included because of trademarks.

2. Just 14 percent of the “IP-intensive” jobs involve patents.

3. 20 percent of so called “IP-intensive” jobs involve copyright industries.

4. Just 2 percent of the “IP-intensive” jobs involving patents are in the pharmaceuticals sector.

5. According to USPTO, less than 1 percent of all “IP-intensive” jobs are in the pharmaceutical sector.

6. USPTO’s top three “IP-intensive” industries are:

Grocery stores: 2.6 million jobs
Computer systems design: 1.8 million jobs
Management consulting: 1.4 million jobs

7. According to USPTO, a “majority of patenting firms are in the services and wholesale sectors.”

8. According to USPTO, the “Sound recording Industries” only provide 23.5 thousand jobs which is 0.0008 of all “ip-intensive” jobs.

9 Almost none of USPTO’s copyright sector jobs benefit from long copyright terms.

In short, this is just self-serving USPTO propaganda, serving perhaps to distract from the recent GAO report which chastised the USPTO for patent maximalism. Our next post will look more closely at the software patents lobby.
___
* This new blog post from a patent maximalist (and longtime proponent of software patents for Bristows) says that there is “presumption of validity under US patent law,” but patent validity for pre-Alice patents is a joke because USPTO approved almost every application and by some standards it's estimated that as much as 92% of applications eventually led to a grant. To quote the maximalist, writing about ChIPs Global Summit: “The panel also noted that the presumption of validity under US patent law assists the patentee in showing that they have something of real value and that the burden of proving that the patent is invalid falls on the other side. However, in reality if we took a poll, many would comment that there are a lot of weak patents out there. It was suggested that perhaps the focus therefore should be on patent quality so that the presumption of validity and the standard of evidence to rebut that presumption (clear and convincing) is actually appropriate. Just because a patent has survived one patent challenge does not mean that the patent is necessarily stronger. If the patent has survived a challenge in front of a really good judge, then the panel noted that that may deter opponents. However, in reality, that decision is not binding on anyone who is not party to that case. Those parties will try a different tactic before different judges in a different forum. This is of course correct – it is not fair to an absent party to be faced with the bias of a decision in a case they had no right to participate in. There cannot be a time bar for bringing a challenge to a patent in district court as potential litigants and controversy may not be in existence at the time of the first action.”

Patent Trolling a Growing Problem in East Asia (Software Patents Also), Whereas in the US the Problem Goes Away Along With Software Patents

Tuesday 27th of September 2016 02:50:54 PM

Section 101 is like patent reform 101

Summary: A look at two contrasting stories, one in Asia where patent litigation and hype are on the rise (same in Europe due to the EPO) and another in the US where a lot of patents face growing uncertainty and a high invalidation rate

AS SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS often insist, copyrights are enough for them. These protect against misuse, plagiarism and so on. Software patents, given the inability to inspect binary files and properly study them, don’t add any more protection.

A patent law firm from South Korea (i.e. parasites that make no actual software) started the week by trying to make a case for software patents (see the above screenshot). Here is the opening part which speaks of rejection of such patents:

In recent years, there has been substantial interest in changing existing law and practice in order to expand the protection for computer program inventions. The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) sought to enact such a change by officially releasing its revised Examination Guidelines for Computer-Related Inventions on July 1 2014. Three months later, an amendment bill to the Patent Act was submitted to the National Assembly, which attempted to broaden the scope of protection for computer-related inventions (eg, by opening up the possibility of patentees bringing infringement claims against online sellers of an allegedly infringing computer program, something which would not be subject to infringement liability under the guidelines). The National Assembly seemed to recognise that the proposed amendments could have profound effects on the software industry and thus rejected them, noting that more opinions from the industry were needed to gain a consensus on this issue.

As we have already seen in the case of LG and Samsung, Microsoft utilises software patents so as to extort OEMs in South Korea and this month it is pursuing even more money, in essence trying to tax Linux (we wrote about that twice last week). In addition to that, Microsoft creates and arms patent trolls that go after Linux and/or Android. We gave many examples of that in the past and earlier this month we warned that patent trolling was becoming commonplace in China and other countries in east Asia. IAM ‘magazine’ does not quite see what the problem is and today it has this new article about a silent passage of patents to Oppo, after concerns about the US ITC targeting companies in Taiwan (where many products are actually made) without even a proper trial, imposing massive sanctions that are absolute and ruinous. When companies such as Microsoft use the US ITC in an attempt to simply embargo the competition, using patents that are often dubious (USPTO does a shoddy job), everybody loses. Regarding the problem of trolls in Asia, we see more and more articles from IAM. In the US, says IAM, trolling activity has gone down and Joff Wild finally uses the T word (troll):

The week before last I hosted a webinar for IAM Market entitled Readying a Patent Portfolio for Sale: What You Need to Know to Be Successful. Over 350 people signed up to get the materials and the recording, while close to 200 listened live as presenter Kent Richardson, a partner at Silicon Valley-based Richardson Oliver Law Group, talked through his slides and then answered questions from me and from attendees. It was a fascinating hour, which my colleague Jack Ellis has written up in a blog for the IAM Market knowledge centre (where there are also details about how you can get hold of the presentation, talk and interview).

This week I am in Gothenburg for the CIP Forum and yesterday at a session about defensive patent aggregation something that Kent (who is also here and took part in the session) said during the webinar came back to me. As a firm that does a lot of transaction-based work, ROL closely monitors activity in the patents sales market, in particular packages being offered by brokers. IAM subscribers will know that each year ROL produces an update for us about the activity it is seeing in areas such as pricing, sales rates, package sizes and so on – the next one will be published in issue 81 of IAM, which comes out at the end of November. One of the things it is set to show, Kent stated in our conversation, is that prices finally seem to have stabilised, essentially because they probably could not go any lower, and that for the first time it looks like operating companies are buying more than NPEs are.

Coming from a trolls denialist, the above is interesting. If it’s true that trolls have shrunk somewhat (in terms of activity like litigation and acquisitions), then we suspect it has a lot to do with the demise of software patents, as we foresaw all along. Later today we’ll show how the US patent microcosm tries to change things for the worse again.

The EPO’s Continued Push for Software Patents, Marginalisation of Appeals (Reassessment), and Deviation From the EPC

Tuesday 27th of September 2016 01:56:01 PM

Quality control is just a theoretical concept in Battistelli’s EPO, where the goose is being slaughtered for a golden egg

Summary: A roundup of new developments at the EPO, where things further exacerbate and patent quality continues its downward spiral

THE scandals at the EPO are an endless saga and a bottomless pit. Board 28 needs to act fast because the Administrative Council sure behaves like it does not care or like it’s trying to save face for Battistelli.

“Patent scope (limitation) seems to be viewed as a nuisance at the upper echelon/top floors of the EPO’s building in Munich.”“According to the minutes of the last meeting of Board 28,” one person wrote, “the president provided “new elements of information [...] on the disciplinary case of a Council appointee. Following an exchange of views, [the Board] indicated that it would reflect on the information, pending receipt of a legal note from the President.”” the thing about the Board is, it previously said Battistelli's regime had caused an EPO "crisis". We are planning to revisit this subject pretty soon. Has the Board said anything about the decline in quality and loss of stakeholders' interest which is very apparent? Therein lies a crisis as big as the social crisis. The EPO cannot survive without a reputation. It won’t attract applicants or even highly-qualified staff.

Watch this new tweet from the EPO, which links to the EPO’s own site and says: “From today, you can register for the Indo-European conference on Industry 4.0 and patents” (Industry 4.0 is just a meaningless buzzword).

Not too shockingly, software patents (in Europe) have been interjected into it (the fourth time we see it this month alone!). To quote the page (emphasis ours): “The consequences for the patent system are potentially tremendous, and they challenge some of the fundamental concepts of the system, such as the definition of “industry” and “inventor”. There will be a greater overlap and interplay between the types of rights, and as software pervades through all technologies a greater debate on the patentability of software.”

Patent scope (limitation) seems to be viewed as a nuisance at the upper echelon/top floors of the EPO’s building in Munich. These guys are nuts; they’re neither scientists nor good managers. They’re mostly old buddies of Battistelli, loyal to him and telling him mostly what he wants to hear. They attack everything which voices criticism as though it’s an enemy, including the independent (in principle) boards of appeal.

“We understand from correspondence with the EPO that this change in practice has been made following investigations by the Legal Division resulting in an acknowledgement that the current procedures for recording an assignment are not consistent with Article 72 EPC.”
      –Lexology“The EPO to bring opposition proceedings in standard cases down from 25,8 months to 15 months,” Nordic Patent (Kongstad-connected) says, citing “Heli Philajamaa from EPO” (the EPO has just retweeted this).

Here is a simple translation for those who believe the lie that the appeals are still taken seriously (rather than gradually crushed): The EPO does not want oppositions. It wants to make them harder, more expensive, etc. It suppresses them. Heck, it does not even want patent quality anymore.

The EPO’s “current procedures for recording an assignment are not consistent with Article 72 EPC,” says this new report, but it’s not as though the EPC ever bothered Battistelli. He ignores it at every turn and corner, as we noted earlier this year. The thugs at Eponia basically declared a state of emergency and are now just doing whatever they please, even when that’s against national and international laws. Here is what contributors to Lexology said:

However, we have been made aware that, with immediate effect, the EPO will only record an assignment if it is signed by all parties to the agreement. An assignment signed by the assignor(s) only will be considered to be deficient. We understand from correspondence with the EPO that this change in practice has been made following investigations by the Legal Division resulting in an acknowledgement that the current procedures for recording an assignment are not consistent with Article 72 EPC.

This change in practice has not yet been publicly announced by the EPO. However we are aware from practical experience that the new practice is already in effect and have been informed that the Guidelines for Examination will be updated shortly. There is no indication that the EPO plans to revisit assignments already recorded under the previous practice.

At this stage it seems almost as though it’s too late to save the EPO. It’s too hard to save something whose top management does not want it to be saved (they just try to save their own career, not the Office, or simply save face).

The Battistelli Effect: “We Will be Gradually Forced to File Our Patent Applications Outside the EPO in the Interests of Our Clients”

Tuesday 27th of September 2016 01:15:08 PM

All that political UPC lobbying from Battistelli and his cronies (like Margot Fröhlinger) merely served to discredit the EPO



Sailing nowhere, fast.

Summary: While the EPO dusts off old files and grants in haste without quality control (won’t be sustainable for more than a couple more years) the applicants are moving away as trust in the EPO erodes rapidly and profoundly

THE EPO has done virtually nothing to repair its bad reputation. Paying over a millions Euros to fracking propagandists is hardly a sound plan and as long as union-busting activities carry on, staff of the EPO will perceive the management — not SUEPO — as their biggest enemy. What’s more, stakeholders outside the EPO are paying attention and some take action, knowing that patent quality at the EPO is far from what it used to be. Insiders tell us so as well.

“Team Battistelli lied to the public (and to staff) about the UPC’s inevitability and here in the UK we saw Team UPC (perhaps fraudulently) advertising UPC jobs that did not exist and would never exist.”The EPO’s top-level management put all its eggs in the UPC basket. Team Battistelli lied to the public (and to staff) about the UPC’s inevitability and here in the UK we saw Team UPC (perhaps fraudulently) advertising UPC jobs that did not exist and would never exist. We complained about this at the time. How do they get away with this? They hate democracy so much (or disregard it so blatantly) that they quit caring about — or they’re not paying attention to — the enormous damage caused to their reputation and integrity. What are European companies supposed to think of the UPC and the EPO right now?

“This purely academic exercise is all well and good,” one person wrote in a thread stuffed with UPC hopefuls (Team UPC and the patent microcosm, especially in the UK), “but a complete waste of time and money. There will be no political will to make this work because Brexit means Brexit. Don’t you get it yet? Forget it and move on….”

Indeed, but they have spent so much effort and time on UPC preparations, so they refuse to move on. Another commenter then added that “we will be gradually forced to file our patent applications outside the EPO in the interests of our clients,” so we assume this commenter has moved on already. To quote in full:

The discussion about Brexit and UPC continues to be maddening as not based on the possible (to avoid repeating myself I refer to my previous comments http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2016/09/does-david-davis-want-to-ratify-upc.html?showComment=1474556188098#c99464718469530613 Thursday, 22 September 2016 at 15:56:00 BST )
If financial leviathans in the City are struggling to persuade the UK government to protect their financial passports post Brexit to preserve a status quo in London from which the UK benefits to the tune of tens of billions each year, what on earth makes any realistic observer believe the minnow of the patent community could persuade the UK government to move against the Brexit tide by ratifying the UPC pre-Brexit?
That would be true if the UPC was the best idea ever (which it isn’t), if there was a ground swell of support for it from UK industry and potential users (there isn’t), if it would encourage innovation in the UK or Europe (it won’t) or if the EPO was the most respected patent office in the world (it isn’t).
Indeed, regretfully, I must be even more blunt, the EPO’s continuing flogging of this UPC dead horse is yet more evidence (amongst many examples well known to all) that current EPO management continue to act against the long term interests of the patent community and industry in Europe. The present EPO President has zero credibility as his administration undermines the EPO on multiple levels with increasing irrationality. Reduction in patent quality, horrendous abuse of staff, attacking the independence of BoAs are but three examples and it is to the utter shame of the Administrative Council that he has survived so long.
Rather than focussing short term attention on the fate of the UPC, the most important and urgent action which would help improve the patent system in Europe is for the AC to remove Benoît Battistelli (and his team) from office without delay and bring back humane, credible and competent leadership to the EPO. Only then can a rational discussion of the challenges begin with all stakeholders, and users such as myself can have their confidence and faith in the EPO restored in a post Brexit world with or without the UPC. If not, reluctantly we will be gradually forced to file our patent applications outside the EPO in the interests of our clients and the EPO will begin a slow decline to irrelevance.

“That the EPO still pushes for UK ratification is hard to understand,” wrote one person in response to the aforementioned comments about the EPO’s resort to lobbying (we wrote about that yesterday). To quote:

I could not agree more with the blogger of 12.43 BST.

Ratifying now would be utterly counter-productive and only increase problems.
Sorry Meldrew, but ratifying now has nothing to do with pragmatism, but sheer panic to be left out of a system which could have been so lucrative. Actually, I was expecting better from Meldrew.

That the EPO still pushes for UK ratification is hard to understand. I would say there are more urgent problems to be solved at the EPO than fighting for UK ratification. Seeing the way the AC does not do its job of controlling the EPO and its president, one wonders about a hidden agenda.

How can it be that training for search and training for examination used to be three years for each job, now it is three years for both. Have the newcomers suddenly become more intelligent? Please allow me to doubt. Quality is thus lowering for a long time, but the lowering can only accelerate.

The problem lies with the EPO and its management. I leave here purposely aside any discussion about the ill treatment of staff representatives, but concentrate only on the horrendous production figures which are now required. Here it is not only BB who is to blame, but much more VP1, who has always thought that examination, and hence the grant of solid patents, is of secondary importance.

What matters are production figures. Who gives a damn about the patent quality, production figures have to be according the plan. Basta as would a former German chancellor say. The erosion of quality is nothing new, but when one sees what is coming out one can only shudder.

What good could be a UPC when faced with patent of little or no value.

A court be it called UPC or not, cannot do a good job on shaky patents! Why is it then so necessary to quickly ratify?

In our next post we’ll remark on patent quality again.

Links 27/9/2016: Lenovo Layoffs, OPNFV Third Software Release

Tuesday 27th of September 2016 11:56:58 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • My Experiences Converting Users To GNU/Linux

      My wife, TLW, runs GNU/Linux with few problems. She uses a tablet, an Odroid-C2 ARMed thick client, and a big notebook all running Debian GNU/Linux or Ubuntu and her Android/Linux smartphone and her scanner and printer all deal with Beast, my GNU/Linux server. I have her file-system plugged in via NFS so she can do IT in bed, in front of the TV, on TV, or in her office and all her thousands of pictures, documents, scans etc. are all in the same place.

