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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 hours 8 min ago

When It Comes to Patent Quality António Campinos Might be Even Worse Than Benoît Battistelli

Monday 8th of October 2018 06:42:53 AM

Scraping the bottom of the barrel to fake ‘growth’ (number of patents, not innovation or market expansion)


António Campinos in sheep clothing

Summary: The lack of genuine interest in the quality of European Patents is perhaps a greater threat to the whole of Europe — if not the whole world — than well-documented human rights abuses and corruption inside the Office; António Campinos has shown no interest in improving patent quality as he denies such a problem even exists and he reduces transparency

THE promotion of software patents in Europe by the EPO is something that has definitely increased under António Campinos. We wrote about this many times before. The difference is very notable. Never under Battistelli was such promotion of software patents in Europe so frequent.

“Never under Battistelli was such promotion of software patents in Europe so frequent.”Last night Kluwer Patent Blog anonymously published this piece about “the first hundred days of EPO president António Campinos” and to quote some bits from it:

Despite the positive signs in the first hundred days, it is clear that Campinos will still have to show what his ambitions and abilities are. This blogger found it was very hard to get information from EPO employees. Under Article 19 of the Service Regulations, they don’t feel free to say anything about their work because it can lead to all kinds of sanctions. The climate of fear has not disappeared. It means that despite the new president’s invitation to speak out, people may be reluctant to do so.

In this respect: it seemed such an improvement that the president opened his blogposts for comments. But not one single reaction has appeared online. This cannot be because nobody has an opinion about the EPO, can it? It would certainly help Campinos’ ambition to hear what people have to say about his organisation, if comments were published below his blogposts or, at least, it was clear what happens with them.

[...]

A very questionable case which is still pending as well concerns Patrick Corcoran, an Irish board of appeal member who was suspended in December 2014 on suspicion of having distributed defamatory material about the EPO upper management. No less than three and a half years later the ILOAT ruled that Corcoran should be immediately reinstated in his former post (see here and here) and the Landgericht München acquitted Mr. Corcoran of all charges. However, as his term at the Boards of Appeal was almost over and was not extended by the Administrative Council, Mr. Corcoran was effectively hindered to resume his work as an appeal board member and was demoted to become examiner again. On top of that, Battistelli decided to have Corcoran transferred to another specially created post in The Hague, where the judge had never lived, which meant one additional significant and unwarranted hardship for him.

These cases are widely considered as a darker part of the legacy of former EPO president Benoit Battistelli. If António Campinos deals with these in a way which is seen as appropriate and correct, this will certainly strengthen the cautiously positive first impression the new EPO president made in his first hundred days.

There’s no doubt that when it comes to staff relations, at the very least, Campinos has been vastly better than Battistelli. That’s because he hasn’t done or even said that much. Campinos has thus been no worse than a lamppost, either. In that regard, transparency at the EPO actually decreased under Campinos and layoffs aren’t being talked about (not even the longterm hiring freeze). There’s not much of a dialogue or a communications channel. It took Campinos several months to just meet staff representatives. Campinos believes that in order to avoid conflict he needs to avoid talking or, failing that, he should 'politely' gag those who speak out. It’s called “soft power”; he’s a “brutal(ly honest) gentleman”. Like the leadership of China, which employs very similar tricks (reducing transparency and quelling dissent proactively)…

“There’s no doubt that when it comes to staff relations, at the very least, Campinos has been vastly better than Battistelli. That’s because he hasn’t done or even said that much.”Speaking of China and patent quality, mind Sunday’s post from Watchtroll’s Paul Morinville about his software patents, which the US gave up on (unlike China, which explicitly permits these). “In recent years,” he claimed, “the U.S. government has gutted the U.S. patent system. For small inventors like me, the U.S. patent system no longer works. There are no longer contingent fee attorneys or Angel investors willing to fund startups, so my patents and the patents of so many like me just languish. And since patents are a wasting asset, the clock runs on the patent’s term, which eventually make even breakthrough and groundbreaking patented innovations completely worthless.”

He’s just complaining because his patents are software patents. Those weren’t of value anyway; the USPTO should never have granted these.

Unfortunately, under Campinos, buzzwords like “AI” or “4IR” are being publicly boasted as means by which to patent software. Every seemingly-clever algorithms can be ‘dressed up’ as “AI”, so it’s clearly just a loophole they’re creating. Even patents on life itself are being granted under Campinos. He has done nothing on the matter. Nothing.

“This is just wrong as it perpetuates patent maximalism and greed rather than justice.”Remember a firm called Asha Nutrition/person called Urvashi Bhagat at the EPO? This was recalled in relation to PTAB quite recently and four days ago Watchtroll entertained the person; Watchtroll says “Denying Patents on Discoveries Puts Public Health at Risk” (the headline), but patenting things that are required to save lives denies/limits access to those, putting far more lives at risk. Very shallow spin. Harvard, we might add, bragged about patenting life itself a few days ago. As for the EPO, it recently (earlier this month) dealt with patents on barley/beer. It didn’t invalidate these patents. Remember that, in light of the above-mentioned Patrick Corcoran affair, Campinos has done absolutely nothing to restore the independence of the Boards of Appeal; they’re still at his mercy as Office President. This is just wrong as it perpetuates patent maximalism and greed rather than justice.

In Spite of Campaigns Against It, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Squashes Software Patents by the Hundreds Per Month, Patent Maximalists Still Try to Stop It

Monday 8th of October 2018 05:36:19 AM

Summary: Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) achieve exactly what they were set out to do; those who view patent quality as a foe, however, aren’t happy and they still try to undermine PTAB IPRs by any means possible (or at least slow them down considerably)

PTAB IPRs have greatly contributed to much-needed decline/demise of patent litigation in the US. The USPTO can grant all the patents it wants, but without legal certainty (associated with such newly-granted patents) there will be no lawsuits.

PTAB does not invalidate every patent it’s petitioned to look into. Days ago there was a press release [1, 2] about an IPR from famed maker of ‘torture devices’, Axon (better — or worse — known as “TASER”). To quote:

In this latest instance, Axon asked the Patent Office to invalidate Digital’s U.S. Patent No. 9,712,730 (“the ‘730 Patent”), which is not currently involved in any active litigation. Axon targeted the ‘730 Patent for unknown reasons. On October 1, 2018, the Patent Office rejected Axon’s latest challenge finding that “[u]pon consideration of [Axon’s] Petition and [Digital’s] Preliminary Response, we conclude that the information presented in the Petition does not demonstrate that it is more likely than not at least one of the challenged claims is unpatentable. Accordingly, we do not institute a post-grant review.”

To date, Axon has filed an ex parte reexamination challenge, four different inter partes review (IPR) challenges, and one post-grant review challenge against various Digital Ally law enforcement patents. None were successful.

So PTAB isn’t quite the “death squad” patent extremists have called it. As IAM put it some days ago: [via]

Further data has emerged showing that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is far from the “death squad” that many in the US life sciences industries fear that it may be becoming.

A recent study by Harvard University’s Jonathan J Darrow and Aaron Kesselheim, and the University of Calgary’s Reed F. Beall – The Generic Drug Industry Embraces a Faster, Cheaper Pathway for Challenging Patents – analyses data on inter partes review proceedings since their inception, as well as information from the FDA’s Orange Book about the drugs whose patents have been the subject to administrative challenges.

Taking note of the Hatch-Waxman process (yes, Orrin Hatch), the CCIA’s Josh Landau wrote the following:

The first study was conducted by a pair of Harvard Medical School professors, as well as a professor at the University of Calgary. The Harvard study examined all pharmaceutical IPRs through April 2017.

The second study, by a recent Northwestern J.D., extended its dataset to all pharmaceutical IPRs over a 6 year period from March 2012 to March 2018.

Both drew similar conclusions regarding the success rate of pharmaceutical IPRs. Pharmaceutical IPRs are relatively rare, around 5% of all IPRs, and similarly to non-pharmaceutical patents, pharmaceutical IPRs usually relate to patents that are also being litigated in district court.

Looking beyond their frequency, pharmaceutical IPRs are quite different from the average IPR. While pharmaceutical IPRs are instituted at roughly similar rates to other IPRs, they are significantly less likely to find some or all claims invalid if they are instituted. Of the 134 distinct drugs (covered by 198 distinct patents) challenged in the Harvard study, only 44 drugs received at least one final written decision. And of those 44 drugs, only 18 (13%) had all of their claims invalidated—and even then, all but 2 of those drugs still had other patents protecting the drug.

[...]

Given that pharmaceutical IPRs are rare and generally less successful than other IPRs, the notion that the IPR system represents a serious threat to the Hatch-Waxman balance between new and generic drugs does not appear to be correct.

Instead, the IPR system appears to be mostly used to trim back the scope of follow-on patents that attempt to extend the original drug monopoly in order to make sure generics can enter once that original patent expires. This would appear to be completely consistent with the goals of Hatch-Waxman—ensuring that the original innovation is protected, but allowing for generics to efficiently provide that innovation after the original period of protection ends.

Given these recent studies, as well as others (such as the PTO’s Orange Book study), it does not appear to be necessary to modify the IPR process to accommodate the Hatch-Waxman process.

So, taking Hatch-Waxman (a process) into account, IPRs aren’t a reason for panic. Far from it. Even Watchtroll wrote about it. An article by Tulip Mahaseth was outlined by: “Out of the 230 Orange Book patents challenged in IPR proceedings, 90.4% (208) of these patents were also challenged in Hatch-Waxman litigation…”

We’re supposed to think, based on patent extremists, that PTAB just blindly squashes patents, but that’s far from true. It’s just that weak/weaker/weakest patents are being subjected to IPRs/challenges. That includes a lot of software patents.

“Number of abstract idea rejections decided at PTAB for August 2018 higher than ever,” Anticipat acknowledged some days ago, but this anti-PTAB site then looks for some spin on these facts. Just because software patents are being crushed in the US, partly owing to PTAB, doesn’t mean PTAB fails to do its job. Anticipat is then boosting talking points from Iancu's notorious speech, which was targeted at patent extremists (IPO). The bottom line is this however: “The PTAB decided 209 abstract idea rejections.” (in August alone)

Janal Kalis, a PTAB-hostile patent attorney (apparently retired), took note of the exception when he wrote: “The PTAB Reversed an Examiner’s 101 Rejection of Claims in an Oracle Patent Application: https://anticipat.com/pdf/2018-09-14_13315665_181761.pdf …”

Those are rare. PTAB usually agrees with examiners on rejections or disagrees with them on intent to grant.

“Capella Photonics Challenges Federal Circuit Practice of Judgments Without Opinions,” Watchtroll said last week. Well, PTAB slowdown by this method or in this fashion is an old trick. Rob Sterne, Jason D. Eisenberg, William H. Milliken and Tyler J. Dutton said: “The underlying Federal Circuit appeal arose from multiple Inter Partes Reviews of two Capella patents on fiber-optic communications systems.”

This slowdown was attempted by Dennis Crouch last year and the year before that. We occasionally mention that. He too resumes with this tactic, having published the following a few days ago:

LG v. Iancu, stems from an obviousness determination by the PTAB in its IPR of LG’s U.S. Patent No. 7,664,971. On appeal, LG argued that the PTAB had failed to explain its decision as required by the Administrative Procedures Act. In a silent commentary on the current state of patent law, the Federal Circuit has affirmed the PTAB decision without issuing any opinion or explanation for judgment.

The ’971 patent claims both an apparatus and method for controlling power to the cores of a multi-core processor. In its decision, the board gave an explanation for rejecting claim 1 (the apparatus), but not for the method claim 9.

Like the SAS (versus Iancu) case in SCOTUS, the goal is to complicate the rejection process and thus slow it down. The truth of the matter is, it takes a lot of time to prepare written rejections (or acceptance of challenges). They just need to be practical. Lawyers get to bill (charge) more when the process is further complicated, so it’s not hard to see their motivation as well. Yesterday they advertised this:

LexisNexis will be offering a CLE event on “How to Analyze Federal Circuit Opinions on Patent Law” on October 24, 2018 from 3:30 to 4:30 pm (ET) at The National Press Club in Washington, DC. Donald Chisum, the author of Chisum on Patents, will discuss how to analyze the opinions of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to assess their impact on patent law and practice, and will illustrate how to “deconstruct” sometimes opaque opinions using recent cases from 2018 as examples.

Even just to analyse written decisions they’d charge their clients. So decisions without opinion/text is to them (law firms) a threat. They’re trying to defang PTAB by all means possible, even still latching onto the RPX case that by extension impacts Unified Patents. “RPX (CVSG mentioned above) is the only case from the initial September conference that was not denied on the first round,” wrote Crouch the other day. Well, sadly for him, the Supreme Court won’t change patent scope any time soon and it probably won’t look into PTAB matters, either, having already decided on Oil States and SAS this past summer. Based on the list of upcoming patent cases, Section 101 is safe. Also mind the fact that PTAB too is safe, bar Smartflash LLC v Samsung Electronics America (although it doesn’t put IPRs themselves at risk/peril).

Crouch, still desperate to change things, brings up Berkheimer v HP (not much has changed since the case was decided at the Federal Circuit except Iancu’s empty rhetoric that lacks implications/ramifications for actual courts). Crouch’s promotion for briefs and public support (magnifying the impact of the case, irrespective of the outcome) is quite revealing, bearing his motivations in mind. Dennis Crouch is still trying to water down Section 101 so as to promote software patents for his beloved trolls and bullies:

Berkheimer v. HP Inc., 881 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2018) is in my list of top-ten patent cases for 2018. In the decision, Judge Moore vacated a lower court summary judgment ruling on eligibility — holding that a “genuine issue of material fact” as to whether the claims are directed toward a transformative inventive concept rather than merely a “well-understood, routine, and conventional” application of an abstract idea. Thus, the decision gave some amount of respect to the traditional procedures associated with providing facts. Practically, this means that is should be more difficult to challenge patent eligibility on the pleadings or on summary judgment. Likewise, it means that examiners must do a bit more work to ‘prove’ the lack of eligibility.

Charles R. Macedo, Brian Comack, Christopher Lisiewski and James Howard (Watchtroll) have meanwhile complained about PTAB again; it’s about limiting IPR ‘access’ or ‘scope’ or “Appeal by a Non-defendant Petitioner in an IPR” (related to the RPX case above). To quote:

On Tuesday, September 18, 2018, Askeladden L.L.C. (“Askeladden”) filed an amicus brief supporting Appellant’s Petition for Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc in JTEKT Corp. v. GKN Automotive Ltd., No. 2017-1828 (Fed. Cir. 2018). See Patent Quality Initiative’s website for the full brief. This case raises the important question of whether the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) can refuse to hear an appeal by a non-defendant petitioner from an adverse final written decision in an inter partes review (“IPR”) proceeding, on the basis of a lack of a patent-inflicted injury-in-fact, when Congress has statutorily created the right for “dissatisfied” parties to appeal to the Federal Circuit.

So to summarise, PTAB squashes software patents without negatively impacting other domains (contrary to mythology). Attempts to slow PTAB down include demonisation to that effect, claims that IPRs cannot be brought forth by the most prolific petitioners, attempts to force every decision to be accompanied with lots of texts and exhaustive check of all claims. And if that’s not enough, the challenges against Section 101 itself have not stopped. Those who profit from patent litigation are scrambling to secure software patents.

The Era of Fake Patents (or Software Patents) is Upon Us

Monday 8th of October 2018 03:55:38 AM

The fast lane for abstract patents disguised as "AI" and other hype waves

Summary: The ‘patent lust’ which prevails in profit-driven patent offices is backfiring; many granted patents turn out to be ‘fake’ if not just worthless as courts reject them based on/citing underlying laws

THE EPO and USPTO have both decided to engage in shameless promotion of software patents using buzzwords like “AI”. We’ve written about it more than a dozen times before, including last weekend. As recently as a day ago Patent Docs promoted this “Webinar on Patenting Machine Learning and AI Innovations” (“AI Innovations” as in algorithms). This is in the US, but under António Campinos (as President of the EPO) similar tricks are used and similar events are being organised, even by the Office itself. They actively encourage applicants to say “AI” while compelling examiners to grant “AI” patents. It’s all about granting as many patents as possible, no matter what the EPC says. Over the weekend El Peruano reported that Campinos had gone to Peru. Not because Peru has lots and lots of European Patents (EPs). Last year 3 EPs were granted to Peru and the year prior just a single one. The EPO may be trying to change that by lowering the bar. It won’t work, however, as the more patents they grant, the less these will be worth. They devalue them and merely dilute the patent pool. They fail to heed the warning from the US or even from China.

“…the more patents they grant, the less these will be worth. They devalue them and merely dilute the patent pool.”As we’ve mentioned the other day/week, China’s patent examination lenience nowadays backfires. They even allow software patents (explicitly so) and this ushered in an epidemic of patent trolls. Glyn Moody explains the reality of low-quality patents and what they accomplish in practice (waste and lack of productivity) in view of China:

Most Chinese Patents Are Being Discarded By Their Owners Because They Are Not Worth The Maintenance Fees To Keep Them

[...]

The discard rate varies according to the patent type. China issues patents for three different categories: invention, utility model and design. Invention patents are “classical” patents, and require a notable breakthrough of some kind, at least in theory. A design patent could be just the shape of a product, while a utility model would include something as minor as sliding to unlock a smartphone. According to the Bloomberg article, 91% of design patents granted in 2013 had been discarded because people stopped paying to maintain them, while 61% of utility patents lapsed within five years. Even the relatively rigorous invention patents saw 37% dumped, compared to around 15% of US patents that were not maintained after five years.

This latest news usefully confirms that the simplistic equation “more patents = more innovation” is false, as Techdirt has been warning for years. It also suggests that China still has some way to go before it can match the West in real inventiveness, rather than the sham kind based purely on meaningless patent statistics.

A lot of these patents are not even worth the paper they’re put on. We found it rather amusing how Watchtroll (Gene Quinn and Steve Brachmann) responded to the seminal report. It’s just amusing to see Watchtroll trying to defend China’s patent maximalism, which led to a lot of fake patents. They sometimes think it’s not OK for China to do it, yet highly desirable when the USPTO does it? “On Wednesday, September 26th,” they said, “business news publication Bloomberg published an article providing data analysis on Chinese patent applications to claim that, while China receives more patent applications than any country, “most are worthless.” Although the data supports the fact that a large number of Chinese design and utility patent applications are abandoned, the article misses the larger point that such an attrition rate is a natural result of China’s attempts to build a thriving patent system over a long period of time.”

“A lot of these patents are not even worth the paper they’re put on.”As we’ve said over the past couple of years, China probably foresaw trade wars and therefore aspired to create the impression of domestic innovation, even if by rushing to patent lots of trivial things; the proportion of Chinese patents in the US and Europe remains notably small (smaller than South Korea’s and a lot smaller than Japan’s). In our view, a lot of what China does in the area of patenting, domestically at least, can be dubbed ‘fake’. They try to fake growth in the same way Battistelli did at the EPO.

We’d like to present similar examples from the US, based on the past week’s news. IBM, for instance, is still pursing bogus software patents while lobbying through IPO for such fake patents. Here’s a news report titled “IBM Granted US Patent for Blockchain Security System”; it’s about last Tuesday:

On Tuesday (October 2), it was revealed by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that the tech giant had been granted a patent for a blockchain solution to detect security breaches in a network.

The documents, which were first filed last September, state that breaches are detectable with its blockchain technology by connecting multiple monitors in a chain configuration in a shared log.

That’s just software; if tested more properly, it would almost certainly be invalidated, e.g. by PTAB or a court. So we can presume/assume the above patent to be ‘fake’.

Watchtroll asks, “Is the Presumption of Validity Dead in Substitute Claims Issued as a Result of Motions to Amend After PTAB Proceedings?”

No, it’s “dead” due to patent maximalists like Watchtroll that pushed fake patents into the US patent office. They discredit the very concept of patents.

“That’s just software; if tested more properly, it would almost certainly be invalidated, e.g. by PTAB or a court.”Meanwhile, ZitoVault too is patenting software on the face of it. The USPTO plays along even though such patents are bunk, bogus. There’s this puff piece and press release [1, 2] about it. Did Ian Barker from BetaNews decide to become a PR buddy to ZitoVault or does he voluntarily promote bogus software patents for them? It says “ZitoVault Granted Patent for Prediction of Impending Security Threats Using Behavioral Analysis” (purely algorithmic).

We’re still undecided as to whether this too, Maxta’s press release in Business Wire (a press releases site), refers to an abstract patent that should be rendered invalid/bunk based on Section 101 (it’s definitely abstract based on their press release, maybe not the patent itself).

How about Webomates paying to brag (in a press release) about software patents that are likely bunk and would be rejected by courts? “In addition to the granted US patent number #20180239688,” it says, “Webomates already has three more patents pending. It is evident that the innovation process is just starting to catch speed in Webomates.”

“The USPTO plays along even though such patents are bunk, bogus.”But what if all these patents turn out to be invalid under Section 101? Similiarly, why does Compuverde pay for a press release about software patents that are likely bunk and would be rejected by courts? This was spread through several sites/wires [1, 2] and we fail to see how that’s not invalid as per Section 101 (35 U.S.C. § 101 to be precise). Only days ago we saw a high-profile case in which AlphaCap not only lost its case (patent invalid under Section 101) but was asked to pay the legal fees of the accused. This was covered here several times before (it’s an Eastern District of Texas case) and Michael Borella belatedly speaks of CAFC’s take on 35 U.S.C. § 285 (Section 285). It was initially invoked successfully, which means that as the case was “exceptional” (exceptionally bad) the bully in the Eastern District of Texas will be penalised severely:

Almost two years ago, we covered a dispute in the Southern District of New York (which began in the Eastern District of Texas) involving plaintiff AlphaCap, a non-practicing entity [troll] that aggressively asserted its patents against a number of targets, including Gust. In short, when Gust didn’t quickly settle, AlphaCap offered to dismiss its claims. But Gust wanted AlphaCap to pay its attorneys’ fees or assign AlphaCap the patents. After some back-and-forth between the parties, the District Court dismissed the case but awarded Gust attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285. Gutride Safier LLP, attorneys for AlphaCap, were held jointly and severally liable for these fees and costs under 28 U.S.C. § 1927.

Notably, the District Court stated that the case was “exceptional” under § 285 because the Supreme Court’s Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l opinion “gave AlphaCap clear notice that the AlphaCap Patents could not survive scrutiny under 35 U.S.C. § 101.” The basis of this conclusion was that “the claims were directed to crowdfunding, a fundamental economic concept and way of organizing human activity, and that this was an abstract idea.” The District Court further held that “the claims did not include an inventive concept sufficient to render the abstract ideas patent eligible under Alice.”

AlphaCap’s epic § 285 debacle was also covered by Watchtoll shortly afterwards (albeit in relation to the Southern District of New York):

The Federal Circuit recently reversed a decision of the Southern District of New York holding Gutride Safier LLP (“Gutride”), a firm representing the plaintiffs, AlphaCap Ventures, LLC (“AlphaCap”), jointly and severally liable for all expenses including attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by the defendant, Gust, Inc. (“Gust”) in a patent infringement suit. The district court found the case exceptional under 35 U.S.C. § 285 because, during litigation, the Supreme Court issued the Alicedecision which gave clear notice that AlphaCap’s patents directed toward crowdfunding were unpatentable under § 101. The district court further concluded Gutride was jointly and severally liable for Gust’s attorneys’ fees under 28 U.S.C. § 1927 because of its unwillingness to settle pursuant to Gust’s terms despite knowing Alice doomed the claims and its statement that the case was “not worth litigating.” See Gust, Inc. v. AlphaCap Ventures, LLC, No. 2017-2414 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 28, 2018) (Before Wallach, Linn, and Hughes, J.) (Opinion for the court, Linn, J.)

Therein lies the danger of actually asserting fake patents. They oughtn’t be granted in the first place.

“The moral of the story is, patent offices need to think carefully whether granting fake patents will be worth it.”David Hricik wrote about it several days ago, remarking on what worries the patent bullies’ ‘industry’ (litigation pipeline) quite a lot. What really scares them is the prospect they will need to compensate the victim of their bullying. To quote:

As I’ve written, district courts are beginning to hold that if a case is exceptional under 285, fees can be imposed on, not just the losing patentee or infringer, but its lawyers (and principals). I’ve written before that I have grave doubts this is permitted by the statutory text, and some courts so hold, but others are interpreting 285 to allow for it. (If an opposing party seeks to shift fees onto you under 285 consider the conflicts that it creates, as discussed in my prior posts.)

[...]

The opinion provides an interesting possible way to, perhaps, deal with the chilling effect that Octane Fitness creates on lawyer advocacy while reasonably allocating liability. These clauses will be scrutinized closely, and I’m not certain they would be accepted in every jurisdiction.

It was bad enough when the USPTO granted patents it knew would not withstand the scrutiny of the courts. How about when these patents cost the awarded party not only legal costs of its own litigation but also the accused’s (defendant’s)? What good is a patent system like this?

The moral of the story is, patent offices need to think carefully whether granting fake patents will be worth it. They groom themselves for their own demise by doing so.

Techrights’ Position on the Linus Torvalds and CoC Kerfuffle

Sunday 7th of October 2018 04:27:15 AM

“Software patents are a huge potential threat to the ability of people to work together on open source.”

–Linus Torvalds

Summary: A short statement on why it is better to quiet things down and focus on code rather than factions and cliques

A lot has been said about a variety of topics (sometimes in conjunction) like systemd, the Codes of Conduct (CoCs), Torvalds’ mode of engagement etc. We nowadays prefer to focus on patents, especially software patents, but the following statement would probably incorporate/reflect the thoughts of many of us regulars (e.g. in the IRC channels, where we actively discuss these things, always in the open, 24/7/365).

“We kindly advise our readers not to further inflame matters because it is very clear who benefits from such infighting.”The media has (by now or for now at least) stopped this whole commotion or fuss, especially one caused by conflicting views over technical and ethical matters. It would be preferable to settle things rather than throw insults at one another (including at Richard Stallman, ESR, Theodore Ts’o and Greg K-H or the GPL, Open Source, the kernel community and longtime maintainers respectively). We kindly advise our readers not to further inflame matters because it is very clear who benefits from such infighting. Let’s move on as best we can and try to find commonalities rather than differences. We have a lot in common. The real opponent is proprietary software. Focus on that instead.

Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is Not Getting Money From Apple and VirnetX Might Not Get Any, Either

Sunday 7th of October 2018 04:04:51 AM

Only the lawyers are receiving money (lots of it!)

