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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 1 hour 54 min ago

Improving US Patent Quality Through Reassessments of Patents and Courts’ Transparency

Wednesday 17th of October 2018 08:56:46 AM

Summary: Transparency in US courts and more public participation in the patent process (examination, litigation etc.) would help demonstrate that many patents are being granted — and sometimes asserted — that are totally bunk, bogus, fake

THE new leadership is oftentimes frustrating if now downright depressing; they put the so-called ‘swamp’ in charge. A new event about patents issued the following nonsensical tweet: “A new twist has recently entered the debate about how #patents and #opensource interact and whether the two principles are compatible with each other or not.”

“So stop granting software patents; the principal problem would be solved.”They’re obviously not compatible, but the sponsors would pay for us to believe otherwise. The event took place yesterday and attending as well as speaking was Director Iancu, who said, according to third-party accounts: “lack of predictability on Section 101 limits investment in innovation. [] gets specific: “Step 1 of Alice-Mayo test must be a ‘category’ analysis not a claim analysis. If the matter is sometimes patentable then it is not a subject matter Section 101 problem.”

So stop granting software patents; the principal problem would be solved. We’ll probably say more in the weekend (once all the patent maximalists are done boosting him).

Totally meaningless is the message above (lots of mythology embedded in it, pure fiction from the patent microcosm). He just wants to find ways to defy the courts, ignore caselaw, and grant software patents anyway.

Last night Josh Landau (CCIA) spoke about history and noted that “[w]hile the PTO no longer operates under a registration system, that situation still exists today. The PTO—unlike many other patent offices around the world—is unable to permanently refuse a patent application.”

Here are some key bits:

Setting aside the apparent fact that the vast majority of patents back then were on old ideas—a problem that continues to exist, given the significant number of invalid patents issued by the PTO—there’s another lesson to be had from this diary entry.

Dr. Thornton was operating under the registration system, during which patents were not examined but were simply granted. As Adams emphasized, the problem of an inability to refuse a patent leads to the existence of patents on old technology, imposing significant harms on the public who become unable to utilize the prior technology that they should have had the right to employ.2

While the PTO no longer operates under a registration system, that situation still exists today. The PTO—unlike many other patent offices around the world—is unable to permanently refuse a patent application. All they can do is temporarily reject it and wait for the applicant to decide if they want to keep going with prosecution. Unsurprisingly, in a system where it’s impossible to permanently get rid of an application, a large number of them eventually become patents. When correcting for procedures like continuations, the percentage of patent applications that are issued has risen, approaching nearly 100% last year—a proportion not reached since the turn of the millennium.

[...]

It’s unfortunate that the PTO and policymakers continue to fail to learn from these mistakes—particularly when the first Commissioner for Patents identified the issue over 200 years ago.

This means that we increasingly need to rely on courts and tribunals, not examiners.

In spite of fee hikes and other attempts — more recently by Iancu — to sabotage the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) this tribunal is still attracting many inter partes reviews (IPRs), abolishing software patents by the hundreds each month, owing to to 35 U.S.C. § 101, inspired by SCOTUS and embraced by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Michael Loney graphed/charted the numbers yesterday and said:

2018 is on course to have the lowest petition filing rate since 2013. The third quarter included the impact of SAS on institution decisions, an update to the AIA Trial Practice Guide, the departure of the PTAB chief judge and the creation of a Precedential Opinion Panel

Sometimes there are appeals and these typically swiftly affirm the Board’s decisions.

As we noted here before, the EFF’s Daniel Nazer and his colleageus had been asking the Federal Circuit for greater transparency in patent lawsuits, affairs, lobbying etc. (without time delays as before).

The final outcome is positive, as Nazer noted some hours ago. To quote:

In a victory for transparency, the Federal Circuit has changed its policies to give the public immediate access to briefs. Previously, the court had marked submitted briefs as “tendered” and withheld them from the public pending review by the Clerk’s Office. That process sometimes took a number of days. EFF wrote a letter [PDF] asking the court to make briefs available as soon as they are filed. The court has published new procedures [PDF] that will allow immediate access to submitted briefs.

Regular readers might note that this is the second time we have announced this modest victory. Unfortunately, our earlier blog post was wrong and arose out of a miscommunication with the court (the Clerk’s Office informed us of our mistake and we corrected that post). This time, the new policy clearly provides for briefs to be immediately available to the public.

We certainly hope that CAFC, by affirming decisions of PTAB, can undermine Iancu’s agenda of weakening PTAB and broadening patent scope in defiance of the Supreme Court. Iancu appears to have adopted lawlessness, just like his boss who appointed him after he had worked for him. The EFF is rightly upset about it.

Ask OIN How It Intends to Deal With Microsoft Proxies Such as Patent Trolls

Wednesday 17th of October 2018 06:59:12 AM

Microsoft does not need to sue GNU/Linux (and hasn’t done so in quite a while); there are ‘tentacles’ for enforcement…


The "Microsoft spinoff" Intellectual Ventures is still managed by the same man. Credit: Reuters

Summary: OIN continues to miss the key point (or intentionally avoid speaking about it); Microsoft is still selling ‘protection’ from the very same patent trolls that it is funding, arming, and sometimes even instructing (who to pass patents to and sue)

WE HAD been writing about Microsoft’s attacks — especially by means of patents — and ‘defensive’ aggregators (DPAs) long before the Open Invention Network (OIN) added Microsoft as a member (or even LOT Network). We wrote many articles about why OIN wasn’t the solution, except perhaps to large companies such as Red Hat and IBM (which already cross-licenses with Microsoft anyway). We foresaw Microsoft joining as a member and clarified that it would not mean very much. OIN cannot really tackle some of the key problems. Even if Microsoft threw away all of its patents (voiding everything) — however unlikely that is — that would still leave many patents out there that it gave to patent trolls such as MOSAID (now known as Conversant). For well over a decade Microsoft has ‘polluted’ several spaces/domains with trolls, flooding them with risks that help Microsoft sell “Azure IP Advantage” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21] (or previously Novell/SUSE Linux with the ‘Microsoft tax’ for what they back them marketed as “intellectual property peace of mind”).

“For well over a decade Microsoft has ‘polluted’ several spaces/domains with trolls, flooding them with risks that help Microsoft sell “Azure IP Advantage”…”OIN’s response to my views (just mentioned in Hall’s new article with the words “Peace Treaty” in the headline) dodges the issue of patent trolls, including Microsoft-connected ones. There’s nothing they can do about these and occasionally they admit so, too. With lots of USPTO-granted software patents out there (OIN expresses no interest in actually challenging those) there’s going to be trouble.

I must say that not a single person has yet pointed out inaccuracies or errors in my articles/views on this matter. Nobody. I saw a lot of people agreeing; curiously enough, some key Microsoft employees blocked me in Twitter pro-actively (even though I never even spoke to them or about them). How curious. It’s like they’re afraid of actually dealing with the facts and debate matters. Ears wide shut.

Mitchel Lewis, who blogs about technology [1, 2], recently approached me for “a chat about Microsoft [...] Specifically with regard to patent trolling. I’m writing an article about the influence of Bill Gates Sr. and his law firm KL Gates with regard to the predatory design and nature of Microsoft…”

“I’m an open book man,” he said. “Another project that I have on the back-burner is focused on how Microsoft influences and suppresses the media.”

Here is what we wrote to me about OIN and patent trolls:

Truth be told, I just stumbled upon that site today so I will be spending a bit of time there over the next few weeks. Based on what I’ve read so far though, thanks for pointing out how Microsoft funds patent trolls; this was news to me. But it also seems like an eerily similar tactic leveraged by Peter Thiel, and presumably others, when he enacted his revenge on Gawker by funding Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit. In turn, this makes me wonder if media outlets dance around topics that make Microsoft and other large entities look bad for fear of indirect retaliation such as this.

I’ve been so focused on other crude aspects of Microsoft that I seem to have neglected to realize just how potent of a troll they are in the realm of patent law, among other things. Only after realizing that they’ve been trolling the Linux world for years, to the point of being one of necessitating factors of OIN’s formation, did I begin to consider just how much of their business is dependent on subverting their competition, Linux or otherwise, through their patents.

Needless to say, please feel free to use and re-appropriate anything that I’ve written to use as well as cite at your discretion. I maintain the stance that there are not enough people writing about how destructive Microsoft is in this day and am just glad to see others writing about it.

OIN may never be able to explain how it intends to tackle Microsoft’s satellites, such as Intellectual Ventures, Finjan, and Acacia, which as noted only earlier this week still attacks other OIN members for their products that compete with Microsoft’s.

Links 1610/2018: Linux 4.19 RC8, Xfce Screensaver 0.1.0 Released

Tuesday 16th of October 2018 04:34:11 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Chrome OS Stable Channel Gets Linux Apps

      After months of user testing in developer and beta channels, the Crostini project at Google finally delivered the goods, Linux apps for most users of Chromebooks in the stable channel—definitely worth the wait. While this still is aimed primarily at developers using Chromebooks, I think there’s a good chance these Linux apps will be used and enjoyed by the general public using Chromebooks as well. There’s still a bit of a learning curve to overcome before that possibility is realized, but if you already are a user of any Linux distro, it will feel very familiar. Here’s an overview of how to install it and what to expect afterward.

      After getting the update to version 69, go to Settings and scroll down a bit, and you’ll see the option to turn on Linux apps. Figure 1 shows this first step. Note that this isn’t available on all Chromebooks; if you’re using an older one, you’ll have to wait a while before this function is available. If you don’t see the option to turn on Linux apps, your Chromebook currently lacks that functionality. But, if you have a Chromebook produced in the past two years, you probably will see the option.

    • Update KB4468550 Fixes Audio Issues Caused In Windows 10 October Patch [Ed: Alternative (better) headline is, Microsoft admits breaking your machine]

      If your Windows is updated to the latest Windows 10 October 2018 update then there are chances that you might be facing audio problems , something along the lines of “No Audio Output Device is installed”.

      The October 2018 patch caused this issue on many machines running Windows 10 version 1803 or above. Many users tweeted about this problem almost instantly as it was happening on such a wide scale when they realized that they Windows has stopped giving them audio when they start playing games, or launch a video player all while the sounds on their browser as well as the system sounds were working perfectly fine.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.19-rc8

      As mentioned last week, here’s a -rc8 release as it seems needed.

      There were a lot of “little” pull requests this week, semi-normal for
      this late in the cycle, but a lot of them were “fix up the previous fix
      I just sent” which implies that people are having a few issues still.

      I also know of at least one “bad” bug that finally has a proposed fix,
      so that should hopefully get merged this week. And there are some
      outstanding USB fixes I know of that have not yet landed in the tree (I
      blame me for that…)

      Anyway, the full shortlog is below, lots of tiny things all over the
      tree. Please go and test and ensure that all works well for you.
      Hopefully this should be the last -rc release.

    • Linux 4.19-rc8 Released With A Lot Of “Tiny Things”
    • Linux’s Qualcomm Ath10k Driver Getting WoWLAN, WCN3990 Support

      The Qualcomm/Atheros “Ath10k” Linux driver coming up in the Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel merge window is picking up two prominent features.

      First up, the Ath10k driver is finally having WoWLAN support — Wake on Wireless LAN. WoWLAN has been supported by the kernel for years and more recently is getting picked up by Linux networking user-space configuration utilities. Ath10k is becoming the latest Linux wireless driver supporting WoWLAN (WIPHY_WOWLAN_NET_DETECT) for automatically waking up the system when within range of an a known SSID.

    • FUSE File-Systems Pick Up Another Performance Boost With Symlink Caching

      FUSE file-systems in user-space are set to be running faster with the upcoming Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel thanks to several performance optimizations.

      The FUSE kernel code for this next Linux kernel cycle already has a hash table optimization and separately is copy file range support for efficient file copy operations. Staged today into the FUSE tree for the next cycle was yet another performance-boosting patch.

    • Another Change Proposed For Linux’s Code of Conduct

      With the Linux 4.19-rc8 kernel release overnight, one change not to be found in this latest Linux 4.19 release candidate are any alterations to the new Code of Conduct. The latest proposal forbids discussing off-topic matters while protecting any sentient being in the universe.

      While some immediate changes to the Linux kernel Code of Conduct have been talked about by upstream kernel developers, for 4.19-rc8 there are no changes yet. We’ll presumably see some basic changes land this week ahead of Linux 4.19.0 expected next Sunday as not to have an unenforceable or flawed CoC found in a released kernel version.

    • Linux v4.18: Performance Goodies

      Linux v4.18 has been out a two months now; making this post a bit late, but still in time before the next release. Also so much drama in the CoC to care about performance topics As always comes with a series of performance enhancements and optimizations across subsystems.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Automotive Grade Linux Enables Telematics and Instrument Cluster Applications with Latest UCB 6.0 Release

        Developed through a joint effort by dozens of member companies, the AGL Unified Code Base (UCB) is an open source software platform that can serve as the de facto industry standard for infotainment, telematics and instrument cluster applications. Sharing a single software platform across the industry reduces fragmentation and accelerates time-to-market by encouraging the growth of a global ecosystem of developers and application providers that can build a product once and have it work for multiple automakers.

        [...]

        The AGL UCB 6.0 includes an operating system, middleware and application framework. Key features include: [...]

    • Graphics Stack
      • CodeXL 2.6 is released!

        For current users of CodeXL, this new release may look and feel a little different. The AMD Developer Tools team has been busy working on many new tools, some of which replicate functionality found in older versions of CodeXL. Thus, to limit confusion for our users, we have removed several major components from CodeXL.

      • AMD CodeXL 2.6 Advances GPU Profiling, Static Analysis & GPU Debugging

        But what is found within CodeXL 2.6 for GPU developers are the GPU profiling features, static analysis features, and GPU debugging features.

      • [ANNOUNCE] xorg-server 1.20.2

        Lots of bugfixes all over the map. Thanks to all for testing and patches!

      • X.Org Server 1.20.2 Released With A Bunch Of Bug Fixes

        It’s almost been a half-year already since the release of the long delayed X.Org Server 1.20, but with no signs of X.Org Server 1.21 releasing soon, xorg-server 1.20.2 was announced today as the latest stable point release.

      • FreeDesktop.org Might Formally Join Forces With The X.Org Foundation

        FreeDesktop.org is already effectively part of X.Org given the loose structure of FreeDesktop.org, the key members/administrators being part of both projects, and FreeDesktop.org long being the de facto hosting platform from the X.Org Server to Mesa and much more. But now they may be officially joining forces.

        As a formality, the X.Org Foundation is seeking to change their foundation’s by-laws to reflect that the X.Org Foundation shall also “Support free and open source projects through the freedesktop.org infrastructure. For projects outside the scope [of the X.Org Foundation] support extends to project hosting only.”

      • Experimental Patches For Using SIMD32 Fragment Shaders With Intel’s Linux Driver

        Existing Intel graphics hardware already supports SIMD32 fragment shaders and the Intel open-source Linux graphics driver has supported this mode for months, but it hasn’t been enabled. That though is in the process of changing.

        Since June the Intel Mesa driver’s fragment shader code has supported the SIMD32 mode supported by the past number of generations of Intel graphics hardware, but it hasn’t actually been turned on. That enabling wasn’t done over not having the heuristics in place for determining when to enable it over the other code paths.

    • Benchmarks
      • Windows 10 October 2018 Update Performance Against Ubuntu 18.10, Fedora 29

        As the latest of our benchmarks using the newly re-released Microsoft Windows 10 October 2018 Update, here are benchmarks of this latest Windows 10 build against seven different Linux distributions on the same hardware for checking out the current performance of these operating systems.

        For this latest Linux OS benchmarking comparison against Windows, the following platforms were tested:

        - The Windows 10 April 2018 release as the previous major milestone of Windows 10.

        - The newest Windows 10 October 2018 build as the latest Windows 10 build from Microsoft.

        - OpenSUSE Tumbleweed as the openSUSE rolling-release distribution that as of testing was on the Linux 4.18.12 kernel, KDE Plasma 5.14, Mesa 18.1.7, and GCC 8.2.1 atop an XFS home file-system with Btrfs root file-system (the default partitioning scheme).

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • Xfce Screensaver 0.1.0 Released

      I am pleased to announce the release of Xfce Screensaver (xfce4-screensaver) 0.1.0! This is an early release targeted to testers and translators. Bugs and patches welcome!

    • Xfce4-Screensaver Has Its First Release – Fork Of MATE Screensaver, Forked From GNOME

      As a new alternative over XScreenSaver or using other desktop environments’ screensaver functionality, xfce4-screensaver has out its first release albeit of alpha quality.

      The xfce4-screensaver project made its preliminary (v0.1.0) release today that is described of alpha quality intended for testers and translators. This new screensaver option for Xfce users is forked from the MATE Screensaver code, which in turn was forked from the GNOME Screensaver.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Plasma 5.14 – Phasers on stun

        Linux is much like the stock market. Moments of happiness broken by crises. Or is the other way around? Never mind. Today shall hopefully be a day of joy, for I am about to test Plasma 5.14, the latest version of this neat desktop environment. Recently, I’ve had a nice streak of good energy with Linux, mostly thanks to my experience with Slimbook Pro2, which I configured with Kubuntu Beaver. Let’s see if we can keep the momentum.

        Now, before we begin, there are more good news woven into this announcement. As you can imagine, you do need some kind of demonstrator to test the new desktop. Usually, it’s KDE neon, which offers a clean, lean, mean KDE-focused testing environment. You can boot into the live session, try the desktop, and if you like it, you can even install it. Indeed, neon is an integral part of my eight-boot setup on the Lenovo G50 machine. But what makes things really interesting is that neon has also switched to the latest Ubuntu LTS base. It now comes aligned to the 18.04 family, adorned with this brand new Plasma. Proceed.

      • Release of KDE Frameworks 5.51.0

        KDE Frameworks are 70 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the Frameworks 5.0 release announcement.

        This release is part of a series of planned monthly releases making improvements available to developers in a quick and predictable manner.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.51 Released
      • KDE e.V. receives a sizeable donation from Handshake Foundation

        Of the total donation amount, 100,000 USD will be specifically allocated to pursue the development of the Calligra office suite.

        “Handshake is pleased to be able to support KDE’s international community of dedicated volunteers and their continued commitment to a free desktop environment with the current release of KDE Plasma 5 and the Calligra office suite”, says Rob Myers from the Handshake Foundation.

        The fruits of this contribution will soon become visible and available to everyone. Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to join the KDE Community and be part of our mission to help everyone protect their privacy and control their digital lives with Free Software.

      • KDE e.V Receives Generous Handshake Donation, Ubuntu Touch OTA-5 Is Out, Geoclue 2.5 Now Available and Asking for Help, New Code of Conduct Proposal and Internet Freedom Festival

        KDE e.V. announces it received a $300,000 USD donation from the Handshake Foundation. According to the KDE blog post, it plans to use $100,000 USD of the donation specifically toward development of the Calligra office suite. Also, KDE celebrated its 22nd anniversary yesterday—Happy Birthday KDE!

      • digiKam Recipes 18.10.15 Released

        It’s time for another digiKam Recipes update. The most visible change in this update is the new book cover. All screenshots were also updated to reflect changes in the current version of digiKam.

      • [Krita] Interview with Sira Argia

        2014 is the year that I first started to try Linux on my laptop, and then I knew that Windows programs don’t run perfectly on Linux even using “wine”. My curiosity about Linux and the alternative programs led me to Krita. The more time I spent with Linux, the more I fell in love with it. And finally I thought that “I’ll choose Linux as a single OS on my laptop and Krita as a digital painting program for work someday after I get my first graphic tablet.”

      • And so the [Krita] Fundraiser Ends

        Yesterday was the last day of the developers sprint^Wmarathon, and the last day of the fundraiser. We’re all good and knackered here, but the fundraiser ended at a very respectable 26,426 euros! That’s really awesome, thanks everybody!

      • Sizeable donation from Handshake Foundation

        We’re glad to announce that we received donation of 100,000 USD, which is part of 300,000 USD offered to our KDE organization. Quite appropriate for a birthday present, as the KDE project just turned 22 this last weekend! It’s true recognition for KDE as one of the world’s largest open source project.

      • Qt 5.12 beta2 released

        We have published Qt 5.12 beta2 today. As earlier you can get it via online installer. Delta to beta1 attached.

      • Qt 5.12 Beta 2 Brings Many Fixes

        Just two weeks after the Qt 5.12 beta release, a second beta is now available for testing of this forthcoming tool-kit update.

        The Qt 5.12 Beta 2 update is made up of bug fixes with changes ranging from build fixes for different platforms to disabling mouse tracking by default within the QtWebGLPlugin to fixed Ozone platform detection. There are more than 200 changes to Qt 5.12 that have been queued over the past two weeks.

        The complete list of the 200+ changes that are mostly fixes in Qt 5.12 Beta 2 can be found via today’s release announcement with the attached change-log.

      • Krita at the University of La Plata

        Sebastian Labi ha sido invitado para presentar Krita en el Laboratorio de herramientas de software libre de la Universidad de La Plata. Hablará sobre ilustración digital y usará Krita para dar una demostración de cómo usar Krita para el campo de la Ilustración Digital.

        El SLAD- FBA (Software libre para Arte y diseño) es una nueva unidad de de investigación y formación en la Facultad de Bellas Artes que promueve el conocimiento y uso del software libre en la capacitación académica de la Universidad de La Plata.

      • LaKademy 2018 – Third and Fourth Days (October 13th and 14th)

        The third day of LaKademy 2018 was my last day participating on the event.

        During October 13th, we started the day with a promo reunion. This reunion was done to discuss about some plans and actions for the Latin American KDE community over the next year. Some decisions were made and topics were discussed involving KDE participation in some events, promotion of our own events in Latin America, including LaKademy 2019 and Kafé com Qt, and some details in general about our community.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Restyling apps at scale

        Over the past few months we’ve had a lively debate about “theming” in GNOME, and how it affects our ecosystem. In this discussion I’ve found that there is a divide between people who design and/or develop apps, and people who don’t. I have yet to see an app developer who thinks the current approach to “theming” can work, while many people who aren’t app developers are arguing that it can.

        After a few long discussions I started to realize that part of the reason why there’s so little agreement and so much drama around this issue is that we don’t agree what the problem is. Those who don’t work on apps often can’t see the issues with theming and think we want to remove things for no reason, while those who do are very frustrated that the other side doesn’t want to acknowledge how broken everything is.

      • Geoclue 2.5 & repeating call for help

        Also, while I’m at it, I wanted to highlight the “call for help” at the end of that post by repeating it here again. I apologize of repeating to those who already read it but a friend pointed out that it’s likely going to be missed by many folks:
        The future of Mozilla Location Service
        When Mozilla announced their location service in late 2013, Geoclue became one of its first users as it was our only hope for a reliable WiFi-geolocation source. We couldn’t use Google’s service as their ToC don’t allow it to be used in an open source project (I recall some clause that it can only be used with Google Maps and not any other Map software). Mozilla Location Service (MLS) was a huge success in terms of people contributing WiFi data to it. I’ve been to quite a few places around Europe and North America in the last few years and I haven’t been to any location, that is not already covered by MLS.

      • Making a first contribution in Outreachy usability testing

        If you want to join us in GNOME usability testing as part of the upcoming cycle in Outreachy, you’ll need to make a first contribution as part of your application process. Every project in Outreachy asks for a first contribution; this is a requirement in Outreachy.

        Don’t make too big of a deal about your first contribution in usability testing. We don’t expect interns to know much about usability testing as they enter the internship. Throughout the internship, you’ll learn about usability testing. So for this first contribution, we set a low bar.

  • Distributions
    • Kali Linux: What You Must Know Before Using it

      Kali Linux is the industry’s leading Linux distribution in penetration testing and ethical hacking. It is a distribution that comes shipped with tons and tons of hacking and penetration tools and software by default, and is widely recognized in all parts of the world, even among Windows users who may not even know what Linux is.

      Because of the latter, many people are trying to get alone with Kali Linux although they don’t even understand the basics of a Linux system. The reasons may vary from having fun, faking being a hacker to impress a girlfriend or simply trying to hack the neighbors’ WiFi network to get a free Internet, all of which is a bad thing to do if you are planning to use Kali Linux.

    • Install, install, install! The dance of panic!

      3. PicarOS Diego. My daughter’s desktop dual-boots Mageia and PicarOS Diego, a great MiniNo GalpON respin for children. Since the game she likes is neither running with WINE on Mageia 6.1 nor with Windows Vista, I tried to run it on WINE in PicarOS. The packages were old, so I updated the system. Big mistake! In the end, I was left with an up-to-date MiniNo that removed all the special tweaks for children and, to add insult to injury, the game would not run at all!

    • Reviews
      • Kali Linux for Vagrant: Hands-on

        I recently saw the announcement for Kali Linux on Vagrant. I have been a huge fan of Kali Linux for a very long time, and I am interested in virtualization (and currently using VirtualBox in an educational environment), so this was a very interesting combination to me. I have now installed it on a few of my systems, and so far I am quite impressed with it.

        The logical place to start is with a brief overview of Vagrant itself. What is Vagrant? According to their web page:

        Vagrant is a tool for building and managing virtual machine environments in a single workflow

        What Vagrant actually does is provide a way of automating the building of virtualized development environments using a variety of the most popular providers, such as VirtualBox, VMware, AWS and others. It not only handles the initial setup of the virtual machine, it can also provision the virtual machine based on your specifications, so it provides a consistent environment which can be shared and distributed to others.

    • New Releases
      • IPFire 2.21 – Core Update 124 released

        …this is the official release announcement for IPFire 2.21 – Core Update 124. It brings new features and immensely improves security and performance of the whole system.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Canonical collaborates with Eurotech on edge computing solutions

            Coinciding with IoT World Solutions Congress in Barcelona this week, Canonical is pleased to announce a dual-pronged technological partnership with Eurotech to help organisations advance their internet of things enablement. Eurotech is a long time leader in embedded computing hardware as well as providing software solutions to aid enterprises to deliver their IoT projects either end to end or by providing intervening building blocks.

            As part of the partnership, Canonical has published a Snap for the Eclipse Kura project – the popular, open-source Java-based IoT edge framework. Having Kura available as a Snap – the universal Linux application packaging format – will enable a wider availability of Linux users across multiple distributions to take advantage of the framework and ensure it is supported on more hardware. Snap support will also extend on Eurotech’s commercially supported version; the Everywhere Software Framework (ESF). By installing Kura as a Snap on a device, users will benefit with automatic updates to ensure they are always working from the latest version while with the reassurance of a secure, confined environment.

          • Self-containing dependencies LogMeIn to publish their first Snap
          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 549

            Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 549 for the week of October 7 – 13, 2018.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • New FIDO2 Security Key Will Be Open Source

    A new security key solution is poised to further extend the reach of the FIDO Alliance’s new FIDO2 authentication standard.

    Called “Solo”, the security key is currently in the works from San Francisco-based SoloKeys, which currently has a Kickstarter campaign underway to support the product. Like other prominent security key solutions, Solo is designed to plug into a computer or laptop’s USB port, allowing the user to confirm with an authenticating service that they are physically present at the device by pressing a button on the key.

  • IOTA (MIOTA) – Biilabs launches GDPR compliant open-source implementation of TangleID

    The rise of IOTA as a top DLT continues. Earlier this year, the city of Taipei announced that they were using the IOTA tangle in implementing their smart city project. The project has largely been a success in implementing a decentralized digital identity system that runs on the IOTA tangle. That’s a major plus towards the growth of the IOTA ecosystem, and gives a huge intrinsic value to the IOTA coin. However, the best news is that this system is now open source. This means that it can be applied to any other city all across the world.

  • Open Source Healthcare Journal Preview at the Connected Health Conference in Boston

    The debut issue of the Open Source Healthcare Journal, a magazine advocating innovative open-source solutions in health, will be available for preview by over 2,000 technology innovators and healthcare providers at the Connected Health Conference at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, October 17-19. The Open Source Healthcare Journal’s forward-looking point of view is the perfect match for the industry-leading conference, known for provocative discussions on the future of tech-enabled health. The first issue of the journal — published by GoInvo, a healthcare design studio located in Arlington, Massachusetts — features a Q&A with digital health leader and best-selling author Eric Topol, MD as well as articles by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn of HealthcareDIY and Juhan Sonin of MIT and GoInvo.

  • Hedera Hashgraph releases open source SDK

    Hedera Hashgraph, the public distributed ledger that enables globally decentralized applications recently announced the public release of the Hedera SDK in Java.

    The SDK is open source under an Apache 2 license. With the SDK, developers can now begin to develop Hedera-based applications for use on the Hedera platform.

  • 4 [free] open-source network monitoring tools

    Just as with commercial, for-pay monitoring software, there are open-source options that have varying features, and the goal of an enterprise is to find the best fit for its environment.

    That’s where this downloadable PDF package of reviews can help. It evaluates four popular free, open-source network-monitoring platforms – Icinga, Nagios, Observium and Zabbix – highlighting pros and cons and giving enough context that this bundle can serve as a guide for IT pros seeking advice.

  • Open Source MANO Needs a Reality Check

    So what’s next? Another ONAP update is due soon (in November, dubbed Dublin) but that will only cover up some of the cracks.

    But you know what — that’s OK! No one actually expects an open source development comprising millions of lines of code to be made useful in a blink of an eye, or even a few months. Iterative progress and a very clear indication of the state of documentation, exactly which modules might be ready to be either used by an operator’s team or considered for “industrialization” by a vendor and even highlighting areas where more community activity would all be useful and not at all damaging: Promoting ONAP as “ready to deploy” currently invites suspicion, because that suggests 100% readiness and that’s very far from reality.

  • Is Open Source the Right Approach for NFV Orchestration?

    Once upon a time there was a maharaja who decided to raise a baby elephant as a pet (stick with me…). As the elephant grew, it became more and more expensive to feed and created such a mess that eventually the maharaja told his courtiers that he was gifting them the elephant out of the generosity of his heart. In return they would have to look after the elephant and bring it back to him when it was a bit more mature and stable enough for him to ride.

    Some might say that, in the context of NFV MANO (management and orchestration), the elephant is Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) and the maharaja is AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). But that would be unfair. In reality there are two maharajas — AT&T and China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) — and two elephants that have been merged into a six-legged Loxodonta with two tails and three tusks. (See MANO Marriage: ECOMP, OPEN-O Converge as ONAP.)

  • Nuclear Reactor Startup Transatomic Power going Open Source after Closure

    It seldom happens that certain circumstances do not allow one idea to prosper as planned. But Open Source can solve that issue, once the idea is shared with the world. Others can take on that work, build upon and keep improving it.

    This recently happened with Transatomic Power (founded by Mark Massie and Dr. Leslie Dewan in April 2011), a Nuclear Startup that introduced a brand new design of its own Nuclear Reactor that is a lot more efficient than conventional ones.

    As they haven’t been able to build it within their targeted timeframe, they announced suspending operations on September 25, 2018. But declaring their designs Open Source is certainly going to help change things for the better.

  • Events
    • Hacktoberfest 2018 – Celebrate Open Source!

      Hacktoberfest is an annual event sponsored by DigitalOcean in partnership with GitHub and Twilio and while “Hacktoberfest” might sound or give the impression of something doable only by very experienced hacker programmers, in essence, it’s just a wrapper around having to submit 5 Pull Requests to any Github hosted repository and earn some swag in return.

    • Mangaluru: Sahyadri Open Source Community holds Hacktoberfest HackNight

      Sahyadri Open Source Community (SOSC) at Sahyadri hosted Hacktoberfest HackNight in association with K-Tech Innovation Hub on October 13 and 14 at Sahyadri to celebrate the month of open source with Hacktoberfest.

      The event was inaugurated by Shashank Krishna, Padma Shri 2019 (nominee) and director of Katmai Infotechnology Pvt Ltd, Bengaluru, followed by interaction with students regarding Smart India Hackathon. Dr R Srinivasa Rao Kunte, principal of Sahyadri College of Engineering and management, Prakhyath Rai, faculty coordinator, asst professor of Information Science, and Arjun Suvarna, chairperson of Sahyadri Open Source Community, addressed the crowd.

    • Announcing Linux Autumn 2018

      Linux Autumn is an annual meeting of Free Software and Linux enthusiast from Poland organized since 2003 which means this year it will be its 16th time. This year it will be organized in Ustroń in the southern Poland from 9 to 11 November. The town is the same as the last year but in a different hotel.

      As the place is located near the Czech and Slovak border we would like to invite more people, both speakers and attendees, from other countries. We are aware of strong presence of Fedora contributors in Brno and other nearby cities just across the border.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Play Your Favorite Old Web Games Now, Chrome 71 May Break Them

        hen Google rolled out Chrome 66 earlier this May, it offered a tweak that pleased almost everyone by muting sites that would play sound automatically. Unfortunately, it also ended up breaking several projects’ audio.

        This meant that a variety of different media, from popular web games to some of Google’s own projects effectively had their audio broken beyond repair. Users were understandably upset, and in response to an overwhelming amount of backlash, Google retained the browser alteration that blocked autoplaying video and audio, but decided to push back the feature’s application for games and web apps to Chrome 71, which is set to debut in December.

    • Mozilla
      • Apply to Join the Featured Extensions Advisory Board

        Do you love extensions? Do you have a keen sense of what makes a great extension? Want to help users discover extensions that will improve how they experience the web? If so, please consider applying to join our Featured Extensions Community Board!

        Board members nominate and select new featured extensions each month to help millions of users find top-quality extensions to customize their Firefox browsers. Click here to learn more about the duties of the Featured Extension Advisory Board. The current board is currently wrapping up their six-month tour of duty and we are now assembling a new board of talented contributors for the months January – June, 2019.

        Extension developers, designers, advocates, and fans are all invited to apply to join the board. Priority will be given to applicants who have not served on the board before, followed by those from previous boards, and finally from the outgoing board.

      • Mozilla VR Blog: How XR Environments Shape User Behavior

        In previous research, The Extended Mind has documented how a 3D space automatically signals to people the rules of behavior. One of the key findings of that research is that when there is synchrony in the design of a space, it helps communicate behavioral norms to visitors. That means that when there is complementarity among content, affordances, and avatars, it helps people learn how to act. One example would be creating a gym environment (content), with weights (affordances), but only letting avatars dress in tuxedos and evening gowns. The contraction of people’s appearances could demotivate weight-lifting (the desired behavior).

        This article shares learnings from the Hubs by Mozilla user research on how the different locations that they visited impacted participant’s behavior. Briefly, the researchers observed five pairs of participants in multiple 3D environments and watched as they navigated new ways of interacting with one another. In this particular study, participants visited a medieval fantasy world, a meeting room, an atrium, and a rooftop bunker.

      • Removing Old Versions of TLS

        In March of 2020, Firefox will disable support for TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1.

        On the Internet, 20 years is an eternity. TLS 1.0 will be 20 years old in January 2019. In that time, TLS has protected billions – and probably trillions – of connections from eavesdropping and attack.

        In that time, we have collectively learned a lot about what it takes to design and build a security protocol.

        Though we are not aware of specific problems with TLS 1.0 that require immediate action, several aspects of the design are neither as strong or as robust as we would like given the nature of the Internet today. Most importantly, TLS 1.0 does not support modern cryptographic algorithms.

      • Wladimir Palant: So Google is now claiming: “no one (including Google) can access your data”

        A few days ago Google announced ensuring privacy for your Android data backups. The essence is that your lockscreen PIN/pattern/passcode is used to encrypt your data and nobody should be able to decrypt it without knowing that passcode. Hey, that’s including Google themselves! Sounds good? Past experience indicates that such claims should not always be taken at face value. And in fact, this story raises some red flags for me.

        The trouble is, whatever you use on your phone’s lockscreen is likely not very secure. It doesn’t have to be, because the phone will lock up after a bunch of failed attempts. So everybody goes with a passcode that is easy to type but probably not too hard to guess. Can you derive an encryption key from that passcode? Sure! Will this encryption be unbreakable? Most definitely not. With passwords being that simple, anybody getting their hands on encrypted data will be able to guess the password and decrypt the data within a very short time. That will even be the case for a well-chosen key derivation algorithm (and we don’t know yet which algorithm Google chose to use here).

      • Rabimba: Voting impartially for fun and profit a.k.a Mozilla Reps Council Voting

        I am part of a program called Mozilla Reps. Though I am involved as a volunteer contributor with Mozilla for quite some time now, I am relatively new to the Mozilla Reps program and hardly know anything about the program apart from my scope of work in it.
        Apparently, this is the Election time for voting the nominated candidates for the Council who will spearhead the program for the next session. Since I am new to the program reading about everyone’s election campaign and hearing about what they will do for the program was not giving me any clear motivation to vote for anyone specific. Though this wasn’t anything super important, I still thought since I have a bit of time in my hand why not do something interesting about it.

      • FirefoxOS, A keyboard and prediction: Story of my first contribution

        This was at IBM, New York where I was interning and working on the TJ Watson project. I returned back to my desk, turned on my dual monitors, started reading some blogs and engaging on Mozilla IRC (a new found and pretty short lived hobby). Just a few days before that, FirefoxOS was launched in India in the form of an Intex phone with a $35 price tag. It was making waves all around, because of its hefty price and poor performance . The OS struggle was showing up in the super low cost hardware. I was personally furious about some of the shortcomings, primarily the keyboard which at that time didn’t support prediction in any language other than English and also did not learn new words. Coincidentally, I came upon Dietrich Ayala in the FirefoxOS IRC channel, who at that time was a Platform Engineer at Mozilla. To my surprise he agreed with many of my complaints and asked me if I want to contribute my ideas. I very much wanted to, but then again, I had no idea how. The idea of contributing to the codebase of something like FirefoxOS terrified me. He suggested I first send a proposal and then proceed from there. With my busy work schedule at IBM, this discussion slipped my mind and did not fully boil in my head until I returned home from my internship.

      • Quality Speakings

        Unfortunately my suite of annoying verbal tics – um right um right um, which I continue to treat like Victor Borge’s phonetic punctuation – are on full display here, but I guess we’ll have to live with that. Here’s a talk I gave at the GTA Linux User Group on “The State Of Mozilla”, split into the main talk and the Q&A sections. I could probably have cut a quarter of that talk out by just managing those twitches better, but I guess that’s a project for 2019.

      • Encryption bill will cause ‘significant risk’ to Internet: Mozilla

        Any measure that permits a government to lay down specifications for the design of Internet systems would cause significant risk to the security, stability and trust of such systems, the Mozilla Foundation has said in a submission about Australia’s proposed encryption bill.

      • Mozilla warns decryption laws will break open source

        Mozilla is worried that Australia’s proposed decryption laws will break the principles and licensing terms of open source software.

        The foundation said in a submission [pdf] to the government that being forced to secretly create vulnerabilities in an open source product would be extremely difficult.

        “For an open source organisation, which would need to close portions of its source code and/or release builds that are not made from its publicly released code bases, this is at odds with the core principles of open source, user expectations, and potentially contractual license obligations,” Mozilla said.

  • SaaS/Back End
    • Nginx Updates Web Server Application Platform

      Nginx Inc. held its annual customer conference on Oct. 9-10, announcing a series of updates to its namesake Application Platform.

      While Nginx was originally best known for the open source nginx web server, Nginx Inc. has expanded in recent years to enable a larger set of web application capabilities, with a series of different products.

      Nginx first announced its Application Platform in September 2017, which includes the Nginx Plus Application service combined with the Nginx Controller management and Nginx Unit application server.

    • Container-native, it’s now ‘a thing’

      San Francisco headquartered software analytics company New Relic has acquired Belgian container and microservices monitoring firm CoScale.

      Neither firm is essentially open source in its core approach, but the technologies being interplayed here essentially are.

      CoScale’s expertise is in monitoring container and microservices environments, with a special focus on Kubernetes — the open source container orchestration system for automating deployment, scaling and management of containerized applications originally designed by Google.

    • Open source tool simplifies Kubernetes on AWS

      AWS Service Operator relies on the Kubernetes controller pattern, which packages various basic tasks, integrates disparate components and keeps an application in a desired state. This information is stored on a single API server for the Kubernetes and AWS assets, with AWS services defined as custom resources, and a user can potentially deploy the entire lifecycle process through a single YAML manifest.

      [...]

      Etc.io, a Dallas-based consulting firm, doesn’t use any AWS container services at scale, and relies primarily on Google Container Engine. AWS Service Operator could make it more convenient to use Kubernetes on AWS, but it doesn’t help organizations that want to move to a microservices architecture that doesn’t rely on a single vendor, said E.T. Cook, managing partner at Etc.io.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • DragonFlyBSD Lands Another NUMA Optimization Helping AMD Threadripper 2 CPUs

      DragonFlyBSD lead developer Matthew Dillon has been quite impressed with AMD’s Threadripper 2 processors particularly the Threadripper 2990WX with 32-cores / 64-threads. Dillon has made various optimizations to DragonFly for helping out this processor in past months and overnight he made another significant improvement.

    • Fosdem 2019: BSD devroom CfP

      The Fosdem is a free event for software hackers to meet, share ideas and collaborate. Every year 8000+ open source developers from all the world gather at the event in Brussels, Belgium. During the Fosdem, developer rooms (devrooms) are assigned to self organized open source groups and projects to meet together and showcase their projects.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNU Guile 2.9.1 beta released JIT native code generation to speed up all Guile programs

      GNU released Guile 2.9.1 beta of the extension language for the GNU project. It is the first pre-release leading up to the 3.0 release series.

      In comparison to the current stable series, 2.2.x, Guile 2.9.1 brings support for just-in-time native code generation to speed up all Guile programs.

    • [FSF] Introducing our new associate member forum!

      I’m excited to share that we’ve launched a new forum for our associate members. We hope that you find this forum to be a great place to share your experiences and perspectives surrounding free software and to forge new bonds with the free software community. If you’re a member of the FSF, head on over to https://forum.members.fsf.org to get started. You’ll be able to log in using the Central Authentication Service (CAS) account that you used to create your membership. (Until we get WebLabels working for the site, you’ll have to whitelist its JavaScript in order to log in and use it, but rest assured that all of the JavaScript is free software, and a link to all source code can be found in the footer of the site.) Participation in this forum is just one of many benefits of being an FSF member – if you’re not a member yet, we encourage you to join today, for as little as $10 per month, or $5 per month for students.

      The purpose of this member forum is to provide a space where members can meet, communicate, and collaborate with each other about free software, using free software. While there are other places on the Internet to talk about free software, this forum is unique in that it is focused on the common interests of FSF members, who care very much about using, promoting, and creating free software.

      The forum software we chose to use is Discourse.

    • GCC Is Preparing To End Support For Solaris 10

      Solaris 10, what may will argue as the last “good” Solaris operating system release before Sun Microsystems fell under control of Oracle, may soon see its support deprecated by the GCC compiler stack.

      With upstream Solaris 10 soon reaching its end of life and an increasing number of failures/issues coming up when testing the GNU Compiler Collection on Solaris 10, the GNU toolchain developers are looking at obsoleting that support.

  • Programming/Development
    • uTidylib 0.4

      Two years ago, I’ve taken over uTidylib maintainership. Two years has passed without any bigger contribution, but today there is a new version with support for recent html-tidy and Python 3.

    • Rewrote summain from Python to Rust

      I’ve been learning Rust lately. As part of that, I rewrote my summain program from Python to Rust (see summainrs). It’s not quite a 1:1 rewrite: the Python version outputs RFC822-style records, the Rust one uses YAML. The Rust version is my first attempt at using multithreading, something I never added to the Python version.

    • Which programming language for work? For the weekend?

      Our writer community grows each month as new, interesting folks write for us and join in on the fun of sharing their expertise and experiences in open source technology. So, it’s no surprise that they are brimming with fascinating information. It’s just asking the right question to release it.

      Recently, I asked: What programming languages do you use at work, and which ones do you use on the weekend?

    • Go command and packages cheat sheet

      Of the many things the go executable can do, most people know only go run and go build. And, of the many packages in the standard Go library, most people know only the fmt package. This cheat sheet will list many uses of the go executable and the most important packages in the Go standard library.

    • piwheels: Speedy Python package installation for the Raspberry Pi

      One of the great things about the Python programming language is PyPI, the Python Package Index, where third-party libraries are hosted, available for anyone to install and gain access to pre-existing functionality without starting from scratch. These libraries are handy utilities, written by members of the community, that aren’t found within the Python standard library. But they work in much the same way—you import them into your code and have access to functions and classes you didn’t write yourself.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • “Fixed mindsets” might be why we don’t understand statistics

      Roughly 96 percent of the general population struggles with solving problems relating to statistics and probability. Yet being a well-informed citizen in the 21st century requires us to be able to engage competently with these kinds of tasks, even if we don’t encounter them in a professional setting. “As soon as you pick up a newspaper, you’re confronted with so many numbers and statistics that you need to interpret correctly,” says co-author Patrick Weber, a graduate student in math education at the University of Regensburg in Germany. Most of us fall far short of the mark.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Elon Musk cuts almost $500K check to bring clean water to Flint, Michigan schools
    • “The People’s Prescription”: New Report Calls For Value Creation Instead Of Value Extraction In Pharmaceutical R&D

      “This report maps the fault lines of this system and sets out principles for a new model,” it states. “While it suggests quick fixes that policymakers can implement in the short term, it crucially proposes concrete policy actions that can be taken in the long term to actively shape and co-create a health system that delivers real public value.”

      The report is structured into two sections. The first is “DIAGNOSIS,” with chapters on “Problems with the current health innovation system,” and “Principles for a health innovation model that delivers public value.” The second section, “REMEDIES,” includes chapters on “Immediate policy actions: Getting better prices today,” and “Transformative proposals: Re-imagining our health innovation system to deliver public value.”

      [...]

      “A pharmaceutical industry that makes billions in profits without providing the affordable medicines that people need is one of the scandals of our time,” Heidi Chow, senior campaigns manager at Global Justice Now, said in the report press release.

      “Until governments follow the recommendations in this report and set about creating a pharmaceutical system that puts patients and public health at its core, our health and our health systems will continue to suffer as pharmaceutical profits continue to soar,” Diarmaid McDonald, lead organiser from Just Treatment, also said in the release.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Tech companies need to work with US military, says Amazon boss Jeff Bezos

      Speaking at the Wired25 conference in San Francisco, Mr Bezos said he would continue to work with defence agencies even if it was unpopular among his own staff, because the US “needs to be defended”.

    • Jamal Khashoggi’s ‘Disappearance’ Highlights Growing Threat to Journalists

      Forty-eight journalists have been killed so far this year, according to a VOA tally, adding to the thousand killed in the past decade-and-half.

    • Intimidation, detention, even murder: World is full of many potential Jamal Khashoggis

      Badawi was arrested in Jeddah in 2012 for “insulting Islam through electronic channels.” He was a blogger and, according to his wife, a humanitarian and free thinker. In 2013, he was convicted of several charges, including apostasy, and sentenced to 7 years and 600 lashes, a form of punishment with a whip or stick the United Nations says is cruel and inhumane. A year later, the prison term was increased to 10 years and 1,000 lashes. Badawi suffers from hypertension and Haidar, who was granted asylum in Canada with her three children, said her husband’s health is deteriorating. “I hope President Trump can help release my husband,” she said when asked whether Khashoggi’s case would bring new scrutiny of Badawi’s plight. One of Badawi’s alleged crimes was to mock Saudi Arabia’s prohibition against celebrating Valentine’s Day.

    • Deaths of high-profile Iraqi women spark fear of conservative backlash

      Yet it was also shockingly distinctive; the body slumped in the car seat was not a politician, official, insurgent or warlord. She was a former beauty queen; a young woman with both profile and attitude, one of four high-profile Iraqi women to have been killed across the country in quick succession.

      The four were unknown to each other, but their lives – recently at least – had shared common themes. All had a public presence and a voice that had unsettled elements of Iraqi society, which has retained rigid views on how women should behave, even as relative freedoms have crept into a still conservative culture.

    • Woman says she was tased by police while bleeding out from gunshots

      According to the Wayne Circuit Court lawsuit, Rebecca Sevilla of Britton was driven to a Motel 6 in Southgate by her husband on June 17, 2017. In the parking lot, her husband shot her three times — in the stomach, chest and head — and then killed himself.

      Police responding to the scene determined that the husband committed suicide and saw Sevilla “sitting upright, bleeding from gunshot wounds to her body and head,” according to the lawsuit.

      It goes on to assert that officers “began yelling verbal commands to” Sevilla, who “was unable to (respond]) as a result of her injuries.”

    • Kashmir rebels hiding in mosque shot

      “Pertinently, the terrorists fired on a search party from a nearby mosque and subsequently the area was cordoned off. The local Auqaf committee was engaged to convince the terrorists to come out. Security forces also appealed to the terrorists to come out,” the police spokesperson said.

    • Silicon Valley’s Saudi Arabia Problem

      Long before the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished, the kingdom has sought influence in the West — perhaps intended, in part, to make us forget what it is. A medieval theocracy that still beheads by sword, doubling as a modern nation with malls (including a planned mall offering indoor skiing), Saudi Arabia has been called “an ISIS that made it.” Remarkably, the country has avoided pariah status in the United States thanks to our thirst for oil, Riyadh’s carefully cultivated ties with Washington, its big arms purchases, and the two countries’ shared interest in counterterrorism. But lately the Saudis have been growing their circle of American enablers, pouring billions into Silicon Valley technology companies.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Finance
    • Bitcoin must die

      If Bitcoin were to cease trading tomorrow, 0.5% of the world’s electricity demand would simply disappear. This is roughly equivalent to the output of ten coal-fired power plants, emitting 50 million tonnes of CO2 per year – which would cover one year’s worth of the carbon emission cuts required to limit temperature rises this century to 2C. It is not a solution by itself, but it would be a good year’s work.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Facebook to show who buys British political ads in a bid to tackle election meddling

      Facebook will also include new features on its website to show who has paid for adverts and begin an archive of all political ads that are purchased on the site in an effort to clamp down on election fraud.

    • Judge dismisses Stormy Daniels’ defamation case against Trump

      She filed the case after the president tweeted that she had invented a story about being threatened for speaking out about the alleged affair.

      But the judge ruled that the tweet was protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech.

      Stormy Daniels was also ordered to pay Mr Trump’s legal fees, although the amount is yet to be determined. Her lawyer said she would appeal against the decision.

    • High rate of absentee ballots thrown out in Gwinnett

      Nearly one in 10 vote-by-mail ballots have been rejected by Gwinnett County election officials, alarming voting rights groups.

      Gwinnett is throwing out far more absentee ballots than any other county in Georgia, according to records from the Secretary of State’s Office. Ballots were discarded because of allegedly mismatched signatures, incomplete forms or missing residential addresses.