      She doesn’t even have much problem using Ubuntu or XFCE4 on Debian because she mostly uses the same applications all day long. It just works for her and memories of That Other Operating System are fading. She was locked to a single thick client with limited capabilities in those Dark Days. She had repeated crashes and malware. Today, her issues with IT are things like changing the name of a file on the FTP server or how to scan a light image or…, real problems, not problems M$ causes billions of people every day.

    • Shame on Microsoft for Leaving Surface Pro Customers in the Dark

      When Microsoft came out with its first batch of Surface tablets a few years ago, the company took a bath on them. It didn’t help that they were conceived around the unpopular Windows 8 and the now-defunct Windows RT and that the prospects for the OS were in question. After Microsoft wrote off $900 million on its money-losing Surface business, the deathwatch was on. But the Intel-based Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 showed a glimmer of hope, and Microsoft finally delivered a solid hit with the Surface Pro 3. After that water­shed release, the Surface division is now an important business that brings in more than $1 billion revenue per quarter. Yet Microsoft isn’t showing much appreciation toward the customers who helped put its Surface business on solid footing.

  • Server
    • DevOps: All Development, No Database

      Since the last time I touched working code in a production environment, it’s no exaggeration to say that no part of the development process remains untouched. Over the last decade plus, effectively every aspect of the application development process has been scrutinized, rethought and in many cases reinvented. From version control to build systems to configuration and deployment to monitoring, modern development’s toolchain is multi-part and sophisticated.

      As it must be. Processes that work for code released in cycles measured in months cannot be expected to handle workflows measured in days or minutes.

      For all that the process of developing software has evolved, however, the database remains curiously overlooked. Consider the example of Cloud Native. Describing a modern, typically legacy-free approach to building applications appropriate for cloud environments, the term Cloud Native has gone from informal descriptor to accepted industry shorthand in short order – to the extent that it has its own technical foundation.

      If we look at the membership of that foundation, the CNCF, it would appear that the roster includes no database vendors at the Platinum or Gold membership levels, at least if you assume Google’s involvement is around Kubernetes and not tools such as BigQuery. Of the 41 silver members, meanwhile, two can be considered database vendors: Crunchy and Treasure Data.

  • Lenovo
    • Microsoft, Lenovo Accused Of Blocking Linux On Signature Edition PCs

      Laptops today are increasingly powerful. Right now, if you get a new laptop, the probability is that it comes with the new Windows 10 operating system but there are some people that prefer to have a choice when it comes to OS selection. While some people are fine with Windows 10, there are those who might want to have a dual OS system running. A few people who bought Lenovo laptops like the Yoga 900, 910S, and 710S, found that Lenovo was blocking Linux.

    • What you missed in tech last week: HP’s ink ban, Lenovo vs Linux, Yahoo mega-hack

      LAST WEEK was a controversial one in the world of technology, and HP, Lenovo, Microsoft and Yahoo all faced a backlash from pissed off customers.

    • Motorola, Lenovo lay off over a thousand more people
    • New Lenovo layoffs at Moto, company has now lost over 95% of employees in four years

      Speaking to Droid-life, both sources inside the company and Motorola itself confirmed today that Lenovo has conducted a brutal round of layoffs at Moto. According to DL, over 50% of Motorola’s existing US staff have lost their jobs. A 20-year veteran of the company allegedly posted on Facebook that he had been laid off, so it looks like Lenovo is cutting deep at the device-maker.

      One source told them that over 700 employees would be asked to leave of the over 1200 Motorola currently employs. No doubt Lenovo hopes to cut costs by integrating much of Motorola’s software and hardware development into its own smartphone unit. Sensible or not, it’s still rather sad to watch the once-proud brand slowly be swallowed by The Great Lenovo Monster. The lack of critical or consumer hype around the company’s new Moto Z line hasn’t helped matters, and while the refreshed Moto G franchise was generally well-received, it’s the expensive phones that make the money, and I have a hard time believing the Z series is a runaway sales success.

    • Lenovo Courts Devs WIth Moto Z Source Code Release

      Lenovo, which owns Motorola, last week released the kernel source code for the Moto Z Droid smartphone on Github. The move follows the company’s posting of the Moto Z Droid Moto Mods Development Kit and Moto Mods on Github this summer. This is the first kernel source code made available for the Moto Z family of devices. Releasing the kernel source code seems to be another step in Lenovo’s attempt to get devs to build an iPhone-like ecosystem around the Moto Z family. The Z family is modular.

  • Kernel Space
    • The Linux Foundation Partners with Girls in Tech to Increase Diversity in Open Source

      One of the great strengths of open source is that it provides opportunities for everyone. Regardless of background, age, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation or religion, everyone can benefit from and contribute to some of the most important technologies ever developed.

      Yet we know that many groups remain underrepresented in the open source community, which is why The Linux Foundation engages in efforts such as providing diversity scholarships for our training and events and sponsoring organizations such as Women Who Code, Code.org, Blacks in Technology, All Star Code and more.

    • Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator: Muneeb Kalathil

      I started using Linux when I was in school. But at that point, I was limited to Installation and running a few commands. I really started learning and growing my interest in Linux while I was working on my degree in Computer Applications. My first distribution was Red Hat CentOS. I spent many hours learning Linux and enjoyed it.

    • Reiser4 Implements Mirror & Failover Support

      Edward Shishkin, one of the last remaining Reiser4 developers and the one who has been leading this out-of-tree file-system the past few years, has implemented logical volumes support with support for mirrors (in effect, RAID 0) and failover support at the file-system level.

      Shishkin quietly announced on Sunday, “Reiser4 will support logical (compound) volumes. For now we have implemented the simplest ones – mirrors. As a supplement to existing checksums it will provide a failover – an important feature, which will reduce number of cases when your volume needs to be repaired by fsck.”

    • security things in Linux v4.3

      When I gave my State of the Kernel Self-Protection Project presentation at the 2016 Linux Security Summit, I included some slides covering some quick bullet points on things I found of interest in recent Linux kernel releases. Since there wasn’t a lot of time to talk about them all, I figured I’d make some short blog posts here about the stuff I was paying attention to, along with links to more information. This certainly isn’t everything security-related or generally of interest, but they’re the things I thought needed to be pointed out. If there’s something security-related you think I should cover from v4.3, please mention it in the comments. I’m sure I haven’t caught everything.

      A note on timing and context: the momentum for starting the Kernel Self Protection Project got rolling well before it was officially announced on November 5th last year. To that end, I included stuff from v4.3 (which was developed in the months leading up to November) under the umbrella of the project, since the goals of KSPP aren’t unique to the project nor must the goals be met by people that are explicitly participating in it. Additionally, not everything I think worth mentioning here technically falls under the “kernel self-protection” ideal anyway — some things are just really interesting userspace-facing features.

    • Open Source NFV releases third platform, offers additional testing capabilities

      The OPNFV Project, an open source project set on driving the evolution of network functions virtualization (NFV) components, has made its OPNFV Colorado release available.

      As the third platform release, OPNFV Colorado includes feature enhancements across security, IPv6, Service Function Chaining (SFC), testing, VPN capabilities, and support for multiple hardware architectures.

      Specifically, OPNFV Colorado address three main areas: core feature upgrades, enhanced testing capabilities, and infrastructure and testing environment advancements.

    • Serro CEO to Participate on Prominent Keynote Industry Panel at the Linux Foundation’s Upcoming OpenDaylight Summit in Seattle
    • The Linux Foundation and edX Roll Out a Free OpenStack Cours

      The market for OpenStack training continues to surge, and training is now offered by vendors such as Mirantis and independent organizations such as The Linux Foundation. Overall training for OpenStack surged last year. According to the OpenStack Foundation, since the launch of the OpenStack marketplace in September 2013, training offerings grew from 17 unique courses in eight cities to 119 courses in 99 cities.

    • Linux Kernel 4.4.22 LTS Brings ARM and EXT4 Improvements, Updated Drivers

      Immediately after announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.7.5, renowned kernel developer and maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman informed the community about the availability of Linux kernel 4.4.22 LTS

    • ONOS Hummingbird SDN release touts core control function improvements

      ON.Lab’s ONOS Project noted its eighth SDN platform release expands southbound and northbound protocol, legacy device support

      The telecommunications market’s choice of software-defined networking platforms continues to blossom, with the Open Networking Laboratory’s Open Network Operating System Project releasing its latest SDN platform variant under the “Hummingbird” tag.

    • The Linux State Of AMD’s Zen x86 Memory Encryption

      With AMD’s forthcoming Zen processors is support for some new memory encryption technologies that are of particular benefit for virtualized environments.

      I wrote about Linux patches for AMD memory encryption earlier this year while since then more information has come to light. At last month’s Linux Security Summit, David Kaplan presented on these technologies coming with Zen; only today I had come across the slide deck for this presentation.

      The technologies come down to Secure Memory Encryption (SME) and Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV). SME provides memory encryption on a per-page-table basis using AMD’s ARM-based security co-processor. AMD SME + SEV are designed against both user-access attacks and physical access attacks with a particular focus on VM / hypervisor security.

    • Improving Fuzzing Tools for More Efficient Kernel Testing

      Fuzz testing (or fuzzing) is a software testing technique that involves passing invalid or random data to a program and observing the results, such as crashes or other failures. Bamvor Jian Zhang of Huawei, who will be speaking at LinuxCon Europe, realized that existing fuzz testing tools — such as trinity — can generate random or boundary values for syscall parameters and inject them into the kernel, but they don’t validate whether the results of those syscalls are correct.

    • OPNFV Heads Down Colorado Trail

      OPNFV today issued its third software release, ending the agonizing six-month period in which folks had to pronounce and spell Brahmaputra. (See OPNFV Issues Third Software Release.)

      This latest release continues the river theme but is sensibly named Colorado: It has other advantages as well, namely support for key features such as security, IPv6, service function chaining (SFC) testing, virtual private networks and more.

      In addition, Colorado is laying some key groundwork for what lies ahead as the industry comes to terms with the MANO (management and network orchestration) dilemma, says Heather Kirksey, Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. ‘s executive director.

    • OPNFV’s Third Release Includes Security Enhancements
    • ONOS, OPNFV Introduce Latest Open SDN, NFV Releases
    • OPNFV Issues Third Software Release
    • Graphics Stack
      • X.Org’s GLAMOR 2D Performance Continues To Be Tuned

        While GLAMOR has already been around for a number of years as a means of providing generic X11 2D acceleration over OpenGL for the X.Org Server, it’s a seemingly never-ending process to optimize its code-paths for best performance. More improvements are en route for making GLAMOR 2D faster, which should especially be helpful for Raspberry Pi users making use of the VC4 driver stack on this very slow-speed hardware.

        Benefits to the GLAMOR code in the X.Org Server obviously have the potential to benefit all users of this acceleration mechanism for code going into the xorg-server code-base as opposed to an individual GL driver, but for Raspberry Pi users in particular there is some efforts ongoing by Broadcom’s Eric Anholt as well as Keith Packard’s never-ending tinkering with the X Server code. GLAMOR continues to be used by default for all AMD GCN GPUs, Nouveau for the latest generations of GPU too, VC4 2D is only supported with GLAMOR, and optionally by other DDX drivers too.

    • Benchmarks
      • Intel Core i7 6800K Benchmarks On Ubuntu + Linux 4.8

        While the Core i7 6800K has been available for a few months now, there hadn’t been any review on it since Intel hadn’t sent out any Broadwell-E samples for Linux testing this time around. However, I did end up finally buying a Core i7 6800K now that the Turbo Boost Max 3.0 support is finally coming together (at first, Intel PR said it wouldn’t even be supported on Linux) so that I can run some benchmarks there plus some other interesting items on the horizon for benchmarking. Here are some benchmarks of the i7-6800K from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with the Linux 4.8 kernel.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Announcing the KDE Advisory Board

        With KDE having grown from a hobby project by a few volunteers 20 years ago to the large and central Free Software community it is now, our interactions with other organizations have become increasingly important for us. KDE software is available on several platforms, is shipped by numerous distributions large and small, and KDE has become the go-to Free Software community when it comes to Qt. In addition to those who cooperate with KDE on a technical level, organizations which fight for the same vision as ours are our natural allies as well.

        To put these alliances on a more formal level, the KDE e.V. hereby introduces the KDE e.V. Advisory Board as a means to offer a space for communication between organizations which are allied with KDE, from both the corporate and the non-profit worlds.

        One of the core goals of the Advisory Board is to provide KDE with insights into the needs of the various organizations that surround us. We are very aware that we need the ability to combine our efforts for greater impact and the only way we can do that is by adopting a more diverse view from outside of our organization on topics that are relevant to us. This will allow all of us to benefit from one another’s experience.

      • KDE Introduces An Advisory Board
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Behind the GNOME 3.22 Release Video

        This is less than usual. The time saving mostly stems from spending less time recording for the release video. At first thought you might think recording would be a breeze but it can be one of the most frustrating aspects of making the videos. Each cycle the GNOME community lands improvement a wide set of GNOME’s applications. So before each release I have to find some way to run a dozen of applications from master.

      • ContractPatch, Step 2: Understanding the power balance

        At the point you are presented with a job offer, your prospective employer really wants to hire you. Chances are, they’ve screened and interviewed a number of candidates and put a lot of work into the process. Your manager has thought deeply about who they want in the position and has probably imagined how it will all work out with you in the role. Both you and the hiring decision-maker(s) are probably very optimistic about what you’ll accomplish in the role and how well you’ll get along working together. At this point, no one wants to go back to the drawing board and start the process over again. You will be excited to start the new job but it’s worth taking a step back to appreciate the unusual position you are in with your new employer.

      • Epiphany Icon Refresh
  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0

        Uruk GNU/Linux appears to be a fairly young project with some lofty goals, but some rough edges and unusual characteristics. I applaud the developers’ attempts to provide a pure free software distribution, particularly their use of Gnash to provide a pretty good stand-in for Adobe’s Flash player. Gnash is not perfect, but it should work well enough for most people.

        On the other hand, Uruk does not appear to offer much above and beyond what Trisquel provides. Uruk uses Trisquel’s repositories and maintains the same free software only stance, but does not appear to provide a lot that Trisquel on its own does not already offer. Uruk does feature some add-ons from Linux Mint, like the update manager. However, this tends to work against the distribution as the update manager hides most security updates by default while Mint usually shows all updates, minus just the ones known to cause problems with stability.

        As I mentioned above, the package compatibility tools talked about on the Uruk website do not really deliver and are hampered by the missing alien package in the default installation. The build-from-source u-src tool may be handy in some limited cases, but it only works in very simple scenarios with specific archive types and build processes. Hopefully these package compatibility tools will be expanded for future releases.

        Right now I’m not sure Uruk provides much above what Trisquel 7.0 provided two years ago. The project is still young and may grow in time. This is a 1.0 release and I would hold off trying the distribution until it has time to build toward its goals.

    • New Releases
      • Black Lab Linux 8 Beta 3 Released

        The development team is pleased to announce the new Beta release of Black Lab Linux 8 – our latest OS offering to bring the best Linux desktop distribution currently on the market. This release moves the kernel and application set away from the prior LTS 14.04 base to the new 16.04 LTS base. Black Lab Linux 8 will showcase 3 desktop environments : MATE, LXDE and GNOME 3. Other improvements include:

        Full EFI support
        Kernel 4.4.0-38
        LibreOffice 5.2
        GNOME Video
        Rhythmbox
        Firefox 49
        Thunderbird
        GIMP
        Full multimedia codec support

      • Black Lab Linux 8 Beta 3 Is Out with Full EFI Support, Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

        Softpedia was informed today, September 26, 2016, by Black Lab Software’s CEO Robert J. Dohnert about the availability of the third Beta development snapshot of the upcoming Black Lab Linux 8 GNU/Linux operating system.

        Black Lab Linux 8 “Onyx” Beta 3 is here approximately three weeks after the second Beta pre-release and it comes with a major change. It is no longer based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), as the development team decided to switch base and move to the next Ubuntu LTS version, namely Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Beta2

        Leap 42.2 Beta2 is looking pretty good, except for the problems with Plasma 5 and the nouveau driver. That’s really an upstream issue (a “kde.org” issue). I hope that is fixed in time for the final release. Otherwise, I may have to give up on KDE for that box.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Exactly What Is OpenStack? Red Hat’s Rich Bowen Explains

        You’ve probably heard of OpenStack. It’s in the tech news a lot, and it’s an important open source project. But what exactly is it, and what is it for? Rich Bowen of Red Hat provided a high-level view of OpenStack as a software project, an open source foundation, and a community of organizations in his talk at LinuxCon North America.