Summary: The notorious patent assertion ‘firm’ from Wisconsin and the infamous patent troll that sues in Texas might soon find out that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) isn’t tolerating their patents and their behaviour

TECHRIGHTS is far from a friend of Apple; in fact, we called for boycotts several times in the past, we criticised Apple’s bogus European Patents (which EPO insiders tell us are bogus), and we regularly ridicule some of the patents that the USPTO gives to Apple. To set the record straight, Apple is a very evil company, it is a patent aggressor, and we generally encourage people to never buy anything from Apple (there’s a new scandal with practical reasons to avoid Apple).

“Remember that 35 U.S.C. § 101 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), for example, helps squash almost all software patents and Apple sometimes fights back against FRAND, which is inherently incompatible with Free/libre software.”No matter our opinion/views on Apple, merely going after (or against) Apple does not make a company virtuous. We’ve repeatedly explained, for example, why we hope Apple will beat Qualcomm (there’s a new article today about the case, “Apple and manufacturers: Qualcomm can’t demand “billions in royalties” while ducking patent-specific claims“). There are even worse things than Apple and there are situations where Apple winning a legal case can inadvertently be helpful to GNU/Linux. Remember that 35 U.S.C. § 101 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), for example, helps squash almost all software patents and Apple sometimes fights back against FRAND, which is inherently incompatible with Free/libre software.

As expected, the Federal Circuit (CAFC) throws aside decisions on patent cases from notorious courts in Texas and elsewhere (a software patent case of a patent troll called VirnetX is in Texas, another one from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) comes from elsewhere). As patent maximalists reported a few days ago, “Federal Circuit sets aside $234 jury verdict against Apple” and will decide on its own:

WARF’s 2015 patent damages win, bumped up to $506m by a judge last year, has been vacated by the Federal Circuit because “no reasonable juror could have found infringement based on the evidence presented during the liability phase of trial”

We expect to see this also in Texas, as Apple is expected to appeal (or to have already appealed) the VirnetX verdict.

“Patent maximalists keep cheering for parasites like VirnetX, merely reaffirming the view that they aren’t proponents of technology but only proponents of litigation.”Watchtroll came up with a bizarre headline four days ago: “Apple to pay VirnetX $93.4 million in costs and interest for patent infringement” (no, this is what VirnetX wants, but it doesn’t mean that it will get it).

Well, there will almost certainly be an appeal to CAFC and maybe even higher up (the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) might get involved one day), but facts don’t suit Watchtroll (Steve Brachmann in this case).

Patent maximalists keep cheering for parasites like VirnetX, merely reaffirming the view that they aren’t proponents of technology but only proponents of litigation.

Google ‘Prior Art Archive’ (for Patents) the Wrong Solution to the Wrong Problem

Sunday 7th of October 2018 02:44:37 AM

Patent scope, not prior art, is the principal culprit

Summary: The American technology sector is being ‘protected’ by a cabal of large technology companies, which can very well deal with a breadth and wealth of low-quality patents — something that small companies cannot as they lack dedicated legal departments and cannot cross-license with a war chest of patents

THE issues associated with patents and patent trolls are well documented. They are generally understood by the public, too. But patent lawyers pretend that the only issue is that there are not enough patents, not enough lawsuits etc. (because they make money from these) and Google became a patent aggressor last year, which means that Google too is part of the problem.

“…Google became a patent aggressor last year, which means that Google too is part of the problem.”A few days ago a report emerged under the title “Google throws support behind Prior Art Archive” — something which isn’t really unprecedented. Google should, instead of perpetuating the scale of this maze, put its weight behind abolishing all software patents. Its work with patent offices like the EPO and USPTO (patent databases, patent translations, patent search) merely exacerbates matters. It gives the false impression that issues are being tackled. As WIPR put it:

Google has shown its support for the newly-launched Prior Art Archive by connecting it with its Google Patents database.

Launched yesterday, October 3, the Prior Art Archive was designed to address the problem of low-quality patents which, according to the initiative’s creators, should not have been granted in the first place.

The Prior Art Archive, which was created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and technology company Cisco, will help USPTO examiners identify prior art and obvious technology.

Quoting the original, Ian Wetherbee (Tech Lead/Manager, Google Patents) and Mike Lee (Director, Head of Patents) decided to say: “A healthy patent system requires that patent applicants and examiners be able to find and access the best documentation of state-of-the-art technology.”

“Several years ago Google began stockpiling patents — software patents included — just like other giants in its domain.”That might not help, however, in rejecting applications based on how trivial the claims are.

Several years ago Google began stockpiling patents — software patents included — just like other giants in its domain. As we explained on Friday, a Google-centric aggregator of software patents (DPA) known as LOT Network is even being embraced by Microsoft, probably for the sole purpose of marketing a protection racket [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21].

“Google also makes money from patent translations.”So it should be generally accepted that Google isn’t part of the solution; it’s arguably part of the problem. Google also makes money from patent translations.

Lisa Ouellette, in yesterday’s post “Language Barriers and Machine Translation,” overlooks two key issues: 1) these translations are utterly incomprehensible for most languages, more so in technical domains and 2) one cannot digest millions of patents. Such a system is moot.

To quote this Associate Professor at Stanford Law School:

One of the more expensive parts of acquiring global patent protection is having a patent application translated into the relevant language for local patent offices. This is typically viewed simply as an administrative cost of the patent system, though my survey of how scientists use patents suggested that these translation costs may improve access to information about foreign inventions. As I wrote then, “[t]he idea that patents might be improving access to existing knowledge through mandatory translations and free accessibility is a very different disclosure benefit from the one generally touted for the patent system and seems worthy of further study.” E.g., if researchers at a U.S. firm publish their results only in English but seek patent protection in the United States and Japan, then Japanese researchers who don’t speak English would be able to read about the work in the Japanese patent.

I’ve also been interested in the proliferation of machine translation tools for patents—which can make patents even more accessible, but which also might limit this comparative advantage of patents over scientific publications if machine translation of journal articles becomes commonplace.

Meanwhile, another patent scholar and patent maximalist, Dennis Crouch, makes a stunning admission. It has been a slow news week for patents, so he makes public his notes to himself and then mentions some book that’s not even about patents. In there he admits that US standard for patentability is low when he tries to justify it as follows: “The US patent system fits this approach in some ways — one reason why we have 10,000,000+ patents is that the standard for patentability is low enough so that many many individuals experience sufficient genius. The problem though is that the hoops, tricks, and costs leave the patent system as an insider game not accessible to the vast majority are locked-out.”

“Deep inside Google knows that it can afford to spend a lot of money on tens of thousands of low-quality patents, then cross-license with other giants.”This is very wrong. Patents should not be mere trophies; awarding these may mean that they end up in the hands of patent trolls, causing a lot of trouble to real geniuses (which trolls aren’t). There’s a big difference between finding oneself in the literature (for attribution or credit) and receiving an actual monopoly which costs a lot of money to invalidate/disprove. Google may be trying to make patents (or applications) easier to invalidate/disprove, but it does nothing at all to raise the bar for patents. Deep inside Google knows that it can afford to spend a lot of money on tens of thousands of low-quality patents, then cross-license with other giants.

Links 6/10/2018: Mageia 6.1, Qt 5.12 LTS Beta Released

Saturday 6th of October 2018 04:27:38 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Windows 10 October 2018 Update Can Delete Your Files: Here’s What You Can Do

      Shortly, after the update, users started complaining that the update has wiped out their files including documents, pictures, other media and miscellaneous files along with previously installed programs.

    • Day two – and Windows 10 October 2018 Update trips over Intel audio

      As well as the usual complaints from overenthusiastic users reporting freezes during setup and mysteriously vanishing files or apps, a low rumble of dissatisfaction could be heard regarding battery life. One Redditor reported a markedly decreased time between charges while another chimed in with similar woes.

      The culprit, according to a support article, could be a compatibility issue with a bunch of Intel Display Audio drivers that can end up sending CPU usage skyrocketing and battery life plummeting.

    • On the third day of Windows Microsoft gave to me: A file-munching run of DELTREE

      Folk keen as mustard to get their hands on the Windows 10 October 2018 Update have reported files being mysteriously deleted by the upgrade.

      It was all supposed to be so much better this time around. Fewer features, more time spent fixing bugs, and yet here we are. Hot on the heels of the issues afflicting Intel display audio drivers has come a growing wave of reports of precious documents going AWOL during the update.

      Unlike the Intel issues, Microsoft has remained tight-lipped. The Register contacted the Windows maker to find out if it was aware of the issue but received no response.

    • Windows 10 update should be avoided until Microsoft delivers fixes

      After consumers reported a number of problems with the latest major update to Windows 10, Microsoft responded by preventing the October 2018 Update from being installed on some systems. Microsoft announced that the Windows 10 October 2018 Update was available for download when it announced its new Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, and Surface Studio 2 at a media event on October 2 in New York City. Since then, users have reported a number of wide-ranging issues caused by the update, including lost files, issues with CPU usage, and reduced battery life post-update.

      The problem with disappearing files has been widely reported on various social media forums, including on Reddit and Twitter, with one user reporting on Microsoft’s community forum that he had lost up to 220GB of data after the update. Affected file types include documents, music, and photos. “I have just updated my windows using the October update (10, version 1809) it deleted all my files of 23 years in amount of 220gb,” forum member Robert wrote. “This is unbelievable, I have been using Microsoft products since 1995 and nothing like that ever happened to me.”

    • Microsoft Pulls Windows 10 October 2018 Update Due To Massive Bug

      Yesterday, we reported that the latest Windows 10 October 2018 Update is deleting files stored on the computers of users. Many Redditors and Microsoft forum users complained regarding the issue, and it looks like the company has listened to them.

      In a recent development, Redmond has pulled the October 2018 update due the file deletion bug.

    • Beware: Microsoft’s Windows 10 October Update has been chewing up users’ files

      Usually though, we’d expect it to affect a small number of users. This time however, the problems seem to come from anyone with an Nvidia GPU and anyone… erm… with files.

      Specifically, anyone with files on the same volume as the Windows installation, as it appears that the new update wipes the lot.

    • New Chromium change makes it easier to uninstall Chrome OS Linux apps

      The most recent release of Chrome OS added Linux app support, but it’s clear the feature has a long way to go before leaving beta. A new Chromium code change has been discovered that will bring some simplicity and consistency when you want to uninstall Chrome OS Linux apps.

      Because of the inclusion of innovative Linux app support in Chrome OS 69, more users have been getting exposed to the wide world of Linux apps, some for the first time. These first time users may not necessarily have a great experience, as Linux can sometimes be a little rough around the edges.

      The best example of this is in app installation and removal. Currently, to uninstall Chrome OS Linux apps, you need to use the command line or a separately installed package manager application. Chrome OS’s Linux app support does not come with an instruction manual, and this procedure is not necessarily intuitive.

  • Server
    • Inspur Advances Open Compute Project With New Rack Servers

      Datacenter server vendor Inspur is advancing its portfolio with the new OCP Standard Rack Server solution.

      The Open Compute Project (OCP) is a multi-stakeholder effort to define and develop open standards-based computing platforms. Among the OCP’s standards is the Open Rack, which was first proposed back in 2012. With Open Rack, server racks were widened to 21 inches from what had been the standard 19 inches.

      [...]

      Among the new OCP Standard Servers is a configuration that has been designed with what is known as the Redfish OCP Baseline profile.

      Hu explained that large-scale, hyper-scale data centers have always faced technical challenges in management and operation and maintenance. He add that servers and other equipment from different suppliers, closed-source BMC and various standards of related software packages bring many technical obstacles to unified management.

      “OpenBMC and Redfish are considered as the management technology and standard for next-generation data centers,” Hu said. “Inspur has been tracking the convergence of OpenBMC and Redfish and is the first to complete this work.”

      The OCP-certified San Jose node is the world’s first product certified by the Redfish OCP Baseline Profile, according to Hu. Inspur also developed a fully functional version of OpenBMC that complies with the Redfish standard, making OpenBMC a modular, standardized total solution.

  • Kernel Space
    • WireGuard v7 Published As What’s Hopefully Going Into The Next Kernel

      Jason Donenfeld started off his weekend by publishing the seventh and possibly final set of patches for the WireGuard secure network tunnel that is likely to be merged for the upcoming Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel cycle.

    • Linux Foundation
      • The future of networking: Open source networking is the ‘new norm’

        If you weren’t in Amsterdam last week, you missed an extremely exciting conference – the Open Networking Summit Europe 2018. This Linux Foundation event drew more than 700 networking, development and operations leaders and enterprise users from open source service providers, cloud companies, and more.

        Chief among the conference themes was the idea that open source networking is the “new norm,” with lots of vendors attesting to how this theme is playing out in the IT industry. Dan Kohn who leads the Linux Foundation’s Cloud Native Computing Foundation cites cost savings, improved resilience and higher development velocity for both bug fixes and the rolling out of new features for this change. Arpit Joshipura, General Manager of Networking at The Linux Foundation used the term “open-sourcification” in his keynote.

      • OpenBMC Is Aiming For Its Major Debut In Early 2019

        The OpenBMC project hosted by the Linux Foundation to begin providing open-source Baseboard Management Controller firmware stacks is planning for its first major/official release in 2019 as this collaborative community project from leading software and hardware vendors.

        Sai Dasari presented last month at the Open-Source Firmware Conference about this “alternative firmware stack” targeting BMCs for servers and other data center / enterprise hardware. The current OpenBMC is forged from the original efforts by Facebook and IBM engineers but now with taking cues from Microsoft, Intel, Google, and other organizations. OpenBMC itself relies on a unified firmware interface and runs a Yocto embedded Linux distribution whereby the different BMC services from firmware updating to sensor monitoring is exposed over D-Bus and does rely on systemd.

    • Graphics Stack
      • XDC 2018 Report

        X.Org Developer’s Conference (XDC) is the summit meeting for people that work with graphics in all the world to meet each other for three days. There you will find people working with compositors, direct rendering management (DRM), graphics applications, and so forth; all these people at the same place create a unique learning opportunity. Finally, you can feel the community spirit in every table, talk, and corner.

        The XDC has many exciting talks, social events, and space for discussion with developers. All of this enabled thanks to the organization team, which did a great job by organizing the conference; they selected a great university that had a perfect structure for hosting the event. They also included social events that introduced some background about the history of the La Coruna; In my case, I enjoyed to learn a bit of the local history. About the food, the conference provided coffee breaks and lunch during all the days, all of them great!

      • The MATE Wayland Port Is Moving Along, NVIDIA Mir Support Still Being Tackled

        William Wold of Canonical’s Mir team shared their latest weekly progress report on this display server supporting the Wayland protocol. While a short report, the two bits shared are quite interesting.

      • Mesa Gets Patch For Official Intel Whiskey Lake Support

        Back in June there was the initial Whiskey Lake support for the Intel DRM kernel driver ahead of the Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake announcement from late August. Now there is formal Whiskey Lake support for Intel’s Mesa code.

    • Benchmarks
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Qt 5.12 LTS Beta Released

        I am pleased to announce that we released the first beta of Qt 5.12 LTS today. Qt 5.12 LTS is expected to be a solid development base and to receive multiple patch-level updates during its three-year support period. Once released, we recommend updating to Qt 5.12 LTS for both current and new projects. We have convenient online binary installers in place so you can try out the upcoming features coming in Qt 5.12 LTS in its first beta state. We will continue to provide subsequent beta releases via the online installer.

      • Qt 5.12 Beta Released With Better Performance, Input & UI Improvements

        The Qt Company has announced the immediate availability of the Qt 5.12 beta.

        Qt 5.12 is another hearty update with OpenGL ES 3.1 renderer support inside Qt 3D, the Qt Wayland compositor now supporting XDG-Shell stable and various other protocols, a variety of performance improvements, ECMAScript 7 support inside QML JavaScript, an extension interface to the Qt Virtual Keyboard, full support for Qt Remote Objects, an updated Qt WebEngine, various input improvements, and countless other refinements.

      • Qt 5.12 LTS Beta Released, Yabits Now Available, Manjaro-Illyria and New Bladebook Coming Soon, First DNSSEC Rollover Next Week and Secret Text Adventure Game Found on Google.com

        Qt 5.12 LTS beta was released this morning. Qt 5.12 will be a long-term supported release, and it’ll be supported for three years. Improved performance and reduced memory consumption have been a focus for this version, and it also now provides the TableView control. See the Qt 5.12 wiki for an overview of all the new features.

      • LabPlot Histogram

        LabPlot has already quite a good feature set that allows to create 2D Cartesian plots with a lot of editing possibilities and with a good variety of different data sources supported. Analysis functionality is also getting more and more extended and matured with every release. Based on the overall good foundation it’s time now to take care also of other plot types and visualization techniques. As part of the next release 2.6 we’re going to ship the histogram.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GStreamer Conference 2018

        For the 9th time this year there will be the GStreamer Conference. This year it will be in Edinburgh, UK right after the Embedded Linux Conference Europe, on the 25th of 26th of October. The GStreamer Conference is always a lot of fun with a wide variety of talks around Linux and multimedia, not all of them tied to GStreamer itself, for instance in the past we had a lot of talks about PulseAudio, V4L, OpenGL and Vulkan and new codecs.This year I am really looking forward to talks such as the DeepStream talk by NVidia, Bringing Deep Neural Networks to GStreamer by Pexip and D3Dx Video Game Streaming on Windows by Bebo, to mention a few.

  • Distributions
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • It is with great pleasure that we announce the release of Mageia 6.1

        This release brings all of the updates and development that has gone into Mageia 6 together into fresh installation media, giving users a kernel that supports hardware released after Mageia 6. The new installations will benefit from the countless updates that current fully updated Mageia systems will have, allowing new installations to avoid the need for a large update post install. So if you are currently running an up to date Mageia 6 system, there is no need to reinstall Mageia 6.1 as you will already be running the same packages.

      • Mageia 6.1 Released With Updated Kernel For Better Hardware Support

        The Mageia Linux distribution with its lineage going back to Mandriva and before that Mandrake is out with a slightly updated OS this weekend.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Red Hat Satellite integrated new, improved Ansible DevOps

        When Linux’s sysadmin graybeards got their start, they all used the shell to manage systems. Years later, they also used system administration programs such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)’s Red Hat Satellite and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)’s YaST. Then, DevOps programs, like Ansible, Chef, and Puppet, appeared so we can manage hundreds of servers at once. Now, Red Hat is bridging the gap between the old-style server management tools and DevOps with Red Hat Satellite 6.4.

        This new management tool comes with a deeper integration with Red Hat Ansible Automation automation-centric approach to IT management. This enables sysadmins to use the Red Hat Satellite interface to manage RHEL with Ansible’s remote execution and desired state management. This integration will help identify critical risks, create enterprise change plans, and automatically generate Ansible playbooks.

      • How to 'Kubernetize' an OpenStack service

        Kuryr-Kubernetes is an OpenStack project, written in Python, that serves as a container network interface (CNI) plugin that provides networking for Kubernetes pods by using OpenStack Neutron and Octavia. The project stepped out of its experimental phase and became a fully supported OpenStack ecosystem citizen in OpenStack’s Queens release (the 17th version of the cloud infrastructure software).

        One of Kuryr-Kubernetes’ main advantages is you don’t need to use multiple software development networks (SDNs) for network management in OpenStack and Kubernetes. It also solves the issue of using double encapsulation of network packets when running a Kubernetes cluster on an OpenStack cloud. Imagine using Calico for Kubernetes networking and Neutron for networking the Kubernetes cluster’s virtual machines (VMs). With Kuryr-Kubernetes, you use just one SDN—Neutron—to provide connectivity for the pods and the VMs where those pods are running.

      • Continuous Security with Kubernetes

        As the Chief Technologist at Red Hat for the western region, Christian Van Tuin has been architecting solutions for strategic customers and partners for over a decade. He’s lived through the rise of DevOps and containers. And in his role, he’s found that security is the highest adoption barrier for enterprises interested in harnessing the power of containers.

        After all, “Now we’re seeing an increasing level of threats for geopolitical reasons, and we’re seeing the dissolving security perimeter,” says Van Tuin. “Everything doesn’t sit behind the firewall in your data center anymore, and there’s a shift to software-based storage, networking and compute. The traditional network base, the fences, are no longer good enough.”

      • This is the age of agile integration. But what is it, and why do you need it? [Ed: Red Hat's Sameer Parulkar has prepared some buzzwords salad]

        Many organizations have adopted agile methodologies for iterative, incremental, and evolutionary software development. Many also have incorporated DevOps automation, integration, and collaboration practices for speeding application delivery with a focus on constant testing and continuous delivery. These changes to the way in-house applications are created and deployed have had a positive impact on all industries. But that impact goes only so far.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Fedora Classroom Session: Fedora Modularity 101
        • PHPUnit 7.4
        • Qubes OS 3.2.1-rc1 has been released!

          We’re pleased to announce the first release candidate for Qubes 3.2.1! This is the first and only planned point release for version 3.2. Features:

          Fedora 28 TemplateVM
          Debian 9 TemplateVM
          Whonix 14 Gateway and Workstation TemplateVMs
          Linux kernel 4.14

        • A Fedora 28 Remix for Tegra using i3

          This is dedicated to older Tegra such as Tegra20, Tegra30 and Tegra114. It can work on Tegra K1, but at this time, using Fedora 29 is a better choice. Specially as Fedora 29 on Tegra K1 have support for GPU acceleration with nouveau.

          The image integrates the grate-driver that provides a reverse-engineer mesa driver (FLOSS, but not yet upstream). This only advertises OpenGL 1.4 yet, but it can at least run glxgears fine. This is not the case with the softpipe driver on Tegra20.

          [...]

          Interested in having an official i3 spin in Fedora? For Tegra, it will depends on the upstreaming of the grate-driver, but I’ve submitted a PR to have an i3 spin. As some arm or aarch64 based devices that can output display, but may not be able to have enough accelerated desktop capabilities (Unless using a proprietary or downstream driver that won’t be in Fedora).

        • NeuroFedora: towards a ready to use Free/Open source environment for neuroscientists

          I’ve recently resurrected the NeuroFedora SIG. Many thanks to Igor and the others who had worked on it in the past and have given us a firm base to build on.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Events
    • Ubuntu events in October

      October is here, and along with Halloween, comes a number of big events for the Ubuntu team here at Canonical.

      Members of the Ubuntu team will be travelling across Europe and the US at a wide range events covering; Cloud, IoT, AI/ML and much more.

      So if you want to know where you can catch up with the Ubuntu team at Canonical and learn about the latest developments then you can find us here…

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Close Conversation is the Future of Social VR

        In many user experience (UX) studies, the researchers give the participants a task and then observe what happens next. Most research participants are earnest and usually attempt to follow instructions. However, in this study, research participants mostly ignored instructions and just started goofing off with each other once they entered the immersive space and testing the limits of embodiment.

        The goal of this blog post is to share insights from Hubs by Mozilla usability study that other XR creators could apply to building a multi-user space.

        The Extended Mind recruited pairs of people who communicate online with each other every day, which led to testing Hubs with people who have very close connections. There were three romantic partners in the study, one pair of roommates, and one set of high school BFFs. The reason that The Extended Mind recruited relatively intimate pairs of people is because they wanted to understand the potential for Hubs as a communication platform for people who already have good relationships. They also believe that they got more insights about how people would use Hubs in a natural environment rather than bringing in one person at a time and asking that person to hang out in VR with a stranger who they just met.

        The two key insights that this blog post will cover are the ease of conversation that people had in Hubs and the playfulness that they embodied when using it.

      • Drawing and Photos, now in Hubs

        As we covered in our last update, we recently added the ability for you to bring images, videos, and 3D models into the rooms you create in Hubs. This is a great way to bring content to view together in your virtual space, and it all works right in your browser.

        We’re excited to announce two new features today that will further enrich the ways you can connect and collaborate in rooms you create in Hubs: drawing and easy photo uploads.

        Hubs now has a pen tool you can use at any time to start drawing in 3D space. This is a great way to express ideas, spark your creativity, or just doodle around. You can draw by holding the pen in your hand if you are in Mixed Reality, or draw using your PC’s mouse or trackpad.

  • SaaS/Back End
    • Zabbix Debuts Latest Version of Its Open Source Monitoring Software

      Open source software provider Zabbix released version 4.0 of its open source network monitoring software. The latest version includes more data visualization capabilities, updated agent items, a boost in performance, and more.

      Zabbix started as a hobby project of the company’s current CEO, owner, and product manager Alexei Vladishev. He was working as a system administrator for a Latvian bank and needed a tool for managing the performance and availability of the bank’s network. Vladishev published the first version of his universal software under the open source license called Zabbix in 2001. In 2005, he started a company with the same name to support the platform’s development and provide support services.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Funding
  • BSD
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GNU Tools Cauldron 2018 Videos Are Now Available

      Taking place a month ago in Manchester was the annual GNU Tools Cauldron conference where developers and other key stakeholders to the GNU toolchain presented their latest research and development activites. The videos from that developer event are now available.

      The GNU Tools Cauldron 2018 conference featured talks ranging from the AMD GCN GPU compiler back-end to the state of ARM/AArch64 support, C++ modules, static analysis, compiler offloading, PowerPC support, and many other topics for this three day event.

    • Videos from the GNU Tools Cauldron

      The 2018 GNU Tools Cauldron was held in early September; videos of the talks from that event are now available. There is a wide range of discussions covering various aspects of the toolchain, including GCC, GDB, glibc, and more.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • LinuxBoot for Servers: Enter Open Source, Goodbye Proprietary UEFI

        LinuxBoot is an Open Source alternative to Proprietary UEFI firmware. It was released last year and is now being increasingly preferred by leading hardware manufacturers as default firmware. Last year, LinuxBoot was warmly welcomed into the Open Source family by The Linux Foundation.

        This project was an initiative by Ron Minnich, author of LinuxBIOS and lead of coreboot at Google, in January 2017.

        Google, Facebook, Horizon Computing Solutions, and Two Sigma collaborated together to develop the LinuxBoot project (formerly called NERF) for server machines based on Linux.

      • Raptor Computing Reveals More Details About Their Blackbird Low-Cost POWER9 Board

        This week at the OpenPOWER Summit Amsterdam, Texas-based libre computer vendor Raptor Computing Systems announced Blackbird as a low-cost, micro-ATX POWER9 motherboard to be available in the coming months. The company has now revealed some additional details.