      The county rejected 390 absentee ballots through Sunday, which represents 8.5 percent of all mailed ballots received in Gwinnett so far, according to state figures. Across Georgia, less than 2 percent of absentee ballots have been rejected. Gwinnett accounts for about 37 percent of all rejected ballots in Georgia.

      “They’re putting an extra burden on someone to come back in to get another absentee ballot. That’s unheard of,” said Helen Butler, executive director for the Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, a civil rights group.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Aasia Bibi’s family fears for safety if court sets her free

      But in any case they feared for their future living in Pakistan under the blasphemy laws, they told AFP.

    • Family Of Pak Christian First To Face Death For Blasphemy Holds Out Hope

      Her family said that if Bibi is released, it would be difficult to stay in her homeland.

    • ‘Missing, Sex Trafficked’ Children Neither Missing, Nor Victims Of Sex Trafficking

      For quite some time we’ve highlighted the horrible laws being pushed by aggressively misrepresenting the size of the problem of sex trafficking — and especially sex trafficking of children. This is not to say that it never happens. Nor is it to suggest that the crime of sex trafficking, especially of minors, is not horrific and hugely problematic. But we shouldn’t overreact to false information. A year ago, we looked at some of the numbers being presented in favor of passing FOSTA, and found they were almost entirely bullshit. This included Rep. Ann Wagner’s (who is the leading pusher of bad laws around “sex trafficking”) claim child sex trafficking alone was a $9.5 billion industry. As we noted, this number came from a bizarre nonsensical extrapolation of a very misleading and confused report by ICE that covered issues of smuggling (not just sex trafficking). Other stats — such as the supposed number of kids “lured” into sex trafficking — showed even more extrapolation, while police were finding very, very few actual cases of this happening.

      [...]

      So, remember, the headline screamed that 123 missing children were found in a sex trafficking “operation.” Now it seems that most of them were “found” at home with their parents, and only three of them might have been victims of sex trafficking. These seem like important details, especially when you have election officials like Rep. Ann Wagner pushing a vast surveillance bill on the basis of the problem of sex trafficking. Pushing bogus information like over a hundred missing kids being engaged in sex trafficking only helps build that narrative — one that appears to actually be much, much more limited than the media or lying politicians will let you know about.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Vizio Customers Get A Pittance In Settlement Over Snooping Televisions

      As we frequently note, most of the “smart” products you buy are anything but intelligent when it comes to your privacy and security. Whether it’s your refrigerator leaking your gmail credentials or your new webcam being hacked in mere minutes for use in massive new DDoS attacks, the so-called “smart” home is actually often dumb as nails and potentially hazardous. So-called smart-televisions have been particularly problematic, whether that has involved companies failing to encrypt sensitive data, or removing features if you refuse to have your daily viewing habits measured and monetized.

      Last year Vizio joined this not-so-distinguished club when it was discovered that the company’s TVs had been spying on users for the last several years, starting back in 2014. Vizio’s $2.2 million settlement with the FTC indicates that the company at no time thought it might be a good idea to inform customers this was happening. The snooping was part of a supposed “Smart Interactivity” feature deployed in 2014 that claimed to provide users with programming recommendations, but never actually did so. Its sole purpose was to hoover up your data and help Vizio sell it, without your express consent.

    • On Election Day, the Voters of New Hampshire Can Protect Their Privacy in the Digital Age

      Ballot question 2 seeks to guarantee that residents’ right to privacy in their “private or personal information is natural, essential, and inherent.”

      “Live free or die.”

      As reflected in its official state motto, no state has unequivocally embraced the principles of liberty and privacy more than the state of New Hampshire. These ideals make up the core of the state’s philosophical DNA. It is therefore surprising that New Hampshire is conspicuously missing from the list of the 10 diverse states that have explicitly enshrined the right to privacy in their constitutions. But on Election Day, Granite State voters will have a chance to remedy that oversight.

      Earlier this year, the New Hampshire Legislature passed by a necessary two-thirds vote a proposed amendment to the state constitution guaranteeing the right to privacy in the digital age. Now it’s up to voters to enshrine that natural right. New Hampshire’s ballot Question 2 (Q2) would do just that by adding simple but mighty language to the constitution: “An individual’s right to live free from governmental intrusion in private or personal information is natural, essential, and inherent.”

    • Already facing an uphill misinformation fight, Facebook loses to scammers, too

      The scam pages share a variety of common characteristics, and in many cases they use the same profile pictures. This type of scam should be easy for a site as sophisticated and well-resourced as Facebook to uproot. But four days after Abrams began reporting it, the campaign remained active, with the exception of 11 profiles Ars reported to PR representatives.

      The Facebook representatives have yet to explain why the security department is having such a hard time dismantling the campaign. People who use the site should remain alert.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Pakistan’s Ahmadis fearful as leaders bow to extremists

      Pakistan’s embattled Ahmadiyya minority enjoyed a brief moment of hope earlier this month when one of its own, a U.S.-based Princeton economist, was appointed to an economic advisory council.

      But the backlash from Islamic hard-liners, which led newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan to quickly rescind the appointment under political pressure, has only underscored the Ahmadis’ fraught position in the conservative, Muslim-majority country.

    • What Will It Take To Wake Up America?
    • Christian Man Beaten Nearly to Death, Body Burned on His Muslim Mother’s Orders for Choosing Jesus

      His mother left, warning that he will “pay the price” for his decision. Abdel was kidnapped by a Muslim gang two months later and beaten nearly to the point of death, with cigarettes burned to his body.

    • NYC Prosecutors Accidentally Admit They Use Bail To Deprive Presumably-Innocent People Of Their Freedom

      New York City’s prosecutors just admitted they use the bail system to punish people for being accused of criminal acts. It’s not there to serve its intended purpose: to ensure the return of charged individuals to court, where they’re presumed innocent until proven guilty.

      The bail system isn’t supposed to keep people locked up. But that’s the way it’s been used for years. Prosecutors often ask for excessive bail amounts. Judges often grant them. The argument made for high bail amounts — which ensure only the most well-to-do can remain free while awaiting trial — is that arrested people are flight risks and/or more inherently dangerous than all the people the police haven’t gotten around to arresting yet.

      The stats don’t back up the parade of horribles offered by prosecutors at bail hearings. People have done the math. And this excellent article by the Boston Review compiles the damning numbers.

    • In the Name of Public Safety

      New York City’s district attorneys are on edge. Beginning this week and extending through the month of October, as many as 500 women and teenagers currently imprisoned on Rikers Island and juvenile jail facilities will walk free when volunteers pay their bail. This Mass Bail Out Action, which is sponsored by RFK Human Rights and a network of grassroots groups, is hoping to post bail for every woman, sixteen- and seventeen- year-old currently sitting in jail in New York City because she or he cannot afford bail. The effort is similar to the powerful work of community bail funds and the recent National Bail Out projects, in which grassroots groups throughout the country have engaged in mass bailouts of black people incarcerated pretrial because of their poverty. The Mass Bail Out volunteers hope to bring urgency both to the effort to close Rikers Island (which the City has said it plans to close within ten years) and the push to eliminate the use of money bail nationwide. They are engaging in a profound act of resistance even as officials such as the DAs insist that freeing these incarcerated people will threaten the “public safety.” New York’s officials have strongly resisted the Mass Bail Out and are “scrambling to prepare,” according to the New York Times. If released from jail, their story goes, these women and teenagers will engage in violence, re-offend, or as Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark warned, “end up being a victim of violence themselves,” especially if they are mentally ill or homeless.

      [...]

      Much like the famed “Willie Horton effect,” when we focus on sporadic acts of violent crime we overreact with excessive punishment and obscure the everyday mass violence that pre-trial incarceration does to millions of ordinary people—and their families. In the case of bail, this punitiveness is especially pernicious because it pretends to be a neutral financial calculation: if only this person had enough money, they could be free and would not be a threat to the public.

      The Mass Bail Out forces us to confront the ways in which pretrial incarceration is itself a public safety threat. Placing women and minors (or anyone, for that matter) in jail exposes them to violence and misery. It exposes their families and neighborhoods to loss of income, stability, and the everyday companionship of a parent, spouse, sister, brother, neighbor, or coworker. When volunteers post bail for women and minors detained at Rikers Island, they will demonstrate that they, as members of the local community, actually feel safer knowing that a woman or teen has left the violence of jail and returned home to go to school, earn money at their job, raise their children, and participate in their own defense, while waiting for trial or other resolution of their case. Individual freedom is a part of public safety, too.

    • More Than Me CEO Katie Meyler Temporarily Steps Down

      Katie Meyler, the founder of More Than Me, temporarily stepped down from her position as the American charity’s chief executive officer pending the results of a Liberian panel’s review of an investigation published by ProPublica and Time magazine last Thursday. The focus of the article was the rapes of girls by a senior employee of the charity Meyler created to protect them from sexual exploitation.

      “In reviewing the allegations as published by ProPublica and TIME, we uncovered several statements that were either inconsistent with the information provided to us by More Than Me leadership or that were new information,” the charity’s Liberian advisory board said in a statement.

    • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘American Dream’ By J.S. Ondara

      As Ondara told NPR Music, “The video follows a man, as he sets upon a journey to purchase a weapon. While on his way, we get a glimpse of the world around him through his eyes, which gives us some insight into his state of mind.”

      “Ultimately, the video explores the turbulent times in the country, socially and politically, thereby throwing a shade of irony to the popular notion of ‘The American Dream.’”

      The video also references Dylan’s classic protest anthem “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” with the lyric, “Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command,” inscribed on a sheet of paper.

      During the 1960s, Dylan wrote several timeless socially conscious tunes. With “American Dream,” Ondara offers his Dylanesque reflection on America.

    • A Decade’s Worth Of Meth Convictions Overturned Due To Drug Lab Employee’s Misconduct

      Massachusetts prosecutors are seeing a bunch more Drug War wins turned into losses by drug lab misconduct. Annie Dookhan, a drug lab technician, falsified countless tests, ultimately resulting in the overturning of more than 20,000 convictions. Dookhan was valued for her productivity, but no one above her bothered to wonder why she was able to process samples so quickly. Turns out tests go much faster when you don’t actually perform the tests.

      If that were it, it would have been more than enough indication the nation’s crime labs need more oversight and auditing. But it isn’t. Another tech at another Massachusetts drug lab is erasing thousands of convictions. Chemist Sonja Farak, an 11-year veteran of the Amherst drug lab, apparently spent much of that time using the substances she was supposed to be testing, turning in falsified test results that landed people behind bars.

      The Farak investigation uncovered the drug lab’s lack of standards, which included more than allowing an employee to use drugs while on the clock for at least eight of the eleven years she was employed. There’s no way of telling how many drug tests might be tainted, not just by employee malfeasance, but by a lack of best practices, like running blanks through testing equipment to ensure new tests weren’t tainted by residue left behind by previous tests.

      The total number of convictions expected to be thrown out due to Farak’s abuse is currently sitting at 7,690 cases. But this won’t be the final total. Zach Huffman of Courthouse News Service reports an entire decade’s-worth of convictions is being examined.

    • DOJ, Trump Decide The Federal Government Needs To Give Chicago The Police Department It Doesn’t Want

      In a move that’s tone deaf if nothing else, the DOJ is going to court to block a consent decree put in place to overhaul Chicago’s unconstitutional policing. This announcement comes days after a jury convicted Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. He was also convicted of 16 counts of aggravated battery — one count for each bullet he fired at the teen as the teen walked away from him.

      This also follows more tone-deafness from the “law and order” presidency. Trump’s speech to a law enforcement convention contained several comments about Chicago and its perceived police problem. But the problem Trump sees is police not policing hard enough. Trump wants stop-and-frisk brought back — one of the key modifications contained in the consent decree.

    • Charlottesville’s Other Jim Crow Legacy: Separate and Unequal Education

      High school seniors Zyahna Bryant and Trinity Hughes have been friends since they were 6 years old, raised by blue-collar families in this affluent college town. They played on the same T-ball and softball teams and were in the same church group.

      But like many African-American children in Charlottesville, Trinity lived on the south side of town and went to a predominantly black neighborhood elementary school. Zyahna lived across the train tracks on the north side and was zoned to a mostly white school, near the University of Virginia campus, that boasts the city’s highest reading scores.

      [...]

      “I know what I’m capable of and what I can do,” Trinity said, “but the counselors and teachers, they don’t really care about that.”

      For every student like Zyahna in Charlottesville’s schools, there are scores like Trinity, caught in one of the widest educational disparities in the United States. Charlottesville’s racial inequities mirror college towns across the country, from Berkeley, California, to Evanston, Illinois. But they also match the wider world of education, which is grappling with racial gaps — in areas from gifted programs to school discipline — that can undercut the effort to equitably prepare students for college in a competitive economy.

    • Is There Racial Inequality at Your School?

      Based on civil rights data released by the U.S. Department of Education, ProPublica has built an interactive database to examine racial disparities in educational opportunities and school discipline. Look up more than 96,000 individual public and charter schools and 17,000 districts to see how they compare with their counterparts.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • 5G Got me Fired

      More importantly today’s readers need to be a little more than cautious when believing anything. Native advertising is a most insidious concept and should be rejected by every publisher. Instead it is welcomed by the broadcasting networks and most of the major newspapers including the New York Times. Are the writers saying nice things or are they paid to say nice things?

    • Wall Street Quietly Warns That 5G Wireless Is Being Aggressively Over-hyped

      As hardware vendors and cellular carriers prepare deployment of fifth-generation wireless networks, you may have noticed that the hype has gotten a little out of control. Claims that 5G will magically revolutionize the broadband sector sound nice and all, but as we’ve noted repeatedly, 5G is really more of a modest evolution in existing networks, not some kind of revolutionary panacea that’s going to change everything. Still, claims that 5G will somehow usher in amazing smart cities or somehow result in a four day work week for everyone (what?) get far more traction than they probably deserve.

      Alongside the generalized hype, carriers are pushing another narrative: that 5G wireless is so incredible, it’s going to fix all of the telecom sector’s biggest problems by delivering a massive new wave of competition. This competition will be so amazing that net neutrality will apparently be made irrelevant. It’s largely bunk originating with telecom industry marketing departments, dutifully swallowed and regurgitated by an unskeptical press.

  • DRM
    • Epson ‘Security Update’ Bricks Third-Party Ink Refills, Opens Up Possibility Of A Competitive Trades Investigation

      It’s no secret the printer business relies on hefty ink refill markups. The printers are disposable, often cheaper than the ink they come packaged with. But customers aren’t usually willing to toss out a printer when it runs out of ink, even if refilling it costs more than replacing it.

      And good for them! I mean, at least in an environmental sense. Let’s not toss a bunch more non-decomposables into the nearest landfill the moment they refuse do anything until their inkwells are filled. But this does nothing for consumers, forcing them to become unwilling adherents to the sunk cost fallacy, especially after they’ve paid for a couple of ink refills.

      Printer companies know their system is ripoff. They know their customers know it’s a ripoff. That’s why they engage in shady tactics to ensure this steady stream of revenue doesn’t dry up. For years, third parties have offered compatible ink refills. And for years, printer companies have been lying to customers to lock these competitors out of the market.

      A couple of years back, HP pushed out a firmware update that made it impossible to use third-party refills. It didn’t tell customers the update would do this. It just sent out the DRMbomb and triggered it remotely, saying things about “security” and “protecting customers,” even as it eliminated their refill options.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Damages may be considered proven when the facts speak for themselves

      A recurring topic of discussion in patent infringement proceedings in Spain is the degree of evidence required to prove the damage caused by acts of patent infringement. According to a line of case law handed down by the Supreme Court, the existence of the damage may be proved by demonstrating the existence of the unlawful act in cases where such damage is the logical consequence of the unlawful act considered. In such circumstances, the facts speak for themselves (“res ipsa loquitur“).

      The Barcelona Court of Appeal (Section 15), in a judgment handed down on 26 July 2018, used the following arguments to justify the applicability of this principle:

      “60. Case law has specified that the existence of losses or profits not obtained as a result of the infringing act must, in all cases, be proven, albeit “not with greater rigour or restrictive criteria than any which constitutes the basis of a claim” (Supreme Court judgments of 2 March 2001 and 7 July 2005). However, demanding this proof is compatible with the possibility of establishing their “ex re ipsa” existence, with it being sufficient to prove the unlawful act in those cases where its connection to the alleged damage allows it to be considered that, according to the rules of logic, the latter is a necessary, logical and inevitable consequence of the illicit action.

      Consequently, it is stated that there are times when the facts speak

    • FTC and Qualcomm trying to settle antitrust matter by November 14, but Judge Koh may rule on chipset licensing anytime

      Judge Koh gave this administrative motion short shrift: she denied it quickly, without any further explanation.

      Since my first commentary on the motion, I’ve always felt that nothing would make a settlement more likely at this stage than an order granting the motion and reminding Qualcomm of obligations it entered into when it made FRAND licensing declarations to two U.S. standard-development organizations, TIA and ATIS. Yesterday’s administrative motion validates that assessment: while the FTC and Qualcomm have presumably talked about settlement on numerous occasions (even if just calling someone to find out whether the other party’s position has changed), the current situation is unique. The importance of SEP licenses to competitors couldn’t be made clearer than by a motion that says the parties don’t have a problem with decisions on any other pending motion but this one. This motion unsurprisingly appears to scare the living daylights out of Qualcomm.

    • Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. TWi Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2018)

      Last month, in Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. TWi Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey finding that U.S. Patent Nos. 7,722,898; 7,910,131; and 8,821,930 were not invalid and would be infringed by Defendants-Appellants TWi Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and TWi International LLC, DBA TWi Pharmaceuticals. The ’898, ’131, and ’930 patents are owned by Plaintiff-Appellee Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

      Seeking approval to market generic versions of Oxtellar XR®, an oxcarbazepine extended-release tablet for treatment of partial epilepsy seizures in adults and children over the age of six, TWi filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) with the FDA. In response to that filing, Supernus brought an action for infringement of the ’898, ’131, and ’930 patents, and TWi counterclaimed for invalidity.

    • United Kingdom: Saab Seaeye Limited v Atlas Elektronik GmbH & anr, Court of Appeal of England and Wales, Civil Division, [2017] EWCA Civ 2175, 19 December 2017

      In a case concerning two patents in the field of underwater mine clearance, the Court of Appeal upheld the Patents Court’s decision that claims 1 and 2 of the 576 Patent were invalid for obviousness, but allowed the appeal in relation to the validity of the 861 Patent, finding that the claims in question were invalid for obviousness.

    • Trademarks
      • Museum of Modern Art Wins Injunction Against MOMACHA On Merits of Trademark Infringement, Dilution Claims

        U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton recently issued an opinion granting an injunction requested by New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The injunction prevents the operator of an art gallery and café located in close proximity to a MoMA Design Store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood from using a pair of marks that infringe upon MoMA’s own marks. The marks in question in this case are ‘MOMA’ and ‘MOMACHA,’ both of which were filed by MOMACHA, the SoHo café that began operating in April of this year.

        The marks were filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for use in commerce with beverages and restaurant and café services. Although MOMACHA has changed the font used in its original logo, that logo uses a font that “greatly resembles ITC Franklin Gothic Heavy,” a font which served as the basis for a MoMA logo first designed in 2003. MOMACHA continued its use of its old logo on its coffee cups and on its social media accounts.

      • Argos goes to the Court of Appeal but leaves empty handed

        Can a US corporation selling construction software only in the Americas under the name ARGOS be sued for infringement of a registered trade mark by a UK based consumer goods retailer who trades mainly in the UK and Ireland under the same name?

        This question is posed by Floyd LJ in the introduction to the Court of Appeal decision on the Argos Ltd v Argos Systems Inc [2018] EWCA Civ 2211. The formulation of the question may make it easy to guess the Court of Appeal’s ultimate decision.

    • Copyrights
      • NCC sues COSON for operating without approval

        The Nigerian Copyright Commission has filed a criminal charge against the Copyright Society of Nigeria, its Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, and principal officers for carrying out the duties of a collecting society without the approval of the Nigerian Copyright Commission.

        The NCC, in a statement signed by its Director-General, Afam Ezekude, and made available to our correspondent on Tuesday, said, “In Charge No FHC/L/338C/18, filed on October 8, 2018 at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, the accused persons were alleged to have performed the duties of a collecting Society by demanding and collecting royalties from Noah’s Ark of 9 Sowemimo Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.”

      • African Nations Rife With Illegitimate Collection Societies: Nigeria Files Criminal Complaint Against COSON

        You may recall that we have discussed the complete chaos that is copyright collection societies in Kenya over the past few years. At issue in Kenya is that the country has multiple collection societies, which are overseen by a government sanctioned body that can request to look at their books to make sure artists are being paid appropriately, and officially licenses the collection societies themselves. Some of those collection groups have apparently not felt the need to respond to requests for oversight, leading the government to pull or not renew their licenses. Instead of being the end of the story, a number of those collection societies continue to threaten people and collect royalties anyway, acting essentially as an illegal extortion outfit.

        Kenya is not the only African nation going through this, it seems. Across the continent on the opposite coast, the Nigerian Copyright Commission has been going through similar issues, specifically with a collection group called COSON.

      • Stairway To Heaven Is Not Blurred Lines

        A few weeks ago, we wrote about the 9th Circuit overturning the district court’s ruling in a copyright case questioning whether the song “Stairway to Heaven” had infringed on the song “Taurus” by Spirit. We were less than pleased with this result, as we felt the original ruling was correct. Copyright lawyer Rick Sanders disagreed with part of our analysis and made some really great points in a two part blog post series, which he’s graciously allowed us to repost in slightly edited form here. Part II will be published tomorrow.

        Yes, the new 9th Circuit surprising reversal of the jury verdict looks like “Blurred Lines” all over again — only in reverse. Whereas in “Blurred Lines,” the jury reached the “wrong” conclusion, and the Ninth Circuit refused to fix the jury’s mistake, here it looks like the jury reached the “right” conclusion,” and the Ninth Circuit is screwing up the jury’s work. Techdirt all but said so, in an article 9th Cir Never Misses a Chance to Mess Up Copyright Law: Reopens Led Zeppelin ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Case.

        I’m pleased to report that, far from taking this opportunity to further screw up copyright law, as Techdirt fears, the panel of judges is attempting to improve copyright law by replacing the Ninth Circuit’s (very bad) framework for copyright infringement with a much better one. Indeed, the “Stairway to Heaven” opinion may be seen as a rebuke to the “Blurred Lines” opinion. The pity is that Led Zeppelin must bear this burden by having to do the trial all over again.

        The reason the “Stairway to Heaven” has to do with our old, misunderstood frenemy, the “Inverse-Ratio rule,” which is only tangentially related to why the case is being sent back for a second trial. I blogged extensively about the “inverse-ratio” rule in connection with the “Blurred Lines” case, and how the Ninth Circuit (correctly) amended its opinion to excise (its terrible) discussion of the rule. But here’s the deal: the inverse-ratio rule provides that the more similarity there is between the two works, the less proof of access you need, and vice-versa. It is highly beneficial when applied to the right legal framework for copyright. It is a perverse disaster when applied to the wrong legal framework.

      • Legal Search Engine with Pirate Keywords Confuses ‘Web Sheriff’

        Last year the film industry launched a legal search engine that targets ‘pirates’ specifically. The site is set up in such a way, that it draws people who search for pirate related terms. However, this also appears to have confused the “Web Sheriff,” who targeted the site’s URLs with takedown notices.

      • You’re About to Drown in Streaming Subscriptions

        But while tailored, a la carte services have long been the promise of streaming TV, it’s starting to look more like a series of pricey buffets. Competing megacorporations are all pumping billions into original content, much of it designed for mass appeal. (Apple has reportedly mandated no “gratuitous sex, profanity or violence” on its incoming streaming service.) And even if each also produces more experimental or idiosyncratic options, you’ll be hard pressed to access all or even most of them. The show that scratches your itch won’t necessarily be on a platform you can afford to pay for.

      • GTA ‘Cheat’ Developers Have Homes Searched and Assets Frozen

        Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive Software are taking a clear stand against cheat developers. An Australian Federal court has granted search and seizure orders against several people who are believed to be connected to the cheating software “Infamous.”

      • Japan Plans to Criminalize Pirate Link Sites, Up to Five Years in Jail for Operators

        Sites that link to copyright-infringing content aren’t currently illegal under Japanese law but efforts are underway to close the loophole. The government is considering prison terms of up to five years for site operators who knowingly link to pirated content and refuse to respond to takedowns requests.

Judge-Bashing Tactics, Undermining PTAB, and Iancu’s Warpath for the Litigation and Insurance ‘Industries’

Tuesday 16th of October 2018 11:43:06 AM

The existing USPTO’s management feels like it doesn’t care about justice (facts), technology and science, only about legal bills

Summary: Many inter partes reviews (IPRs) at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) leverage 35 U.S.C. § 101 against software patents; instead of putting an end to such patents Director Iancu decides to just serve the ‘industry’ he came from (a meta-industry where his firm had worked for Donald Trump)

THE USPTO under the new leadership (Director) deviates further and further away from Federal Circuit (CAFC) rulings and SCOTUS caselaw. The Office does so at its own peril, however, as the certainty associated with US patents will be further reduced. More and more granted patents will be presumed invalid. Is the leadership/Director OK with that?

This post binds together last week’s stories about court cases and Office policies. What we hope to show is a divergence from the law; the Office just cares about granting patents, not defending their value by limiting their scope.

We begin with this affirmation by CAFC — one in which a U.S. District Court was supported by CAFC. The divergence between the courts is being lowered over time. CAFC learned to obey SCOTUS and U.S. District Courts have, in turn, become more like CAFC. This is a good thing as it’s indicative of correct or at least consistent judgment. The same cannot be said about the Office because far too many patents these days are later discovered/unmasked as fake patents.

Yesterday Kluwer Patent Blog wrote about a British court “finding that the claims in question were invalid for obviousness.” It’s not just a US issue.

A couple of days ago Steve Brachmann and Gene Quinn (Watchtroll) wrote about Swildens and his successful challenge to a patent. They recalled a month-old report:

On September 12th, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a final office action in an ex parte reexamination of a patent owned by Google self-driving car development subsidiary Waymo. As a result of the reexamination, Waymo stands to lose 53 of 56 claims, including all 20 of the patent claims originally issued. The patent in question had been asserted as part of the company’s well-known infringement suit filed against Uber.

The patent at the center of this reexamination is U.S. Patent No. 9368936, titled Laser Diode Firing System. Issued to Google in June 2016, it claims an apparatus including a voltage source, an inductor coupled to the voltage source and configured to store energy in a magnetic field, a diode coupled to the voltage source via the conductor, a transistor that can be turned on or off by a control signal, a light emitting element coupled to the transistor and a capacitor coupled to charging and discharge paths where the charging path includes the inductor and the diode and the discharge path includes the transistor and the light emitting element. The invention provides a laser diode firing circuit for a light detection and ranging (LIDAR) device where the emission and charging operations of the firing circuit can be controlled by operation of a single transistor.

The reexamination of the ‘936 patent was requested in August 2017 by an engineer named Eric Swildens who, according to news reports, has no connection to either Uber or Waymo but became interested in the potential invalidity of the patent after it was asserted in Waymo’s case against Uber. The reexam requested by Swildens has to date been able to knock out all 20 claims of the claims originally issued in the patent, with only three amended claims that were added to the patent during the reexam proceeding being found to be patentable by the reexamination examiner.

Long story short, this patent should never have been granted. Watchtroll can (and will) whine all it wants, but a lot of US patents get granted in a rush/haste, only to be thrown out as soon as they reach courts (or PTAB).

Jeffrey Killian recently complained about “Patent Uncertainty”. He wrote about it on October 9th at Watchtroll. The problem is that the USPTO granted far too many bogus patents. The problem isn’t the courts and it’s certainly not PTAB, which actually restores some much-needed sanity. Of course these patent maximalists blame courts rather than greed, but one must bear in mind how they make a living.

On the “blocking patent” doctrine, Watchtroll is smearing the courts again. Complaining about CAFC twice in two days [1, 2]. This is unwise a thing to do as it threatens their interests. It undermines the courts’ support or trust in law firms. Hans Sauer and Melissa Brand, then just Melissa Brand, basically insinuate that courts lack logic and even use a “Gremlin” caricature. Stay classy, folks…

It should be noted that a patent troll CEO, William Merritt (President and CEO of InterDigital), was writing for Watchtroll last week. This is why it deserves to be called Watchtroll. It’s like a megaphone of the trolling ‘industry’…

Moving on a bit, PTAB is doing so well that patent maximalists are screaming on the phone with lawyers willing to waste their money. “Today’s new patent complaints,” wrote one PTAB proponent, are “usual glut of NPE [troll] suits, sprinkle of operating companies… and a corp suing Iancu/the PTO for a DJ that IPR is unconstitutional (incl under 7A.) Interesting tactic, given that they already lost on appeal to CAFC and SCOTUS disagreed on the 7A q.”

PTAB generally helps techies or geeks. It doesn’t help parasitic lawyers. Whose side should we be on? Decisions, decisions…

HTIA, which represents technology firms, wrote some days ago: “Let’s debunk myths: #Patent reform has not harmed #innovation. The 300 U.S. companies who have invested the most in R&D have increased R&D spending by 44% since 2012.”

This links to an older article, but it’s still very much relevant. PTAB guides the hands of examiners, moving the hands away from software patents. PTAB often overturns examiners’ decision to the detriment of software patent applicants, but patent maximalists latch onto the rare exception rather than the norm. Here is one such exception:

The examiner originally rejected the claims as improperly directed toward an abstract idea. On appeal, however, the PTAB has reversed finding that “dwell time” is a uniquely “internet-centric challenge” and the claimed solution is “is necessarily rooted in computer technology in order to overcome a problem specifically arising in the realm of computer networks.” quoting DDR Holdings. The PTAB particularly noted that “dwell time” is not merely “some business practice known from the pre-Internet world” that was claimed by simply saying “perform it on the Internet.”

The classic “on the Internet” trick; don’t they just say “on the cloud” these days?

Linda Panszczyk wrote about CAFC asking PTAB to have another go assessing a patent (reversals are rare, they don’t overturn invalidations much). This is from last week’s short post:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has vacated and remanded a Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision that a reference guide qualified as a printed publication, in a case involving reexamination of medical device patents relating to access ports, asking for the Board to clarify its findings on this matter.

They’re doing the work examiners should have done in the first place.

“The classic “on the Internet” trick; don’t they just say “on the cloud” these days?”Director Iancu cannot gut PTAB, especially not after Oil States; but the head of PTAB (a judge) was recently removed (or departed) and the latest act of sabotage from Iancu seems like a gross case of bypassing courts. As Josh Rich put it:

Under a new PTO administrative rule published today, the PTAB will apply the same claim construction standards in IPRs, PGRs, and CBMs filed on November 13, 2018 or later as would apply in litigation. 83 Fed. Reg. 51340 (Oct. 11, 2018). The PTAB will also consider claim construction decisions from litigation (whether from courts or the U.S. International Trade Commission) in construing claims in AIA proceedings. The new rule abandons the PTO’s former approach of using the broadest reasonable interpretation (“BRI”) in claim construction, and thereby reflects a continuing move from considering AIA proceedings analogous to prosecution to considering them analogous — or part of — the litigation process.

Currently, the PTAB uses the BRI to construe claims in the vast majority of AIA proceedings, the only exceptions being in cases where the patent has expired or is expiring imminently.[1] In doing so, it has treated the AIA proceedings as analogous to a continuation of prosecution (in which claims are given their broadest reasonable interpretation throughout the process). That approach makes sense in the historical context of AIA proceedings, given that it allows the PTO to use the same approach across almost all cases before it, AIA proceedings are to supplement — not reargue — issues that were presented during pre-issuance prosecution, and AIA proceedings share many similarities with prosecution (including limited ability to address the counterparty’s claim construction arguments). Furthermore, the ability to amend claims during such proceedings provides a “safety valve” for an inopportune, overbroad claim construction.

Dennis Crouch wrote about the Phillips standard:

The USPTO’s Final Rule Package on Inter Partes Review Claim Construction is set to publish in the Federal Register on October 11, 2018. Up to now, the PTAB has been using the USPTO “broadest reasonable interpretation” standard to interpret challenged patent claims. Under the new rule, the PTAB will now rely upon the PHOSITA standard more traditionally used for issued patents as articulated by in Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc) and further developed in later cases. This new rule will apply in IPR, PGR, and CBM proceedings. The new rule also indicates that prior claim constructions by a court or USITC “will be considered.” This final rule is essentially unchanged from the proposed rule found in the May 2018 NPRM. Timing: The new claim construction applies to cases involving “petitions filed on or after the effective date of the final rule, which is November 13, 2018.”

Watchtroll’s founder said about this Phillips standard that Iancu’s office “has published a final rule in the Federal Register changing the claim construction standard applied during inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR), and covered business method (CBM) review proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).”

Here is what another patent maximalist said:

The final rule changes the claim construction standard used by the PTAB to the Phillips standard used in district courts. Practitioners predict a surge in filing before it becomes effective in November

The USPTO has published a final rule changing the claim construction standard applied during inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR), and covered business method patents (CBM) proceedings before the PTAB.

So the filings are expected to temporarily go up again, just like they did before fee hikes. Office Director seem to be missing the point that keeping PTAB affordable and accessible is actually a priority; all they care about is masking the decline in quality — same thing which the EPO has been doing.

Over at Lexology, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP’s Bill T. Storey took note of the Office becoming more of a patent maximalists’ office under Iancu when he said:

On July 1, 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) began a 3-year pilot program known as The PCT Collaborative Search and Examination Pilot (CS&E) Program, to streamline examination and search procedures for patent examiners in multiple countries. The program is a coordinated effort with patent offices from around the world, together known as the IP5 offices. Specifically, participating International Search Authority (ISA) members include the USPTO, European Patent Office (EPO), Japan Patent Office (JPO), Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), and State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO). This program is a continuation of two previous programs launched in 2010 and 2011, respectively, involving the USPTO, EPO and KIPO that laid the groundwork for this expanded program aimed at testing user interest, operational and quality standards, and the electronic platform.

Currently, upon filing a PCT application, applicants designate one of the IP5 offices to provide an international search report (ISR) and written opinion. However, upon reaching the national stage as applicants pursue applications in individual countries, applicants can be presented with country-specific search reports involving entirely new art depending on varying search criteria. This can place a burden on applicants and hinder cohesive world-wide prosecution strategies. The CS&E program addresses this issue by coordinating searches from each office, thereby providing a higher quality work product which is more likely to comprehensively identify and consider world-wide art. The CS&E program provides the advantages of having the searching performed by multiple examiners with different language capabilities and an increased predictability of outcome. Importantly, at this time the CS&E program requires no extra cost.

It’s worth noting that nobody but a vocal group of trolls' attorneys actually complained about PTAB. One of them wrote: “Amazingly Ebay wins rare 101 #patent appeal because “dwell time, which is an Internet-centric challenge” is not just directed to an abstract idea https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2017003747-09-26-2018-1 … Once again, proves how handy it is to have the right panel of judges!”

More of that judge-bashing, as usual…

They spent years pushing the fiction that PTAB is “stacked” or corrupt or whatever. Iancu now uses these smears of theirs to frame PTAB as “controversial” with perception issues. Whose? Iancu seems to believe that the USPTO exists for patent law firms rather than for science and technology. Having come from the law firm that worked for Trump, this is hardly surprising.

Not only do firms sell “lawsuits as a service”; nowadays they also sell insurance policies. Watch what Pillsbury (Policyholder Pulse blog) wrote last week; the insurance ‘industry’ now exploits the demise of low-quality patents that are being invalidated:

To help fill this patent coverage gap, some insurers have recently begun offering more comprehensive and cost-effective intellectual property policies specifically tailored to address the risk of patent (and other intellectual property) claims.

[...]

The patent landscape continues to evolve in the wake of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act and the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, which established a more exacting patentability standard for software patents and has opened the door to more motions to dismiss for lawsuits asserting those patents. Nonetheless, patent lawsuits remain prevalent and costly. A well-negotiated patent policy can help close a critical coverage gap, and may even prove critical to your company’s continued viability in the face of such suits.

So when there are lots of patent lawsuits they sell insurance to defendants and when many patent lawsuits fall through they sell insurance to the plaintiffs. Some ‘industry’, eh?

‘Cloud’, ‘AI’ and Other Buzzwords as Excuses for Granting Fake Patents on Software

Tuesday 16th of October 2018 10:13:24 AM

Summary: With resurgence of rather meaningless terms like so-called ‘clouds’ (servers/hosting) and ‘AI’ (typically anything in code which does something clever, including management of patents) the debate is being shifted away from 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101); but courts would still see past such façade

THE EPO and USPTO both have a bad new habit that they spread to other patent offices, such as KIPO in Korea. They use or misuse buzzwords. They try to make things outside patent scope seem so innovative that somehow this supposed innovation defies the rules (scope). Sometimes that manages to impress or at least confuse examiners and judges.

“So let’s start with this assumption that patent maximalists have come to accept Section 101/Alice renders software patents worthless and even overzealous, very large law firms (Finnegan is one of the biggest) insist that patenting has gone too far for practical purposes. Where do they go from here? Buzzwords.”It’s hard to patent software. So it’s not hard to see why patent maximalists would pursue such tricks. As recently as Sunday Watchtroll published this rant about Section 101/Alice — the basis (or legal framework) upon which most software patents become void. “This has prompted many to cast a grim prospect for the software patent industry,” Babak Nouri (at Watchtroll) wrote less than a couple of days ago, as if the patents themselves are the industry…

“A Realistic Perspective on post-Alice Software Patent Eligibility” is the headline and here’s a snide remark directed at the law itself: “Much of the havoc wrought in the software patent system by the landmark decision Alice v. CLS Bank International, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014) stems from the unworkable two-part patent eligibility test based on vaguely defined and nebulous Abstract idea and significantly more constructs. The High court’s reluctance or perhaps inability to precisely define these standards and the perceived lack of discernible consistency by the patent community in the way these standards have been applied in the compendious jumble of case law, has perpetuated a sense of uncertainty. This has prompted many to cast a grim prospect for the software patent industry.”

Who said this so-called ‘industry’ (it’s not even an industry) deserved to exist in the first place? Let coders write code. Most of them never dealt with lawyers and aren’t interested in lawsuits. It’s the lawsuits ‘industry’ looking to cause trouble.

A few days ago Elliot C. Cook and Jeffrey A Berkowitz (Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP) published “Successful Companies Don’t Just Patent Everything—They Make And Follow A Strategy”.

You can’t patent everything anyway. Sooner or later, as in the US with its courts, you realise that the lion’s share of your patents are fake, worthless, toothless. Or in their words: “In both of the above illustrations, the companies failed to develop and implement a patent strategy. Emerging companies should concentrate on building a patent monopoly covering the most commercially important aspects of their new technologies while making efficient use of their patent dollars and the precious time of their key inventors. In short, when companies formulate their business strategy, patents should play an integral role. Patenting too sparingly or recklessly is not strategic and is not a way to generate company value.”

So even a law firm that promotes software patents quite actively admits these downsides. In some cases, as in this new example of Swisscom and ASSIA, companies just cross-license and move on (wireless for the most part in this particular case/agreement, not algorithms).

So let’s start with this assumption that patent maximalists have come to accept Section 101/Alice renders software patents worthless and even overzealous, very large law firms (Finnegan is one of the biggest) insist that patenting has gone too far for practical purposes. Where do they go from here? Buzzwords. We already wrote dozens of articles to that effect and over the past week we saw several new examples.

Japanese blogger Satoshi Watanabe wrote about patent trolls or feeding a patent troll in Japan for blackmail purposes. “Patent utilization” is what he (or they) use as the newest euphemism (rather than enforcement, monetisation, assertion and so on). He also alludes to “artificial intelligence (AI)-based” at the end:

“Patent utilization” has been a buzz word in Japanese IP industry. There seems to be an increasing number of companies thinking that they should make effective use of patents that haven’t been used by themselves; i.e. monetize such patents by selling or licensing them to others. Actually, a client of ours has asked me what salable or licensable patents are like.

First of all, you may need to know when a patent transaction occurs.

[...]

It’s hoped that artificial intelligence (AI)-based solution will be developed.

That last part refers to how patents are managed, but it’s part of a recent (past year) trend. They keep bringing up “AI”. Some so-called ‘IP’ lawyers admitted to me that they don’t even really understand what it means, yet they keep using the term. It’s like a fashion.

How about this new article (4 days old) that speaks of “machine learning-base [sic] anomaly detection” in relation to new Anodot patents? George Leopold wrote about these bogus software patents being granted in the US. It’s incredibly hard to believe/imagine patent courts tolerating such abstract/mathematical methods being patented as a monopoly.

To quote from the article:

Anodot, which focuses on using machine learning techniques to spot anomalies in time-series data, announced a pair of U.S. patent awards this week covering its autonomous analytics framework.

The analytics vendor said Thursday (Oct. 11) it has been granted two U.S. patents for algorithms that allow users to apply machine learning-base anomaly detection. The algorithms are designed specifically to quickly identify the source of anomalies in large data sets, then perform root-cause analysis. The approach is promoted as faster than traditional business intelligence tools or dashboards.

[...]

Anodot was launched in 2014 when its co-founders realized there was an unmet need for fast and accurate time-series analysis.

Those are software patents. It’s algorithms, but they dress it all up in innovation- and novelty-sounding terms. Why did the USPTO grant such software patents? How about this new application from Apple? A lot of press about it this past week (dozens of articles), as is typical for Apple. But Apple will never sue with this patent/s, so we won’t see the courts lecturing Apple on why it’s patent-ineligible. If it ever gets granted in the first place…

Well, the patent office got its money anyway… and Apple got puff pieces about how it’s presumably combating spam.

In other ‘news’, this time from JD Supra (a press release), patent law firms (Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C. in this case) still try to figure out how to get bogus patents on software and nature, even if courts will reject these. From The Current State of Patent-Eligible Subject Matter:

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Mayo and Alice decisions, uncertainty has surrounded what inventions are patent eligible in the United States. In Mayo and Alice, the Supreme Court developed a two-step test to determine patent eligibility. Step one determines if the invention is directed to a law of nature, natural phenomenon, or abstract idea. If so, the second step determines if there is an inventive concept sufficient to ensure the patent amounts to significantly more than the ineligible concept itself.[i] While this test has led to uncertainty in what inventions remain patent eligible, post-Mayo/Alice case law has begun to shed light on what is patent eligible in the United States. The current state of patent eligibility in the technology areas most impacted by the Mayo/Alice two-step are outlined below.

[...]

Software and Business Method Claims

Software and business method patents have faced significant challenges since the Mayo/Alice decisions. Software claims, are not per se ineligible, however software claims that merely gather, analyze, and output data are patent ineligible.[xii] Software claims can be patent eligible when they are directed to an improvement in the way computers operate.[xiii] Additionally, claims which recite specific limitations to overcome deficits or problems in the prior art have been found patent eligible.[xiv] Based on these holdings, to be patent eligible software claims must recite specific steps to obtain a desired result rather than recite merely the result itself.[xv]

After Alice and In Re Bilski we can pretty much assume things have changed profoundly. Sure, the patent office might still grant such patents. But what matters a lot more is whether those will be enforceable in court at any point before their expiry. The culture of patent embargoes and patent maximalism needs to end at the patent office too in order to preserve any presumption of patent validity. The USPTO continues to assess its performance using the wrong yardstick, e.g. number of patents granted. Patent maximalists are meanwhile pushing the lunacy which is computer-generated patents (we put the following articles in our daily links last week). Here’s what Law 360 and IAM are suggesting:

  • 4 Ways Advances In AI Could Challenge Patent Law

    Advances in artificial intelligence raise intriguing patent law questions, including whether AI breakthroughs are patent-eligible and whether AI that creates something can be an “inventor” entitled to a patent.

  • Artificial intelligence: a game changer for the patent system

    With the advent of powerful computers and the availability of unlimited storage capabilities, artificial intelligence (AI) has made its way into mainstream applications – heralding the fourth industrial revolution. While the notion of what ‘artificial intelligence’ means has undergone significant change since its introduction in 1956, today’s typical AI is broadly conceived to “perceive its environment and take actions that maximise its chance of successfully achieving its goals”. This may involve reinforcement learning, where goals can be set explicitly or implicitly by rewarding some types of behaviour and punishing others, or by a fitness function allowing for mutation and preferential replication of high-scoring AI systems in an evolutionary system. AI may be implemented in self-optimising software or hardware that regularly requires vast data amounts (known as ‘big data’) for training response behaviour.

So what they’re basically saying is, let a bunch of machines manage the patent system; as if that’s going to make matters any better…

Published a few days ago in the The National Law Review and another publication was this article of Christina Sperry (Mintz) and the litigation industry; under “Subject Matter Eligibility Under 35 U.S.C. § 101″ they admit that “AI” patents are just bogus software patents but promote these fake patents anyway. To quote the relevant part:

Subject matter eligibility for patent under 35 U.S.C. § 101 has been a particularly hot topic since the 2014 Supreme Court decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l. Section 101 patent eligibility has particular relevance to AI and digital health since they often involve computers and/or data processing whose mere presence, reference, or implication in claims frequently give rise to subject matter eligibility questions during patent prosecution as well as during litigation after patent issuance.

The breadth and gravity of current § 101 issues has been explored elsewhere and is beyond the scope of this article. In general, Alice and subsequent lower court decisions have made it more difficult to get patents issued with claims involving computers and/or data processing. It is therefore important to consider potential patent eligibility concerns under § 101 during the patent application drafting process in order to preemptively address these concerns as much as possible before the application faces any challenges during prosecution or during litigation as an issued patent.

To be quite frank, the abundance and overuse of the term “AI” by patent lawyers is a cause for concern. The only more worrying thing is seeing administrators at the EPO and USPTO adopting the term as well; they use that as a sort of synonym for software patents and we’re asked to believe that they grant such patents for the betterment of society or manage patents using “AI” (they just mean things like search and inferences) to expand human understanding rather than make staff redundant, only to be replaced by vastly inferior performance.

Corporate Media’s Failure to Cover Patents Properly and Our New Hosting Woes

Monday 15th of October 2018 08:19:43 AM

We can’t let these people get their way with patent maximalism and UPC

Summary: A status update about EPO affairs and our Web host’s plan to shut down (as a whole) very soon, leaving us orphaned or having to pay heavy bills

OUR USPTO coverage reached an unexpected halt last night at around 6PM. Our host is shutting down soon. He’s an old friend of mine who hosted the site as a favour for nearly a decade. Speaking to alternative hosts, it seems likely that our hosting costs would at least quadruple. It’s a painful experience. I barely slept; it’s hard to fall asleep. Certain readers, some of whom connected in one way or another to the EPO, expressed concern about the downtime (almost half a day). The problem is far broader than a downtime, caused by a routing issue among other things.

“This is scary and dangerous to the prospects of science and technology in Europe. It’s like patents take priority over facts. It should never be like this.”Techright is turning 12 in a few weeks. I’ve dedicated most of my adult life to this site. I’m not asking for sympathy, I just want to reaffirm and reassure to readers that the site has always been financially independent. That’s never going to change.

I can envision some readers asking questions like, what about “the cloud”? As if sending one’s blog to some private company can assure independence… there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary. There are many ways in which a centralised blogging platform censors those who participate, with a broadening brush by which they sweep away particular voices.

“The possibility of a deferred examination could therefore further improve the attractiveness of the French patent.”
      –Grégoire Desrousseaux and Thierry LautierFlorian Müller‘s latest two articles, The new smartphone patents battlemap (infographic featuring Apple, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung) and Patent exhaustion keeps Qualcomm on the run from Apple’s claims and motions,” are as usual hosted by Google. Just before the weekend he wrote about a notorious European Patent of Qualcomm. He’s very supportive of our work covering the EPO (we’ve published nearly 3,000 articles about the EPO alone).

“Your server does not respond.”
      –AnonymousLike we’ve said here several times since September, publishers are struggling, even the patent maximalists’. IAM, for example, went sort of ‘dark’, i.e. everything behind paywall, except pure commercials and intentional propaganda. As an example of the latter, see what turned up in Google News yesterday. IAM wrote this:

‘No deal’ Brexit may mean no UPC, says UK government – The United Kingdom government released a notice on the likely implications for patents in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Relevant EU legislation, such as that relating to Supplementary Protection Certificates for drugs, compulsory licences and the patenting of biotechnology innovations, will be retained in UK law under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 in such a scenario, it reassures rights holders. Such legislation will form the basis of an independent UK patent regime in which existing rights and licences will automatically remain in force. No such certainty is provided regarding the prospective Unified Patent Court (UPC), however. If the pan-European court is fully ratified, but the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the country would not necessarily be part of the UPC or the unitary patent system, the government admitted. However, any unitary patents that exist at the point of the UK’s departure will automatically give rise to patent protection within the UK.

This repeated the two famous lies. Also published yesterday was this short blog post from Kluwer Patent Blog (they barely publish in long form anymore). It’s akin to the “shoot with patents first, ask questions later” attitude of UPC. Adrian Crespo wrote that (in Spain at least) “a defendant wishing to object to an injunction for invalidity reasons must put forth “very clear and evident indicia” of invalidity. For that reason, the Court of Appeal focused on a relatively straightforward objection on grounds of added matter.”

This is scary and dangerous to the prospects of science and technology in Europe. It’s like patents take priority over facts. It should never be like this.

Meanwhile, over at Mondaq, a French law firm that habitually promotes itself over there speaks of the EPO and INPI. Grégoire Desrousseaux and Thierry Lautier (August & Debouzy) compare one terrible patent office to another:

Incidentally, this would also allow the INPI to “smooth” the number of examination requests it will receive in the medium term, which would facilitate the implementation of the strengthened substantive examination and the opposition procedure, while maintaining sufficiently short deadlines (which is a decisive parameter for the attractiveness of the French system).

The possibility of a deferred examination could therefore further improve the attractiveness of the French patent.

It is widely known that INPI doesn’t really assess quality of patent applications; they’re presumed valid. Imagine what the UPC would look like if the French-led UPC ever went ahead, possibly with Battistelli as its chief. France has been reserved a leadership position, the EPO promotes this, its current President is French and in two decades it’s like France clings onto power at the EPO for 16 years.

We are open to ideas as to how sponsor the hosting costs for the server; I don’t wish to be paid for my writings about the EPO (by anyone), but the costs of underlying infrastructure may need coverage. I spend over 80 hours per week on the sites (not including my daytime job). Things aren’t sustainable and we need to keep watching the affairs of the EPO and patent scope in general. There’s too much at stake.