        OpenStack is a software stack that went from small to industry darling at warp speed. It has three major components: The compute service runs the virtual machines (VMs), and it has a networking service and a storage service, plus a dashboard to run everything. OpenStack is only six years old, and was born as a solution devised by Rackspace and NASA to solve a specific problem.

      • Red Hat’s Results Underscore its Growing Focus on OpenStack

        Late last week, Red Hat reported earnings per share of 55 cents on revenue of $600 million, beating estimates of 54 cents and $590 million, respectively. One thing that went unsaid across much of the coverage is that the company is in the midst of a major shift in its strategy toward OpenStack-based cloud computing, and it looks like service revenues and positive momentum from that effort are starting to arrive.

        “Our growth was driven in part by expanding our footprint with customers as we closed a record number of deals over $1 million, up approximately 60 percent year-over-year,” Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said during his company’s earnings call. Seven of the top 30 deals had OpenStack in there, nine had RHEV,” Whitehurst said. “We had three OpenStack deals alone that were over $1 million. So I think we’re seeing really, really, really good traction there.”

      • Red Hat targets $5-b revenue in five years

        Open-source technology firm Red Hat Inc, which hit the $2-billion revenue milestone two quarters ago, is looking to achieve $2.4 billion in FY 2017 and $5 billion in the next five years.

        The company is betting on India, its second largest operation outside the US, as one of the key growth engines to help achieve its aspirational revenue goal of $5 billion by 2021.

        “India is a bright spot for Red Hat for three reasons,” Rajesh Rege, Managing Director, Red Hat India, told BusinessLine.

      • Red Hat Announces Ansible Tower App for Splunk, Enabling Intelligence and Automation Enhancements
      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Fedora 26 Linux OS to Ship with OpenSSL 1.1.0 by Default for Better Security

          Fedora Program Manager Jan Kurik informs the Fedora Linux community about a new system-wide change for the upcoming Fedora 26 operating system, namely the addition of the OpenSSL 1.1.0 libraries by default.

          It appears that current Fedora Linux releases ship with OpenSSL 1.0.2h, which has been patched with the latest security fixes, but the team decided it was time to upgrade the OpenSSL libraries (libssl and libcrypto) to a newer, more advanced branch. Therefore, Fedora 26 Linux will ship with OpenSSL 1.1.0 by default, which will have a massive impact on the overall stability and security of the OS.

          “Update the OpenSSL library to the 1.1.0 branch in Fedora to bring multiple big improvements, new cryptographic algorithms, and new API that allows for keeping ABI stability in future upgrades. We will also add compat openssl102 package so the applications and other dependencies which are not ported yet to the new API continue to work,” reads the proposal.

        • GLPI version 9.1

          GLPI (Free IT and asset management software) version 9.1 is available. RPM are available in remi repository for Fedora ≥ 22 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 5

    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 “Nev” Is in the Works, to Ship with the GNOME 3.22 Desktop

          We told you the other day that the Parsix GNU/Linux development team informed the community that new security updates are available for the current stable Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 “Erik” and Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” releases.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Unimpressed with Ubuntu 16.10? Yakkety Yak… don’t talk back

            Before I dive into what’s new in Ubuntu 16.10, called Yakkety Yak, let’s just get this sentence out of the way: Ubuntu 16.10 will not feature Unity 8 or the new Mir display server.

            I believe that’s the seventh time I’ve written that since Unity 8 was announced and here we are on the second beta for 16.10.

            Maybe that’s why they named it Unity 8. Whatever the case, Unity 8 is available for testing if you’d like to try it. So far I haven’t managed to get it working on any of the hardware I use, which goes a long way to explaining why it’s not part of Ubuntu proper yet.

          • Unimpressive Yakkety Yak, Plasma 5 Issues in Leap

            Today was a rough day in Linux distro news, Scott Gilbertson reviewed the Beta of upcoming Ubuntu 16.10 saying there’s not a whole lot to recommend in this update. Neil Rickert test drove openSUSE’s latest beta and had issues with his NVIDIA. Jesse Smith couldn’t tell what was added to Uruk over base Trisquel and Gary Newell didn’t see much point to portable Porteus since most stuff didn’t work.

          • Indicator Sound Switcher Makes Switching Audio Devices on Ubuntu a Snap
  • Devices/Embedded
    • SODIMM-style i.MX7 COM features dual GbE, WiFi/BT, eMMC

      Variscite’s Linux-driven “VAR-SOM-MX7” COM is shipping with an i.MX7 Dual SoC, WiFi and BLE, dual GbE, and optional eMMC and extended temp. support.

      Variscite’s VAR-SOM-MX7 follows many other Linux-ready computer-on-modules based on NXP’s i.MX7 SoC, which combines one or two power-stingy, 1GHz Cortex-A7 cores with a 200MHz Cortex-M4 MCU for real-time processing. While most of these offer a choice of a Solo or Dual model, and the NXP/Element14 WaRP7 offers only the Solo, the SODIMM-style VAR-SOM-MX7 taps the dual-core Dual. Unlike most of these modules, but like the WaRP7 and the CompuLab CL-SOM-iMX7, Variscite’s entry offers onboard WiFi and Bluetooth, in this case Bluetooth 4.1 with BLE.

    • BeagleBone Black Wireless SBC taps Octavo SiP, has open design

      BeagleBoard.org’s “BeagleBone Black Wireless” SBC uses Octavo’s OSD335x SiP module and replaces the standard BeagleBone Black’s Ethernet with 2.4GHz WiFi and BT 4.1 BLE.

      BeagleBone Black Wireless is the first SBC to incorporate the Octavo Systems OSD335x SiP (system-in-package) module, “which integrates BeagleBone functionality into one easy-to-use BGA package,” according to BeagleBoard.org. Announced on Sep. 26, the OSD3358 SiP integrates a TI Sitara AM3358 SoC along with a TI TPS65217C PMIC, TI TL5209 LDO (low-drop-out) regulator, up to 1GB of DDR3 RAM, and over 140 passives devices including resistors, capacitors, and inductors, within a single BGA package. The Linux-driven hacker SBC also adds TI WiLink 8 WL1835MOD wireless module with 2.2 MIMO.

    • NAS-targeted Skylake Mini-ITX loads up on SATA, GbE, PCIe
    • Epiq Solutions’ Sidekiq M.2

      Following on its resounding success with its Sidekiq MiniPCIe card, wireless communications systems specialist Epiq Solutions recently added the Sidekiq M.2 state-of-the-art, small form-factor, software-defined radio (SDR) card. Epiq Solutions explains that the Sidekiq product line provides a breakthrough small form-factor SDR transceiver solution ready for integration into systems that support either MiniPCIe or now the M.2 card form factors.

    • Phones
      • Tizen
        • Samsung in talks with Russian government to distribute the Z3 to students

          Samsung had recently made another announcement in Russia by partnering with Gazprom to distribute its Tizen handsets to the company’s employees. The South korean technology giant are now looking at a new way to increase the Tizen adoption rate in Russia. The target market for the new plan is school students. Samsung are in talks with multiple government agencies to supply the Tizen Z3 smartphone to school students and this was hinted during the Internet of Things forum hosted by Moscow Tizen Association in Russia on the 22nd of September.

        • My Money Transfer App Enters BETA for Z1 and Z3
      • Android
        • 6 open source fitness apps for Android

          A key part of developing a good fitness routine is creating a solid workout plan and tracking your progress. Mobile apps can help by providing readily accessible programs specifically designed to support the user’s fitness goals. In a world of fitness wearable devices like FitBit, there are plenty of proprietary apps designed to work with those specific devices. These apps certainly provide a lot of detailed tracking information, but they are not open source, and as such, do not necessarily respect the user’s privacy and freedom to use their own data as they wish. The alternative is to use open source fitness apps.

          Below, I take a look at six open source fitness apps for Android. Most of them do not provide super detailed collection of health data, but they do provide a focused user experience, giving the user the tools to support their workouts or develop a plan and track their progress. All these apps are available from the F-Droid repository and are all licensed under the GPLv3, providing an experience that respects the user’s freedom.

        • Roku Express, Roku Premiere, and Roku Ultra announced, starting at $29.99

          Roku Inc, maker of the popular Roku line of home media players, has just refreshed their entire product lineup at once. The existing lineup of flagship Roku boxes (but not the Roku Streaming Stick) has been replaced by three new products (with upgraded models for each); the Roku Express, the Roku Premiere, and the Roku Ultra.

        • This is what the Chromecast Ultra will look like

          Google is ramping up for their major October 4th event. In addition to seeing the Pixel and the Pixel XL formally unveiled, we’re also expecting a new Chromebook and the Chromecast Ultra. Until today, we had no idea what to really expect from the new Chromecast device in terms of design, but now we’re finally getting a sneak peek.

        • Android + Chrome = Andromeda; merged OS reportedly coming to the Pixel 3

          It has been almost a year since The Wall Street Journal dropped a bomb of a scoop on the Android community, saying Chrome OS would be “folded into” Android. The resulting product would reportedly bring Android to laptops and desktops. According to the paper, the internal effort to merge these two OSes had been underway for “roughly two years” (now three years) with a release planned for 2017 and an “early version” to show things off in 2016. It seems like we’re still on that schedule, and now Android Police claims to have details on the new operating system—and its first launch device—coming Q3 2017.

        • 8 great Android features that iOS needs to steal

          Not that long ago, I used to feel sorry for Android users and their clunky, sluggish devices—the thought of giving up my iPhone never crossed my mind. Recently, though, I’ve been the one green-eyed with envy, as snazzy new Android features make my once-precious iOS handset feel old and tired by comparison.

          Below I’ve highlighted eight of the most notable Android features that iOS needs to steal (there are plenty more, mind you), from automatic power-saving mode and installing apps from the web to smarter keypad shortcuts and the ability to clear storage-hogging app caches with a single tap.

        • Google said to debut Android/Chrome OS hybrid on tablet, convertible notebook

          Google is planning hybrid devices that run both Android and Chrome OS, including one convertible laptop, and one Huawei Nexus-branded tablet, according to a new report from 9to5Google. The report backs up another from Android Police today that says a convertible notebook is on the way.

          The Andromeda project bakes Chrome OS features into Android, giving you the best of both worlds in one place, according to early reports. This would make a lot of sense for a thin, convertible laptop device like the so-called “Pixel 3” that Android Police reported this morning, which is set to be launched in Q3 2017, and which will potentially boast a 12.3-inch touchscreen display.

        • Google Andromeda hybrid Android/Chrome OS tested on Nexus 9
        • Google reportedly working on a laptop and tablet running an Android-Chrome OS hybrid

          Google is reportedly working on a new Pixel laptop that will run on the long-gestating new operating system that merges Android and Chrome OS. According to Android Police and 9to5Google, the device is known internally by the codename “Bison” or Pixel 3, and will run on what’s currently being called “Andromeda” when it sees release in Q3 2017. In addition, 9to5Google also reports that Huawei is working on a new Nexus tablet that will also run the new OS.

        • Xiaomi Mi Box Android TV appears in the wild with a $69 price tag

          A savvy buyer spotted the forthcoming Xiaomi Mi Android TV box for sale at a Wal-Mart recently, even though the company still lists the set-top box as “coming soon” on the promo page.

          Not only did this quick-thinking individual grab some pictures of the merchandise, he also uploaded an unboxing video to YouTube. Nicely done.

        • Sony Xperia Devices To Get Android 7.0 Nougat In October
        • Sony’s leaked Android Nougat update plans reveal no love for Xperia Z3
        • ColorTV launches its content recommendations on Apple TV, Android TV and more
        • Best Android Phones 5.7 inches And Over
        • Xiny Android trojan evolves to root phones and infect system processes
        • Declutter your phone for a cleaner, faster Android experience
        • Android Nougat Update Coming Soon To Motorola, Samsung & Sony: List Of Devices Include Galaxy S7, Moto Z , Xperia XZ
Free Software/Open Source
  • Adopt a pump.io server

    As most of you know, E14N is no longer my main job, and I’ve been putting my personal time, energy, and money into keeping the pump network up and running. I haven’t always done a good job, and some of the nodes have just fallen off the network. I’d like to ask people in the community to start taking over the maintenance and upkeep of these servers.

  • Prodromou: Adopt a pump.io server

    There are currently around 25 servers in the federated network initially started by Prodromou, which does not count other pump.io instances. He notes that one important exception is the identi.ca site, which is significantly larger than the rest, and which he would like to find a trusted non-profit organization to maintain.

  • What does it mean to change company culture?

    Tools are specific concrete things that a culture has decided is a way to improve a process. Buckminster Fuller has a great quote about tools and thinking: “If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.” In particular, DevOps tools can provide folks new ways to look at things—like delivering code into a production environment, for example. But there’s lots of examples where a new tool doesn’t influence the thinking of the people who use it, so things don’t change.

  • Why Open Beats Closed
  • Google Improves Image Recognition; Releases Project as Open Source Software

    Google says its algorithm can correctly caption a photograph with nearly 94 percent accuracy.

    The company says the improvements come in the third version of its system named Inception, with the score coming from a standardized auto-caption test named ImageNet. It reports the first version scored 89.6 percent, the second 91.8 percent and the new one 93.9 percent.

  • Contributing to Open Source Projects Not Just For the Experts

    XDA has long been a proponent of open source development, and we’ve seen it flourish over the years. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons our community has grown as fast as it has over these past 13 years, with Android’s core being the driving force. Many people desire to be part of open source and contribute but often don’t know how they can, whether because they think they lack the skills or they just don’t have the time.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Firefox Reader Mode is Finally Getting a Keyboard Shortcut

        Among the changes which arrived in the September release of Firefox 49 were an enhanced set of Reader Mode features, including spoken narration and line-width spacing options. All very welcome. But the improvements aren’t stopping there. Firefox 50, which is due next month, will add another sorely needed feature: a keyboard shortcut for Reader Mode. Y

  • SaaS/Back End
    • Introduction to OpenStack by Rich Bowen

      In this talk, Rich, the OpenStack Community Liaison at Red Hat, will walk you through what OpenStack is, as a project, as a Foundation, and as a community of organizations.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Licensing/Legal
    • Public licenses and data: So what to do instead?

      Why you still need a (permissive) license

      Norms aren’t enough if the underlying legal system might allow an early contributor to later wield the law as a threat. That’s why the best practice in the data space is to use something like the Creative Commons public domain grant (CC-Zero) to set a clear, reliable, permissive baseline, and then use norms to add flexible requirements on top of that. This uses law to provide reliability and predictability, and then uses norms to address concerns about fairness, free-riding, and effectiveness. CC-Zero still isn’t perfect; most notably it has to try to be both a grant and a license to deal with different international rules around grants.

  • Programming/Development
    • Pairing LLVM JIT With PostgreSQL Can Speed Up Database Performance

      Using the LLVM JIT with PostgreSQL can vastly speed up the query execution performance and shows off much potential but it hasn’t been mainlined yet.

      Dmitry Melnik presented at this month’s LLVM Cauldron over speeding up the query execution performance of PostgreSQL by using LLVM. Particularly with complex queries, the CPU becomes the bottleneck for PostgreSQL rather than the disk. LLVM JIT is used for just-in-time compilation of queries.

    • LLVM Cauldron 2016 Videos, Slides Published

      The inaugural LLVM Cauldron conference happened earlier this month ahead of the GNU Tools Cauldron in Hebden Bridge, UK. All of the slides and videos from this latest LLVM conference are now available.

  • Standards/Consortia
Leftovers
  • iPhone 7 Owners Destroy Phones After DRILLING Their Own Headphone Jack

    Just one problem. It is a joke. Yet iPhone 7 owners, or those desperate for their beloved headphone jack, have been attempting to drill their own. And it isn’t ending well for any of them.