  • Programming/Development
    • DebDialer : Handling phone numbers on Linux Desktops | GSoC 2018

      This summer I had the chance to contribute to Debian as a part of GSoC. I built a desktop application, debdialer for handling tel: URLs and (phone numbers in general) on the Linux Desktop. It is written in Python 3.5.2 and uses PyQt4 to display a popup window. Alternatively, there is also a no-gui option that uses dmenu for input and terminal for output. There is also a modified apk of KDE-Connect to link debdialer with the user’s Android Phone. The pop-up window has numeric and delete buttons, so the user can either use the GUI or keyboard to modify numbers.

    • The Python Unicode Mess

      Unicode has solved a lot of problems. Anyone that remembers the mess of ISO-8859-* vs. CP437 (and of course it’s even worse for non-Western languages) can attest to that. And of course, these days they’re doing the useful work of…. codifying emojis.

      Emojis aside, things aren’t all so easy. Today’s cause of pain: Python 3. So much pain.

      Python decided to fully integrate Unicode into the language. Nice idea, right?

      But here come the problems. And they are numerous.

    • Plain Old Documentation (pod) – write documentation for Perl, Perl software, and Perl modules

      Plain Old Documentation (known as pod) is a simple, lightweight markup language used for writing documentation for Perl, Perl programs, and Perl modules. This markup language is designed to make it easy for programmers to add documentation to their software and modules.

      Pod markup consists of three basic kinds of paragraphs: ordinary, verbatim, command. There’s also a data paragraph.

    • TLCockpit v1.0

      Today I released v1.0 of TLCockpit, the GUI front-end for the TeX Live Manager tlmgr.

      [...]

      CTAN and will soon be available via tlmgr update. As usual, please use the issue page of the github project to report problems.

Leftovers
  • Who is Jenny Everywhere? Modify and share this character

    Heard of Jenny Everywhere? Me neither, until I was looking for media to use for an open source character drawing contest I was involved in. As I Googled my way around the internet, I happened upon Jenny Everywhere.

    Creator of JennyEverywhereDay.com, Benj Christensen, says, “Jenny Everywhere has an organically grown mythology. Creators can take elements of previous works that inspire them and add their own twists and sensibilities which can then inspire someone else. Unlike characters that are beholden to a copyright and a status quo, Jenny is free to become a true amalgam of ideas. The open source license allows the kind of legal freedom characters like Sherlock Holmes and Robin Hood have thrived in. But, Jenny is still in her creative infancy; her core mythology is still mostly unwritten, and, to me, that’s what’s most exciting.”

  • Security
    • Facebook And Apple Confirm Their Servers Were Hit By Chinese Malware

      In a bombshell report earlier this week, Bloomberg revealed that tiny spy chips were planted on Apple and Amazon’s servers by Chinese spies. And yesterday, we saw official responses from the company strongly denying the occurrence of such an incident. The servers in question were made by Supermicro.

      Now the latest report tells us that some of those servers were also infiltrated with malware. Both Apple and Facebook have confirmed this fact. However, let me clarify that this malware attack doesn’t mention any involvement of an alleged spy chip.

      Facebook says that it found the compromised servers in 2015 and the malware was present on “a limited number of Supermicro hardware” that was used only “for testing purposes confined to our labs.”

    • The Big Hack: The Software Side of China’s Supply Chain Attack

      Even as Amazon, Apple, and U.S. officials were investigating malicious microchips embedded in Supermicro server motherboards, Supermicro was the target of at least two other possible forms of attack, people familiar with multiple corporate probes say.

      The first of the other two prongs involved a Supermicro online portal that customers used to get critical software updates, and that was breached by China-based attackers in 2015. The problem, which was never made public, was identified after at least two Supermicro customers downloaded firmware—software installed in hardware components—meant to update their motherboards’ network cards, key components that control communications between servers running in a data center. The code had been altered, allowing the attackers to secretly take over a server’s communications, according to samples passed around at the time among a small group of Supermicro customers. One of these customers was Facebook Inc.

    • Git 2.14.5, 2.15.3, 2.16.5, 2.17.2, 2.18.1, and 2.19.1
    • Git Users Should Get To Updating Due To An Arbitrary Code Execution Vulnerability

      Git maintainer Junio Hamano issued new versions of this widely-used version control system today going back to the Git 2.14 release series in order to address a new security vulnerability.

      This latest Git vulnerability is CVE-2018-17456 and allows for an attacker to execute arbitrary code. This arbitrary code execution can be achieved via modifying the .gitmodules file in a project being cloned through a –recurse-submodules call.

    • Endpoint Security: It’s Way More Complicated than You Think

      The term “endpoint security” is often used by vendors and security professionals alike, but what is it really all about? While it might seem obvious that endpoint security by definition is all about defending endpoints, as opposed to say networks, there are many levels of nuance and technologies involved in endpoint security.

      In a session at the SecTor security conference in Toronto, Kurtis Armour, principal security specialist at Scalar Decisions, provided an overview of the endpoint security landscape from a penetration tester’s point of view.

      Endpoint protection technologies are intended to give organizations the ability to detect and respond to security events within their environments.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Open Source Security Inc. Announces Respectre™: The State of the Art in Spectre Defenses
    • Supply Chain Security Speculation

      Before the wild speculation though, it must be mentioned that the story is short on evidence and high on flat out denials.

    • This dark web market is dedicated to compromising your emails

      According to research by security company Digital Shadows for as little as $150, dark web sellers are offering to hack into whichever corporate email account the user wants to gain access to — with many promising access within a week. In some instances, the sellers state they’ll only take the payment after they’ve proved the target has been compromised.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • 7 Arrested In Anti-Drone Protest At USAF Base Outside Las Vegas

      Several peace activists have been arrested in a demonstration at a U.S. Air Force base outside Las Vegas against the use of drones for killing in the war in Afghanistan.

      Organizers of the effort at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs say seven anti-drone protesters were arrested on Thursday. They say those arrested were transported to the Clark County Jail.

    • It’s Time To Stop Feeling Comfortable About “precision” Drone Strikes

      Drones were a neat fit for the Obama foreign policy doctrine. That doctrine was meant to be characterised by a level-headed approach to foreign conflict, and a reluctance to involve America in wars abroad wherever it was avoidable.

      And the drone strike was, to its proponents, an ideal halfway solution. It could, in theory, take out critical security threats abroad whilst minimising the risk to both American soldiers, and to the civilians of the country in question.

      [...]

      According to survey data from the UK and the US, most people would support a targeted strike against a known terrorist with no casualties, although their support for the strike goes down as the number of associated casualties go up. 43% of UK respondents would support a strike against a known terrorist if two to three civilians might be killed in the process. That number drops to 32% if between ten and fifteen civilians might be killed in the strike. Essentially, people’s favourability towards drone strikes goes hand in hand with the strike’s precision.

      Whether a strike’s precision justifies it is still a polarised debate. There is something deeply unsettling, even dystopian, about the idea of military robots stealthily flying above us while a remote operator, physically disconnected from it all, selects and kills a target. That aspect has raised a lot of important philosophical, psychological and ethical questions, as well as considerations of whether drone strikes inadvertently help terrorists to recruit angered civilians.

    • Chinese armed drones now flying across Mideast battlefields

      Across the Middle East, countries locked out of purchasing U.S.-made drones due to rules over excessive civilian casualties are being wooed by Chinese arms dealers, who are world’s main distributor of armed drones.

      The sales are helping expand Chinese influence across a region crucial to American security interests and bolstering Beijing’s ambitions to lead in high-tech arms sales.

      U.S. drones were first used in Yemen to kill suspected al-Qaida militants in 2002.

    • Space the Nation: Some reasons to be alarmed about autonomous robots

      The headlines: FAA cracks down on rogue drones

      In-flight charging gives drones unlimited autonomous range

      Government may gain new power to track, shoot down drones

      Of all the predictive narratives toyed with by genre creators, it’s speculation about the dangers and possibilities of drones that feels the most eerily accurate — and the most stubbornly ignored.

    • ‘A fighting war with the main enemy’: How the CIA helped land a mortal blow to the Soviets in Afghanistan 32 years ago

      By the mid-1980s, several years after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, many US officials felt neither the Soviets nor the US-backed Afghan rebels had gained an edge.

      “In ’85 there was a prevailing sentiment – if you would look at the press and if you were in officialdom; if you walked around Washington and talked to people in the defence, intelligence, and executive branch in general – the view was that we were at a stalemate with them,” Jack Devine, who took over the CIA’s Afghan Task Force around that time, told Business Insider.

      “There was a sentiment growing, ‘How long are we just going to bleed the Russians?’” said Devine, whose 32-year CIA career included stints as acting director and associate director of operations. More critical observers interpreted the US dictate as “bleed the Russians to the last Afghan.”

      President Ronald Reagan decided to make “one more big push” with the Afghan program, Devine said, “which I was surprised that the Russians, to the best of my knowledge, never picked up on.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Something strange is happening with WikiLeaks’ website [Ed: Foes of Wikileaks (competing with it) try to seed doubt and distrust; good luck maintaining over 10 million Web pages when your site and staff are constantly under attack.]

      Something strange is happening with WikiLeaks’ website, something which seems to have begun just before Julian Assange stepped down as Editor-In-Chief and Kristinn Hrafnsson was appointed to the post. In the last week, content has disappeared and links have broken, while the modification dates on files have mysteriously changed. These changes, though typically minor, are often difficult to explain and raise questions about the website, its management, and what happened during the transfer of power within WikiLeaks to cause content to disappear and links to break.

      The issue was first brought to my attention regarding a Freedom of Information document referring to a woman in the United States Air Force who had become “infatuated with Assange” (rumored to be the now deleted @M_Cetera). According to Archive.org’s Wayback Machine, the page was intact and linked to the document on September 27th, 2018. By October 2nd, the page’s text remained intact but the link was gone. As of this writing, it has not been restored.

      [...]

      Though the meaning of the website’s problems and the date changes remains unknown, the timing is difficult to dismiss – it began on September 25th, with the Clinton emails directory, with other pages having last been intact on the 26th, and Hrafnsson being publicly named as Editor-In-Chief on the 27th. On the 28th, WikiLeaks released its first document in nearly a year, to little public attention. Many of the errors in WikiLeaks’ webpages persist, with the only known correction having come shortly after I publicly brought attention to the matter. While what, if anything, the changes signify remains up for the debate, there is no question that something happened to WikiLeaks’ server(s) and that it appears to have immediately preceded the official transfer of authority within the organization.

  • Finance
    • How the Electoral Commission turned blind eye to DUP’s shady Brexit cash

      Senior Electoral Commission staff privately expressed ‘concerns’ that the Democratic Unionist Party had broken UK election law, openDemocracy can reveal. At issue was a controverisal £435,000 donation to the party’s 2016 Brexit campaign. But just weeks later the watchdog closed the case without investigating the DUP’s Brexit cash.

      The Electoral Commission was watching closely when BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight team broadcast Brexit, Dark Money and the DUP in late June. In internal emails, staff at the regulator said that the film raised ‘concerns’ about the source of the DUP’s donation, which came from a shadowy group called the Constitutional Research Council (CRC).

      Staff at the watchdog also said that the programme provided “new information” which suggested the DUP had been ‘working together’ with other Leave campaigns in contravention of electoral law.

      But barely a month later, the Electoral Commission announced that it did “not have grounds” to launch a full investigation into the DUP’s Brexit spending. The emails, released to openDemocracy under freedom of information laws, suggest that little attempt was made to examine the allegations aired in the BBC film, with senior staff stressing the need to swiftly “draw a line” under the issue.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • US governmental requests for comment are routinely flooded by pro-corporate bots

      It turns out the FCC isn’t the only agency being flooded by bots during requests for comment — and it’s also not the only agency that doesn’t seem to give a shit about being astroturfed by bots using stolen identities to influence government policy in favor of corporate agencies.

    • Interpol president reported missing during trip to China
    • Saudi Critic Vanishes After Visiting Consulate, Prompting Fear And Confusion

      A State Department official told NPR on Thursday, “We are closely following reports of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance. We continue to seek information.”

    • The Cost of the Office? Trump’s Billion-Dollar Loss — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast Extra

      Nearly 20 years ago, Donald Trump told Fortune magazine that he could run for president and make money doing it.

      “It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it,” he said in an interview in 2000.

      But now that he’s president, the story is looking a bit different. A new report from Forbes concluded that the presidency has not enriched Trump overall: Measuring Trump’s net worth before he announced his run for the presidency in 2015 to the last two years, Trump’s fortune has dropped from $4.5 billion to $3.1 billion.

      In a statement to the magazine, Eric Trump, who is co-managing the Trump Organization, said: “My father made a tremendous sacrifice when he left a company that he spent his entire life building to go into politics. Everything he does is for the good” of the American people.

    • Wiles: Ford Was Brainwashed by the CIA

      I love how the far-right conspiracy nuts can never agree on which of their inane conspiracies is reality. While some are pretending that Christine Blasey Ford hypnotized herself, Rick Wiles says that she was brainwashed by the CIA. And he compares her to a Muslim suicide bomber.

    • Spy vs. Spy: He’s ex-CIA. She was an Air Force intelligence officer. Both want your vote for Congress.

      U.S. Rep. Will Hurd keeps a radar plot on his office wall from Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, charting the moments when operators misidentified the Japanese planes before they attacked, killing 2,300 American military personnel and destroying more than a dozen ships.

      For Hurd, R-San Antonio, a former CIA officer, the print is a reminder of the consequences of intelligence failings and a historical marker close at hand as he pursues national security issues in Congress.

    • America’s new aristocracy lives in an accountability-free zone

      Accountability is for the little people, immunity is for the ruling class. If this ethos seems familiar, that is because it has preceded some of the darkest moments in human history

    • Ralph Nader, “To The Ramparts”
    • The Kavanaugh Affair

      Donald Trump is the least fit and most corrupt American president in modern times, if not — depending on how slavery factors in, and on what we make of Andrew Johnson and the mid-nineteenth century presidents whose tenure led up to the Civil War — since the founding of the republic.

      But if the metric is damage done, not just to the country but also to the world, he is small potatoes compared to George W. Bush. Bush broke the Greater Middle East in ways that continue to reverberate.

      Trump’s foreign policy initiatives are noxious, and potentially even more dangerous than Bush’s, but, so far at least, what we have gotten from him is mainly bluster; Bush caused far more devastation, murder and mayhem.

      As for handing the federal court system over to the forces of reaction, Mitch McConnell is a more iniquitous culprit than Trump. Trump takes credit, but the main villain is the toad from Tennessee.

      The frenzy set in motion by Trump’s and McConnell’s efforts to seat Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court should be looked at with these considerations in mind.

    • TV reporter fired for wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ hat at Trump rally

      A Minnesota television reporter who wore a “Make America Great Again” hat to President Trump’s rally on Thursday has been fired.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Sri Lankan film festival accused of censorship

      The organizers of a film festival in Sri Lanka have been accused of censorship for pulling from its program a documentary about the island nation’s civil war.

      Film director Jude Ratnam said he was told on Oct. 3 by organisers of the Jaffna International Film Festival (JIFF) that his acclaimed documentary Demons in Paradise would not be shown on Oct. 5 as had been scheduled.

      Ratnam alleges the organizers decided to remove the film, which covers atrocities committed during the war, because of pressure from a group known only as the “community” in the northern city of Jaffna.

      “JIFF organizers said they have been threatened by a group and give different reasons but no proper explanation for the removal of the film,” Ratnam told ucanews.com. “They have cited different reasons to prohibit the film from being screened.”

    • Free Law Project Takes A Stand Against Attempt To Use GDPR To Disappear A Public Court Docket

      We recently wrote about how a guy in France, Michael Francois Bujaldon, was using the GDPR to try to delete a public court docket involving a case in which he is a defendant, and has been sued for real estate and securities fraud. As we noted, at least two websites that host public court dockets have felt compelled to either delete or change that particular docket.

      Last week, the Free Law Project, who operates the CourtListener website (and runs RECAP — the very useful system that will help automatically free up costly PACER dockets and documents that other RECAP users visit) noted that it, too, had recently received a GDPR demand about a docket (they do not say if it was the same one) and then go into a detailed description of why they are not taking action. The post notes that the general policy of the site has always been that they won’t remove a docket without a court order (though it may remove links from search engines).

    • Twitter censors cartoon by Charlie Hebdo’s Charb

      On 17 October, Charlie Hebdo employee Marika Bret had her Twitter account blocked because her profile picture – a caricature by Charb, who was one of 12 people killed in the 2015 attack at the magazine’s Paris offices – violates the rules of Twitter, reported Le Figaro.

      The cartoon, titled ‘The extremes are touching each other’ had been her profile picture since she joined Twitter about two years ago. It shows a priest and an imam holding each other’s genitals. See it here in full.

      “This censorship really makes me angry. I checked the rules of Twitter. This drawing does not break any. It is neither racist nor violent … It has never been subject to any legal proceedings or convictions. This is just another offense to Charb,” Bret told Le Parisien.

    • Censorship Against Lula’s Interview With Folha Causes Impasse Supreme Court

      The president of the Brazilian Supreme Court, Justice Dias Toffoli, determined Monday (1st) night the enforcement of a previous decision from Justice Luiz Fux forbidding former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of granting an interview to Folha de S. Paulo.

      Lula is serving time in Curitiba since April, after being convicted for corruption and money laundering.

      Toffoli’s decision caused an impasse in the Supreme Court.

      Justice Ricardo Lewandowski authorized the interview last Friday (28th) morning, following a complaint filed by the newspaper. Still, on Friday the political party Novo, part of the opposition against PT in the upcoming general elections contested the decision and filed a request to suspend the injunction, which was sent to Toffoli to review.

    • InfoWars publisher Alex Jones sues PayPal

      US radio host Alex Jones is suing PayPal, claiming bias against conservative views was behind its decision to block his website.

      The conspiracy theorist has been banned from most major web services, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

      Mr Jones is alleging PayPal’s ban is “viewpoint discrimination”, calling it a “dangerous precedent”.

      PayPal told Courthouse News that the case was without merit and that it would vigorously defend itself.

    • CRTC Rejects Web Censorship Proposal In ‘Huge Win’ For Digital Rights Activists

      Canada’s telecom regulator has rejected a proposal from numerous media giants, including Bell and the CBC, to institute a system for blocking websites accused of piracy.

      The proposal came from the FairPlay Canada coalition, a group started by Bell Canada that eventually came to include the CBC, Rogers, cinema chain Cineplex and labour union Unifor, among others.

      In a decision issued Tuesday, the CRTC in essence said it doesn’t have the jurisdiction under the Telecommunications Act to force internet service providers to block access to certain websites, as the Bell-led coalition had asked.

    • Portugal: Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition plagued by censorship dispute
    • Robert Mapplethorpe’s work still has the power to cause a censorship scandal

      In 1983, six years before the artist and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe died at 42, due to complications from HIV/AIDS, the New York Times’ art critic wondered: “Is Mapplethorpe only out to shock?” His frankly homoerotic work was “undeniably and intentionally distasteful,” wrote Andy Grundberg, now a professor of arts and design at George Washington University. “The norms of polite nudity are transgressed; religious, racial and sexual taboos are flouted; a kind of chic, narcissistic exhibitionism is flaunted.”

      The works in question—including the artist’s self-portrait with a bullwhip in his anus and a photograph of a man urinating in another man’s mouth—sparked nationwide protests, letter-writing campaigns, and even a court case.

      But 35 years on, the photographer and his work appear to have been fully absorbed into the art establishment. His prints sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars; his work is in the collections of the world’s largest and most established museums; the Dutch electronics company Philips even released a disc of his pictures of flowers for its 1990s interactive multimedia CD player.

      [...]

      For their part, the museum and foundation deny that they are responsible for any censorship. In a statement to the Spanish newspaper El País, the Serralves Foundation explained that limiting access to the dozen or so explicit photographs in the exhibition was necessary—and had been planned from when the show was first proposed—because of Portuguese pornography laws. The authors of the letter dispute this explanation, citing many other works in the museum’s collection and Western historical canon which they say are also “erotic and/or sexually-explicit.”

    • Celebrating Banned Books Week: An Editor’s Collection of Challenged Books

      Though people cannot be arrested for the controversial material they write and produce, that does not mean their books are free from censorship. Schools, libraries and other institutions may remove said controversial works for any number of reasons.

      Though this is a terrible practice, it is actually a testament to the power of the written word. Many of these frequently challenged books are life-changing and can have a lasting impact on someone’s point of view.

      So many controversial books have impacted so many people for so many reasons. That being said, here are some of my favorites.

    • Students and faculty participate in Banned Books Week activities

      Students and faculty from the University of North Georgia (UNG) marked Banned Books Week, Sept. 23-29, with a variety of activities.

      Dr. Donna Gessell, professor of English, and Dr. Westry Whitaker, assistant professor of teacher education, had their classes present projects exploring why some books are challenged or banned and why people advocate against this censorship. Both faculty members said many books are challenged, while some end up being banned from schools or libraries for content deemed offensive.

      As part of these efforts, students made posters with a photo and a quote illustrating the tensions surrounding certain books.

    • OUWC celebrates “Banned Book Week” by addressing controversial themes in some of the most beloved books in history

      The Oakland University Writing Center (OUWC) hosted “Celebration of Challenged and Banned Books” on Sept. 24–29. The event was in honor of Banned Book Week, which was established by the American Library Association (ALA).

      Banned Book Week is a way for librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers and readers alike to join forces and celebrate books throughout history that have been challenged or targeted with removal or restriction in schools.

      Sherry Wynn Perdue, director of the Writing Center and professor of writing and rhetoric, proposed the idea of celebrating Banned Book Week in Kresge library to her staff. They decided to hold an open discussion on the topic Sept. 26 from 4:15–5 p.m. in the Writing Center and displayed some of the most challenged books as well as some of the most disputed quotes from each of them throughout the week.

      “In the discussion we devoted 45 minutes to the topic of why it is so important for ideas to be circulated even if that means that some ideas may offend some people,” Perdue said.

    • Harms of censorship shown

      TR faculty, students and staff celebrated the freedom to read with a flash-mob demonstration Sept. 26 as part of Banned Books Week.

      Banned Books Week, which took place Sept. 23-29, is designed to draw national attention to the harms of censorship, and the TR library organized a demonstration to coincide with the week.

      Twenty-seven volunteers gathered in the Riverfront Cafe during lunchtime to make sure it would draw attention, TR public services librarian Tracy Soto said. The demonstration then began unannounced.

      “We started with one person reading out loud from a banned or challenged book,” Soto said. “And then every five seconds, another person joined in until eventually all 27 people were reading out loud from 27 different books.”

      Challenged books are books that have been formally challenged due to a disagreement in content such as drug references, religious ideas and magic, she said.

      [...]

      “It was kind of chaotic, so we were confused on what was happening,” Hester said. “But once we figured out was happening, it was eye-opening looking around and seeing all the different books that were banned.”

    • Online Freedom Exhibit at TCDC Talks Memes, Pixels, Censorship

      Through a pixelated sculpture of Prayuth’s eyes to a memeified event in Thai history, artists at an exhibition say the internet in Thailand is both a venue for freedom and a tool for surveillance.

      A UNESCO-curated exhibition on Thai internet freedom launched Friday at a downtown design-hub to mark Universal Access to Information Day. Through six displays, ranging from hand-drawn infographics to documentaries, artists portray the Thainet as a double-edged sword, granting connectivity on one side but distortion and censorship on the other.

      “We are watching what they’re doing but they are also watching us back,” artist Wee Viraporn said. “We will never have total freedom of expression or total freedom to monitor our government as long as it monitors our internet usage.”

    • Indian Cryptocurrency Exchange Shuts Down, Highlights Importance of Censorship Resistant Money

      ZebPay, one of India’s oldest and largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has shut down its operations from the Indian government’s indecisiveness on cryptocurrencies.

      The Indian government has not made official laws with regards to trading cryptocurrencies, but back in April 2018, the Reserve Bank of India issued a notice to banks that prohibited them from dealing in cryptocurrencies. Thus, ZebPay’s blog post cited “[t]he curb on bank accounts has crippled our, and our customer’s, ability to transact business meaningfully” as reasons for them shutting down. The post added that “[a]t this point, we are unable to find a reasonable way to conduct the cryptocurrency exchange business”.

    • NOTA movie censorship controversy: Vijay Deverakonda starrer gets U/A certificate after some cuts, mutes

      Vijay Deverakonda’s upcoming movie NOTA, which is set to hit the screens on October 5, has received a U/A certificate from the censor board after the makers agreed for some cuts and mutes of controversial scenes.

      NOTA is a bilingual political thriller movie that is simultaneously made and released in Tamil and Telugu. Its Tamil version has already cleared the formalities of the censor board and has received a U certificate. However, its Telugu version has landed in trouble on its censor clearance due to the assembly elections that are just around the corner.

    • How a lesbian love story is bypassing censors online

      Low-cost smartphones and cheap mobile data mean Indians are now hungrily consuming content over the small screen. And this is opening up a new world of creative freedom for the country’s entertainment industry.

      Film director Krishna Bhatt says the internet has given her “the power to show exactly the story I want to tell”.

      She has made two web-based shows. One of them, Maaya 2, centres around a lesbian love story – a subject that would have been very difficult to get into cinemas or on television in India.

      “To show lovemaking in a theatre I will have to go through 10,000 censor rules,” says Ms Bhatt.

      “My kisses will get cut based on very stupid things. You’re not allowed to show something like that even on TV.”

    • The Politics Behind Kuwait’s Rising Book Censorship

      Kuwaiti activists have held protests in recent days over what they see as a rising government-sponsored tide of book censorship. According to the Kuwait Times, about 80 demonstrators on Sunday converged on Kuwait City’s Irada Square just opposite the country’s parliament building, the National Assembly, to decry the banning of an estimated 4,590 titles.

      Activists staged similar protests last month in front of the Ministry of Information, the government body responsible for deciding what books constitute appropriate reading material for the Gulf state’s 4.2 million citizens.

      Recently, the government formally acknowledged that the bans have been in place since 2014. They target not only state-owned bookshops and libraries, but also private book vendors.