Links 15/10/2018: Testing Ubuntu 18.10 Release Candidates, KaOS 2018.10 Released

Monday 15th of October 2018 07:19:36 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Don’t Click “Check for Updates” Unless You Want Unstable Windows 10 Updates

      As Microsoft revealed, only people who clicked “Check for Updates” got bitten by Windows 10’s file deletion bug. When you click the “Check for Updates” button, Microsoft gives you updates early, skipping a normal part of the testing process.

    • How to Fix Your PC’s Sound if Windows Update Just Broke It

      Windows Update keeps breaking things. Earlier this week, Microsoft released a buggy Intel audio driver that broke the sound on some PCs. If your PC suddenly can’t play audio, here’s how to fix it.

      Bleeping Computer brought this to our attention, but the official details come straight from Matthew van Eerde, a Senior Software Engineer on Microsoft’s Windows team.

    • Windows 10 Audio Not Working After Installing Latest Windows Updates

      Lot’s of reports are coming in that Windows 10 users are finding that their audio is no longer working on their computer after installing the latest Windows updates.

      Windows Updates have become a complete mess lately, with the latest October 2018 Update deleting user’s files, Patch Tuesday updates causing crashes because of incompatible keyboard drivers, and now users are finding that their audio drivers are broken.

  • Server
    • Cloud Foundry Goes All-In With Kubernetes

      Further proof probably isn’t needed to confirm that Kubernetes has become the de facto standard when it comes to container orchestration, but if you need more, the Cloud Foundry Foundation announced this week that it has taken on two new Kubernetes-focused projects.

    • Xen & Databases

      I’m running PostgreSQL and MySQL on my server that both serve different databases to WordPress, Drupal, Piwigo, Friendica, Mastodon, whatever…

      In the past the databases where colocated in my mailserver VM whereas the webserver was running on a different VM. Somewhen I moved the databases from domU to dom0, maybe because I thought that the databases would be faster running on direct disk I/O in the dom0 environment, but can’t remember the exact rasons anymore.

      However, in the meantime the size of the databases grew and the number of the VMs did, too. MySQL and PostgreSQL are both configured/optimized to run with 16 GB of memory in dom0, but in the last months I experienced high disk I/O especially for MySQL and slow I/O performance in all the domU VMs because of that.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.18.14
    • Linux 4.14.76
    • Linux 4.9.133
    • Linux 4.4.161
    • Linux 3.18.124
    • Graphics Stack
      • NVIDIA 396.54.09 Vulkan Driver Released With Transform Feedback, Intel ANV Gets TF Too

        Today is certainly a very exciting day in the Vulkan space.

        Following the release of Vulkan 1.1.88 that brings initial support for the much anticipated transform feedback support, to help projects like DXVK and VKD3D for mapping Direct3D (or even OpenGL) atop Vulkan, there has been a slew of driver updates.

      • anv: Add a NIR cache

        This patch series adds a simple NIR shader cache that sits right after spirv_to_nir and brw_preprocess_nir and before linking. This should help alleviate some of the added overhead of link-time optimization since most of the NIR-level optimization is now cached prior to linking.

      • Intel’s Vulkan Driver Is Working On A NIR Cache

        As a possible performance win, Jason Ekstrand as the lead developer of the Intel ANV open-source Vulkan driver has been developing a NIR cache.

      • Vulkan Cracks 2,500 Projects On GitHub

        After cracking 2,000 projects referencing Vulkan on GitHub earlier this year, this week it passed the milestone of having more than 2,500 projects.

        Granted, some of these projects referencing Vulkan are still in their primitive stages, but of the 2,500+ projects are a lot of interesting Vulkan-using projects from RenderDoc to countless game engine initiatives, various code samples, the AMDVLK driver stack, and countless innovative efforts like GLOVE for OpenGL over Vulkan to Kazan for a Rust-written CPU-based Vulkan implementation and a heck of a lot more.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Plasma and KDE neon Team Visit Deployments in Catalunya

        Last week developers from the KDE neon and Plasma teams visited Barcelona. We were there to meet with some KDE software projects we had heard about in the Catalan government and schools. Aleix Pol lives locally and works on Plasma and Discover. He invited Plasma release manager and KDE neon developer Jonathan Riddell, KDE neon continuous integration master Harald Sitter, and hardware enablement guru Rohan Garg to meet the teams evaluating our software and supporting our users.

        We first met Pablo who runs the Linkat project for the Catalan government. Linkat is a Linux distribution they offer to schools, and it currently runs lightweight, simple desktop environments. As Plasma 5 now tends to use as little or less memory and resources than many lightweight Linux desktops, the Linkat team is interested in trying it. We met with the officials from the education department and discussed accessibility needs, looking at Mycroft for voice control and integrating with phones using KDE Connect.

      • KF5 Static Builds

        Static linking has long gone out of fashion, at least on the average Linux desktop distribution. There are however good reasons to still (or again) support this for our frameworks. One is the rise of application bundles (Flatpak, Android APK, AppImage, etc).

        Bundles often only contain a single executable, so there is no benefit of sharing a library (at least in most bundle formats, Flatpak is a bit different there). Still we need to ship everything the shared libraries provide, no matter if we need it or not.

        Static linking is of course not the magic solution to this, but it’s a fairly generic way of allowing the compiler to drop unused code, reducing the application size. As application bundles are usually updated as a whole, we also don’t benefit from the ability to update shared libraries independently, unlike with a conventional distribution.

        Besides application bundles, there are also single process embedded applications that can benefit from static linking, so this is relevant for the effort of bringing KF5 to Yocto. In particular on lower powered embedded devices the startup overhead of dynamic linking can be noticeable.

      • Celebrating KDE’s 22nd Birthday with Some Inspiring Facts from its Glorious Past!

        Wishing A Very Happy Birthday to KDE! Let us Celebrate this moment by looking back into its Glorious history with some Inspiring Facts on this legendary and much-loved Desktop Environment!

      • Please help test our initial Cosmic 18.10 RC ISOs

        The Ubuntu release team have announced a 1st test ISO RC build for all 18.10 flavours.

        Please help us test these and subsequent RC builds, so that we can have an amazing and well tested release in the coming week.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 40

        I’d like to specially highlight one very important fix this week: external hard drives are now safely powered off when unmounted. The fix is in KDE Frameworks 5.52, which will be released in approximately three weeks, and I’d like to give a big thanks to Stefan Brüns who fixed it!

        Speaking of Stefan, he and Igor Poboiko have been doing an absolutely smashing job fixing Baloo over the past two weeks. A lot of their work is hard to blog about because it’s not immediately user-facing (though I’ve included as much as possible below), but between the two of them, they’ve made an enormous number of improvements to Baloo that should make it work faster and more smoothly in a lot of subtle ways.

        But obviously that’s not all; take a look at the rest of the week’s work:

      • LaKademy 2018 – Second Day (October 12th)

        During the second day of LaKademy I was more focused on resolution of bugs in the code that I implemented during the first day for KDE Partition Manager. During the afternoon, I decided to start RAID resizing and discussed with Andrius Stikonas on calamares IRC channel about some RAID functionalities related to resizing disks and about bugs on both LVM and RAID. I also talked with some KDE coders here in LaKademy about Qt and C++, learning more about it.

      • KaOS 2018.10

        Plasma 5.14.0 was announced just a few days ago and is already included in this ISO. Highlights of this version include a new Display Configuration widget for screen management which is useful for presentations, the Audio Volume widget now has a built-in speaker test feature moved from Phonon settings, Plasma now warns on logout when other users are logged in, fixed non-centered task switchers on Wayland and the Kickoff application menu now switches tabs instantly on hover.

        A new Glibc 2.27/GCC 7.3.1 based toolchain is among the many changes to the base of the system. Updates to Boost, ICU, x265, Protobuf, Net-SNMP, Qt required the rebuild of a large percentage of the KaOS repositories.

      • KaOS 2018.10 Released With KDE Plasma 5.14 Desktop, Wayland 1.16
      • Support KDE via AmazonSmile

        For quite some time, the KDE e.V. – KDE’s non-profit organization – is listed in the AmazonSmile program.

      • The Last Day of the Krita Sprint and the Last Day of the Krita Fundraiser

        We fully intended to make a post every day to keep everyone posted on what’s happening here in sunny Deventer, the Netherlands.

      • Who is Hiring?

        Just as quick info: For some time, there is a sticky thread on r/cpp about who is hiring C++ developers. This thread gets cleaned quarterly, so all the open jobs listed there are likely still open.

      • KDE chalks up another year with cash to back community

        The KDE Project, a group that puts out a desktop environment that is used by numerous GNU/Linux distributions, has received two big donations that will enable it to do more to support the community, according to the president of the project, Lydia Pintscher.

        In a Twitter thread to mark the 22nd birthday of the project — which came to life on 14 October 1996 — Pintscher said over the past year the project had rallied behind the three goals that it cared about: privacy, onboarding and usability and productivity.

        KDE was started by German software developer Matthias Ettrich with the aim of providing GNU/Linux users with all the functionality that Windows had at the time.

      • Screen reader accessibility for the Plasma desktop

        It’s been rather quiet when it comes to accessibility in KDE land for a while. But I’m very happy to see some movement and fresh energy, moving in a good direction.

        If you’re curious about making our software available to more users, improving it for everyone (for example keyboard usability), now is the time to join. We are talking on the accessibility mailing list. It’s still to early to say what the exact plan will look like, but there will be progress. Thanks to the last Randa meeting, we reached the point where a few things in Plasma do work with a screen reader, enough to let a few brave souls experiment with it. Now we’ll have to structure what needs improvements, I could imaging defining some workflows.

      • KDE Will Now Safely Spin Down External Hard Drives When Unmounting

        Fixing a seven year old bug since the KDE4 days, KDE will now spin down external hard drives unmounting the drives to help stave off possible data loss / corruption.

        KDE has unmounted external hard drives but not caused these drivers to stop spinning — basically, powering off the drive. In some cases this lack of powering down the external HDDs could cause problems as outlined by this 2011 bug report requesting said functionality. Most other Linux distributions out there have powered down external drives when ejecting/unmounting except for KDE.

        Beginning with the upcoming KDE Frameworks 5.52, the UDisks2 call is in place to power down the drive on removal, if the drive supports this behavior.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • A Clean GTK Theme Specially Designed for Laptop and Desktop

        The search for cool and new themes never stops. While digging through the thousands of themes in websites, search results – I found this cool and simple GTK theme – Stylish. Stylish is designed for GTK 3, GTK 2 and GNOME Shell. It comes with 6 base types of combinations with 4 color variants.

      • Linux Smartphone Librem 5 Will Ship With GNOME 3.32

        Last month, Purism announced that its Librem 5 Linux smartphone will ship in April 2019; earlier, it was scheduled to arrive in January 2019.

        It seems that the developers will now get sufficient time to ship their phone with GNOME 3.32. In a blog post, the project urged the app developers to “use libhandy 0.0.4 and up, use GTK+ 3.24.1 and up and target GNOME 3.32!”

      • Redesign of the invite dialog in Fractal (part 1)

        This month, I’ve had some time to work on the redesign of the invite dialog in Fractal. There is a dialog used for inviting users in a room you are in or inviting a user to start a direct chat with them. In this dialog, you can search for users by usernames. The result of this search is shown in a list below the search entry and you can click on the GtkListBox‘s rows to select users (in the case of direct chat invitations, the latest selected user will be the only one selected) and you can then click on the button “Invite” to send invitations to all selected users.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Review: Reborn OS 2018.09.09 and Nitrux 1.0.15

        This month I spent some time digging through the waiting list and trimming projects that have not survived the harsh and demanding growing period of their first year of existence. Among them I found a project which seemed simple on the surface, an Antergos-based distribution offering even more install-time options than its parent. What caught my attention was the specific list of extra options: 15 desktop environments to choose from, able to run Android apps through the Anbox compatibility software, optional Flatpak support, and the Mycroft desktop assistant. All of this on a rolling release base provided by Arch Linux.

        The distribution is called Reborn OS and I downloaded what was, at the time, the latest build. Reborn is available as a 64-bit build only. The ISO I downloaded was 1.5GB in size and, booting from this ISO brought up the Budgie desktop environment. At the top of the desktop is a panel with the application menu, a couple of quick-launch buttons and a system tray. The Budgie desktop seemed to respond well once it finished loading and I was eager to get started.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Debian dev forks Redis modules that are under Commons Clause licence

        Debian GNU/Linux developer Chris Lamb is taking the fight to those pushing the Commons Clause, a non-free licence, by setting up a two-man team to fork modules that add functionality to the in-memory database Redis, after the company that makes Redis put the modules under this licence and started to charge for them. Lamb is the current leader of the project but said he was doing this in a private capacity.

        The Commons Clause licence prevents anyone from selling software, something which all licences that qualifiy as open source do not prohibit. It is specifically aimed at companies like Amazon which make use of free and open source software but pay nothing for it.

        Lamb told iTWire: “…the short version is that with the recent licensing changes to several Redis Labs modules making them no longer free and open source, GNU/Linux distributions such as Debian and Fedora are no longer able to ship Redis Labs’ versions of the affected modules to their users.”

      • Shutter removed from Debian & Ubuntu

        This week, the popular screenshot app Shutter was removed from Debian Unstable & Ubuntu 18.10. (It had already been removed from Debian “Buster” 6 months ago and some of its “optional” dependencies had already been removed from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS).

        Shutter will need to be ported to gtk3 before it can return to Debian. (Ideally, it would support Wayland desktops too but that’s not a blocker for inclusion in Debian.)

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • UBports Foundation releases Linux-based Ubuntu Touch OTA-5

            Ubuntu Touch never lit the world on fire as many Linux fans had hoped, but to be honest, most mainstream consumers didn’t even know it existed. So when Canonical canceled it, not many people cared. Luckily, since the project was open source, it was easy for another organization — in this case, UBports — to grab the torch and run with it.

            Back in August, UBports surprised many with the Ubuntu Touch OTA-4 release, which breathed new life into tablets and smartphones that ran the Linux distro. Now, OTA-5 is here to take it up yet another notch. The new version gets a new web browser called Morph which is based on QtWebEngine. Best of all, OTA-5 gets improved adaptive scaling for a better experience regardless of screen size. From a superficial standpoint, there are new wallpapers based on community submitted artwork.

          • You Can Help Ubuntu This Weekend Test The Near-Final Cosmic Cuttlefish

            If all goes well, the Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” release will happen on 18 October but for that to happen they could use your help this weekend testing their release candidate spins.

            Running a few days behind with ideally their RC builds should have been spinning on Thursday (11 October) but instead being announced on Saturday (13 October), there are non-final but test-friendly Cosmic RC builds now coming out for all Ubuntu 18.10 flavors.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • GNU/Linux Review: Xubuntu 18.04 LTS

              Xubuntu 18.04 LTS is an official flavor of Ubuntu Bionic Beaver which uses XFCE Desktop Environment. In this release, it’s still as lightweight as before (~350MB of RAM at idle time), with user-friendliness you can expect as always. Yes, it still supports 32-bit so you don’t have to buy new computer to upgrade or install it; for the next 3 years. It supports Snappy out of the box with GNOME Software integration. It brings Firefox 59, LibreOffice 6.0, and XFCE 4.12 for us, in only 1.3GB sized ISO image file. And yeah, in this review, I show you that Compiz works here with 3D Cube and stuffs we really missed from our old Ubuntu era.

            • Help test Lubuntu 18.10 Release Candidates!

              Please, help us test Lubuntu Release Candidates. You can find the link to the dailies on our downloads page. When you’re done, so we know you tested, please get an Ubuntu SSO account (if you don’t have one already) and report the result on iso.qa.ubuntu.com. This means you, i386 testers. It’s your time to shine!

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Spritely: towards secure social spaces as virtual worlds

    If you follow me on the fediverse, maybe you already know. I’ve sent an announcement to my work that I am switching to doing a project named Spritely on my own full time. (Actually I’m still going to be doing some contracting with my old job, so I’ll still have some income, but I’ll be putting a full 40 hours a week into Spritely.)

    tl;dr: I’m working on building the next generation of the fediverse as a distributed game. You can support this work if you so wish.

  • The demise of G+ and return to blogging (w/ mastodon integration)

    I’m back to blogging, after shutting down my wordpress.com hosted blog in spring. This time, fully privacy aware, self hosted, and integrated with mastodon.

    Let’s talk details: In spring, I shutdown my wordpress.com hosted blog, due to concerns about GDPR implications with comment hosting and ads and stuff. I’d like to apologize for using that, back when I did this (in 2007), it was the easiest way to get into blogging. Please forgive me for subjecting you to that!

    Recently, Google announced the end of Google+. As some of you might know, I posted a lot of medium-long posts there, rather than doing blog posts; especially after I disabled the wordpress site.

  • Web Browsers
    • Brave Browser Team Up With Tor

      TOR [sic] or The Onion Router uses technology that separates your computer from the website you’re viewing by routing the network traffic through 3 seperate servers before it reaches your computer. That being said Brave Core Beta hasn’t been fully tested yet so “users should not rely on it for serious use just yet,” Brave said.

    • Mozilla
      • Your RSS is grass: Mozilla euthanizes feed reader, Atom code in Firefox browser, claims it’s old and unloved

        When Firefox 64 arrives in December, support for RSS, the once celebrated content syndication scheme, and its sibling, Atom, will be missing.

        “After considering the maintenance, performance and security costs of the feed preview and subscription features in Firefox, we’ve concluded that it is no longer sustainable to keep feed support in the core of the product,” said Gijs Kruitbosch, a software engineer who works on Firefox at Mozilla, in a blog post on Thursday.

        RSS – which stands for Rich Site Summary, RDF Site Summary, or Really Simple Syndication, as you see fit – is an XML-based format for publishing and subscribing to web content feeds. It dates back to 1999 and for a time was rather popular, but been disappearing from a variety of applications and services since then.

        Mozilla appears to have gotten the wrecking ball rolling in 2011 when it removed the RSS button from Firefox. The explanation then was the same as it is now: It’s just not very popular.

      • Cameron Kaiser: It’s baaaaa-aaack: TenFourFox Intel

        It’s back! It’s undead! It’s ugly! It’s possibly functional! It’s totally unsupported! It’s … TenFourFox for Intel Macs!

        Years ago as readers of this blog will recall, Claudio Leite built TenFourFox 17.0.2 for Intel, which the update check-in server shows some determined users are still running to this day on 10.5 and even 10.4 despite various problems such as issue 209. However, he didn’t have time to maintain it, and a newer version was never built, though a few people since then have made various attempts and submitted some patches.

        One of these attempts is now far enough along to the point where I’m permitted to announce its existence. Riccardo Mottola has done substantial work on getting TenFourFox to build and run again on old Intel Macs with a focus on 32-bit compatibility, and his patches have been silently lurking in the source code repository for some time. Along with Ken Cunningham’s additional work, who now also has a MacPorts portfile so you can build it yourself (PowerPC support in the portfile is coming, though you can still use the official instructions, of course), enough functions in the new Intel build that it can be used for basic tasks.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice Lands More Qt5 Integration Improvements, LXQt Support

      Recently there’s been more improvements for LibreOffice with its Qt5 integration to allow this open-source office suite to jive better with Qt5-based desktops like KDE Plasma and now LXQt.

      On and off throughout the year we have seen a lot of improvements to the Qt5/KDE5 interface plug-in with LibreOffice. In the update shared earlier this month was initial accessibility support as well as Qt5 clipboard support. Since then, more code has been merged.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Summary of Seven Days

      Microsoft and the patents (Oct 10). Megatotoro shared this article with me. I was confused. Either Microsoft is changing its position or it is a masked move that, in reality, does not help Linux at all. Which one will be, I wonder?

  • Programming/Development
    • RcppNLoptExample 0.0.1: Use NLopt from C/C++

      A new package of ours, RcppNLoptExample, arrived on CRAN yesterday after a somewhat longer-than-usual wait for new packages as CRAN seems really busy these days. As always, a big and very grateful Thank You! for all they do to keep this community humming.

    • PyGotham 2018 Talk Resources

      At PyGotham in 2018, I gave a talk called “The Black Magic of Python Wheels”. I based this talk on my two years of work on auditwheel and the manylinux platform, hoping to share some dark details of how the proverbial sausage is made.

    • Introducing Litestats
    • Software developers today, by the numbers: 4 takeaways

      The firm surveyed 20,500 professional software developers around the globe during Q2 of this year; its ongoing tracking of developer experiences and attitudes typically includes more than 40,000 devs each year. The most recent survey reveals or reinforces several key storylines about the modern software developer’s day-to-day job and future career path.

    • GCC9 Lands Initial C++ Networking TS Implementation

      The GCC9 compiler code as of Friday has an initial implementation of the C++ networking technical specification.

      Currently in working draft form, one of the experimental C++ features is an extension for standardizing network handling. The C++ Networking TS adds support to the programming language and C++ standard library for operations around sockets, timers, buffer manager, host name resolution, and Internet protocols.

Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • Universal Basic Income Is Silicon Valley’s Latest Scam

      In 2016, I was invited to Uber’s headquarters (then in San Francisco) to talk about the failings of the digital economy and what could be done about it. Silicon Valley firms are the only corporations I know that ask for private talks for free. They don’t even cover cab fare. Like Google and Facebook, Uber figures that the chance to address their developers and executives offers intellectuals the rare privilege of influencing the digital future or, maybe more crassly, getting their books mentioned on the company blog.

      For authors of business how-to books, it makes perfect sense. Who wouldn’t want to brag that Google is taking their business advice? For me, it was a little different. Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus was about the inequity embedded in the digital economy: how the growth of digital startups was draining the real economy and making it harder for people to participate in creating value, make any money, or keep up with rising rents.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Alleged murders of Khashoggi, Kim show some nations kill with impunity

      Hands doused with nerve agent, radioactive tea, a poison dart hidden in an umbrella.
      The alleged killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his country’s Istanbul consulate — if found to be true — is only the latest in a series of blatant assassinations carried out by a nation state on foreign soil.
      A source familiar with the investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance said the Turkish authorities have evidence showing he was killed inside the consulate. Riyadh has so-far firmly denied any involvement in the journalist’s disappearance and claims he left the consulate unharmed.

      But while the Saudis have faced some fallout for the apparent disappearing, if not outright murdering, of one of their citizens in a foreign country — some investors and media figures have pulled out of deals and conferences in the Kingdom — the wealth and power of the regime is such that even if Khashoggi’s assassination is confirmed, repercussions will likely be short lived.

    • Tech Backs Away From Saudis After Journalist’s Alleged Murder

      Mohammed’s tech connections have much deeper roots, however. The Saudi government’s sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund (PIF), has invested, directly and indirectly, in many top tier tech firms, which have remained silent on the controversy so far.

    • Trump just literally put a price tag on Jamal Khashoggi’s life

      Trump’s comments just made one thing extremely clear: He cares much more about getting American companies paid than defending human rights. What’s more, he doesn’t care that much about Khashoggi — who heavily criticized the crown prince in the Washington Post — because he is merely a US resident, not citizen.

    • Turkey has ‘shocking’ audio and visual evidence of Saudi journalist’s murder

      The audio recording in particular provided “persuasive and gruesome evidence” that a Saudi team dispatched to Istanbul was responsible for Khashoggi’s death, the Post reported.

      “You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic,” one person with knowledge of the recording told the Post. “You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered.”

    • EXCLUSIVE: Jamal Khashoggi ‘dragged from consulate office, killed and dismembered’

      “We know when Jamal was killed, in which room he was killed and where the body was taken to be dismembered. If the forensic team are allowed in, they know exactly where to go,” he said.

    • Michelle Obama: George W. Bush is ‘my partner in crime’ and ‘I love him to death’

      Former first lady Michelle Obama said Thursday that ex-President George W. Bush has become her “partner in crime” after years of sitting together at official events.

      “President Bush and I are forever seatmates because of protocol – that’s how we sit at all the official functions,” Obama said on NBC’s “Today” show. “So he is my partner in crime at every major thing where all the formers gather.”

      “I love him to death,” Obama added. “He’s a wonderful man. He’s a funny man.”

    • Politician Kills Himself While in Custody for Drone Attack on Maduro – Caracas
    • Five painful instances the CIA deprived Africa of its promising leaders

      It is no secret that the West has had a hand in turmoils and conflicts in Africa. From slavery to colonisation, these western countries have put African countries in dire straits in terms of economic, political, and social development.

      These interference has also been seen as far back as the 1950s when most African countries were agitating for independence and later after they gained independence.

      America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been documented to have interfered with Africa’s post-independence government formation and establishment, either by helping depose promising leaders or installing brutal dictators, or both. In most cases, it was successful and in others, they were not.

    • From ‘torture centers’ and ‘CIA jets’, to Salman and Zayed’s murder of Jamal Khashoggi… Stop these two evil men!

      Immediately after the invasion of Iraq, CIA-affiliated “torture centers” were established in dozens of countries across the world. These were slave camps that were formed with secret agreements and spread from South Asia to Africa and the deserts of the Middle East. Action was taken in the name of fighting terrorism and hundreds of people from around the world were abducted and brought to these camps. Then, no news could be received from any of these people. None of them were able to leave those centers alive.

      [...]

      I believe I am the first person who disclosed the “torture centers” and discussed them. As a matter of fact, when the tankers in the Pacific were being smuggled by “pirates,” I was the first person to write, “No, it is the CIA smuggling them, these ships are being used as prisons, they roam in open seas, where there is no international law, as torture centers and prisons.” I was also one of the few who provided the most information to the world about the “CIA’s torture jets.” I remember, I had encountered very heavy attacks and threats for writing and discussing these matters.

    • Times: Jihadis are back in Kosovo – “caliphate is not dead”

      It states that according to what is known to authorities in Pristina, since 2012, 348 adults had gone from Kosovo to Syria to join Islamic State.

      The newspaper says that “many have died there, but many have returned,” and that “in the absence of a coherent program of de-radicalization, (Islamist) prisoners get out of jail and remain loyal to Islamic State.”

      Among those who are now free is Fitim Lladrovci, who, as a 24-year-old, watched a Syrian man get tied up to a stake and blown up with a missile launcher. It is alleged that the killer was Lavdrim Muhaxheri, “a notorious Kosovo Albanian who was flagged as an international terrorist threat before he was killed with a drone.”

      The Times writes that Kosovo Albanians have also participated in several recent terrorist attacks and that “six Kosovo Albanians, men and women, were arrested in June last year in Kosovo and in Germany for participating in two conspiracies targeting NATO troops in Kosovo and civilians in Belgium and France,” and recalls that “a month earlier eight people were arrested in Kosovo over a plot aimed at killing Israeli footballers.”

    • Indictment Reveals ISIS-Backed Plans for Kosovo Attacks

      Bujar Behrami, alias Abu Musab El-Albani – one of six Kosovo nationals indicted for terrorism by the Kosovo Prosecution last Saturday – has been the only one to tell investigators so far about the group’s alleged plans to bomb Orthodox churches and clubs in Serb-majority areas, and recruit suicide bombers in Kosovo.

      His statement made to police, earlier in September 2018, reveals details about the group’s modus operandi, finances, recruitment and explosives procurement.

      Behrami, Resim Kastrati, known as PC Habibi, Gramos Shabani, Albert Ademaj, Leotrim Musliu and Edona Haliti are all indicted with planning attacks and suicide bombings in Kosovo, France and Belgium from December 2017 to June 2018.

      Behrami stated that everything began in September and October 2016 when, through his Telegram account “Abu Musab”, he started communicating with a person known as “A1″ in Syria.

    • The CIA Finger in Brasil’s Election

      The growth of Bolsonarian fascism in the final stretch of the election campaign, turbo charged by an avalanche of fake news disseminated on the internet, is not surprising. It is an old tactic developed by American and British intelligence agencies, with the goal of manipulating public opinion and influencing political processes and elections. It was used in the Ukraine, in the Arab Spring and in Brazil during 2013.

      There is science behind this manipulation.

      Some people think that elections are won or lost only in rigorously rational debates about policies and proposals. But things don’t really work that way. In reality, as Emory University Psychology Professor Drew Weston says in his book “The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation”, feelings are commonly more decisive in defining the vote.

      Weston says that, based on recent studies in neuroscience on the theme, contrary to what is commonly understood, the human brain makes decisions mainly based on emotions. The voters strongly base their choices on emotional perceptions about parties and candidates. Rational analysis and empirical data normally plays a secondary role in this process.

    • The CIA, Asleep at the Wheel

      Not only does the CIA undermine democracy and sow chaos abroad — according to a new book, the agency deliberately held back information about future 9/11 hijackers in the US.

      [...]

      The book’s central, if still speculative, conceit is simple: that in the process of attempting to “flip” members of Al Qaeda (most notably, September 11 hijacker Khalid al Mindhar), the CIA deliberately prevented domestic authorities from learning about the presence of future 9/11 hijackers in the US, resulting in the worst attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor. Because such an alleged operation would have involved hijackers in the country, it would have been illegal, violating the CIA’s ban on domestic operations.

      It’s a tale that might at first glance seem plucked from the wildest reaches of the conspiracy-minded web. But when the one wearing the tinfoil hat is former Bush and Clinton chief counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke — a longtime national security bureaucrat who came up with the concept of of extraordinary renditions — it demands more consideration than your average piece of twine-and-thumbtack speculation.

      As the authors note, the reader will find the allegations laid out in the book as credible as they find its chief sources. These include John Kiriakou, the former CIA officer who remains the only person to go to jail for the Bush-era torture program (not, in his case, for playing a role in it, but for talking to the press about it); former NSA official and whistleblower Thomas Drake, financially ruined by a government investigation into his alleged unauthorized disclosures; Larry Wilkerson, the chief of staff to former secretary of state Colin Powell; Mark Rossini, a former counter-terror agent with the FBI who was eventually ousted for leaking documents to his girlfriend; Clarke himself; and several others.

    • Yemen’s Navy Uses New Missile to Destroy Saudi Military Vessel Near Hajjah

      Yemen’s navy targeted a military vessel belonging to Saudi Arabia off of the northwestern coast of Hajjah on Wednesday, reportedly killing all aboard the vessel. The boat, which was in the Medi port, was carrying out attacks on the residential districts of Heiran and Medi in Hajjah when it was hit, according to a statement from Yemen’s navy.

      A source in Yemen’s navy confirmed to MintPress News that it targeted the Saudi vessel with a new type of domestically-manufactured missile, but did not name the missile.

    • Yemeni combat drone targets Saudi mercenaries in Hudaydah: Report
    • Students denounce CIA partnership with University of Illinois Chicago

      Opposition is growing among students on the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) campus to the school’s recently announced partnership with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The partnership was agreed to in February as part of the CIA’s “Signature Schools Program,” which includes a handful of other colleges around the country.

      The partnership was arranged completely behind the backs of the students. At no point during the negotiations was input sought from any member of the student body, nor were they alerted that the partnership was being considered.

      Since agreeing to the program, the university has provided little information to students about what the partnership entails. The university denied a request by the UIC chapter of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) to make public the “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) between the CIA and the university.

      The IYSSE at UIC is waging a campaign against the collaboration of UIC with the CIA, working to make the partnership known to students and organizing opposition to its continuation.

    • Did the CIA Play a Role in the Crack Epidemic of the 1980s in Los Angeles?

      Gary Webb wrote the three-part exposé called “Dark Alliance”, for the San Jose Mercury News in California, in August 1996. Webb had anonymous sources (he eventually named one in a later book) who had been involved in the Nicaraguan drug ring to back his allegations up.

      Some of Webb’s sources would later speak out in a 2015 documentary called “Freeway: Crack in the System” which was about Rick “Freeway” Ross who created a crack empire in the 1980s. Ross was a central character in Webb’s Dark Alliance allegations.

      According to Webb in the 1980s, when the CIA exerted a certain level of control over Contra groups such as the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN), the agency as well as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) granted amnesty to and financially backed important Contra supporters and fundraisers who were known to the U.S. Government as cocaine smugglers.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • The CIA Word of the Day: Papyrophile

      Cruising through the Central Intelligence Agency’s CREST Archive, one will find, among other things, that, whatever its other faults, the Agency has some respect for the English language and the finer elements of grammar and editing. Another document pulled from their stockpile pokes some fun at the organization’s compulsive collection of records – its accuracy itself manifested by the millions of pages, now available digitally, that they kept for decades.

      The record, from October 1958, is a summation of an article, “A Taste for Paper” that the writer felt “eloquently caricatured many Organization employees.” It describes three types of paperlovers: the lover of other people’s paper; the lover of his fellow man, who peppers him with paper; and the lover of his own paper. All of these types fell into the fun folder labeled, “Papyrophile.”

    • Help crowdsource the CIA’s official contact list

      The Central Intelligence Agency’s declassified archives include a list of their official contacts at each executive branch agency in 1975, broken up by Agency component. This presents an all too rare map for future FOIA requests, one that’s especially useful in the instances where the Agency included the reasons for the contacts.

      By helping us compile a list of the Agency’s contacts throughout the government, you can help us dive into records on the Agency’s liaisons and help us find CIA-related activities that other parts of the government took part in.

    • Assange will eventually need to leave our embassy in London – Ecuador President

      Assange will eventually need to leave our embassy in London – Ecuador President WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a step closer to being evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy in London after President Lenin Moreno said the whistleblower are required to “eventually” leave the facility.

      “Yes, indeed yes, but his departure should come about through dialogue,” the Ecuadorian president said on Friday answering a reporter’s question on whether Assange will eventually need to leave.

      “For a person to remain confined like that for so long is tantamount to human rights violation,” Moreno said. He additional that Ecuador wants to make sure that nothing “poses danger” to the whistleblower‘s life.

    • Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s Assault on Human Rights and Judicial Independence

      Oswaldo Ruiz-Chiriboga, is an Ecuadorian legal scholar who teaches human rights and constitutional law at the Central European University in Hungary. He talked to Joe Emersberger about Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s assault on human rights and judicial independence. Most of Moreno’s attacks abuses stem from a referendum of February, 2018 that was called by decree and without approval by the Constitution Court as required by the constitution. One of the seven referendum questions allowed Moreno to create a handpicked body – a so called “transitory CPCCS” – that has been empowered to make sweeping changes to the judiciary and other authorities. Among other acts, the “transitory CPCCS” recently fired all the members of the Constitutional Court. The relevance of this to the persecution of former President Rafael Correa is explained. The impunity with which Moreno has trampled the rights of Julian Assange is also discussed.

      JOE EMERSBERGER: In 2008, a year after Rafael Correa first took office in Ecuador, a constituent assembly was elected to write a new constitution. Correa and his allies, riding high in the polls, won most of the seats in that assembly. The constitution that the constituent assembly drafted was then approved by voters in another referendum in 2008. In 2009, a National Assembly was elected which replaced the Congress under the previous constitution. Correa also stood for reelection even though he had just taken office in 2007. One of things that came out of this whole process that restructured Ecuador’s political system was a Citizens Participation Council (CPCCS in its Spanish acronym) that oversees the selection of various unelected authorities like the judicial council. Basically it oversees “merit based” contests for these positions that are open to the public. Could you explain more about the CPCCS? Are there other countries that have a system like this?

      OSWALDO RUIZ-CHIRIBOGA: This is a novelty in the region and maybe the word. The state is usually organized in three traditional branches: the judiciary, the legislature and the executive. The 2008 constitution of Ecuador includes two other branches of government. One of them was the electoral branch. The other one was the transparency branch. The CPCCS is part of the transparency branch. The idea was to have a separate branch that appoints – after a procedure based on merit – authorities that are not elected by popular vote – high level authorities like the state prosecutor, Ombudsperson, and the members of the National Electoral Council. It was very good idea considering that in the past we didn’t have anything like that. What happened before was that the state was divided up like a pie. A piece of pie was given to one political party, another piece to another political party and everyone was happy, except the people. They parceled out the state among themselves in that way. The 2008 constitution (that was widely supported by social and political movements but also by the electorate) created this new branch to quash those awful practices from the past. But what we tried to avoid is now coming back to haunt us. This “transitory” CPCCS [created by Moreno] is once again giving away the country to different political parties and political actors from the right mostly, but also from the left – from the “old left” let’s call it – that in Ecuador has always been instrumental to the right. The exception to that was Rafael Correa, the only one in my view who managed to accomplish the most important goals of the left in the region had.

    • Julian Assange to regain internet access at embassy base – reports

      Ecuador has partly restored Julian Assange’s communications with the outside world from its London embassy where the WikiLeaks founder has been living for over six years, according to reports.

      The Ecuadorian government suspended access in March because it said Assange had breached “a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states”.

      On Sunday, the Press Association reported that Ecuador had partly restored Assange’s access to the internet, mobile phones and visits at the embassy, which had been restricted to members of his legal team.

    • Ecuador partly restores Assange’s internet
    • Julian Assange’s communications partly restored by Ecuadorian government
    • Julian Assange’s communications partly restored by Ecuadorian government

      The statement continued: “Mr Assange had critically reported on the Trump administration’s involvement in Yemen and Spanish police brutality. High level representations were made by the Trump administration and the Spanish government over Mr Assange, who was given political refugee status by Ecuador in 2012 over US attempts to prosecute him.

    • Julian Assange’s communications partly restored by Ecuadorian government

      The Ecuadorian government has decided to partly restore communications for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      They were cut in March, denying him access to the internet or phones and limiting visitors to members of his legal team.

      He has been living inside Ecuador’s embassy in London for over six years.

      The Ecuadorian government said in March it had acted because Mr Assange had breached “a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states”.

    • Assange gets his internet back: Ecuador ‘removes isolation regime’ imposed on WikiLeaks founder seven months ago for criticising the country’s friends from his embassy bolthole
    • WikiLeaks says Julian Assange regaining some access to outside world after embassy crackdown

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange reportedly has regained some of his ability to communicate with the outside world months after the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he resides limited his access.

      The secrets-leaking organization declared Sunday that Ecuador had rolled back Assange’s isolation after a meeting between two senior United Nations officials and Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno.

      The isolation began in March, after the Ecuadorian government claimed Assange had run afoul of “a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states.”

    • Ecuador partly restores internet access for WikiLeaks founder Assange

      Ecuador has restored partial internet access to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who took refuge in the country’s London Embassy more than six years ago, WikiLeaks and an Assange lawyer said separately on Sunday.

      [...]

      Assange took refuge in Ecuador’s London Embassy after British courts ordered his extradition to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual molestation case. That case has since been dropped. But friends and supporters say Assange now fears he could be arrested and eventually extradited to the United States if he leaves the embassy. WikiLeaks, which published U.S. diplomatic and military secrets when Assange ran the operation, faces a U.S. grand jury investigation.

      “The main issue, the requirement for the UK to give an undertaking that Julian would not be extradited to the U.S., remains unresolved,” Barns told Reuters.

    • Former Ecuadorian ambassador to UK speaks on Julian Assange
    • Ecuador restores Assange’s communications after 7-month blackout – WikiLeaks

      The Ecuadorian government has lifted restrictions on WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange’s communications with the outside world, allowing visitors to his embassy hideout and restoring internet access it cut off in March.

      It was reported on Sunday that Ecuador moved to restore Assange’s access to the Internet, cell phone communications and permitted him to receive visitors other than his legal team.

    • Julian Assange ‘communications restored’ to outside world after embassy BLACKOUT

      In March, Assange’s internet access was cut off, phone jammers were installed and visitors were banned from seeing him after Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno described Assange as a “hacker” and “stone in the shoe” who is a problem he “inherited” from his country’s previous Premier.

    • Julian Assange’s communications partly restored by Ecuadorian government

      Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, added: “It is positive that through UN intervention Ecuador has partly ended the isolation of Mr Assange although it is of grave concern that his freedom to express his opinions is still limited.

      “The UN has already declared Mr Assange a victim of arbitrary detention. This unacceptable situation must end.

      “The UK government must abide by the UN’s ruling and guarantee that he can leave the Ecuadorian embassy without the threat of extradition to the United States.”

    • Ecuador partly restores Assange’s internet

      The Ecuadorian government has decided to partly restore communications for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      They were cut in March, denying the Australian access to the internet or phones and limiting visitors to members of his legal team.

      He has been living inside Ecuador’s embassy in London for more than six years.

      The Ecuadorian government said in March it had acted because Assange had breached “a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states”.

      WikiLeaks said in a statement: “Ecuador has told WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange that it will remove the isolation regime imposed on him following meetings between two senior UN officials and Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno on Friday.”

    • Julian Assange’s communications partly restored by Ecuadorian government

      Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, added: “It is positive that through UN intervention Ecuador has partly ended the isolation of Mr Assange although it is of grave concern that his freedom to express his opinions is still limited.

      “The UN has already declared Mr Assange a victim of arbitrary detention. This unacceptable situation must end.

      “The UK government must abide by the UN’s ruling and guarantee that he can leave the Ecuadorian embassy without the threat of extradition to the United States.”

      Mr Assange has been granted political asylum by Ecuador but believes he will be arrested if he leaves the embassy and extradited to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks.

    • Assange’s communications to be partly restored by Ecuador govt

      The Ecuadorian government will partially restore communications for Julian Assange at the country’s embassy in London, Wikileaks said.

      The Wikileaks founder, who has been holed up at the embassy since 2012, was stopped from using the internet or a mobile phone to communicate with the outside world in March.

      “Ecuador has told WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange that it will remove the isolation regime imposed on him following meetings between two senior UN officials and Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno on Friday,” Wikileaks said in a statement on Sunday.

    • WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Back Online as Ecuador Restores Partial Internet Access
    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is BACK ONLINE after 7-month communications BAN

      The Ecuadorian government revoked his internet and phone access in March after he breached an agreement “not to issue messages that might interfere with other states”.

      Only members of his legal team have been allowed to visit during this period.

      However, Wikileaks yesterday announced that his “isolation regime” was over after talks between UN officials and Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno on Friday.

    • Wikileaks spills AWS Sydney data centre locations

      Julian Assange’s Wikileaks website has published a document that reveals the locations of data centres housing cloud giant Amazon Web Services, circa 2015.

      The document provides the exact address of facilities around the world, including Australia.

      Eight data centres in Sydney are listed in the document, with six being colo sites, and two sites operated by AWS itself. Wikileaks has published the full addresses, and names and phone numbers of contact people at the facilities.

      The two AWS data centres are SYD51 in Eastern Creek and SYD52 in Smeaton Grange towards Campbelltown.

    • The CIA and the State Department conspired to exploit a bureaucratic loophole to keep records hidden

      In 1955, the Central Intelligence Agency’s Psychological and Paramilitary Operations Staff made some inquiries through their point of contact at the State Department about the storage and accessibility of records concerning CIA operations. When they didn’t receive the answer they wanted, an informal suggestion led to a formal policy to circumvent those requirements by manipulating technicalities and appearances, and in some cases ignoring the records even existed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Man-eating tiger hunted by Indian authorities using Calvin Klein cologne after ‘killing 13 people’

      Forest rangers in a wet and bushy patch of central India have been chasing a cunning female tiger suspected of killing 13 people for the past six months.

      They have thrown just about everything they have at the tigress: hundreds of foot soldiers to comb the jungle, bulldozers to clear it, sharpshooters, jeeps, camera traps, a thermal imagery drone and five Indian elephants in hopes of surrounding the tigress so the veterinarians riding the elephants can dart her.

  • Finance
    • From Bulldog to Lapdog: Rather Than Liberation, Brexit has Ensured Thralldom

      Britain’s reputation as a country of consequence is long overdue revision. It clings to the global core — as liberals cling to their failing institutions — by flaunting leaky WMDs, acting as the US’s representative within the EU, and being one of the world’s most corrupt financial centres. The last of those is so extreme that the Mafia expert Roberto Saviano has claimed it is numero uno in this shady running.

      What do I mean by corruption? I mean that there is no control of the flow of money — not necessarily into London, but into Gibraltar, Malta and Jersey — these are all the doors through which Great Britain brings money in without any control. Panama used to be the money laundering capital — now it’s London.

      Academia has offered the more palatable “financial engineering” to describe the British condition.

      Since Thatcher, the government has focused its efforts on manipulation of this sort. Because of which, the City of London, our Little Colombia, dominates political considerations. There they are in their unsightly towers, speculating with your savings in a process detached from proportion or decency, only breaking their bubble to make calls to the Albanian mob and Análise. And when this incomprehensible theatre collapses in upon itself, as it always does, taxpayers in the real but marginal, politically insignificant economy are informed that they have to pick up Gekko’s tab.

      It has been well documented by Wallerstein that the global economy ensures most nation states are consigned to production, i.e. creating most of the wealth. These “peripheral” countries are characterized by their workcamps and sweatshops (and cheap vacations). Worker rights are kept at an absolute minimum, and, though their states have been pruned of much else, they have retained the violent means to keep it this way.As this happens, as if by an invisible hand, corporations make an absolute killing.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Facebook Accused of ‘Full-Frontal Suppression of Dissent’ After Independent Media Swept Up in Mass Purge

      After Facebook announced on Thursday that it shut down and removed hundreds of pages and accounts that it vaguely accused of spreading “spam” and engaging in “inauthentic behavior,” some of the individuals and organizations caught up in the social media behemoth’s dragnet disputed accusations that they were violating the platform’s rules and raised alarm that Facebook is using its enormous power to silence independent political perspectives that run counter to the corporate media’s dominant narratives.

      While it is reasonable to assume that some of the more than 800 total pages and accounts shut down by Facebook were engaged in overtly fraudulent behavior—such as the use of fake accounts and bots to generate ad revenue—numerous independent media outlets that cover a wide array of issues say they were swept up in the massive purge despite never using such tactics.

    • The Online Censors: Facebook’s Long History of Closing Down Free Speech
    • ‘Land of censorship & home of the fake’: Alternative voices on Facebook and Twitter’s crackdown
    • Facebook Purges US-Based Independent Media For Political Disinformation
    • Facebook carries out massive purge of oppositional pages

      On Thursday, Facebook removed some of the most popular oppositional pages and accounts on the world’s largest social media network, in a massive and unconstitutional assault on freedom of expression.

      With no public notice or accounting, over 800 pages and accounts have been summarily removed from the [I]nternet. The removed pages include Police the Police, with a following of over 1.9 million, Cop Block, with a following of 1.7 million, and Filming Cops, with a following of 1.5 million. Other pages targeted include Anti-Media, with 2.1 million followers, Reverb Press, with 800,000 followers, Counter Current News, 500,000 followers, and Resistance, 240,000 followers.

      Right-wing publications, including Right Wing News, were also removed.

    • Facebook: Most political [astrotrufers] are American, not Russian

      That suggests Americans are now copying the success of Russia’s election interference programme to run their own partisan campaigns, whether for ideology or simply for money.

    • Facebook Tackles Rising Threat: Americans Aping Russian Schemes to Deceive

      Politics has always involved shadings of the truth via whisper campaigns, direct-mail operations and negative ads bordering on untrue. What is different this time is how domestic sites are emulating the Russian strategy of 2016 by aggressively creating networks of Facebook pages and accounts — many of them fake — that make it appear as if the ideas they are promoting enjoy widespread popularity, researchers said. The activity is also happening on Twitter, they said.

    • Free Speech in the Age of Algorithmic Megaphones

      Our political conversations are happening on an infrastructure built for viral advertising, and we are only beginning to adapt.

    • Nicola and Independence

      I dislike the political class now attached to the SNP in just the same way that I distrust the professional political class in every political party. The horrible Alex Bell should be a serious warning of the kind of false hypocrites that a salary will attract “to the cause”. Seeing MPs I knew as just punters campaigning in 2014, now walking proudly before power dressed entourages of paid staff, was a strangely unpleasant experience.

      My major concern is that the SNP’s foreign policy and defence teams at Westminster appear to have been entirely captured by the UK establishment and indeed the security services. They have been willing and instant amplifiers of the Tories’ Russophobia.

    • What Kavanaugh Tells Us about the Midterms

      The real plan was always to force the confirmation into the mold Democrats think will win them the House, the same gambit they thought would deliver a landslide in 2016. And so Kavanaugh’s complex judicial record was discarded in favor of Clinton-esque, er, progressive, talking points: the election, um, sorry, the confirmation is all about respect for women, fighting misogyny, defeating privilege, too many White Men, Trump is evil, we can’t have an accused rapist in the White House, sorry, on the Supreme Court! Disqualification via demonization. The Kavanaugh hearings were an updated version of what was supposed to be the 2016 game-changer, the “pussy grabbing tape.” The Dems would give America another shot at having had it with the patriarchy.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • ‘We Had NPR Refusing to Run Our Ads’: Movie About Abortionist Kermit Gosnell Facing Backlash, Censorship

      The groundbreaking movie, “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer,” highlights a true-life horror story that went almost ignored by politicians and the mainstream media.

      CBN News, however, followed the story from the crime scene to the courthouse.

    • Zen Studios Comments On Censorship In Pinball FX3 DLC

      It seems a lot of owners who purchased the additional downloadable content for Pinball FX3 noticed that the Medieval Madness, Fish Tales, and Junk Yard tables have been censored in someway with removal of pieces of the original artwork such as the covering up of some scantily clad women and bloody swords, etc. ArsTechnica covered this earlier in the week and have since had a statement from Zen Studios VP of Publishing Mel Kirk who explained that the censorship took place to enable them to keep the family friendly rating, as Mel says that it’s ultimately a family series of games.

    • ‘Pinball FX3′ Fans Notice Williams’ Pinball Pack Censorship, Zen Studios Responds

      Last month, we reported the news that Zen Studios was expanding its Pinball FX3 line-up with actual pinball tables from Williams/Bally. Well, it launched last week, and fans of the game loved it — but also noticed a little something with the translation of the tables.

    • Censorship not behind changes Student Media changes
    • Center To Host Conversation About Art And Censorship
    • Art & Censorship to be Focus of Falmouth Art Center Conversation

      A community conversation will be held later this month at the Falmouth Art Center to discuss Art and Censorship.

      The public is invited to the forum on October 24 at 6 p.m.

      The conversation is in response to growing concern over a recent incident in which artist Salley Mavor was asked to remove political content from a show that was to be displayed at Highfield Hall and Gardens in Falmouth.

      The incident has led to a discussion in town about the roles of artists, art nonprofits and gallery space.

    • New Tactics of Intimidation are Forcing Self-Censorship

      Pakistan has long been a dangerous country for journalists who report on issues like extremism, militancy, religious fundamentalism, or military interference in politics. A country with a history of military coups has recently witnessed an unprecedented period of civilian rule. But journalists say the 10 years of democracy has not strengthened freedom of the press. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports that new tactics of intimidation are forcing editors and reporters to self-censor.