  • Traffic Is Fake, Audience Numbers Are Garbage, And Nobody Knows How Many People See Anything

    How many living, breathing human beings really read Techdirt? The truth — the most basic, rarely-spoken truth — is that we have no earthly idea. With very few exceptions, no media property big or small, new or old, online or off, can truly tell you how big its audience is. They may have never thought about it that way — after all, we all get as close as we can to what we think is a reasonably accurate estimation, though we have no way of confirming that — but all these numbers are actually good for (maybe) is relative comparisons. What does it really mean when someone says “a million people” saw something? Or ten or a hundred million? I don’t know, and neither do you. (Netflix might, but we’ll get to that later.)

    Where should we start? How about this: internet traffic is half-fake and everyone’s known it for years, but there’s no incentive to actually acknowledge it. The situation is technically improving: 2015 was hailed (quietly, among people who aren’t in charge of selling advertising) as a banner year because humans took back the majority with a stunning 51.5% share of online traffic, so hurray for that I guess. All the analytics suites, the ad networks and the tracking pixels can try as they might to filter the rest out, and there’s plenty of advice on the endless Sisyphean task of helping them do so, but considering at least half of all that bot traffic comes from bots that fall into the “malicious” or at least “unauthorized” category, and thus have every incentive to subvert the mostly-voluntary systems that are our first line of defence against bots… Well, good luck. We already know that Alexa rankings are garbage, but what does this say about even the internal numbers that sites use to sell ad space? Could they even be off by a factor of 10? I don’t know, and neither do you. Hell, we don’t even know how accurate the 51.5% figure is — it could be way off… in either direction.

  • Alton Towers fined £5 MILLION for Smiler crash which left 16 maimed and injured

    The accident on the £18million white-knuckle ride in June last year at Alton Towers, the UK’s biggest theme park, left 16 people injured.

    At Stafford Crown Court, Judge Michael Chambers QC said thousands of young people were exposed to harm on the ride.

    He said: “Many thousands of people who went on the ride since it opened in May 2013 have been exposed to harm.”

  • Alton Towers operator Merlin fined £5m over Smiler crash

    Alton Towers operator Merlin has been fined £5m for the crash on the Smiler rollercoaster.

    Sixteen people were injured in the June 2015 crash, including two teenage girls who needed leg amputations.

    In April, Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd admitted breaching the Health and Safety Act.

  • Science
    • Why data is the new coal

      Deep learning needs to become more efficient if it is going to move from using data to categorise images of cats to diagnosing rare illnesses

  • Health/Nutrition
    • VCAT rejects tobacco giant’s push to access schoolchildren smoking data

      A judge has crushed moves by a tobacco giant to access the confidential survey results of Australian schoolchildren, including information revealing their attitudes to cigarettes and alcohol.

      British American Tobacco used freedom-of-information laws to seek access to six Cancer Council Victoria files, arguing it was in the public interest to expose to scrutiny the raw material used to underpin its plain packaging position.

  • Security
    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Who left all this fire everywhere?

      If you’re paying attention, you saw the news about Yahoo’s breach. Five hundred million accounts. That’s a whole lot of data if you think about it. But here’s the thing. If you’re a security person, are you surprised by this? If you are, you’ve not been paying attention.

    • IPFire 2.19 Linux Firewall OS Patched Against the Latest OpenSSL Vulnerabilities

      Only three days after announcing the release of IPFire 2.19 Core Update 104, Michael Tremer informs the community about the availability of a new update, Core Update 105, which brings important OpenSSL patches.

    • OpenSSL security advisory for September 26

      This OpenSSL security advisory is notable in that it’s the second one in four days; sites that updated after the first one may need to do so again.

    • Canonical Patches OpenSSL Regression in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, 14.04 LTS & 12.04 LTS

      After announcing a few days ago that a new, important OpenSSL update is available for all supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems, Canonical’s Marc Deslauriers now informs the community about another patch to address a regression.

      The new security advisory (USN-3087-2) talks about a regression that was accidentally introduced along with the previous OpenSSL update (as detailed on USN-3087-1), which addressed no less than eleven (11) security vulnerabilities discovered upstream by the OpenSSL team.

    • Patch AGAIN: OpenSSL security fixes now need their own security fixes
    • Bangladesh Bank exposed to hackers by cheap switches, no firewall: Police
    • This is the Israeli company that can hack any iPhone and Android smartphone

      If Cellebrite sounds familiar, that’s because the name of this Israeli company came up during Apple’s standoff with the FBI over breaking iPhone encryption. The agency managed to crack the San Bernardino iPhone with the help of an undisclosed company. Many people believe it was Cellebrite that came to the rescue. Meanwhile, the company revealed that it could hack just about any modern smartphone, but refused to say whether its expertise is used by the police forces of repressive regimes.

    • Reproducible Builds: week 74 in Stretch cycle
    • East-West Encryption: The Next Security Frontier?

      Microsegmentation, a method to create secure, virtual connections in software-defined data centers (SDDCs), has already emerged as one of the primary reasons to embrace network virtualization (NV). But some vendors believe that East-West encryption of traffic inside the data center could be the next stop in data-center security.

      For example, VMware says it is looking at encrypting East-West traffic inside the data center, adding another layer of security to the SDDC. Why is that important? Today, most firewalls operate on the perimeter of the data center – either guarding or encrypting data leaving the data center for the WAN. And some security products may encrypt data at rest inside the data center. But encrypting the traffic in motion between servers inside the data center – known in the business as the East-West traffic – is not something that’s typically done.

    • DHS Offers Its Unsolicited ‘Help’ In Securing The Internet Of Things [Ed: In the UK, GCHQ meddles in the Surveillance of Things in the name of 'security' while at the same time, with Tories' consent, cracking PCs]

      It’s generally agreed that the state of security for the Internet of Things runs from “abysmal” to “compromised during unboxing.” The government — despite no one asking it to — is offering to help out… somehow. DHS Assistant Secretary for Cyber Policy Robert Silvers spoke at the Internet of Things forum, offering up a pile of words that indicates Silvers is pretty cool with the “cyber” part of his title… but not all that strong on the “policy” part.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Duterte ‘admitted complicity’ in Davao killings – WikiLeaks

      President Rodrigo Duterte dared Senator Leila de Lima on Tuesday, September 20, to prove that he was behind extrajudicial killings in Davao City when he was the mayor there.

      A confidential cable dated May 8, 2009, which was published by WikiLeaks, said that Duterte once “admitted complicity” in vigilante killings in Davao City.

      The cable, written by then-US ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney, quoted statements from then Commission on Human Rights (CHR) regional director Alberto Sipaco Jr.

      Kenney wrote: “Commission on Human Rights regional director Alberto Sipaco (strictly protect) at a private meeting affirmed that Mayor Duterte knows about the killings and permits them. Recounting a conversation he once had with Duterte, who is his close friend and former fraternity brother, Sipaco said he pleaded with the Mayor to stop vigilante killings and support other methods to reduce crime, like rehabilitation programs for offenders.”

      “According to Sipaco, the Mayor responded, ‘I’m not done yet,’” Kenney said.

  • Finance
    • IBM, China UnionPay complete block chain pilot project on bank loyalty points

      IBM completed a pilot project with Chinese credit card company China UnionPay that will facilitate the sharing of loyalty bonus points among banks using block chain technology.

      Bonus points earned through purchases on bank cards have long been an effective tool to attract and encourage customers to use specific cards. But since bonus points cannot be freely exchanged among different banks, offering various rewards, many go unused.

      IBM’s collaboration with China UnionPay will enable consumers worldwide to exchange bonus points from their various banks in less than a minute to select rewards they want.

      Block chain, the underlying technology in digital currencies such as bitcoin, has become one of the hottest innovations in the financial services world. Technology companies and banks have been exploring the use of block chain in all facets of both the financial and non-financial industries.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Why no third parties tonight? Because two parties control the process

      Tonight’s debates will take place without Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Neither met a threshold of hitting 15 percent in national polls and thus were not invited to participate.

      That threshold was set by the group that puts on the debates, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Since its inception, the CPD has been staffed by elites from the two major parties. They pick the moderators, choose the format, and set the terms for participation.

    • Vote Now: Who Won the First Clinton-Trump Debate?

      Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton met for their first presidential debate Monday, and we want to know who you think won.

      Take a moment to click the link below next to the candidate who you thought did the best at the debate at Hofstra University in New York.

    • Barroso had deeper ties to Goldman Sachs

      Jose Manuel Barroso had closer contact with Goldman Sachs during his tenure as European Commission chief than he has previously admitted, according to Portuguese media.

      Correspondence obtained by Portuguese daily Publico under a freedom of information request suggests that Barroso, who took a job with the US bank earlier this year, held unregistered meetings with Goldman’s top people.

      In one email dated 30 September 2013, Goldman boss Lloyd Blankfein thanked Barroso for their “productive discussions” and said the bank’s senior partners were delighted about their “extremely fruitful meetings”.

      Publico reported that Goldman executives were happy to suggest “on a confidential basis” changes to EU policies, which Barroso’s cabinet read “with great interest”.

    • Fear, Anxiety, and Depression in the Age of Trump

      Carol Wachs, a psychologist in private practice in Manhattan, recently started seeing an old patient again. The client had first sought treatment for anxiety following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Now she was worried about a new menace: Donald Trump and his zealous supporters. The patient, Wachs says, comes from a family of Holocaust survivors, and “it feels to her like all the stories she heard from her grandparents about how things feel normal and then all of the sudden, oh my God, here we are.”

    • No Trident, no private energy companies, and a universal basic income: Momentum activists mock up manifesto for Labour

      Momentum activists have created a mock general election manifesto with suggestions that all energy companies should be nationalised, the Trident nuclear deterrent be scrapped and a universal basic income to become policy.

      The grassroots organisation established shortly after Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader in 2015, held the session at its World Transformed festival – an event running alongside Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool.

    • What Is Jill Stein Doing During the Presidential Debate?

      Jill Stein may not be in the first presidential debate, but she’s not going to be quiet during the debates either — and neither are her supporters. They’re planning a civil disobedience rally at the debates, which they’ve warned may result in some arrests. They are also planning a live stream of their protests, along with a live stream of Jill Stein’s answering all the debate questions as they are asked, in real time.

      Here’s what you need to know.

      Stein and Ajamu Baraka are hosting a Hofstra Debate Protest and Civil Disobedience event today, starting at 2:30 p.m. and lasting through the presidential debate. You can learn more about it on the Facebook page here. Buses will leave New York City at 2:30 p.m. Eastern, one from Bryant Park in Manhattan and two from Brooklyn near Barclay’s Center. You should RSVP to make sure there’s a seat for you on the bus.

    • Jill Stein pushes to be included in debate
    • At the last presidential debate at Hofstra University, Jill Stein got handcuffed to a chair for 8 hours

      On Monday evening, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and real estate mogul Donald Trump will gather onstage at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, for the first presidential debate of the 2016 election.

      Notably absent from the debate stage will be Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein and Libertarian candidate former Gov. Gary Johnson—neither of whom were able to meet the 15 percent polling threshold set by Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Johnson will be spending the debate tweeting from Twitter’s corporate office in Manhattan. Stein will be livestreaming from a protest outside the debate venue.

      Both Stein and Johnson have lobbied hard to be included in the debates. However, the commission, which is a nonprofit organization created and controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties, have consistently rebuffed their efforts.

      For Stein, at least, this lobbying is nothing new. When she ran as the Green Party nominee four years ago, Stein staged a similar protest when President Barack Obama squared off against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on the very same stage at Hofstra University. Stein’s goal was to make a point about how the two major parties use their institutional advantages to shut out other voices.

    • 3rd-Party Candidate Jill Stein Escorted From Hofstra by Police Before Presidential Debate

      Stein’s campaign said she will not “risk arrest” this time, because there is an outstanding warrant for her arrest over her involvement in a recent protest against a controversial pipeline project in North Dakota. Still, her campaign spokeswoman Meleiza Figueroa said they will attempt to get the “spirited demonstration … as close to the gates as possible.”

      In 2012, Stein and her running mate were arrested outside Hofstra University when they tried entering the premises during a presidential debate between President Obama and then-Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

    • Debate Commission Enforces Exclusion By Having Jill Stein Escorted Off Hofstra

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was escorted off Hofstra University’s campus just hours before the first presidential debate of the general election. The escort was part of the Commission on Presidential Debates’ exclusion of her campaign from the debate.

      At a demonstration and press conference outside the university after she was removed, Stein returned and declared, “We have a right to know who we can vote for,” and condemned the debate that will air as a “spectacle” and a “disgrace.” She claimed it would “increase the appetite for the American voter for a true politics of integrity.”

      An “Occupy The Debates” march and action including supporters took off shortly after.

      Earlier in the afternoon, according to the Stein campaign, the presidential candidate was on her way to do an interview for MSNBC. Hofstra security and Nassau County police stopped her. Two police SUVs arrived. Officers asked MSNBC for their credentials, and in fact, the campaign said the network had credentials for Stein.

      Stein did an impromptu press conference as the situation unfolded. The police then escorted her off campus, and she was instructed “not to do any more press.”

      The presidential candidate was loaded into a van. It was stopped twice before the van made it off the university campus. At one point, the Nassau deputy police chief suggested Stein was “not public enemy number one.”

    • Clinton vs. Trump: Thousands of Police, Protesters Descend on Hofstra for Highly Anticipated Presidential Debate

      Thousands of police and protesters are descending on a Long Island college Monday for the first debate in what has been a raucous presidential race. A Super Bowl-sized audience will be watching at home.

      More than 100 million people may watch the 9 p.m. debate at Hofstra University, organizers say. If so, it’d be the largest debate viewership since the Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter debate drew 80 million viewers back in 1980.

    • Walt Whitman on Donald Trump, How Literature Bolsters Democracy, and Why a Robust Society Is a Feminist Society

      In 1855, Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819–March 26, 1892) made his debut as a poet and self-published Leaves of Grass. Amid the disheartening initial reception of pervasive indifference pierced by a few shrieks of criticism, the young poet received an extraordinary letter of praise and encouragement from his idol — Ralph Waldo Emerson, the era’s most powerful literary tastemaker. This gesture of tremendous generosity was a creative life-straw for the dispirited artist, who soon became one of the nation’s most celebrated writers and went on to be remembered as America’s greatest poet.

      [...]

      The role of government and those in power, he argues, is not to rule by authority alone — the mark of dictatorship rather than democracy — but “to train communities … beginning with individuals and ending there again, to rule themselves.” Above all, the task of democratic leadership is to bind “all nations, all men, of however various and distant lands, into a brotherhood, a family.” Many decades before women won the right to vote and long before Nikola Tesla’s feminist vision for humanity, Whitman argues that a robust democracy is one in which women are fully empowered and included in that “brotherhood” on equal terms…

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Snowden shows the human side of Edward Snowden

      The film also explores how Snowden’s personal life is affected by the secrecy of his job, which strained the relationship with his girlfriend Lindsay. He is portrayed as torn between his personal life and the passion he has for his work. Like everyone else, Snowden had his own life outside of his work — a fact that tends to be overlooked.

    • Former NSA Deputy Director pans Snowden film

      Former NSA Deputy Director Chris Inglis called Oliver Stone’s film Snowden “a hard thing to watch.”

    • Reevaluate strategies of digital surveillance

      Mass surveillance programs collecting the metadata of millions of Americans are ineffective counterterrorism measures. They are ineffective not only because of their inability to prevent the atrocities we have seen in the last three years; but also because of their exorbitant cost. The cost of these programs is not purely calculated in dollar signs. There are the diplomatic costs, as countries learn more about U.S. surveillance of their citizens. There are the social costs, as American citizens remain largely in the dark about what the government does with their personal information, without sufficient oversight from Congress or an accessible forum to challenge this intrusion. And, finally, there are the costs to our technical systems, which have become increasingly vulnerable to abuse from other states.

    • Whistleblower story a winner

      Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the cover off the US government’s electronic surveillance programs.

      The former CIA and NSA employee leaked thousands of highly classified documents to the press and in doing so divided a nation. Did the hacker put America at risk by revealing top secrets or did citizens have the right to know how closely they were being monitored?