    • No ‘Divine Comedy,’ no ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude.’ Book banning in Kuwait draws the ire of the intellectual class
    • Google’s cyber unit Jigsaw introduces Intra, a new security app dedicated to busting censorship
    • Intra by Alphabet’s Jigsaw prevents DNS manipulation on Android to combat censorship
    • Google tested this security app with activists in Venezuela. Now you can use it too
    • A New App Gives Old Android Versions an Important Safety Upgrade
    • Alphabet’s Intra app encrypts DNS queries to help users bypass online censorship
    • The First Amendment Moral In Trump’s Criticism Of Mass Media
    • Britain First using Northern Ireland laws to sue Facebook over censorship claims

      The party’s legal team has launched legal proceedings at Belfast County Court after Facebook closed down a series of its pages over the last year.

      Britain First leader Paul Golding, speaking outside the court, said the party is seeking an injunction demanding that Facebook Ireland Ltd reinstate its Facebook fan page and also “pay damages on several fronts”.

      “For too long now social networks have censored certain political viewpoints and thus interfered with the political process,” he said.

      “Back in March, 2.6 million Britain First supporters were denied their freedom of belief and expression when Facebook abruptly closed our fan pages.

    • How can we understand censorship in the 21st Century?

      Following Milton’s gendered rendering, the story, therefore, went something like this: the censor was the bad guy (Milton’s “temporising and extemporising licencer” with his “cursory eyes”). The writer was the good guy (Milton’s “learned” champion of “free writing and free speaking”). And the plot involved the struggle of the latter against the former not just in his own interests, as a member of the “Republic of Letters”, but in the interests of creating a freer and more grown-up commonwealth for all.

      True, the odds were stacked in favour of the all-powerful, infantilising state. Yet no matter how often the struggle played out, the outcome was assured: the seemingly puny champions of freedom and truth would prevail in the end.

      There wasn’t much room for us so-called “ordinary readers” in all this. We were either the innocents the paternalistic-repressive state was supposedly trying to protect, or the voiceless fellow citizens on whose behalf the writers were supposedly fighting. But, if we wanted to make the world a better place, it was clear who we needed to support.

      [...]

      So wrote John Perry Barlow, former lyricist for the American rock band, Grateful Dead, in the opening of his 1996 “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace”, an Aeropagitica for the digital age.

      Barlow wasn’t being quixotic. Far from showing any signs of weariness, the old state giants were already gearing up to make the most of the opportunities the new technologies afforded for extending their sovereignty, whether repressively (think of China), defensively (think of the UK) or aggressively (think of Russia).

      The complication was that the emerging tech giants of the post-industrial world were themselves poised to become the new disrupters in ways Barlow did not anticipate.

    • Pakistani Journalists Decry Censorship, Plan Protest

      One of the largest journalist associations in Pakistan has called for an end to “unannounced censorship imposed by state institutions” and called for nationwide protests on October 9.

      In a highly critical statement, Afzal Butt, president of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), called on the country’s new civilian government to break its silence on the issue and heed domestic and international criticism of growing limitations on press freedom in Pakistan.

      “The new government is ignoring the issue and avoiding confronting those institutions who are systematically trying to silence print and electronic media through coercion, control of advertising, harassment, and even attacks against journalists,” the October 2 statement noted.

    • Stanfield: Academic censorship stifles education

      Academia represents the community of individuals committed to research, scholarship, and the exploration of ideas. It is the bastion of wisdom and investigation. It is a place where open-ended inquiry is paramount and where ideas can be discussed and criticized freely and openly.

      The spirit of academia is currently in jeopardy. It is increasingly becoming the place where ideas are off limits because they are deemed problematic, upsetting, or controversial.

      While Colorado State University has not made a habit of banning speakers from campus due to controversy, there still exists a student lead threat to dialogue. A student-lead protest occurred last year when Charlie Kirk was invited to speak on by campus conservative group Turning Point USA.

      Similar protests have occurred at the University of Colorado Boulder where three people were arrested during the protest aimed at controversial speaker Milo Yiannopoulos.

    • Kidz Bop’s “censored” songs aren’t just annoying — they’re problematic

      A children’s media expert on what Kidz Bop censorship says about how sex and violence are perceived in America.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Broad Alliance Calls For Australian Government To Listen To Experts’ Warnings About Flaws In New Compelled Access Legislation

      That’s a clear indication that the Australian government intends to ram this law through the legislative process as quickly as possible, and that it has little intention of taking any notice of what the experts say on the matter — yet again.

    • Israeli Tech Company’s Spyware Still Being Used To Target Journalists And Activists

      Israeli exploit/malware developer NSO Group says its products are marketed to governments for legitimate national security and law enforcement purposes. Yet somehow it keeps ending up in the hands of governments with terrible human rights records and deployed against journalists, dissent groups, and activists.

      The software sold by NSO is being deployed against journalists in Mexico — ones looking to expose government corruption. This report by the Columbia Journalism Review provides more details on the hacks, building off Citizen Lab’s exposure of NSO’s “Pegasus” spyware.

    • Reconsidering the blanket-data-retention-taboo, for human rights’ sake?

      The CJEU seemed adamant when it ruled against blanket data retention. However, it limited its judgment to data retention for the purpose of fighting crime. If blanket data retention could exist for reasons of national security falling outside the scope of EU law, the answer to the first question of the Tele2 Sverige AB decision is in vain and blanket data retention continues to exist. The question would consequently shift to the access to the data by law enforcement authorities. If it comes to that, the CJEU would do better to focus on guarding the rules on access to data that are already retained.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Facebook Exec Admits One Small Misstep in Kavanaugh Hearing Trip

      Facebook Inc.’s top policy executive responded to employee tension over his support for Brett Kavanaugh, telling staff on Friday that he should have told company management before attending last week’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

    • Zuckerberg Faces Anger Over Facebook Executive’s Kavanaugh Support

      Mr. Kaplan, who oversees global public policy for Facebook, was a former official in President George W. Bush’s administration, and was present when Judge Kavanaugh was sworn in as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in D.C. Mr. Kaplan was also at the White House when Mr. Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

      Mr. Kaplan was seated in the second row behind the judge at the hearing, during which Judge Kavanaugh responded to questions about allegations raised by Christine Blasey Ford, who accused him of sexual misconduct. At the time, a Facebook spokesman said he was there in “a personal capacity.”

      His appearance at the hearing shocked many Facebook employees, including senior leaders who hadn’t been told about his plans and learned about his attendance after the image surfaced, according to people familiar with the matter.

    • Jeff Sessions Is Fighting Tennessee’s Effort to Make Prosecution More Fair

      The Department of Justice is attempting to erode defendants’ rights and state independence .

      Earlier this year, the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility released an ethical opinion that required federal prosecutors working in the state to disclose all information favorable to criminal defendants. It stated those disclosures must be even broader and earlier in the process than the U.S. Constitution requires. This is a praiseworthy move that could help stem the tide of coercive plea bargains and wrongful convictions in Tennessee, which fuels the epidemic of mass incarceration in the state and across the nation.

      But rather than applaud the state for its reforms, the federal Department of Justice is attempting to challenge Tennessee’s decision and is lobbying for less disclosure. In other words, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is once again attempting to use the Justice Department to drag our nation back to a “tough-on-crime” era that was really just “tough on people” and trampled on the rights of defendants. The Justice Department is wrong, and Tennessee must stand by its decision.

      Over the summer, the three sitting U.S. attorneys in Tennessee — the highest ranking federal criminal justice officials in the state — wrote a letter opposing the new rule. The most disingenuous of their arguments is that expanding discovery obligations beyond what the Constitution requires would create “uncertainty.” To the contrary, Tennessee’s rule eliminates the “materiality” requirement in constitutional law, such that prosecutors can now turn over all evidence favorable to the accused without the prosecutor guessing how that evidence will impact a later trial. If anything, this simple rule creates more certainty, not less, because prosecutors won’t have to make the blind determination of what is material to the case before trial actually occurs.

    • Victory! Dangerous Elements Removed From California’s Bot-Labeling Bill

      Governor Jerry Brown recently signed S.B. 1001, a new law requiring all “bots” used for purposes of influencing a commercial transaction or a vote in an election to be labeled. The bill, introduced by Senator Robert Hertzberg, originally included a provision that would have been abused as a censorship tool, and would have threatened online anonymity and resulted in the takedown of lawful human speech. EFF urged the California legislature to amend the bill and worked with Senator Hertzberg’s office to ensure that the bill’s dangerous elements were removed. We’re happy to report that the bill Governor Brown signed last week was free of the problematic language.

      This is a crucial victory. S.B. 1001 is the first bill of its kind, and it will likely serve as a model for other states. Here’s where we think the bill went right.

      First, the original bill targeted all bots, regardless of what a bot was being used for or whether it was causing any harm to society. This would have swept up one-off bots used for parodies or art projects—a far cry from the armies of Russian bots that plagued social media prior to the 2016 election or spambots deployed at scale used for fraud or commercial gain. It’s important to remember that bots often represent the speech of real people, processed through a computer program. The human speech underlying bots is protected by the First Amendment, and such a broadly reaching bill raised serious First Amendment concerns. An across-the-board bot-labeling mandate would also predictably lead to demands for verification of whether individual accounts were controlled by an actual person, which would result in piercing anonymity. Luckily, S.B. 1001 was amended to target the harmful bots that prompted the legislation—bots used surreptitiously in an attempt to influence commercial transactions or how people vote in elections.

    • Marjorie Cohn on Brett Kavanaugh, Neil DeMause on Amazon

      As we record October 4, it looks like Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed for the Supreme Court—despite, well, despite so very many things. Why are Republicans so set on pushing through a candidate opposed by a coalition of Christian churches, as well as thousands of law professors, as well as anyone concerned with sexual assault? And beyond his “temperament,” what ought we know about Kavanaugh’s record as a judge? We’ll talk about that with Marjorie Cohn, professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild.

    • Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke Found Guilty Of Second-Degree Murder In Killing Of Black Teenager Laquan McDonald

      A jury found former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder. He fired 16 shots that killed Laquan McDonald.

      Van Dyke was also found guilty of 16 counts of aggravated battery for each shot fired but not guilty of official misconduct.

      Judge Vincent Gaughan revoked Van Dyke’s bail. He was immediately taken into custody as a convicted felon.

      Several officers from the Chicago Police Department engaged in an extensive coverup for Van Dyke, and there are other officers who face charges, which include conspiracy, official misconduct, and obstruction of justice for “filing false reports.”

      McDonald was 17 years-old when he was shot by Van Dyke on October 20, 2014. He was on Pulaski Road on the south side of Chicago that night. He had a knife in his hand. Police were called to arrest him after a 911 call that alleged he was breaking into trucks in a nearby truck yard.

      A police transmission over the radio indicated McDonald had popped a tire on a police vehicle. Multiple officers attempted to surround the teenager, but they did not fire their weapons because they believed they could wait for a Taser and use that to effect an arrest.

      Van Dyke arrived on the scene. He exited his vehicle with his partner, Officer Joseph Walsh, and seconds later, he unloaded an entire magazine of bullets into McDonald.

    • Philly Cops Face Criminal Charges For Performing An Illegal Pedestrian Stop

      Weird stuff is happening in Philadelphia. Things have changed drastically since Larry Krasner became District Attorney. Anyone who enters this office and immediately earns the undying hatred of the local police union is probably someone actually serious about accountability.

      Right after taking office, DA Krasner secured 33 resignations from prosecutors and staff who weren’t willing to get on board with his reform efforts. He went after the bail system, pointing out it did little else but ensure the poorest Philadelphians spent the most time in jail while still presumably innocent. Then he pissed off the police union by daring to tell incoming police cadets force deployment — especially deadly force — is a power to be used only when necessary and handled with the utmost of respect.

      Accountability INTENSIFIES. A bogus pedestrian stop performed by two cops has led to [rubs eyes in disbelief] the arrest of the two cops who performed the stop. (h/t Max Marin)

      The statement [PDF] issued by the DA’s office says two Philly PD officers, Matthew Walsh and Marvin Jones, stopped a citizen for “apparently using narcotics.” This citizen filed a complaint, resulting in an Internal Affairs investigation.

      The narrative delivered by the two cops on their report was undone completely by video obtained by Internal Affairs.

    • The UK just sent three men to prison for peaceful civil opposition

      What does it mean for our country when citizens are jailed for peaceful activism? Last week Preston Crown Court jailed three men for protesting against the activity of controversial fracking giant Cuadrilla. The three men – a piano restorer, teacher and soil scientist – were given hefty sentences of 15-16 months in prison for causing a ‘public nuisance’.

      Their actions were motivated by a concern for the widespread impact of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). As well as contributing to climate change and harming local countryside, fracking releases toxic chemicals into the air and water. The exact health effects of these chemicals remains to be seen but they include carcinogens. A recent study found that women who lived near fracking wells had low birth weight babies. Fracking has been halted or banned in Scotland, Wales, the Netherlands and New York State because of the potential damage it causes.

      Against this background, were these men justified when they obstructed a fleet of Cuadrilla lorries carrying drilling equipment?

      [...]

      Contrary to what much of the mainstream media has been saying, these were not the first protesters to be jailed since 1932. However these sentences are far longer than those handed down before. In 1993, seven people were sentenced to 28 days imprisonment for disrupting the construction of the M3 at Twyford Down.

      The law is clear that custodial sentences should be reserved for the most serious of crimes, and, when they are deemed appropriate, should be as short as possible (see sections 152 and 153 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003). The sentences in this case are clearly excessive.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Ajit Pai faces rare criticism from GOP senator on rural broadband failures

      US Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) yesterday blasted the Federal Communications Commission, saying it has failed to prevent budget cuts in funding for rural broadband.

      “It has been more than a year since Chairman [Ajit] Pai” and fellow commissioners appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee “and committed to conducting a thorough economic analysis of the impact of USF [Universal Service Fund] funding cuts on broadband deployment in rural areas before allowing any further reduction,” Thune said.

      But Pai’s FCC has failed to keep that promise, Thune said while delivering a statement at a hearing on rural broadband. [...]

    • Tim Berners-Lee Moves Forward With His Big Plan To Fix The Web By Bringing Back Its Original Decentralized Promise

      Here we go. For years I’ve been talking about how we really need to move the web to a world of protocols instead of platforms. The key concept is that so much of the web has been taken over by internet giants who have built data silos. There are all sorts of problems with this. For one, when those platforms are where the majority of people get their information, it makes them into the arbiters of truth when that should make us quite uncomfortable. Second, it creates a privacy nightmare where hugely valuable data stores are single points of failure for all your data (even when those platforms have strong security, just having so much data held by one source is dangerous). Finally, it really takes us far, far away from the true promise of cloud computing, which was supposed to be a situation where we separated out the data and the application layers and could point multiple applications at the same data. Instead, we got silos where you’re relying on a single provider to host both the data and the application (which also raises privacy concerns).

      Despite some people raising these issues for quite some time, there hasn’t been much public discussion of them until just recently (in large part, I believe, driven by the growing worries about how the big platforms have become so powerful). A few companies here or there have been trying to move us towards a world of protocols instead of platforms, and one key project to watch is coming from the inventor of the web himself, Tim Berners-Lee. He had announced his project Solid a while back: an attempt to separate out the data layer, allowing end users to control that data and have much more control over what applications could access it. I’ve been excited about the project, but just last week I commented to someone that it wasn’t clear how much progress had actually been made.

      Then, last Friday, Berners-Lee announced that he’s doubling down on the project, to the point that he’s taken a sabbatical from MIT and reduced his involvement with the W3C to focus on a new company to be built around Solid called inrupt. inrupt’s new CEO also has a blog post about this, which admittedly comes off as a bit odd. It seems to suggest that the reason to form inrupt was not necessarily that Solid has made a lot of forward progress, but rather than it needs money, and the only way to get some is to set up a company…

  • DRM
    • Apple’s New Security Features Won’t Let You Repair the MacBook Pro or iMac Pro

      This is according to a document that was distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers last month, and obtained by MacRumors and Motherboard yesterday. Apple has introduced a new software lock that will make your computer “inoperative” unless Apple’s proprietary system configuration (diagnostics) software has been run.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • CJEU adviser weighs in on Dutch skinny label dispute

        Advocate general says when a generics company sends an amended summary of product characteristics with a carve out to the authorisation authority, that act has the effect of limiting marketing authorisation

    • Copyrights
      • Heisman Trophy People Sue HeismanWatch For Using Images Of The Trophy And Stating Its Name

        Way back in 2007, we shook our heads sadly as Motion Picture Academy decided that takedowns over past Oscar clips and a lawsuit against a website, OscarWatch.com, would somehow drive more attention to the current year’s Oscar broadcasts because of… reasons? In that case, the MPA was mostly making trademark claims, laughably stating that allowing a site like OscarWatch would confuse the public into thinking that the site was in some way affiliated with the MPA. In actuality, the site was a fan-site that put out analysis of The Oscars and had a nice big disclaimer that it wasn’t associated with the MPA right at the top of its site.

        Ten years later, the organization that manages the Heisman Trophy, college football’s most prestigious award, has decided to one-up the MPA by filing a similar suit against HeismanWatch.com, but also tacking on a copyright claim stating that online depictions of the trophy is violating the copyright on the original artwork that is the trophy itself.

        [...]

        The only useful function of this lawsuit at all, in fact, is as a litmus test for whichever court will hear it.

      • New North American Trade Deal Has Bad News for Canadian Copyright

        Earlier this week, the U.S. Trade Representative announced a replacement deal for the North American Free Trade Agreement, the nearly 25-year-old trade deal between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Amid the long list of tariff-free products and restriction-free cheese names [PDF] in the new trade deal, called simply the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement or USMCA, there’s a whole section called “intellectual property,” full of new mandates on what the signatories must do with regard to copyrights, patents, and trademarks.

        One big change is that all three countries in the agreement will have to have a minimum copyright of the life of the creator plus 70 years. For works not tied to the life of a natural person, the copyright term must be at least 75 years. Those minimums won’t affect the U.S., which already has terms of life plus 70 years and 95 years, respectively; or Mexico, which has even longer terms. But it will be a big, and unhelpful, change for Canada.

        The copyright “floor” that’s being imposed on Canada equals the U.S. copyright term, one that’s already too long. Multiple U.S. copyright term extensions have crippled the public domain. Most recently, the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act kept works from as early as 1923 locked up under copyright, their commercial potential exhausted and their owners largely unfindable, for the past twenty years.

        In the United States, we are just now on the verge of growing our public domain again. Works published in 1923, which have been held in a copyright stasis, will become public domain on January 1, 2019, with later works to follow. The U.S. has a chance to finally return to a place with a healthy and growing chunk of public domain works. That allows for collaborative innovations like Wikipedia, and for preservation of our cultural heritage. Now Canada will find itself taking the same slower route to opening up formerly copyrighted material for general use.

      • What’s next with WIPO’s ill-advised broadcast treaty?

        Six years ago we wrote a blog post titled WIPO’s Broadcasting Treaty: Still Harmful, Still Unnecessary. At the time, the proposed treaty – which would grant to broadcasters a separate, exclusive copyright-like right in the signals that they transmit, separate from any copyrights in the content of the transmissions – had already been on WIPO’s docket for several years. It’s still on the table today, and now some countries are calling for actions to finalise the agreement.

      • Facebook User Who Uploaded Pirated ‘Deadpool’ Copy Sentenced to 3 Weeks Prison

        A California man who uploaded a pirated copy of the movie Deadpool to Facebook has been sentenced to three weeks prison. The film was shared to the social media network, shortly after it premiered, where it was viewed 6,386,456 times. The man was indicted following an FBI investigation last year and previously pleaded guilty.

Is Hyatt an Inventor or a Tax Evader?

Saturday 6th of October 2018 11:24:04 AM

Or innovator in tax evasion?


Reference: Inventor battling U.S. over patents from ’70s

Summary: Gil Hyatt deserves to be better known for his innovation in tax avoidance; he does, however, try to come across as a brilliant inventor and USPTO staff views him as nothing but a nuisance

THE examiners at the USPTO are not friends of Hyatt. He likes to portray himself as an inventor, but in reality this charlatan has exploited the US patent system in rather notorious ways. Staff of the USPTO knows this and it knows him personally. Some of them, according to him, just can’t wait for him to die.

“Perhaps therein lies his greatest ‘innovation’: how to evade taxes.”Watchtroll likes these types; Hyatt doesn’t need to be a brilliant person, he just needs to be a patent maximalist in order to impress the Watchtroll crowd/audience (which seems to have gotten rather small and feedble; there are hardly comments in the site and the number of articles fell sharply as well).

Time-bar issues were recalled yesterday by Watchtroll (in relation to the Federal Circuit). To quote: “The Federal Circuit recently vacated and remanded a final written decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) holding that a petition for inter partes review was not time-barred under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) and sanctions were warranted for failing to identify a real-party-in-interest. In vacating the Board’s decision, the Federal Circuit emphasized that there are no exceptions to the statutory time limit for filing a petition for inter partesreview in 35 U.S.C. § 315(b). Because the petition was filed more than 18 months after the statutory time limit, the Board lacked authority to institute reviewand issue a final written decision. Further, because the Board’s award of sanctions was not final, the Federal Circuit lacked jurisdiction to review the award and remanded for reconsideration by the Board. Bennett Regulator Guards, Inc. v. Atlanta Gas Light Co., Nos. 17-1555, 17-1626, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27666 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 28, 2018) (Before Lourie, Clevenger, and Stoll, Circuit Judges) (Opinion for the Court by Stoll, Circuit Judge).”

We wrote about this before; they’re catching up with rather old news, just as they did a short time apart (from the above) when dealing with time-barred challenges in relation to Hyatt, whom we mentioned back in May, last month, and a week ago in relation to tax evasion. This is what Watchtroll wrote:

The Federal Circuit recently issued an opinion in a decades-longbattle over the microcomputer patent applications of Mr. Hyatt, the named inventor on more than 70 issued patents and approximately 400 pending patent applications. The Court ultimately rejected Mr. Hyatt’s challenges to Manual Patent Examining Procedure (“MPEP”) § 1207.04, allowing an examiner to reopen prosecution with a new ground of rejection instead of continuing an already filed appeal. See Hyatt v. USPTO, No. 2017-1722, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27213 (Fed Cir. Sept. 24, 2018) (Before Reyna, Wallach, and Hughes, Circuit Judges) (Opinion for the court, Hughes, Circuit Judge).

Hyatt’s antics are well documented; he derives much money from patent shakedown (using questionable patents) and wants yet more patents. He also tries to avoid paying tax — a rather controversial aspect of patents in general. A lot of money is being passed by calling patents “assets”, passing these around like “property” without having to pay any tax. Some call it “patent boxes”, especially in Europe. Call it fraud, legalised plunder, thievery, tax dodge by oligarchy, or corruption and that might actually be an accurate description of what the press shyly refers to as “tricks” or “haven” or “accounting”. We wrote about this some days ago and now there’s this new article by McDermott Will & Emery, which speaks of the use of patents for tax evasion. It’s composed by a law firm that facilitates these sorts of things, so the headline is rather soft: “When Patent Royalties Go to Tax Havens”

To quote:

Addressing the classic case of a US multinational shifting income to a tax haven, the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit vacated the US Tax Court’s transfer pricing analysis because it failed to account for key differences between an intercompany patent license agreement and a settlement agreement for patent litigation. Medtronic, Inc. v. Commissioner, Case No.17-1866 (8th Cir. Aug. 16, 2018) (Wollman, J) (Shepherd, J, concurring).

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) alleged that Medtronic improperly allocated taxable income to its affiliate in a “tax haven.” Medtronic US had entered into various agreements with Medtronic Puerto Rico for the latter to manufacture certain medical devices. These intercompany agreements included IP licenses from Medtronic US to Medtronic Puerto Rico and payment terms related to those IP licenses. The IRS alleged that these payments improperly shifted taxable income to Puerto Rico (IP Update, Vol. 19, No. 7).

Taxable income is allocated properly between related entities when the intercompany agreements are on terms that the parties would have negotiated in an arm’s length transaction. One method for determining the terms of an arm’s length transaction is the comparable uncontrolled transactions (CUT) method. The CUT method finds a similar transaction and uses that transaction to determine the arm’s length deal terms for the related entities.

Last year in summer Hyatt managed to avoid taxes using similar tricks [1, 2]. Perhaps therein lies his greatest ‘innovation’: how to evade taxes. Or how to endlessly sue everyone (the USPTO, the state etc.) to get one’s way.

The European Patent Office Has Assaulted Patent Quality While Trying to Distract From That

Saturday 6th of October 2018 09:44:22 AM

Summary: The EPO’s lack of interest in the merit of patents that it is granting poses a grave threat to Europe; the ‘patent lust’ of EPO management is helping nobody, definitely not patent examiners (who are the very core and heart of the Office)

MANAGEMENT of the European Patent Office (EPO) — like the new Director of the USPTO — has lost sight of the importance of patent quality and patent judges. Judges are treated like enemies because they guard patent quality (they refuse to accept wrongly-granted patents, based on the respective laws).

“Examiners constantly complain that they can no longer perform their job like they’re supposed to (as per the EPC).”Buried under a load of puff pieces, like the UPC nonsense we've just mentioned, is press coverage about decrease in patent quality. SUEPO has just cited one article to that effect (list updated yesterday). “New EPO messages reveal quality decline and ‘confuse’ staff,” the headline says. The EPO’s management would prefer nobody to see this. Instead, see the JD Supra press release that’s an EPO puff piece from Barley Snyder. From his opening paragraphs:

During my time in Germany, I have learned and discussed with colleagues differences between American and European patent laws ranging from the nuanced to the more pronounced, and the differences in argument strategies corresponding to these legal distinctions.

But one of the commonalities between the patent laws and processes has recently become especially clear.

The patent process, by its nature, requires a patent examiner to conduct legal analyses regarding technology, including proverbially stepping into the shoes of a person “with ordinary skill in the art” at the time the patent application was filed, to determine whether written claim language of the present application is sufficiently different from the prior technology to issue a patent. This determination necessarily involves varying degrees of judgment based on experience. Critical points of understanding can depend on small variations in language. An examiner’s decision in a patent application is necessarily colored by his or her own opinions, personality and understanding of both the application and prior art.

Or, as things stand at the moment, demands and ‘targets’ from above. Examiners constantly complain that they can no longer perform their job like they’re supposed to (as per the EPC).

Hogan Lovells has a new essay on the EPO allowing software patents in Europe (so-called ‘computer-implemented inventions’ or ‘CII’) through misuse of broad and vague buzzwords like “AI”. Published on Friday, it said this:

Earlier this year the European Patent Office (“EPO”) held its first ever conference on patenting artificial intelligence (“AI”). Following intensive discussions on the impact of AI in the patents sector, the EPO promised to update its Guidelines for Examination, to provide specific guidance on the examination of AI applications under existing computer-implemented inventions (“CII”) practice and case law.