    • Media prize a ‘defeat’ for Australian refugee censorship, says author

      A refugee journalist detained on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island says winning an Italian award for investigative journalism could end censorship of offshore detention in the Australian media.

      Behrouz Boochani, who has made a documentary and written a book during his five years in exile, has won the Anna Politkovskaya Prize for Press Freedom from the Italian magazine Internazionale.

      Boochani regularly contributes to The Guardian and the Saturday Paper in Australia but said other publications supported the Australian government’s efforts to restrict information about its offshore detention regime.

    • Palestinians decry US ‘act of censorship’

      Palestinian representatives on Wednesday vowed not to stay silent as they closed their mission in Washington on orders of President Donald Trump.

      “This is an attempt to shut down your voice; this is an act of censorship,” said Hakam Takash, a diplomat at the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s Washington office which had been set up in 1994 after the Oslo peace accords.

      “This is a new beginning, not just in Palestinian-American relations but in the work of this community,” he told a ceremony as the office symbolically took down a plaque on the Washington building.

    • Telecoms Lawyer Weighs Options in Internet Censorship, Regulation

      Telecoms lawyer and President, Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro has weighed the advantages and disadvantages of calls for censorship and regulation of the internet.

      Usoro, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who spoke at the workshop for judges on legal issues in telecommunications, organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in Lagos, said the global community views internet censorship from various perspectives and country’s varying degrees of censorship. He listed two global school of thoughts on internet censorship and regulation. He said they include the school of thought that posits that access to internet should be a basic right and that freedom of expression and the press should be allowed on the internet. The second school of thought believes that there should be some form of censorship and regulation for the overriding good of the society.

    • Ethiopia: Censorship Over for Theaters, Films – Producers Rejoice

      The censorship order has been lifted as it contradicts an article in Ethiopia’s constitution

      The Addis Abeba Bureau of Culture & Tourism lifted censorship of film and theatre productions effective October 5, 2018, stating that it is “conceding to the constitution”.

      The censorship was lifted as it contradicts Ethiopia’s constitution, which states that the freedom of the press, mass media and artistic creativity are “guaranteed” by Article 29 of the constitution, according to a new circular issued by Nebiyu Baye. Nebiyu, who replaced Gebretsadik Hagos, served as an assistant professor of theatre and film at Addis Abeba University and as head of the National Theater before moving to the culture & tourism office.

    • Censoring the Internet

      We browse through the internet constantly and not often are we blocked or restricted from accessing websites or certain content. However, that is not the case in many countries. According to Justin Pelletier, a professor and business director at the Center for Cybersecurity, internet censorship is the concept of limiting the flow of information in order to better protect the population or, in most cases, to protect the country’s interests.

      [...]

      The article continues to describe Google’s censorship troubles when in 2009, China decided to censor the internet even more, blocking YouTube and requiring Google to censor even more search terms. At this point, Google decided to shut down their service in China, but the restrictions still stand for Chinese citizens.

      Restrictions like these are not only present in China. In fact, many countries around the world limit what their citizens can view on the Internet. North Korea is one of the most heavily censored countries in the world as all media is state-owned and the Central Korean News Agency is the only news agency in the country. Another country that blacklists websites and media that criticize the government is Russia; their “single register” contains URLs, domain names and IP addresses that are blocked by the state.

    • ‘Liberated’ Words: Iranian-Born Poet Swept From Censors’ Office To Nobel Jury

      Words are everything to Iranian-born poet Jila Mossaed, who says she is obsessed with their “mysterious hidden powers.”

      “I breathe through words,” said the 70-year-old naturalized Swede, who has written books and poetry collections in Persian and Swedish.

      Her dedication to her art has now secured Mossaed election to the most prominent cultural institution in her adopted country and around the world — the Swedish Academy that has awarded the Nobel Prize for literature since 1901.

      Mossaed, whose writings are rich in symbolism and frequently evoke loss and longing, is thought to be the first immigrant to hold one of the centuries-old Swedish Academy’s 18 lifetime seats.

      She replaces Swedish author Kerstin Ekman, who ended her involvement with the Academy in 1989 over its refusal to condemn a religious fatwa issued by the late Iranian cleric and revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against British author Salman Rushdie for his novel The Satanic Verses.

    • Journalism for democracy: Caught between bullets and censorship in Latin America

      The murder of journalists and changing forms of censorship show that freedom of expression and information are still under siege in Latin America, particularly in the countries with the greatest social upheaval and political polarization.

      Journalism “maintains a central role in the work for democracy in the region, although it suffers persecution of the media, journalists and political and social activists, which goes against hemispheric human rights agreements,” said Edison Lanza of Uruguay, special rapporteur for freedom of expression at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

    • M.I.A. says she’s quitting music for now, blames censorship

      Sri Lankan musician sits down for an illuminating chat in support of her new documentary

    • MIA hints at quitting music because of censorship
    • M.I.A. Says Industry Censorship Makes Her Not Want to Release Music: ‘I Have to Find Another Way’

      The singer recently had an interview with The House of Strombo, where she expressed she’s “not motivated” to release music. “For me, I have to find another way,” she explained.

      “I have been pushed out for five years or something, and I haven’t been able to successfully release a record at all within this system…Or get my voice heard in terms of the Tamil plight, or get credit for anything I did,” she continued, noting that people would rather hear an anti-Trump anthem than an exposure tune on Tamil women being raped by Sri Lankan army men. “That’s been completely erased. And people know, but no one is allowed to say it.”

      The interview follows the release of Mantagi/Maya/Mia, the in-depth documentary of her life, journey and career. Listen to the full episode below.

    • M.I.A says she’s quitting music for now, blaming censorship: “I have to find another way”

      M.I.A. has said that she is no longer “motivated” to release new music, blaming censorship from the music industry.

      Following the release of her documentary, Matangi / Maya / M.I.A. last month, M.I.A made the comments in an interview for The House of Strombo. M.I.A added that she needs to focus on another means of releasing music: “for me, I have to find another way.”

    • M.I.A. says she’s no longer motivated to make music due to censorship

      Acclaimed English musician M.I.A. says she’s no longer motivated to make music, noting that she’s sick of being censored for speaking her mind.

      Over the years, M.I.A. has been the subject of quite a few controversies. Most notably, there was her infamous hand gesture during the 2012 Superbowl, but there have also been a number of minor controversies as well, which has seen a few of her music videos removed from the web.

    • M.I.A. says that she’s temporarily quitting music due to censorship

      M.I.A. has announced that she is temporarily withdrawing from the music industry, blaming “censorship”. The revelation comes in an interview published on House of Strombo in support of recent documentary Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.

      In the video interview, the artist stated she feels censored by the media due to her political views. Consequently, she’s no longer “motivated” to make music: “I have been pushed out for five years or something, and I haven’t been able to successfully release a record at all within this system.”

      The former Crack Magazine cover star goes on to address the music industry’s rejection of her outsider views claiming: “If I want to be bigger, I kind of have to say nothing.”

    • AARP Sides With Actors Union, Seeks To Reinstate IMDb Age Censorship Law

      Siding with the Screen Actors Guild, the nonprofit AARP is asking a federal appeals court to reinstate a California law that requires IMDb.com to hide actors’ ages at their request.

      The AARP argues both that the California law marks a legitimate attempt to combat age discrimination in the entertainment industry and that people have the right to keep their ages private.

      “The resolution of the issues in this case will have a significant impact on a variety of older people who wish to be considered for, and obtain work, in their chosen profession,” the AARP writes in a friend-of-the-court brief submitted last week to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Alliance of Retired Americans and Communication Workers of America also signed on to the friend-of-the-court brief.

      The law (AB 1687) requires providers of “commercial online entertainment employment” services — a description that applies to Amazon’s IMDb.com — to remove information about paying subscribers’ ages upon their request. Supporters of the law say it helps combat illegal age discrimination.

    • Facebook and Twitter Beware — Censorship-Resistant Social Media Is Here

      Over the past few months, Bitcoin Cash developers have been creating applications that are similar to social media and forum platforms like Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter. Anyone in the world can use these Bitcoin Cash-powered applications such as Memo, Blockpress, Keyport, and Matter which offer censorship-resistant versions of these social media giants.

      [...]

      Memo.cash is a platform that is comparable to Twitter, but posts cannot be selectively removed by anyone as they are all stored onchain. Memo allows users to post text, animations, pictures, URLs, and videos while also setting a custom profile. Much like Twitter, there is a cap of how many characters can be used per post as Memo only allows 217 characters at a time. A feature that sets Memo apart from Twitter and other social media platforms is the ability to tip posts using BCH. This allows content creators to reap the benefits of their work rather than giant corporate entities.

    • On Tech Censorship Concerns, Sanders Video Encourages Followers: ‘Laugh in Their Face’

      This week U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) posted a video on Twitter featuring a call for his followers to scoff at those who raise concerns about Big Tech’s conservative viewpoint suppression problem. In the piece, just over 90 seconds in length, a senior Sanders advisor dismisses out of hand that there is any evidence of censorship, argues that Facebook and Google help conservatives, and indicates the only appropriate response to those with viewpoint suppression concerns is to “laugh in their face.”

      The Sanders video features clips from President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). Notably, the day before Sanders’ video, Scalise tweeted, “Silicon Valley’s bias against conservatives is very real and on display every day. It’s time they start acknowledging it and being honest with the American people about where they stand.”

    • Censorship crackdown? Top 10 alt-media pages newly banned by Facebook & Twitter
    • Event to celebrate Mexican independent publishing amid struggles of censorship

      Vivid art blown up onto the Fowler Museum’s walls will represent the radical opinions found in independently published Mexican art books.

      Fowler will hold the Artbook Pop-Up, which is part of a three-day event called Radical Publishing Weekend, and will include a pop-up shop and discussion panel. Event visitors will be introduced to the Mexican independent publishing movement that has shifted to the international stage through events such as book fairs in major cities. Visitors will be able to purchase some of the independently produced art books, and can participate in a panel discussion with publishers.

      This lively culture in Mexico extends to political work, especially art – something relevant to the lives of young students, said Sebastian Clough, the director of exhibitions at the Fowler and the curator of the event.

    • Concerned about censorship, Aurora artists find creative ways to fight City Hall
    • Conservative activists criticize DePaul over denying event
    • Conservative activists criticize DePaul over denying event

      Two conservative activists are criticizing DePaul University after the Chicago school denied a request for an on-campus event.

      The Chicago Tribune reports Thursday Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens of Turning Point USA tweeted accusations of censorship and suppression. University officials have not commented on the reasons for denying the group that promotes conservatism among students.

    • Conservative activists accuse DePaul of censorship after university bars them from holding event on campus
    • New Samizdat: RT brings you a new censorship buster

      If the establishment media were truly balanced, social media’s purge of alternative news outlets would be a front-page splash. The fact it isn’t proves that those who shout loudest about “free speech” may be its greatest enemies.

      Sadly, RT saw something like this coming. And for that reason, we have developed a new site to promote the free exchange of information and views. The fact it launches on the same weekend that US social media giants Facebook and Twitter clamped down on dissent is merely a coincidence.

    • Misconceptions of Online Censorship

      If you’ve ever vocalized a concern of censorship on social media, chances are you’ve been told “but they’re private companies, they can do whatever they want.” Responses like this miss the point of concern. Many political terms (equality, for example) have nuance depending on context. Regarding censorship, there’s the kind that violates your rights, and there’s the kind that doesn’t. The former is much more serious, but that doesn’t mean the latter isn’t a problem.

      Everyone has a right to say what they want, but they do not have a right to be heard. They also do not have a right to a platform (online or offline) besides what they can provide for themselves. What this means is that it is not a violation of my rights if an organization denies me use of their platform, because they can do what they want with their property. It is only a violation of my rights if I am given a platform (or provide one for myself), and others forcefully try to shut it down. Even if what I’m saying is atrocious, I still have a right to speak.

    • Logan Paul is being blamed by Google for increase in internet censorship

      Paul faced massive criticism after the video went live, and has since uploaded multiple apology videos and hired an additional manager to monitor his content.

      While YouTube pulled Paul from its premium advertising program and deleted the video in question, Paul remains a massive presence on the platform, and will even engage in a boxing rematch with fellow YouTuber Olajide ‘KSI’ Olatunji in summer of 2019.

    • Colorado Association of Libraries blasts pornography lawsuit as censorship crusade, attempt to undermine “fundamental tenets of a free society”

      Two parents who filed a lawsuit claiming pornography was distributed to their children by a national scholastic network and the Colorado Library Consortium are more interested in censorship than protecting children, a library advocacy group said Friday.

      The Colorado Association of Libraries blasted the lawsuit filed on behalf of Pornography is Not Education and Aurora parents Drew and Robin Paterson as a blatant attempt to erase all electronic material the group does not like from local and school libraries.

      “They are on a personal crusade to impose one particular worldview upon the entire community, and the targets of their campaign extend well beyond… Colorado,” said Carol Smith, president of the Colorado Association of Libraries, in a statement.

    • Op-Ed: Google the censor? The internet vs free speech?

      Google’s role as top dog comes with a few lead weights. One of the big issues is growing disquiet about the power of big platforms. A strange tale has unfolded after a leak of Google internal documents defining the big problems. Op-Ed: Google the censor? The internet vs free speech?

    • Google Seeks ‘Balance’ Between Communist Oppression, Freedom of Expression
    • Leaked Google research shows company grappling with censorship and free speech
    • Leaked Google document addresses the conflict between censorship and free speech
    • Google now plays ‘Good Censor’ for civility’s sake, leaked internal briefing confirms
    • No Google Isn’t Trying To Censor The Web

      Earlier today an internal Google presentation summarizing a variety of perspectives, including my own, on the state of internet freedom began circulating on the web. The “leaked” presentation was quickly framed by some as a roadmap to censorship and that it demonstrated the company was examining how to suppress certain viewpoints or crack down on internet freedoms. Yet, a closer read of the presentation would suggest precisely the opposite: a company at the center of many of our debates about the future of the online world grappling with the existential question of the modern web: how to absolutely preserve freedom of speech, while at the same time preventing terrorists, criminals, repressive governments and trolls from turning this incredible force for good into a toxic and dangerous place that undermines democracy, advances terrorism, assists fraudsters and empowers hatred? How do we elevate the voices of the disenfranchised and give them a place at the table of global discourse, while not also awakening the trolls that seek to repress them? How do we empower the free expression of ideas and bring an incredibly diverse and divided world together, while embracing the differences that make us who we are? How do we reach across countries and cultures, across languages and landscapes, to have meaningful conversations about the future of our shared planet? Most importantly, how can technology play a positive role in helping facilitate the good, empowering civil discourse, while discouraging the bad, from terrorist recruiting to fraud to toxic speech and trolling?

    • Leaked Transcript: Google Lied About “Dragonfly” China Censorship

      The project, code-named Dragonfly, would blacklist phrases like “human rights,” “student protest,” and “Nobel Prize,” and has resulted in at least seven Google employees quitting for ethical reasons. Other employees have circulated a letter recognizing a “code yellow” emergency, suggesting that the Dragonfly initiative violates Google’s ethical code, which states that the company will not build or deploy technologies “whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights,” according to The Intercept.

      The project has also drawn criticism from human rights groups, congressional legislators and Vice President Mike Pence – who called on the search engine giant to “immediately end development of the Dragonfly app that will strengthen the Communist Party’s censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers.”

    • Google tells US lawmakers it is mulling options on China services
    • Google CEO Tells Senators That Censored Chinese Search Engine Could Provide “Broad Benefits”
    • Leaked Transcript: Google Lied About “Dragonfly” China Censorship
    • Google leak reveals secret China plans for censored search engine, prompting protests from employees
    • A software developer just became the latest victim of China’s VPN crackdown
    • Chinese man gets 3 years in prison for helping people bypass censorship – CNN
    • Drone journalism’s battle for airspace
    • Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal Localization Team Shares Details on PS4 Version Censorship and Trophies
    • Sony Seemingly Censors Controversial Senran Kagura Mode
    • Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal Delayed Due To Sony Censorship
    • XSEED Producer Says Cancelling Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal Over Censorship Issue Would Hurt Devs

      Calling it a “lose-lose” situation, Lipschultz reiterated that the developers and publishers don’t have the luxury of throwing away all their hard work over one mode. He also hinted that XSEED wasn’t happy with the situation and that there will be some “push-back” behind the scenes.

    • “Welcome To The New ’90s”: Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal Will Be Censored On PS4

      Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal is a remake of the first game in the Senran Kagura franchise, a series of games featuring female ninjas kicking butt and taking names.

    • New Tactics of Intimidation Forcing Self-Censorship in Pakistani Media

      Various journalist unions across Pakistan protested Tuesday the direct and indirect intimidation they say they face while trying to do their job.

      “The journalist is alive, Ayub saw it, Yahya saw it, now you will see it,” chanted a charged group of protesters in capital Islamabad calling out names of past dictators.

      Pakistan has long been a dangerous country for journalists who report on issues like extremism, militancy, religious fundamentalism, or military interference in politics. A country with a history of military coups has recently witnessed an unprecedented period of civilian rule. But journalists say 10 years of democracy has not strengthened freedom of the press.

    • How Censorship Inspired Witchsy’s Co-Founders to Compete Against Etsy

      Using just $10,000 of their personal savings, entrepreneurs Kate Dwyer and Penelope Gazin launched an online gallery and Etsy competitor called Witchsy that became cash flow positive in year one with hundreds of thousands in revenue. This week on Eater’s business podcast Start to Sale, hosts Erin Patinkin (CEO, Ovenly) and Natasha Case (CEO, Coolhaus) talk to the Witchsy co-founders about their philosophy in business and art, why they like to mock their consumers, how they created a fake male co-founder to dodge sexism, and so much more.

    • Four fundamental principles for upholding freedom of speech on campus

      It goes without saying – or at least it ought to – that freedom of speech should be a core value of universities. As a scholar of freedom of speech and a university academic, it has been gratifying to see so many Vice Chancellors (and a former Chief Justice of the High Court) take it so seriously.

      This attention to freedom of speech is a response to recent controversies about on campus. Bettina Arndt’s campus tour met with rowdy and obstructive demonstrations. Students have accused each other of bullying and censorship. And last year, La Trobe University academic Roz Ward was briefly suspended for misconduct for her controversial views on Australia’s flag in a Facebook post.

    • On campus censorship

      No one should be stopping students from speaking their beliefs, but often this gets confused with the idea that people have to be forced to listen to them. People shouldn’t be subjected to abuse, harassment or harm. Events, presentations and debates are welcome to take place, but no one is required to attend these events. Students are welcome to take the stage, but the same goes for the audience. They have the right to stay or go in response to the message that is being disseminated. In most cases, ignoring the speaker’s message is just as much of a hindrance as denying the speaker a podium.

      Freedom of speech on campuses is regulated in a very different way than in other public spaces, through the use of speech codes. These speech codes are university regulations that prohibit some verbal communication and expression that would normally be protected by the Constitution if such speech or expression happened in society at large. Often, these speech codes can be written into university policy, or simply be determined by the will of the university.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • NSA Whistleblowers Turn Outrage Into Innovation

      Co-founders Bill Binney and Kirk Wiebe, two former whistleblowers on data practices of US security giant NSA, have chosen the Netherlands as a new home to launch their own data intelligence startup Pretty Good Knowledge.

      With the launch announced this week, the new company is building on the long-standing experience of their founders in big data analysis for security intelligence. Bill Binney and Kirk Wiebe spend almost three decades in the National Security Agency (NSA) working on specialized data analysis for improving security information, in particular related to terrorism affecting people around the world.

      Their quiet existence rapidly changed in 2002 when they went public accusing the NSA leadership of wasting millions of dollars on an expensive but allegedly ineffective data system – whilst shelving the available solution that they claimed could have prevented the 9/11 attacks. This dramatic turn of their life into public whistleblowers made news around the world and has been portrayed in the movie documentary A Good American.

      More than a decade later, the team is back from their temporary retirement and has a new mission: “We know how to achieve market and security intelligence without sacrificing privacy or breaking laws, and we are excited how quickly our customers realize how much more is possible when using a disciplined and structured approach”, says co-founder Bill Binney about the launch of Pretty Good Knowledge.

    • NSA Whistleblowers Turn Outrage Into Innovation

      For some, it means a long time behind bars. Chelsea Manning was staring down a death sentence after she leaked 750,000 sensitive or classified files of military information. Eventually she was convicted to 35 years in prison before Barack Obama commuted her sentence in one of his last acts as President.

      For others, it’s a life of obscurity or going unnoticed by the public. It wasn’t until more than three decades after the Watergate Scandal that the public finally knew the identity of Deep Throat, former FBI Associate Director Mark Felt.

      For almost every whistleblower, life never returns to ‘normal’ ever again. After he leaked classified information on the appalling nature and extent of which the NSA was spying on private citizens, Edward Snowden found asylum only in Russia, where he’s been living for more than five years in exile. Whether he is ever able to return to the U.S. as a free man remains to be seen

    • Edward Snowden, ‘most wanted fugitive’ addresses Israeli panel
    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to speak in Israel
    • Edward Snowden to Address Select Audience in Israel: Will He Take On Israel’s Surveillance State?
    • World’s most wanted man in first public Israel appearance
    • Snowden to address Israeli event via videolink
    • UK’s GCHQ Declines To Comment Reports About Five Eyes Alliance’s Data Exchange On China

      The UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) on Friday refused to comment to Sputnik on reports that the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which London is a member of, has been exchanging classified information on China’s foreign activities with like-minded states since the beginning of the year.

    • Are the NSA, FBI Listening to Donald Trump’s Phone Calls? Director Wray Avoids Question During Senate Hearing

      FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate that he could not discuss whether intelligence agencies in the federal government are listening in on President Donald Trump’s phone conversations with foreign leaders.

      “When we collect information on people overseas we don’t use the Constitution,” Senator Rand Paul said during a Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill this Wednesday. “So we scoop up all your information, we listen to phone calls everywhere, including [Chancellor of Germany] Angela Merkel, we listen to everybody.”

      But in the United States, Paul argued, citizens are entitled to a certain amount of privacy guaranteed under the Constitution.

    • Intelligence watchdog NSA says will encourage whistleblowers to come forward [Ed: NSA has been #googlebombing these past few days. It wants people to open up this bundle of lies when they 'google' stuff like "nsa whistleblowers"...]

      The US National Security Agency’s top oversight official, Robert Storch, is working to repair the spy agency’s reputation with whistleblowers in an effort to encourage staff to report wrongdoing internally, rather than go public.

      “It’s really important we encourage whistleblowers to come forward and that they feel comfortable doing so and, if there are allegations of reprisal, then we take that very seriously,” Storch said in an interview with Reuters last week.

    • Intelligence watchdog NSA says will encourage whistleblowers to come forward [Ed: Ridiculous spin: NSA busy this past week painting itself as pro-whistleblowers. Historically it entraps them, they must not trust the employer to self-regulate.]

      The US National Security Agency’s top oversight official, Robert Storch, is working to repair the spy agency’s reputation with whistleblowers in an effort to encourage staff to report wrongdoing internally, rather than go public.

      “It’s really important we encourage whistleblowers to come forward and that they feel comfortable doing so and, if there are allegations of reprisal, then we take that very seriously,” Storch said in an interview with Reuters last week.

      The spy agency has experienced a series of embarrassing leaks over the past five years, beginning with Edward Snowden’s 2013 high-profile exposure of secret NSA surveillance programs.

    • From Inside The NSA, A Call For More Whistleblowers
    • Amazon hopes to blanket your home and car with listening, eavesdropping Alexa devices

      Amazon publishes reports outlining how many government requests it has received, and how many it has complied with. For the last two reports, the numbers are still low: fewer than 2,000 requests during each six month period, not all of which were complied with. That suggests that the privacy risk from using Amazon’s Alexa services is currently limited. But things may not remain that way. As more highly-personal data is gathered routinely by Amazon’s AI systems, so its value to the authorities will increase, and the temptation to use it will grow. It’s still early days for this field, but it is important to monitor closely what happens as it enters the mainstream thanks to devices from Amazon and others. After all, our privacy already faces serious threats from new technologies like facial recognition; we hardly need another challenge.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • EU Parliament’s anti-terrorism draft Report raises major concerns

      From a digital rights perspective, the draft Report contains numerous worrying recommendations, statements and approaches to counter-terrorism. It is problematic for several reasons. [...]

    • UK says Hong Kong rejection of FT journalist visa politically motivated

      Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” principle, with the guarantee of a high degree of autonomy and freedoms, including freedom of the press, not enjoyed elsewhere in China.

      But calls for outright independence are a red line for China’s Communist Party leaders, who deem the global financial hub to be an inalienable part of the nation.

    • China’s Media Crackdown Spreads to Hong Kong

      The authorities have never criticized Mr. Mallet’s reporting. But he was the main spokesman for the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club in August when it hosted a talk by Andy Chan, head of a political party that called for Hong Kong’s independence from China. Hong Kong and Beijing officials blasted the event in advance and subsequently banned the party.

    • ECHR rejects Lithuanian and Romanian appeals regarding CIA prisons
    • ECHR rejects appeals by Romania and Lithuania in CIA black sites cases

      The European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) rejected Romania and Lithuania’s appeals against the court’s May ruling that the two countries had been complicit in CIA’s secret detention centers program, according to AFP.

      In May, the ECHR found that both countries knew two suspects caught after the 9/11 attacks would risk torture while being held at the “black sites” between 2004 and 2006. Saudi national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri claimed he was illegally held and tortured at an undisclosed site in Romania, while suspected Al-Quaeda operative Abu Zubaydah said he had a similar experience in Lithuania.

    • ECHR Upholds Ruling In Case On Alleged CIA Secret Prison In Vilnius – Lithuanian Ministry

      The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) dismissed Tuesday the appeal of the Lithuanian government against an earlier ECHR ruling in case of Abu Zubaydah, who claimed that Lithuania had provided its territories to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for the setting up of a secret prison, the Lithuanian Justice Ministry told Sputnik on Tuesday.

      In late May, the ECHR ruled that the Baltic state had violated the provisions of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms with respect to Zubaydah, who claimed he had been held in a CIA secret prison in Lithuania. The court stated that Lithuania should pay Zubaydah 130,000 Euros ($149,100) in compensation. In early September, the Lithuanian authorities filed an appeal against the ECHR ruling before the court.

    • Romania and Lithuania lost the appeals în ECHR trial on secret CIA prisons

      Neither Bucharest, nor Vilnius admitted the existence of secret prisons on their territories and both countries appealed, but European judges unanimously decided to reject the appeal.

    • EU court rejects appeal over CIA ‘black sites’
    • European Human Rights Court rejects Romania’s appeal in secret CIA prisons case
    • Woman Impersonates CIA Agent To Convince Boyfriend, Parents To Murder Couple

      Agent Scott Lott told Oxygen’s “Criminal Confessions” that a few names kept popping up during the investigation — Janelle Potter, her parents, Buddy and Barbara Potter, and Payne’s cousin, Jamie Curd. According to multiple testimonies, Payne and Hayworth had recently been involved in a Facebook feud with Janelle, who was dating Curd. Curd quickly sided with the Potter family, which led to a physical altercation between the cousins.

    • An international drug-trafficking soccer hooligan network

      On September 26, Argentine authorities arrested 15 people suspected of belonging to a network of criminal soccer hooligan groups – known in Latin America as barras bravas – that imported drugs from Colombia and sold them throughout Greater Buenos Aires, according to a report from Clarín.

      The operation against the so-called Soccer Hooligan Cartel also included more than 20 raids in which authorities seized at least 1.100 doses of cocaine and 1.400 doses of paco (a smokable paste from an intermediate stage of cocaine production), and more than a kilogram of marijuana.

      Authorities identified one of the network leaders as Sebastián Parra Jaramillo, a Colombian national who is also the leader of a fan club for the Atlético Nacional soccer team in Medellín, Colombia. He allegedly obtained drugs on consignment to smuggle into Argentina.

    • David Wise, author and CIA expert who exposed ‘invisible government,’ dies at 88

      David Wise, a journalist and author who became one of the country’s foremost authorities on espionage, writing books on the CIA, turncoat spies and whether intelligence agencies had become an unaccountable “invisible government,” died Oct. 8 at a Washington hospital. He was 88. The cause was pancreatic cancer, said his wife, Joan Wise. Wise was a reporter for the old New York Herald Tribune newspaper, which assigned him to its Washington bureau in 1958. He became best known for his coverage of the world of spycraft, writing more than 10 nonfiction books about the Cold War era and beyond, as well as three novels.

    • David Wise, author and CIA expert who exposed ‘invisible government,’ dies at 88

      David Wise, a journalist and author who became one of the country’s foremost authorities on espionage, writing books on the CIA, turncoat spies and whether intelligence agencies had become an unaccountable “invisible government,” died Oct. 8 at a Washington hospital. He was 88.

    • David Wise, Journalist Who Exposed CIA Activity, Dies at 88

      David Wise, one of the first journalists to expose the clandestine operations of the Central Intelligence Agency and a standard-setter for investigative reporting into government espionage, died on Monday in Washington. He was 88.

      The death, at Georgetown University Medical Center, was confirmed by his wife, Joan Wise, who said the cause was pancreatic cancer.

      Mr. Wise was the author, with Thomas B. Ross, of “The Invisible Government,” an explosive 1964 exposé of the C.I.A. and its covert operations. To keep its contents from the public, the C.I.A. considered buying up all copies of the book but backed off when the publisher, Random House, made clear that it would simply print more.

      Mr. Wise began his journalism career in the late 1940s as a campus stringer for The New York Herald Tribune while studying at Columbia College. In his senior year he was editor of the campus newspaper, The Spectator, alongside another aspiring journalist, Max Frankel, who in 1986 became executive editor of The New York Times.

      Mr. Frankel said on Tuesday that Mr. Wise seemed born to write about espionage: He always kept information — even what he had for lunch — close to the vest.

    • The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island

      I am writing to you from Suffolk County, Long Island, New York, a place you may associate with images of traffic jams on the famed Long Island expressway, the rich and famous of the Hamptons, sandy beaches, and most recently, MS 13. Right now we live in the heart of the beast—the flashpoint of immigration and deportation politics in America’s suburbs.

      Long Island has been part of the Latino migration stream of seasonal farm workers from the 40s through the 60s. Some workers were documented using the H-2A visa program available for agricultural workers, but many were not. During the months migrant workers were here, they lived primarily in isolated labor camps. Since the 60s, immigrant worker numbers have grown, seeking work now in suburban rather than rural communities, in service industries like food service, landscape care, nanny and elder services and the building trades. These workers mow our lawns, cook our food, care for our children, and build our buildings, still documented and undocumented.

      Long Island also has a long history of segregation, born of the development of the “exclusive”” white suburbs in the post war era. Segregation by race and ethnicity is not new and persists to this day. By the 80s, the immigrant profile shifted from European to Latin Americans, many single men, mostly from Mexico, came in greater numbers. As more Latinos sought permanent residency, increased ethnic anxiety rose. Ideas about Latinos as gang members and welfare recipients began building steadily. The popular culture emphasis on drug and gang behavior (think “Miami Vice”) contributed to the narrative of the violent Latino and Latinas on welfare. The bi-lingual movement of the 1980s also created tension, and by 1996 Suffolk County attempted to have English designated as the official language of the county, the first in New York State. Covered in the New York Times,the article was titled “English Only Bill ignites Debates and Fear on LI.” Local zoning laws calling for the definition of family as five or less unrelated individuals also came in response to large numbers of workers renting single family homes.

      [...]

      Both federal and local policy changes have been developed under the theory of “deterrence logic”. The U.S. currently refuses to be a refuge for people with problems in their countries of origin. AmerIcans are often unaware of the tumult in Central America, that people quite literally are running for their lives as their own countries are filled with corrupt governments, domestic violence, gang violence, MS 13, and sex and drug trafficking. However, the arduous trip to cross into the U.S. is STILL preferable to remaining where they are. While fewer people may be attempting to cross, terrorizing these immigrants, many of whom are here legally, calls into question the acclaimed American narrative of a “nation of immigrants.” This narrative has been replaced by an “immigrant emergency” narrative which gained traction in the aftermath of 9/11. We are not a melting pot, but rather a pressure cooker here in Suffolk County, New York.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
  • DRM/Repairs
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Qualcomm files appeal to avoid potential $5 billion payout to 250 million American smartphone buyers (1.2 billion transactions)

      In its third question presented for review, Qualcomm describes this consumer class that was certified in the Northern District of California–up to 250 million people and, according to Qualcomm’s estimate, approximately 1.2 billion claims (since people, on average, bought multiple smartphones during the roughly 8-year period the claims relate to)–as “quite likely the biggest class action in history.”

      That may be true with respect to membership size. It certainly isn’t in economic terms since the $4.99 billion demand Qualcomm is facing (Law.com’s Scott Graham found out) is dwarfed by the $206 billion tobacco settlement in 1998 or the $20 billion Gulf of Mexico oil spill settlement in 2016. Still, $5 billion is a very significant number, which would amount to approximately $20, on average, per class member. The exact amount per member would obviously depend on the particular smartphone purchases made by each consumer. It would be the amount of each buyer’s overpayment due to Qualcomm’s practices (which regulators on three continents have already held to be anticompetitive), possibly enhanced by a factor of up to three. Just imagine how many people–outside of its own organization and apart from its shareholders–Qualcomm would make happy with such an involuntary gift…

    • Portus’s suit against Kenyon & Kenyon Dodges Dismissal on Pleadings

      Portus filed suit against the now defunct (I think) firm of Kenyon & Kenyon. The complaint has morphed but now alleges, basically, that the firm failed to timely seek PTA and at the time it did so, had a conflict of interest by representing another company in the same “domain.” The amended complaint is here. The denial of the motion for judgment on the pleadings is here, from June.

    • Expansion of the Blocking Patent Doctrine: Trading Logic for Gremlins

      So far, we have only discussed the application of the blocking patents doctrine to discount “commercial success” evidence of nonobviousness. Another innovation of the Acorda case is the extension of this doctrine to long-felt need and failure of others. Sometimes, you see, there is evidence that people in the field were discussing a longstanding unsolved problem, or expressed frustration with existing products, but were unable to propose a better solution until one was provided by the inventor. Or maybe others tried different possible approaches but came up with only inferior solutions or failed altogether. Such information normally tends to show that the supposedly obvious invention couldn’t have been quite so obvious. But just as with evidence of commercial success, the blocking patents doctrine now says that an earlier patent would have prevented others from proposing an obvious solution to a long-felt problem – even if just on paper. In the same vein, others who actually tried and failed to solve the problem are presumed (without proof) to have failed only because the existence of a patent prevented them from trying the obvious solution, forcing them to go down blind alleys instead.

    • ITC Institutes Section 337 Investigation of ResMed’s Sleep Apnea Masks

      On Friday, October 5th, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a notice of institution of a Section 337 patent infringement investigation requested by New Zealand-based appliance manufacturer Fisher & Paykel against San Diego, CA-based medical equipment firm ResMed. The ITC instituted the Section 337 investigation after Fisher & Paykel alleged that certain sleep apnea products imported for sale by ResMed infringe upon U.S. patents held by the New Zealand firm.

    • 4 Ways Advances In AI Could Challenge Patent Law [Ed: Patent maximalists pushing the lunacy which is computer-generated patents]

      Advances in artificial intelligence raise intriguing patent law questions, including whether AI breakthroughs are patent-eligible and whether AI that creates something can be an “inventor” entitled to a patent.

    • Artificial intelligence: a game changer for the patent system

      With the advent of powerful computers and the availability of unlimited storage capabilities, artificial intelligence (AI) has made its way into mainstream applications – heralding the fourth industrial revolution. While the notion of what ‘artificial intelligence’ means has undergone significant change since its introduction in 1956, today’s typical AI is broadly conceived to “perceive its environment and take actions that maximise its chance of successfully achieving its goals”. This may involve reinforcement learning, where goals can be set explicitly or implicitly by rewarding some types of behaviour and punishing others, or by a fitness function allowing for mutation and preferential replication of high-scoring AI systems in an evolutionary system. AI may be implemented in self-optimising software or hardware that regularly requires vast data amounts (known as ‘big data’) for training response behaviour.

    • Singapore Court of Appeal upholds determining factors for inventorship and ownership

      On 28 August 2018, the Singapore Court of Appeal issued its decision on Cicada Cube Pte Ltd v National University Hospital (Singapore) Pte Ltd [2018] SGCA 52. The judgement involved the determination of ownership and inventorship of a Singapore patent, as well as the interpretation of Section 47(9) of the Singapore Patents Act regarding the time limit to bring such entitlement actions.

      [...]

      The High Court held that NUH was not caught by this conditional time limit because the phrase ‘proceedings in which the jurisdiction is invoked’ referred to in s 47(9) referred to the reference submitted to the Registrar. In contrast, the Court of Appeal held that NUH was indeed caught by the conditional time limit because the High Court and the Registrar had concurrent jurisdiction to determine patent entitlement, meaning that parties could apply to either forum to determine this question. If a party applied to the High Court after two years from the date of grant of the patent, the High Court could not determine the question unless it was shown that the proprietor knew that he was not entitled to the patent at date of grant or date of transfer. The same applies in this case where NUH had applied to the Registrar first (within the two-year period) but the Registrar declined to determine the question. Therefore, if a party decides to apply to the Registrar first and the Registrar does not make a determination by the two-year mark, it would be prudent for the party to withdraw the reference and commence proceedings in the High Court before the expiration of the two-year time limit.

    • Patent exhaustion keeps Qualcomm on the run from Apple’s claims and motions

      If exhaustion makes you run even further and faster, you’re either above conventional physics–or you’re Qualcomm.

      Patent exhaustion has been an important and powerful concept for a very long time, but last year the Supreme Court provided a great deal of clarification in its Lexmark opinion. That opinion came down in the early phase of Qualcomm’s disputes with the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Apple.

      Apple asserted nine patents in its original Southern California complaint. Qualcomm surprisingly didn’t bring mandatory infringement counterclaims, thereby waiving its right to assert infringement in that litigation or any other U.S. case against Apple. Apple threw in nine more patent DJs (declaratory judgment requests) in its first amended complaint, but Qualcomm persuaded Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel to throw those additional claims out. In order to do away with the original nine DJs for good (since Qualcomm would rather have everyone focus on the size of its portfolio–130K patents), Qualcomm “supersacked” (see this Lexology article for further information) Apple and the contract manufacturers by sending them a covenant not to enforce those patents against them, and in accordance with the Super Sack precedent immediately moved for dismissal of the original DJs including the patent exhaustion DJ for alleged lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

    • The new smartphone patents battlemap (infographic featuring Apple, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung)

      Eight years ago, this blog started publishing battlemaps of major smartphone patent disputes. Apple and Microsoft aren’t suing Android device makers at this point, but two major disputes are ongoing: Apple and, by extension, Intel’s dispute with Qualcomm, which is under fire from competition enforcers around the globe; and Huawei v. Samsung, the most massive patent clash ever between two leading Android device makers.

    • The big life sciences IP developments in September

      ‘No deal’ Brexit may mean no UPC, says UK government – The United Kingdom government released a notice on the likely implications for patents in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Relevant EU legislation, such as that relating to Supplementary Protection Certificates for drugs, compulsory licences and the patenting of biotechnology innovations, will be retained in UK law under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 in such a scenario, it reassures rights holders. Such legislation will form the basis of an independent UK patent regime in which existing rights and licences will automatically remain in force. No such certainty is provided regarding the prospective Unified Patent Court (UPC), however. If the pan-European court is fully ratified, but the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the country would not necessarily be part of the UPC or the unitary patent system, the government admitted. However, any unitary patents that exist at the point of the UK’s departure will automatically give rise to patent protection within the UK.

    • Trademarks
      • Swatch versus Apple: If you “Tick different” does that mean that you “THINK DIFFERENT”?

        What happens when an application by SWATCH for the mark is opposed by Apple on the basis of its mark? In Singapore, the opposition was rejected. Kat friends Lau Kok Keng, Nicholas Lauw and Jiamin Leow collectively report on this recent decision.

      • Judge Denies Beyoncé Motion for Summary Judgment in Feyoncé Trademark Case

        On Sunday, September 30th, U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan of the Southern District of New York signed a memorandum opinion and order that was officially entered the following day in a trademark case brought by pop music superstar Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter against Feyonce, Inc., a developer of merchandise marketed to engaged people using the brand name Feyoncé.

      • Supreme Court Asked to Consider Immoral or Scandalous Trademarks

        The case involves Eric Brunetti’s clothing brand, called FUCT. Although Brunetti has marketed various apparel under the FUCT mark since the early 1990s, the application at issue in this case was filed in 2011. The examiner rejected the application under Section 2(a), finding that FUCT “is the past tense of F*CK,” and “is scandalous because it is disparaging and [] total[ly] vulgar.” The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed, finding that “the Trademark Examining Attorney has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that a substantial composite of the general public would find this designation vulgar.”

    • Copyrights
      • Music Modernization Act of 2018 Signed Into Law by President Trump

        On October 11, 2018, President Donald Trump signed into law the Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (“the Act”), which will significantly modernize copyright law to account for the digital delivery of content. The bill, as updated and passed unanimously by the Senate and then the House, revises the Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. § 115) in several major ways.

      • Supreme Court to Hear Rimini Street v. Oracle to Decide if Copyright Act Authorizes Non-Taxable Costs

        The U.S. Supreme Court has granted a petition for writ of certiorari to take up Rimini Street v. Oracle on appeal from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

      • ‘Star Wars: Knights of Old Republic’ Unreal Engine 4 Fan Mod Shuts Down After Legal Threats

        For the last three years, a fan effort to remaster the beloved 2003 video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic with modern graphics and other tweaks has chugged along with nary a word from the franchise’s rights holder.

        Now the project, called Apeiron, will shut down for good with only tantalizing snippets of gameplay to show for its efforts after Lucasfilm—which was acquired by Disney in 2012—sent a cease-and-desist letter to John Taylor Trotter, the head of the Atlanta-based and volunteer-run indie studio leading the Apeiron project, Poem Studios.

USPTO FEES Act/SUCCESS Act Gives More Powers to Director Iancu, Supplying Patents for Litigation ‘Business’ and Embargo (ITC)

Sunday 14th of October 2018 04:25:52 PM

Summary: Corruption of the US patent system contributes to various issues which rely on the extrajudicial nature of some elements in this system; companies can literally have their products confiscated or imports blocked, based on wrongly-granted patents

UNLIKE the unaccountable EPO, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is loosely connected to the government, it can be sued, and it can be held accountable. This is a good thing.

“Donald Trump is also the person who nominated Iancu after Iancu’s firm had worked for Donald Trump.”Laws that govern the USPTO are also decided upon by courts and politicians, not USPTO managers (who may merely supply guidelines for compliance with these laws, e.g. 35 U.S.C. § 101). Last month we said that USPTO FEES ACT Makes the US Patent Office a Money-Making Machine That Systematically Disregards Patent Quality and days ago patent maximalists rejoiced this:

The SUCCESS Act (HR 6758) has now passed through both the House and Senate and will very likely be signed into law by President Donald Trump within the next couple of weeks.

The key aspect of the bill is extension of USPTO fee setting authority that ended in September 2018 (7 years after AIA enactment). Under the new law, USPTO will retain authority to set its own fee structure until September 2026 (15 years from AIA enactment).

[...]

Within 1 year, the PTO Director will provide a report to Congress on the results.

Donald Trump is also the person who nominated Iancu after Iancu's firm had worked for Donald Trump. We worry that there’s a rather gross attempt to bypass the courts and become more lenient in examination. As we shall cover tomorrow, there’s evidence of this. Nothing good will come out of an office which favours money over reputation. It’s not like some corporation that should strive to meet fiscal objectives and raise revenues on a quarterly basis.

Speaking of Trump and Iancu, how about the following recent photo?

And another one tweeted by the bribed/bought-for politician (for pharmaceutical patents)?

Best policies corporate money can buy?

Wrongly-granted patents are a very big deal because embargoes can be imposed using such patents. Consider what Justin M. Sobaje (Foley & Lardner LLP) wrote some days ago on how to embargo or how to put more blackmailing power/pressure if you’re a patent troll (a.k.a. “NPE”). The National Law Review published this:

Many patent practitioners assume that non-practicing entities cannot obtain permanent injunctions in patent cases. This is attributed to the belief that NPEs fail the four-factor test set out by the Supreme Court in eBay. Given that belief, it is surprising for some to learn that a recent decision from the Northern District of California resurrected decade old case law indicating that non-practicing entities can get injunctive relief. Practitioners having cases involving NPEs would do well to study this line of reasoning to be prepared for arguments surrounding permanent injunctions.

The four-factor test identified by the Supreme Court in eBay for determining whether to award permanent injunctive relief to a prevailing plaintiff requires the plaintiff to demonstrate: (1) that it has suffered an irreparable injury; (2) that remedies available at law are inadequate to compensate for that injury; (3) that considering the balance of hardships between the plaintiff and defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted; and (4) that the public interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction. eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 547 U.S. 388, 391, 126 S. Ct. 1837, 1839 (2006). After the eBay decision in 2006, it has been extremely rare for NPEs to be awarded permanent injunctions, but a recent district court decision has resurfaced the issue.

The ITC is notoriously lax and only a couple of days ago Watchtroll said that “ITC Institutes Section 337 Investigation of ResMed’s Sleep Apnea Masks — a case we covered a month ago. This is the latest twist (from earlier this month): “On Friday, October 5th, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a notice of institution of a Section 337 patent infringement investigation requested by New Zealand-based appliance manufacturer Fisher & Paykel against San Diego, CA-based medical equipment firm ResMed. The ITC instituted the Section 337 investigation after Fisher & Paykel alleged that certain sleep apnea products imported for sale by ResMed infringe upon U.S. patents held by the New Zealand firm.”

“We suppose that in this age of Iancu and Trump, however, business rather than justice is what matters.”The ITC tends to favour the companies from the US, as its own name serves to suggest. It’s a protectionist entity that relies on the false assumption US patents are valid, no matter what the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) says. In the case of Cisco the ITC vainly disregarded the PTAB’s decision to invalidate the patent under investigation.

We suppose that in this age of Iancu and Trump, however, business rather than justice is what matters. It’s all about money and authority over finances is back with Iancu now. This is not good.

Over at IAM, the megaphone of patent trolls, SpencePC (US) has meanwhile published this long piece titled “Global patent litigation strategy” (what ITC is enabling). These patent law firms are scheming/planning how to sue the whole world in order to charge their clients and tax everything. They pursue more and more patents for the sake of patent litigation alone. No good will come out of it.

Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Decides That USPTO Wrongly Granted Patents to Roche

Sunday 14th of October 2018 03:22:55 PM

Not just 35 U.S.C. § 101; nature is not an invention either

Summary: Patent quality issues at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) — motivated by money rather than common sense — continue to be highlighted by courts; the USPTO needs to raise the bar to improve the legal certainty associated with US patents

THE USPTO isn’t exactly renowned for patent quality; it’s known as the ‘go-to office’ for quick and easy patents and it’s also known for its ridiculous number of patents (recently exceeded 10 million).

Suffice to say, the USPTO has granted grant many bogus patents or fake patents (ones that should never have been granted and have no legal standing in actual courts of law). Natural Alternatives International has decided to sue the USPTO for having invalidated its patent in a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes review (IPR). Donald Zuhn wrote about it a few days ago. They’re suing the USPTO because it’s granting patents falsely and even its own staff admits that. It recently explained that such patents should not have been granted, leading to this suit:

Last week, in Natural Alternatives International, Inc. v. Iancu, the Federal Circuit affirmed a determination by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board in an inter partes reexamination affirming the Examiner’s rejection of the challenged claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,067,381 as being anticipated or obvious over the cited prior art, as well as the Board’s denial of the patentee’s request for rehearing. The ’381 patent is owned by Appellant Natural Alternatives International, Inc. (“NAI”).

The inter partes reexamination was requested by Woodbolt Distributors, LLC, which had been involved in district court litigation with NAI concerning the ’381 patent. In its request, Woodbolt asserted that the priority claim of the ’381 patent was defective because NAI “deliberately and expressly terminated” its claim to the benefit of the first four priority applications by breaking the chain of priority between the fourth and fifth priority applications.

Iancu ought to know that the only solution is for USPTO management (and in turn examiners) to raise examination standards.

More media attention has been dedicated to Swiss giant Roche. The Federal Circuit continues to ‘finish off’ bad patents that should never have been granted. It adds its weight to PTAB’s and Roche isn’t happy.

“The Federal Circuit on Tuesday upheld a ruling that a tuberculosis test patent Roche Molecular Systems Inc. asserted against Cepheid is invalid for claiming only natural phenomena,” Matthew Bultman wrote. Bultman is a patent maximalist.

Reuters’ Jan Wolfe, who is more impartial, wrote this:

A federal appeals court on Tuesday said a patent owned by Roche Molecular Systems Inc on a method of detecting tuberculosis should not have been granted, handing a win to rival diagnostics company Cepheid Inc.

Kevin Noonan, a proponent of patents on life, noted that “[t]he District Court granted summary judgment of invalidity for both types of claims for patent-ineligibility, and the Federal Circuit affirmed, in an opinion by Judge Reyna” (the one who patent maximalists like to mock). To quote:

This recognition significantly reduces the precedential effect of the BRCA1 decision and provides, perhaps, a way for a future panel to distinguish claims to primers from this precedent. Judge O’Malley reminds her colleagues and us that the BRCA1 decision did not rule on the patent eligibility of PCR primer claims and does not compel the result the Court announced here.

Judge O’Malley’s concurrence also notes that this case, unlike the BRCA1 case, contains unresolved questions of material fact that, while disregarded by the Court may provide another basis for distinguishing the BRCA1 decision. Citing the distinctions drawn by the Supreme Court in Myriad between genomic DNA and cDNA, Judge O’Malley opines that while the BRCA1 opinion sets forth the basis for finding the PCR primer claims to be patent ineligible, “it is not clear from the BRCA1 opinion or record why we reached this conclusion. The lack of record evidence underlying BRCA1′s conclusion on this point is important in light of the record in this case.” She then goes on to recite the factual distinctions argued by Roche regarding the differences between the claimed primers and the sequences as they occur in nature (including the differences in strandedness, complementarity (“a primer comprising a nucleotide sequence of ATCG is complementary to, but unquestionably different from, a natural DNA strand comprising a sequence of TAGC”), the presence of a 3′ hydroxyl group, the linearity of the primers versus the circular nature of bacterial DNA, and that natural “primers” comprise RNA and not DNA). All these facts were adduced from expert testimony and thus for Judge O’Malley raise “genuine issue of material fact” that are not appropriate for summary judgment. Judge O’Malley also notes that the claimed primers here have a markedly different function, unlike the genomic DNA in Myriad, due to the presence of the 3′ hydroxyl group which permits PCR amplification to occur. Judge O’Malley apprehends that the patentee in this case raised factual issues not addressed in the Court’s BRCA1 decision, and thus, “unlike the appellants in Myriad and in BRCA1, here, Roche submitted evidence of record that, at the very least, raises genuine issues of material fact as to whether there exists anything in nature that both has the structure and performs the function of the claimed primers.” Accordingly, she believes not only that the BRCA1 decision does not compel the Court’s conclusion here, but that the question should be taken up en banc to clarify the law regarding the patent eligibility of oligonucleotide primers and perhaps methods of using such primers to amplify targeted portions of DNA.