    • How ‘Snowden’ the movie could help win a pardon for Snowden the man

      The days leading up to September 16 release of director Oliver Stone’s “Snowden” looked like one long movie trailer.

      The American Civil Liberties Union and other human-right groups on Wednesday announced a campaign to win a presidential pardon for Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contract employee who leaked hundreds of thousands of its highly classified documents to journalists. The next day, the House Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan letter to the president that advised him against any pardon and claimed Snowden “caused tremendous damage to national security.”

      The week before, Stone had invited me to a private screening of his movie in Washington. I once worked in an NSA facility, and I’ve written about the agency for decades, so I was surprised and pleased by how successful Stone was in creating an accurate picture of life in the NSA.

    • In solidarity with Snowden: Hong Kong refugees call for pardon of NSA whistleblower
    • Hong Kong refugees protest to call for Snowden pardon
    • ‘Pardon Snowden!’ Hong Kong refugees march on US consulate (PHOTOS)
    • Hong Kong refugees march to US embassy, demand pardon for Edward Snowden
    • Edward Snowden to talk via video chat at Ohio Wesleyan

      Snowden is living in asylum in Russia, seeking to be pardoned for his actions, and still unwilling to remain silent. He is the focus of a new movie, “Snowden,” directed by Oliver Stone, and he will speak via video conference at Ohio Wesleyan University.

    • Whether or not the US pardons Edward Snowden, he shouldn’t return

      Recent weeks have seen a resurgence of an ongoing controversial discussion over whether President Obama should pardon Edward Snowden before leaving office. Russia granted Snowden asylum in 2013, after he publicly revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had been surveilling the American population’s communications and Internet usage without their knowledge in the name of “homeland security.”

      Even the FBI director, James Comey, has advised everyone to “take responsibility for their own safety and security” and cover their webcam up with tape. Snowden still resides in Russia, and many believe that he should now be allowed to return home.

      The new feature film, Snowden, has reignited interest in this case, and the film is looking to gain further public support for a pardon. Meanwhile, Snowden himself has asked to come home to America, in hopes for a fair trial; however, the only solace promised to him was that he wouldn’t be tortured.

      Snowden may deserve a pardon, but whether he receives one or not, he’ll never realistically be able to return to America without putting himself at serious risk. After revealing what the government is capable of — from watching citizens through their personal webcams to eavesdropping through cell phones — I doubt Snowden would feel safe in his home country anyways.

    • Edward Snowden is hero, not traitor

      To some, he is a treasonous criminal who should be brought to justice, a real Benedict Arnold. To others, he is a national hero. To me, he is a model of what it means to be a true patriot.

      For those who don’t know, Snowden worked for the National Security Agency and leaked a massive amount of confidential documents in 2013, detailing extensive government surveillance programs.

      These leaked documents were handed directly to three journalists who worked for The Guardian and The Washington Post. These publications, as well as a few others, published a multitude of articles exposing the leaked files. They revealed a comprehensive surveillance program run by the United States government.

    • ‘Snowden’ makes a statement

      “Snowden” is able to convey some extremely strong messages about trust and corruption, and it is definitely easy to see why Snowden acted the way he did. Some call him a patriot and some call him a traitor, but it’s clear to see he did what he thought was right. And after watching this film, it’s difficult to disagree.

    • Snowden awarded by Germans for ‘courage and conscience’

      The German city of Kassel has awarded American whistle-blower Edward Snowden for the “courage and conscience” that he showed in spilling US secrets.

    • NSA Zero Day Tools Likely Left Behind By Careless Operative

      Three years of unpatched holes, one of them a zero day that affects a great deal of Cisco’s networking equipment. Not only was TAO’s operation security compromised, but so were any number of affected products offered by US tech companies.

      However, investigators are still looking into the possibility that the tools were left behind deliberately by a disgruntled TAO operative. This theory looks far better on the NSA than another theory also being examined: that multiple operatives screwed up in small ways, compounding each other’s mistakes and (eventually) leading to a publich showing of valuable surveillance tools.

      As for the official, on-the-record comment… no comment. The FBI and Director of National Intelligence declined to provide Reuters with a statement.

      The NSA has long refused to acknowledge the inherent dangers of hoarding exploits and deploying them with little to no oversight. It’s unclear whether this incident will change this behavior or make it a more-forthcoming partner in the Liability Equities Process. What is has proven is that the NSA makes mistakes like any other agency — whether the tools left behind accidentally or deliberately. It’s just that when the NSA screws up, it exposes its willingness to harm American tech companies to further its own intelligence needs.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Slovakia to increase broadband coverage

      The government of Slovakia aims to increase broadband network access in the county. Together with network operators, it is mapping which parts of the country do not yet have broadband access.

      According to announcements by Informatizacia – an eGovernment and ICT advisory organisation, part of the Ministry for Investment and Computerisation, a survey is being organised involving the country’s Internet service providers, to determine which parts of the country have network speeds of less than 30Mbps. The survey will be launched in the first week of October. Four to five weeks later, the final list of Slovakia’s network white spots will be made public.

    • Web animation using CSS and JavaScript

      Animation on the web started in 1987 with the invention of the animated GIF, or Graphic Interface Format. GIFs were used mostly for advertisements on websites, but had some problems with the pixelation. Then, in the 1990s Adobe introduced Flash, a tool for animating with audio. This created a revolution and was the best way to do animation on websites for a very long time. But Flash has some issues.

      Closed source: Users must purchase Flash from Adobe and cannot make modifications to the software.

      Security: Flash allows writing and running complex scripts on websites and scripts can be written that directly access the memory of a computer.

      Performance: Flash websites can take a long time to load.

      Resource hog: Flash uses a high amount of computing resources and can actually hang or crash your system if multiple applications or flash sites are opened at the same time.

      Plugin dependency: You need to have flash plugin installed in your browser. And every month or more, you need to update it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Chicago Cubs: With Success Comes Trademark Lawsuit Against Street Vendors

        As a lifelong Cubs fan with a resume that includes going to my first game at Wrigley when I was four months old and living in Wrigleyville for several years, I can at the very least claim some expertise on the culture around the team and the stadium. For those that have not been lucky enough to visit baseball’s Mecca, the walk about up to the park consists of bar-laden streets on either Addison or Clark, with the sidewalks spilling over with fans, bar-patrons, and street vendors. Those street vendors offer innumerable wares, including t-shirts, memorabillia, and food. It’s part of the experience.

        An experience suddenly under fire by the team and Major League Baseball, which have jointly filed a federal lawsuit against some forty street vendors for trademark and counterfeit violations.

    • Copyrights
      • Help Fix Copyright: Send a Rebellious Selfie to European Parliament (Really!)

        Earlier this month, the EU Commission released their proposal for a reformed copyright framework. In response, we are asking everyone reading this post to take a rebellious selfie and send that doctored snapshot to EU Parliament. Seem ridiculous? So is an outdated law that bans taking and sharing selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower at night in Paris, or in front of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen.

        Of course, no one is actually going to jail for subversive selfies. But the technical illegality of such a basic online act underscores the grave shortcomings in the EU’s latest proposal on copyright reform. As Mozilla’s Denelle Dixon-Thayer noted in her last post on the proposed reform, it “thoroughly misses the goal to deliver a modern reform that would unlock creativity and innovation.” It doesn’t, for instance, include needed exceptions for panorama, parody, or remixing, nor does it include a clause that would allow noncommercial transformations of works (like remixes, or mashups) or a flexible user clause like an open norm, or fair dealing.

      • The Weird Psychology Of People Fighting Those Who Resell Their Products

        Every so often, we hear a story about actions taken by someone who is just so upset about someone else doing something that it seems to border on obsessive. For example, when we hear about copyright holders who spend all their time sending DMCA takedowns — while whining about how they’re unable to produce new content and aren’t making any money from sending all those takedowns. The obvious response is: maybe stop sending all those takedowns and focus on something that’s actually productive, like creating new works and building a fan base willing to support you.

      • Toronto woman accuses theatre security guard of assault in anti-piracy take down

        When Jean Telfer went to a preview screening of a new movie Wednesday night, she didn’t expect that she’d come out with an injured shoulder and a bump on her head.

        Telfer and her friend Elaine Wong were at a Cineplex theatre at Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto for Sony Pictures Entertainment’s film The Magnificent 7. Sony had rented the theatre for the screening and hired a private security company.

        Halfway through the film, Telfer decided to leave because she found the movie to be too violent.

      • Movie Theater Security Guards Assault Women, Claim They Were Pirating Movie

        It’s well-known that the big studios and the MPAA like to indoctrinate movie theater employees into believing that there’s a horrible menace of people trying to pirate movies in the theaters, and that in some cases, they even hand out money to employees who “catch” pirates in the act. In general, all this really does is make it less enjoyable to go to the movies — and sometimes leads to elderly patrons being ejected from theaters because some kid is totally sure she’s pirating the film she’s watching.

        And the latest example is even more extreme, where private security forces apparently decided to assault a couple of Toronto women they falsely accused of pirating a showing of The Magnificent 7. One of the women, Jean Telfer, says she actually decided to leave the film early because she found it too violent. Apparently the idea that a pirate probably wouldn’t be leaving in the middle of a film didn’t occur to the geniuses Sony Pictures had specifically hired to “guard” the showing. So they tackled Telfer. Really.

      • To photocopy or not: Delhi High Courts grants universities carte blanche to photocopy for educational use

        The recent judgment of the Delhi High Court dismissing the lawsuit filed by publishers like Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Francis Taylor has been received with much joy and applause from virtually all quarters of Indian academia and students. In a 94 page judgment, delivered more than 600 days after it was first reserved, the Delhi High Court has held that Section 52(1)(i) of the Copyright Act, 1957 allows for students and teachers to photocopy books and other educational material without any limit.

        The target of the lawsuit was a particular form of photocopying wherein the faculty at the Delhi School of Economics (DSE) would prescribe a reading list, usually comprising chapters from different books and a photocopying shop contracted by the university would then compile course-packs consisting of these various chapters and sell them to students, for profit. The publishers were seeking to monetise this practice by charging either the university or photocopy shop, a royalty of 50 paise per copyrighted page that was copied – a fair bargain, given the photocopier too was getting 50 paise per page. This is a business model followed in most western universities because it is unreasonable to expect students to buy an entire book for a single chapter.

        The High Court obviously disagreed with the publishers and there appears to be nobody in Indian academia who disagrees with this decision. Rather we’ve been told that the decision restores a “balance” to copyright jurisprudence and that it will facilitate access to knowledge. Unfortunately nobody explains the economics of this balancing act.

The Moral Depravity of the European Patent Office Under Battistelli

Monday 26th of September 2016 12:28:24 PM

Workers of the EPO can no longer even speak publicly, not without a 100% assurance of anonymity after Control Risks Group (CRG) got contracted (former Stasi staff from Desa hired)

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) comes under heavy criticism from its very own employees, who also seem to recognise that lobbying for the UPC is a very bad idea which discredits the European Patent Organisation

THE EPO is not an ordinary institution. People have come to assume that it’s supranatural and all-seeing. Fear dominates. It has become epic in terms of its abuses (against its very own staff, just like in WIPO), even if the corporate media does not cover the subject like it covered FIFA. Lobbying events and corrupting influence over the media might be playing a role here because the corporate media did use to occasionally cover the subject (but not anymore, not recently).

“PwC looks very much like EPO,” writes one person (probably an examiner judging by the signature). “Is any official recognition of burnout at EPO? Of course not,” he or she added in relation to the ‘social’ ‘study’ released late on a Friday. To quote the whole comment, which contains link about the so-called ‘study’ and its preparation (commissioned by Team Battistelli):

EPO Social Study by PwC? Just released this Friday.
Look who’s talking:

https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Employee-Review-PwC-RVW6640457.htm

https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Employee-Review-PwC-RVW9485971.htm

https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Employee-Review-PwC-RVW1377116.htm

http://offbeatchina.com/25-year-old-auditor-at-pwc-shanghai-worked-to-death-time-to-rethink-work-life-balance

http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/Bengaluru-Techie-Jumps-to-Death-From-9th-Floor-Flat/2016/04/17/article3384729.ece

PwC looks very much like EPO.
Is any official recognition of burnout at EPO? Of course not (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/30/worker-burnout-worldwide-governments_n_3678460.html).

Dumb and Dumber Examiner

Another person is obviously “uncomfortable by the fact that the EPO appears to be lobbying strongly” and asks if others are equally uncomfortable, in a thread which is stuffed with comments from the patent microcosm (they too are lobbying, e.g. via CIPA). Here is the comment in full:

Is anyone else left feeling very uncomfortable by the fact that the EPO appears to be lobbying strongly for the UK government to take prompt and decisive action in connection with the UPC agreement (ie to either ratify or withdraw)?

The EPO is a non-governmental, international organisation that was created by, and is controlled by, the EPC contracting states. The UK is one of those contracting states. In my view, it therefore beggars belief that the servant is telling one of its masters what to do.

I would have thought that the EPO really ought to be scrupulous in maintaining political neutrality. This is because being seen trying to exert influence over decisions made by a national government (and over which that government has sole authority) would surely raise questions about whether the EPO employees in question were acting beyond their remit. There would also be questions about whether such lobbying could be seen as undemocratic.

Perhaps BB is so used to obedience from the members of the AC that he has mixed up the identities of master and servant. However, if the lobbying efforts of the EPO come to the attention of Brexiteers within the UK government, I have no doubt that they will waste no time reminding him of the natural order of things.

The UK government has a difficult decision to take. As made clear by the Gordon and Pascoe opinion, participating in the UPC post-Brexit could have profound consequences (including signing up in perpetuity to the supremacy of EU law in a significant number of areas) that may well be unpalatable for many of those in government, let alone the electorate. Whilst I am certainly no Brexiteer, my firm belief is that the UK government should be left alone to mull over these consequences and to reach a decision in its own time. If the other contracting states to the UPC agreement cannot wait the time this will take, then so be it.

Meanwhile, this new press article was released at the start of the week and the first section covers the EPO in light of Brexit. There is no issue at all, except for Team UPC. To quote the relevant parts:

The good news is that Brexit will have no effect on European patents or patent applications. European patents are granted by the European Patent Office (EPO), which is not an E.U. institution. E.U. membership is not a condition of membership in the EPO, and non- E.U. member countries, such as Switzerland and Norway, have long been EPO members.

As a result, you will continue to be able to validate your granted European patents in the U.K., and European patents that have already been validated will continue in force. Similarly, U.K. patent attorneys will be able to continue acting as representatives before the EPO.

We certainly hope that politicians won’t get bamboozled by Team UPC. “Stjerna,” as Benjamin Henrion put it (pointing to a long paper which we mentioned the other day), suggests that the Unitary patent and court system is like “squaring the circle after the Brexit vote” (impossibility).

We certainly hope that nothing will change with regards to the UK’s membership in the EPO, but judging by the alarming recruitment figures (the EPO nearly halted hiring British staff and many of them left) one cannot rule this out. The UK might eventually be left out of both UPC (which will likely never happen anyway, with or without the UK) and the EPO. The UK-IPO, based on British sources of ours, gave them better services than the EPO (where quality can no longer be assured, only the high fees are a certainty).

The EPO is in trouble. EPO insiders know this very well.

Links 26/9/2016: Linux 4.8 RC8, SuperTux 0.5

Monday 26th of September 2016 11:24:17 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Letter to the Federal Trade Commission regarding Lenovo blocking Linux and other operating system installations on Yoga PCs.

      Lenovo just updated the BIOS for the Yoga 710, another system that doesn’t allow Linux installs. Wanna know what they changed? Update to TPM (secret encryption module used for Digital Restrictions Management) and an update to the Intel Management Engine, which is essentially a backdoor rootkit built into all recent Intel processors (but AMD has their version too, so what do you do?). No Linux support. Priorities…

    • Microsoft told to compensate customers for Windows 10 breaking computers

      Microsoft has been urged to pay compensation to customers that have suffered computer malfunctions when upgrading to its new software Windows 10.