The EPO has delivered on its promise. A preview-version of the new Guidelines is now available on its website. These Guidelines are set to take effect on 1 November 2018. Plot spoiler alert – the new section on AI and machine learning now appears in section 3.3.1 of Part G of the Guidelines. Those of you who are familiar with the Guidelines will immediately spot that this new section on AI and machine learning has been inserted under the part of the guidelines that deals with mathematical methods.

We wrote about this as recently as yesterday when we also mentioned patents on life in light of this hearing, as covered yesterday by IPPro Patents. Ben Wodecki (of IPPro Patents) called these patents on nature “unlawful” in the headline (quoting those who judged them):

The European Patent Office (EPO) has reduced the scope of a patent granted to Carlsberg and Heineken related to conventionally-bred barley.

The decision was made during a public hearing in Munich, where examiners found that the patent, which covered conventionally-bred barley, its usage in brewing and the resulting beer, is now restricted to plants with a specific mutation which can influence the content of these flavours.

Originally, the patent covered all plants with a reduced content of some undesirable flavours.

The No Patents on Seeds pressure group said that it plans to appeal the decision as it is “only a partial success” and has called on politicians to take action.

The group had called on European politicians to speak out against companies abusing the patent system so that the EPO “will once again be reminded of their continuing responsibility to protect the common good”.

The EPO’s Web site has not said a word about it. The Twitter account of the EPO did not mention it either. Yesterday the EPO instead chose to belatedly post this nonsense: (warning: epo.org link)

The 58th series of Meetings of the Assemblies of the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which took place from 24 September to 2 October 2018, provided a unique opportunity to take stock of the progress in co-operation activities, and to define future directions. The EPO agenda included over 45 official meetings with national patent offices from other regions.

The meetings aimed to further strengthen relations with a number of strategic partners; these take the form of comprehensive co-operation plans which aim to streamline patenting procedures while building up national capacities, and to deliver high-quality training and assistance to the partner offices.

IP Australia officially joined the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) family by signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the CPC together with a comprehensive biannual work plan. This brings to 28 the number of offices classifying their patent documentation using this highly refined system. Other important developments were the signing of MoUs on co-operation with the National Institute for the Defense of Free Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property of Peru (INDECOPI), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and the Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO). The EPO also renewed its MoU on co-operation with the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce of Colombia, a user of EPOQUE Net.

Seeing the European Patent Office in bed with WIPO (whose abuses can be similar at times) is hardly surprising. Both institutions are patent maximalists who more or less disregard science for the sake of lawyers. Patent offices were never meant to be pipelines for litigation; that kind of changed when a patent lawyer was put in charge of the USPTO, whereas the EPO got itself a politician in charge (and now a former banker).

The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Obsolete for More Reasons Than the German Constitutional Court, But Team UPC in the UK Refuses to Give Up

Saturday 6th of October 2018 08:53:39 AM

UPC isn’t compatible with the UK’s current policy and UPC cannot happen without the UK

Summary: The German challenge to the UPC is only one among several big barriers to the UPC; media affiliated/associated/manned by Team UPC, however, would have us believe otherwise

THE EPO NEVER MENTIONS the UPC any longer. It’s like a policy; it’s like they prefer to say nothing about it. António Campinos has not mentioned it for over three months. The officials at the USPTO don’t mention it and neither do patent maximalists in the US (Watchtroll used to mention/advertise it, but not anymore).

“Media coverage about the UPC has always been a sham and that’s a shame. Nothing has changed.”Anyone who is honest to oneself would accept that UPC is a dead end. But following the release of a statement/document from the British government (there was a portion in a larger advisory publication about the UPC) we saw about a couple dozen articles about it, almost exclusively from patent law firms with stakes in the outcome. We wrote almost a half dozen rebuttals since that time and it stopped last week or several days ago (maybe 5 days ago). It’s curious that after almost a week of silence on this matter Managing IP brought it up again (the day before yesterday). Why does Managing IP only speak to the patent microcosm (“in-house and private practice lawyers”)? It’s behind a paywall, but we can imagine that Patrick Wingrove spoke to Team UPC in the UK (where he’s located) rather than technical companies with much at stake, e.g. fear of being sued by patent trolls. They speak of a recent paper that came out only to be smeared and belittled by Team UPC. As Wingrove put it:

A new paper has concluded that the UK cannot stay in the UPC after Brexit. Managing IP speaks to the author and in-house and private practice lawyers to unpack the important points of the research

Imagine this scenario. Next month, the German Constitutional Court considers the complaint against ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement and throws it out.

Why?

Wingrove repeats two misconceptions (or lies) again — ones that we keep seeing a lot. The first is that the UPC will happen and the only unknown is the UK’s participation in it; the second is that the German Constitutional Court will no doubt “OK” the UPCA and the only question is when. We won’t assume malicious intent from Wingrove because he’s surrounded by liars. These lawyers lie to him, giving him a false impression. Maybe Wingrove should consider speaking to the 99 percent or more in the UK who aren’t lawyers. Perspective might then vary widely. Having said that, the employer, Managing IP, is more like a think tank of the litigation industry — one that sets up UPC advocacy events in collaboration with Team UPC/EPO.

Yesterday IP Kat brought up the above paper as well:

Kat friends Matthias Lamping and Hanns Ullrich of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, have recently published two articles on the impact of Brexit on the unitary patent system and the unified patent judiciary: “The European Union’s Patent System after Brexit: Disunited, but Unified?” and “The Unified Patent Court, and How Brexit Breaks It”. A potentially sobering read. See here for IPKat commentary on the recent guidance note from the UK government on a impact of a no-deal brexit on the UPC.

Why did IP Kat not write about this paper but did write about “the recent guidance note from the UK government”?

Lies by omission? The typical pro-UPC bias of IP Kat, connected to CIPA and Bristows?

Media coverage about the UPC has always been a sham and that’s a shame. Nothing has changed.

Links 5/10/2018: Mesa 18.2.2 Released, First Release of libxmlb

Friday 5th of October 2018 04:07:35 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Server
    • Kubernetes for personal projects? No thanks!

      I have read multiple times this article about running Kubernetes to run small projects and thought I could share why I think that might not be a great idea.

    • I am gonna run retro server

      You probably know that I am fan of retro computers. Those from 80s, 70s and older ones. And for quite a time I told that I do not plan to run retro machines at home. But it has to change.

      Due to some work things I am going to run Mustang again. But where is retro in it someone may ask…

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.18.12
    • Linux 4.14.74
    • Linux 4.9.131
    • Some AMD GPUs Affected By A Nasty Power Regression That Snuck Into Linux 4.18 Stable

      A Phoronix reader emailed in that since the recent Linux 4.18.10 stable kernel the power usage on his system has increased by around 50 Watts while idling… Not the overall AC system power draw being 50 Watts, but an increase of roughly that amount on the latest 4.18 stable point releases up to this point. I’ve now been able to reproduce as well as bisect the cause.

      Besides the reader’s own experience, he also pointed out some reports on Reddit of the power consumption being much higher on these latest Linux 4.18 point releases but without any bisecting or narrowing down of the problem. For those without power meters, some individuals have reported higher system temperatures with these post-4.18.9 point releases. The issue is also present in the current Linux 4.19 code.

    • Intel Is Having Great Success With Their Open-Source Sound Firmware

      Intel a while back open-sourced their sound firmware and SDK and also launched the “Sound Open Firmware” project in cooperation with the Linux Foundation. It’s been an interesting journey and getting Intel pointed towards offering more open-source firmware.

    • Apple Magic Trackpad 2 Driver Support Queued In Linux 4.20~5.0

      The patches written by Google/ChromeOS developers to support the Apple Magic Trackpad 2 that we were talking about a few days back have now been queued ahead of the next Linux kernel cycle.

    • Facebook Continues Making Extensive Use Of systemd

      At last week’s All Systems Go! 2018 conference in Berlin, Davide Cavalca talked about Facebook’s use of systemd in 2018 and how it’s expanded since their talk a year ago on the subject.

      Simply put, you could say Facebook loves systemd. Facebook continues making use of systemd’s many features inside their data centers.

    • New Project Aims To Make It Easy To Reuse Kconfig Outside Of The Linux Kernel

      Init-kconfig is the new software project trying to make it easy for re-using the Kconfig configuration system outside of the Linux kernel and more adaptable for independent software projects.

      Kconfig is the robust configuration system used by the Linux kernel for configuring the built-in modules and plethora of other kernel tunables. Kconfig has already been used by outside projects like U-Boot, Coreboot, and several others. But currently to re-use Kconfig you basically need to pull the code from the Linux kernel and begin adapting it to your own purposes.

    • Nouveau DRM Tree Sees Updates Ahead Of Linux 4.20

      While there has been lots of Intel updates and tons of AMDGPU activity in DRM-Next for the upcoming Linux 4.20~5.0 cycle, there hadn’t been any changes to the open-source NVIDIA “Nouveau” driver while at least today the Nouveau DRM tree has seen some new updates.

      Not queued yet in DRM-Next, but today a batch of new commits hit the Nouveau DRM development tree and the first new bits to land in the tree in the past month. Ben Skeggs of Red Hat and the Nouveau DRM maintainer has pushed the latest set of changes. However, it isn’t all that exciting as it mostly just contains some display fixes, some work around HDMI 2.0, a memory leak fix, and mostly other maintenance work.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Edgility Open Source Initiative Marries Serverless With the Edge

        The network edge is a huge component of 5G. That’s why big service providers like Verizon and AT&T are suddenly talking about how they are adding new capabilities to the edge of their networks. But adding all those capabilities also creates complexity because it often involves thousands of edge sites in every major market.

        That’s where Edgility comes in. This new initiative was developed by AT&T and Cloudify to help operators manage the computing resources across the network.

      • Using Text Mining and Machine Learning to Enhance the Credit Risk Assessment Process

        Advances in technology have instigated a substantial shift in consumer expectations. Today’s financial services customers demand access to a range of services, real-time updates and a seamless customer experience. At Open FinTech Forum, I will provide some insight into Spotcap’s approach to credit risk assessment using text mining and machine learning.

      • Kid’s Day at Open Source Summit

        The Linux Foundation strives to make Open Source Summit one of the most inclusive tech events in a variety of ways, offering activities such as the “Women in Open Source” lunch, a diversity social, a first-time attendees get-together, and more. The have activities focused on children, too. Not only does Open Source Summit offer free on-site childcare for attendees’ children, they also sponsor a Kid’s Day.

      • The Linux Foundation to Drive Shift to Container Network Functions

        The rate at which cloud-native network functions (CNF) are going to employed to drive next-generation networking services is about to accelerate following a decision by the Open Networking Automation Platform (ONAP) and Kubernetes working groups within The Linux Foundation to collaborate on a CNF architecture.

        Arpit Joshipura, general manager for networking at The Linux Foundation, says that while telecommunications providers have been making extensive investments in network functions virtualization (NFV) software based on virtual machines, it’s become apparent to many that containers offer a lighter-weight approach to virtualizing network services.

    • Graphics Stack
      • mesa 18.2.2

        Mesa 18.2.2 is now available.

        In this release we have:

        Different patches for the DirectX9 and DRI state trackers.

      • Mesa 18.2.2 Released With RADV GTA V Fix, Vulkan Additions & D3D9 Patches

        Mesa 18.2.2 is out this morning as the second point release to the Q3’2018 stable release series.

      • The Kazan Vulkan CPU/Software-Based Implementation Being Rewritten In Rust

        Remember Kazan, the project originally known as Vulkan-CPU? That was the Google Summer of Code 2017 project to implement a CPU/software-based Vulkan driver. It had been dormant since GSoC 2017 ended, but now work on it has been restarted.

        Kazan development stalled shortly after GSoC 2017 when the student developer Jacob Lifshay was busy again with university. But now after a year he’s decided to working on Kazan.

    • Benchmarks
      • RADV vs. AMDVLK vs. Radeon Software Vulkan Driver Performance – October 2018 Linux Gaming

        Given AMD’s weekly updating of the public AMDVLK Vulkan driver source tree as their official open-source Vulkan Linux driver while RADV continues to be maintained as the popular open-source Radeon Vulkan driver within the Mesa source tree, here is a fresh look at how those competing drivers perform. Additionally there are the results from Radeon Software / AMDGPU-PRO using its closed-source Vulkan driver that is derived from the same sources as AMDVLK but built against AMD’s proprietary shader compiler.

        This round of benchmarking is a look at the fresh AMD Vulkan Linux driver performance on these three options when testing with a Radeon RX 580 and RX Vega 64 graphics cards. The same Core i7 8086K system was used the entire time (obviously) and it was running with Ubuntu 18.04 on the Linux 4.19-rc6 kernel. The Vulkan driver configurations came down to…

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Krita 4.2 Will Be Another Step Up For Open-Source Digital Painting

        The KDE/Qt-aligned Krita open-source digital painting program will soon see its 4.2 feature release that is bringing with it many new features.

        Some of the features already added into the experimental Krita 4.2 are improvements to masks and selections, gamut masks, performance improvements, colored assistants, an improved move tool, a smoother user-interface, and around 200 bug fixes.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Announcing the first release of libxmlb

        Today I did the first 0.1.0 preview release of libxmlb. We’re at the “probably API stable, but no promises” stage. This is the library I introduced a couple of weeks ago, and since then I’ve been porting both fwupd and gnome-software to use it. The former is almost complete, and nearly ready to merge, but the latter is still work in progress with a fair bit of code to write. I did manage to launch gnome-software with libxmlb yesterday, and modulo a bit of brokenness it’s both faster to start (over 800ms faster from cold boot!) and uses an amazing 90Mb less RSS at runtime. I’m planning to merge the libxmlb branch into the unstable branch of fwupd in the next few weeks, so I need volunteers to package up the new hard dep for Debian, Ubuntu and Arch.

      • Introducing Genius, the Advanced Scientific Calculator for Linux

        Genius is a calculator program that has both a command-line version and a GNOME GUI version. It should available in your distribution’s package management system. For Debian-based distributions, the GUI version and the command-line version are two separate packages. Assuming that you want to install both, you can do so with the following command:

      • GUADEC 2018 by numbers

        It took me a while but now I can gave you some stats from GUADEC 2018, following past year Sam’s example.

  • Distributions
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • The October 2018 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the October 2018 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved. All articles may be freely reproduced via any and all means following first publication by The PCLinuxOS Magazine, provided that attribution to both The PCLinuxOS Magazine and the original author are maintained, and a link is provided to the originally published article.

    • Gentoo Family
      • CLIP OS – a hardened, multi-level OS based on Gentoo Hardened

        ANSSI, the National Cybersecurity Agency of France, has released the sources of CLIP OS, that aims to build a hardened, multi-level operating system, based on the Linux kernel and a lot of free and open source software. We are happy to hear that it is based on Gentoo Hardened!

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Daniel Pocock: Stigmatizing volunteers who miss an event

        In various free software communities, I’ve come across incidents where people have been criticized inappropriately when they couldn’t attend an event or didn’t meet other people’s expectations. This has happened to me a few times and I’ve seen it happen to other people too.

        As it turns out, this is an incredibly bad thing to do. I’m not writing about this to criticize any one person or group in return. Rather, it is written in the hope that people who are still holding grudges like this might finally put them aside and also to reassure other volunteers that you don’t have to accept this type of criticism.

      • Unusual meetings

        It was interesting to finally know someone inside the Debian organization. We discussed about various conferences on free software, how Debian works, my work during the GSoC and the heating system he’s working on in his house.

      • Derivatives
        • Interview With Peter Ganten, CEO of Univention GmbH

          I have been asking the Univention team to share the behind-the-scenes story of Univention for a couple months. Finally, today we got the interview of Mr.Peter H. Ganten, CEO of Univention GmbH. Despite his busy schedule, in this interview, he shares what he thinks of the Univention project and its impact on open source ecosystem, what open source developers and companies will need to do to keep thriving and what are the biggest challenges for open source projects.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • How mir-kiosk enables a graphical IoT using Mir

            If you have a problem… if you just need support for one fullscreen application… and, if you can use snaps… maybe you can use… mir-kiosk.

            Many devices need to provide some sort of graphical output or display (with the options of keyboard, mouse and touchscreen input) to the user. Some examples include interactive kiosks, digital signage, in-car entertainment, smart meters, the screens seen on everything from washing machines to smart thermostats and various “maker” projects.

          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E30 – Thirty Seconds

            It’s Season 11 Episode 30 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

          • Ubuntu at GTC Europe 2018
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Yabits: A New UEFI Coreboot Payload Alternative To TianoCore & Closed-Source Blobs

    Yabits was announced last month at the OSFC 2018 conference in Erlangen, Germany. Yabits is a lighter-weight alternative to the open-source TianoCore UEFI implementation and other commonly used proprietary UEFI implementations by motherboard vendors.

    Yabits is “Yet another UEFI coreboot payload” and aims to deliver the same UEFI x86_64 booting capabilities as TianoCore but with a much smaller code-base for environments like embedded systems and the cloud.

  • The State Of LinuxBoot For Replacing Proprietary UEFI Firmware With The Linux Kernel

    LinuxBoot is the year-old project for replacing proprietary UEFI implementations with the Linux kernel in essence. Adoption continues to grow for LinuxBoot and is now being used inside several large corporations.

    Ryan O’Leary is one of the Google developers behind LinuxBoot and he presented at last month’s Open-Source Firmware Conference in Germany on this Linux Foundation hosted project.

  • Charles Hoskinson Examines Rust To Be The First Open Source Project

    The co-founder of Ethereum and founder of Cardano, Charles Hoskinson has discussed the anniversary of Cardano and the new Cardano Rust Project earlier this week. He stated that Cardano’s Rust is the first open-source project aimed at widening the reach of the technology to bring in a bigger range of third-party developers.

    [...]

    Hoskinson finished by saying that there have been several notable significant moments and accolades for Cardano since it started up a year ago. In May this year, IOHK teamed up with the Ethiopian government to explore applications of the technology in blockchain including coffee supply chain traceability.

  • Open-Source Machine Learning Is Free, As In Beer
  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Sourcegraph

    Code search and navigation engine Sourcegraph went open-source this week alongside the introduction of new features aimed at welcoming community contribution. In the announcement, Sourcegraph CEO Quinn Slack said the move brings Sourcegraph more in line with the company’s “master plan.”

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Rep of the Month – September 2018

        Umesh is from Kharagpur, India and works as Big Data Splunk Architect & Administrator. He is an Open Source Geek and his other areas of interest are Cyber Security and Big Data Analysis. He is a passionate Mozillian and an amazing contributor for more than 6 years. Umesh served as Reps Council Member in 2016 and currently he is an active Reps Mentor.

  • CMS
    • Nuxeo Shortlisted by Constellation, Liferay Acquires Triblio, More Open Source News

      Nuxeo has been recognized in the Constellation ShortList for Digital Asset Management (DAM) for Digital Experience (DX) in Q3 2018. Listed alongside the likes of Adobe and Bynder, Nuxeo’s CMO Chris McLaughlin voiced Nuxeo’s appreciation of the recognition, “Nuxeo continues to receive analyst recognition and generate interest in the digital asset management space because we deliver a solution that provides rich DAM functionality built on the most modern, scalable, and modular underpinnings. This approach helps our customers in every industry transform and grow their businesses faster,” McLaughlin said.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • FreeBSD Is Looking To Drop Many Of Its 10/100 Ethernet Drivers

      FreeBSD is looking to deprecate “most” of their 10/100 Ethernet drivers in FreeBSD 12 so that they can be dropped entirely in FreeBSD 13, but not everyone wants to see these older networking drivers dismissed.

      FreeBSD kernel developers want to drop most of their in-kernel 10/100 Ethernet drivers due to the maintenance burden involved and they just being burdensome to keep up as they look to further enhance their networking stack.

    • Polish BSD User Group

      We had one meeting in English, during which George Nevill-Neill was presenting DTrace. You can see all the presentations on BSD-PL meetings and the recording from the meetings at our Youtube channel.

      If you are interested in BSD and you are in Poland (or you want to be the person who has travelled the further for a meeting), please join us in our next meeting which will be on October 11 at the University of Technology (see map below). This time we changed the location because the new semester is starting at the university and we would like to introduce the BSD world to the students.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • The Global Multilateral Benefit-Sharing Mechanism: Where Will Be The Bretton Woods Of The 21st Century?

      Similar thinking has not transpired at any of the Conferences of the Parties (COP) to the 1993 United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), even though conservation is as economic as is finance. The problem lies in the language of the CBD. “Genetic resources” are defined as “material”, which is interpreted as matter [2].

      Were genetic resources instead interpreted as information, [3] economics would imply that “bounded openness” be the policy for “access to genetic resources” and “the fair and equitable sharing of benefits” (ABS), which is the third objective of the CBD [4]. But to so persuade the delegations to the COP, a willingness to be persuaded must first exist [5]. Bretton Woods is again instructive. The merciless destruction of Europe and Asia by both Axis and Allies prepared the psyche of the 44 nations who met in Bretton Woods. To prevent WWIII, concessions by the victors would be a small price to pay–a prescient insight that Keynes wrought from the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 [6]. The threat today of ecosystem collapse on land, air and sea should likewise persuade Users to concede benefits to Providers. However, as argued in the previous essays in this trilogy, concessions are not even necessary. Bounded openness is a Win-Win situation that can pay for itself through the emergence of biotechnologies which would have otherwise been stymied by Prior Informed Consent, Mutually Agreed Terms and Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs).

      Bretton Woods was a radical departure from the competitive devaluations and the restrictive trade policies that vexed the interwar years [7]. In a similar fashion, bounded openness departs from competitive MTAs and the restrictive measures of ABS Competent National Authorities. However, bounded openness is far less contingent on achieving first this and then that, than was Bretton Woods. One thinks of the establishment of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group. The execution of bounded openness will draw from existing institutions, and the system itself would become a means of financial support. The legal vehicle is Article 10 of the Nagoya Protocol (NP), titled “Global Multilateral Benefit-Sharing Mechanism” (GMBSM).

    • Open Hardware/Modding
Leftovers
  • Science
    • ACS and Elsevier Sue ResearchGate For Copyright Infringement

      Academic publishers American Chemical Society and Elsevier have sued scientist and researcher networking site ResearchGate. The publishers claim that research papers uploaded to the platform infringe their copyrights and for that, they’re demanding damages of $150,000 per infringed work.

  • Apple
  • Security
    • Bug in Windows 10’s Latest Update Might Be Deleting Files, Back Up Your Data Now

      Multiple Windows users are reporting the latest update is deleting documents. Consider backing up your data right now.

    • Windows 10 October 2018 Update Is Apparently Wiping Out User Data

      Windows 10 October 2018 update was announced a while back and Microsoft mentioned that the new update would come with support for DirectX Ray Tracing. The API that will support Nvidia RTX graphics cards with features like ray tracing and DLSS.

      It turns out, the update is now being halted due to an issue with Intel drivers that are causing some unexpected problems. Some people have reported losing their data when updating to Windows 10 October 2018 update. Rollback is also not something that will solve this issue as it turns out, once you update your data is gone and it’s pretty much irreversible.

    • Paper over the Kracks: New techniques can bypass WPA2 flaw mitigations

      Following last year’s discovery of the key reinstallation attack (Krack) vulnerability affecting devices using the WPA2 wireless protocol, most vendors updated their products – but in certain cases attacks were still possible, security researcher Mathy Vanhoef has confirmed.

      Twelve months after coming forward with their initial findings, Vanhoef and fellow KU Leuven academic Frank Piessens have published a fresh white paper indicating that some vendor mitigations against Krack were flawed, leaving devices open to selected attacks.

      The team also discovered new techniques to bypass the WiFi protocol’s official defense against Krack, allowing an adversary to replay broadcast and multicast frames.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • What you need to know about the first-ever DNSSEC root key rollover on October 11, 2018
    • RedHat shares what to expect from next week’s first-ever DNSSEC root key rollover

      DNSSEC is a system of digital signatures to prevent DNS spoofing. Maintaining an up-to-date KSK is essential to ensuring DNSSEC-validating DNS resolvers continue to function following the rollover. If the KSK isn’t up to date, the DNSSEC-validating DNS resolvers will be unable to resolve any DNS queries.

    • Russian spies hacked officials to protect doping athletes, US charges

      Ordinarily, intelligence agencies focus on issues related to national security. But a federal indictment announced on Thursday charges that Russian spies waged a long-running campaign to undermine investigations into doping activities by Russian athletes during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

      Key Russian attacks were carried out in 2016, days after the World Anti-Doping Agency released an initial report on Russian doping activities. Russian agents targeted anti-doping organizations to gather information to undermine the investigation and embarrass non-Russian athletes.

    • Password security management still not up to scratch as attacks grow: report

      Attacks on passwords continue to grow in number and complexity every year, but despite these threats, businesses have struggled to quantify their own level of password risk, according to a newly published report that also found that the insurance sector in Australia is doing the best in maintaining password security.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Trump Admin Follows Corporate Media Playbook for War With Iran

      Three years ago, as Americans debated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran—popularly known as “the Iran deal”—I highlighted a troubling media trend on FAIR.org (8/20/15): “For nearly all commentators, regardless of their position, war is the only alternative to that position.”

      In the months since US President Donald Trump tore up the JCPOA agreement, his administration has been trying to make good on corporate media’s collective prediction. Last week, John Bolton (BBC, 9/26/18), Trump’s national security advisor and chief warmonger, told Iran’s leaders and the world that there would be “hell to pay” if they dare to “cross us.”

      That Bolton’s bellicose statements do not send shockwaves of pure horror across a debt-strapped and war-weary United States is thanks in large part to incessant priming for war, facilitated by corporate media across the entire political spectrum, with a particular focus on Iran.

      Back in 2015, while current “resistance” stalwarts like the Washington Post (4/2/15) and Politico (8/11/15) warned us that war with Iran was the most likely alternative to the JCPOA, conservative standard-bearers such as Fox News (7/14/15) and the Washington Times (8/10/15) foretold that war with Iran was the agreement’s most likely outcome. Three years hence, this dynamic has not changed.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • WikiLeaks Celebrates 12th Anniversary

      Granted political asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in the U.K. in an attempt to prevent extradition to the U.S., and subsequent trial for publishing secret U.S. military documents, Assange is devoid of medical care, access to family and friends, and cyber-communication to the outside world. His attorney Jennifer Robinson claims the Wikileaks founder’s health is in serious jeopardy due to lack of access to natural light and fresh air.