While this concurring opinion is a welcome ray of sunshine on a cloudy day, the practical effects of this, like so many Federal Circuit decisions on eligibility, is to incentive non-disclosure of inventions such as these, with the concomitant injury to progress that trade secret protection of diagnostic methods is almost certain to create. It should be self-evident that this outcome is contrary to the Constitutional mandate underlying the patent system, but it appears the current constitution of the Court is unconcerned with this outcome. Perhaps Chief Judge Woods of the Seventh Circuit was right after all.

What we have here isn’t an example of software patents and what’s noteworthy about it is that it demonstrates patent quality issues beyond the domain of software. The USPTO needs to think carefully how to better align with courts’ decisions rather than expect courts to bend in favour of Iancu’s “business model” — incidentally the subject of our next post.

Even Judge Gilstrap From Texas is Starting to Accept That Software Patents Are Invalid

Sunday 14th of October 2018 02:45:44 PM

Summary: Amid new lawsuits from Texas (e.g. against Citrix) we’re pleased to see that even “reprehensible” Rodney Gilstrap (that’s what US politicians call him [1, 2]) is learning to accept SCOTUS on 35 U.S.C. § 101

THE Federal Circuit and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) long ago accepted SCOTUS and began invalidating software patents en masse (2016 or 2017 was the turning point and this year new records are reached). Will the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) follow suit and stop granting such patents? We sure hope so. This doesn't seem promising though.

It’s clear that things have changed in a positive way when even the notorious Rodney Gilstrap is starting to understand that software patents are bunk. CAFC agrees of course. “The Federal Circuit on Tuesday affirmed U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap’s decision to invalidate seven mobile messaging patents that were asserted against Regal Cinemas, Baskin-Robbins, Edible Arrangements and the Culver’s restaurant,” Tiffany Hu wrote. Excellent!

We have meanwhile learned, however, courtesy of Triangle Business Journal (near Citrix), that Citrix got sued by what certainly sounds like another bogus patent lawsuits firms over bogus software patents. The plaintiff comes from Texas, home of Rodney Gilstrap.

It is no secret that Rodney Gilstrap made rulings the way he did in order to attract more litigation to his town; he said so himself. This means that justice itself had been compromised for business reasons and that’s not okay.

The sure thing is, in order to improve his record as a judge (fewer decisions overturned by a higher court), Rodney Gilstrap will need to ‘get with the programme’ and accept the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. It’s not going away, it’s here to stay.

Thankfully, this trend (as above) means fewer lawsuits in Texas and far fewer patent lawsuits overall.

TC Heartland, which soon turns 1.5 years old, contributed a great deal to this too. Watchtroll spins that as it usually does. “Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Comcast Highlights Attractiveness of Middle District of Florida for Patent Plaintiffs,” Watchtroll wrote four days ago, but that makes no sense because citing TC Heartland it looks like the patent lawsuit will be thrown out or relocated. TC Heartland is even explicitly mentioned as follows:

On August 1st, Fort Myers, FL-based over-the-top (OTT) Internet television provider WhereverTV filed a suit alleging patent infringement against Philadephia, PA-based telecommunications conglomerate Comcast Corporation. Despite the fact that Comcast is headquartered in Pennsylvania and the inventor listed on WhereverTV’s patent resides in Pennsylvania, the complaint was filed in the Middle District of Florida, a district which has been growing more attractive for parties filing patent infringement suits.

[...]

On September 18th, the defendants in this case filed a motion to dismiss Comcast for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue, along with a motion to dismiss WhereverTV’s suit for failure to state a claim. Comcast’s claim of improper venue relies on the U.S. Supreme Court standard set out in 2017’s TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands. Comcast argued that it is not incorporated in Florida nor does it have a regular and established place of business within the state, and thus doesn’t reside in the state for the purposes of the patent venue statute. As Leahu points out, this motion is specifically limited to the parent Comcast Corporation entity and not the other three defendants in the case. “The other three defendants are all registered in the State of Florida to transact business in Florida,” Leahu said, noting that Comcast filed an application in 2001 to withdraw from transacting business in Florida. “If a company files the appropriate paperwork to do business in the State of Florida and claims the benefit of doing business in the state, that’s one of the factors going towards the argument that they can be hauled into court in Florida in most cases.”

TC Heartland was also recalled by another site of patent maximalists a few days ago:

A new Docket Navigator report assesses the impact of TC Heartland on the most popular districts for patent litigation, the number of patent cases and which districts are being affected by venue challenges

The full extent of the influence of TC Heartland v Kraft on patent litigation in the US has been revealed by a Docket Navigator report. It analyses the 2017 US Supreme Court decision’s effects on a range of different areas…

The headline is a loaded one: “TC Heartland shook up venue choice, did it reduce US patent litigation too?”

It did.

The number of patent lawsuits in the US has collapsed, never mind where the lawsuits get filed (it’s harder to get the courts that advertise being biased, such as Gilstrap’s court). Moreover, if one looks at the total number of lawsuits, the difference over the years and the decline of Texas, then it makes things intuitively clear that lack of access to the likes of Gilstrap discouraged further litigation of this kind. Gilstrap ruled on a huge number of software patent and patent troll cases. This is why he is being mentioned so much and US politicians bothered mentioning him by name, dubbing him “reprehensible”.

Federal Circuit Doubles Down on User Interface Patents, Helps Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls Curtail the Prime Competitor of Microsoft Office

Sunday 14th of October 2018 01:29:12 PM


Dan Bricklin, photographed by Betsy Devine at a blogger brunch in Boston’s Chinatown 2/25/2007. Licence: CC BY 2.5

Summary: Patent trolls that are connected to Microsoft continue to sue Microsoft rivals using old patents; this time, for a change, even the Federal Circuit lets them get away with it

THE Federal Circuit (CAFC) with its current Chief Judge (Prost) is rather different from what it used to be. Perhaps it learned to accept that reversals by SCOTUS must end, not by means of changing SCOTUS itself but by getting rid of corrupt judges like Rader (he actually got caught).

Today’s CAFC is supportive of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) and typically affirms PTAB’s decisions — a topic we shall write about separately in view of newer/latest determinations. 35 U.S.C. § 101 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has enabled both PTAB and CAFC to rule out patents quite promptly, without having to engage in a lengthy process like search and assessment of prior art.

“Back in 1992,” Patently-O recalled for those who forgot, “Borland Software invented a tabbed spreadsheet for its Quattro Pro that was then copied by Excel, Google Sheets, and others. Today, the Federal Circuit finally found the patent claims enforceable (or at least patent eligible).”

Microsoft copied everyone, but nowadays it is suing everyone, including Corel.

Found initially via [1, 2, 3] was this article/blog post titled “Tabbed Spreadsheet — Patent Eligible”. It’s what Patently-O covered along/after the above tweet:

D.Delaware Judge Stark dismissed DET’s case on the pleadings — holding that the Borland/DET spreadsheet-tab patent claims were directed to abstract ideas. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has partially reversed — finding that some of the claims are directed toward “specific improved method for navigating through complex three-dimensional electronic spreadsheets” and thus are patent eligible. The decision here is authored by Judge STOLL and joined by Judges REYNA and BRYSON.

The patents at issue here basically cover the use of tabs in a spreadsheet document. You might be thinking – “WHAT I’VE BEEN USING TABS FOR 25 YEARS” — at least that is what I was thinking. The thing is that DET’s patents were invented by folks at Borland Software — baker of Quattro Pro — and claim priority back to 1992. BOOM! Microsoft came out with its tabbed version of Excel in 1993 following Borland’s release. Back then I used Quattro Pro – and tabs were awesome. The case here is against Google for its tabbed sheets.

As you’ll see below, the claims include a “notebook tab” — and that feature seems to be the key for patent eligibility. This aspect of the decision makes it fairly questionable.

I’ll note that this case may well fit into the IP case-books as a companion to the 1996 Supreme Court case on spreadsheet menu copyright. Lotus Dev. Corp. v. Borland Int’l, Inc., 516 U.S. 233 (1996).

“CAFC only exists to be reversed by SCOTUS,” Carlo Piana wrote about it (he became famous for his Samba lawyering).

Benjamin Henrion said: “Despite Alice, CAFC just founds “tabs in a spreadsheet” to be patent eligible. Software patents are back, specialized patent courts are dangerous, biased, populated by the patent establishment, and don’t want to listen http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/17-1135.Opinion.10-9-2018.pdf …”

“It’s actually not so unusual for CAFC,” I told Henrion, “as not too long ago they said OK to other GUI patents; not exactly the same as algorithms/callback functions…”

We wrote about this as recently as January. To Piana I said: “That was true when Rader, the corrupt man, was in charge. His successor is OK and CAFC improved…” (under Prost)

Paul Redmond Michel was also pretty bad (he still is), but unlike Rader he was not corrupt.

Since the above alludes to spreadsheets, noteworthy is also coverage about Microsoft’s ‘proxy’ Acacia. These patent trolls of Microsoft continue to sue Microsoft’s rivals using dubious software patents. To quote Law 360:

The Federal Circuit on Tuesday reversed a lower court’s invalidation of three patents asserted against Google LLC by a unit of patent licensing company Acacia Research Corp.

So a unit of a patent troll of Microsoft (Acacia Research Corp.) sued Google, Microsoft’s main rival in this sector. Patently-O revisited the subject, citing/mentioning Dan Bricklin (the so-called father of spreadsheets):

This week’s decision in DET v. GOOGLE focuses on patent eligibility of a muti-sheet spreadsheet displayed with notebook tabs. The case is reminiscent of a 2014 Patently-O post by Howard Skaist written in the still roiling wake of Alice and Mayo. In his post, Skaist considered ways that the inventor of VisiCalc (Dan Bricklin) might have claimed the computerized spreadsheet he first created in 1979.

[...]

In some pre-Bilski writing, Dan Bricklin explained why he didn’t actually try to patent the spreadsheet.

After Alice these patents would be null and void anyway. Microsoft insists that it wants "truce" (as recently as days ago), but here we have a Microsoft-connected troll attacking another OIN member, Google. OIN has no way/mechanism for dealing with intermediaries.

Let’s Hope Apple Defeats All the Abstract Patents That Are Leveraged Against It

Sunday 14th of October 2018 12:56:39 PM

Software patents disguised as “network provisioning” now?

Summary: Apple can be viewed as a strategic ‘ally’ against patents that threaten Android/Linux if one ignores all the patent battles the company started (and has since then settled) against Android OEMs

THE USPTO still grants patents far too easily, only for courts to repeatedly correct it by invalidating granted patents. Sometimes there’s a lot of money at stake, like Apple’s $234 million patent dispute with a university.

Last weekend we wrote about Apple‘s success in appealing the case [1, 2] for the Federal Circuit to deal with rather than the district court, which tends to be more lenient in terms of patent quality, much like the USPTO even in the post-Alice era. As one writer put it a fortnight ago:

A federal appeals court has ruled in Apple’s favor in a patent dispute with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The court ruling, initially spotted by Reuters, said that that Apple didn’t infringe on one of the university’s patents, overturning a prior ruling in the university’s favor that had fined Apple $234 million. Another $272 million was later added to that fine to account for Apple’s continued use of the patent, but that will presumably be thrown out now that the underlying judgment has been reversed.

We expect this case to be “DOA”, but at what cost (legal bills)? Meanwhile, the patent troll Uniloc strikes again, still focused on the same target, Apple, after Microsoft paid Uniloc. As a pro-Apple site put it last week, this is a new case:

Apple is again in the crosshairs of Uniloc, with the patent aggregator alleging the process by which iPhone and cellular-connected iPad and Apple Watch models infringes on owned intellectual property.

[...]

The ’616 patent changed hands to Uniloc’s main Luxembourg arm in 2017 and was duly assigned to Uniloc 2017 LLC in May of this year.

Uniloc alleges all iPhone models from iPhone 5 through iPhone XS Max and cellular connected iPads including fourth- and fifth-generation iPad models, all iPad mini versions, iPad Pro, first- and second-generation iPad Air models and Apple Watch Series 1 through 3 infringe on multiple patent claims.

Uniloc seeks unspecified damages, reimbursement of legal fees and other relief deemed fit by the court.

It would be a stretch to call Uniloc a Microsoft proxy because the two entities had lengthy and expensive court battles. The real danger here is that this troll, ‘fattened’ by Microsoft cash, may soon go after Android/Linux players. Unless Apple manages to squash the underlying patents and drive Uniloc to bankruptcy (out of funds). Uniloc isn’t a real company and there’s a reason why it operates through Luxembourg.

EPO Insider/Märpel Says President Campinos Already Acts Like Battistelli

Saturday 13th of October 2018 04:01:18 PM

Recent: It Wasn’t Judges With Weapons in Their Office, It Was Benoît Battistelli Who Brought Firearms to the European Patent Office (EPO)


Source

Summary: Unitary Patent (UPC) is a step towards making the EPO an EU institution like the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO); but it’s not making any progress and constitutional judges must realise that Campinos, chosen by Battistelli to succeed him, is just an empty mask

AS WE have just noted, software patents in Europe are being granted by the European Patent Office (EPO), but European courts will reject many of them. This is why lawyers hope to replace the courts themselves. The UPC is how they hope to accomplish this and rumours say that Benoît Battistelli wishes to become the UPC’s chief. Never mind his notorious reputation as judge, jury and executioner.

“This is why lawyers hope to replace the courts themselves. The UPC is how they hope to accomplish this and rumours say that Benoît Battistelli wishes to become the UPC’s chief. Never mind his notorious reputation as judge, jury and executioner.”There’s an article titled “An abundance of great jobs for Intellectual Property graduates” and it is dated “October 12, 2018″ (i.e. yesterday).

“The first accounts of intellectual property (IP) protection date back to ancient Greece. As such, the concept of inventiveness and investment in research,” the summary of this new article says. It mentions António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli in an effort to attract people to this suicide office which does not even hire anyway (there’s a hiring freeze). To quote:

“IP rights-intensive industries generate more than a quarter of employment and more than a third of economic activity in the European Union,” wrote António Campinos (then President of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)) and Benoît Battistelli (then President of the European Patent Office (EPO)) in a 2013 report titled, Intellectual property rights intensive industries: contribution to economic performance and employment in the European Union.

The employment of what? Lawyers? Europe needs science and technology, not more lawsuits. But lawyers view Europe’s needs differently…

Twice before the weekend Colm Murphy and Joe Ridout (Cooley LLP) published this ridiculous self-promotional piece [1, 2]. “Following Brexit,” it says, “European Patent Attorneys will be able to represent you in the Unitary Patent Court (UPC)…”

Putting aside uncertainty surrounding Brexit itself, that statement makes no sense because UPC is dead. Repeating lies again? Team UPC has clearly not grown tired (yet) of its famous two lies. From the relevant paragraph:

The UK Government plans to explore whether it is possible to participate in the proposed Unitary Patent System following Brexit. Following Brexit, European Patent Attorneys will be able to represent you in the Unitary Patent Court (UPC) [sic] irrespective of whether the UK signs up to the UPC or not.

They wrote “Unitary Patent Court (UPC),” but it’s Unified actually; so they’re clueless on what they write about, maybe just reusing what they saw written elsewhere. Can we trust a bunch of law firms that don’t even know the name of the court they lobby for? Ones who intentionally lie about various things in one single paragraph? Of course not. They used to also tell us that UPC was “for SMEs” — those standing to lose the most from UPC.

Imagine a liar like Battistelli in charge of such a system of ‘show trials’ (in a language the defendant does not even understand).

Let’s face it; nothing has really changed except the face. Campinos is just another Battistelli and not even the manners are better. As Märpel noted just before the weekend:

Märpel learned that President Campinos cancelled all travels yesterday, even travels already booked with applicants waiting at the other end. People were called back yesterday morning on their way to the airport.

The reasons behind that decision are not entirely clear. What is entirely clear, however, is that cancelling appointments at such short notice screams of lack of professionalism. When travels are arranged, the other end normally has invested time and efforts in arranging a meeting. Expenses need to be charged, authorizations need to be organized. Not coming at the latest moment is simply not done.

But President Campinos apparently does not care about manners. Reportedly, he had a fit about the budget and required everything to be re-authorized by him personally.

It appears that the Office managed to elect ANOTHER President capable of throwing a tantrum for the smalest [sic] of reasons.

Welcome the new boss; same as the old boss…

Quality of Patents Granted by the EPO is Still Low and Nobody Will Benefit Except Lawyers, Jubilant Over Growing Lenience on Software Patents

Saturday 13th of October 2018 03:18:10 PM

Get your money ready, there’s tax to be paid through law firms

Summary: Deterioration of patent quality at the EPO — a serious problem which examiners themselves are complaining about — is becoming rather evident as new guidelines are very lenient on software patenting

THE EPO under António Campinos — like the USPTO under Director Iancu — seems to have no concept or understanding of patent quality. Maybe they just fail to appreciate the importance of patent quality, instead assuming that the goal is to grant as many patents as possible, i.e. generate as many monopolies as possible, then — in turn — generating as many patent lawsuits as possible.

The issues associated with software patents in Europe have been covered here for a dozen years. We covered various court cases that dealt with such patents in Europe, including in the UK (Symbian was a famous case). Sara Moran at Kluwer Patent Blog has just highlighted what happens when some European patents or patents granted in Europe (not necessarily European Patents) turn out to be bogus, fake patents. “The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal filed by Cubist against the Patents Court decision that one of its patents relating to antibiotic daptomycin was invalid for obviousness,” she wrote. So nobody benefited from this case other than lawyers. It was a total waste of time.

European Patents (EPs) of Qualcomm were mentioned in this blog post just before the weekend: [via]

Munich I Regional Court throws out Qualcomm patent infringement lawsuit against Apple: no infringement

[...]

The Munich I Regional Court (“Landgericht München I” in German) just announced the first final judgment on a Qualcomm v. Apple patent infringement complaint anywhere in the world. Apple (and, by extension, Intel) fended off one of various Qualcomm patent infringement lawsuits.The court agreed with Apple’s claim construction.

A few months after the Federal Trade Commission of the United States and, in a separate case, Apple sued Qualcomm over antitrust and contract-related matters in January 2017, the San Diego-based company that dominates the market for cellular baseband chips started a patent infringement lawsuit campaign against the iPhone maker in the U.S., Germany, and China. Qualcomm wanted to kick off the German “rulings season” with a Mannheim injunction–and got a Munich rejection.

A three-judge panel–composed of Judge Dr. Schoen (“Schön” in German), who filled in for Presiding Judge Dr. Zigann at last week’s trial, and Judges Klein and Schmitz–held that Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus do not infringe Qualcomm’s European patent EP1199750 on a “post[-]passivation interconnection scheme on top of [an] IC chip.”

In a follow-up related to this (Qualcomm, albeit in the US with Nokia‘s support) the same blog said: [via]

While Qualcomm’s patent infringement lawsuits against Apple (and, by extension Intel) are merely a sideshow to the antitrust matters pending on three continents, let’s start with a brief follow-up to yesterday’s Munich judgment. The court has meanwhile, thankfully, provided a redacted copy of the decision. I’ve read it, and the most interesting part is that Qualcomm had submitted two expert reports in support of its claim construction, while Apple had provided only one, but the deficiencies of Qualcomm’s reports were massive while Apple’s expert provided instructive, helpful information. I’ll publish a translation of the relevant passages soon.

Meanwhile, Judge Lucy H. Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California has granted the Federal Trade Commission of the United States permission to file a reply to Nokia’s recent amicus curiae brief in support of Qualcomm with respect to the FTC’s motion for partial summary judgment regarding Qualcomm’s obligation to extend FRAND licenses to its cellular standard-essential patents (SEPs) to rival chipset makers. In its reply brief in support of its motion (that post also contained a link to Nokia’s brief), the FTC had already reserved the right to request leave to file such a reply since Nokia’s brief was filed just on the eve of the FTC’s reply to Qualcomm’s opposition.

FRAND and standard-essential patents (SEPs) are highly detrimental in the domain of software as they’re inherently not compatible with Free/libre Open Source software (FOSS/FLOSS). The EPO doesn’t care however. Under the leadership of Campinos the EPO promotes software patents more often than ever before. It’s rather disturbing to watch their Twitter account. From yesterday alone we have two different tweets (if not more) that implicitly advocate software patents in Europe. First we have Battistelli’s French “economist” (i.e. pseudo-’scientist’) promoting software patents using familiar buzzwords. “For the patent system,” it says, “the Fourth Industrial Revolution has opened up a new era. For more from our Chief Economist’s recent speech on the topic, click here: http://bit.ly/AIpatents”

This, in turn, links to the “AI” nonsense (buzzwords that can refer to just about any algorithm). Once again, on the same day, the EPO promoted such patents under the guise of “AI”. To quote the tweet: “What are the main challenges in drafting patent applications for AI-related inventions? Our panel of experts discussed: http://bit.ly/AIconf”

Suffice to say, this is against the rules of the EPO (or the EPC), but they bypass the rules and break the laws without any implications. European politicians don’t seem to care.

Meanwhile, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s Jonathan Turnbull, Krishna Kakkaiyadi and Julie Chiu published this piece titled “EPO publishes 2018 revision of Guidelines for Examination directed to computer-implemented inventions” (what the EPO calls software patents). To quote:

The EPO has recently published the 2018 revision to its Guidelines for Examination, which are generally updated annually to take into account developments in patent law and practice. For a complete list of sections that have been amended this year, please see the EPO’s website here. These new Guidelines will come into effect on 1 November 2018.

Notably, some of the key updates this year concern Part G, Chapter II, 3.3-3.7: these provisions outline the exceptions to patentability under Article 52 of the European Patent Convention (“EPC“), including mathematical methods, business methods and programs for computers. Claims directed to such subject matter would normally not be patentable, but the updated Guidelines elaborate on the types of claims which still might be eligible for patenting, and provide concrete examples of such eligible claims.

[...]

Nevertheless, these developments have to be seen alongside the other efforts being taken by the EPO in ensuring that European patent law remains suitable and robust to tackle computer-implemented inventions. In May 2018, the EPO held (for the first time) a conference on patenting Artificial Intelligence and soon after, in June 2018, the heads of the five largest patent offices (USPTO, EPO, JPO, the Korean patent Office and the State Intellectual Property office in China) re-emphasised the impact of AI on the patent system as one of their “main strategic priorities“. In December 2018, the EPO will host a conference on the patenting of blockchain-based inventions.

These recent developments are indicative of the EPO’s proactive response towards the changing technological landscape, and a willingness to engage with and potentially grant patents for computer-implemented inventions such as AI- or blockchain-enabled technologies if they meet the applicable criteria.

So the EPO lost all legitimacy on patent scope. Quite flagrantly it ignores the European Patent Convention and disregards a European directive. The EPO is just above the law. They openly tell candidates for examination (of which there are none; there’s a permanent hiring freeze) or current examiners (while they last or manage to survive) to grant such patents and they just say to applicants that it they include terms like “AI” or “blockchain” or some other nonsense, then they’ll be granted a patent on algorithms.

This isn’t even a legacy of Battistelli alone; had Campinos shown interest in genuine patent quality (never mind actually obeying the rules and the law), he would stop this, not accelerate it as he does.

In the interests of ‘production’ (low quality of patents as priority) the EPO further limits access to facts, to oppositions, to appeals etc.

Joanna Rowley (Haseltine Lake LLP) has just published this article:

New EPO Guidelines On The Issuance Of A Summons To Oral Proceedings As The First Action In Examination

A summons to oral proceedings before the Examining Division is usually only issued after at least one examination report – if not several – has been issued. However, last year the EPO revised the Guidelines for Examination to state that the Division may issue a summons to oral proceedings as the first action in examination after issuance of the extended European search report, albeit only in exceptional cases.

So they cut some more corners, except “in exceptional cases.”

Great resurgence of patent quality or just further deterioration (which also makes more staff redundant)? Remember that examiners’ contracts are now time-limited, so not even layoffs per se are needed; Campinos can just patiently wait for their work contract to expire (unless they leave earlier or get fired under strange circumstances, as some do).

Not only software patents are the problem; the EPO also continues to double down on patents on nature. Want beer? Sorry, that’s patented. The beer and the seeds it’s made from. Under Campinos this disturbing policy was recently reaffirmed and there’s this new article about a ‘compromise’:

A second patent granted to Carlsberg and Heineken related to conventionally-bred barley has been reduced in scope by the European Patent Office (EPO).

The patent, which covered conventionally-bred barley, its usage in brewing and the resulting beer, and is now restricted to plants with a specific mutation which can influence the content of these flavours.

This is the second patent of this type that has been reduced in scope by the EPO following pressure from lobbying groups.

So they still allow patents on life and nature; as if people invent nature by manipulating it a little.

100 Days Into the Term of Campinos There is Already an EPO Suicide

Saturday 13th of October 2018 02:23:09 PM

Summary: A seventh known suicide at the EPO since the so-called ‘reforms’ began; the EPO continues to pretend that everything is changing for the better, but in reality it’s yet more nepotism and despotism

IT was with sadness, albeit not shock, that yesterday we learned that the seventh EPO suicide (in recent years) had happened days ago. It’s one among many, albeit the first under the new President. Remember what Bergot said about such suicides. She is still the EPO‘s head of HR, even under António Campinos.

The first report came from Märpel, who yesterday wrote:

Märpel learned that a staff member committed suicide in The Hague earlier this week. That person worked in formalities.

[...]

Management simply wants to get rid of formalities, expecting computers to replace them, while we have several incompatible procedures (EPC, PCT…) and any mistake bears legal consequences. It is a disaster in the making.

High salaries do not mean happiness and don’t guarantee safety. Money does not buy happiness. Many at the EPO aren’t desperate for money either (they’re well educated), they just want respect and dignity. The EPO cannot offer that anymore.

“The managers don’t like to discuss such matters, definitely not with the German media, whom they threatened for bringing it up.”Suffice to say, the EPO won’t say a word about the above (except perhaps internally). The managers don’t like to discuss such matters, definitely not with the German media, whom they threatened for bringing it up.

The EPO has meanwhile issued yet another press release (warning: epo.org link), binding together the three announcements of appointments and tweeting about it. To quote:

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation has appointed Stephen Rowan (UK), Christoph Ernst (Germany) and Nellie Simon (Austria) as the next vice-presidents of the European Patent Office (EPO). The appointments were made at a meeting of the Administrative Council chaired by its Deputy Chairman, Josef Kratochvíl. The three new vice-presidents will take up their positions on 1 January 2019 for a period of five years.

This means that Christoph Ernst, who ‘bosses’ Campinos even in the next meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, will a fortnight later become his deputy. Christoph Ernst was never much of a ‘boss’ to Battistelli and under Campinos it couldn’t be any more obvious that the Office now runs the Administrative Council (it should have been the other way around).

Press coverage has thus far been as shallow as expected (the above conflict among others isn’t brought up all).

UKIPO is proud to have sent someone to the EPO — proud enough to have issued this puff piece. Intellectual Property Watch copy-pasted the press release. It was posted by William New, who did a selfie with Campinos last month. He has published this introduction:

The new vice-presidents are: Stephen Rowan (UK), Christoph Ernst (Germany) and Nellie Simon (Austria). They will take office on 1 January for five years. The selection was made at a meeting of the EPO Administrative Council.

EPO President Antonio Campinos was in Geneva during the recent World Intellectual Property Organization annual General Assemblies, and was seen with representatives of the UK delegation, as he was said to support the candidacy of Rowan.

Simon takes over for the embattled Željko Topić of Croatia, who faced accusations from his home country throughout his EPO tenure.

Another site focused on Ernst:

The European Patent Office (EPO) Administrative Council has appointed Christoph Ernst as vice president of the office’s Directorate General legal and international affairs.

Ernst, who is currently head of Directorate at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection succeeds Raimund Lutz and will begin his role on 1 January 2019.

Why not mention the absurdity of one’s boss becoming one’s assistant? Was he just a phantom boss all along? JUVE’s Amy Sandys and Konstanze Richte also wrote about Ernst, but it’s all in German. World Intellectual Property Review said:

UK-based Stephen Rowan, Christoph Ernst from Germany and Austria-based Nellie Simon were all appointed as vice presidents at an Administrative Council (AC) meeting.

Rowan, Ernst and Simon will take up their new positions on January 1, 2019 for a five-year tenure.

The news comes after António Campinos took up the reins as president of the EPO in July.

No investigation whatsoever. It’s like an edit job (of the press releases). And nobody other than Märpel has yet mentioned the suicide, which is actually relevant and worth reporting on (while preserving privacy) because of the history associated with EPO suicides.

Links 13/10/2018: Ubuntu Touch OTA-5, MidnightBSD 1.0 Ready

Saturday 13th of October 2018 11:58:45 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Windows 10 Version 1809 Cumulative Update KB4464330 Causes BSODs

      Windows 10 cumulative update KB4464330 for version 1809, as well as cumulative update KB4462919 for the April Update (version 1803), are both pushing a number of HP systems into a BSOD loop, with no easy method to go back to a functional desktop.

    • Pixelbook vs. Pixel Slate: Which Chrome OS Device is the Better Choice?

      As expected, Google announced its first house-branded Chrome OS tablet, the Pixel Slate, a few days ago. It looks like a great device, but how does it compare to the Pixelbook when it comes to a high-end Chrome OS machine?

      Before we get into the comparison, it’s probably worth talking about what this means for current Pixelbook owners. To put it plainly, if you already have a Pixelbook there’s very little reason to consider getting a Slate—it isn’t even an upgrade, but more of a lateral movement from the Pixelbook. It’s an incredibly similar device in a slightly different package.

    • Samsung’s Updated Chromebook Plus V2 Adds LTE Connectivity to an Already-Great Device

      The premium Chromebook market has exploded over the last couple of years, and Samsung helped push that charge with the Chromebook Pro and Plus. It recently revamped the Plus model with updated internals, and now it’s adding LTE to that platform.

      If you’re not familiar with the Chromebook Plus, here’s a bit of backstory for you. The original Chromebook Plus was launched at CES in 2017 alongside the Chromebook Pro. Samsung has since revamped the Plus hardware with an updated processor for improved performance, calling this new version the Chromebook Plus V2. Super original.

  • Server
    • [Older] Cockpit 180

      Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 180.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
    • Destination Linux EP91 – CoC A Doodle Do

      On this special episode of Destination Linux, we are joined by a friend of the show, Liam from GamingonLinux.com to discuss the hottest topics in Linux Gaming! We also cover some interesting discussion topics about Security, Linus’s response to the community reactions, big mistakes we’ve made as Linux users, and Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s new project Solid. Then we’ll end the show with our Tips, Tricks and Software Spotlight picks. All that and much more!

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.14 LTSI Kernel Released For Longer-Term Support

      The Linux Foundation LTSI initiative has finished baking its first Linux 4.14-based kernel for longer-term support.

      LTSI is the Long-Term Support Initiative hosted by the Linux Foundation that’s focused on longer-term kernel support for the likes of consumer electronics. LTSI is apart from the long-term kernels maintained as well by Greg KH and other stakeholders.

      Previously LTSI had been tracking the Linux 4.9 kernel and before that Linux 4.1, Linux 3.14, 3.10, 3.4, and 3.0.

    • LTSI-4.14 is now released
    • Linux Foundation
    • Graphics Stack
      • Ubuntu’s Bring-Up Of NVIDIA’s Driver With Mir Continues

        The Ubuntu developers continuing to work on the Mir display server stack have made headway in their NVIDIA driver enablement effort.

        The code isn’t yet merged nor even ready to be merged, but they at least have got the NVIDIA proprietary driver working with Mir to the extent that EGL clients are working, rendering is working without major issues, it doesn’t regress the stack for the non-NVIDIA drivers, etc.

      • XDC2019 X.Org / Mesa / Wayland Conference To Be Hosted In Montreal

        The X.Org Foundation Board of Directors decided today that their next annual X.Org/Mesa/Wayland conference will be held in Montreal, Canada.

        X.Org decided to head up to Quebec, Canada for next year’s X.Org conference after the successful XDC2018 held last month in Spain. Those bidding to be the XDC2019 host city were between Montreal and Hutchinson in Minnesota.

      • AMD Posts Latest Open-Source Linux Patches For FreeSync / Adaptive-Sync / VRR

        One of the few features not yet provided by the mainline open-source Radeon Linux graphics driver will soon be crossed off the list… FreeSync / Adaptive-Sync / HDMI Variable Refresh Rate support.

        It’s been a heck of a long time coming to say the least, but last month AMD began posting new patches for VRR / Adaptive-Sync / FreeSync for their open-source Linux graphics driver. Part of the reason why it’s taken so long getting to this point was reaching a consensus with the Intel Linux graphics driver developers and other Linux DRM stakeholders over the design/properties to use in exposing this functionality to user-space so eventually other Linux graphics drivers can choose to implement this support similarly.

      • NVIDIA Accelerates Server Workloads with RAPIDS GPU Software

        GPUs, or Graphics Process Units, are somewhat of a misnomer in the modern age for many of the applications where there are deployed. While GPUs are an important component for graphics, high-end gaming and design, they are also being widely used to accelerate High Performance Computing (HPC) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) workloads.

        This week, NVIDIA announced its RAPIDS open source software for GPUs, alongside multiple partners, including Oracle, HPE and IBM.

      • Open Source RAPIDS GPU Platform to Accelerate Predictive Data Analytics

        Today NVIDIA announced a GPU-acceleration platform for data science and machine learning, with broad adoption from industry leaders, that enables even the largest companies to analyze massive amounts of data and make accurate business predictions at unprecedented speed.

      • NVIDIA Makes Big Push Into GPU-Powered Analytics with Open-Source Software

        Known as RAPIDS, the suite was developed over the past two years by NVIDIA, along with a handful of other open source contributors. It encompasses GPU support for not just conventional analytics, but also machine learning (including deep learning), graph analytics, stream processing, and eventually visualization. RAPIDS is aimed at the data science crowd, that is, researchers, engineers, and other developers looking to make the most out of their datasets – both literally and figuratively.

        The aim is to draw businesses and other organizations away from their dependency on CPUs for their analytics and machine learning workloads. These encompass such mission-critical applications as credit card fraud detection, retail inventory forecasts, and customer purchasing prediction, each one of these represents billions of dollars to the economy. Credit card fraud alone cost companies over $20 billion globally in 2015.

      • BlazingDB announces BlazingSQL , a GPU SQL Engine for NVIDIA’s open source RAPIDS

        The BlazingDB team announced a new and free version of BlazingDB’s query execution engine for RAPIDS open-source software by NVIDIA, called BlazingSQL, yesterday.

        BlazingSQL provides query datasets from enterprise Data Lakes directly into GPU memory as a GPU DataFrame (GDF). GPU DataFrame (GDF) is a project that offers support for interoperability between GPU applications. It also defines a common GPU in-memory data layer.

      • Shooting The Machine Learning Rapids With Open Source

        There are a lot of different kinds of machine learning, and some of them are not based exclusively on deep neural networks that learn from tagged text, audio, image, and video data to analyze and sometimes transpose that data into a different form. In the business world, companies have to work with numbers, culled from interactions with millions or billions of customers, and providing GPU acceleration for this style of machine learning is just as vital as the types mentioned above.

      • Machine learning gets more open source wins from Microsoft and Nvidia
      • Intel Whiskey Lake Support Formally Added To Mesa 18.3

        The recently posted patch for Intel Whiskey Lake support in Mesa has now been merged for Mesa 18.3.

        Intel announced Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake in late August. While Intel is usually many months or even years ahead of schedule with their open-source driver enablement for new graphics generations, Whiskey Lake basically comes down to re-branded Coffeelake UHD Graphics… Some of the PCI IDs in fact have already been present in the Intel Linux driver as reserved Coffeelake PCI IDs.

    • Benchmarks
      • A Look At The Windows 10 October 2018 Update Performance With WSL

        As the first of our Linux vs. Windows benchmarks coming around Microsoft’s Windows 10 October 2018 Update, today we are exploring the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) performance to see if they have finally managed to improve the I/O performance for this Linux binary compatibility layer and how the WSL performs compared to Ubuntu and Clear Linux.

        For those that have missed my previous rounds of Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) benchmarking, this Linux binary compatibility layer for Windows is surprisingly performant for most workloads… Microsoft all around has done a surprisingly good job on WSL with its support and performance. The big exception to the strong WSL performance though has been for I/O workloads struggling a great deal due to WSL needing to track the various meta-data separately, backing the I/O by their long-standing NTFS file-system, and other complications between Linux/Windows I/O handling. But they continue to express they are working on improving the I/O performance and as such I was anxious to see if there are any improvements with this October 2018 Update.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Happy birthday, KDE: 11 applications you never knew existed

        The Linux desktop environment KDE celebrates its 22nd anniversary on October 14 this year. There are a gazillion* applications created by the KDE community of users, many of which provide fun and quirky services. We perused the list and picked out 11 applications you might like to know exist.

      • LaKademy 2018 – First Day (October 11th)

        LaKademy 2018 has started!

        It is happening in the city of Florianópolis in Brazil. It is being a nice opportunity for me to meet some other KDE contributors from Latin America. We are discussing ideas for KDE in Latin America and everybody is working on something related to the community.

      • Kdenlive 18.08.2 released

        Kdenlive 18.08.2 is out bringing usability improvements and a crash fix. The Windows version is also becoming more stable with every release and this version brings fixes to the translation installation and the introduction of a crash report.

        In other news, the Refactoring is moving steadily ahead and we will release a wider test beta version soon, stay tuned. Also the refactoring branch is now building automatically on KDE’s automated integration system (CI), and all the regressions tests pass. This means that after each change to the source code, the CI will run the tests to check that no regression happens. On the sysadmin front we are cleaning up our bug tracker in preparation for the 18.12 release.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GNOME 3.32 Desktop Environment Development Kicks Off, First Milestone Is Out Now

        Work on the GNOME 3.32 desktop environment begun a few weeks ago after the launch of the GNOME 3.30 “Almeria” desktop environment last month, which is currently hitting the stable software repositories of some of the most popular GNU/Linux distributions. GNOME 3.32 will be developed under the GNOME 3.31.x umbrella for the next six months, until its March 13, 2019, launch.

        GNOME 3.31.1 is now available as the first development milestone towards the final GNOME 3.32 desktop environment. Being the first development snapshot, GNOME 3.31.1 brings only a few updated core components and apps, without any notable changes, except for the removal of the application menus feature, as we reported earlier this week.

      • GNOME 3.31.1 Released As The First Step Towards GNOME 3.32
      • GNOME’s Nautilus Gets Better Google Drive Support, Warns About Security Risks

        The GNOME 3.30 desktop environment is about to get its last scheduled point release, version 3.30.2, which should hit the streets later this month on October 24, and it looks like the Nautilus app was already updated to version 3.30.2, a bugfix release that adds quite a few improvements to the popular file manager.

        According to the internal changelog, Nautilus 3.30.2 improves support for opening files stored on Google Drive accounts, improves searching by addressing various crashes, fixes the triple mouse click gesture in the pathbar to minimize the main window, as well as the “/” and “~” characters not opening the location bar.

      • The future of AlternateTab, and why you need not worry

        Any time someone publishes a “The top n GNOME Shell extensions” article, there’s a fair chance that it will include the AlternateTab extension.

        That is a bit sad to be honest. Not because it would be wrong for users to prefer a more traditional switcher, mind you, but because the actual functionality has been built-in for years — all the extension does is intercept one keyboard shortcut and pretend that it was a different keyboard shortcut.

      • GDA 6.0 progress

        GDA project has released 5.2.5 and tagged 5.2.6, with some improvements, but the real work is on master.

        Master is targeting 6.0, a new ABI/API release, providing better GObject Introspection support and code modernization.

        A new Meson build system is on the way to replace Autotools. Meson helped to implement, fix and test all changes in less time. Like on multi-threading, where is more easy to produce multiple parallel tests, helping to expose issues to fix. Master have big improvement on that matter.

  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • MakuluLinux LinDoz New Build is Live

        The Latest ISO of Makulu Lindoz is now available for download, This build mainly addresses issues some users had with installing Lindoz onto a Virtual machine. Previously we had Squashfs problems when booting live mode on Virtual machines, this bug has now been fixed.

    • Arch Family
      • 10 Reasons to Use Manjaro Linux

        Manjaro Linux has been trending in Linux communities and even beyond for over a year now. One, for its beauty, and two, for its success at simplifying many of the overly-technical aspects in Arch Linux e.g. installation.

        If you are among those on the fence and aren’t sure of why you should switch to using Manjaro Linux then here are 10 reasons to convince you.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • binb 0.0.3: Now with Monash

          The third release of the binb package just arrived on CRAN, and it comes with a new (and very crispy) theme: Monash. With that we are also thrilled to welcome Rob Hyndman as a co-author.

        • Google Summer of code at Debian Final Report

          Virtual LTSP server project automates installation and configuration of LTSP server with vagrant. It is the easiest way to create LTSP setup. We have developed the project to do the same for Linux mint 19 and Debian 9. We also created several scripts for testing, create ltsp client, manage accounts, etc. Also created packer scripts to create vagrant boxes that we will use in the project.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Is Now in Final Freeze, Launches October 18

            With just one week left until the final release, Ubuntu 18.10, dubbed Cosmic Cuttlefish, has reached the final step in its development cycle, Final Freeze. This means that from this point until the final release only critical bugs that affect the ISO images or installers are admitted in the archives.

            Of course, the Ubuntu engineers would need community’s help to test the ISO images before they hit the stable channels, so they are working on releasing the Release Candidate (RC) images in the coming days on the official ISO tracker for Ubuntu and probably all other official flavors.

          • Firefox ESR 60 availability on Ubuntu

            Mozilla Release Engineering created a special customised packaging of the Ubuntu version of Firefox intended for our enterprise partners of Canonical. This is particularly useful if partners decide they need to apply policies to Firefox for an install base they administer. This Extended Support Release (ESR) is similar in concept to the Ubuntu LTS releases. This nominated version of Firefox, released to a specific cadence, will be given additional maintenance over and above the regular more frequent releases. The ESR release will get support for approximately one year. It will have an overlap period with the next ESR of 12 weeks, which gives users a window to upgrade to the latest ESR and ensures they are always on a supported version. Like Ubuntu LTS releases, Mozilla is selective about what patches/fixes/updates get backported to the ESR version.

          • Firefox ESR 60 availability on Ubuntu

            Mozilla Release Engineering created a special customised packaging of the Ubuntu version of Firefox intended for our enterprise partners of Canonical. This is particularly useful if partners decide they need to apply policies to Firefox for an install base they administer. This Extended Support Release (ESR) is similar in concept to the Ubuntu LTS releases. This nominated version of Firefox, released to a specific cadence, will be given additional maintenance over and above the regular more frequent releases. The ESR release will get support for approximately one year. It will have an overlap period with the next ESR of 12 weeks, which gives users a window to upgrade to the latest ESR and ensures they are always on a supported version. Like Ubuntu LTS releases, Mozilla is selective about what patches/fixes/updates get backported to the ESR version.

          • Firefox ESR 60 availability on Ubuntu

            Mozilla Release Engineering created a special customised packaging of the Ubuntu version of Firefox intended for our enterprise partners of Canonical. This is particularly useful if partners decide they need to apply policies to Firefox for an install base they administer. This Extended Support Release (ESR) is similar in concept to the Ubuntu LTS releases. This nominated version of Firefox, released to a specific cadence, will be given additional maintenance over and above the regular more frequent releases. The ESR release will get support for approximately one year. It will have an overlap period with the next ESR of 12 weeks, which gives users a window to upgrade to the latest ESR and ensures they are always on a supported version. Like Ubuntu LTS releases, Mozilla is selective about what patches/fixes/updates get backported to the ESR version.

          • Firefox ESR 60 Is Now Available on Ubuntu as a Snap, Here’s How to Install It

            Every six weeks, a new major Firefox release hits the streets, and it’s soon available in the Ubuntu repositories, but thanks to Canonical’s Snappy technologies, users now have access to the latest ESR versions of Firefox too, which are mostly intended for the company’s enterprise partners who want long-term supported Firefox release.

            “The ESR version of Firefox is aimed at corporations who want to have more control over the version of Firefox their employees have installed,” said Canonical in a blog post. “Mozilla recommends that users stay on the Rapid Release version if they wish the newest product features offered by Firefox.”

          • Plex arrives in Canonical’s Snap Store

            Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, today announces Plex as a Snap, bringing the over-the-top (OTT) media service to millions of Linux users via the ever-expanding Snap Store. Plex is a top-rated streaming media company with apps and content customised to fit users’ personal preferences and needs.

          • Fresh Snaps from September 2018

            Another month passes, and we’ve got a collection of interesting applications that came to our attention (Twitter feed) during September 2018. We have a mix of developer tools, languages, password management, productivity tools and some fun too. Take a look down the list, and discover something new today.

          • Canonical Announces Plex as a Snap, DuckDuck Go Reaches 30 Million Direct Searches a Day, Purism’s Librem 5 Phone to Ship with GNOME 3.32 Desktop, Libre Computer Project Launches the La Frite SBC and Google Releases Oboe

            Canonical yesterday announced that Plex has arrived in its Snap Store. You now can download the multimedia platform as a snap for Ubuntu, KDE Neon, Debian, Fedora, Manjaro, OpenSUSE and Zorin. For more details, see the Ubuntu Blog.

          • Plex virtualises its way on to Linux as a Canonical Snap

            STREAMING YOUR favourite shows with Linux just got a lot easier after Canonical announced Plex as a Snap.

            The popular platform allows users to combine their own files with streamed ones from a series of channels has been available in a variety of formats, but the arrival of a universal (almost) Linux version will open up a system that goes beyond their desktop, thanks to the server aspect, which will make media accessible from anywhere.

            Additionally, with the right hardware, it can be turned into a DVR.

            “When it comes to media, today’s consumers want instant access and choice without the fuss. Plex is the ideal platform to cater to their needs, and we’re thrilled to welcome them to the Snaps ecosystem”, said Jamie Bennett, VP of Engineering, Devices & IoT at Canonical.

          • Plex media streaming platform is now available as a snap on Linux

            Canonical has announced that Plex, the media streaming platform, is now available as a snap package which means that it is easy to install and update on most Linux distributions which support snap packages including Ubuntu. By bundling Plex as a snap, the developers of the software can bundle any dependencies and push updates automatically ensuring users are always on the latest version.

          • Plex for Linux now available as a Snap

            Microsoft is having a terrible time lately. Sometimes it feels like the company wants to sabotage itself. The most recent debacle is its flagship product — Windows 10 — deleting user files. Even worse, the company ignored user feedback that it was happening! Quite frankly, after such a scary thing, I am not sure how people can trust Microsoft’s operating system with important data.

            Thankfully, you do not have to use Windows. These days, it is easier than ever to use Linux instead. There are plenty of great apps available for operating systems like Ubuntu, Fedora, and more. Canonical’s containerized Snap packaging makes it even simpler to both install Linux apps and keep them updated. Today, a very popular app, Plex Media Server, gets the Snap treatment. In other words, you can install the media server program without any headaches — right from the Snap store!

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-5

            Right on the heels of UBport’s OTA-4 release comes the official 16.04 version of Ubuntu Touch for mobile devices. This will be the fifth Over The Air update (OTA-5), and it will also be the first of many updates that now adhere to a regular release roadmap.

            While many have already joined the community on 16.04 with OTA-4, in addition to the long-term support of upstream Ubuntu development, OTA-5 will include a more stable experience, new tweaks, and new features to show off this next stage of Ubuntu Touch development.

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-5 Is Being Prepped With New Browser, Qt Auto Scaling

            The UBports community that continues to maintain Ubuntu Touch for a range of mobile devices will soon be rolling out Ubuntu Touch OTA-5.

            Ubuntu Touch OTA-5 is bringing its new “Morph” web-browser powered by Qt WebEngine to replace the old Oxide-based browser application, support for Qt automatic scaling, Kirigami 2 support, and new community artwork.

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-5 Is Out for Ubuntu Phones with New Morph Browser, Improvements

            The UBports community announced today that they begin work on the next OTA (Over-the-Air) update for the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system for Ubuntu Phone devices.

            With the Ubuntu Touch OTA-4 finally rebasing the mobile OS on the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series, the UBports team can now concentrate their efforts on bringing more new features and improvements, which will land in the upcoming Ubuntu Touch OTA-5 release.

            “While many have already joined the community on 16.04 with OTA-4, in addition to the long-term support of upstream Ubuntu development, OTA-5 will include a more stable experience, new tweaks, and new features to show off this next stage of Ubuntu Touch,” reads today’s announcement.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Brings Cosmic Cuttlefish to the Linux Desktop
          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E31 – Thirty-One Dates in Thirty-One Days

            This week Ubuntu Podcast debuts on Spotify and re-embraces Mastodon. We’ve been unboxing the GPD Pocket 2 and building a Clockwork Pi. We discuss Plex releasing as a Snap, Microsoft joining the OIN, Minecraft open-sourcing some libraries, Google axing Google+, Etcher (allegedly) not honouring privacy settings, plus we also round up community news and events.

          • OpenStack Summit Berlin 2018

            Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, is excited to reveal that it will be a headline sponsor at the OpenStack Summit in Berlin.

            The OpenStack Summit has proven itself to be the leading event in open infrastructure, bringing together the builders and operators for sessions and workshops on containers, CI/CD, telecom & NFV, public cloud, multi-cloud and much more.

            Ubuntu is at the heart of the world’s largest OpenStack clouds, in key sectors such as finance, media, retail and telecoms. With Ubuntu the number one platform for OpenStack and public clouds, Canonical is a leader in building and operating multi-clouds.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Dropping commercial open source lowers PaaS costs at Fidelity [Ed: Cliff Saran still cannot tell the difference between "commercial" and "proprietary"]

    Fidelity International has made considerable savings by switching from a commercially supported distribution of Cloud Foundry to the free open source version.