      Since the company released the software last year it has been plagued by complaints, with customers claiming their computers upgraded without their permission and, in some cases, completely stopped working.

      Which?, the consumer watchdog, has told Microsoft to “honour consumers’ rights” and compensate those who have suffered from problems, including lost files, email accounts no longer syncing and failed WiFi connection.

      It said Microsoft customers had also complained that their webcams suddenly stopped working, as did speakers and printers in the wake of the upgrade.

    • Veteran Windows journo slams Microsoft over Surface Pro issues

      Microsoft’s tardiness and lack of communication in relation to battery issues affecting its Surface Pro PC/tablet hybrid has been slammed by well-known journalist Ed Bott who has been writing about the company for 25 years.

      In a column titled “Shame on Microsoft for leaving Surface Pro customers in the dark”, Bott wrote that Microsoft had not shown any appreciation of the users who had helped put its Surface business on a solid footing.

      He wrote that after the Surface Pro 3 had been in the market for more than a year, users began noticing a steady drop in battery capacity.

      In March 2016, the company’s support lines began fielding calls about the issue, with complaints that batteries that should have held a charge for five or more hours were going dead in 20 or 30 minutes and refusing to charge fully.

  • Server
    • IBM Preaches Cognitive, Cloud, And IT Consumption

      They say it’s not just about the technology. It’s really about the business. But that brings to mind an old adage from the car industry: You sell the sizzle not the steak. Right now the sizzle is cognitive computing. It has edged out big data and analytics in the one-upsmanship match of IT leadership and the next big thing. At the Edge conference last week, when IBM executives talked strategy and road maps, cognitive computing was on the tip of tongues.

      Cognitive is a differentiator, an upper hand for IBM. Big Blue has not let the world forget about Watson, its game show champion that’s evolved into a must-have business advantage in the making. Watson’s augmented intelligence, a term IBM prefers over artificial intelligence, has been applied to healthcare, finance, commerce, education, and security. According to IBM, it has thousands of scientists and engineers working on cognitive projects, which also extend to clients, academics, and external experts.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux Kernel 4.8 Lands October 2 as Linus Torvalds Outs Last Release Candidate

      It’s still Sunday in U.S. so Linus Torvalds has just published his weekly announcement to inform us all about the availability of the eighth and last RC (Release Candidate) development snapshot of the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel.

    • Linux 4.8-rc8 Released: Linux 4.8 Next Weekend
    • Linux 4.8 gets rc8

      Chill, penguin-fanciers: Linux lord Linus Torvalds is sitting on the egg that is Linux 4.8 for another week.

      As Torvalds indicated last week, this version of the kernel still needs work and therefore earned itself an eighth release candidate.

    • Linux Kernel 4.7.5 Released with Numerous ARM and Networking Improvements

      The fifth maintenance update to the Linux 4.7 kernel series, which is currently the most advanced, secure and stable kernel branch you can get for your GNU/Linux operating system, has been announced by Greg Kroah-Hartman.

      Linux kernel 4.7.5 is here only ten days after the release of the previous maintenance version, namely Linux kernel 4.7.4, and it’s a big update that changes a total of 213 files, with 1774 insertions and 971 deletions, which tells us that the kernel developers and hackers had a pretty busy week patching all sorts of bugs and security issues, as well as to add various, much-needed improvements.

    • Blockchain Summit Day Two: End-Of-Conference Highlights From Shanghai

      Financial services firms and startups looking to be the bridge to blockchain ledgers continued to dominate presentations on the second and final day of the Blockchain Summit, ending International Blockchain Week in Shanghai that also saw Devcon2 and a startup demo competition.

    • Graphics Stack
      • The RADV Radeon Vulkan Linux Driver Continues Picking Up Features
      • OpenChrome Maintainer Making Some Progress On VIA DRM Driver

        Independent developer Kevin Brace took over maintaining the OpenChrome DDX driver earlier this year to improve the open-source VIA Linux graphics support while over the summer he’s slowly been getting up to speed on development of the OpenChrome DRM driver.

        The OpenChrome DRM driver was making progress while James Simmons was developing it a few years back, but since he left the project, it’s been left to bit rot. It will take a lot of work even to get this previously “good” code back to working on the latest Linux 4.x mainline kernels given how DRM core interfaces have evolved in recent times.

      • My talk about Mainline Explicit Fencing at XDC 2016!

        Last week I was at XDC in Helsinki where I presented about the Explicit Fencing work we’ve been doing on the Mainline Linux Kernel in the lastest few months. There was a livestream of all presentations during the conference and recorded sections are available. You can check the video of my presentation. Check out the slides too.

    • Benchmarks
      • Testing Various HDDs & SSDs On Ubuntu With The Linux 4.8 Kernel

        Here are some fresh benchmarks of various solid-state drives (SATA 3.0 SSDs plus two NVMe M.2 SSDs) as well as two HDDs for getting a fresh look at how they are performing using the Linux 4.8 Git kernel.

        After publishing Friday’s Intel 600P Series NVME SSD tests of this lower-cost NVM Express storage line-up, I continued testing a few other SSDs and HDDs. These additional reference points are available for your viewing pleasure today. The additional data is also going to be used for reference in a Linux 4.8-based BCache SSD+HDD comparison being published next week. Stay tuned for those fresh BCache numbers.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • LXQt 0.11.0 Desktop Environment Arrives After Almost One Year of Development

      After being in development for the past eleven months, the next major release of the lightweight, Qt-based LXQt desktop environment has been officially released and it’s available for download.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Great first year at LAS GNOME!

        This was the first year of the Libre Application Summit, hosted by GNOME (aka “LAS GNOME”). Congratulations to the LAS GNOME team for a successful launch of this new conference! I hope to see more of them.

        In case you missed LAS GNOME, the conference was in Portland, Oregon. I thoroughly enjoyed this very walkable city. Portland is a great place for a conference venue. When I booked my hotel, I found lots of hotel options within easy walking distance to the LAS GNOME location. I walked every day, but you could also take any of the many light rail or bus or trolley options running throughout the city.

  • Distributions
  • Devices/Embedded
    • Ghost Minitaur Robot Opens Doors & Climbs Fences & Stairs!

      Give this little droid a compatible brain, like a Raspberry Pi 3, which can display images via a built-in HDMI port and runs Linux at 1.2 Gigahertz, and is more akin to an actual computer than a microcontroller, and let programming of a robotic brain function shatter the ceiling on possibilities.

    • Phones
      • Android
        • Google could be about to reveal its Android and Chrome OS merger

          If you’ve been following Google for a while you’ll know that speculation around the company merging Android and Chrome OS into one single whole isn’t anything new, but the rumours have gained fresh impetus over the weekend.

          Sources speaking to the usually reliable Android Police say Google is preparing to combine the two OSes into something codenamed Andromeda inside the company – that’s also the name of the nearest galaxy to the Milky Way or the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia in Greek mythology, depending on which meaning you want to take.

        • Google’s Oct. 4th Event May Reveal Merged Android/Chrome OS
        • Oct 4th rumors: Google to show off merged Android/Chrome OS preview, $69 Chromecast Ultra and $129 Google Home

          Google is holding an event on October 4th, where the company is expected to officially launches its new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. But that’s not all we’re expecting to see on October 4th.

          According to several reports from Android Police, we could also see the launch of Google Home, a Chromecast Ultra, and a new wireless router called Google WiFi.

          Google may also show off a preview of an operating system that merges Chrome OS and Android, although it’s unlikely to be available to the public before 2017.

        • Android Users Replace Phones Faster Than iPhone Fans

          Every time a new Apple iPhone gets released, it seems like everyone who has chosen iOS over Alphabet ‘s Android immediately orders one.

          In reality, however, not every consumer trades in his or her phone just because a new model comes out. They may want to, but leasing cycles, payment plans and other factors influence whether people swap out their iPhone or Android phone after a new model is released.

          On the Apple side, consumers are actually holding onto their phones slightly longer, while with Android, the replacement cycle has been steady for the past three years, according to data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).

        • Sony Xperia X Performance users can register for Android 7.0 Nougat beta program (but not everywhere)
        • Leaked Presentation Slide Reveals Sony’s Android 7.0 Roadmap

          If you own an Android device that isn’t a Nexus, chances are you’re probably wondering when your phone will be updated to the latest version of Android, Android 7.0 Nougat. OEMs don’t usually reveal their update plans so early on, but the good news for Sony users is that we now have an idea of when the update will be released.

          This is thanks to an alleged leaked presentation slide as reported by Mojandroid.sk (via Xperia Blog) from Sony Slovakia. As you can see in the photo above, it shows the company’s plans for the Android 7.0 Nougat update. Assuming the timing is applicable for all markets they operate in, the Xperia X Performance and Xperia XZ should get their update in October.

        • Umi Plus International Giveaway [3 Phones]
Free Software/Open Source
  • How to throw a tarball over the wall

    It costs a lot of money to open source a mature piece of commercial software, even if all you are doing is “throwing a tarball over the wall.” That’s why companies abandoning software they no longer care about so rarely make it open source, and those abandoning open source projects rarely move them to new homes that benefit others.

    If all you have thought about is the eventual outcome, you may be surprised how expensive it is to get there.

    Read more

  • Desktop virtualisation kit-calculator goes open source

    The tool has gone through a number of iterations over the years, extending its capabilities to assess the infrastructure requirements of ever-more virtual desktops along the way while also keeping up with changes to VMware’s Horizon and Citrix’s XenDesktop.

    But Leibovici says he’s now sufficiently busy that “Unfortunately I find myself without time to maintain the VDI calculator, therefore I decided that the best outcome would be to open-source the app and let the community drive maintenance and innovation.”

    Hence its publication under an Apache 2.0 licence here on GitHub.

  • Attributes of Effective Project Managers

    Volunteers often work for both philanthropic and selfish reasons. For example, contributing to FreeBSD and having your code approved can translate to a career-building resume bullet (nearly ⅓ of the world’s internet traffic runs on FreeBSD). While not every contribution translates into a resume bullet, volunteers generally contribute more of their talents when their contributions are recognized. Martin takes great pride in publicly sharing information about how he gives back to his volunteers in the form of reasonably-sized monetary gifts. He remarked to me how one gift bought a programmer a new chair. While it may not seem like much, the contribution made a significant difference to that person’s sense of value to the project. Martin noticed that since the chair arrived the change requests for Ubuntu MATE that come from that programmer with the happy hind quarters seem to become his highest priority and Martin generally gets the changes in short order.

  • Show And Tell: Google Open Sources Its Image Captioning AI In TensorFlow

    Google has open sourced its Show and Tell system which will now be available in TensorFlow machine learning library. The Show and Tell system can analyze an image and provide a relevant caption describing the situation of the image. The code of the system is available on GitHub.

  • Web Browsers
  • SaaS/Back End
  • Databases
    • PostgreSQL 9.6 Preparing To Release Next Week With Its Parallel Queries Support

      PostgreSQL 9.6 is being prepared for release on 29 September as the database system’s latest major update.

      Arguably the biggest feature of the upcoming PostgreSQL 9.6 release is the parallel query support for scans, joins, and aggregates that should speed up the performance of SELECTs by a lot. There are also other improvements like synchronous replication on multiple standby servers, full-text search for phrases, and more.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Developing a GIMP Deblur Plugin

      The original assignment was to implement Cho’s algorithm for deblurring [Cho et al 2013] as a GIMP plugin. The previous bachelor thesis had found this algorithm as the best deblurring algorithm for recovering text. However, time marches on. During the literature review phase, the team came across some advances in deblurring. Moreover, the algorithm’s description in the paper was incomplete, and patented. (Interestingly enough, the patent did not clarify the incompleteness.) There was a new algorithm by Pan et al [Pan et al 2014] that was simpler, faster, and: open source. However, the original was coded in Matlab, which is (1) proprietary, (2) not freely available, and (3) not in much use by people who want to edit pictures.

      So, the team investigated both algorithms in great (and hairy) detail, and implemented Pan et al’s algo as an open source GIMP plugin. This required a working understanding of the maths involved (which is not explicitly taught in the Bachelor programme). Moreover, the end result is a sleek piece of work, showcasing the team’s CS creds as well.

      Below, a tiny bit about how blurring works, and how to deblur. I’ll skip most of the maths, promised.

  • Public Services/Government
    • North American Cities Slow to Adopt Open Source Software

      Most politicians who are setting the IT budgets do not have a clue what IT is doing. They demand more and more from them as technology changes. But unlike a crumbling road or rusting bridge that can be seen by all, they really do not see or understand what is happening in the IT department. As long as they can get access to their applications and data, everything is fine. This lack of knowledge leads to a lack of political willpower to make change happen or to even recognize that change is needed and that money can be saved by doing things differently.

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
  • Security
    • Microsoft ends Tuesday patches

      Yesterday was a big day for Patch Tuesday. It was the last traditional Windows Patch Tuesday as Microsoft is moving to a new patching release model. In the future, patches will be bundled together and users will no longer be able to pick and choose which updates to install. Furthermore, these new ‘monthly update packs’ will be combined, so for instance, the November update will include all the patches from October as well.

    • The best way to develop software with effective security

      Regardless of the level at which you’re doing your programming, security is going to get in the way. No amount of application abstraction or modern development process seems capable of shielding developers from the barriers raised by security. It’s pretty hard not to hate security when it doesn’t seem to add any intrinsic value, and often gets in the way of providing a delightful user experience. To top it off products can get hacked anyway, in spite of any and all work you do to make your products secure.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • WPost Wants a Bigger War in Syria

      The neocon Washington Post wants an even bigger U.S. military intervention in Syria, ignoring the tenets of international law and assuming that more bombing will somehow make things better, observes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Obama Promises to Shield Saudis on 9/11

      Back in 2008, when people said Barack Obama was “the one,” I didn’t realize they meant that he would be “the one” person standing, blocking the path to justice for the 9/11 victims’ families. Mr. Obama, please get out of our way and let us have some justice and peace 15 years after the brutal murder of our 3,000 loved ones.

      JASTA (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, S.2040) is a well-thought out, powerful piece of anti-terrorism legislation. It does exactly what it says — it brings all those who fund terrorism to justice.

    • Obama Vetoes 9/11-Saudi Legislation Setting Up Potential Override

      As expected, President Barack Obama has vetoed legislation that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue nations, including Saudi Arabia, for any role their government may have played in the terrorist attacks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Dangerous Denial of Global Warming

      President Obama calls it “terrifying” and the greatest long-term threat facing the world. Three hundred seventy-five of the world’s top experts just warned of “severe and long-lasting consequences” for the planet if America’s next president drops the ball. Yet only 19 percent of registered voters say it’s a top issue; Hillary Clinton increasingly ducks the topic, and Donald Trump characteristically dismisses it all as a “hoax.”

      The issue, of course, is global warming. While reporters offer endless stories about Clinton’s emails and fainting spells, and Trump makes up new lies faster than fact-checkers can swat them down, few people in politics or the media are talking about the accelerating effects of climate change.

    • Fifty elephants killed each day for last decade, study says amid key talks on ivory trade

      The number of elephants across Africa has dropped by 111,000 in just 10 years to only 415,000 today, according to a study published on Sunday as global experts met in Johannesburg to discuss whether to lift the ban on the ivory trade.

      The Pan-African survey, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, found that 50 elephants were killed each day since 2006 and laid the blame squarely on poachers seeking their precious tusks for sale mainly to Asian markets.

  • Finance
    • Calling the SEC

      Chris DiIorio suspected major broker-dealer Knight Capital of tanking penny stocks on purpose and racking up massive, unsustainable balance-sheet liabilities based on all the stocks it “sold” that it never really had.

      It had taken him five years to reach these conclusions — five years of digging through reams of financial data in search of answers to how and why his particular penny stock investment was so brutally crushed. Knight never answered DiIorio’s questions, nor, during the reporting of this story, any of The Intercept’s.

    • Monarch Airlines denies rumours it is going bust amid passenger fears

      The UK budget airline Monarch has denied rumours it is going bust, amid growing concerns among passengers that their bookings may be at risk.

      Speculation began to circulate on Sunday afternoon that the airline, a 48-year-old British aviation icon, was set to close.