      It was all different 12 years ago today, when Wikileaks first shocked the world by revealing secret documents ranging from planned assassination attempts on government officials, to uncensored footage of global unrest that had previously been censored to prevent mainstream backlash.

      Launched on Oct. 4, 2006, the non-profit organization, led by co-founder Assange, posted these revelations in a manner akin to Wikipedia, and immediately faced the wrath of government officials.

    • WikiLeaks denies publishing details of Anwar’s accounts
    • WikiLeaks denies publishing Anwar’s bank details

      Whistleblower site WikiLeaks has denied publishing bank account details that purportedly belong to PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim.

    • WikiLeaks denies publishing details on Anwar’s accounts

      WIKILEAKS has slammed as a “fabrication” former Simpang Renggam MP Liang Teck Meng’s claim that it published details on offshore bank accounts allegedly owned by Anwar Ibrahim.WIKILEAKS has slammed as a “fabrication” former Simpang Renggam MP Liang Teck Meng’s claim that it published details on offshore bank accounts allegedly owned by Anwar Ibrahim.

    • Fake News: Reports Wikileaks exposed Anwar’s bank details ‘a fabrication’
    • WikiLeaks rejects Gerakan sec-gen’s claim it outed Anwar’s alleged foreign riches

      The allegation by Gerakan’s Datuk Liang Teck Meng that WikiLeaks released banking information of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is false, according to the whistleblower organisation he claimed had done so.

      In a message posted on Twitter, the WikiLeaks group confirmed that it previously released particulars related to some local personalities, but insisted that none was linked to the PKR president-elect.

    • WikiLeaks denies publishing details of Anwar’s alleged offshore accounts

      WikiLeaks has rubbished claims that it published details of PKR president-elect Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s (pix) alleged offshore accounts.

      In a message posted on its Twitter account, the whistleblower said it has not published anything on Anwar’s bank accounts.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Interior Department Wants Stricter Data Standards in Conservation Decisions

      The US Department of the Interior issued a proposal last week (September 28) that the scientific data contributing to conservation decisions be publicly available and peer-reviewed, BuzzFeed News reports. The government says the rule will increase transparency, while critics argue that valuable data—such as confidential information on threatened species—could be ignored.

    • The Trump Administration Just Quietly Adopted An “Open Science” Policy That Limits Conservation Science

      On the surface, it sounds like a rule to increase transparency, “but from their track record that doesn’t seem likely,” Charise Johnson, a researcher at the science advocacy organization Union of Concerned Scientists, told BuzzFeed News. A UCS survey of federal scientists, published in August, showed many at the Interior Department reported experiencing censorship and political interference on the job.

  • Finance
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Taking the Radical Road with AUOB

      The radical road up Salisbury Crags got its name because pro-democracy labourers building it held meetings there to avoid bans within the city of Edinburgh, back in the era of Peterloo. This is precisely where Historic Environment Scotland are banning tomorrow’s Independence rally, and if we accept it we are turning our back on our heritage.

      [...]

      The Tories have already announced that Westminster will not agree to another Indyref before 2027. We have a fundamental stand to make on whether we accept that a parliament in England dominated massively by representatives of England, has a veto on the self-determination of the Scottish people.

    • How Much Money Is Being Spent in the Illinois Governor’s Race?

      The 2018 race for Illinois governor could be the most expensive in U.S. history. With election day coming up Nov. 6, the two major candidates have already raised a combined quarter billion dollars since 2015.

      Recent campaign figures, as of Oct. 4, reveal Democrat JB Pritzker has raised nearly $149 million, while current Gov. Bruce Rauner, the Republican incumbent, has raised about $106 million.

      There are still millions left to spend. As of the end of June, Pritzker had spent $88.5 million, while Rauner had spent about $72 million of his campaign funds.

    • Maintaining Media Omerta

      What happens when a national newspaper cares more about the appearance of bias in its reporting than any actual evidence of it? Earlier this week provided an example, when the New York Times apologized for allowing one of its reporters to work on a story that no one has disputed or claimed contains a single inaccuracy.

      The fight began when New York Times Magazine writer Emily Bazelon shared a byline on a straightforward story (10/1/18) based on a police report about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh instigating a bar fight while an undergraduate at Yale. Definitely newsworthy, the article dovetailed with a number of other contemporaneous reports about Kavanaugh’s behavior while drinking, a specific point of contention at last week’s Senate hearing where Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexually assaulting her.

      But the Times piece came under fire, not for what it reported, but because Bazelon was the one who reported on it. Almost immediately, right-wing pundits began to target the story as biased because Bazelon had dared to publicly air her opinion on Kavanaugh’s nomination back in July. In two tweets this past summer, Bazelon, who is also a lecturer at Yale Law School, argued against Kavanaugh’s appointment as a “fifth vote for a hard-right turn on voting rights and so much more that will harm the democratic process and prevent a more equal society.” That she thought Kavanaugh unfit for SCOTUS and also assisted in reporting on his conduct back in college—from New Haven, Conn., where she is based, and where the incident took place—was seen as more evidence of a liberal plot against him, and sent conservative pundits into high-harrumph mode on Twitter and elsewhere.

    • Can We Make Congress Less Dumb About Technology?

      Earlier this week, a bunch of organizations — including Techdirt’s own sister organization, the Copia Institute — announced the launch of a new project, called Future Congress. It’s a coalition of organizations, some of whom rarely agree on anything with some of the other members. It is made up of organizations with a variety of political viewpoints and policy ideas. But, this coalition does agree one one thing: we need to stop Congress from being so damn clueless about technology.

      For many years, we’ve talked about the unfortunate decision by a Newt Gingrich-led Congress back in the mid-90s to dismantle the Office of Technology Assessment (or OTA). This was the organization that was a non-partisan, careful think tank focused on providing useful technology briefings to anyone in Congress who needed it. And yet, just as technology was becoming central to our every day lives, Congress defunded it (technically, the office still exists on the books, but it has no funding and no staff). Over the years there have been many calls to bring OTA back, and every so often someone in Congress floats a bill… which always gets shot down (the latest was just a few months ago).

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Instagram prototypes handing your location history to Facebook

      Instagram now that its founders have resigned. Instagram has been spotted prototyping a new privacy setting that would allow it to share your location history with Facebook. That means your exact GPS coordinates collected by Instagram, even when you’re not using the app, would help Facebook to target you with ads and recommend you relevant content. The geo-tagged data would appear to users in their Facebook Profile’s Activity Log, which include creepy daily maps of the places you been.

    • Instagram’s New Prototype Shares Your Location With Facebook

      It’s not a week since Instagram’s founders resigned from their positions after a strained relationship with Zuckerberg and clash of ideologies to run the business.

      Facebook has already started tightening the noose on Instagram. A prototype privacy setting has been spotted on Instagram that allows you to share your location history with Facebook. This geo-tagged data collected by Instagram will help Facebook in showing targeted ads to users.

    • Privacy Badger Now Fights More Sneaky Google Tracking

      With its latest update, Privacy Badger now fights “link tracking” in a number of Google products.

      Link tracking allows a company to follow you whenever you click on a link to leave its website. Earlier this year, EFF rolled out a Privacy Badger update targeting Facebook’s use of this practice. As it turns out, Google performs the same style of tracking, both in web search and, more concerning, in spaces for private conversation like Hangouts and comments on Google Docs. From now on, Privacy Badger will protect you from Google’s use of link tracking in all of these domains.

      [...]

      In Hangouts and the Docs suite, the tracking is less sophisticated, but just as effective. Try sending a link to one of your friends in a Hangouts chat. Although the message might look like an innocuous URL, you can hover over the hyperlink to reveal that it’s actually a link shim in disguise. The same thing happens with links in comments on Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. That means Google will track whether and when your friend, family member, or co-worker clicks on the link that you sent them.

      These tracking links are easy to spot, if you know where to look. Simply hover over one and you’ll find that it’s not quite what you expect.

    • There are Many Problems With Mobile Privacy but the Presidential Alert Isn’t One of Them

      On Wednesday, most cell phones in the US received a jarring alert at the same time. This was a test of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system, also commonly known as the Presidential Alert. This is an unblockable nationwide alert system which is operated by Federal Emergency Management Agency (*not* the President, as the name might suggest) to warn people of a catastrophic event such as a nuclear strike or nationwide terrorist attack. The test appears to have been mostly successful, and having a nationwide emergency alert system certainly doesn’t seem like a bad idea; but Wednesday’s test has also generated concern. One of the most shared tweets came from antivirus founder John McAfee.

    • Fitbit Data Leads To An 90-Year Old Alleged Killer Of His Stepdaughter [Ed: The real news here: Fitbit collects lots of data about you and hands that data to US authorities (ignore all the 'marketing' slant of it). Media promotes mass surveillance using the same old lie that it will “protect” you.]

      I reckon you wouldn’t have imagined murder-solving to be one of the perks of using Fitbit Fitness Tracker. However, that seems to be the case here. Seemingly, police were able to capture a 90-year old alleged killer only because of the Fitbit band, attached to the victim device.

    • Police Use Fitbit Data to Charge 90-Year-Old Man in Stepdaughter’s Killing

      The last time Anthony Aiello spoke to his stepdaughter, he took homemade pizza and biscotti to her house in San Jose, Calif., for a brief visit. Mr. Aiello, 90, told investigators that she then walked him to the door and handed him two roses in gratitude.

      But an unnoticed observer in the house later revealed that their encounter ended in murder, a police report said.

      Five days afterward, Mr. Aiello’s stepdaughter, Karen Navarra, 67, was discovered by a co-worker in her house with fatal lacerations on her head and neck. She had been wearing a Fitbit fitness tracker, which investigators said showed that her heart rate had spiked significantly around 3:20 p.m. on Sept. 8, when Mr. Aiello was there.

      Then it recorded her heart rate slowing rapidly, and stopping at 3:28 p.m., about five minutes before Mr. Aiello left the house, the report said.

    • Now Twitter’s ‘Report’ Function Being Used To Disappear Complaint About GDPR Being Used To Disappear Public Court Document

      Just recently we wrote about how a guy in France, Michael Francois Bujaldon, who had been sued in the US and accused of securities and real estate fraud, had apparently been using the GDPR’s right to be forgotten features to get the court docket about this lawsuit deleted from the web (in at least one case) or have his name removed from it (in the other). Our story focused on the situation with the website PlainSite, which is run by Aaron Greenspan and hosts tons of public court dockets. In our comments, it was interesting to note that at least one person seemed hellbent on trashing Greenspan. Greenspan and I have had our own differences throughout the years, and he has been a vocal critic of the way I’ve covered him in the past, but these comments seemed to go way over the line.

      And now, Greenspan informs me that someone is trying to get his original tweet — which alerted me to this abuse of the GDPR to delete public documents — disappeared from the internet as well. On Wednesday morning Greenspan discovered that both his PlainSite Twitter account and his personal Twitter account were “limited” due to reports. It’s unclear why his personal account was limited, but Twitter told him that his original tweet about Bujaldon violated its rules on “posting personal information.”

    • US parental protection groups accuse Facebook of collecting Kids data in Messenger

      The ‘safer’ version of Messenger was launched in 2017 is the target of attacks led by the Campaign for a Commerical-Free Childhood (CFCC) which has filed a complaint saying that the app collects data without the explicit consent of the parents.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • The Grievance Studies Scandal: Five Academics Respond

      For the past year scholars James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose, and Peter Boghossian have sent fake papers to various academic journals which they describe as specialising in activism or “grievance studies.” Their stated mission has been to expose how easy it is to get “absurdities and morally fashionable political ideas published as legitimate academic research.”

      To date, their project has been successful: seven papers have passed through peer review and have been published, including a 3000 word excerpt of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, rewritten in the language of Intersectionality theory and published in the Gender Studies journal Affilia.

      Below is a response to the scandal from five academics who are currently researching, publishing and teaching in the fields of Philosophy, English Studies, Behavioral Genetics and Economics. [...]

    • French Cop Arrested For Selling Sensitive Law Enforcement Info On The Dark Web

      The discovery of the officer’s misconduct came to light after French police shut down a dark web market. That there was a cop selling cop stuff to criminals on the dark web is inevitable. If it wasn’t this investigation, any of the dozens of others happening around the world would have uncovered a law enforcement officer doing bad things. Two of the federal agents involved in the Silk Road investigation ended up being charged with money laundering and wire fraud after they stole Bitcoin and issued fake subpoenas to further their own criminal ends.

      Again, it’s a people problem — one that’s present anywhere people are given power and access not present in most jobs. The problem is government agencies, in particular, tend not to hold their own employees accountable and work hard to thwart their oversight. The more brazen examples of government malfeasance are enabled by the dozens of smaller infractions that go unpunished until they’re the subject of a lawsuit or government investigation.

    • Beyond Prisons — Episode 29: Kempis ‘Ghani’ Songster (Part 1)

      After 30 years of incarceration, Ghani was released from prison at the age of 45. Since his release, he has joined the staff at the Amistad Law Project, a grassroots abolitionist law collective working for the release of others, as they fight to end the sentencing of human beings to life without parole/death by incarceration and to abolish prison industrial complex. He has also joined the membership of Ecosocialist Horizons. Ghani continues to organize actively for healing justice and a more livable planet.

    • ProPublica, New York Times Magazine and Harvard Law’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute Present “How Bad Science Is Corrupting the Justice System”

      On Oct. 25, ProPublica, Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, and The New York Times Magazine will present “How Bad Science Is Corrupting the Justice System.” This in-depth discussion will look at faulty forensic testimony in the courtroom and its devastating consequences, as well as efforts around the country that show the potential for reform.

      ProPublica, in partnership with The New York Times Magazine, has traced how one forensic discipline — bloodstain-pattern analysis — has become entrenched in our legal system despite grave questions about its accuracy. Published in May, the series “Blood Will Tell” explored how a Texas man was convicted of murder using bloodstain pattern-analysis that has been called into question, and it showed that his case is but one of many troubling examples of faulty forensics subverting justice.

    • Spanish Court Moves Forward With Prosecution Of Man Who Offended A Bunch Of Religious Lawyers

      Spain’s speech laws continue to be a nightmare. What started out as merely terrible has progressively gotten worse over the years as the government continues to strip protection from speech for the stupidest of reasons. The country’s laws against hate speech have resulted in the prosecution of comedians, artists, and critics of the government. The laws forbidding speech supporting terrorism have seen more of the same locked up as jokes about a politician’s assassination were determined to be promoting an “unhealthy humoristic environment” and “justifying terrorism.”

      Yes, the Spanish government gets to decide what’s funny in Spain. It also apparently gets to decide how offended followers of certain faiths will be when dead/imaginary religious figures are disparaged on social media. Thanks to Spain’s insane laws, a complaint from a religious group is enough to get someone arrested.

    • Judge to prosecute actor Willy Toledo for insulting God and the Virgin Mary

      A Madrid judge has decided to press ahead with a court case involving Spanish actor and activist Willy Toledo, in which he is accused of offending religious sentiments by insulting God and the Virgin Mary in messages posted on Facebook.

      Toledo was arrested on September 13 on orders from the judge, after he failed to appear in court on two prior occasions to answer questions about the case in a preliminary probe. After spending a night in the cells, and then appearing before the judge the next morning, he was released. Outside the courthouse he told reporters that he didn’t believe that he had “committed any kind of crime,” and that, by forcing the police to arrest him, he was staging “an act of civil disobedience.”

    • San Francisco Is a Hotbed of Illegal Race-Based Policing

      Law enforcement in San Francisco have subverted the Constitution and broken the law by basing arrests on race.

      Our Constitution promises all people, regardless of race, equal protection under the law. Yet the San Francisco Police Department has consistently singled out Black people for enforcement of criminal laws.

      In 2013 and 2014, the SFPD collaborated with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California on a drug enforcement operation. Despite the fact that the SFPD knew that in the Tenderloin district — where they chose to the focus the operation — people of many different races engaged in drug sales, all 37 people targeted for arrest and federal prosecution were Black. Those statistics were not the result of chance. Video showed an undercover informant flat out refusing to buy drugs from an Asian woman. Instead, he waited to buy drugs from a Black woman instead.

      After the federal public defender representing some of the accused presented evidence that the SFPD had singled out Black people over other races engaged in the same activity, the district court judge found that there was “substantial evidence suggestive of racially selective enforcement.” Before the parties completed the discovery process ordered by the court, the federal prosecutor abruptly moved to dismiss the indictments.

      This targeted enforcement is racist and illegal. So the national ACLU, the ACLU of Northern California, and the law firm Durie Tangri LLP have sued the city of San Francisco seeking damages on behalf of Black plaintiffs harmed by the SFPD’s race-based policing.

    • ‘How Many Other Laquan MacDonalds Are There?’

      The trial of former Chicago police officer Jason van Dyke continues this week—Van Dyke charged with first-degree murder for killing Laquan McDonald in October of 2014, firing 16 shots into the 17-year-old, who was moving away from him. A former head of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police, attending Van Dyke’s trial, took a moment to remember another officer, Jon Burge, who died on September 19. Former Commander Burge, with a gang of his cops known as the “Midnight Crew,” terrorized communities of color and engaged in the systemic torture of more than 100 black men.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Fake Comments Are Plaguing Government Agencies And Nobody Much Seems To Care

      You might recall that when the FCC repealed net neutrality, the agency’s open comment period (the only opportunity the public had to voice their concerns) was plagued with all manner of bogus comments and identity fraud. From bots that lifted the identities of dead people to create fake enthusiasm, to the hijacking of legitimate identities (like Senators Jeff Merkley and Pat Toomey, or my own) to forge bogus support, it was a pretty major problem the FCC utterly refused to do anything about. A year later and we’re still trying to find the culprit (though who benefitted should be pretty obvious).

      And while the fake net neutrality comments got the lion’s share of public and media attention, the reality is this is a problem that’s been plaguing government proceedings for years. For example, recent reports highlighted how the NFL was only recently busted sending fake fan comments to the FCC as early as 2014 as the league tried to fight FCC efforts to eliminate the so-called “black out rule,” which requires that broadcasters black out certain game broadcasts if real-world attendance doesn’t meet the league’s liking.

  • DRM
    • GOG Celebrates 10 Years Of Competing With Piracy And Being DRM Free By Saying So

      It did indeed. In fact, the story of GOG’s anniversary is the story of one platform successfully competing with free, with a much bigger competitor, and having to drag wary publishers that might be scared off of the anti-DRM stance along for the ride… for ten years. For a decade now, GOG has built a business that started and is still largely centered around retro-games that are easily pirated in the video game industry of all places, where customers are far more likely to know the methods for piracy than in other industries. And, yet, here they are, retelling how it filled the market for retro-games by assuming many people actually still wanted developers to be rewarded for great game-making.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • 20-year-old court filing comes back to haunt Qualcomm in antitrust dispute with Federal Trade Commission

      20 years back from tomorrow, Qualcomm itself brought a motion for partial summary judgment in a SEP dispute with Ericsson in the Eastern District of Texas. The objective: obtain a SEP license from Ericsson on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms for Qualcomm’s baseband chipsets. The legal basis: a promise Ericsson had made to the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), a U.S. standard-setting body. In other words, Qualcomm was doing essentially the same thing (same objective, same contractual basis, same stage of proceeding) as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in its late-August motion in the Northern District of California that Qualcomm is fighting tooth and nail because it would rather have a monopoly now.

      From the perspective of those of us who’d like to see the FTC open up the wireless chipset market even ahead of the January 2019 trial, this may seem too good to be true, but here’s the FTC’s reply brief in support of its motion, including all public exhibits (Exhibit 14, starting on PDF page 87, is Qualcomm’s October 1998 filing; this post continues below the document):

    • Trademarks
      • Thin Food and Thin People: CORN THINS are merely descriptive and perhaps generic

        I previously wrote about the Real Foods v. Frito Lay case in a post titled Federal Circuit and Sealed Opinions. Now, the court has unsealed its decision focusing on trademark rights in CORN THINS and RICE THINS. Frito-Lay opposed the registrations and the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board (TTAB) agreed — finding the marks “merely descriptive” and without “acquired distinctiveness.”

        Generic terms — common names of a descriptive class — cannot be registered as trademarks. Other descriptive marks can be registered — but only once they acquire distinctiveness. 15 U.S.C. § 1052(f). Proof of distinctiveness is not required for terms that are suggestive (rather than descriptive) of a class, nor is it required of arbitrary or fanciful marks.

    • Copyrights
      • US Perspectives: US High Court To Confront Unique Copyright Issue

        The US Supreme Court often decides momentous cases. And then there’s Fourth Estate Pub. Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com. Many experts view this case as little more than a tempest in a teapot. However, the suit will resolve a legal dispute that has simmered for over 30 years, and it highlights some important copyright issues that are unique to the US.

      • Can warehouse storage of copyright-infringing products be considered an act of distribution? AG Campos advises CJEU to rule ‘yes’

        Can the right of distribution under Article 4 of the InfoSoc Directive come into consideration in relation, not just to the sale of counterfeit garments bearing a copyright-protected motif, but also the storage of such garments in a warehouse? More generally: how far does the control of the copyright holder go in relation to unauthorized uses of their works?

        Readers will remember that over time the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has interpreted expansively the scope of, inter alia, the right of distribution, and got to the point of holding – in Dimensione Direct Sales [Katposts here] – that even the advertisement for sale (not necessarily followed by an actual sale) of a copyright work may fall within the scope of Article 4.

        [...]

        The public prosecutor appealed this new decision to the Swedish Supreme Court, which decided to stay the proceedings and make a referral to the CJEU. In any case, the top court in this country held the view that the right of distribution within Article 4 of the InfoSoc Directive would also include preparatory acts for the sale of a copyright work or copy thereof, including warehouse storage, and that it is not required that a sale actually takes place (this is also the position that Swedish Government took at the time of transposing the InfoSoc Directive into this Member State’s own law).

        All this would be in line [as it is indeed] with CJEU case law, notably the recent decision in Dimensione Direct Sales. According to the EU Commission, however, it would not be correct to say that mere storage at a warehouse falls within the scope of the right of distribution, because in that case the CJEU did not go that far.

      • How will US Supreme Court define “full costs” in copyright cases?

        In Rimini Street v Oracle, the definition of “full costs” awarded to prevailing parties by the Copyright Act is disputed. IP practitioners weigh in on whether the court will decide it includes only taxable costs or non-taxable costs as well

      • Thanks To Copyright, We Already Know How Aggressive Content Moderation Works: And It’s A Disaster

        One of the reasons why I’m so adamant about the negative impacts on free speech from making internet platforms liable for the speech of their users, or even just by pushing for greater and greater content moderation by those platforms, is that this is not a theoretical situation where we have no idea how things will play out. We have reams and reams of evidence, just in the US alone (and plenty outside of the US) by looking at the copyright world. Remember, while CDA 230 makes platforms immune from a civil lawsuit regarding content posted by users or for any moderation choices regarding that content, it exempts intellectual property law (and criminal law). On the copyright side, we have a different regime: DMCA 512. Whereas CDA 230 creates a broad immunity, DMCA 512 creates a narrower “safe harbor” where sites need to meet a list of criteria in order to be eligible for the safe harbor, and those criteria keep getting litigated over and over again. Thus, we have quite a clear parallel universe to look at concerning what happens when you make a platform liable for speech — even if you include conditions and safe harbors.

        And it’s not good.

Patents on Life and on Algorithms in Europe Will Doom the EPO

Friday 5th of October 2018 08:22:37 AM

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) wrongly assumes that just granting as many patents as possible — irrespective of their merit and contribution (or lack thereof) to society — will magically make itself sustainable in the long run

THE rapidly-declining (to meet ‘targets’) quality of patents granted by the EPO isn’t really the fault of examiners but the rules which govern examination. We know who sets these rules; they’re not examiners but a bunch of tyrannical maniacs, typically unqualified in the fields they decide on (more so under Battistelli because of his cronyism).

“The EPO quit pretending to have any respect for the EPC — a fact which disturbs EPO insiders because that has a profound effect on their lives.”Back when technical judges were under attack from Team Battistelli (the Boards of Appeal have never regained their independence since then) the EPO was granting patents on Carlsberg and Heineken beer. The EPO has not reversed this course of action but found a mere ‘compromise’, as reported yesterday:

The European Patent Office (EPO) has decided to restrict the scope of a patent it previously granted to beer manufacturers Carlsberg and Heineken for a specific strand of barley.

But that does not mean that the patent/s got eliminated. As another site put it yesterday:

The patent covered conventionally-bred barley, its usage in brewing and the resulting beer. The patent originally covered all plants with reduced content of some undesirable flavours. Now the patent is restricted to plants with a specific mutation which can influence the content of these flavours. This genetic variation is considered to be an invention despite being random and the plants being the result of conventional breeding. No Patents on Seeds! plans to appeal the decision and is demanding that politicians take action.

“This decision is only a partial success for us. Despite legally binding rules, the EPO continues to grant patents on plants derived from conventional breeding. In 2018, patents were granted on petroselinum, cichorium, melons, tomatoes and lettuce,” says Erling Frederiksen for No Patents on Seeds! (Denmark). “As long as such patents are still being granted, we will continue to file oppositions.”

In June 2018, No Patents on Seeds! called upon European politicians to take an active role against seed monopolies such as those created by the Bayer takeover of Monsanto. Member states of the EPO will once again be reminded of their continuing responsibility to protect the common good.

“This decision is only a partial success for us,” they say. Because there are still patents on mere crops. Those are reminiscent if not related to GMO patents (Bayer/Monsanto no doubt pays attention), which are used to oppress poor farmers, controlling and ‘owning’ their food supply or ability to grow seeds/plants. Curiously enough, shortly after William New (head of IP Watch) met António Campinos and bragged about it in a public ‘selfie’ he came up with yesterday’s puff piece about “Building Respect for IP Division” (a WIPO indoctrination campaign in Africa). Such WIPO agenda was also served by Frantzeska Papadopoulou just hours apart at IP Kat — a blog in which UPC booster Eibhlin Vardy then promoted a software patents advocacy event of the EPO, entitled “Computer-Implemented Inventions” (CII, the EPO’s favoured term for software patents in Europe). To quote:

Hosted by Queen Mary University of London at Kilburn & Strode’s offices at Lacon London, the event involves presentations from the technical board of appeal responsible for examining appeals in the fields of computing and computer-implemented inventions. The board will present on recent case law developments and topics include “Debating the Line between Technical and Non-Technical Matter” and “Technical Contribution in a User Interface”. Q&A and drinks to follow.