  • Guarda makes available 15 open-source mobile crypto wallets

    Guarda, a custody free blockchain asset security and technology company today announced that it has made available now on GitHub 15 open-source cryptocurrency mobile Android SPV wallets for your disposal.

  • source{d} Engine: A Simple, Elegant Way to Analyze your Code

    From minute one, using source{d} Engine was an easy, efficient process. I ran source{d} Engine chiefly on a virtual machine running Ubuntu 14.04 but also installed it on MacOS and Ubuntu 16.04 for comparison purposes. On all three, install was completely painless, although the Ubuntu versions seemed to run slightly faster. The source{d} Engine documentation is accurate and thorough. It correctly warned me that the first time initializing the engine would take a fair amount of time so I was prepared for the wait. I did have to debug a few errors, all relating to my having a previous SQL instance running so some more thorough troubleshooting documentation might be warranted.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Slimmer and simpler static atoms

        In Firefox’s code we use the term atom rather than intern, and atom table rather than string intern pool. I don’t know why; those names have been used for a long time.

        Furthermore, Firefox distinguishes between static atoms, which are those that are chosen at compile time and can be directly referred to via an identifier, and dynamic atoms, which are added on-demand at runtime. This post is about the former.

      • Home Monitoring with Things Gateway 0.6

        When it comes to smart home devices, protecting the safety and security of your home when you aren’t there is a popular area of adoption. Traditional home security systems are either completely offline (an alarm sounds in the house, but nobody is notified) or professionally monitored (with costly subscription services). Self monitoring of your connected home therefore makes sense, but many current smart home solutions still require ongoing service fees and send your private data to a centralised cloud service.

      • WebRender newsletter #25

        As usual, WebRender is making rapid progress. The team is working hard on nailing the remaining few blockers for enabling WebRender in Beta, after which focus will shift to the Release blockers. It’s hard to single out a particular highlight this week as the majority of bugs resolved were very impactful.

      • DevEdition 63 Beta 14 Testday, October 12th

        We are happy to let you know that Friday, October 12th, we are organizing Firefox 63 Beta 14 Testday. We’ll be focusing our testing on: Flash Compatibility and Block Autoplay V2.

      • Mozilla B-Team: happy bmo push day!Mozilla B-Team: happy bmo push day!
      • Mozilla B-Team: happy bmo push day (last friday)
      • Firefox removes core product support for RSS/Atom feeds

        from Firefox 64 onwards, RSS/Atom feed support will be handled via add-ons, rather than in-product.

        [...]

        By virtue of being baked into the core of Firefox, these features have long had outsized maintenance and security costs relative to their usage. Making sure these features are as well-tested, modern and secure as the rest of Firefox would take a surprising amount of engineering work, and unfortunately the usage of these features does not justify such an investment: feed previews and live bookmarks are both used in around 0.01% of sessions.

        As one example of those costs, “live bookmarks” use a very old, very slow way to access the bookmarks database, and it would take a lot of time and effort to bring it up to the performance standards we expect from Quantum. Likewise, the feed viewer has its own “special” XML parser, distinct from the main Firefox one, and has not had a significant update in styling or functionality in the last seven years. The engineering work we’d need to bring these features, in their current states, up to modern standards is complicated by how few automated tests there are for anything in this corner of the codebase.

      • Firefox Reality 1.0.1 – with recline mode

        Firefox Reality 1.0.1 is now available for download in the Viveport, Oculus, and Daydream app stores. This is a minor point release, focused on fixing several performance issues and adding crash reporting UI and (thanks to popular request!) a reclined viewing mode.

      • Pocket’s Updated Listening Feature Effectively Turns Web Pages into Podcasts

        The read-it-later service has been focused on convenience and entertainment since Mozilla acquired it last year. Previous updates to the app introduced sponsored and recommended content based on a user’s interest. The new “listen” feature mimics the button layout and usability of podcast and music apps, encouraging users to treat Pocket like a source of entertainment, rather than a glorified bookmark app.

      • Announcing Rust 1.29.2

        The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.29.2. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

      • Payments, accessibility, and dead macros: MDN Changelog for September 2018

        We’ve been thinking about the direction and growth of MDN. We’d like a more direct connection with developers, and to provide them with valuable features and benefits they need to be successful in their web projects. We’ve researched several promising ideas, and decided that direct payments would be the first experiment. Logged-in users and 1% of anonymous visitors see the banner that asks them to directly support MDN. See Ali Spivak’s and Kadir Topal’s post, A New Way to Support MDN, for more information.

      • The Things Gateway – It’s All About The Timing

        In my last posting, I talked about creating an External Rule System for the Things Gateway from Mozilla. This is a key component of the Automation part of a Smart Home system. Of course, the Things Gateway already has a rule system of its own. However, because it is GUI based, it has a complexity ceiling that is rather low by the standards of programmers.

        My External Rule System provides an alternative for more sophisticated rules that leverage the full power and readability of the Python programming language. However, I must ensure the capabilities are a proper superset of the built in Thing Gateway capabilities. The built in GUI Rule System has a special object called the “Clock” that can trigger a rule every day at a specific time. This is for the classic “turn the porch light on in the evening” home automation idea. My External Rule System needs the same capabilities, but as you’ll see, it is easy to extend beyond basic time of day idea.

  • SaaS/Back End
    • How OpenStack Barbican deployment options secure your cloud

      your internal information security policy or trying to meet regulatory requirements such as GDPR, ANSSI, PCI DSS, HIPAA, or NIST, you are likely looking for ways to protect the privacy and integrity of your data and software. That solution can be found in encryption. OpenStack provides all the ingredients necessary to deploy privacy and integrity solutions, but it is up to the operator to deploy them securely. This requires a key-management solution (KMS) to manage and protect the encryption keys.

      Barbican is the OpenStack service that allows operators and users to manage and store secrets securely. It consists of an OpenStack API that provides keystone authentication, oslo.policy and quotas, and backends where the secret is stored. But secrets are only as secure as the storage backend deployed behind Barbican. This article will discuss Barbican deployment options and explore how each affects the security of your cloud.

    • From hype to action: Next steps for edge computing

      Edge computing has gradually climbed the hype curve over the last couple of years, and it now stands at the center of why we do new things and launch new technologies. Why is it so important, what does it mean, where is the money behind the movement, and what does it mean to you? These are all good questions, and there is no simple answer to any of them.

      Edge is what happens when we start to look at how we take advantage of all the computing capacity across networks and enterprises—the same way cloud has done in a data center—as a real problem to be solved.

  • Databases
    • Tips for DBAs Managing Open Source Databases

      Companies are now managing a variety of open source and non-relational databases alongside relational databases like SQL Server and Oracle.

      While managing these systems involve the same set of challenges most DBAs are used to: ensuring availability, diagnosing performance problems and managing capacity, just to name a few, each database platform has its own set of processes and workflows for collecting and analyzing information.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • Michael W. Lucas talks FreeBSD (and whatever else he wants)
    • Tor part 1: how-to use Tor

      Installing tor is really easy on OpenBSD. We need to install it, and start its daemon. The daemon will listen by default on localhost on port 9050. On others systems, it may be quite similar, install the tor package and enable the daemon if not enabled by default.

    • Tor part 2: hidden service

      In this second Tor article, I will present an interesting Tor feature named hidden service. The principle of this hidden service is to make available a network service from anywhere, with only prerequisites that the computer must be powered on, tor not blocked and it has network access.

    • Call for testing: OpenSSH 7.9

      OpenSSH 7.9p1 is almost ready for release, so we would appreciate testing on as many platforms and systems as possible. This is a bugfix release.

    • MidnightBSD 1.0 Is Ready To Shine With ZFS Support, Ryzen Compatibility

      MidnightBSD 1.0 also brings improvements to its Mport package manager, Bhyve virtualization support is now available, ZFS file-system support (including for root file-system), OpenBSD’s doas replacing sudo, and various other software updates and improvements.

      The 1.0 release ISOs and more information on MidnightBSD is available from the project site at MidnightBSD.org.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Microsoft’s patent move: Giant leap forward or business as usual?

      So, while there are a few people who think Microsoft is up to no good, the experts agree that this is a laudable move by Microsoft to show its open-source bona fides. That’s not to say some still want to see more proof of Microsoft’s intentions, but overall, people agree this is a major step forward for Microsoft, Linux, and open-source intellectual property law regulation.

    • GCC 6.5 Status Report (2018-10-12)

      It is now time to release GCC 6.5 and close the 6.x branch. If you have regression bugfixes or documentation fixes that should be still backported to the branch, please test them and check them in before Friday, October 19th, when I’d like to create a Release Candidate of 6.5.

    • GCC 6.5 Is Being Prepared As The Last GCC6 Compiler Release

      Version 6.5 of the GNU Compiler Collection will soon be released to end out the GCC6 series.

      GCC8 remains the latest stable series and GCC9 is in development for release in early 2019. For those still relying upon the two-year-old GCC6 stable series, GCC 6.5 is being prepared with a last serving of bug/regression fixes before closing off that branch.

    • Microsoft and OIN: Legal Commitments vs. the Power of the Taboo

      On the surface, the significance of Microsoft’s joining OIN lies with its agreeing to the terms of the OIN license. But in joining OIN, Microsoft may in fact be acknowledging the power of a far older social force: the community taboo.

      Yesterday’s announcement is just the latest in a years-long series of Microsoft actions recognizing the realities of today’s IT environment. There’s simply no denying the fundamental role now of open source and, as importantly, the vital importance of being seen as a leader in OSS development.

      [...]

      But the benefits of joining OIN go further than this. By officially joining the OIN club, Microsoft gains a stronger right to claim the broader protection of the taboo that covers all open source software, whether or not it utilizes the Linux kernel.

      Perhaps the greatest significance of Microsoft’s OIN announcement is therefore that it realized that under today’s marketplace realities, it was already bound by the same terms, and more.

    • Microsoft Pledges to Protect Linux and Open Source With Its Patents

      Yet even after joining the Linux Foundation and becoming an active contributor to multiple open-source efforts, the issue of the 235 patents has remained. Despite repeatedly saying that it “loves Linux,” Microsoft had never formally renounced its patent claims. The patent move to the OIN appears to be a step in that direction.

      When asked by eWEEK if the OIN patent agreement involved the 235 patents that Microsoft alleges that open-source software infringes on, Microsoft provided a nuanced statement.

      “We’re licensing all patents we own that read on the ‘Linux system’ for free to other OIN licensees,” a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in an email to eWEEK.

    • The completion of Sonali’s Outreachy internship work on the Free Software Directory

      I spent the last several weeks of my internship completing the upgrade and improvements to the directory.

      For context, see the previous blog post, Sonali’s Internship work on the Free Software Directory, part 2

      After much work, I finally completed the upgrade of the Directory from the previous long term support version of MediaWiki, 1.27, to the current one, 1.31, which was released shortly after my internship started. I also made some general improvements.

    • Illinois Tech School of Applied Technology to Host Richard Stallman

      Illinois Tech’s School of Applied Technology will host Richard Stallman, activist and founder of the Free Software Foundation, on Monday, October 15 at 7 p.m. in Hermann Hall Auditorium. He will discuss the topic of freedom and privacy from computing. This event is open to the public at no charge.

  • Public Services/Government
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open source pharma: How to stop the rot in drug discovery

      Here’s the case for a more caring, sharing pharmaceutical industry — one that works with academia, and other public bodies, in the public interest to discover the medicinal drugs and vaccines our global society urgently needs. And not just for the interests of shareholders.

      It’s a model for open source pharma — an alternative way of funding and working in drug discovery.

      For some it’s a naive idea, for others it’s the only way forward, and has been for some time.

      “Thinking in particular about neglected diseases, or poverty-related diseases, we have long accepted that there is a need for alternative models,” says Els Torreele, executive director of Medecins Sans Frontieres’ Access Campaign. “And in fact for the last 20 years there have been several successful experiments in piloting different ways of doing research and development to ensure drugs are developed even where there’s no market incentive.”

      That includes ensuring the drugs are affordable and available to those that need them.

      “We’ve shown it’s possible in a not-for-profit way, with public and philanthropic resources, so there’s no reason not to do it for ‘profitable’ disease, or any diseases,” says Torreele.

      But that’s still not how we do business today.

    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • The Oasis 3DP Brings Open Source Binder Jetting to Makers

        The 2018 Hackaday Prize will soon be wrapping up, and as always, the contest has yielded some wonderfully innovative and promising ideas. One entry, submitted by Yvo de Haas, aims to make binder jetting accessible to everyone. Binder jetting, in which a liquid binding agent is deposited to bind powder particles together, is an effective method of 3D printing whose benefits include not requiring supports. It’s not a technology, however, that is typically accessible to the average maker. De Haas decided to change that with the development of the Oasis 3DP, an open source binder jetting 3D printer that he built himself.

      • An Open Source Toy Synth

        If you thought the future of electronic musical instruments was massive Emerson-class modular synths, giant MPCs with pads the size of Dance Dance Revolution machines, or hilariously expensive polysynths, you couldn’t be more wrong. The future is, effectively, toys. Those tiny little Korgs you can stuff in your pocket are selling like hot cakes, and Pocket Operators are king of the hill. One of the more interesting musical toys is the Organelle, an aluminum enclosure with maple buttons laid out in a keyboard configuration. It’s a synth, it’s a sound engine, and it does produce some interesting noises. All the software is Open Source, but the hardware isn’t. That leaves it up to someone else to make the hardware for the rest of us. That’s exactly what [mitchell] is doing for his Hackaday Prize entry.

  • Programming/Development
Leftovers
  • Archived a part of my CD collection

    After about three days of work, I’ve finished archiving a part of my old CD collection. There were about 200 CDs in a cardboard box that were gathering dust.

  • Science
    • World’s fastest camera freezes time at 10 trillion frames per second

      In recent years, the junction between innovations in non-linear optics and imaging has opened the door for new and highly efficient methods for microscopic analysis of dynamic phenomena in biology and physics. But to harness the potential of these methods, there needs to be a way to record images in real time at a very short temporal resolution—in a single exposure.

      Using current imaging techniques, measurements taken with ultrashort laser pulses must be repeated many times, which is appropriate for some types of inert samples, but impossible for other more fragile ones. For example, laser-engraved glass can tolerate only a single laser pulse, leaving less than a picosecond to capture the results. In such a case, the imaging technique must be able to capture the entire process in real time.

      Compressed ultrafast photography (CUP) was a good starting point them. At 100 billion frames per second, this method approached, but did not meet, the specifications required to integrate femtosecond lasers. To improve on the concept, the new T-CUP system was developed based on a femtosecond streak camera that also incorporates a data acquisition type used in applications such as tomography.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • “They’ve Got to Execute You”: St. Luke’s Doctor Faces Discipline After Raising Patient Care Concerns

      Dr. Tomas Rios was upset. He believed that some of his patients at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center had received unnecessary medical treatments in intensive care units at the Houston hospital, and one day in September 2015, he fired off three emails to colleagues expressing his frustration.

      A month later, Rios was summoned to a meeting with his boss, but the purpose was not to discuss his concerns about patient care. Instead, he got a warning.

      Dr. Victor Narcisse, a private-practice physician and member of the hospital’s medical executive committee, said that senior hospital officials had been in touch with him about Rios’ conduct, and they had made clear that they intended to “develop the evidence” to take punitive action against him. Narcisse compared the hospital’s plans for him to “an assassination,” according to a recording of the conversation. A transcript of the discussion was filed with Harris County District Court this week as part of a lawsuit by Rios against St. Luke’s.

      “It’s like, forgive me, forgive the analogy, but when you have a conspiracy for an assassination, the No. 1 rule is you’ve got to get the guy that you were going after. And then none of the people who were involved get implicated,” Narcisse said.

      “They’ve got to execute you,” he said a moment later. “Because if you stick around, they know that you’re going to, all these concerns that you have, you’re going to bring them to some regulatory person.”

    • Sloan Kettering Cancer Researchers Correct the Record by Revealing Company Ties

      Top researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have filed at least seven corrections with medical journals recently, divulging financial relationships with health care companies that they did not previously disclose.

      The hospital’s chief executive, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, disclosed his relationship with companies including the drugmaker Merck, and Dr. Jedd Wolchok, a noted pioneer in cancer immunotherapy, listed his affiliations with 31 companies.

      The corrections followed the resignation in September of Dr. José Baselga, the cancer center’s chief medical officer, who had failed to disclose his company ties in dozens of articles in medical journals, including prominent publications like the New England Journal of Medicine. Baselga’s omissions, including payments totaling millions of dollars, were first reported last month by ProPublica and The New York Times.

  • Security
    • Supermicro boards were so bug ridden, why would hackers ever need implants?
    • New U.S. Weapons Systems Are a Hackers’ [sic] Bonanza, Investigators Find

      The report by the Government Accountability Office concluded that many of the weapons, or the systems that control them, could be neutralized within hours. In many cases, the military teams developing or testing the systems were oblivious to the hackingi [sic].

    • Cool Cool Cool Oversight Office Says It’s Incredibly Easy To Hack The Defense Dept.’s Weapons Systems

      The GAO points out the DOD has spent more time locking down its accounting systems than its weapons systems, even as the latter has increasingly relied on computer hardware and software to operate. The systems used by the DOD are a melange of commercial and open-source software, which relies on vendors to provide regular updates and patch vulnerabilities. (Unfortunately for the DOD, some vulnerabilities may not have been disclosed to software/hardware vendors by other government agencies like the NSA.) But the DOD gives itself a 21-day window to apply patches and some remote weapons systems may go months without patching because they often need to return from deployment to be patched properly.

      The end result is a network of defense systems riddled with security holes. The GAO says it doesn’t take much to commandeer weapons of mass destruction.

    • Hackers [sic] Are Using Stolen Apple IDs to Swipe Cash in China

      Ant Financial’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd. warned that cyber-attackers employed stolen Apple IDs to break into customers’ accounts and made off with an unknown amount of cash, in a rare security breach for China’s top digital payments providers.

    • Hackers [sic] loot digital wallets using stolen Apple IDs

      Two Chinese companies are warning customers that [crackers] used stolen Apple IDs to get into their digital payment accounts and steal money.

    • Microsoft October 2018 Patch Slightly Flawed and Unable To fully Rectify Jet Database Engine Vulnerability

      On the 20th of September, Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) went public with the information of a remove code execution vulnerability that would allow attackers to use the flawed Jet Database Engine to run macros through Microsoft Office programs and cause malicious activities in the targets computer. We covered this previously, you can read it here.

      Regarding this issue, ZDI released a micro-patch on the 21st September which fixed the vulnerability and urged Microsoft to correct this in the following patch. ZDI then did a review of the October 2018 update by Microsoft and found out that the security flaw while addressed has only limited the vulnerability rather than eliminating it.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Inside the Lawless New World of Electric-Scooter Hacking

      If major corporations and voting infrastructure can be hacked, then it stands to reason that one could also, and much more easily, hack a $400 electric scooter. And in their rush to make dockless, app-enabled two-wheelers a way of life across every urban neighborhood worldwide — while throttling the competition — startups Bird, Lime, Scoot, Skip and Spin have caused localized backlashes while putting their tech at risk of both clever and stupid exploits.

      What’s funny is that the companies tend to dismiss these vulnerabilities as insignificant. Lime’s director of government relations and strategic development, Sam Sadle, told the Dallas Observer this summer that theft and vandalism of scooters is rare because they’re so often in use. Reacting to complaints that hacking has become common, he added: “It hasn’t in any way limited our ability to operate in the markets in which we do operate.”

    • How to Find Out if You Were Affected by the Recent Facebook Hack [Ed: Facebook is almost certainly lying/lowballing the number and far more people got cracked]

      Facebook has now confirmed that hackers stole access tokens for “only” 30 million people, not 50 million. For 15 million of those people, the hackers were able to get phone number, email address, or both. And for 14 million more people, the hackers were able to get a lot more information, like username, gender, relationship status, religious, birthday, and a ton of other information including things you’ve searched for.

    • Facebook Revises Data Breach Impact Downward, Provides New Details
    • Google Fuchsia: Here’s what the NSA knows about it

      A while back, Google told us Fuchsia is not Linux. There have also been endless rumors, with little hard proof, it will eventually replace Android. Other than that, we don’t know much. But the National Security Agency (NSA), of all groups, has been checking into Fuchsia and revealed its findings at the recent North American Linux Security Summit in Vancouver, B.C.

    • Course Review: Adversarial Attacks and Hunt Teaming

      At DerbyCon 8, I had the opportunity to take the “Adversarial Attacks and Hunt Teaming” presented by Ben Ten and Larry Spohn from TrustedSec. I went into the course hoping to get a refresher on the latest techniques for Windows domains (I do mostly Linux, IoT & Web Apps at work) as well as to get a better understanding of how hunt teaming is done. (As a Red Teamer, I feel understanding the work done by the blue team is critical to better success and reducing detection.)

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Metropolitan Police on “Chepiga” and “Mishkin”.

      I have just received confirmation from the Metropolitan Police Press Bureau that both the European Arrest Warrant and Interpol Red Notice remain in the names of Boshirov and Petrov, with the caveat that both are probably aliases. Nothing has been issued in the name of Chepiga or Mishkin.

      As for Bellingcat’s “conclusive and definitive evidence”, Scotland Yard repeated to me this afternoon that their earlier statement on Bellingcat’s allegations remains in force: “we are not going to comment on speculation about their identities.”

      It is now a near certainty that Boshirov and Petrov are indeed fake identities. If the two were real people, it is inconceivable that by now their identities would not have been fully established with details of their history, lives, family and milieu. I do not apologise for exercising all due caution, rather than enthusiasm, about a narrative promoted to increase international tension with Russia, but am now convinced Petrov and Boshirov were not who they claimed.

    • US Says Venezuela Involved in Opposition Politician’s Death

      The White House on Oct. 10 condemned the death of an opposition politician in Venezuela and accused President Nicolas Maduro’s government of involvement in the death.

      “The United States condemns the Maduro regime’s involvement in the death of Venezuelan opposition councilman Fernando Alban,” it said in a statement.

      The statement also called for the release of all Venezuelan political prisoners and for Maduro’s government to “to re-establish democracy in Venezuela and to prevent further suffering and bloodshed,” adding that President Donald Trump’s administration would continue to increase pressure over the issue.

    • ‘Maduro attack plotter killed himself’

      Venezuela’s government said on Monday an Opposition member accused of taking part in a failed drone attack on President Nicolas Maduro killed himself while in custody, but the Opposition claimed he had been murdered.

      Attorney General Tarek William Saab told State television VTV that Fernando Alban, who was in pretrial detention at the headquarters of the intelligence service, asked to go to the restroom and threw himself from a tenth-floor window.

    • UN urges probe into politician’s death in custody

      The UN on Tuesday called for a “transparent investigation” into the death of Venezuelan opposition member Fernando Alban after Caracas said he killed himself in custody.

      Alban had been jailed over accusations that he took part in an alleged failed drone attack on President Nicolas Maduro on August 4.

      Venezuela’s attorney-general William Saab told state television VTV that Alban threw himself from a 10th-floor window on Monday at the headquarters of the intelligence service, where he had been in pretrial detention.

      A spokesperson for the UN rights office, Ravina Shamdasani, told reporters the Caracas government had “an obligation to ensure the safety, personal integrity and dignity” of Alban. “We are concerned about news of his death …

    • UN calls for probe into death of Venezuela opposition member
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • UN Official Praises Moreno While Assange Remains Gagged

      Ecuadorean President applauded by United Nations for promoting “Freedom of Speech,” yet Whistleblower Julian Assange has had his rights taken away from him by the same man.

      Julian Assange last March had his right to free speech taken away from him by Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno, who cited, “breach of a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states.”

    • Ecuador gets UN praise for ‘freedom of expression’ as Assange remains gagged in embassy limbo

      A UN official praised Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno for his treatment of journalists despite the fact that the leader is said to be preparing to hand over WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange to the governments persecuting him.

      UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye commended Ecuador and Moreno for supposedly promoting freedom of speech – the same Moreno that recently cut off communications to fugitive whistleblower Julian Assange and has been mulling handing him over to the UK and the US to be tried as a spy.

    • Assange’s Lawyer Plans to Take Legal Action Against Ecuador’s Foreign Minister

      On Friday, Ecuador’s top diplomat, Jose Valencia Amores, reiterated the country’s decision to grant asylum to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange.

      Julian Assange’s legal team is planning to take legal action against the Ecuadorian foreign minister, Jose Valencia Amores, for having publicized confidential information about the whistleblower’s asylum process, Assange’s lawyer Carlos Poveda told Sputnik on Thursday.

    • WikiLeaks Publishes Alleged Secret Files on Amazon’s Data Centers

      The release stated that Amazon is “notoriously secretive” about mapping its vast numbers of data centers.
      Whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks said Thursday it had obtained and published “a highly confidential document” on the technology giant Amazon. In the so-called “Amazon Atlas,” the transparency proponent said that the document, allegedly from 2015, provided a uniquely deep insight into where Amazon’s data centers are located, as well as shed light on the company’s apparent ties with the US intelligence services.

    • WikiLeaks Publishes What It Says Is a List of Amazon Data Centers

      If the information in the document is real, it would be the most detail about AWS data centers ever released to the public. Unless they’re data center providers, companies are usually extremely secretive about their data center locations, and AWS is more secretive than most others.

      The world’s biggest cloud provider only makes public geographic regions where its server farms are located, but never the specific cities, let alone street addresses. Its biggest competitors, the likes of Microsoft Azure, IBM, and Google Cloud, practice the same.

      It’s unclear what WikiLeaks is trying to accomplish by making the information public. Its press release announcing the leak mentions AWS’s work for US intelligence agencies and its leading position in the race to secure a $10 billion cloud services contract the Department of Defense is currently shopping around.

      In 2010, AWS pulled the plug on hosting services it had been providing to WikiLeaks, causing the organization to switch providers. The move was viewed as a reaction to US government pressure on Amazon to stop providing services to WikiLeaks because it published classified documents, which the company denied.

    • WikiLeaks outs Amazon’s alleged data center locations

      Leaked file repository WikiLeaks on Thursday released a purported internal document from Amazon showing the secret locations of its data centers.

      Why it matters: Amazon’s data centers host some of the world’s largest cloud storage facilities, used by businesses, including sensitive ones.

    • Amazon uses a fake name from the TV show ‘Seinfeld’ to hide a secret data center in Virginia, according to WikiLeaks

      WikiLeaks on Thursday published a document it said showed the exact locations of over 100 Amazon data centers. Previously, for security reasons, only the general areas of these data centers were known.

      WikiLeaks said that to keep these locations secretive, Amazon uses various pseudonyms for facilities.

      Most notably, according to the document, at Amazon’s IAD77 data center in Manassas, Virginia, Amazon is known as “Vandelay Industries” — a nod to George Costanza and his shenanigans at the unemployment office in season three of the TV show “Seinfeld.”

    • WikiLeaks’s fresh revelations shed light on ties between Amazon, US intelligence services

      A whistle-blowing platform, WikiLeaks, has published what it claimed as a “highly confidential” document pilfered from the cloud computing provider Amazon.

      Naming the document “Amazon Atlas“, the anti-secrecy organization claimed on Thursday: “The document from late 2015 lists the addresses and some operational details of over one hundred data centers spread across fifteen cities in nine countries”. It also highlighted the company’s ongoing links with the US intelligence community.

    • Pacifica Radio Network Stands with Wikileaks and Julian Assange

      Pacifica passed a resolution to defend Julian Assange who is the founder of Wikileaks. “The mainstream media has basically been silent about the harassment of Julian Assange and the attempt to imprison him. And even some so-called progressive outlets have been silent. I think that if Pacifica makes a statement, it will be very important and will serve to educate many people in this country and beyond.”

    • WikiLeaks publishes list of AWS data center locations, colo providers
    • WikiLeaks Publishes the Location of Amazon’s Data Centers

      The controversial publisher WikiLeaks has released what it calls a “highly confidential internal document” from the cloud computing provider Amazon Web Services (AWS). The document is from late 2015, and lists the addresses and some operational details of more than 100 AWS data centers spread across 15 cities in nine countries.

      According to the “Amazon Atlas” document, Amazon operates in 38 facilities in Northern Virginia, eight in San Francisco, eight in Seattle, and seven in Oregon. In Europe it has seven data centers in Dublin, Ireland, four in Germany, and three in Luxembourg. In the Asia-Pacific region it has 12 data centers in Japan, nine in China, six in Singapore, and eight in Australia. It also has six sites in Brazil.

      WikiLeaks also created a map showing the general locations of these Amazon data centers.

    • Wikileaks dumps Amazon data center locations for all to see
    • WikiLeaks goes public with alleged list of AWS datacentre locations and code names
    • WikiLeaks puts Amazon data centres under spotlight amid Defense contract battle
    • WikiLeaks reveals Amazon data centres ahead of DoD bid closure

      A day ahead of the closing of bids for a massive US Department of Defence cloud contract, WikiLeaks has published the locations of Amazon’s data centres which, it claims, have been a closely held secret until now. Amazon is a frontrunner to win the US$10 billion contract.

      The whistleblower website said the information was contained in an internal document from the cloud provider dating back to late 2015.

      The DoD contract, known by its acronym JEDI — Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure — is meant to unite all Defence services under one cloud vendor as the CIA did in 2013 with Amazon at a cost of US$600 million

      In August, a report in the American magazine Vanity Fair said that the conditions laid down for the contract appeared to be sharply skewed to favour Amazon.

    • Can Kristinn Hrafnsson end the war inside WikiLeaks?

      The fight to free Julian Assange is still on. But for the founder of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, who remains isolated and in “arbitrary detention” at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, help comes from a sprawling multi-channel server on the private chat app Discord.

      Across 80-plus channels, volunteer campaigners craft messages, create graphics, organize events, monitor social media, and even plan public rebuttals to breaking news. The vast #Unity4J operation is moderated by several high-profile Assange loyalists and started when Suzie Dawson, leader of the New Zealand Internet Party, organized livestreamed vigils to protest Assange’s plight.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • October 2018: Hurricane Michael

      On October 11, 2018, the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) began collecting damage assessment imagery in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Weather permitting, aerial imagery will be collected in specific areas identified by NOAA in coordination with FEMA and other state and federal partners. During the mission, NGS will fly two missions a day. Images will be updated every 12 hours, which includes flight and processing time. Collected images are available to view online via the NGS aerial imagery viewer. View tips on how to use the imagery viewer.

      A team of NOAA aviators and sensor operators are capturing the images using specialized remote-sensing cameras aboard NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations’ King Air aircraft flying above the area at an altitude between 500 – 1,500 meters.

      NOAA’s aerial imagery aids safe navigation and captures damage to coastal areas caused by a storm. Aerial imagery is a crucial tool to determine the extent of the damage inflicted by flooding, and to compare baseline coastal areas to assess the damage to major ports and waterways, coastlines, critical infrastructure, and coastal communities. This imagery provides a cost-effective way to better understand the damage sustained to both property and the environment.

  • Finance
    • Teresa Basilio on Puerto Rico Communication Failure, Amrah Salomon on Indigenous Peoples Day

      This week on CounterSpin: Adding to the ravages brought to Puerto Rico by hurricanes Irma and Maria was the failure of the island’s communications systems; with virtually all cell sites down, many people were unable to call for help or to check on others. A year later, the system is not fully restored. What’s more, the US government shows little interest in finding out what went wrong, or how to prevent it happening again. (Reporter Kieran McCarthy at The Register notes that the FCC only seems to show interest in Puerto Rico when agency chair Ajit “Pai’s team feel the chairman himself will be personally impacted by criticism”—as when they hurriedly announced a public comment period days after learning that the GAO was releasing a critical report.) For media activists, the storm and the official response only underscored the need for the creation of communications systems grounded in community. We’ll talk to someone working on just that, Teresa Basilio, director of Resilient Just Technologies.

    • Immigration and the impact of a no-preference post-Brexit deal

      A shadow of the unknown has been cast over Britain since the announcement of Brexit in 2016. On the lead up to Britain’s exit in March 2019, Theresa May has been tirelessly invoking what the future will hold in terms of immigration, the free movement and trade.

      Immigration has been at the forefront of the debate since the announcement of Brexit; and with no clear resolution, business owners, international students, non-UK residents have all been in the dark regarding the matter.

      Whatever the government decide, will shape the future of the country in terms of trade, industry, overseas relations and how other countries will, in turn, choose to treat UK nationals. After extensive delays and disagreements, the cabinet have unanimously decided that the UK should have a skill-based immigration system and that EU residents will not be accorded preferential treatment in terms of immigration.

      May has stated that this works in the best interests of the United Kingdom, as this will help to boost productivity and shape the future of the nation.

      In theory, a skill-based immigration system could work to reduce the skill shortages in industry sectors such as the NHS, engineering and IT. Ho

    • Film: Albion’s Call: Brexit, democracy and England

      Brexit has ignited a fire under Britain. It is altering forever the way we see ourselves. This has to be confronted boldly and in an open-minded way

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Facebook removes hundreds of US political pages for ‘inauthentic activity’

      With less than one month left before the midterm elections, Facebook has announced it has removed 559 politically oriented pages and 251 accounts, all of American origin, for consistently breaking its rules against “spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior”.

    • ‘It’s raining facts!’ Metahaven, the YouTube addicts fighting post-truth bots

      “Propaganda techniques now no longer work from the idea that they are promoting a centralised perspective,” Van der Velden says. “They are trying to create doubt, trying to intervene in cognitive space where we don’t have the facts but we can create stories.”

    • Boeing Accused Of Covert, Coordinated Op-Ed Smear Campaign Against Space X

      For years we’ve noted how the American press has an absolutely horrible tendency to run guest Op-Eds without disclosing the author’s financial conflicts of interest(s). Jesse Jackson, for example, can sometimes be found comparing efforts to bring competition to the cable box to racism in the 60s, without disclosing the cable industry’s underlying influence. Similarly, former Representative and fair use champion Rick Boucher can often be found praising CISPA, denying a lack of competition in broadband or attacking net neutrality in Op-Ed pages nationwide on behalf of AT&T with zero disclosure of his real financial motivations.

      The act of republishing these missives without clearly disclosing financial conflicts of interests isn’t just unethical, it pollutes the national discourse, undermines already shaky trust in media, and contributes to a sound wall of disinformation as giant companies try to sell their latest megamerger, pass anti-consumer regulations and legislation, undermine a competitor, or justify terrible behavior.

      One more recent example of this phenomenon comes courtesy of Boeing, which is being accused of running a covert smear campaign against Space X via media outlets that fail to adequately disclose ulterior financial motives of Op-Ed authors.

      Back in August, just around the time that Boeing was hyping the company’s Starliner spacecraft program, a series of Op-Eds began showing up in newspapers nationwide attacking Space X and its allegedly unsafe fueling practices. The articles, which appeared everywhere from the Houston Chronicle to the Washington Times, all purported to simply be worried about astronaut safety. All were penned by Richard Hagar, who worked for NASA during the Apollo program, but now resides in Tennessee. All implied repeatedly that Space X was ignoring safety standards and putting astronauts at risk.

    • WaPo Picks a Side in Maryland Race—the Side That’s Offering Billions to Amazon

      Ben Jealous, the Democratic candidate to be Maryland’s governor, is hoping to pull off a big upset in the November midterm elections against Republican incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan. If he wins, Jealous will be the state’s first African-American governor, and just the third elected African-American governor in the country. (Other 2018 gubernatorial candidates with the same potential to break that racial barrier include Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacey Abrams in Georgia, who would be the first-ever black female governor if she wins.)

      Those who believe in the myth of the “liberal media” might assume that the Washington Post would support a progressive who backs policies such as Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage and legalization of marijuana. In fact, the paper—the most influential news outlet in much of Maryland—seems to have an axe to grind with Jealous, and has instead chosen to support Hogan for the governor’s race. As Pete Tucker at CounterPunch (8/31/18, 9/18/18, 10/8/18) has explained, the Post has opposed Jealous at every turn.

      Most of the paper’s criticisms relate to what it depicts as Jealous’s spendthrift economic policies. Last year, the Post editorial board (10/29/17) called Jealous’s education policy a “gigantic giveaway,” a promise of “free lunches” that would “blow a Chesapeake Bay-sized hole in the state budget.” In July (7/19/18), it defined the race between Hogan and Jealous as a “stark contrast” between “centrist or liberal,” questioning whether the latter’s “soak the rich” agenda was “implementable, wise or remotely bipartisan.” Jealous’s policies in support of raising teacher wages and advancing universal pre-K were called “pricey,” because they would raise taxes on the One Percent in Montgomery County, the state’s largest and richest county.
      WaPo: The stark contrast of the Maryland governor’s race: Centrist or liberal?

    • ‘Nobody Should Be Trusted With That Level of Power’

      That sort of maneuver is one of the things that rubs many people wrong about Amazon, now one of the country’s largest employers, along with responding to charges of abusive conditions by having select staffers maintain Twitter accounts in which they explain, Stepford-like, how glorious it is to work there. But maybe most galling is the disjuncture between nickel-and-dimed employees, some of who report peeing in trash cans because bathroom breaks are recorded as “time off task,” while Jeff Bezos is rich as Croesus. And how is it that a company with paid employees who rely on food stamps, and that demands tremendous subsidies from communities just to locate there, can be held up by media as an exemplar of “success”?

      It matters whether we label Amazon as “a success” without asterisks, and whether we’re OK with the extent of its power. One with questions on that is journalist Neil deMause. His latest book is The Brooklyn Wars, and he joins us now by phone from Brooklyn. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Neil deMause.

    • Arrest throws Waller County voter registration dispute into further confusion

      A field director for Democratic congressional candidate Mike Siegel was arrested at the Waller County Courthouse Wednesday after he delivered a letter demanding the county update the status of students at a nearby college whose registrations were thrown into question the day before.

      Jacob Aronowitz, Siegel’s field director, was released after about two hours, according to Lisa Seger, the Democratic nominee for Texas House District 3, who arrived at the courthouse after the arrest.

    • It’s OK to Criticize the Fed—Even for Presidents

      .

      There is a popular line in elite DC circles that political figures are not supposed to talk about the Federal Reserve Board’s monetary policy. This was the theme of Catherine Rampell’s latest Washington Post column (10/11/18). The piece complained about Donald Trump’s criticisms of the Fed’s interest rate hikes and said that countries where monetary policy is controlled by politicians end up with hyperinflation.

      While there is a list of countries where political control of the central bank has led to hyperinflation, there are also many examples of countries where political control did not lead to hyperinflation, starting with the United Kingdom. The Bank of England had been under the control of the finance minister until Tony Blair “set it free” in May 1997. The United Kingdom did not have any bouts of hyperinflation that I can recall.

      [...]

      It is questionable whether Trump has adopted the most effective route in pressing this sort of criticism. Rather than saying he does not like the policy that the Fed chair he picked is following, it might have been more useful to have his Council of Economic Advisers produce evidence that the economy does not face a serious risk of inflation right now.

      He might also choose to withdraw the nomination of Marvin Goodfriend for one of the open governor positions. Goodfriend has long been an inflation hawk who has argued for higher interest rates for many years. If Trump really doesn’t want the Fed to raise interest rates, it doesn’t make sense to appoint someone to the Board of Governors who is very committed to raising rates.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Epic Games Likely DMCA’d Its Own Fortnite Trailer, Showing The Problems With YouTube’s DMCA Process Yet Again

      The internet then spent the next day or so poking fun at Epic in the form of memes and in-game references, but this really isn’t much of a laughing matter. And, whatever actually happened here, it serves to show the flaws in the DMCA process relating to YouTube videos. The most likely explanation is that Epic has an automated system to flag and DMCA videos that contain game content from Fortnite. The problem here is that this was a trailer for an upcoming release, meaning that it would be odd for the algorithm to already be set to pick up on that content. Perhaps it’s simply recognizing the general game or characters and flagging it, but we don’t know for sure. And, given the vast amounts of let’s plays and other content on YouTube featuring Fortnite, it’s hard to square just why this trailer would have been flagged when other videos are not. Regardless, the end result of this would be Epic Games DMCAing its own advertisement, the very last thing it would want to do. If that doesn’t show the flaw in how the DMCA process is handled on all sides right now, it’s hard to imagine what would.

      [...]

      The DMCA isn’t perfect. What it really lacks is legislated teeth to punish abuse and fraud. Until that happens, abuse will run rampant, as will automated systems that DMCA perfectly legitimate content, such as a company’s own advertising.

    • Another Critic Of Egypt’s Government Gets Hit With ‘Fake News’ Charges

      Fake news is a handy term deployed by authoritarians to criticize speech they don’t like. Since it’s such a malleable term, it’s been co-opted by a handful of foreign governments as the basis for new laws. We don’t have a fake news law here, fortunately, but it’s Trump’s frequent use of the term that has given it worldwide traction.

      Egypt’s “fake news” laws comes bundled with lots of other speech-censoring add-ons. Earlier this year, an Egyptian journalist was charged with “spreading false news” and “misuse of a social media account”[!] for exposing state police brutality. The government’s evidence against the journalist included account suspensions by US social media companies quite possibly triggered by takedown requests the government had issued.

      Egyptian human rights activist Amal Fathy is the latest victim of the “fake news” law, which was tacked onto a sweeping “cybercrime” bill that gives the Egyptian government more direct control of citizens’ access to internet services.

    • Egypt sentences activist for ‘spreading fake news’

      A court in Egypt has given human rights activist Amal Fathy a two-year-suspended sentence and a fine for “spreading fake news”.

      She has been in detention since May after posting a video criticising the government over the extent of sexual harassment in the country.

      Amnesty International said this was “an outrageous case of injustice”.

      Egypt has recently passed a law that tightens controls over the internet – a move condemned by rights activists.

    • Washington Post Gives ‘Three Pinocchios’ To Rep. Ann Wagner For Falsely Claiming FOSTA Stopped 90% Of Sex Trafficking Ads

      Back in July we were flabbergasted to see a stunningly misleading and dishonest video put out by the the House Judiciary Committee trying to claim that FOSTA had been a huge success in stopping sex trafficking. There is literally no evidence to suggest this, while there’s plenty of evidence to show the harm that has been created by FOSTA. One of the claims in the video came from Rep. Ann Wagner, who was the original sponsor of FOSTA and has been a leading voice in stoking the exaggerated and misleading moral panic around sex trafficking (which is a real problem, but very, very limited compared to what many — including Wagner — have said about it). Wagner’s latest trick has been to try to massively expand the PATRIOT Act for spying on Americans by again freaking everyone out about sex trafficking.

      As we noted back in July, in the video, Wagner tries to imply that FOSTA helped kill off 90% of sex trafficking. She worded it awkwardly so that it clearly implies 90% of sex trafficking went away due to FOSTA, but it could also be read to just say that 90% of sex trafficking ads went away. As we pointed out at the time, this was clearly not true either way. While Backpage contained many ads, it stopped with those ads a year and a half before FOSTA was law, and was taken down by the feds before FOSTA was signed. So there was literally no way that FOSTA could be in any way credited for a drop in ads coming from Backpage.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Microsoft Can’t Use EU Privacy Regime to Escape Document Request

      Microsoft Corp. failed to convince a federal magistrate judge that the EU’s privacy regime, the General Data Protection Regulation, limits the type of data it must keep in preparation for trial.

      The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant must retain and produce data related to its Live Preview feature, which is under a patent infringement review, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jill Parrish ruled Oct. 5, denying Microsoft’s protective order. The data is relevant to the case, and its benefits outweigh any burden on Microsoft, Parrish, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, wrote.

    • NY Legislators Introduce Bill That Would Seriously Curb Law Enforcement’s Surveillance Collections

      It’s an anti-haystack bill. And law enforcement loves its haystacks. The NYPD — believing itself to be a globetrotting intelligence agency — loves them more than most. Law enforcement agencies have obtained massive boosts in collection power over the years, thanks to omnipresent surveillance cameras, automatic license plate readers, and cheap digital storage. Biometric data has recently been added to the mix, promising to turn dumb cameras into suspect-spotting field agents.

      The tech has advanced ahead of best practices or privacy impact assessments. The new hardware is presumed legal until proven otherwise and is often obtained and deployed with minimal oversight and zero public input.

      This bill doesn’t outlaw the continued hoovering of data points/camera footage but it does ensure the massive amount collected will have to be quickly sorted into hay and needles by restricting stored collections to stuff pertinent to ongoing investigations.

      The immediate local impact would be immense. But expect the feds to start inserting themselves into local legislating. This bill would make it impossible for federal agencies to accomplish their dream of connected, nationwide databases of license plate photos and biometric data.

    • Oops — Did Police Accidentally Reveal Unconstitutional Surveillance When They Tweeted a Screenshot?

      We’re demanding Mass. state police release their browser history and bookmarks to see if they’re targeting progressive protesters for surveillance.

      On September 13, dozens of natural gas explosions hit three towns north of Boston, killing one person and impacting thousands more. In the first few hectic hours after the blasts, the Massachusetts State Police official Twitter account posted a tweet reading…

      [...]

      Surveillance of activist groups in Massachusetts is not new. In early 2018, the ACLU of Massachusetts released a report showing that between 2014 and 2016, the Boston Police Department used a social media surveillance system called Geofeedia to monitor individuals expressing constitutionally protected free speech on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The records we disclosed revealed the police were monitoring hashtags such as “#MuslimLivesMatter” and “#BlackLivesMatter.” The cops’ social media surveillance software even caught a Thanksgiving Day Facebook post from former Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson. Back in 2015, reporting revealed that the State Police were monitoring social media accounts associated with the Black Lives Matter movement.

    • New Witness Panel Tells Congress How to Protect Consumer Data Privacy

      Last time, the panel of industry witnesses (Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Charter, Google, and Twitter) all testified in favor of a federal law to preempt state data privacy laws, such as California’s new Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

      Today was different. Chairman Thune kicked off the hearing by reminding the Committee of the importance of hearing from independent stakeholders and experts. We were also glad to hear Chairman Thune say that industry self-regulation is not enough to protect consumer privacy, and that new standards are needed.

      A single weak federal privacy law will be worse for consumers than a patchwork of robust state laws.

      The first witness forcefully argued that strong consumer privacy laws do not hurt business. Alastair Mactaggart, who helped pass the CCPA, reminded the Committee that he is a businessman with several successful companies operating in the Bay Area alongside the tech giants. He argued that the CCPA is not anti-business. Indeed, the fact that no major tech companies have made plans to pull out of Europe after the watershed GDPR went into effect earlier this year is proof that business can co-exist with robust privacy protections. The CCPA empowers the California Attorney General to enact—and change—regulations to address evolving tech and other issues. Mactaggart argued that this flexibility is designed to ensure that future innovators can enter the market and compete with the existing giants, while also ensuring that the giants cannot exploit an overlooked loophole in the law. While we have concerns about the CCPA that the California legislature must fix in 2019, we also look forward to participating in the Attorney General’s process to help make new rules as strong as possible.

    • Telecom firms moot e-KYC in place of Aadhaar

      With the Supreme Court denying private entities access to Aadhaar data, telecom operators have mooted to the Department of Telecom (DoT) e-KYC data as an alternative to unique identity number-based verification.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • As election looms, Mormon church tells women to leave social media for 10 days
    • Bulgarian Journalist, Host of Anticorruption TV Show, Is Raped and Killed

      Although there was some disagreement about the extent of Ms. Marinova’s role in investigating corruption, the questions surrounding her death reflected the tense atmosphere for journalists in the region: Two reporters in the European Union — Jan Kuciak in Slovakia and Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta — have been killed in the past year because of the work they were doing to expose graft at the highest levels of government.

    • Pulp Fiction in Istanbul, or, the Looming Turkey-Saudi Cold War

      What is increasingly looking like the gruesome murder and dismemberment of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, as described by Turkish police, has dominated the headlines in Turkey this week. If the Turkish government builds what it views as an airtight case for this mob-style hit on Turkish soil—which many Turks are convinced was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman himself—relations between the two countries are likely to crater. This Turkey-Saudi face-off has been building throughout this decade and may be about to reach a crescendo. Given the US entanglements in the Middle East, these developments will affect Washington as well.

    • The price of a journalist’s criticism in Saudi Arabia

      It was a wise move, but evidently not good enough. Khashoggi, over the years, inclined more and more towards secularism and democratisation, albeit without advocating the overthrow of the monarchy. In his regular columns for the Washington Post, he was frequently scathing about MBS’ repressive tendencies, as well as the war in Yemen and growing Saudi/ UAE affinity towards Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel and Donald Trump’s US. He confided to friends that he was worried about his safety, but there were mixed signals, including, apparently, an invitation from MBS to return to Riyadh as an adviser. Khashoggi turned it down. When he visited the consulate in Istanbul the week before his disappearance, the staff were very exceptionally courteous and friendly. That’s what he told concerned friends in London while attending a conference on the Middle East in the interim. But he seemed less certain about his prospects when he headed into the consulate a second time. His Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who was left to wait outside the facility, was given a number to call if he didn’t re-emerge.

    • What it means if Saudi Arabia murdered a journalist in Turkey

      It has been over a week since Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist and government critic (pictured), walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get paperwork for a marriage. No one has seen him since. Turkish officials say that he was killed by a team of Saudi assassins, who dismembered his body, on orders from the top of the royal court (see article). The Saudis retort that Mr Khashoggi left the building of his own accord. If so, when? Are there witnesses or written records? Why is there no security-camera footage? And why did 15 Saudis fly in on private jets just before he disappeared, and leave shortly after? The Saudis must provide answers, or the world will assume the worst.

    • Washington Supreme Court Abolishes the Death Penalty

      Washington is now the 20th state to abolish capital punishment as the public continues to sour on the barbaric practice.

      On Oct. 11, 2018, the state of Washington’s supreme court unanimously struck down the death penalty as unconstitutional, ruling the “death penalty is invalid because it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased matter” and because it fails to serve any legitimate penological goal.” The death penalty is a punishment that is as flawed as it is final, and as the Washington high court acknowledges, one plagued by racial bias and arbitrariness.

      The ruling came in response to an appeal in Allen Gregory’s case. Gregory argued that the entire death penalty scheme in Washington was unconstitutionally discriminatory, relying in large part on a rigorous and sophisticated statistical study by researchers at the University of Washington. The study ultimately showed that Washington juries were more than four times as likely to sentence a Black defendant to death as a non-Black defendant.