      The airline continued to advertise holiday deals and take bookings for flights late into Sunday evening.

    • The many hurdles of Brexit – a short summary post

      This is a short summary blogpost of what appear to be the main issues which need to be addressed for a Brexit to take place. I set out below the issues as questions, though they could just as easily be framed as statements.

      I call each of these a “hurdle” – because it is possible that each one of these can be negotiated and jumped over; but it is also possible that each one can be an obstruction.

      [...]

      Hurdle One: Which domestic legal form? Act of Parliament or exercise of the Royal Prerogative (or something else?)

      Hurdle Two: What if the Scottish government is resolute in its opposition to Brexit?

      Hurdle Three: What if the Northern Ireland government is resolute in its opposition to Brexit?

      Hurdle Four: How is the border with the Republic of Ireland dealt with? What impact will there be (if any) on the Good Friday Agreement?

      Hurdle Five: What if Gibraltar is resolute in its opposition to Brexit?

      Hurdle Six: What if the government is defeated in the House of Commons on Brexit?

      Hurdle Seven: What if the government is defeated in the House of Lords on Brexit?

      Hurdle Eight: How is any Brexit to be reconciled with the 2015 Conservative manifesto pledge that the UK’s position in the Single Market will be “safeguarded”? How will that pledge affect the passage of Brexit legislation under the Salisbury Convention (that only legislation which fulfill manifesto pledges will not be subject to Lords’ delay)?

    • TTIP on its deathbed, but CETA moves forward despite growing concerns

      At a key meeting in Bratislava last Friday, EU ministers effectively put the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations on hold, perhaps forever. Even the perennially upbeat EU commissioner responsible for trade, Cecilia Malmström, admitted: “All ministers expressed their doubts about being able to conclude this before the end of the Obama presidency, and indeed, it looks increasingly unlikely.” Since both candidates for the US presidency have said they are dissatisfied with current trade negotiations, that makes TTIP’s long-term fate extremely uncertain.

      According to a report in Politico.eu, Austria’s economy minister made the suggestion to “relaunch [the TTIP negotiations] after the U.S. elections, with a new name, better transparency and also clearer goals.” However, another, unnamed minister said: “I don’t think there will be less demonstrations if we call it ‘John’.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Who is Gennifer Flowers? 10 facts about Bill Clinton’s former mistress and Donald Trump’s new friend
    • In Election, Russians Rallied Around Putin

      What is most important here is the fallacious link between low turnout and higher returns for United Russia. On the contrary, I believe low turnout as a general phenomenon, not linked to some openly declared boycott, makes it doubly difficult to get results in the ballot box that reflect the public opinion polls taken before the election.

      A well-documented example of this was the September 2013 mayoral election in Moscow when the turnout was surprisingly low, at 32 percent and the heavy favorite, Acting Mayor Sergey Sobyanin from United Russia, polled just 51 percent of the vote (46 percent according to the Opposition) and the fiercely anti-Kremlin candidate Alexei Navalny received 27 percent (35 percent according to his partisans). If anti-Kremlin voters in Moscow and St. Petersburg stayed home or at their dachas this past Sunday, you have to look deeper into their motivation.

    • Jeremy Corbyn Easily Re-Elected Labour Party Leader

      Jeremy Corbyn scored a “monumental victory” on Saturday, easily being reelected leader of Britain’s Labour Party.

      Corbyn got 61.8 percent of the vote to opponent Owen Smith’s 38.2. The Guardian reports that the 67-year-old “won a majority over Smith in every category—members, registered supporters, and trades union affiliates. He won the support of 59 percent of voting members, 70 percent of registered supporters, and 60 percent of affiliated supporters.”

      Cory Doctorow writes at BoingBoing that his reelection came despite sabotage from his own party and the UK press’s efforts to “to sideline, belittle and dismiss him.” As such, Doctorow argues, “it is nothing short of a miracle that Corbyn has won the leadership race, and that, moreover, he has increased his lead, beyond last year’s landslide, with a higher voter turnout than ever.”

      In fact the Bristol Post writes, it was “one of the most one-sided contests in the history of the party.”

    • Top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills granted partial immunity in email investigation

      Top Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills received an immunity deal from the Justice Department in the FBI’s investigation into the former secretary of state’s private email server, records shown to Congress revealed Friday, re-injecting the email controversy into the presidential campaign just days before her first debate with Donald Trump.

      In addition to Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff at State, grants of partial immunity were also extended to former Clinton aide Heather Samuelson, who worked as State’s White House liaison and later as a private attorney for Clinton and to John Bentel, who was director of the the Information Resources Management section in the secretary of state’s office, lawmakers said.

    • Former NSA analyst: FBI may reopen investigation if Clinton loses

      The FBI could reopen its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information if she fails to win the November election, according to a former National Security Agency analyst, especially in light of revelations made public in a Friday document dump by the agency.

      “The FBI completely ignored the appearance of highly classified signals intelligence in Hillary’s email, including information lifted verbatim from above-Top Secret NSA reports back in 2011,” John Schindler, a security expert and former analyst for the agency, wrote in a Sunday column for the Observer, noting the agency revealed on Friday that it never questioned Clinton about the issue.

    • Fresh Proof The FBI’s Hillary Email Probe Was A Joke

      Yet another surprise revelation suggests strongly that the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail mess was anything but a by-the-book investigation.

      House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said he learned only Friday that the Justice Department gave immunity deals to Clinton’s former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and two other aides. That brings to five the number of Clintonistas who got a pass in exchange for testimony and/or information.

      But what makes it especially significant in Mills’ case is that she was allowed to sit in on Clinton’s FBI interview, asserting attorney-client privilege on Hillary’s behalf. This, even though Mills was herself a witness, even a potential subject of, the investigation.

    • Obama Reportedly Used Pseudonym in Emails With Clinton, FBI Notes Reveal

      One of the more fascinating revelations from the additional FBI notes released about the Hillary Clinton email investigation is the revelation of a potential pseudonym used by President Obama in emails with Clinton.

      The relevant passage of the FBI interview notes how Huma Abedin said when Clinton changed her primary email address, “they had to notify the White House so that Clinton’s emails would not be rejected by the server.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Privacy Commissioner warns of ‘hidden risks’ of the IoT

      The Australian Privacy Commissioner has warned that Australian businesses assessed as part of a global sweep of Internet of Things products and services generally lack clear information for customers about how their personal information is being managed.

      And, more than half of Aussie businesses have failed to adequately explain how personal information was collected, used and disclosed, according to the Privacy Commissioner.

      The sweep of IoT devices, just released by the Australian Privacy Commissioner, and fellow international regulators, through the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN), reveals that 71% of the IoT devices and services, and how information is managed, were not adequately explained by Australian businesses.

    • A Week In, the Pardon Snowden Debate Keeps Heating Up

      Since then, people worldwide have turned their attention back to the most famous whistleblower of our generation. Dozens of news and opinion pieces have considered his role in exposing the contours of U.S. mass surveillance, and moviegoers have watched Joseph Gordon-Levitt portray him in an Oliver Stone-directed filmbased on his life.

      The ACLU, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch launched the Pardon Snowden campaign with a press conference last Wednesday, with Ed himself appearing via live video. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined, three years ago, such an outpouring of solidarity,” he said in profuse thanks to his supporters.

    • Gary Johnson: I would pardon Edward Snowden
    • Gary Johnson: I would pardon Snowden
    • Gary Johnson Supports Pardoning Edward Snowden
    • Edward Snowden should come home
    • Hong Kong campaigners, asylum seekers to demand US presidential pardon for Edward Snowden
    • Hongkongers Take to Streets in Support of U.S. Whistleblower Snowden
    • Rally for US whistleblower Edward Snowden brings Hong Kong’s refugees to the fore
    • Hong Kong refugees protest to call for Snowden pardon

      Activists and refugees staged a protest in Hong Kong on Sunday calling on Washington to pardon fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden, with protesters describing refugees in the city as “heroes” for helping him evade authorities in 2013.

    • Snowden Receives German Citizen’s Award ‘Glass of Reason’

      Former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden received the Glass of Reason, award of the citizens of the German city of Kassel worth 10,000 euro ($11,230).

    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden gets German award for ‘courage and conscience’ after spilling US secrets

      Edward Snowden has received an award from a German city for the ‘courage and conscience’ he showed in spilling US secrets.

      He received the Glass of Reason, award from the citizens of the German city of Kassel worth 10,000 euros (£7,000).

      The award’s organizers reportedly said that they made this choice because the whistleblower “with courage, competence and reason has taken a conscience decision and put his past life and safety at stake for a bigger thing.”

    • ChIPs Global Summit Report 4: Facebook, Apple and the DoJ discuss the tension between privacy and security

      1. The privacy v security fallacy. National security and personal privacy are not at odds with each other. It is a false choice – it is really security v security. As Noreen highlighted 17.5 million people were victims of direct hacks which violated their personal privacy, but importantly they were also victims of crime. Privacy is a security issue and security is a privacy issue. People who put products into the marketplace want to stop crime at the onset and law enforcement want to stop it once it happens. The argument is that that you cannot undermine encryption to protect customer’s security and privacy in the interests of law enforcement because in doing so you will inevitably create back doors which allow “the bad guys” in resulting in crime (and, therefore, threats to security).

      2. Security and privacy have taken center stage. The FBI’s order against Apple was ex parte. There was no opportunity for Apple to be heard. The manner in which the FBI obtained the order (after months of working whit Apple and not under seal, so that it was public) therefore generated controversy and ignited fights between various factions on the public stage. Noreen explained that Apple was and had been cooperating with law enforcement for months until the February ex parte order. The FBI’s order asked Apple to write a new operating system so that they could gain access to the iPhone 5c at issue which was running on iOS 9 (reportedly known internally at Apple as GovtOS). If Apple complied with the order they would risk the security of other Apple customers. The panel recommended this TIME article interview with Tim Cook to the audience for background reading. The panel appreciated FBI Director Comey’s efforts to keep the issue in the forefront of public discussion, but some panellists stated that his comment that an “adult conversation” was needed in the wake of the controversy was probably an unfortunate choice of words as the insinuation was that if you did not agree with the FBI, you were not an adult. Now that the “fervor” has died down, many panellists felt it was time to reignite the conversation.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Jordanian Writer Shot Dead In Front Of Court Before Trial Over Cartoon

      A gunman on Sunday killed prominent Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar outside a court where he was facing charges for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam, state news agency Petra reported.

      Hattar was struck by three bullets before the assailant was arrested, said Petra. Witnesses told AFP that a man had opened fire in front of the court in Amman’s Abdali district.

      The 56-year-old Christian was arrested on August 13 after posting a cartoon mocking jihadists on his Facebook account.

    • Nahed Hattar shot dead: Prominent Jordanian writer charged with offensive Facebook post killed

      A Jordanian writer who was arrested for posting a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam has been shot dead.

      Nahed Hattar was assassinated in front the Supreme Court in Amman with local media reporting he was shot three times in the head.

      The shooter has reportedly been arrested by security forces.

    • Palace to look into WikiLeaks report saying Duterte permitted Davao killings

      Malacañang on Sunday said it will look into “leaked information” that President Rodrigo R. Duterte knew and permitted vigilante killings in Davao during his term as mayor of the city.

      “We will look into [it] first,” Communications Secretary Martin M. Andanar said in a text message.

      “Commission on Human Rights Regional Director Alberto Sipaco (strictly protect) at a private meeting affirmed that Mayor Duterte knows about the killings and permits them,” read cable 09MANILA1002_a, one of the diplomatic cables released on the internet by self-described “multi-national media organization and associated library” WikiLeaks.

      “Recounting a conversation he once had with Duterte, who is his close friend and former fraternity brother, Sipaco said he pleaded with the Mayor to stop vigilante killings and support other methods to reduce crime, like rehabilitation programs for offenders,” it added.

    • A Digital Rumor Should Never Lead to a Police Raid

      If police raided a home based only on an anonymous phone call claiming residents broke the law, it would be clearly unconstitutional.

      Yet EFF has found that police and courts are regularly conducting and approving raids based on the similar type of unreliable digital evidence: Internet Protocol (IP) address information.

      In a whitepaper released today, EFF challenges law enforcement and courts’ reliance on IP addresses, without more, to identify the location of crimes and the individuals responsible. While IP addresses can be a useful piece of an investigation, authorities need to properly evaluate the information, and more importantly, corroborate it, before IP address information can be used to support police raids, arrests, and other dangerous police operations.

      IP address information was designed to route traffic on the Internet, not serve as an identifier for other purposes. As the paper explains, IP addresses information isn’t the same as physical addresses or license plates that can pinpoint an exact location or identify a particular person. Put simply: there is no uniform way to systematically map physical locations based on IP addresses or create a phone book to lookup users of particular IP addresses.

    • Far-Right Runs With ‘Outside Agitator’ Lie Spread by CNN

      This case offers a perfect example of why uncritically allowing police union officials to make unsourced assertions on national TV, and then repeating them as facts, is not a good idea.

      First, it’s important to note that Burnett even muffs her sourcing; by citing a “Charlotte police sergeant,” she ignores the fact that he’s a union representative, and that union representatives are not operating in their capacity as police officers or spokespeople for the department. By conflating the two, she treated what was effectively advocacy on behalf of an individual officer as an official statement by a police department; while police departments are of course capable of being deceptive themselves, they are at least in theory accountable to a city council and mayor.

    • Charlotte Police Video of Keith Scott’s Killing Released

      The same clip then shows another officer, in a red shirt, approach Scott just after the shooting and there is the sound of something skittering across the pavement as he crouches down by the dying man’s right side. There has been some speculation that the officer could have been sliding a gun away from Scott’s hand towards the curb behind him.

      Putney said that more footage was recorded on other police cameras, and all of the material would likely be released later, after the completion of an independent inquiry into the fatal shooting now being carried out by North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation. “The footage itself,” he added, “will not create in anyone’s mind absolutely certainty as to what this case represents and what the outcome should be.”

      The partial release of video failed to satisfy protesters, who rallied in Charlotte on Saturday night, chanting “Release the whole video!” according to DaShawn Brown of WSOC-TV.

    • Police Arrest 32 Child Traffickers, Uncover 6 Baby Factories

      Delta State Police Commissioner, Mr. Zanna Ibrahim yesterday said thirty-two child traffickers were arrested in the last two months, adding that six baby factories were uncovered in Asaba and its environs.

      Emphasizing his determination to synergize with the State Ministry of Women Affairs to fight against crime and other social vices in the state, the police boss said: “We have reduced drastically child trafficking in the state, and baby factories uncovered by men and officers of the police force, we will ensure efforts are put together to bring to book those in their hideouts”, pointing out that the suspects arrested currently being detained would be charged to court on completion of investigation.

      Mr. Zanna Ibrahim who spoke to journalists on efforts made so far since he assumed office in Asaba, said he was ready to collaborate and co-operative with Women Affairs department in the state, especially when the crime involves children and women who are target of traffickers.

    • VIDEO: Charlotte Police Killed Keith Lamont Scott In Under 10 Seconds, Withheld Audio Recordings Too

      Charlotte police finally respected the will of Keith Lamont Scott’s family and released two official videos of his last moments in a police killing that touched off peaceful protests, deployment of riot police and eventually violent protests and looting.

      But audio is redacted.

      Dash cam video reveals that Keith Lamont Scott only lived ten seconds after exiting his car.

      There’s definitely not an immediate threat by Scott to the four police officers with arms drawn, even slightly noticeable in the dash cam video.

      No gun is visible at any time.

      Part of the Charlotte police’s initial unproven claim to justify the shooting of Scott – for which no probable cause has yet been given – is that they gave “clear warning” audio in the body camera video below, nor in the dash camera video which illustrates what commands or verbalizing happened by the three officers on the scene, one of whom is clearly uniformed as seen in the dash camera video.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • ISP explains data caps to FCC: Using the Internet is like eating Oreos

      If you were worried that the debate over Internet data caps would get bogged down in technical mumbo-jumbo, fear no more—it’s actually much simpler than you think.