This is an unprecedented (if short notice) opportunity to meet the entire EPO computer-implemented inventions Board of Appeal.

The EPO quit pretending to have any respect for the EPC — a fact which disturbs EPO insiders because that has a profound effect on their lives.

Yesterday IPPro Patents reporter Barney Dixon published this piece about new messages from Roberta Romano-Götsch, saying that these “reveal quality decline and ‘confuse’ staff…”

As a reminder, this is the same Romano-Götsch who recently liaised with patent extremists (Watchtroll) and lied about patent quality at the EPO. Honesty isn’t her strength; she was close to VP Minnoye (she’s part of Team Battistelli, close to Minnoye and Battistelli, having apparently drafted bogus letters in Battistelli’s support, based on several independent sources). She spoke for the EPO's Team Battistelli amid scandals covered by Italian media and we have been told many negative things about her servitude to the worst abusers. In any event, this is what she says now, albeit internally:

New messages from the European Patent Office (EPO) in relation to production targets and quality are “confusing”, according to the Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO).

Two emails, both from Roberta Romano-Götsch, COO Mobility and Mechatronics at the EPO, discussed production targets at the office.

The first, sent to directors and team managers in Mobility and Mechatronics, said that a recent decrease in production figures needs to stop.

She said: “If there is a general feeling that we can relax because the production has not become a priority, this is very naïf. We have a financial sustainability to secure and a rewards exercise coming up.”

“Please help me get the message right—we do not relax!”

[...]

Romano-Götsch said that the number of files checked per sector was too low to be able to have reliable data for Mobility and Mechatronics, but explained that she did “not want to wait for more quarters to take action”.

She explained: “I have asked Directorate Quality Audit about the areas of substantive examination where they see more frequently issues in Mobility and Mechatronics. This is the information I received: of the 75 non-conforming grants since January, 32 were considered to lack novelty—in many cases with respect to an X document is cited in the case. In 15 cases grants were considered in breach of Art 123(2), especially due to intermediate generalisation.”

Romano-Götsch added: “So: to reinforce the quality of grants, I ask you to explain in the votum why any document cited as X in the search report is not relevant anymore at the time of grant.”

“I am convinced that a well drafted votum allows you to have a final check on the patentability of your application. It is about content and not only form. We are also providing you with support on Art 123(2) through classroom training. The first ones are due in two weeks—no time to waste!

[...]

These latest emails from Romano-Götsch seem to provide contradictory information to the EPO’s official statements on quality at the office, and confirm the suspicions of many, including that of German law firms Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald, and Vossius & Partner, that an “overreaching desire” for high productivity has led to a drop in quality and adequately assessed patents.

SUEPO says that these messages from Romano-Götsch are “confusing”.

[...]

According to SUEPO, this “relentless pressure” is “dangerous for the health, well-being and physical and professional integrity of staff, especially the weakest among our colleagues.”

“We have a financial sustainability to secure,” said Romano-Götsch after Battistelli had sent millions of EPO euros to his other employer and tied hundreds of millions of euros to potentially toxic loans.

Corrupt management is killing the EPO. They try to enrich themselves while killing it.

Microsoft Uses LOT Network to Spread Lies and Promote Its Protection Racket

Friday 5th of October 2018 07:21:09 AM

An aggregator (DPA) or a vision so shallow that even Microsoft can enlist

Summary: A Red Hat- and Google-centric aggregator of software patents adds Microsoft as a member even though Microsoft continues to arm and fund patent trolls; the main/net effect of this move appears to be promotion of “Azure IP Advantage” (protection from Microsoft’s trolls as long as one pays Microsoft monthly fees)

THE COMPANY of endless lies is at it again, having leveraged many US patents (software patents wrongly granted by the USPTO) against GNU/Linux.

“Microsoft loves Linux” is a lie. And now Microsoft wants us to think that Microsoft battles patent trolls. This too is a Microsoft lie, albeit one that corporate media is happy to play along with, e.g. with headlines such as “Microsoft joins the LOT Network to help fight patent trolls” (a lie, the latter part in particular).

Deducted from fact-checking is the abundant evidence which is widely available, such as Microsoft’s patent troll Intellectual Ventures, which is the world’s largest. We wrote about it as recently as yesterday. The dedicated Microsoft propaganda sites (these sites’ names give that away) promote the same fiction that Microsoft is against patent trolls. Just don’t let facts get in the way…

There’s also this batch of hours-old headlines about patents Microsoft can and possibly will use against Android OEMs [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft loves its patents and it actively uses them for litigation and shakedown purposes.

So what explains this lunacy we saw yesterday evening in the media? This press release [1, 2] from Microsoft started it. It is a lie because Microsoft actively contributes to patent trolls and their attacks, but the title of the press release says Microsoft wants to “Protect its Community Against Patent Troll Attacks” (whose patent trolls and which community?).

It didn’t take long for Red Hat to play along with this publicity stunt that misleads. Remember that Red Hat hires managers from Microsoft (it’s well documented), so Red Hat will defend its shareholders rather than the Free software community. Red Hat is also still applying for software patents while propping up LOT Network, which is not the solution at all. This is what Red Hat said about its beloved LOT Network:

We are excited to see Microsoft – a top 10 recipient of U.S. patents – announce today it is joining the LOT Network (LOT), a company we helped form. Since 2014, Red Hat and other top companies around the world have come to recognize LOT as an innovative response to patent assertion entities (PAEs). Microsoft is a welcome addition to LOT’s almost 300 members, which together hold more than one million patent assets.

[...]

Red Hat is committed to LOT’s mission and to broadening its reach. We believe that LOT is a significant tool in weakening the threat that PAEs pose to operating companies, including those that distribute free and open source software. We are pleased Microsoft has joined our ranks, and look forward to working with them to expand the reach of LOT.

As we explained a few months back, LOT Network had become somewhat of a joke because it is a proponent of software patents. It’s like its purpose is to protect software patents from the community’s scrutiny rather than protect the community from software patents. It is, in that regard, somewhat similar to OIN. Earlier this week [1, 2] we showed that Microsoft’s patent trolls are still attacking Microsoft’s rivals in new lawsuits, so how can the company pretend to have changed its strategy? Erich Andersen (Microsoft) says they’re “helping to lead the way toward addressing the patent troll problem” (but Microsoft actively contributes to this problem!) and yet LWN framed it as follows: “Microsoft has announced that it has joined the LOT Network, which is an organization set up to help thwart patent trolls by licensing any member’s patents to all members if they end up in the hands of a troll.”

But Microsoft itself does exactly that, e.g. passing Nokia‘s patents to this troll in bulk. Microsoft’s site, which LWN cites for its “facts”, says this:

We are pleased to announce that Microsoft is joining the LOT Network, a growing, non-profit community of companies that is helping to lead the way toward addressing the patent troll problem, an issue that impacts businesses of all sizes.

Microsoft has seen this problem firsthand. We’ve faced hundreds of meritless patent assertions and lawsuits over the years, and we want to do more to help others dealing with this issue. In most cases, the opportunists behind these assertions were not involved in the research and development of the ideas that came to be embodied in patents. Many do not even understand the technical concepts described in them. In the most extreme cases, we’ve seen mass mailings and campaigns to extract value from small businesses who are not equipped to understand patents. Although these problems are less acute in the US today than in the past, in part because of changes in the law, the challenge persists for many businesses. Entrepreneur magazine cited a recent study showing that 40 percent of small companies involved in patent litigation reported “significant operational impact” from those suits, which some described as a “death knell.”

It then mentions Microsoft’s protection racket [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21], known as “Azure IP Advantage” (same as the scheme Microsoft set up with Novell). There’s ‘special’ protection from trolls only for those who host with Azure. It’s like GNU/Linux users need to reach a patent settlement with Microsoft, paid in several installments (Azure subscription). With a host like Amazon/AWS one risks patent lawsuits, albeit not from Microsoft directly.

Mary Jo Foley, a career Microsoft booster (for well over a decade), perpetuates Microsoft’s misleading claims and promotes their extortion racket, which Andersen introduces as follows:

This also means we are continuing on the path we started with the introduction of the Azure IP Advantage program in 2017. As part of that program, Microsoft said that it would defend and indemnify developers against claims of intellectual property infringement even if the service powering Azure was built on open source. We also said that if we transferred a patent to a company in the business of asserting patents, then Azure customers would get a license for free. Our LOT membership expands this pledge to other companies in the LOT network.

So they’re basically saying, “host everything in Azure (even GNU/Linux) and you’ll be safer from trolls” (“even the trolls that we’re funding and arming”). This is, for the most part, just a marketing opportunity for Microsoft. It also helps distort the record, e.g. on Microsoft’s major role in sponsoring and giving patents to patent trolls. How long before Jim Zemlin congratulates Microsoft?

Links 4/10/2018: Tails 3.9.1, Fedora 29 Gnome 3.30 Test Day Tomorrow

Thursday 4th of October 2018 04:24:21 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Kernel Space
    • Software-tag-based KASAN

      The kernel address sanitizer (KASAN) is a kernel debugging tool meant to catch incorrect use of kernel pointers. It is an effective tool, if the number of KASAN-based bug reports showing up on the mailing lists is any indication. The downside of KASAN is a significant increase in the amount of memory used by a running system. The software-tag-based mode proposed by Andrey Konovalov has the potential to address that problem, but it brings some limitations of its own.

      KASAN works by allocating a shadow memory map to describe the addressability of the kernel’s virtual address space. Each byte in the shadow map corresponds to eight bytes of address space and indicates how many of those eight bytes (if any) are currently accessible to the kernel. When the kernel allocates or frees a range of memory, the shadow map is updated accordingly. Using some instrumentation inserted by the compiler, KASAN checks each kernel pointer dereference against the shadow map to ensure that the kernel is meant to be accessing the pointed-to memory. If the shadow map indicates a problem, an error is raised.

      It is an effective technique and, thanks to the support from the compiler, the run-time CPU overhead is tolerable in many settings. But the shadow map requires a great deal of memory, and that does affect the usability of KASAN in the real world, especially when it is used on memory-constrained systems. This overhead is particularly painful for users who would like to run KASAN on production systems as an additional security measure.

    • Time namespaces

      The kernel’s namespace abstraction allows different groups of processes to have different views of the system. This feature is most often used with containers; it allows each container to have its own view of the set of running processes, the network environment, the filesystem hierarchy, and more. One aspect of the system that remains universal, though, is the concept of the system time. The recently posted time namespace patch set (from Dmitry Safonov with a lot of work by Andrei Vagin) seeks to change that.

      Creating a virtualized view of the system time is not a new concept; Jeff Dike posted an implementation back in 2006 to support his user-mode Linux project. Those patches were not merged at the time but, since then, the use of containers has taken off and the interest has increased. One might view time as a universal concept, but there are use cases for a per-container notion of time; they can be as simple as testing software at different points in time. The driving force behind this patch set, though, is likely to be problems associated with the checkpointing of processes and migrating them between physical hosts. When a process is restarted, it should have a consistent view of time, and that may require applying some adjustments at restart time.

      The implementation is straightforward enough. Each time namespace contains a set of offsets to be added to the system’s notion of the current time. The kernel maintains a number of clocks with different characteristics (documented here), each of which can have a different offset. Some of these clocks, such as CLOCK_MONOTONIC, have an undefined start point that will vary from one running system to the next, so they will need their own offsets to maintain consistent behavior for a container that has been migrated. System calls that adjust the system time will, when called outside of the root time namespace, adjust the namespace-specific offsets instead.

    • Progress on Zinc (thus WireGuard)

      When last we looked at the WireGuard VPN code and its progress toward mainline inclusion, said progress was impeded by disagreements about the new “Zinc” cryptographic library that is added by the WireGuard patches. Since that August look, several more versions of WireGuard and Zinc have been posted; it would seem that Zinc is getting closer to being accepted. Once that happens, the networking developers are poised to review that portion of the code, which likely will lead to WireGuard in the kernel some time in the next development cycle or two.

      Jason Donenfeld posted Zinc v3 as part of an updated WireGuard posting on September 10. Of the versions he has posted since our article (up to v6 as of this writing), v3 has gotten most of the comments. One of the main complaints about Zinc is that it creates a new crypto API in the kernel without really addressing why the existing one would not work for WireGuard.

    • The kernel’s code of conduct, one week later

      The dust has begun to settle after the abrupt decisions by Linus Torvalds to take a break from kernel maintainership and to adopt a code of conduct for the community as a whole. Unsurprisingly, the development community, most of which was not consulted prior to the adoption of this code, has a lot of questions about it and a number of concerns. While many of the answers to those questions will be a while in coming, a few things are beginning to come into focus.

      It is worth starting with one important point that last week’s article failed to mention: the new code of conduct is not actually new to the community as a whole. In particular, the DRM (graphics) subsystem adopted the freedesktop.org code of conduct in April 2017. This code, like the code for the kernel as a whole, is derived from the Contributor Covenant text. There have not been any problems of note arising from the use of this code in that subsystem to date. Your editor has been told that the DRM community’s successful use of this code was a direct contributor to Torvalds’s choice of this particular code as a starting point for the kernel.

    • PulseAudio Lands Big Improvements For Its Meson Build System

      PulseAudio has been slower than some of the other prominent open-source projects at moving to the Meson build system, but as of last night it appears a bulk of that new build system is in place.

      Back in June is when some initial bits of the Meson build system were merged to the PulseAudio sound server code base and then a few commits here and there pertaining to this Autotools alternative.

    • Graphics Stack
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Looking forward to Krita 4.2!

        Everyone is hard at work, and what will become Krita 4.2 is taking shape already. Today we’re presenting a preview of Krita 4.2. It’s not complete yet, and there ARE bugs. More than in the stable release (we’ll be doing a 4.1.4 after all next week to clear up some more bugs…), and some might make you lose work.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Fedora 29 Gnome 3.30 Test Day 2018-10-05

        Friday, 2018-10-05 is the Fedora 29 Gnome 3.30Test Day! As part of changes Gnome 3.30 in Fedora 29, we need your help to test if everything runs smoothly!

      • Games 3.30: Features Overload

        With a new version of GNOME always comes a new version of Games, and this new version comes packed with new features, bug fixes and developer experience improvements.

  • Distributions
    • Why TENS is the secure bootable Linux you need

      Before you get too excited, TENS isn’t a pen-testing distro for admins to use to harden their network. TENS is a live desktop Linux distribution that gives the user a level of security they would not have with a standard desktop. That means it’s great to use in places where network security is questionable, or when you need to submit sensitive data, and you don’t trust a standard desktop operating system. In other words, anytime you need to use a network for the transmission of sensitive data, TENS Linux could easily be a top choice for users.

    • Slackware Family
      • This week focuses on Slackware 14.2 packages

        The admins over there at slackbuilds.org have updated their version of the Qt5 build script (targeting Slackware 14.2) to 5.9.6, i.e. the latest version of the Long Term Support (LTS) for Qt5.

        That triggered me to provide the same service for my own package repository targeting Slackware 14.2. Since more and more software is depending on Qt5, a lot of people will have some qt5 package installed, either built from the SBo script or installed from my repository. In order to minimize breakage, I think it is good if SBo’s and mine are the same version so that it should not matter which one you have installed.

        So, I did a chained upgrade: libwacom (0.31), libinput (1.7.3), libxkbcommon (0.8.2), qt5 (5.9.6) and qt5-webkit (5.9.1) in that order to take care of dependencies. The latest releases of these packages are now available for Slackware 14.2. Note that for the 32bit Slackware 14.2, the libwacom package is a new dependency for both libinput and qt5. My repository contained a pretty old 32bit qt5 package (5.7.0) which was not built against libwacom.

    • Red Hat Family
      • What is agile?

        I know you are thinking, “Not another Agile 101 article!” We were, too. There are many resources that describe what agile is, talk about the history of the concept, and go into depth about why it is important. This article is not any of those things—rather, we would like you to forget everything you’ve been told; everything you’ve learned, read, or otherwise acquired via misuse of the term or misdeed in implementing it.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
        • Fedora Wants To Know If Linux Hibernation Works For You

          Linux hibernation and suspend/resume works much better in recent years than a decade ago, certainly, but that isn’t without some bugs still persisting either due to quirky hardware or the occasional kernel/software issues as well. Fedora developers are interested in hearing about your current system hibernation experience.

          Due to lacking hard data on how reliable (or not) is hibernation / suspend-to-disk, Fedora developers are interested in knowing if it works correctly for your system(s). In particular, any kernel driver issues you may have encountered.

        • Test drive GNOME 3.30 with the Fedora 29 prerelease

          Last month, the GNOME project announced the release of GNOME 3.30. The good news is that this new version of GNOME is default in the forthcoming release of Fedora 29 Workstation. GNOME 3.30 includes a range of new features and enhancements, including improvements to Files (nautilus), and the new Podcasts application.

    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Tails 3.9.1 is out

          This release is an emergency release to fix critical security vulnerabilities in Tor Browser and Thunderbird.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Customer Conversations Changing in Era of Open Source, Automation

    Open source and automation are changing customer conversations, but in different ways for different customers, says John Isch, director of the network and voice practice in North America for Orange Business Services. Not everyone wants the details, but some businesses will do a deep dive on the technology and he has to be prepared for that.

  • Sourcegraph, a code search, and navigation engine is now open source!

    The Sourcegraph team announced that they’re making Sourcegraph, a self-hosted code search and navigation engine, available as open source, earlier this week.

    “We opened up Sourcegraph to bring code search and intelligence to more developers and developer ecosystems—and to help us realize the Sourcegraph master plan,” writes Quinn Slack on the announcement page.

    This Sourcegraph master plan involves making basic code intelligence ubiquitous (for every language, and in every editor, code host, etc.). It wants to focus on making code review continuous and intelligent. Additionally, they also hope to increase the amount and quality of open-source code.

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • 10 Productivity Gmail Extensions for Your Browser

        Gmail is used by 500+ million people but how many of us make the best use of it? Yes, it’s a convenient email client to use but what if I told you that Gmail is capable of way more functions than it offers you at the moment?

        The same way applications use plugins is the same way Gmail does, and here are 10 that will boost your productivity.

      • How is Crosh Different From the Linux Terminal on a Chromebook?

        As of Chrome OS 69, support for Linux applications is a baked in part of the operating system. Once enabled, this installs the Terminal on your Chrome OS system, but what is it and how does it compare to Crosh?

        Don’t worry if all that sounds like gibberish to you—if you’ve never spent any time poking around in your Chromebook’s guts, then you’ve likely never used (or even heard of) Crosh. And if you’ve never used Linux before, well, then you’ve never had to bother with the Terminal. The good news is that we’re going to make sense of both things today.

        [...]

        The Terminal and Crosh are similar tools—in fact, they’re the same basic concept, but the Terminal is specifically for the Linux aspect of Chrome OS, where Crosh is for the Chrome OS side.

        You’d be forgiven if that doesn’t make a lot of sense right out of the gate—they’re both running on the same machine, at the same time after all. But they’re not connected.

        One of the biggest benefits of Chrome OS is its enhanced security. As a result, most things on the operating system run in an independent sandbox. That means that most elements don’t really interact with each other—for example, if a single tab suffers a failure and crashes, the other tabs in the browser window aren’t affected.

    • Mozilla
      • Upcoming WebPush Shield Study

        WebPush does more than let you know you’ve got an upcoming calendar appointment or bug you about subscribing to a site’s newsletter (particularly one you just visited and have zero interest in doing). Turns out that WebPush is a pretty good way for us to do a number of things as well. Things like let you send tabs from one install of Firefox to another, or push out important certificate updates. We’ll talk about those more when we get ready to roll them out, but for now, we need to know if some of the key bits work.

        One of the things we need to test is if our WebPush servers are up to the job of handling traffic, or if there might be any weird issue we might not have thought of. We’ve run tests, we’ve simulated loads, but honestly, nothing compares to real life for this sort of thing.

        In the coming weeks, we’re going to be running an experiment. We’ll be using the Shield service to have your browser set up a web push connection. No data will go over that connection aside from the minimal communication that we need. It shouldn’t impact how you use Firefox. Chances are, you won’t even notice we’re doing this.

      • Firefox got maniac

        I don’t know what, I don’t know why, but Firefox behaves completely maniac on one of my computers. Opening simple tabs beats up 4 Web Content threads to nearly 100% CPU time, switching tabs the same.

      • Helping you to tackle the midterms on your terms

        For many people, a confusing tangle of cyberjargon and misinformation have combined to make the idea of turning to the web for election information a weird proposition.

        [...]

        We’re doing this to make it easy for people across the political spectrum to participate this November and beyond.

        We want to help make sure that the web isn’t being used to manipulate, misinform, and limit you from accessing all the information you need to make an informed choice.

        In addition to the Firefox election tools, we have other resources to help you.

      • WebRender newsletter 24

        Hi there, this your twenty fourth WebRender newsletter. A lot of work in progress this week, so the change list is pretty short. To compensate I added a list of noteworthy ongoing work which hasn’t landed yet is but will probably land soon and gives a rough idea of what’s keeping us busy.

  • SaaS/Back End
    • What we learned building a Zuul CI/CD cloud

      Contributing to open source projects such as OpenStack traditionally involves individuals and companies providing code contributions that add new features and fix bugs. For nearly two years, I’ve been running one-off OpenStack clouds for demonstrations and labs at user group meetings across the US, using hardware donated from bare-metal service provider Packet. Six months ago, Packet asked how they could make a larger donation to the community, which brought us on our path to build a community cloud to support OpenStack.

      Each day, hundreds of code commits to the OpenStack code base need to be tested as part of the continuous integration system managed by Zuul, “a program that drives continuous integration, delivery, and deployment systems with a focus on project gating and interrelated projects.” Each commit runs through a series of tests (or gates) before a human review, and the gates run again before a code merge. All of these gates run across a pool of virtual machines instances (more than 900 instances at peak times) donated by a number of public cloud providers. All of the OpenStack CI is dependent on donated computing resources. The OpenStack Infra team coordinates all of these cloud providers and served as our point of contact for donating these resources.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice Qt5 Integration Sees Further Improvements

      The past year LibreOffice has sported a Qt5 interface plug-in for better integration with Qt-based environments like a better “KDE 5″ experience. In recent days has been more improvements to this Qt5 integration.

      Hitting the LibreOffice Git tree over the past week has been initial a11y support (accessibility) while landing today was the initial Qt5 clipboard support.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Join GNU Guix through Outreachy

      We are happy to announce that for the second time this year, GNU Guix offers a three-month internship through Outreachy, the inclusion program for groups traditionally underrepresented in free software and tech.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • Stallman says Commons Clause is a non-free licence

      Free Software Foundation chairman Richard Stallman has described the Commons Clause licence as “ill-named” because it is a non-free licence that does not provide the four freedoms mandated by the FSF.

      Stallman was responding to queries from iTWire about the Commons Clause licence, which surfaced earlier this year.

      The company behind it, Fossa.io, was contacted by iTWire on Monday after hearing that some changes were contemplated in the licence which has received no support from any of the organisations that judge whether a licence is an open-source one or not.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • UN Panel Starts Consultations On Digital Cooperation: Philosophy and Practice

      There is a lot of energy and good dynamism, and some worries, too, about the immensity of the task ahead in the United Nations High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, Jovan Kurbalija, executive director of Panel’s Secretariat, said after the first face-to-face meeting last week and subsequent virtual town hall on 1 October. According to the mandate, the panel shall in less than a year present recommendations on ways and means for cooperation on digital policies and digital risks.

    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Icestorm Tools Roundup: Open Source FPGA Dev Guide

        We like the ICE40 FPGA from Lattice for two reasons: there are cheap development boards like the Icestick available for it and there are open source tools. We’ve based several tutorials on the Icestorm toolchain and it works quite well. However, the open source tools don’t always expose everything that you see from commercial tools. You sometimes have to dig a little to find the right tool or option.

        Sometimes that’s a good thing. I don’t need to learn yet another fancy IDE and we have plenty of good simulation tools, so why reinvent the wheel? However, if you are only using the basic workflow of Yosys, Arachne-pnr, icepack, and iceprog, you could be missing out on some of the most interesting features. Let’s take a deeper look.

  • Programming/Development
    • Bleach v3.0.0 released!

      Bleach 3.0.0 focused on easing the problems with the html5lib dependency and fixing regressions created in the Bleach 2.0 rewrite

    • This Week in Rust 254

      Every week the team announces the ‘final comment period’ for RFCs and key PRs which are reaching a decision. Express your opinions now.

    • Should you learn C to “learn how the computer works”?

      I’ve often seen people suggest that you should learn C in order to learn how computers work. Is this a good idea? Is this accurate? I’m going to start with my conclusion right upfront, just to be crystal clear about what I’m saying here:

      C is not “how the computer works.”

      I don’t think most people mean this phrase literally, so that is sort of irrelevant.

      Understanding the context means that learning C for this reason may still be a good idea for you, depending on your objectives.

    • NVIDIA CUDA Code In A JIT Interpreted Manner Via Cling

      Cling, the C++ interpreter built upon LLVM and Clang, is in the process of seeing support for NVIDIA CUDA.

      Based on Clang’s CUDA support, university students have been working on adding CUDA support to Cling so it can be interpreted at run-time — basically JIT’ed for the GPU being used. This is believed to be the first interpreter out there for the CUDA runtime API. They are using it for some interesting use-cases including working on CUDA-based code off notebooks.

    • Functional programming in Python: Immutable data structures

      In this two-part series, I will discuss how to import ideas from the functional programming methodology into Python in order to have the best of both worlds.

      This first post will explore how immutable data structures can help. The second part will explore higher-level functional programming concepts in Python using the toolz library.

    • Kiwi TCMS 6.0

      This release removes squashed migrations. Direct upgrades from versions < 5.3.1 to 6.0 will break without an intermediate upgrade to 5.3.1!

    • littler 0.3.5: Other kids broke my toys

      The sixth release of littler as a CRAN package is now available, following in the now more than twelve-year history as a package started by Jeff in 2006, and joined by me a few weeks later.

      littler is the first command-line interface for R and predates Rscript. And it is (in my very biased eyes) better as it allows for piping as well shebang scripting via #!, uses command-line arguments more consistently and still starts faster. It also always loaded the methods package which Rscript converted to rather recently.

      littler lives on Linux and Unix, has its difficulties on macOS due to yet-another-braindeadedness there (who ever thought case-insensitive filesystems as a default where a good idea?) and simply does not exist on Windows (yet – the build system could be extended – see RInside for an existence proof, and volunteers are welcome!).