      Gregory’s case led a broad group of advocates, researchers, and criminal justice attorneys to file amicus briefs arguing Washington’s death penalty scheme was a demonstrated failure, infected by racial bias and arbitrariness. Seventy-five retired or former judges in Washington state joined the ACLU’s amicus brief asking the Washington court to strike the death penalty. They did so because they had the grim benefit of front row seats to its unjust application.

      Today’s decision is a blow to racial injustice, yet nationwide the racism inherent in the procession and decisions in capital cases too often is unaddressed. In fact, the Washington Supreme Court joins just a small number of state courts, including Massachusetts and Connecticut, that have struck down the death penalty after recognizing the intolerable taint of racial discrimination.

    • Reality Winner Finally Transferred To Federal Prison Where She’ll Serve Sentence

      Former NSA contractor Reality Winner was transferred to Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, where she will be incarcerated for her sentence.

      Winner was charged with violating the Espionage Act after she mailed a copy of a classified report from the NSA on alleged Russian hacking of voter registration systems to the Intercept. She accepted a plea deal on June 26 and was sentenced to five years and three months in prison on August 23. She is serving the longest sentence ever for a person accused of an unauthorized disclosure.

      As of October 9, Winner prepared herself for another week at Grady County Jail in Chickasha, Oklahoma, an overflow facility used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

      She shared, “I had a real tough time last night kind of accepting that we weren’t going to Carswell today, which means at least one more week here in this environment. ”

      Winner stayed up until 3 am, hoping a guard would tell her the transport vehicle for Carswell arrived. A guard earlier claimed nobody was leaving because of weather. “I just went to the darkest place.” The next set of guards suggested the weather was not so bad. There would be prisoners shipping out. No names were called.

      “It should not be a privilege to be able to go to prison, but it really is. It’s not fair,” Winner declared.

      But prison authorities called her number in the morning on October 10, and she was finally moved to Carswell.

    • Beyond Prisons — Episode 29: Kempis ‘Ghani’ Songster (Part 2)

      MOVE’s Philadelphia home was bombed by a police helicopter in 1985. The attack killed eleven people—including five children—and resulted in the destruction of 65 houses in the neighborhood. There were only two survivors.

      Ghani and Kim also talk about plans to rename Osage Avenue (the street where police attacked MOVE) for Mayor Wilson Goode—Philadelphia’s first black mayor, who designated the organization as a terrorist group and who pushed for the police attack.

    • I’m Dying. Here Is What I Refuse to Accept With Serenity.

      Voting is not nearly enough. We need to become organizers.

    • Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women

      The team had been building computer programs since 2014 to review job applicants’ resumes with the aim of mechanizing the search for top talent, five people familiar with the effort told Reuters.

      Automation has been key to Amazon’s e-commerce dominance, be it inside warehouses or driving pricing decisions. The company’s experimental hiring tool used artificial intelligence to give job candidates scores ranging from one to five stars – much like shoppers rate products on Amazon, some of the people said.

    • Amazon Scraps Its AI Hiring Software After Biased Results Against Women

      In 2015, Amazon discovered that the software is malfunctioning and not showing accurate results. It was noticed that the software was failing to evaluate results in a gender-neutral way.

    • Police Brutality Against Black Kansas City Man Caught on Video

      Police encounters too often turn violent or deadly for people of color across the nation.

      Black people in Missouri are disproportionately stopped or harassed by police. Twenty years of collected data shows Black drivers are stopped at a rate 85 percent higher than white drivers. And too many police departments across the state regularly use disproportionate force in dealing with minority individuals.

      Missouri offers yet another example. Josh Bills, a Black man living in Kansas City, found himself on the receiving end of just this kind of police misconduct.

      In December 2013, walking blocks from his home, Bills was approached by five officers who surrounded him. He greeted the officers calmly. He stood with his hands down to his sides at a 45-degree angle. He did not act aggressively.

      The police stopped him because of a call about a “Black man, black clothing.” Then the encounter went south — a scene emblematic of racialized policing that is all too familiar. Despite being cooperative with the officers, Officer Jordan Nelson, without warning, grabbed one of Bills’ arms and violently kicked his legs out from under him, smashing his face into the concrete.

    • Supreme Court Enables Mass Disenfranchisement of North Dakota’s Native Americans

      A restrictive law will make it hard to vote for people who live on reservations in rural areas and don’t have street addresses.

      On Tuesday, the Supreme Court chose to stand by and allow the war against voting to continue. Just a little less than a month before midterm elections that will determine control of Congress, the court decided not to block North Dakota’s restrictive voter ID law, which will make it harder for people in that state to cast their ballots.

      Republicans in the state legislature insist that the law is needed to prevent voter fraud — despite there being virtually no evidence that such fraud is a problem. Instead, the real effect of their law will be to prevent voters whom they fear from going to the polls and having their say in who represents them.

      The voter ID law was introduced just months after Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, eked out a narrow upset victory in 2012, winning by less than 3,000 votes. Republican lawmakers responded by passing restrictive voter ID legislation that all but guaranteed that large numbers of Native Americans — who tend to vote Democratic — wouldn’t be able to participate in the political process. Specifically, the law requires voters to bring to the polls an ID that displays a “current residential street address” or other supplemental documentation that provides proof of such an address.

    • Report Shows LA Sheriff’s Deputies Engaging In Biased Policing, Performing Tons Of Questionable Traffic Stops

      The LA Times has put together a blockbuster piece showing local law enforcement engaging in some arguably biased policing. Analyzing over 9,000 traffic stops recorded by the LA Sheriff’s Department over the last five years, the LA Times noticed some alarming statistics. Latino drivers comprised 69% of the stops and had their vehicles searched two-thirds of the time. Other drivers — the remaining 31% — were subjected to searches less than half the time.

      Also alarming: most searches were consented to by drivers, suggesting drivers are either unaware of their rights or simply felt pressured into allowing deputies to do what they wanted. It also suggests most stops are fishing expeditions, rather than truly traffic-related, which may put more recent stops on the wrong side of legality, thanks to the Supreme Court’s Rodriguez decision. This decision said traffic stops are over when the objective of the stop has been fulfilled — i.e., the delivery of a citation or warning. Killing time to wait for drug dogs or backup units is no longer permissible if reasonable suspicion has failed to materialize.

      The LA County Sheriff’s Department likes to brag about the hundreds of kilos of drugs it has seized over the years. But it doesn’t have much to say about its apparent targeting of Latino drivers or the fact that these drivers were no more likely to be carrying contraband than races/ethnicities stopped/searched far less frequently.

      The whole thing is worth reading, but a couple of details pop out. First, the author of the paper was riding shotgun during what appears to be an illegal traffic stop. Deputies stopped a Mexican man for driving too slow and searched his entire vehicle, including removing part of the dashboard to look for hidden drugs. Nothing appears to have risen to the level of probable cause and the paper’s documentation of the stop doesn’t include the driver giving his consent to be searched.

    • European court rejects appeal by Lithuania, Romania on CIA prisons

      The European Court of Human Rights said Tuesday that it had rejected appeals lodged by Lithuania and Romania over its ruling they were complicit in a controversial programme of secret CIA detention centres on their territories.

      In May the court found that both countries knew two suspects caught after the September 11, 2001, attacks would risk torture while held at the “black sites” from 2004 to 2006.

      Saudi national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri claimed he was illegally held and tortured at an undisclosed site in Romania, while suspected Al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah alleged the same while in Lithuania.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • New Bill Tries To Ban Obnoxious Hidden Fees On Broadband, TV

      For years we’ve talked about how the broadband and cable industry has perfected the use of utterly bogus fees to jack up subscriber bills, a dash of financial creativity it adopted from the banking and airline industries. Countless cable and broadband companies tack on a myriad of completely bogus fees below the line, letting them advertise one rate — then sock you with a higher rate once your bill actually arrives. These companies will then brag repeatedly about how they haven’t raised rates yet this year, when that’s almost never actually the case.

      Despite this gamesmanship occurring for the better part of two decades, nobody ever seems particularly interested in doing much about it. The government tends to see this as little more than creative financing, and when efforts to rein in this bad behavior (which is really false advertising) do pop up, they tend to go nowhere, given this industry’s immense lobbying power.

    • Netflix Reminds Everyone That The Internet Isn’t A Broadcast Medium With New Choose Your Own Adventure Shows

      For over a decade, we have been making the point that the internet is a communications platform, not a broadcast medium. This seemingly obvious statement of fact has long been the subject of legacy content provider objections, which is part of what has led to much of the ongoing conflicts centering around intellectual property and digital business models. With big content players feeling control over their content slipping away in the internet, they have attempted to wrestle back that control by pretending the internet is something it isn’t. For that reason, it’s always a useful thing to point out to examples that remind people that the internet simply isn’t a movie theater or television.

    • Washington State Laughs At Federal Attack On State Net Neutrality Laws

      In the wake of the FCC’s net neutrality repeal, nearly half of the states in the union are now in the process of passing new net neutrality rules. Some states are pushing for legislation that mirrors the discarded FCC rules, while others (including Montana) have signed executive orders banning states from doing business with ISPs that engage in anti-competitive net neutrality violations.

      Of course incumbent ISPs saw this coming, which is why giant ISPs like Verizon and Comcast successfully lobbied the FCC to include language in its repeal that tries to preempt state authority over ISPs entirely. But this effort to ban states from protecting consumers (not just from net neutrality violations) rests on untested legal ground, which is why some ISPs are also pushing for fake net neutrality laws they hope will preempt these state efforts.

    • DNSLink and IPNS availability survey

      I’ve examined the top one million websites (according to Alexa Internet) to find out how many of them announce availability on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) through DNSLink.

      IPFS and InterPlanetary Name System (IPNS) reference content on the distributed web using cryptographic hashes, which isn’t very human friendly. DNSLink is a method for mapping a domain name to an IPFS or IPNS address using the Domain Name System (DNS).

      I used DNSLink to discover which websites from Alexa Internet’s Top 1 Million websites list have attempted to setup an IPFS presence for themselves.

    • Global Internet Outage Over Next 48 Hours Could Affect Some Users, According To ICANN

      A draft plan was announced on February 1, 2018, after receiving input from the community; October 11, 2018, was the date put forward to initiate the procedure. According to ICANN, the rollover is necessary to curb the rising number of cyber attacks.

      In an official statement, Communications Regulatory Authority said: “To further clarify, some internet users might be affected if their network operators or Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have not prepared for this change. However, this impact can be avoided by enabling the appropriate system security extensions.”

      Due to the ongoing maintenance work, some internet users could face issues in accessing web pages or making transactions over the next 48 hours.

    • Oh Look, The FCC Is Lying Again In Its Latest Court Filings On Net Neutrality

      As the FCC gears up for legal battle against the numerous net neutrality lawsuits headed its way, its latest filing with the courts acts as a sort of a greatest hits of the agency’s biggest fallacies to date. 23 State AGs have sued the FCC, stating last fall’s repeal of net neutrality ignored the law, ignored standard FCC procedure, and ignored the public interest. The FCC’s new filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals (pdf) for the District of Columbia Circuit declares these concerns “meritless,” despite indisputible evidence that the FCC effectively based its repeal largely on lobbyist nonsense.

      At the heart of the matter sits the Administrative Procedures Act, which mandates that a regulator can’t just make a severe, abrupt reversal in policy without documenting solid reasons why. The FCC has some legal leeway to change its mind on policy, but as we’ve long noted, the FCC’s justification for its repeal (that net neutrality was somehow stifling broadband investment) has been proven false. Not just by SEC filings and earnings reports, but by the CEOs themselves, publicly, to investors (who by law, unlike you, they can’t lie to).

      Unsurprisingly then, the FCC’s brief leans heavily on the Supreme Court’s 2005 Brand X ruling, which states the FCC has some leeway to shift policy course at its discretion if it has the data to back it up. Also unsurprisingly, the brief goes well out of its way to pretend that ignoring the experts, ignoring the public, and demolishing consumer protections purely at Comcast, Verizon and AT&T’s behest is reasonable, adult policy making.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Mike Andrews on Historical Patent Data

      Mike Andrews is a postdoc at NBER, and I recently came across his PhD dissertation, Fuel of Interest and Fire of Genius: Essays on the Economic History of Innovation. He presents some interesting new results from historical patent records:

      I already described the work in chapter 1 in my post on the NBER Summer Institute; in short, he compares U.S. counties that received new colleges in the period 1839-1954 with finalist sites that were not chosen for plausibly exogenous reasons. He finds that counties that received a college had 33% more patents per year, mostly due to increases in population rather than the colleges’ graduates and faculty.

    • Germany: Fensterrollo, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 80/16, 05 June 2018

      …to be considered obvious, an incentive for the skilled person to particularly choose this feature rather than an alternative would need to be proven or at least plausible.

    • United Kingdom: Hospira UK Limited v Cubist Pharmaceuticals LLC, Court of Appeal of England and Wales, Civil Division, [2018] EWCA Civ 12, 18 January 2018

      The Court of Appeal was satisfied that the first instance Judge had an ample evidential basis to find the claimed invention obvious, his finding was properly reasoned and he had made no error of principle.

    • Berkeley Law Federalist Society: A Libertarian’s Case Against Intellectual Property

      I spoke today on “A Libertarian’s Case Against Intellectual Property,” at the Federalist Society, University of Berkeley-California. It was well-organized and there was a perceptive and interesting critical commentary by Professor Talha Syed.

      This is the audio I recorded on my iPhone; higher quality audio and video to be posted later.

    • Trademarks
      • The American Idol People Bullied A Local County Fair Out Of Its ‘Yolo Idol’ Event For Some Reason

        Customer confusion, actual use in commerce, and why after all these years this is suddenly infringement are all open questions that will remain unresolved as Yolo County is capitulating. And, while it’s understandable that the county doesn’t want to go through the time and expense to push back against Fremantle for all of this, that reality obviously still sucks. It would be much better if bullies like Fremantle would receive the pushback they deserve.

      • Yolo County Fair’s ‘Idol’ succumbs to copyright rule

        It appears as though “Yolo Idol” contest at the Yolo County Fair has had its day … or at least its name.

        Here’s hoping that the residents of Yolo County can help the event come up with a new name for the popular talent contest after a “Cease and Desist” order was received from the attorneys for American Idol.

        On Sept. 17, according to Marty DeAnda, Yolo County Fair Entertainment Director, was reached by Michael J. Salvatore of the law firm Holmes Weinberg PC and FremantleMedia, which owns the trademark rights to American Idol and “those marks in connection with entertainment services and related products and services.”

      • Warner Media Opposes Trademark Filed By Actual ‘Wicked Witch’ Over Its Wizard Of Oz Trademarks

        Thanks to the convoluted nonsense that is copyright law, readers here will likely be familiar with the insanity that is intellectual property rights revolving around The Wizard of Oz. Thanks to some of the works being in the public domain, some of them being under copyright, and the courts mostly treating all of this on a case by case basis, it’s fairly clear at this point that basically nobody knows who is allowed to do what with anything associated with The Wizard of Oz. Usually, issues relating to the work revolve around this axis of confusion.

        But that’s less the case when it comes to trademark issues. For all of its flaws, trademark law is blessedly limited to public confusion and true competition within a specific market. That’s what makes it bewildering that Warner would bother to oppose the trademark application filed by a pagan priestess for her “Wicked Witch Mojo” brand.

      • Argos trade mark appeal ruling raises online infringement potential

        In a ruling that should make businesses wary of accidental infringement through targeted advertising, the UK Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal from a well-known catalogue retailer against a US company of the same name.

    • Copyrights
      • Trade Agreements Making Rules In New Technologies, Territoriality An Issue For IP In Digital Age

        As new technologies have pervaded society, with more to come, policymaking has become a difficult exercise. Rules established before those game-changing technologies might be outdated. A session at the World Trade Organization Public Forum last week looked at how intellectual property rules are faring in the time of digital technologies. Speakers remarked on the role of regional trade agreements in norm-setting, and the growing issue of the territoriality of rights for copyright.

        [...]

        At the end of 2017, PricewaterhouseCoopers released a report calling on investors to invest in emerging technologies, he said, adding that the World Trade Report released during the Public Forum found that trade in information technology has tripled in the last two decades and reached US$1.6 trillion in 2016.

        Awad cited a 2017 Guardian article about the Press Association winning a Google grant to use artificial intelligence for creating up to 30,000 local stories a month. Initiatives such as this one are raising questions about the ownership of IP, he said.

      • Politicians Start To Push For Autonomous Vehicle Data To Be Protected By Copyright Or Database Rights

        Autonomous vehicles are much in the news these days, and seem poised to enter the mainstream soon. One of their key aspects is that they are digital systems — essentially, computers with wheels. As such they gather and generate huge amounts of data as they move around and interact with their surroundings. This kind of data is increasingly valuable, so an important question poses itself: what should happen to all that information from autonomous vehicles?

        The issue came up recently in a meeting of the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee, which was drawing up a document to summarize its views on autonomous driving in the EU (pdf). It’s an area now being explored by the EU with a view to bringing in relevant regulations where they are needed.

Links 11/10/2018: PostgreSQL 11 RC1 Released, Librem 5 Loves GNOME 3.32

Thursday 11th of October 2018 10:02:33 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Plex Media Server Is Now Available as a Snap App for Ubuntu, Other Linux Distros

    Already available as binary packages for Debian- and Red Hat-based operating systems using the DEB and RPM package format, the Plex Media Server over-the-top (OTT) media service used by millions worldwide is now easier to install across a multitude of GNU/Linux distributions as a Snap app from Canonical’s Snap Store.

    “The biggest appeal of Snaps is the simple installation mechanism,” said Tamas Szelei, Software Engineer at Plex. “Canonical’s Snap Store provides an easy and secure way to distribute our software to an increasing number of consumers. What’s more, Snaps help cater to the more technical Plex user, who benefits from confined applications and the added sense of software security.”

  • The Easy Way to Install Plex Media Server on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

    Binge watchers, TV addicts, and music lovers rejoice — it just got mighty easy to install Plex Media Server on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and other Linux distributions, all thanks to Snaps!

    From today Plex is available to install from the Snap store, for free, on any and all Linux distros that support the Snap framework, such as Linux Mint, Solus and Manjaro.

  • Kernel Space
    • When Linux Founder Linus Torvalds Leaves, Pandemonium Breaks Loose

      When Linux founder Linus Torvalds temporarily stepped down from the helm, there was suddenly trouble.

    • Initial HDMI 2.0 Support With Nouveau Slated For The Next Linux Kernel

      Days after Nouveau DRM maintainer Ben Skeggs began staging changes for this open-source NVIDIA driver ahead of the next kernel cycle, this evening Ben Skeggs submitted the DRM-Next pull request to queue this work for the Linux 4.20/5.0 kernel cycle.

      As covered in that previous article, there isn’t a whole lot on the Nouveau kernel driver front at this time. Skeggs summed up these open-source NVIDIA driver changes as: “Just initial HDMI 2.0 support, and a bunch of other cleanups.”

    • Device-to-device memory-transfer offload with P2PDMA

      One of the most common tasks carried out by device drivers is setting up DMA operations for data transfers between main memory and the device. Often, data read into memory from one device will be immediately written, unchanged, to another device. Common examples include carrying the image between the camera and screen on a mobile phone, or downloading files to be saved on a disk. Those transfers have an impact on the CPU even if it does not use the data directly, due to higher memory use and effects like cache trashing. There are cases where it is possible to avoid usage of the system memory completely, though. A patch set (posted by Logan Gunthorpe with contributions by Christoph Hellwig and Steve Wise) has been in the works for some time that addresses this case for PCI devices using peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers, with a focus on offering an offload option for the NVMe fabrics target subsystem.

    • Exploring the Linux kernel: The secrets of Kconfig/kbuild

      The Linux kernel config/build system, also known as Kconfig/kbuild, has been around for a long time, ever since the Linux kernel code migrated to Git. As supporting infrastructure, however, it is seldom in the spotlight; even kernel developers who use it in their daily work never really think about it.

      To explore how the Linux kernel is compiled, this article will dive into the Kconfig/kbuild internal process, explain how the .config file and the vmlinux/bzImage files are produced, and introduce a smart trick for dependency tracking.

    • Linux Kernel 4.14 LTSI Is Now Officially Available for All Hardware Vendors

      The Long Term Support Initiative (LTSI) project aims to provide hardware vendors using the Linux kernel in their products with support for at least 2-3 years, which is the typical lifetime of a consumer device, in an attempt to remove the fragmentation of the various Linux kernel versions used by device vendors and GNU/Linux distributions.

      It also makes it easier for device vendors to upstream their improvements into the main Linux kernel branches more easily. Coming a year after the Linux 4.9 kernel series, which was released as an LTSI kernel on September 21, 2017, the Linux 4.14.75 LTS kernel is now the latest and most advanced LTSI kernel for hardware vendors.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Proton 3.7 Updated, More RADV Fixes To Help Steam Play Gaming

        Overnight Valve promoted their Proton 3.7-7 build with better alt-tab handling and full-screen behavior for many games. There is also fixed mouse behavior and DXVK 0.80 is now used for the Direct3D-11-over-Vulkan translation to yield better Steam Play gaming performance.

        Steam Play 3.7-8 is also now available in beta with minor compatibility fixes, which Valve says is in preparation for future Proton versions.

      • AMD Stages A Number Of Fixes Ahead Of Linux 4.20~5.0 – Plus Vega 20 “MGPU Fan Boost”

        Following several interesting and exciting feature pull requests for the next Linux kernel (to be released as either version 4.20 or 5.0), AMD developers have moved onto stabilizing this massive amount of new feature code.

        The first “fixes” pull request was submitted today to DRM-Next focusing on stabilizing and fixing issues stemming from all this new code. As a reminder, that feature code ranges from AMD Picasso APU support along with Raven 2, a lot of Vega 20 enablement code including compute support, initial xGMI support, VCN dynamic power gating, DC display code enhancements, VCN JPEG engine support, Raven Ridge GFXOFF support, GPUVM virtual memory performance improvements, and a variety of other interesting work.

      • NVIDIA’s Guide For Getting Started With RTX Ray-Tracing In Vulkan

        Last month’s Vulkan 1.1.85 release brought NVIDIA’s experimental ray-tracing extension (VK_NVX_raytracing) while for those curious how this fits into the Vulkan workflow, NVIDIA today published a guide for getting started with ray-time ray-tracing in the Vulkan space.

      • Freedesktop.org: its past and its future

        At the 2018 X.Org Developers Conference (XDC) in A Coruña, Spain, Daniel Stone gave an update on the status of freedesktop.org, which serves multiple projects as a hosting site for code, mailing lists, specifications, and more. As its name would imply, it started out with a focus on free desktops and cross-desktop interoperability, but it lost that focus—along with its focus in general—along the way. He recapped the journey of fd.o (as it is often known) and unveiled some idea of where it may be headed in the future.

        The talk was billed with Keith Packard as co-presenter, but Packard could not make it to XDC; Stone said that he sent Packard a copy of the slides and heard no complaints, so he left Packard on the slide deck [PDF]. Stone wanted to start with the history of fd.o, because there are lots of new contributors these days—”which is great”—who may not know about it.

      • AMDGPU DC Gets “PERF_TRACE” To Help With Performance Profiling

        Published on Wednesday was the latest batch of AMDGPU DC display code changes for its eventual inclusion into the AMDGPU DRM driver for mainline past the 4.20~5.0 cycle with that feature merge window being over. The most notable change with this latest AMDGPU DC haul is a new “PERF_TRACE” addition.

        The 26 patches sent out on Wednesday refactor the DCE clock code as well as the DC to SMU interface. Most interesting to us though is this PERF_TRACE feature on Linux. This PERF_TRACE functionality isn’t to be confused with the perf subsystem nor the perf-trace user-space utility.

    • Benchmarks
      • Hands On & Initial Benchmarks With An Ampere eMAG 32-Core ARM Server

        Especially with Qualcomm’s Centriq efforts going quiet in recent months, one of the most interesting ARM server efforts at the moment is Ampere Computing — the company founded by former Intel president Renee James and with several other ex-Intel employees on staff. They started off with the acquired assets from what was AppliedMicro and their X-Gene ARMv8 IP and for the past year have been improving it into their recently announced eMAG processors.

        The eMAG processors announced back in September by Ampere are up to 32-core with a 3.3GHz turbo while having a launch price of $850 USD. Their second processor is a 16-core model with 3.3GHz turbo for $550. Both processors support eight DDR4-2667MHz memory channels, SATA 3.0 storage connectivity, 42 PCI Express 3.0 lanes, and these 16nm FinFET processors have a 125 Watt TDP. Lenovo and other ODMs will be manufacturing servers with eMAG processors although the expected pricing information isn’t yet announced.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Qt Creator 4.8 Beta released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.8 Beta!

        In Qt Creator 4.8 we’ll introduce experimental support for the language server protocol. For many programming languages there is a “language server” available, which provides IDEs with a whole lot of information about the code, as long as they support communicating via the protocol.

        This means that by providing a client for the language server protocol, Qt Creator gets (some) support for many programming languages “for free”. Currently Qt Creator supports code completion, highlighting of the symbol under cursor, and jumping to the symbol definition, as well as integrates diagnostics from the language server. Highlighting and indentation are still provided by our generic highlighter, since they are not provided via the language server protocol.

      • Qt Creator 4.8 Rolls Into Beta With C++ Improvements, Language Server Protocol Support

        The Qt Creator 4.8 beta brings experimental support for the Language Server Protocol to provide better integration with various programming languages and implementations offering a language server for communicating code traits to the IDE via this protocol. This language server protocol support will allow for the Qt Creator to pick-up support for more programming languages by supporting this protocol. Most of the LSP testing so far has been in conjunction with Python.

      • Introducing the Distance Field Generator

        At least from the perspective of rendering, text is often the most complex part of a traditional two-dimensional user interface. In such an interface, the two main components are rectangular images and text. The rectangular images are often quite static, and can be represented by two triangles and four indexes into a texture atlas that is uploaded to graphics memory once and then retained. This is something that has low complexity and which the graphics hardware has been optimized to handle quickly.

        Text starts as a series of indexes into an international database of writing systems (Unicode). It is then, based on some selection algorithm, combined with one or more fonts, which is in principle a collection of shapes and some lookup tables and executable programs that convert said indexes into shapes and relative positions. These shapes, basically filled paths made out of bezier curves, then have to be rasterized at a specified size, and this can range from simple and neat outlines to complex ones with lots of detail. (By rasterization, I mean finding out how much of each target pixel, or subpixel in some cases, is covered by the shape.)

      • Krita 4.1.5 Released

        Coming hot on the heels of Krita 4.1.3, which had an unfortunate accident to the TIFF plugin, we’re releasing Krita 4.1.5 today! There’s a lot more than just that fix, though, since we’re currently celebrating the last week of the Krita Fundraiser by having a very productive development sprint in Deventer, the Netherlands.

      • digiKam GSoC 2018

        It was really nice working with Tarek on GSoC 2018 project with KDE. Tarek did a good job supporting new export tool for digiKam so users can upload their local images to more web services. check his work report here

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Librem 5 loves GNOME 3.32

        I am glad to announce that the tooling I am working on since the beginning of the year is ready to be used!

        Thanks to new features introduced into libhandy 0.0.3 and 0.0.4 and thanks to a few fixes to Adwaita in GTK+ 3.24.1, you can make GTK+ 3 apps adaptive to work both on the desktop and on the upcoming GNOME-based Librem 5 phone.

        We are early in the GNOME 3.32 release schedule and the Librem 5 will be released a bit after it, so if you want your apps to work on the Librem 5, now is the best time: use libhandy 0.0.4 and up, use GTK+ 3.24.1 and up and target GNOME 3.32! A few apps like Fractal, Podcasts, Calls and Chatty are already using libhandy’s adaptive capabilities, and other apps are working on their adaptive transition like Contacts, Games, Geary and Settings (all are works in progress). libhandy is available in Debian Unstable and Arch’s AUR repository, and I wish it would be in Fedora already to let GNOME Settings’ CI pass.

      • Purism’s Privacy-Focused Librem 5 Linux Phone Will Ship with GNOME 3.32 Desktop
      • Purism Is Hoping GNOME 3.32 Will Be In Great Shape For Their Librem 5 Smartphone
      • Removing my favorite feature

        So in a decision that was long overdue, I’m removing the real-time graph from Builder 3.32. I never did a great job of porting that code to optimal Wayland use anyway. It was really designed with Xrender/Xshm in mind where XCopyArea() was cheap and done on the GPU.

  • Distributions
    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • Tumbleweed Gets Plasma 5.14, Frameworks 5.50

        Four openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots this week brought new versions of software along with new versions of KDE’s Plasma and Frameworks as well as python-setuptools and many other packages.

        The most recent snapshot, 20181009, updated KDE’s Plasma 5.14. The new Plasma version has several new features like the new Display Configuration widget for screen management, which is useful for presentations. The Audio Volume widget has a built in speaker test feature moved from Phonon settings and the Network widget now works for SSH VPN tunnels again. The Global menu now supports GTK applications as well. Mozilla Firefox 62.0.3 fixed a few Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures including a vulnerability in register allocation of JavaScript that can lead to type confusion, which allows for an arbitrary read and write. The cpupower package, which is a collection of tools to examine and tune power, was updated to version 4.19 and deleted some patches that are now part of the mainline. Source-control-management system mercurial 4.7.2 fixed a potential out-of-bounds read in manifest parsing C code. Other packages including in the snapshot were inxi 3.0.26, lftp 4.8.4, libinput 1.12.1, okteta 0.25.4 and vm-install 0.10.04

        Snapshot 20181004 included several package updates as well. NetworkManager-openvpn 1.8.6 fixed an endless loop checking for encrypted certificate. The open source antivirus engine clamav 0.100.2 disabled the opt-in minor feature of OnAccess scanning on Linux systems and will re-enabled in a future release. Users who enabled the feature in clamd.conf will see a warning informing them that the feature is not active. The Linux Kernel was updated to 4.18.11 and had several fixes for Ext4. Developers using python-setuptools 40.4.3 will see a few changes from the previous 40.2.0 version that was in Tumbleweed like the vendored pyparsing in pkg_resources to 2.2.1. Those using Samba will see a fix for cluster CTDB configuration with the 4.9.1 version. Caching proxy squid 4.3 updated systemd dependencies in squid.service and vlc 3.0.4 improve support for broken HEVC inside MKV.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Debian/TeX Live updates 20181009

        During this update some color profiles (icc) that had unclear licenses have been removed, which for now creates problems with the pdfx package. So if you use the pdfx package, please explicitly specify a color profile. The next upload will again allow using pdfx without specifying a profile in which case a default profile is used. I have uploaded already a set of free profiles to CTAN and they arrived in TeX Live, but pdfx package isn’t updated till now.During this update some color profiles (icc) that had unclear licenses have been removed, which for now creates problems with the pdfx package. So if you use the pdfx package, please explicitly specify a color profile. The next upload will again allow using pdfx without specifying a profile in which case a default profile is used. I have uploaded already a set of free profiles to CTAN and they arrived in TeX Live, but pdfx package isn’t updated till now.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • After 16 Years of Development, The First Beta of Haiku is Finally Here

    Haiku’s history begins with the now defunct Be Inc. Be Inc was founded by former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée after he was ousted by CEO John Sculley. Gassée wanted to create a new operating system from the ground up. BeOS was created with digital media work in mind and was designed to take advantage of the most modern hardware of the time. Originally, Be Inc attempted to create their own platform encompassing both hardware and software. The result was called the BeBox. After BeBox failed to sell well, Be turned their attention to BeOS.

    In the 1990s, Apple was looking for a new operating system to replace the aging Classic Mac OS. The two contenders were Gassée’s BeOS and Steve Jobs’ NeXTSTEP. In the end, Apple went with NeXTSTEP. Be tried to license BeOS to hardware makers, but in at least one case Microsoft threatened to revoke a manufacturer’s Windows license if they sold BeOS machines. Eventually, Be Inc was sold to Palm in 2001 for $11 million. BeOS was subsequently discontinued.

  • FOSS Project Spotlight: Tutanota, the First Encrypted Email Service with an App on F-Droid

    Seven years ago, we started building Tutanota, an encrypted email service with a strong focus on security, privacy and open source. Long before the Snowden revelations, we felt there was a need for easy-to-use encryption that would allow everyone to communicate online without being snooped upon.

    As developers, we know how easy it is to spy on email that travels through the web. Email, with its federated setup is great, and that’s why it has become the main form of online communication and still is. However, from a security perspective, the federated setup is troublesome—to say the least.

    End-to-end encrypted email is difficult to handle on desktops (with key generation, key sharing, secure storing of keys and so on), and it’s close to impossible on mobile devices. For the average, not so tech-savvy internet user, there are a lot of pitfalls, and the probability of doing something wrong is, unfortunately, rather high.

  • Spinnaker is the next big open source project to watch

    Spinnaker is an open source continuous delivery (CD) platform from Netflix and Google, though it now also has the backing of other major software companies. Spinnaker 1.0 launched last July, so it’s not the newest kid on the block, but the service is slowly but surely gaining momentum now, with users that include Target, Adobe, Daimler and Capital One, as well as a growing ecosystem of vendors who support it.

    Today, after a few years of working on the project without any formal structure in place, the Spinnaker project announced that it is growing up and putting a formal governance system in place at the project’s second community summit in Seattle this week.

  • Web Browsers
    • Andy Wingo: heap object representation in spidermonkey

      I was having a look through SpiderMonkey’s source code today and found something interesting about how it represents heap objects and wanted to share.

      I was first looking to see how to implement arbitrary-length integers (“bigints”) by storing the digits inline in the allocated object. (I’ll use the term “object” here, but from JS’s perspective, bigints are rather values; they don’t have identity. But I digress.) So you have a header indicating how many words it takes to store the digits, and the digits follow. This is how JavaScriptCore and V8 implementations of bigints work.

      Incidentally, JSC’s implementation was taken from V8. V8′s was taken from Dart. Dart’s was taken from Go. We might take SpiderMonkey’s from Scheme48. Good times, right??

      When seeing if SpiderMonkey could use this same strategy, I couldn’t find how to make a variable-sized GC-managed allocation. It turns out that in SpiderMonkey you can’t do that! SM’s memory management system wants to work in terms of fixed-sized “cells”. Even for objects that store properties inline in named slots, that’s implemented in terms of standard cell sizes. So if an object has 6 slots, it might be implemented as instances of cells that hold 8 slots.

      Truly variable-sized allocations seem to be managed off-heap, via malloc or other allocators. I am not quite sure how this works for GC-traced allocations like arrays, but let’s assume that somehow it does.

    • Mozilla
      • Pocket Offers New Features to Help People Read, Watch and Listen across iOS, Android and Web

        We know that when you save something to Pocket, there is a reason why. You are saving something you want to learn about, something that fascinates you, something that will help shape and change you. That’s why we’ve worked hard to make Pocket a dedicated, quiet place to focus so that you can come back and absorb what you save when you are ready.

        The trick is, in the reality of our lives, it’s not always that simple. Our lives don’t always have a quiet moment with a coffee cup in hand with Pocket in the other. We have work to do, kids to take care of, school to attend. But with Pocket we’ve always worked hard to ensure that Pocket gives you tools to fit content around your life, freeing you from the moment of distraction and putting you in control.

  • Databases
    • PostgreSQL 11 RC1 Released!

      The PostgreSQL Global Development Group announces that the first release candidate of PostgreSQL 11 is now available for download. As a release candidate, PostgreSQL 11 RC 1 should be identical to the initial release of PostgreSQL 11, though some more fixes may be applied prior to the general availability of PostgreSQL 11.

    • PostgreSQL 11 RC1 Released Ahead Of Stable Release Next Week

      -
      One week from today will hopefully mark the release of the PostgreSQL 11 stable database server release.

      PostgreSQL 11.0 delivers more performance tuning optimizations with that work being never-ending. There are also various other improvements.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • OpenBSD’s unveil()

      One of the key aspects of hardening the user-space side of an operating system is to provide mechanisms for restricting which parts of the filesystem hierarchy a given process can access. Linux has a number of mechanisms of varying capability and complexity for this purpose, but other kernels have taken a different approach. Over the last few months, OpenBSD has inaugurated a new system call named unveil() for this type of hardening that differs significantly from the mechanisms found in Linux.

      The value of restricting access to the filesystem, from a security point of view, is fairly obvious. A compromised process cannot exfiltrate data that it cannot read, and it cannot corrupt files that it cannot write. Preventing unwanted access is, of course, the purpose of the permissions bits attached to every file, but permissions fall short in an important way: just because a particular user has access to a given file does not necessarily imply that every program run by that user should also have access to that file. There is no reason why your PDF viewer should be able to read your SSH keys, for example. Relying on just the permission bits makes it easy for a compromised process to access files that have nothing to do with that process’s actual job.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • FSF statement on Microsoft joining the Open Invention Network

      Microsoft’s announcements on October 4th and 10th, that it has joined both LOT and the Open Invention Network (OIN), are significant steps in the right direction, potentially providing respite from Microsoft’s well-known extortion of billions of dollars from free software redistributors.

      These steps, though, do not by themselves fully address the problem of computational idea patents, or even Microsoft’s specific infringement claims. They do not mean that Microsoft has dismantled or freely licensed its entire patent portfolio. The agreements for both LOT and OIN have substantial limitations and exclusions. LOT only deals with the problem of patent trolling by non-practicing entities. OIN’s nonaggression agreement only covers a defined list of free software packages, and any OIN member, including Microsoft, can withdraw completely with thirty days notice.

      With these limitations in mind, FSF welcomes the announcements, and calls on Microsoft to take additional steps to continue the momentum toward a complete resolution:

      1) Make a clear, unambiguous statement that it has ceased all patent infringement claims on the use of Linux in Android.

    • The FSF Wants Microsoft To Do More To Help Fight Software Patents

      Microsoft joining the Open Invention Network comes a week after the Redmond company joined LOT Network as well to help fight patent trolls.

    • FSF Issues Statement on Microsoft Joining OIN, RaspEX Build 181010 Now Available for Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, OpenShift Container Platform 3.11 Released, Kernel Security Update for CentOS 6 and RHEL 6, and Qt Creator 4.8 Beta Is Out

      Following the news of Microsoft joining the Open Invention Network, the Free Software Foundation issued a statement calling on Microsoft to “take additional steps to continue the momentum toward a complete resolution”. These steps include “make a clear, unambiguous statement that it has ceased all patent infringement claims on the use of Linux in Android”; “work within OIN to expand the definition of what it calls the ‘Linux System’ so that the list of packages protected from patents actually includes everything found in a GNU/Linux system”; and “use the past patent royalties extorted from free software to fund the effective abolition of all patents covering ideas in software.”

    • ​What does Microsoft joining the Open Invention Network mean for you?

      Before going further, let me say: I am not a lawyer. Heck, I’m not even my old friend Groklaw’s Pamela “PJ” Jones. But I have spoken to numerous intellectual property (IP) attorneys, and this is the gist of what the deal means. For real advice, though, consult your IP-savvy lawyer.

      First, all — yes, all — of Microsoft’s patents are covered by the OIN deal. Microsoft has licensed its entire patent portfolio to OIN licensees covering the Linux System. Yes, Microsoft has 90,000 total patents, but only 60,000 have been approved to date. The 30,000 remaining are still making their way through the Patent and Trademark Office. As to-be-issued patents, these cannot be asserted. Once they are issued, Microsoft intends to license those, as well.

  • Programming/Development
    • digest 0.6.18

      Earlier today, digest version 0.6.18 arrived on CRAN. It will get uploaded to Debian in due course.

      digest creates hash digests of arbitrary R objects (using the md5, sha-1, sha-256, sha-512, crc32, xxhash32, xxhash64 and murmur32 algorithms) permitting easy comparison of R language objects.

    • Did your first pull request get accepted?
    • Clazy 1.4 released

      Clazy 1.4 has been released and brings 10 new checks.

      Clazy is a clang compiler plugin which emits warnings related to Qt best practices. We’ll be showing Clazy at Qt World Summit in Boston, Oct 29-30, where we are a main Sponsor.

Leftovers
  • I’d like to interject for a moment

    Mastodon is merely an implementation of Fediverse. As it happens, only one of my Fediverse channels runs on Mastodon (the Japanese language one at Pawoo). Main one still uses Gnusocial, the anime one was on Gnusocial and migrated to Pleroma a few months ago. All of them are communicating using the OStatus protocol, although a movement is afoot to switch to ActivityPub. Hopefully it’s more successful than the migration from RSS to Atom was.

    Yet, I noticed that a lot of people fall to the idea that Mastodon is an exclusive brand. Rarely one has to know or care what MTA someone else uses. Microsoft was somewhat successful in establishing Outlook as such a powerful brand to the exclusion of the compatible e-mail software. The maintainer of Mastodon is doing his hardest to present it as a similar brand, and regrettably, he’s very successful at that.

  • Security
    • Revenge of the modems

      Back in the halcyon days of the previous century, those with a technical inclination often became overly acquainted with modems—not just the strange sounds they made when connecting, but the AT commands that were used to control them. While the AT command set is still in use (notably for GSM networks), it is generally hidden these days. But some security researchers have found that Android phones often make AT commands available via their USB ports, which is something that can potentially be exploited by rogue USB devices of various sorts.

      A paper [PDF] that was written by a long list of researchers (Dave (Jing) Tian, Grant Hernandez, Joseph I. Choi, Vanessa Frost, Christie Ruales, Patrick Traynor, Hayawardh Vijayakumar, Lee Harrison, Amir Rahmati, Michael Grace, and Kevin R. B. Butler) and presented at the 27th USENIX Security Symposium described the findings. A rather large number of Android firmware builds were scanned for the presence of AT commands and many were found to have them. That’s not entirely surprising since the baseband processors used to communicate with the mobile network often use AT commands for configuration. But it turns out that Android vendors have also added their own custom AT commands that can have a variety of potentially harmful effects—making those available over USB is even more problematic.

      They started by searching through 2018 separate Android binary images (it is not clear how that number came about, perhaps it is simply coincidental) from 11 different vendors. They extracted and decompressed the various pieces inside the images and then searched those files for AT command strings. That process led to a database of 3500 AT commands, which can be seen at the web site for ATtention Spanned—the name given to the vulnerabilities.

    • XFS, LSM, and low-level management APIs

      The Linux Security Module (LSM) subsystem allows security modules to hook into many low-level operations within the kernel; modules can use those hooks to examine each requested operation and decide whether it should be allowed to proceed or not. In theory, just about every low-level operation is covered by an LSM hook; in practice, there are some gaps. A discussion regarding one of those gaps — low-level ioctl() operations on XFS filesystems — has revealed a thorny problem and a significant difference of opinion on what the correct solution is.

      In late September Tong Zhang pointed out that xfs_file_ioctl(), the 300-line function that dispatches the various ioctl() operations that can be performed on an XFS filesystem, was making a call to vfs_readlink() without first consulting the security_inode_readlink() LSM hook. As a result, a user with the privilege to invoke that operation (CAP_SYS_ADMIN) could read the value of a symbolic link within the filesystem, even if the security policy in place would otherwise forbid it. Zhang suggested that a call to the LSM hook should be added to address this problem.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • US Weapons Systems Are Easy Cyberattack Targets, New Report Finds

      Specifically, the report concludes that almost all weapons that the DOD tested between 2012 and 2017 have “mission critical” cyber vulnerabilities. “Using relatively simple tools and techniques, testers were able to take control of systems and largely operate undetected, due in part to basic issues such as poor password management and unencrypted communications,” the report states. And yet, perhaps more alarmingly, the officials who oversee those systems appeared dismissive of the results.

    • Election security groups warn of cyber vulnerabilities for emailed ballots

      Experts from both the private and public sector have warned about the vulnerabilities of online voting for years, but the report comes at a time of heightened alarm about election interference from hostile nation-states or cyber criminals.

    • How to level up your organization’s security expertise

      IT security is critical to every company these days. In the words of former FBI director Robert Mueller: “There are only two types of companies: Those that have been hacked, and those that will be.”

      At the same time, IT security is constantly evolving. We all know we need to keep up with the latest trends in cybersecurity and security tooling, but how can we do that without sacrificing our ability to keep moving forward on our business priorities?

      No single person in your organization can handle all of the security work alone; your entire development and operations team will need to develop an awareness of security tooling and best practices, just like they all need to build skills in open source and in agile software delivery. There are a number of best practices that can help you level up the overall security expertise in your company through basic and intermediate education, subject matter experts, and knowledge-sharing.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • WikiLeaks Publishes Alleged ‘Highly Confidential’ Amazon Document

      Whistleblowing platform WikiLeaks said today that it had obtained and published a “highly confidential” document pilfered from technology company Amazon.

      Naming the release “Amazon Atlas,” the anti-secrecy organization claimed the document, dated late 2015, provided unprecedented insight into the locations of Amazon’s data centers and highlighted the company’s ongoing relationship with the U.S. intelligence community.

      “Until now, this cloud infrastructure controlled by Amazon was largely hidden, with only the general geographic regions of the data centers publicized,” WikiLeaks said in a release.

      The alleged Amazon document itself—headed Data Center Locations—comes with the top-line notice: “Warning: This information is not public and is classed as Highly Confidential!”

      In its post on Thursday, Wikileaks wrote that “the document…lists the addresses and some operational details of over 100 data centers spread across fifteen cities in nine countries.”

      The website posted a link claiming to show a map of where Amazon’s data centers are located.

    • AmazonAtlas

      Amazon is the leading cloud provider for the United States intelligence community. In 2013, Amazon entered into a $600 million contract with the CIA to build a cloud…

    • Swiss Top Court Knocks Down Bid to Extend Banking Secrecy

      Switzerland’s highest court ruled on Wednesday that prosecutors cannot extend Swiss banking secrecy rules to all corners of the globe to pursue whistleblowers and other leakers at foreign subsidiaries.

      The Federal Supreme Court by a 3-2 majority rejected an appeal by Zurich prosecutors in a 14-year legal battle involving former private banker Rudolf Elmer, who had been acquitted of breaking secrecy laws.

      The case underscored how Swiss authorities continue to pursue people who leak client data even as strict banking secrecy erodes in an era of automatic sharing of account data among tax authorities to catch cheats.

    • Swiss top court knocks down bid to extend banking secrecy
    • Switzerland’s Top Court Knocks Down Bid to Extend Banking Secrecy
    • Swiss court clears ex-banker who gave secrets to WikiLeaks
    • ‘Silk Road’ Lawyer Defending WikiLeaks Against Dems’ Lawsuit

      WikiLeaks has brought in some legal muscle to defend it from a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by the Democratic National Committee over Russia’s 2016 election-interference campaign.

      New York attorney Joshua Dratel made a name for himself representing high-profile defendants in complex federal cases, including terrorism prosecutions, and he was the first civilian lawyer to represent a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. He’s best known for defending Ross Ulbricht, who, as “Dread Pirate Roberts” founded the notorious darknet drug market Silk Road. In 2015, a jury convicted Ulbricht of money laundering, hacking, narcotics trafficking, and other charges, and Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison.

    • The Trump Campaign Says Exploiting Hacked Emails Is Free Speech

      In a motion to dismiss a new lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump’s campaign team of illegally conspiring with Russian agents to disseminate stolen emails during the election, Trump campaign lawyers have tried out a new defense: free speech.

      The lawsuit, filed in July in the Eastern District of Virginia by two donors and one former employee of the Democratic National Committee, alleges that the Trump campaign, along with former Trump adviser Roger Stone, worked with Russia and WikiLeaks to publish hacked DNC emails, thereby violating their privacy. (Stone is referenced throughout the lawsuit but is not a named defendant.)

    • Silk Road lawyer to defend WikiLeaks in election interference suit

      The lawyer who represented the man behind darknet market Silk Road is to defend WikiLeaks against a lawsuit from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) connected to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

      Joshua Dratel has notified the judge overseeing the DNC’s federal lawsuit against WikiLeaks that he would be representing the controversial organisation in court.

      In a statement tweeted by WikiLeaks, Mr Dratel said: “The lawsuit against WikiLeaks is entirely without merit, and this case presents critical First Amendment issues that we look forward to litigating.”

    • ‘Free Speech’: Trump Campaign Defends WikiLeaks’ Release of Hacked DNC Emails
    • Trump campaign claims WikiLeaks not liable for releasing hacked emails
    • The Fate of Julian Assange: ClipArt with Boris Malagurski

      After years cooped up in Ecuador’s London embassy, it’s being rumoured that WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange will soon be kicked out. Boris Malagurski explains what might be waiting for him and why the persecution of Assange doesn’t bode well for freedom of speech.

  • Finance
    • Squalid London

      On the face of it, the Unexplained Wealth Order against Zamira Hajiyeva shows the UK cracking down on the torrent of corrupt money that gushes in to the City of London every single second. But dig deeper.

      Hajiyev’s husband had fallen out of favour with the appallingly kleptocratic Aliev regime in Azerbaijan – a dictatorship whose corruption can be measured by the infallible indicator that Tony Blair is currently working for it. Hundreds of billions have been plundered from Azerbaijan’s oil revenue by the Azeri oligarchs.

      So is the British government going after the very substantial assets in the UK of the ruling Aliev family? No. Is it going after the very substantial assets in the UK of the oligarchs surrounding the Aliev family? No. It is only going after almost the only Azeri oligarch who fell foul of the regime, and is taking an action which the Baku dictator will applaud rather than decry.

      While her father was still dictator of Uzbekistan, Gulnara Karimova was subject to seizure of looted wealth and investigation in Switzerland, France and Sweden, among others. In the UK, where she had a home and very substantial assets, no action whatsoever.

      What are we to make of Theresa May’s huffing and puffing about the Skripal affair, when the UK’s richest resident is Alisher Usmanov, who is Vladimir Putin’s old flatmate, right hand man in the media and business world and chairman of Gazprominvestholdings? There is no chance whatsoever any action will be taken against Usmanov, who acquired his assets in the most dubious manner imaginable. Usmanov is far too entrenched in the City.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • With Hurricane Michael Barreling Down on Gulf Coast, Florida Unconstitutionally Refuses to Extend Voter Registration Deadline

      Florida is putting tens of thousands of people at risk of disenfranchisement for no good reason.

      Voters should not have to risk their lives in order to register to vote. Yet, in Florida, that’s exactly the position that the state has chosen to put tens of thousands of people in. Despite the state’s Oct. 9 deadline to register to vote arriving amidst a looming Category 4 hurricane, Florida has refused to grant an adequate extension for Floridians to register to vote.