      Mediacom, a US cable company with a little over 1.1 million Internet subscribers in 22 states, has put the matter to rest by explaining to the Federal Communications Commission that its customers shouldn’t get unlimited data because using the Internet is just like eating Oreos.

      “You have to pay extra for double-stuffed,” Mediacom Senior VP and General Counsel Joseph Young wrote in a filing with the FCC last week.

    • Vint Cerf’s dream do-over: 2 ways he’d make the internet different

      Vint Cerf is considered a father of the internet, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things he would do differently if given a fresh chance to create it all over again.

      “If I could have justified it, putting in a 128-bit address space would have been nice so we wouldn’t have to go through this painful, 20-year process of going from IPv4 to IPv6,” Cerf told an audience of journalists Thursday during a press conference at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum in Germany.

      IPv4, the first publicly used version of the Internet Protocol, included an addressing system that used 32-bit numerical identifiers. It soon became apparent that it would lead to an exhaustion of addresses, however, spurring the creation of IPv6 as a replacement. Roughly a year ago, North America officially ran out of new addresses based on IPv4.

      For security, public key cryptography is another thing Cerf would like to have added, had it been feasible.

  • DRM
    • HTML standardization group calls on W3C to protect security researchers from DRM

      The World Wide Web Consortium has embarked upon an ill-advised project to standardize Digital Rights Management (DRM) for video at the behest of companies like Netflix; in so doing, they are, for the first time, making a standard whose implementations will be covered under anti-circumvention laws like Section 1201 of the DMCA, which makes it a potential felony to reveal defects in products without the manufacturer’s permission.

      This is especially worrisome because the W3C’s aspiration for the new version of HTML is that it will replace apps as the user-interface for the Internet of Things, making all sorts of potentially compromising (and even lethal) bugs difficult to report without serious legal liability.

      The EFF has proposed that W3C members should be required to promise not to use the DMCA and laws like it this way; this has had support from other multistakeholder groups, like the Open Source Initiative, which has said that the W3C work will not qualify as an “open standard” if it doesn’t do something to prevent DMCA abuse.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • A song of Ice and Ice

        Iceland, a country famous for the northern lights, skyr yoghurt, and their recent performance in the Euros, has made headlines this week for threatening the trade mark rights of a major UK supermarket. The cause of this ire is unclear, as some sources report that Icelandic tourist board, ‘Promote Iceland’ was faced with opposition proceedings when they attempted to register an EU trade mark ‘Inspired by Iceland’. Other reports state that Icelandic companies are being prevented from trading under their country name due to Iceland Foods’ earlier right.

      • Eye ‘should’ve’ done that! – Specsavers nears approval to trade mark single word “should’ve” & “shouldve”

        Despite the legal and commercial concerns, Specsavers’s decision to register single words SHOULD’VE and SHOULDVE should be recognised as intelligent business strategy, considering the proliferation and potential of social media. The use of hashtags has become a significant vehicle of marketing for businesses. Hashtags have the power not only to categorise content but also to form trends and thus generate interest. Therefore, registering a specific word will be integral for Specsavers in expanding their marketing activities and driving future campaigns. For example, the hashtag ‘#should’ve recently accompanied the full Specsavers catchphrase. It is thus apparent that registration will help Specsavers to control use in the full spectrum of social media.

    • Copyrights
      • Man Likely to Sacrifice Himself Testing Streaming Piracy Limits

        A man is preparing a legal battle to find out where the boundaries lie when it comes to offering “fully loaded” Kodi TV devices in the UK. Brian Thompson, who is being taken to court by his local council, says he expects to lose the case. And barring a miracle that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

      • Copyright Loophole Could Undermine Important Consumer Protection Bill

        The Consumer Review Fairness Act Is a Noble Bill but Could Leave the Door Open for Copyright Abuse

        There’s a bill making its way through Congress that would protect consumers’ freedom of speech by limiting unfair form contracts. The Consumer Review Fairness Act (H.R. 5111), introduced by Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and cosponsored by several representatives, would address two shameful practices: contracts that bar customers from sharing negative reviews of products and services online, and contracts that attempt to assign the copyright in customers’ reviews to the businesses themselves (who then file copyright takedown notices to have negative reviews removed). The CRFA is an important bill, and it addresses a major problem, but it contains one loophole that could undermine its ability to protect people who write online reviews.

        An earlier version of the bill was introduced in both houses of Congress last year under the name Consumer Review Freedom Act (S. 2044, H.R. 2110). EFF applauded the bill when it was introduced. As we argued then, when a customer has no reasonable opportunity to negotiate a contract and its terms are overwhelmingly stacked against the customer, the contract shouldn’t be enforceable. We noted that these contracts usually fail in court, but that that hasn’t stopped businesses from using them. We also pointed out a few problems with the CRFA. Most of them have been addressed in the new bill, but the most disconcerting one remains.

        If a company claims that a review is not “otherwise lawful” (for example, because it allegedly defames the company), then the law may permit the company to claim that it owns the copyright in the review and have it removed as copyright infringement, thus creating a shortcut for having speech removed. We don’t think this is what Congress intended, and we hope it’s not too late to remove the two offending words.

        Imagine that I’m a vendor offering you a contract for a service. My contract includes a clause saying that you assign me the copyright in any review you write of my service. Under the CRFA, that clause would be invalid and my including it in the contract would be against the law. But if my contract says you assign me the copyright in any unlawful review you write, I could argue that that contract is valid under the CRFA.

What Insiders Are Saying About the Sad State of the European Patent Office (EPO)

Sunday 25th of September 2016 07:15:21 PM

At the EPO, from anonymity comes transparency and honesty because in some countries, including Eponia, journalism strictly requires anonymity (fear of retribution)

Summary: Anonymous claims made by people who are intimately familiar with the European Patent Office (from the inside) shed light on how bad things have become

OUR previous post spoke about growing concerns about EPO layoffs that would eliminate much of the brainpower and set the stage for rubberstamping (or very superficial examination, maybe by machines rather than professionals). We sometimes hear from insiders who let us know just how terrible things are looking from the inside. Airing some concerns seems imperative if the goal is to better inform not only staff but also applicants, politicians, and the general public.

Patent Quality and End of Stock (Potentially Staff Layoffs)

Regarding patent quality, an EPO examiner told us that he or she “got a list with EP grants that are not new where the search work was soooo appalling you can hardly believe it [...] because that is the latest development, Munich-style searches become standard…”

This examiner further explained that “for us quite easy to find in the overall workload system… our guess is, within 2 to 3 years we are out of stock (also for examination) and than the big question is what next with us examiners…”

This relates to a topic we covered earlier this month as well as in our previous post.

Software Patents

When asked about software patents, which the EPO typically calls “computer-implemented” in order to dodge the negative connotation and explicit exclusion, this examiner told us that the Office would “sometimes grant controllers, but it is always linked to an apparatus (a control for …)” (that’s the loophole set up in the Brimelow days, now exploited also in India and New Zealand).

So, in simple terms, both patent quality and patent scope are being compromised. What gives? The examiner confesses that “there are plenty of bad grants, but it is now getting an epidemia” (maybe epidemic).

Some examiners begin to wonder what the EPO is trying to accomplish under Battistelli. This examiner said, “the question is, are patents a goal or just a means?”

“Minnoye is the Real King Slayer”

Asked about Battistelli’s role, this examiner clarified that “in our opinion he is not the worst but that is Minnoye … he is the real king slayer, the one who makes the big damage to the EPO.”

“CPC [the classification project with the US] is killing us,” this examiner added, “basically, a lot of the “production increases” got paid by putting less man hours in the classification activities … we say; He who controls the classification in fact controls the patent quality … this year 2016 will see an enormous rise in grants … [we] now (as in today) grant a lot of stuff that was 10 – 15 years ready on the shelves … meanwhile we neglect collectively the classification system, no maintenance, no new development, no one feels responsible anymore … meanwhile a lot of window dressing is going on, it is incredible the production goes up sky high and the quality also… [examiners] had to wipe some dust from the yellowed file folders… IAM is in our opinion not important at all, that is only our own specialist peer group (per technical field)…”

This serves to confirm some of what we said about so-called ‘production’ increases. They’re just clearing the shelves (old applications) without paying much attention to quality of patents. It cannot go on for much longer and when it’s all done and finished there’s expectation of massive layoffs, never mind the collateral damage of tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of poor patents in Europe, serving to ensure a climate of frivolous litigation and patent threats.

“Only the “Recognised” [Yellow] Union, i.e. FFPE, is Invited”

Remarking on the so-called ‘social study’ (which was released late on Friday; there are 3 reports on the intranet), the examiner told us that “the next funny event to come is 14 Oct. a social conference one day before AC meeting … it will go from top to root … it will be sold as a success” (to influence delegates with a pile of lies).

Adding insult to injury, and ensuring no dissent, “only the “recognised” union, i.e. FFPE, is invited (SUEPO of course not),” the examiner noted. So it’s truly a Kool-Aid event. The whole thing “is in a way a media war … for most EPO issue money is not really a problem , but just a means … for us, it is the whole setup with this weak AC on top of the water head that is the problem … plus that seriously not a single politician is interested…”

Those who say SUEPO tries to undermine the Office are clearly not paying attention; the aim is to actually save the EPO. “I do not want to harm,” the examiner told us, “but what we need is a transparent system without secret working contracts, without paid coverage, and without badly searched applications…”

The examiner explained that “money is no 1″ to these people, “but in our opinion it should be simply that we do our duties, not more and not less.” To the management, says the examiner, “money money money that’s what it is all about,” but “renewal fees for the Office will sink dramatically (in the report called NRF),” so the gains are short term and will be extremely costly once the stock runs out and many bad patents have been granted. “Theoretically,” the examiner added, “the Office will collect 50% of the state renewal fees (which can be zero)…”

“More Useless Stuff”

According to what we learned, not only did the EPO get scanners to treat the staff as though they’re boarding the plane; They got some “more useless stuff” (for bags).

Regarding “20 million [Euros] for the reward package,” the examiner called it “a shitty deal for us” as “we are being separated in the Have’s and Have-nots” and in “2015 all directors and principal directors got heavily rewarded… but the examiners not [as part of] 9 million for pensionable awards like salary step increases, and the rest for 2 types of bonuses and one-off rewards [...] they did nothing, it was the examiners and the administrative staff, you should have seen the huge piles with grants, it was incredible …] I mean piles to the ceiling, earlier this year … we are now basically emptying our stock (examination) and it is going pretty fast … and the good news is, we are even rewarded in case of oppositions! The bulk that is granted now still has pretty good search reports, but that is going to change quickly … in case of an opposition, we get time like 2 or 3 days [and] that is good for our productivity … some directorates got 3 times more oppositions as their counterpart (which should be kind of identical) … the new mantra is: Timeliness. But not a single applicant is interested in this, they want quality … believe me, if you put so much money in your patent portfolio you want a certain quality I have been in at least 20 huge companies and they all conveyed this message (think of: Philips, Daikin, Mitsubishi, Honeywell etc etc) … there are still capable courts active in Europe who decide on the validity of a patent … EpiPen in the US is another perfect example, complete bogus of course … they got a patent on the safety cap, and now charge like 150 dollar for something costing 10 bucks before (thanks USPTO)…”

“UPC is a Lame Duck”

When asked about the UPC, the examiner told us that the “UPC is a lame duck, but the duck does not want to know this.”

We were kindly asked to “realise that a UPC judge is going to earn less than an experienced EPO examiner, so they can forget about attracting skilled people except from Eastern Europe.”

Speaking of judges, there will soon be a verdict (at the end of the week) from the Dutch High Court. SUEPO will probably be writing something about it, but examiners expect nothing out of it. Either way, the EPO plans to disregard the court’s decision anyway (thanks, Mr. Minnoye, for an epic confession on Dutch television).

“By laughing the misery away we survive,” the examiner told us, “like being in the trenches … not all is true in the end, but where smoke [there] is a fire.”

The EPO Does Not Want Skilled (and ‘Expensive’) Staff, Layoffs a Growing Concern

Sunday 25th of September 2016 05:45:10 PM


Reference: “With French Election Over, Unions Fear Layoffs”

Summary: A somewhat pessimistic look (albeit increasingly realistic look) at the European Patent Office, where unions are under fire for raising legitimate concerns about the direction taken by the management since a largely French team was put in charge

PDF FILES WITH GRAPHS in them (internal EPO data) have already taught us all we needed to know (we learned from them what examiners are seeing). Patent quality at the EPO is dying if not dead. It’s only a matter of time before the public finds out about it and applicants come to grips with it. This would have a devastating effect on anyone who was granted an EP (European Patent) before Battistelli and potentially affect the valuation of companies to the point where they’re becoming insolvent.

“One might hesitantly say that union-busting agenda is intended to set the tone or prepare the ground for appalling ‘reforms’, such as layoffs.”What we’re seeing inside the EPO is horrifying for outside observers and even mortifying for insiders. It looks like they’re about to lose their jobs. Battistelli, a nontechnical charlatan, even thinks he can replace human operators and examiners with machines. What a lunacy this is!

It’s easy to see why Battistelli attacks staff that speaks out, notably staff representatives. These people are seeing the writings on the wall and speak to colleagues about it. The latest attack on staff (blaming everything on them, especially the senior ones) reinforces the belief that the EPO will replace highly-specialised examiners with junior workers (or rubberstampers) on short-term contracts and no lucrative benefits that are necessary to attract true talent (the EPO is no longer an attractive employer).

“It’s easy to see why Battistelli attacks staff that speaks out, notably staff representatives. These people are seeing the writings on the wall and speak to colleagues about it.”The so-called ‘social study’ will be the subject of future posts of ours. “There seem to be some interesting discrepancies between the “Social Study” and “OHSRA”,” one reader told us. Prepare for some major debunking of the EPO’s management with its talking point for next month's conference. Given the spending waste of over a millions Euros per year on PR, expect some media to repeat the lies as early as next week (starting tomorrow). Managing IP is already coordinating with the EPO a release of a bogus ‘interview’ with Battistelli (part 2), in which he will be allowed to spread his latest misinformation (which he himself commissioned with EPO budget). Managing IP is generally regarded as somewhat of an EPO mouthpiece these days.

“Battistelli has put the EPO on a euthanasia plan.”Putting aside the so-called ‘social study’ and conference (actually lobbying the Administrative Council just before an important meeting where social climate is on the agenda), let’s not forget that EPO managers “harass, attack/charge methodically their victims on Fridays and/or on their birthdays or before holidays,” as one insider told us last night. Let’s also not forget that they lie about their mistreatment of these people, they allegedly make “demonstrably fabricated accusations,” (we saw that in Munich and now it’s happening in The Hague) and they presently witch-hunt representatives in virtually all branches including Berlin (even the President of SUEPO Central was warned). No wonder SUEPO’s Web site has not been updated for nearly a fortnight now! Nothing but silence…

“EPO staff is rightly concerned and unless Battistelli and his cronies drop their agenda immediately (the UPC is already failing for them), everyone in Europe will suffer, not just EPO staff.”One might hesitantly say that union-busting agenda is intended to set the tone or prepare the ground for appalling ‘reforms’, such as layoffs. The EPO is unable to hire talent, and even after lowering the employment requirements the hiring is far too slow and members of the recruitment team are leaving (high staff turnover). We saw reports about it and the numbers speak for themselves. Battistelli has put the EPO on a euthanasia plan. Those who don’t leave or retire early will be increasingly — more and more over time — be pushed out or face growing demands that are not fulfillable. It’s like they were set up to fail, so that Team Battistelli can replace them with low-wage, obedient staff that are on limited contract, making them disposable and without pension liabilities. It does not make fiscal sense for Europe, but maybe it makes fiscal sense to Battistelli and large corporations that wish to amass tens of thousands of patents (each!) in Europe. They just want another USPTO.

The next post will present more facts supportive of what was stated above. EPO staff is rightly concerned and unless Battistelli and his cronies drop their agenda immediately (the UPC is already failing for them), everyone in Europe will suffer, not just EPO staff.

More in Tux Machines

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." Read more

OSS Leftovers

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Free Software Directory meeting recap for September 23rd, 2016

Security News

  • 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.

Android Leftovers