      Hurricane Michael threatens to lash Florida with a life-threatening storm surge, maximum wind speeds of 145 mph, and flash floods. Prolonged power outages in the Gulf Coast region are all but assured. Gov. Scott has declared a state of emergency in 35 counties, calling Hurricane Michael a “deadly threat” and a “monstrous storm” with a forecast that “keeps getting worse.” Evacuation orders are in place for parts of 18 counties, with National Guard search-and-rescue teams being deployed.

      By all accounts, including the governor’s, this was no time for anyone to stroll into their local elections office to fill out a voter registration form. Under state law, Florida has the option of simply extending the deadline, but the state has refused to do so. As a result, tens of thousands of voters may find themselves unable to register in time and therefore unable to vote in the November election.

      Florida’s refusal to extend the deadline statewide is not just nonsensical, it violates voters’ 14th Amendment rights, which protect against unnecessary burdens on the right to vote. Late last night, we filed a federal lawsuit, along with the ACLU of Florida and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, seeking a statewide extension of the voter registration deadline.

    • ‘We’ve Seen the Total Failure of Repressive Policies’

      The September 20 Columbus Dispatch ran an op-ed from Jim Carroll, identified as “deputy director of national drug control policy and President Trump’s nominee for drug czar.” Carroll evinced concern for the “lives lost” to drug overdoses and empathy for the “loved ones devastated by their loss,” as well as “those in recovery”—all by way of explaining why he was

      in Columbus to meet with law enforcement officers from Ohio and across the Midwest about working together to stop heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamines and other drugs from entering our communities and ruining people’s lives.

      That immediate recourse to a policing response is writ large in Trump’s “call to action” on what his administration calls the “World Drug Problem,” but it doesn’t reflect the direction of much of the actual world. So how much impact can that disconnect have?

      Hannah Hetzer is senior international policy manager at Drug Policy Alliance; she joins us now by phone from here in town. Welcome to CounterSpin, Hannah Hetzer.

    • Texas Cops Seize Anti-GOP Sign From Homeowner’s Lawn

      Stupid unconstitutional stuff is happening in Texas. “Again?” I hear you ask, irritated but not surprised. “Yes,” I repeat. “In Texas, and involving local politicians and law enforcement.” “Again?” I hear you say (again) and the circle of commentary life continues uninterrupted.

      A resident of Hamilton, Texas, posted a political sign in her front yard composed of a white label board remix of political cartoonist Ann Telnaes’ remix of the GOP logo.

    • Confusion for Prairie View A&M students on the last day for voter registration

      Thousands of student voter registrations at Prairie View A&M could have the wrong address listed, causing confusion on campus as to whether the registrations are valid.

      The problem goes back to how students get their mail.

      The university does not have individual mailboxes for students on campus. There is a single post office box for all students in the five university dormitories. So, getting students to list a specific mailing address on registration applications was difficult.

      According to Waller County Elections Administrator Christy Eason, a group of officials at the university, the county and the local political parties agreed in 2016 to have students write down 700 or 100 University Drive as their residence when registering to vote. One is the address for the university, the other is the address for the campus bookstore.

    • Common Wants You To Vote Smart Justice in 2018

      This Election Day, voters have an opportunity to hold politicians accountable for their positions on criminal justice reform

      The ACLU launched its Campaign for Smart Justice with a simple but daring goal: cut the incarceration rate in this country by 50 percent and reduce the racial disparities in our prisons and jails. But we can’t get there if elected officials stand in our way.

      Politicians created mass incarceration, and they can end mass incarceration. Most politicians, however, need public pressure to do the right thing, which is why voters have an opportunity to send a real message come Nov. 6.

      To arm voters with the information they need to make the right choice on Election Day, the ACLU launched Vote Smart Justice, a nonpartisan voter education drive to give Americans information about where candidates for state and federal office stand on key criminal justice reform issues, like bail reform, the war on drugs, and police accountability. At VoteSmartJustice.org, users can access information on candidates’ voting history and public statements on criminal justice reform in more than 1,000 federal, state, and local elections. To find out where the candidates in your district stand, all you have to do is go to VoteSmartJustice.org and enter your zip code.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • In defence of deadnaming

      For Mr Linehan has now found himself on the receiving end of both police pressure and Twittermob fury simply for something he said; simply for his beliefs; simply because he dissents from the increasingly eccentric and authoritarian ideology of transgenderism.

    • Facebook, Whose Support Made FOSTA Law, Now Sued For Facilitating Sex Trafficking Under FOSTA

      If you don’t remember, the momentum around FOSTA/SESTA was that it was going nowhere, until suddenly Facebook did an about face and abruptly (and strongly) supported the bill, leading Congress to incorrectly believe that the tech industry now supported the bill. Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, who became the public face of supporting the bill, insisted that there were no problems with the bill, that it wouldn’t create any real problems for internet companies, and that it would be useful in the fight against sex trafficking.

      At the time, we pointed out that under the broad definitions in the law, it certainly appeared that Facebook was potentially violating the bill in multiple ways. Even if it turned out that courts rule that the vague language of FOSTA should be construed much more narrowly, the damage is already done, as some companies will have to battle the issue out in court.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • The Google+ Bug Is More About The Cover-Up Than The Crime

      Earlier this week, Google dropped a bombshell: in March, the company discovered a “bug” in its Google+ API that allowed third-party apps to access private data from its millions of users. The company confirmed that at least 500,000 people were “potentially affected.”

      Google’s mishandling of data was bad. But its mishandling of the aftermath was worse. Google should have told the public as soon as it knew something was wrong, giving users a chance to protect themselves and policymakers a chance to react. Instead, amidst a torrent of outrage over the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, Google decided to hide its mistakes from the public for over half a year.

    • As Everyone Knows, In The Age Of The Internet, Privacy Is Dead — Which Is Awkward If You Are A Russian Spy

      Judging by the headlines, there are Russian spies everywhere these days. Of course, Russia routinely denies everything, but its attempts at deflection are growing a little feeble. For example, the UK government identified two men it claimed were responsible for the novichok attack on the Skripals in Salisbury. It said they were agents from GRU, Russia’s largest military intelligence agency, and one of several groups authorized to spy for the Russian government. The two men appeared later on Russian television, where they denied they were spies, and insisted they were just lovers of English medieval architecture who were in Salisbury to admire the cathedral’s 123-meter spire.

      More recently, Dutch military intelligence claimed that four officers from GRU had flown into the Netherlands in order to carry out an online attack on the headquarters of the international chemical weapons watchdog that was investigating the Salisbury poisoning. In this case, the Russian government didn’t even bother insisting that the men were actually in town to look at Amsterdam’s canals.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Amazon ditched AI recruiting tool that favored men for technical jobs

      That is because Amazon’s computer models were trained to vet applicants by observing patterns in résumés submitted to the company over a 10-year period. Most came from men, a reflection of male dominance across the tech industry.

      In effect, Amazon’s system taught itself that male candidates were preferable. It penalized résumés that included the word “women’s”, as in “women’s chess club captain”. And it downgraded graduates of two all-women’s colleges, according to people familiar with the matter.

    • The Public Deserves to Know Whether They Can Trust Police Officers Who Testify in Court

      The system is already imperfect, and this secrecy makes it worse. On multiple occasions, the state has failed to inform a criminal defendant that an officer involved in their case was on the list. Furthermore, a single corrupt officer may affect dozens of cases. The firing of a police detective in Manchester, New Hampshire, forced prosecutors to drop 35 felony drug cases. In a separate incident, after two officers were fired for allegedly lying about a case, 20 other cases were dropped.

    • I Was Reported to Police as an ‘Agitated Black Male’ — for Simply Walking to Work

      A Black employee at the University of Massachusetts Amherst opens up about the racial profiling incident that rocked the campus and upended his life.

      Last month, I walked across the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst to get to work. It was an ordinary stroll. But to a bystander, the sight of an educated Black professional going about his day was apparently cause for alarm.

      That bystander called the police. My workplace was shut down. I was, and remain, humiliated.

      Racial profiling at predominantly white institutions is nothing new, and this wasn’t the first time that I had to grit my teeth through a degrading interaction with police at the university. But this time, it made the news.

      The day had started off normally, with my morning exercise routine at the campus recreation center before work. I was still in a positive mood during my daily stroll from the campus recreation center to my office at the Whitmore Administration Building, where I work as a case manager for the university’s disability services office. Over the years, I’ve helped hundreds of UMass Amherst students with physical and intellectual disabilities get the resources they deserve. It’s a role I take pride in, and I give it my all every day.

      But on September 14, campus police were waiting for me when I arrived at the reception desk at Whitmore. I had no idea why, but I knew it couldn’t be good. My heart started pounding.

      Two university detectives sat me down me in an office and closed the door. Bewildered, I asked what was happening. They refused to answer as they peppered me with questions.

      “What time did you wake up?” “What were you doing at the campus recreation center?” “Did you come into the building agitated?” I felt confused, powerless, and scared, but I made sure to maintain my composure. I remembered that even unarmed Black people disproportionately get killed during police encounters, and it was incumbent on me as an innocent Black man to show that I wasn’t a threat.

    • New Laws Will Force Transparency On California Law Enforcement Agencies Starting Next Year

      Starting next year, California law enforcement agencies will finally be subject to a bit more scrutiny and accountability. For years, law enforcement officers have been able to hide misdeeds behind super-restrictive public records laws — laws so restrictive even law enforcement’s best friends (i.e., prosecutors) couldn’t see them.

      For the general public, this meant near total opacity. For criminal defendants, this meant rarely having the chance to impeach an officer’s testimony by offering evidence of past misconduct or routine untruthfulness.

      Over the past few years, efforts have been made to roll back the restrictions built into California’s public records laws. All of these efforts died on the way to the governor’s desk, most riddled with rhetorical bullets fired by California police unions who claimed making this information public would endanger the lives of bad cops.

      [...]

      These arguments are pathetic. Anyone arguing their critics are serving up criticism “for the clicks” has already lost the battle. The best way to combat a “false” narrative is openness and transparency. If law enforcement agencies really wanted to set the record straight following a shooting, they’d proactively dump footage and documents. Instead, these agencies spent years hiding behind the state’s public records laws, only making long-delayed appearances to claim people criticizing an officer’s actions were wrong and were being misled by public enemy #1, the Fourth Estate.

      It’s likely good law enforcement officers support this transparency. After all, nothing to hide is nothing to fear, as we’ve been told when rights are about to be violated. Trust is built through transparency and accountability. Law enforcement agencies have never been fans of either, which has directly resulted in the destroyed community relationships they show so little interest in fixing.

    • Citizen-Led Truth Commission Seeks Justice For Survivors Of North Carolina Torture Flights

      Mohamedou Ould Slahi was shackled and blindfolded. Then the men in black stripped him naked and placed him in a diaper.

      Although his eyes were covered, Slahi could hear the sound of aircraft engines whirring around him. One of the planes came to shuttle him to an United States air base in Afghanistan for interrogation.

      “I was so exhausted, sick, and tired that I couldn’t walk, which compelled the escort to pull me up the steps like a dead body,” Slahi wrote in Guantánamo Diary, a firsthand account of his rendition and subsequent 14-year imprisonment at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantánamo Bay.

      “I was crying silently and without tears,” he recalled. “For some reason, I gave all my tears at the beginning of the expedition, which was like the boundary between life and death.”

      Slahi’s violent apprehension was not unique among other extraordinary rendition operations conducted during the first years of the war on terrorism. Nor was it unusual for terrorism detainees like him to be taxied to torture onboard the same Gulfstream V aircraft—tail number N379P— that Slahi called his “special” plane.

      What people were surprised about, both then and now, was that the rendition flights departed from a small airport in rural North Carolina and were conducted by Aero Contractors Limited, a private front company for the Central Intelligence Agency.

      Now, sixteen years after Slahi’s rendition, members of a citizen-led truth commission in North Carolina hope that a new report will bring him and other survivors one step closer to holding the perpetrators of their torture accountable.

    • Publishing Police Press Releases as Local ‘Crime’ Reporting

      After right-wing billionaire Joe Ricketts shut down the local news site DNAinfo last year, one week after the outlet’s New York City workers unionized, there was justifiable outrage. The move highlighted the dangers of corporate and billionaire-backed media capriciously operating under the umbrella of the super wealthy, who would fold rather than recognize basic labor rights.

      After the initial shock, employees at DNAinfo Chicago announced they were effectively re-opening the brand under a new name, Block Club Chicago, with a new funding model—one seeded by an inspired KickStarter that raised over $180,000. Founded as a nonprofit and underwritten by foundation support from groups like Civil, Block Club Chicago was to usher in a new era of local reporting, promising “nonpartisan and essential coverage of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods.”

      Except Block Club Chicago suffers, particularly on the issue of “crime” reporting, from the same stunted ethical scope all other local corporate media does. Again and again, Block Club’s “crime” reporting consists of simply copy-and-pasting Chicago police blotters about alleged crimes, with no effort to report any side other than the police’s. When they do engage in actual reporting, the vast majority of the time, it’s just more police stenography.

    • When Police Misuse Their Power to Control News Coverage, They Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Use Probable Cause As a Shield Against Claims of First Amendment Violations

      Journalists face increasingly hostile conditions covering public protests, presidential rallies, corruption, and police brutality in the course of work as watchdogs over government power. A case before the U.S. Supreme Court threatens press freedoms even further by potentially giving the government freer rein to arrest media people in retaliation for publishing stories or gathering news the government doesn’t like.

      EFF joined the National Press Photographers Association and 30 other media and nonprofit free speech organizations in urging the court to allow lawsuits by individuals who show they were arrested in retaliation for exercising their rights under the First Amendment—for example, in the case of the news media by newsgathering, interviewing protestors, recording events—even if the police had probable cause for the arrests. Instead of foreclosing such lawsuits, we urged the court to adopt a procedure whereby when there’s an allegation of First Amendment retaliation, the burden shifts to police to show not only the presence of probable cause, but that they would have made the arrests anyway, regardless of the targets’ First Amendment activities. EFF and its partners filed a brief with the Supreme Court October 9, 2018.

      The court’s decision in this case may well have far-reaching implications for all First Amendment rights, including freedom of the press. Examples abound of journalists and news photographers being arrested while doing their jobs, swept up by police as they try to cover violent demonstrations and confrontations with law enforcement—where press scrutiny is most needed. Last year 34 journalists were arrested while seeking to document or report news. Nine journalists covering violent protests around President Trump’s inauguration were arrested. Police arrested reporters covering the Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson, Missouri. Ninety journalists were arrested covering Occupy Wall Street protests between 2011 and 2012.

    • DHS Investigators Argue The Border Warrant Exception Covers Searches Performed Miles From The Border

      The DHS is back in court, arguing for its “right” to expand border searches to cover the entire country. The case in which Homeland Security investigators are making this dubious claim involves the placement of a GPS device on a truck crossing the Canadian border… which FBI agents then tracked all the way down into California.

      The “bust” carried out in Southern California turned up plenty of legal frozen pastries and four bags of a cocaine-like substances known as regular-ass sugar. The FBI posited this was a trial run for actual drugs and chose to take its collected evidence to court, where it was promptly thrown out by the presiding judge. As the judge saw it, tracking a vehicle inland requires a warrant. The “border exception” to warrant requirements can’t be expanded to cover searches performed miles from the 100-mile “Constitution-free zone.”

    • Citizens Count on the Illinois Freedom of Information Act but Keep Getting Shut Out

      Police and other government agencies have offered a series of reasons why Young can’t see certain records from the investigations into Molly’s death. At times they’ve claimed the information should remain under wraps to protect the privacy of his daughter, even though she’s dead and he’s the executor of her estate. On other occasions they’ve simply ignored his requests and disregarded four different rulings from the attorney general’s office.

      In 2009, Madigan and state legislators crafted a new law they promised would help citizens like Young by improving access to government records and proceedings. Under one of its key provisions, the attorney general’s office was given authority to interpret and enforce the state Freedom of Information and Open Meetings acts. Since then, thousands of citizens, mostly individuals but also journalists and businesses, have appealed for help from the office’s public access counselor, known as the PAC. As she prepares to leave office after 16 years, Madigan has touted her work in promoting transparency as one of her signature achievements.

    • Unprotected

      An acclaimed American charity said it was saving some of the world’s most vulnerable girls from sexual exploitation. But from the very beginning, girls were being raped.

      [...]

      In matching neckerchiefs, some sang, some danced. One, 15 years old but betraying no nerves, gave a speech: “There is a saying in Liberia. Nothing good can ever come out of West Point.” Their home was an infamous sandy limb protruding from the city out into the sea, where over 70,000 of the world’s poorest people lived in a labyrinth of zinc-topped houses. The girl spoke of friends her age with multiple babies, friends forced to sell their bodies. “I could have been one of these girls, but I am not. I am not, because More Than Me believed in me.”

      Meyler wanted to save these girls from sexual exploitation. She wanted to educate them, empower them, keep them safe. That’s why she had founded a charity called More Than Me. When the Liberian president, who had won a Nobel Peace Prize for her fight for women’s safety, was asked that day what she wanted from those keen to help her country, she answered, “To expand Katie Meyler’s initiative to as many communities as possible.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Ajit Pai’s 5G plans make it harder for small ISPs to deploy broadband

      Pai’s FCC says making the license areas bigger will help carriers use this spectrum for large 5G mobile networks. But small ISPs that would use the 3.5GHz band to deliver Internet service to rural homes say the change could prevent them from buying spectrum.

    • 34 State AGs Demand The FCC Do More To End Annoying Robocalls

      The trend continues skyward despite the fact that the FCC passed new rules in 2015 expanding the ability of telecommunication companies to block robocalls and spam messages at the request of customers. And in 2016, the agency created a “robocalling strike force” tasked with crafting solutions for the problem. Additional rules dropped in 2017 taking aim at robocall spoofing.

      So why is this still a problem? For one thing, cheap, internet-routed calling and spoofing options have outpaced both legal and technical solutions, leaving regulators and lawmakers in a perpetual race to catch up from behind. Flimsy security standards embedded in most caller ID systems also make spoofing phone numbers relatively trivial. Enforcement is also inconsistent (in part because smaller robocallers are often much easier to defeat in court than major companies), and years of apathy, blame shifting, and tap dancing by major carriers like AT&T certainly didn’t help.

  • DRM
    • EFF To Texas AG: Epson Tricked Its Customers With a Dangerous Fake Update

      If you’ve ever bought an inkjet printer, you know just how much the manufacturers charge for ink (more than vintage Champagne!) and you may also know that you can avoid those sky-high prices by buying third-party inks, or refilled cartridges, or kits to refill your own cartridges.

      The major printer manufacturers have never liked this very much, and they’ve invented a whole playbook to force you to arrange your affairs to suit their shareholders rather than your own needs, from copyright and patent lawsuits to technological countermeasures that try to imbue printers with the ability to reject ink unless it comes straight from the manufacturer.

      But in the age of the Internet, it’s possible for savvy users to search for printers that will accept cheaper ink. A little bit of research before you buy can save you a lot of money later on.

      Printer companies know that openly warring with their customers is a bad look, which is why they’ve invented a new, even sleazier tactic for locking their customers into pricey ink: they trick their customers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • German court overturns PIs in SPC Article 3C ruling

      The Dusseldorf District Court has overturned several preliminary injunctions against generics companies after ruling that a supplementary protection certificate did not meet SPC Regulation Article 3C requirements

      In the latest development in the Article 3 saga, the Dusseldorf District Court in Germany has overturned multiple preliminary injunctions after ruling that a combination product of ezetimibe and simvastatin likely did not meet SPC Regulation requirements.

    • Trademarks
      • Hashtag trade marks – #whatyouneedtoknow

        Brands must become hashtag-savvy because they enable direct engagement with modern consumers on social media. But how can they be IP-savvy, too?

      • Titleist Goes After Another Parody Golf Gear Company After Settling With The First

        A little over a year ago, we discussed how Acushnet, the company that owns brands like Titleist and FootJoy in the golf gear industries, had sued I Made Bogey, a company that created parody golf gear. Crude parodies, at that, with the headlining product being a hat styled after Titleist’s famous golf hat that read “Titties” instead of “Titleist.” While Acushnet had brought claims of trademark infringement and dilution, we noted at the time both that these claims were fairly specious — the parody only works in all of this if you are clear on the difference between golf’s waspy culture and I Made Bogey’s sophmoric take on it — and that the case would almost certainly be settled out of court. It’s not like I Made Bogey had the same gobs of money to throw at the case as Acushnet, after all.

    • Copyrights
      • Cryptocurrency Startup Creates a Decentralized ‘Pirate Bay’ Alternative

        A new cryptocurrency startup that popped up recently aims to offer an indestructible alternative to torrent sites. With Quality Magnet Coin (QMC) the platform’s users all share the torrent database, with help from the blockchain. Add in some incentives for quality contributors, as well as spam control, and Hollywood may have a scary problem on its hands.

      • Globally, Almost Four Out of Ten Music Consumers Are Pirates

        With record companies licensing more than 45 million tracks to hundreds of digital services around the world, consumers have fewer reasons than ever to pirate music. Nevertheless, a new report by IFPI reveals that 38% of global music consumers still obtain content illegally. While torrent sites and cyberlockers used to be enemy number one, stream-ripping is now the biggest threat.

      • Creative Commons Continues To Try To Help Courts Understand What Its NonCommercial License Means

        Over the years we’ve expressed some concerns about the NonCommercial license option from Creative Commons. Even as we’re incredibly supportive of CC, the NonCommercial license often seemed to raise more questions than answers — to the point that some have argued that it actually harmed CC’s brand and resulted in significant confusion for how CC licenses work. There have even been suggestions that CC should drop the NC license option altogether.

        To its immense credit, people at Creative Commons have appeared to take these concerns quite seriously over the past few years, doing quite a bit of work to try to clarify what NonCommercial means for the purpose of the license. Our specific concern is that NonCommercial could mean all different things to different people. If you’re using a NonCommercial CC-licensed image on a personal blog and you have ads on that blog (even if you don’t make much money from it) is that non commercial? If you use it in a tweet and your Twitter bio promotes your business is that non commercial?

        Two years ago we wrote about Creative Commons stepping in to file an amicus brief in a case that raised some specific issues concerning a NonCommercial license. An educational non-profit, Great Minds, sued FedEx over FedEx Office shops photocopying some Great Minds works for educational entities, even though the works were licensed under CC’s BY-NC-SA 4.0 license. Great Minds argued that because FedEx made money from copying, it’s “commercial” and thus in violation of the license. Creative Commons stepped into that lawsuit and explicitly stated that Great Minds interpretation was wrong.

        In the FedEx case, both the district court and the 2nd Circuit appeals court rejected Great Minds’ interpretation and tossed out the lawsuit saying that the license in question did not limit FedEx from charging for copies. Great Minds also filed a nearly identical case against Office Depot in California, which also was dismissed, despite Great Minds claiming that this case is different than the FedEx one (specifically, it argued that Office Depot employees were “actively soliciting” schools to copy Great Minds’ works). The court didn’t buy it.

      • EU hijacking: self-driving car data will be copyrighted…by the manufacturer

        In other words, they’ve snuck in a space for the telemetry generated by autonomous vehicles to become someone’s property. This is data that we will need to evaluate the safety of autonomous vehicles, to fine-tune their performance, to ensure that they are working as the manufacturer claims — data that will not be public domain (as copyright law dictates), but will instead be someone’s exclusive purview, to release or withhold as they see fit.

Friend Brings a Friend, Boss Becomes Subordinate: the EPO Under António Campinos is Starting to Look a Lot Like Team Battistelli 2.0

Thursday 11th of October 2018 05:27:19 PM

Original: English [PDF]

Summary: The new President of the EPO contributes to the perception that the Office is a rogue institution. Governance is all in reverse at the Office because it still seems like the Office President bosses the Council rather than be bossed by it (as intended, as per the EPC)

THE DAWN of the destructive Battistelli era at the EPO is well documented. Kongstad and Battistelli were arranging the roles among themselves. They undermined the structural basis of the EPO, thwarting any sense of reasonable governance in the institution which grants millions of monopolies in Europe. This later contributed to Battistelli’s ability to pretty much select his successor, his compatriot António Campinos.

The EPO nowadays looks like some African dictatorship or a Mafia family, where bodyguards are picked whose behaviour resembles that of terror groups.

“Some are renowned if not notorious for publicly denying that the EPO suffers a patent quality crisis (even though EPO examiners do say so).”With the EPC gone down the shredders, the same old patterns carry on. The EPO’s Administrative Council is nowadays a joke. It’s so incredibly toothless. Ernst, the ‘boss’ of the President (head or Chairman of the EPO’s Administrative Council), is becoming his deputy. Overnight!

Let’s start with yesterday’s EPO tweet which said: “A decision by the EPO’s Administrative Council in 1988 remains the cornerstone of European patent information today. >From that day on, the EPO has worked hard to increase & to harmonise patent information dissemination in Europe. [] 1988 was the year the European patent information policy came to life.”

Now they try to do the same to enforcement/litigation (UPC), but they have thus far failed miserably. Patents as a form of information would be benign; with patent maximalists in charge, however, patent litigation can kill innovation and depress progress.

People whose appreciation of patent quality is rather poor have been put in charge by Battistelli and now Campinos puts people with background in trademarks… in charge of patents. Some are renowned if not notorious for publicly denying that the EPO suffers a patent quality crisis (even though EPO examiners do say so). So what hope is there for imminent improvements at the Office?

“Nellie Simon has been appointed as EPO Vice President Corporate Services by the Administrative Council of the EPO, replacing the controversial predecessor Željko Topić,” one person wrote in Twitter some hours ago. “Criminal or crooked perhaps,” I responded, “not “controversial”. Wrong C word.”

It’s an understatement to call him “controversial” given all he has done even outside the EPO, especially in his home country. We wrote about Nellie Simon earlier this month because we heard that the job had been secured by her if not reserved for her (and the job description tailored for her background/skills, as some people allege). Era dawns for nepotism of Campinos? He is bringing a former colleague, just like Battistelli (EUIPO and INPI, respectively). The EPO tweeted about it after publishing this page (warning: epo.org link) titled “Nellie Simon appointed as next EPO Vice-President for Corporate Services.” (same text as the tweet)

To quote:

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation has appointed Nellie Simon Vice-President of the European Patent Office’s Directorate-General Corporate Services. Ms Simon, an Austrian national, will succeed Željko Topić of Croatia. The appointment takes effect on 1 January 2019 and is for five years.

Ms Simon is currently Head of Cabinet and Acting Director of the Academy at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

The EPO’s Directorate-General Corporate Services is responsible for delivering support services including Human Resources, Information Management, Finance, General Administration, and Central Procurement.

Campinos brings with him former colleagues rather than people best suited for the job, just like Battistelli did.

Next in line? Christoph Ernst, a king of nepotism. The EPO tweeted about it. So Campinos turns his boss into his assistant. Just when you thought that the EPO is a joke it tries hard to prove it. From the corresponding page: (warning: epo.org link)

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, in a meeting chaired by the Council’s Deputy Chairman, Josef Kratochvíl, has appointed Christoph Ernst Vice-President of the European Patent Office’s (EPO) Directorate-General Legal and International Affairs. Mr Ernst will succeed fellow German Raimund Lutz. The appointment is for five years starting on 1 January 2019.

Christoph Ernst is currently head of directorate at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, and has served as Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation since 1 October 2017.

The EPO’s Directorate-General Legal and International Affairs is in charge of European and international co-operation, patent law and multilateral affairs, legal services, patent information and the European Patent Academy.

As Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation he ‘bossed’ Campinos; now he’ll take instructions or orders from Campinos. Makes a lot of sense, right? Maybe if he was tougher on Campinos (or even Battistelli) he would not be ‘awarded’ this full-time job.

Welcome to African dictatorship-type ethical standards at the very heart of Europe. EPO-connected publishers wrote about the next appointment: “The European Patent Office appointed a UK Intellectual Property Office director as the vice president for its patent granting process today.”

Here is the original: (warning: epo.org link) [via Twitter]

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, the Organisation’s legislative body, has appointed Stephen Rowan Vice-President of the European Patent Office Directorate-General Patent Granting Process. The appointment will take effect on 1 January 2019 and is for five years. He will succeed Alberto Casado Cerviño of Spain, who will retire at the end of 2018.

Mr Rowan is currently Director of Patents, Trade Marks, Designs and Tribunals at the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO).

Some time this morning SUEPO linked to this article from Ben Wodecki in Munich. To quote:

Rowan, who succeeds the retiring Alberto Casado Cerviño, is currently the director of patents, trademarks, designs and tribunals at the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). He will take up his new role on 1 January 2019.

Rowan’s tenure as vice-president for patent granting process will last five years, and he will responsible for the entire patent granting process from end to end.

Examination, publication and opposition, along with all other patent-related formalities will be undertaken by Rowan.

Observers aren’t missing any of this. Some are very critical of these appointments, some of which were predictable (at the very least based on rumours). After a relatively soft piece about Campinos came 5 comments, one of which accused the EPO of “pretending towards staff they would care about quality when, at the same time, they instruct their managers to keep production pressure to reach non-sensical targets.”

By “More of the same?” comes this long comment:

Very good article: indeed during the past 3 months nothing concrete has happened under Campinos

All those responsible for the mess are still comfortably seating at their positions (eg Mrs Bergot in HR, her husband at the Presidential Cabinet).

As shown by IPPropatents recently (see http://www.ippropatents.com/ippropatentsnews/article.php?article_id=6101) principal directors in DG1 practice a double language: pretending towards staff they would care about quality when, at the same time, they instruct their managers to keep production pressure to reach non-sensical targets.

Campinos meets staff directly? Don’t be fooled: this means nothing else but him circumventing the statutory (elected) staff representation (please keep in mind that Campinos has not met yet with the SUEPO Central (which represents only about half of EPO staff).

The abusively sanctioned staff reps whose case are still on-going (eg Els Hardon, Laurent Prunier and others) have not yet been redressed. Several who won their cases at ATILO are still shamelessly mistreated by DG4 despite their case clearly won.

Worse: Campinos even fired an examiner despite the Staff Representatives having asked to postpone the decision since it is very likely that the legal provisions are illegal (more dismissal are in sight since DG4 wants to continue its mad carpet bombing towards the workfloor).

For someone (Campinos) who is said to have a positive track record when it comes to social matters, sorry but his first 3 months are really disappointing!

As a comparison see Air France: a new CEO arrives and within 2 weeks he has met ALL unions and the HR boss (largely responsible for the social mess) leaves the company…

WAKE UP Antonio Campinos

“Cautiously positive” then wrote about “crazy production targets”:

Yes, we are all patiently waiting for his next moves.
For the time being, as you wrote, not much has happened.
Good news is that from 2019 we will enjoy again two days of national holidays (such as the 15th of August) that BB had boldly decided to take away from us (yes, he did that as well). Rumor says that fresh fruits and water (?!) will also be made available for free to EPO employees.

Well, I am afraid that much more than that is expected by Mr Campinos to get the EPO back in track, starting from IMMEDIATE lowering of today’s crazy production targets. Also, several “promotions” are urgently needed for us to get rid of those people who – all of them – are still around “poisoning the working atmosphere” every single day.
Things will become much clearer already after the administrative council next week, featuring the production targets for 2019 and the nomination of three new vicepresidents. Many say that both the targets and the winners were decided (by BB) long time ago. Let’s see whether Mr Campinos is willing to surprise us.
Good luck Mr President. We are watching you, cautiously positively.

“David Dickinson” complained about censorship by the EPO:

With regards to once again allowing comments to be posted on the President’s blog, something President Brimelow had introduced and then President Battistelli had suppressed, for the moment the “facility” remains on the website, but it has not been restored. Always the optimist, I understand that this “normal” channel will be opened again soon.

However, for the moment, submitting a comment just leads you nowhere. I tried in early July and didn’t even get an acknowledgement, let alone a posting or a rejection (all postings are subject to screening). A follow-up enquiry to Internal Communications went similarly unanswered, as did an e-mail to the President’s Office. Finally, it was even brought up in a personal face-to-face meeting with the President, where it was acknowledged that things would (have to) change (hence my optimism above), but until now I have neither seen nor received one iota of follow-up.

I accept this is probably not the highest priority on the Presidential agenda, but I would have appreciated some acknowledgment of receipt of my comment, if only out of common courtesy. I certainly do not blame the President, but I do wonder whether it ever received serious consideration for publication or was simply “filtered out” by some over-zealous bureaucrat.

By the way, the content of my posting was not at all critical, rather complimentary. Acknowledging the apparent opening up of the blog, it wished the (then brand-new) President well and hoped that it was his intention to try and realise his goals through collaboration and openness with staff rather than intimidation and Diktat …

Tamara wrote: “Mr Campinos is following a well-worn path in having “face -to-face” meetings with individual staff. We have been here before, times out of mind. There was the “Broad Consultation” and other similar initiatives by newly-arrived Presidents and Vice-Presidents. I can’t remember the names of all of them, but they had in common an attempt to seem to be addressing staff’s concerns, whilst studiously avoiding the staff’s elected representatives. You will not get an honest picture from a group of staff that either self-selects with a view to ingratiating themselves with the new powers that be, or is selected against for known unpalatable views. On one occasion there was even written proof that the management planned to falsely claim that performance -related pay had been demanded by staff in one such “consultation”.”

Battistelli used the same tricks, which SUEPO complained about. Team Battistelli cherry-picked which staff it can speak to in order to construct propaganda about the working atmosphere. Campinos and his sheep clothing are getting rather thin and people start to see that Campinos is to Battistelli what Fanta is to Coca Cola (Fanta is owned by Coca Cola, but the branding can confuse some people).

UPC Cowardice: Team UPC Uses Cloaks of Anonymity to Discredit Authors of Scholarly UPC Paper They Don’t Like

Thursday 11th of October 2018 04:20:17 PM

Picking on people whose names are known (Matthias Lamping and Hans Ullrich), but hiding themselves behind pseudonyms because they know they lie so understandably prefer to remain unknown

Summary: Team UPC has sunk to the bottom of the barrel; now it uses anonymous letters in an effort to discredit work of Max Planck Institute staff, in the same way (more or less) that ad hominem attacks were attempted against the filer of the constitutional complaint in Germany

IT is no secret that UPC’s leading proponents have been acting like a bunch of bullies intolerant of democracy, constitutions, reality, facts, technology and science. They’re very much compatible with Battistelli.

The very core of Team UPC is a truly villainous greedy bunch, a cabal of lawyers scheming or conspiring to spur litigation all over Europe while broadening patent scope or introducing more lenient patent courts (to accept software patents in Europe among other things), governed partly by corrupt EPO officials like Battistelli (still rumoured to be aiming at the role of UPC chief) and his successor of choice, António Campinos.

So apparently these people are getting rather desperate and they have given up trying to seem respectable. They’re becoming more like Internet trolls or an anonymous mob. There’s a new “analysis” out there by an incognito. The author likes to remain anonymous because liars do not wish to be held accountable for lying. The pro-UPC (litigation firm in Munich) “UPCtracker” wrote:

A reply to Max Planck impact study of Brexit on Unitary Patent & UPC – EPLAW. Interesting, though possibly not a model of unbiased and self-critical academic analysis (cf 2nd response) by an author who‘d rather stay anonymous. Food for thought nonetheless.

EPLAW is generally a front group of many Team UPC firms. We wrote about it quite a lot. It’s hardly an impartial observer in all this. Notice how Alan Johnson (Bristows) then shows up in the comments for support of the anonymous coward: “Congratualtions Atticus Finch: an excellent rebuttal to a paper which sees only problems (many either political in nature, or purely theoretical) but none of the practical solutions.”

Typical Bristows; they belittle the paper from the Max Planck Institute (they don’t even like to mention it), calling it "controversial" even though no controversy exists. This is what EPLAW wrote in its summary:

An anonymous writer, writing under the pseudonym Atticus Finch, has delivered a detailed reply to the study of Messrs. Matthias Lamping and Hans Ullrich, research fellows of the Max Planck Institute, “The Impact of Brexit on Unitary Protection and Its Court” written on 30 August 2018 and posted on 10 September 2018 which concludes that, after the Brexit, an extension of unitary protection to the UK and the UK’s continued participation in the UPC’s judicial system would create serious legal problems.

Chalk it up as the latest new low for ‘unitary’ patent (broader litigation scope) propaganda efforts. It’s now being supported/amplified by EPO-connected publishers that are in bed with litigation firms. A new article has just been titled “Max Planck paper is “new angle of attack” on UPC” because facts are an “attack”, apparently; in reality, Europe’s laws are under attack by the litigation ‘industry’ looking for more lawsuits (legal attacks) while disguising this as “for SMEs” (those standing to lose and be hurt most).

Patrick Wingrove now boosts an attack on authors who say UPC is kaput (because it is), even though this attack is anonymous and likely from Team UPC’s cowards, who are afraid to put their faces/names behind their lies (it would harm their credibility when the UPC is in the ashtray of history).

“A reply by an anonymous writer with extensive knowledge of UPC and EU law to the Max Planck Institute’s impact study of Brexit on the UPC has contended that parts of the study are based on the wrong assumptions and are attacking the project. The author tells Managing IP about the reply’s main arguments,” Wingrove wrote. So they have gone underground and now liaise with media organisations that set up pro-UPC events in an effort to discredit two authors who were not at all anonymous.

New EPO Guidelines: Granting European Patents on Business Methods, Algorithms, Mental Acts and Other Abstract Stuff

Thursday 11th of October 2018 03:42:23 PM

Summary: Keeping so-called ‘production’ high and meeting so-called ‘targets’ (allegedly set by Battistelli), Campinos relaxes the rules for “computer-implemented inventions” (one among many misleading terms that mean software patents in Europe)

Madame Brimelow formally introduced software patents (“as such”) in Europe, Battistelli took it one step further, and the EPO under António Campinos advocates software patents like never before. In his first 100 days in Office the EPO was dispersing so many pro-software patents tweets (hundreds of them) that we lost count. We used to track and highlight such tweets individually (back in the Battistelli era); that’s no longer feasible.

As we pointed out earlier this week, Campinos further exacerbates this problem associated with patent quality; the only thing he has done about ts so far is, well… he wrote a blog post some days ago. The usual shallow rhetoric, sure, but at the same time look at the new EPO guidelines. It’s horrific in a sense.

Caroline Day from Haseltine Lake LLP (they’ve put a lot of articles in Mondaq this past week) has just mentioned “Mathematical Methods”, “AI” and some other hype that pertains to algorithms. Her article speaks for itself (although not to the effect she intended) as the EPO clearly broadens patent scope:

As with other computer implemented inventions, the exclusion in relation to mathematical methods is relatively easy to overcome: simply including a technical means such as a computer within the claims will mean that the invention is not excluded from patentability at the EPO per se.

[...]

The updated Guidelines helpfully provide examples of situation in which the use of a neural network may be found to be technical. For example, the use of the neural network in heart monitoring apparatus for the purpose of identifying irregular heartbeats, and the use of a neural network in classification of digital images based on low-level features are considered technical applications. By way of contrast, classifying text documents using a neural network but based on their textual content is a linguistic rather than a technical purpose.

It is also set out that, where a classification method serves a technical purpose, the steps of generating a training set and training a classifier may also contribute to the technical character of the invention, if they support achieving a technical purpose.

What we have here is an above-the-law institution that breaks the rules by granting software patents and uses buzzwords to disguise this abuse. How about EPO-granted European Patents on business methods — something even the USPTO more of less fled/withdrew from in lieu with Section 101?

Following two articles from Haseltine Lake LLP on Monday there was another article, this one by Matthew Howell (Haseltine Lake LLP) on Tuesday, entitled New EPO Guidelines On Schemes, Rules And Methods For Performing Mental Acts, Playing Games Or Doing Business. To quote a portion from it:

The new Guidelines explain that subject matter or activities which are of a financial, commercial, administrative or organisational nature fall within the scope of the “business method” exclusion.

The Guidelines reiterate the longstanding principle that the business method exclusion can be avoided by the presence of technical means such as a computer in a claim. However, in such cases examination of inventive step will be based on the EPO’s well-established approach to mixed-type inventions, in which only those features of the claim which contribute to the technical character of the invention are considered in the assessment of inventive step, and non-technical features are disregarded. Thus, modifications to a business method that seek to circumvent a particular technical problem cannot be regarded as inventive, whereas features which provide a technical solution to a technical problem can contribute to an inventive step.

The Guidelines further note that business method features may be found in many different contexts. In general terms, if a feature relates to an administrative rule that would be established by an administrator (e.g. prioritising patient data obtained from sensors over patient data provided by the patient themselves) then that feature belongs to the realm of business methods and cannot contribute to an inventive step.

Welcome to the EPO under Campinos. Mr. Campinos will smile at you, will meet you in person, and even grant just about every application you send his way. It’s like he’s an "AI" robot optimised for manners and low patent quality — not quite what a respectable patent office truly needs.

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    My current home stereo is a patchwork of various pieces I got on flee markeds over the years. It is amazing what kind of equipment show up there. I've been wondering for a while if it was possible to measure how well this equipment is working together, and decided to see how far I could get using free software. After trawling the web I came across an article from DIY Audio and Video on Speaker Testing and Analysis describing how to test speakers, and it listing several software options, among them AUDio MEasurement System (AUDMES). It is the only free software system I could find focusing on measuring speakers and audio frequency response. In the process I also found an interesting article from NOVO on Understanding Speaker Specifications and Frequency Response and an article from ecoustics on Understanding Speaker Frequency Response, with a lot of information on what to look for and how to interpret the graphs. Armed with this knowledge, I set out to measure the state of my speakers. The first hurdle was that AUDMES hadn't seen a commit for 10 years and did not build with current compilers and libraries. I got in touch with its author, who no longer was spending time on the program but gave me write access to the subversion repository on Sourceforge. The end result is that now the code build on Linux and is capable of saving and loading the collected frequency response data in CSV format. The application is quite nice and flexible, and I was able to select the input and output audio interfaces independently. This made it possible to use a USB mixer as the input source, while sending output via my laptop headphone connection. I lacked the hardware and cabling to figure out a different way to get independent cabling to speakers and microphone.
  • Arm Offers Lower Cost Cortex-A5 License
    Arm is now offer a low-cost route to developing Cortex-A5 based Linux-capable ASICs for embedded Internet of Things (IoT) devices featuring advanced edge processing, with a new one-year license fee of $75,000. This fee provides access to the CPU IP and one year of design support, through Arm's DesignStart program.
  • Arm DesignStart program expands to accelerate Linux-based embedded design
    While the breadth of IoT provides endless possibilities for advanced software development, it also holds challenges for designers. In a rapidly changing and competitive market, designers need to differentiate their products and deliver enhanced designs at the lowest cost in the fastest time possible. One avenue for differentiation is “rich embedded processing”, which we define at Arm as providing an advanced level of performance and sophistication. Sometimes that includes an interactive user interface, but on the whole, it is about offering advanced capability. These products use a comprehensive set of software stacks and benefit from the breadth of ready-to-run middleware and applications available on fully featured operating systems such as Linux. Companies developing rich embedded IoT designs are now turning toward application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) to meet their specific needs.

Red Hat: OpenShift and Awards

  • OpenShift Commons Briefing: OpenShift 3.11 Release Update with Scott McCarty (Red Hat)
    In this briefing, Red Hat’s Scott McCarty and numerous other members of the OpenShift Product Management team gave an in-depth look at Red Hat’s OpenShift’s latest release 3.11 and some insights in to the road ahead.
  • Awards roll call: Red Hat awards, June to October 2018
    Depending on the weather in your region, it’s safe to say that the seasons are changing so it’s a good time to look back at what was a busy few months for Red Hat, especially when it came to industry awards for our technical and product leadership. In recent months, Red Hat products and technologies took home twenty awards, highlighting the breadth and depth of our product portfolio as well as the expertise that we provide to our customers. In addition, Red Hat as a company won five awards recognizing its growth and culture as a leader in the industry.
  • More advice from a judge - what it takes to win a Red Hat Innovation Award
    Last year I penned the below post to provide insight into what the judges of the Red Hat Innovation Awards are looking for when reviewing submissions. Looking back, I would give almost the identical advice again this year...maybe with a few tweaks. With all the stellar nominations that we receive, the question I often get is, “how can we make our entry standout?” There’s no magic formula for winning the Red Hat Innovation Awards, but there are things that the other judges and I look for in the entries. Overall, we’re looking for the project that tells a compelling story. It’s not just about sharing what Red Hat products and services you used, we want to hear the full narrative. What challenges did you face; how you implemented the project; and ultimately, what was the true business impact and transformation that took place? Submissions that are able to showcase how open source culture and values were key to success, or how the project is making a difference in the lives of others, are the entries that most often rise to the top.

today's howtos

OSS Leftovers

  • How to be an effective and professional member of the Samba user and development Community
    For many years we have run these lists dedicated to developing and promoting Samba, without any set of clear guidelines for people to know what to expect when participating.  What do we require? What kind of behavior is encouraged?
  • Blockcerts Updates Open Source Blockchain Architecture
    Learning Machine is making changes to its Blockcerts Credential Issuer, Verifier and Wallet to enable native support for records issuance and verification using any blockchain. Blockcerts was launched by Learning Machine and MIT Media Lab in 2016 as new way to allow students to receive digital diplomas through an app, complementing a traditional paper degree. Blockcerts was originally designed to be blockchain-agnostic, which means that open standards can be used to anchor records in any blockchain. The Blockcerts Universal Identifier recognizes which blockchain is being used and verifies accordingly. Currently, the open source project has added support for bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains, but anyone can add support through the project's GitHub page.
  • First full featured open-source Ethereum block explorer BlockScout launched by POA Network
  • Amsterdam-based ING Bank Introduces Open-Source Zero Knowledge Technology
  • ING Bank Launches Open Source Privacy Improvement Add-On for Blockchains
  • Imec tool accelerates DNA sequencing 10x
    As a result, in a typical run, elPrep is up to ten times faster than other software tools using the same resources. It is designed as a seamless replacement that delivers the exact same results as GATK4.0 developed by the Broad Institute. elPrep has been written in the Go programming language and is available through the open-source GNU Affero General Public License v3 (AGPL-3.0).
  • On the low adoption of automated testing in FOSS
    A few times in the recent past I've been in the unfortunate position of using a prominent Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) program or library, and running into issues of such fundamental nature that made me wonder how those issues even made it into a release. In all cases, the answer came quickly when I realized that, invariably, the project involved either didn't have a test suite, or, if it did have one, it was not adequately comprehensive. I am using the term comprehensive in a very practical, non extreme way. I understand that it's often not feasible to test every possible scenario and interaction, but, at the very least, a decent test suite should ensure that under typical circumstances the code delivers all the functionality it promises to. [...] Most FOSS projects, at least those not supported by some commercial entity, don't come with any warranty; it's even stated in the various licenses! The lack of any formal obligations makes it relatively inexpensive, both in terms of time and money, to have the occasional bug in the codebase. This means that there are fewer incentives for the developer to spend extra resources to try to safeguard against bugs. When bugs come up, the developers can decide at their own leisure if and when to fix them and when to release the fixed version. Easy! At first sight, this may seem like a reasonably pragmatic attitude to have. After all, if fixing bugs is so cheap, is it worth spending extra resources trying to prevent them?
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  • Chrome for Linux, Mac, and Windows Now Features Picture-in-Picture by Default
    Chromium evanghelist at Google François Beaufort announced today that Picture-in-Picture (PiP) support is now enabled by defualt in the Google Chrome web browser for Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms. Google's engineers have been working for months to add Picture-in-Picture (PiP) support to the Google Chrome web browser, but the long-anticipated feature is finally here, enabled by default in the latest version for Linux, Mac, and Windows operating systems. The feature lets you detach a video in a floating window so you can watch it while doing something else on your computer.
  • Teaching With an Index Card: the Benefits of Free, Open-Source Tools
  • Decentralized Authentication for Self-Sovereign Identities using Name Systems
    The GNU Name System (GNS) is a fully decentralized public key infrastructure and name system with private information retrieval semantics. It serves a holistic approach to interact seamlessly with IoT ecosystems and enables people and their smart objects to prove their identity, membership and privileges - compatible with existing technologies. In this report we demonstrate how a wide range of private authentication and identity management scenarios are addressed by GNS in a cost-efficient, usable and secure manner. This simple, secure and privacy-friendly authentication method is a significant breakthrough when cyber peace, privacy and liability are the priorities for the benefit of a wide range of the population. After an introduction to GNS itself, we show how GNS can be used to authenticate servers, replacing the Domain Name System (DNS) and X.509 certificate authorities (CAs) with a more privacy-friendly but equally usable protocol which is trustworthy, human-centric and includes group authentication. We also built a demonstrator to highlight how GNS can be used in medical computing to simplify privacy-sensitive data processing in the Swiss health-care system. Combining GNS with attribute-based encryption, we created ReclaimID, a robust and reliable OpenID Connect-compatible authorization system. It includes simple, secure and privacy-friendly single sign-on to seamlessly share selected attributes with Web services, cloud ecosystems. Further, we demonstrate how ReclaimID can be used to solve the problem of addressing, authentication and data sharing for IoT devices. These applications are just the beginning for GNS; the versatility and extensibility of the protocol will lend itself to an even broader range of use-cases. GNS is an open standard with a complete free software reference implementation created by the GNU project. It can therefore be easily audited, adapted, enhanced, tailored, developed and/or integrated, as anyone is allowed to use the core protocols and implementations free of charge, and to adopt them to their needs under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License, a free software license approved by the Free Software Foundation.
  • Make: an open source hardware, Arduino-powered, 3D-printed wire-bending machine
    How To Mechatronics has pulled together detailed instructions and a great video explaining how to make an Arduino-powered, 3D-printed wire-bending machine whose gears can create arbitrary vector images out of precision-bent continuous lengths of wire.
  • RApiDatetime 0.0.4: Updates and Extensions
    The first update in a little while brings us release 0.0.4 of RApiDatetime which got onto CRAN this morning via the lovely automated sequence of submission, pretest-recheck and pretest-publish. RApiDatetime provides seven entry points for C-level functions of the R API for Date and Datetime calculations. The functions asPOSIXlt and asPOSIXct convert between long and compact datetime representation, formatPOSIXlt and Rstrptime convert to and from character strings, and POSIXlt2D and D2POSIXlt convert between Date and POSIXlt datetime. This releases brings asDatePOSIXct as a seventh courtesy of Josh Ulrich. All these functions are all fairly useful, but not one of them was previously exported by R for C-level use by other packages. Which is silly as this is generally extremely carefully written and tested code.
  • 6 JavaScript books you should know
    If there was ever the potential for a giant book list it's one based on our favorite Javascript books. But, this list is short and easy to digest. Maybe it will help you get started, gently. Plus, check out three of our top Javascript articles with even more books, resources, and tips.