Leftovers
  • Science
    • Nobel awarded for using Darwin’s ideas to make antibodies and catalysts

      This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to three researchers who figured out how to get evolutionary processes to work for us on the level of individual molecules and accelerate it to the point where the results were available in weeks or months rather than years. The results have included proteins that catalyze the formation of chemical bonds life has never created and antibodies that can bind to any molecule of our choosing. These results have already found their place in industrial production and medical treatments.

  • Security
    • ClamAV 0.100.2 has been released!

      ClamAV 0.100.2 has been released! This is a patch release to address several vulnerabilities.

    • Phishing Attack on Azure Blog Storage Dodges Users by Displaying a Signed SSL Certificate from Microsoft

      The user when enters their information, the contents will be submitted to a server which is being operated by the phishing attackers. The opened page will pretend that the document is beginning to download but it ultimately just redirects the user to this URL: https://products.office.com/en-us/sharepoint/collaboration Microsoft site.

    • Phishing Attack Uses Azure Blob Storage to Impersonate Microsoft

      Even though phishing attacks can be quite convincing, a give away is when diligent users notice that the login form is unsecured or the SSL certificate is clearly not owned by the company being impersonated. A new Office 365 phishing attack utilizes an interesting method of storing their phishing form hosted on Azure Blob Storage in order to be secured by a Microsoft SSL certificate.

    • Fing: future-proofing Fingbox the IoT home network monitoring device

      As many as 20.4 billion internet of things devices are estimated to be in use by 2020, according to Gartner, with consumer products making up 63% of this figure.

      A large amount of these will be low-cost devices, rushed out by manufacturers in order to capitalise on this opportunity. Unfortunately, this method typically pays no attention to the long-term lifecycle of a product or software strategy.

      Factors that are typically not considered include: how can security updates be rolled out quickly? How to ensure your customers are on the latest version of your software especially once the device is out in consumer’s homes? How can the product lifecycle be extended through software functionality which may even up new revenue opportunities?

    • Facebook hack: People’s accounts appear for sale on dark web
    • Hacked Facebook Logins Are Available On Dark Web Just For $3.90: Report
    • Huge Facebook breach leaves thousands of other apps vulnerable

      Unfortunately, from a security standpoint, using Facebook or any other social media app to log into other services is not a smart thing to do, says Dana Simberkoff, chief risk, privacy, and information security officer for the enterprise security firm AvePoint.

    • Using Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations? Using Skype? Not for long!

      The issue, which could stop a user being able to sign in, affects Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations in an on-premises environment. A “refactoring” in the way Skype authenticates its users has been blamed.

      Skype integration provides real-time presence and communication for Dynamics 365 users, and for some older versions of the Finance and Operations platform the integration is enabled by default. In these instances, Microsoft strongly recommends manually disabling it.

      [...]

      Microsoft has not been clear when integration with Skype can be switched back on, saying only that the problem could occur “during this update”. The Register has contacted the software giant to get a definitive time frame and will update if one is forthcoming.

    • Cameron Kaiser: Fruitfly and the Power Mac

      The history the FBI relates suggests that early infections were initiated manually by him, largely for the purpose of catching compromising webcam pictures and intercepting screenshots and logins when users entered keystrokes suggesting sexual content. If you have an iSight with the iris closed, though, there was no way he could trigger that because of the hardware cutoff, another benefit of having an actual switch on our computer cameras (except the iMac G5, which was a bag of hurt anyway and one of the few Power Macs I don’t care for).

      Fruitfly spreads by attacking weak passwords for AFP (Apple Filing Protocol) servers, as well as RDP, VNC, SSH and (on later Macs) Back to My Mac. Fortunately, however, it doesn’t seem to get its hooks very deep into the OS. It can be relatively easily found by looking for a suspicious launch agent in ~/Library/LaunchAgents (a Power Mac would undoubtedly be affected by variant A, so check ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.client.client.plist first), and if this file is present, launchctl unload it, delete it, and delete either ~/.client or ~/fpsaud depending on the variant the system was infected with. After that, change all your passwords and make sure you’re not exposing those services where you oughtn’t anymore!

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Bellingcat’s Very Obviously Fake Chepiga Photo

      So why is Chepiga in a row of much earlier Heroes of the Soviet Union? Next in sequence in fact to Grigory Dobrunov who got his award in 1956!!!! The pictures are definitely otherwise all in date order.

      The glaringly obvious answer – in line with the reflections anomaly – is that Chepiga’s “picture” has been photoshopped onto this wall. The military do not suddenly insert photos out of order and at random on an honours board. Bellingcat, however, have a track record of image manipulation.

      None of which proves or disproves the Boshirov identification. It is however an important reminder to take Bellingcat as a source with a pinch of salt.

    • Secret Wikileaks Document on France UAE Arms Deal Raises Questions

      It’s notoriously hard to look inside the murky world of large-scale government arms dealings. And it’s even harder to separate the legal from the illegal in a world where lobbying, networks and secrecy are part of the job.

      A new document leaked by whistleblowing website Wikileaks has once again shown that those involved in arms dealings have little or no concern about whether their dealings constitute corruption until there are legal repercussions.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Future of Julian Assange: John Pilger mounts attack on Britain’s Guardian

      Fabled war correspondent John Pilger has once again brought to the fore the legality of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s detention in Britain. Pilger, a fierce critic of the US and UK foreign policy, lashed out at Britain’s Guardian newspaper, saying it was carrying out a “campaign of unrelenting vindictiveness against Julian Assange.”

      Speaking to Russia Today, Pilger said Guardian’s attack on Assange was on a level that he hasn’t seen in his lifetime. He added that the Guardian exploited Assange first and took advantage of the work of WikiLeaks, before turning against him.

      In a scathing attack Pilger said there are two kinds of media in the world — the approved and the unapproved. Pilger, whose legendary war reportage in the 60s got him Britain’s Journalist of the Year award twice, said Assange was targeted as he refused to be a ‘member of the club’.

    • Wikileaks’ 12th anniversary: Assange spends 2858 days in Ecuador embassy

      Twelve years ago Wikileaks, a non-profit organisation that publishes secret information, launched on October 4. Wikileaks is specialized in the analysis and publication of large datasets of censored or otherwise restricted official materials involving war, spying and corruption. It has so far published more than 10 million documents and associated analyses.
      Wikileaks 12th anniversary: Assange spends 2858 days in Ecuador embassy

      Julian Assange, the founder is reportedly under isolation at Ecuadorian Embassy in the United Kingdom. As per Wikileaks, since 28 March 2018, the government of Ecuador has imposed a regime of isolation on Assange, which means that he may receive no visitors other than his lawyers, and is kept incommunicado from friends and family through the government’s installation of signal jammers which interfere with wifi and phone signals. The government has also imposed a gag on any public statements and interviews.

    • ‘Unrelenting vindictiveness’: Pilger talks MSM landscape & Assange, Syria & US sanctions wars

      There are two types of media in the world – approved and unapproved – and the public is generally only allowed to see the former, journalist John Pilger told RT. He also spoke about Western sanctions and Trump’s approach in Syria.

      Speaking to RT’s Going Underground, Pilger said that he believes you can categorize the news as approved or unapproved. “Basically we’re allowed to see the approved news but not allowed to see the unapproved news. Usually the unapproved version is the evidence…it’s the piece in the puzzle that allows us to make sense of the news; we’re denied that.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Indigenous Communities around World Helping to Win Legal Rights of Nature

      In March 2017, the government of New Zealand officially recognized the Whanganui River—which the indigenous Maori consider their ancestor—as a living entity with rights. By protecting the Whanganui against human threats to its health, the New Zealand law established “a critical precedent for acknowledging the Rights of Nature in legal systems around the world,” Kayla DeVault reported for YES! Magazine. As DeVault wrote, from New Zealand and Australia to Canada and the United States, “we are seeing a revival” of communities seeking to protect natural systems and resources on the basis of “non-Western, often indigenous” worldviews that challenge the values of “colonial” governments.

      The YES! Magazine story described how, after a legal battle spanning more than one hundred years, the Maori Iwi secured protection for the Whanganui by forcing the government to honor Maori “practices, beliefs, and connection” to the river.

      As DeVault wrote, if the Maori were able to bridge “the gap in Western and indigenous paradigms in New Zealand, surely a similar effort to protect the Missouri River could be produced for the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River nations by the American government.”

      In the battle over the Dakota Access pipeline, DeVault reported, the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin “amended its constitution to include the Rights of Nature.”

    • Another Court Ruling Against a West Virginia Pipeline, Then Another Effort to Change the Rules

      Time and again, opponents have tried to delay a natural gas pipeline that would stretch from Northern West Virginia to Southern Virginia, using lawsuits to stall permit approvals or construction.

      And time and again, state and federal regulators have stepped in to remove such hurdles, even if it has meant rewriting their own rules.

      Now, the process looks to be repeating itself.

      On Tuesday, a federal appeals court blocked a key permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline, a 300-mile natural gas project that’s known as MVP. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wrongly approved a permit that allowed MVP to temporarily dam four of West Virginia’s rivers so the pipeline can be buried beneath the streambeds.

  • Finance
    • $21 Trillion in Unaccounted-for Government Spending from 1998 to 2015

      Two federal government agencies, the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), may have accumulated as much as $21 trillion in undocumented expenses between 1998 and 2015. Independent news sources, including RT and USAWatchdog, reported this finding based on an investigation conducted by Mark Skidmore, a professor of economics at Michigan State University. Skidmore began to research the alleged irregularities in DoD and HUD spending after hearing Catherine Austin Fitts, who was assistant secretary of HUD during the George H.W. Bush administration, say that the Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) had found $6.5 trillion worth of military spending that the Department of Defense could not account for. [For Project Censored’s previous coverage of the missing $6.5 trillion in US Army spending, see Elsa Denis with Mickey Huff, “Over Six Trillion Dollars in Unaccountable Army Spending,” in Censored 2018: Press Freedoms in a “Post-Truth” World.]

      The figure given by Fitts was 54 times the US Army’s $122 billion budget as authorized by Congress, leading Skidmore to think that Fitts had meant $6.5 billion in undocumented spending, not $6.5 trillion. Typically, adjustments in public budgets are only a small fraction of authorized spending. In an article for Forbes, co-authored with Laurence Kotlikoff, Skidmore said the “gargantuan nature” of the undocumented federal spending “should be a great concern to all tax payers.”

      Working with Fitts and two graduate students, Skidmore investigated reports from the

      websites of the Departments of Defense and Housing and Urban Development as well as the Office of Inspector General. In one of these reports, Skidmore found an appendix that showed a transfer of approximately $800 billion from the US Treasury to the Army. As MSU Today reported, not only did Skidmore’s queries to the OIG go unanswered, but the OIG also at one point disabled links to “all key documents showing the unsupported spending.” Skidmore and his colleagues were able to continue their research because they had already downloaded and stored the relevant documents. [See Solari’s archive of the documents, “DOD and HUD Missing Money: Supporting Documentation.” Solari is a private company founded by Catherine Austin Fitts, who also serves as the company’s president.]

    • You Don’t Earn Much and You’re Being Audited by the IRS. Now What?

      The Internal Revenue Service audited nearly 1.1 million tax returns last year, but that represented just 0.5 percent of all returns. That means the chances of getting audited are fairly low.

      But if you are audited, there’s a good chance it’s because you claimed the earned income tax credit. That’s a credit the federal government offers to people who work, have kids to take care of and don’t earn much money. Most households who claim it earn between $10,000 and $40,000 a year. The average credit is for $2,400, but it can go above $6,000 for larger families.

      The IRS audits a lot of people who claim this credit. When that happens, the IRS blocks the refund. Some people may actually end up owing tax instead of getting a refund.

      Below is an actual audit notice sent to a taxpayer last year, which was provided to us by the taxpayer’s legal aid attorney. We’ve annotated it to provide important context and added links to helpful resources for those facing an IRS audit.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The Limits of Negative News and Importance of Constructive Media

      Historically, journalism has highlighted social problems in order to expose wrongdoing, inform the public, and spur reform. This “watchdog” role is vital to a democratic society. However, as Christopher Reeve Linares reported for The Whole Story, as a result of a “negativity bias,” news reporting often fails to “capture and circulate some of the most essential information that society needs to understand and solve its problems.” As Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, observed, “Perceived threat without efficacy of response is usually a recipe for disengagement or fatalism.” Reeve Linares’s report highlighted recent research on the consequences of negative news overload and how “solutions journalism” can help empower news consumers as engaged actors. [For previous Project Censored coverage of “solutions journalism,” see, for example, Sarah van Gelder, “Solutions in a Time of Climate Meltdown: The Most Censored (and Indispensible) Story,” in Censored 2014: Fearless Speech in Fateful Times.]

      Research shows that negative news overload has led news consumers to feel increasingly depressed, anxious, and helpless. A 2014 study by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health found that 40 percent of the 2,505 respondents polled said that watching, reading, or listening to the news was one of the biggest daily stressors in their lives. Only juggling schedules of family members and hearing about what politicians were doing rated higher as stressors, affecting 48 percent and 44 percent of respondents, respectively.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Wikipedia Bans Right Wing Site Breitbart as a Source for Facts

      Wikipedia editors voted to ban Breitbart as a source of fact in it articles. The consensus, reached late last month, agreed that the outlet “should not be used, ever, as a reference for facts, due to its unreliability.” Wikipedia editors also decided that InfoWars is a “conspiracy theorist and fake news website,” and that the “use of InfoWars as a reference should be generally prohibited.

    • “Model” Mississippi Curriculum Omits Civil Rights Movement from School Textbooks

      Inadequate textbooks used in the Mississippi school system are affecting civil rights education, Sierra Mannie reported for the Hechinger Report in October 2017.

      In 2011, Mississippi adopted new social studies standards. Before then, public schools in the state were not required to teach the Civil Rights Movement, and the phrase “civil rights” was mentioned only three times in the 305-page document that outlined the previous standards. As Mannie wrote, “The Civil Rights Movement was once a footnote in Mississippi social studies classrooms, if it was covered at all.”

      With its 2011 adoption of social studies standards establishing an expectation that students learn civil rights in much greater depth, the state was heralded as a model for other states by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPCL): A March 2012 SPLC report stated, “Mississippi’s recent adoption of a Civil Rights/Human Rights strand across all grade levels should be a model for other states.” However, even as Mississippi’s new standards were intended to be a model system for other states to emulate, an investigation by the Hechinger Report and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting found, according to Mannie, that “all of the state’s 148 school districts rely on textbooks published before the model standards appeared as part of their social studies material.”

    • ICE Intends to Destroy Records of Inhumane Treatment of Immigrants

      In recent years, numerous news reports have highlighted illegal or inhumane actions committed by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in their attempts to expel illegal immigrants. Despite the severity and frequency of these abuses, any official records documenting them may soon be destroyed. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ICE officers in the past year have been given provisional approval by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to destroy thousands of records that document unlawful ICE actions.

      As Kali Holloway reported for AlterNet, these records include information on illegal detainment of immigrants, inhumane holding conditions, sexual abuses by officers, and wrongful deaths while in ICE custody. As Victoria López of the ACLU wrote, “ICE proposed various timelines for the destruction of these records ranging from 20 years for sexual assault and death records to three years for reports about solitary confinement.” Although murder does not have a statute of limitations, apparently documentation of it can, as long as the crime was committed while the victim was in ICE custody.

    • Infowars Publisher Sues Paypal Claiming ‘Viewpoint-Based Censorship’: Read the Complaint
    • Alex Jones Sues PayPal Over Ban, Seeks Reinstatement
    • PayPal sued for banning Alex Jones’ Infowars, accused of anti-conservative discrimination
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Facebook extends account deletion grace period from 14 to 30 days

      Facebook recently extended the deletion grace period for terminating your main account from 14 to 30 days, the company confirmed to The Verge. Now, when you go to delete your Facebook account, you have up to one month to reverse the decision if you choose to log back in. Facebook won’t automatically restore your account if you log in, but it says you will have “the option to cancel your request.”

      “We recently increased the grace period when you choose to delete your Facebook account from 14 days to 30 days,” says a Facebook spokesperson. “We’ve seen people try to log in to accounts they’ve opted to delete after the 14-day period. The increase gives people more time to make a fully informed choice.”

    • Facebook Now Makes You Wait For 30 Days To Delete Your Account Permanently

      Facebook has recently increased the number of days it takes to delete your account permanently from their servers. Earlier, the Facebook account deletion procedure took 14 days; now, according to a spokesperson who confirmed to The Verge, it will take 30 days.

      This means you have the time period of one month if you want to cancel your decision of leaving Facebook. If you choose to log back in, the social network site will give you the option of withdrawing your request of deleting your account.

    • AT&T Claims It Wants Meaningful Privacy Rules…After Just Lobbying To Kill Meaningful Privacy Rules

      If you hadn’t noticed, the telecom industry has been on a tear lately, completely dismantling most government oversight of its natural monopolies. From killing net neutrality to gutting FCC and state authority to rein in ISP bad behavior, companies like AT&T dream of a future where neither competiton nor even modest regulatory oversight prevent it from its god-given mission to rip off and otherwise overcharge the company’s largely captive customer bases.

      At the same time, AT&T is now part of a coordinated effort between the telecom sector and the Trump administration to saddle Silicon Valley giants like Facebook and Google with additional regulation while demonizing them as out of control monsters. Why? As AT&T and Comcast push deeper into the online ad industry, they’re looking for any advantage they can get against entrenched search and social media giants. And, given their political power, domination of the broadband last mile, and the government’s apathy to both problems, those advantages run deep.

      At the heart of this little stage play sits our national conversation about what new privacy laws might look like. Last week, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing consumer advocates weren’t even invited to. Instead, companies with utterly terrible track records of privacy abuses were given starring roles in dictating just what said privacy legislation should look like.

    • EFF Pushes Back Against NSA Bid To End Spying Challenge

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation has laid out additional evidence to support its long-running California federal lawsuit claiming that the National Security Agency unlawfully spied on hundreds of millions of unsuspecting Americans…

    • FBI Paid Geek Squad Employees as “Confidential Human Source” Informants

      New documents released to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) show that the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Louisville field officers have been paying Best Buy Geek Squad employees as informants for more than a decade. A Geek Squad facility in Kentucky has been violating customers’ constitutional rights by secretly handing over data found on customer computers to the FBI whenever employees suspected customers of possessing illegal material, such as child pornography. Evidence indicates that the FBI treated Geek Squad employees as confidential human sources, or “CHS,” and that at least four Geek Squad CHS were paid for their “services” to the FBI.

      In 2014, a California doctor, Mark Rettenmaier, was prosecuted for child pornography found on his computer after the Geek Squad had worked on it. The EFF filed a Freedom of Information request in May 2017 to gain a better understanding of the Geek Squad’s relationship with the FBI, since such a partnership “potentially circumvents computer owners’ Fourth Amendment rights.” The Fourth Amendment protects citizens’ right to privacy, including protection from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. The searches of customers’ computers by the Geek Squad are a clear violation of this right because they constituted warrantless searches at the direction of the FBI.

    • Episode 1: Digital Privacy

      Katherine Druckman talks to Doc Searls about digital privacy, wizards and muggles, and boiled frogs.

    • Body Cam Company Files Patent For Built-In Facial Recognition Tech

      Police body cameras are the savior that failed to materialize. Accountability was the end goal, but obstacles were immediately erected by internal policies, cop-friendly legislation, and existing public records carve-outs for anything “investigation”-related.

      Making things worse are the officers themselves. When excessive force or other unconstitutional tactics are deployed, body cams seem to malfunction at an alarming rate. And that’s only if officers can be bothered to turn them on at all. Body cams have served up a bunch of exonerating footage and delivered evidence to prosecutors, but have done little to make law enforcement more accountable.

      This trend isn’t in any danger of reversing. Body cam manufacturers are seeking to expand their offerings, but the focus appears to be on giving law enforcement the extras it wants, rather than what the public is actually seeking. A good summary of recent body cam developments by Sidney Fussell at The Atlantic contains a discussion a new patent application by body cam manufacturer Digital Ally.

    • New York City Home-Sharing Ordinance Could Create Privacy Nightmare

      Airbnb recently filed a lawsuit against the city of New York, asking that officials be enjoined from enforcing the ordinance. This week, EFF filed an amicus brief in support of that request for a permanent injunction, arguing that the data collection is an unconstitutional warrantless search on the government’s behalf. We all have a Fourth Amendment right to protect our private lives—particularly our home lives—and requiring businesses to release this data to the city violates that right.

      With this ordinance, New York tried to circumvent the constitutional issue by mandating that the home-sharing platforms to obtain hosts’ consent to release their data to the city. But you can’t use a Terms of Service to get people to sign away their constitutional rights. It’s essential that information is not disclosed to the government without any allegation of wrongdoing. We hope the court agrees.

    • Briefing Thursday: EFF’s Eva Galperin and Lookout Discuss, Demo Cybersecurity Attacks On Democracy

      Galperin’s work at EFF includes uncovering a malware espionage campaign that targeted people in the U.S. and across the globe, and publishing research on malware in Syria, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, and Lebanon.

    • Lifting the Cloak of Secrecy From NYPD Surveillance Technology

      Why New York Needs the POST Act

      For decades the NYPD has committed to righting a legacy of unwarranted surveillance. Yet court proceedings continue to find the Department’s surveillance practices in violation of political, religious, and other fundamental freedoms.

      Against this troubling historical backdrop, images from more than eight thousand public and privately owned surveillance cameras feed into the Department’s Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center (LMSCC) each day. In the words of Police Commissioner James O’Neill, “that’s the world we’re living in now. Any street, any incident in New York City, you get to—most of the time—that gets captured on video surveillance”. In addition to these panopticon-levels of video footage, NYPD watch officers and analysts—working alongside “Stakeholder” representatives including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and the Federal Reserve—monitor a treasure trove of data collected and analyzed through ShotSpotter microphones, face recognition technology, license plate readers, and more.

      How the NYPD disseminates the information collected by this surveillance technology—as well as spy tech used by detectives and officers throughout the city—is largely a mystery to New York residents and lawmakers.

      Lawmakers must assure that the NYPD delivers public safety without violating New Yorkers’ rights to privacy and association. However, decades of federal grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security—which oversees the principal agencies involved with immigration enforcement—have resulted in the NYPD’s development of an arsenal of surveillance technology with far too little oversight from elected officials and their constituents.

    • Why you can’t have privacy on the [I]nternet

      I recently attended a discussion at Fifth Elephant on privacy. During the panel, one of the panelists asked the audience: “how many of you are concerned about your privacy online, and take steps to protect it?”

      At this point, most of the hands in the panel shot up.

      After that, I decided to ask the naughty question: “how many of you pay at least 500rs/month for services that give you privacy?”

      Very few hands shot up.

      Let me emphasize that this was a self selected group, a set of people at a technology conference who were so interested in privacy that they chose to attend a panel discussion on it (instead of concurrent talks on object detection and explainable algorithms). Besides me and perhaps 2 or 3 others, no one was willing to pay for privacy.

      Instead of paying for it, many of the people at the panel wanted the government to mandate it. Moreover, many people seemed to think it would somehow be free to provide.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Repression in Saudi Arabia has reached a new level

      Saudi dissidents who fled abroad to escape repression at home are looking over their shoulders. On October 2nd Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist and government critic (pictured), went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to file paperwork for a new marriage. His fiancée is still waiting for him to return. Turkish customs officials are scouring the ports with his photograph, fearing the Saudis have kidnapped him.

    • 78-year-old man sentenced to 7 years for insulting Erdoğan

      A 78-year-old man received a seven-year jail sentence for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on social media, independent news site Diken reported.

    • Mothers Should Not Be Jailed and Separated From Their Kids Before Trial

      Despite not having been convicted of a crime, mothers in Oklahoma are routinely jailed before trial with devastating results for their families.

      Tanisha (a pseudonym) is a 25-year-old mother of four who was arrested in Oklahoma in 2017 following a domestic dispute with her boyfriend. Three of her children, a toddler and twin infants, were present. Once jailed, Tanisha’s bail was set at $61,000. She couldn’t afford to pay it, so she stayed behind bars, separated from her children.

      This is wealth-based family separation perpetuated by the criminal justice system.

      A new joint report from the ACLU and Human Rights Watch, “You Miss So Much When You’re Gone,” shines a light on this injustice and shows how even short stays in jail can have a lasting impact on families. The report focuses on Tanisha and other moms who have been jailed in Oklahoma, a state that incarcerates more women per capita than any other.

      After a month in jail, Tanisha was desperate to get back to her kids, so she decided to accept a five-year suspended sentence. But shortly after she was released, her children were taken into foster care. Tanisha has been struggling ever since to regain child custody.

      The state has placed a host of obstacles between Tanisha and her children, such as paying for programs and services the state requires but she doesn’t have the money for. She can’t afford required domestic violence classes. She can’t afford a parenting class. She can’t afford a psychological evaluation. She lost a job because she was trying to attend child welfare meetings and receive required services. As a consequence, she fears that her children will be adopted and that she will lose them forever.

    • Why the ACLU Opposes Brett Kavanaugh’s Nomination to the Supreme Court

      The ACLU board concluded sexual assault allegations raised enough doubt to warrant opposing a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

      On Friday, Sept. 28, following the Senate Judiciary hearing at which both Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh testified, the ACLU decided to depart from its usual policy in order to oppose the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

      It was not a decision we took lightly. As a matter of policy, the ACLU does not endorse or oppose presidential nominations. We have made exceptions, but those exceptions are few and far between. In our 98-year history, we have only opposed four Supreme Court nominees.

    • Berkeley Police Posted Mugshots Of Activists To ‘Create Counter-Narrative’ Of Protests Against Far-Right

      The Berkeley Police Department posted the mugshots and personal information of 15 activists on August 5, who were arrested while counter-protesting at a far-right rally.

      The people whose names, ages, and mugshots Berkeley police blasted out on social media had not been arraigned or convicted of any crime, and the department’s decision to tweet this information sparked immediate criticism and concern that it was opening arrestees up to harassment.

      Now, documents obtained through a public records request and released by Lucy Parsons Labs reveal details about the Berkeley Police Department’s (BPD) controversial use of its Twitter account.

      “Given the extraordinary, complex, and unprecedented nature of social media in shaping and creating conflict in Berkeley, the Berkeley Police Department used social media to help create a counter-narrative,” reads the department’s protocol for posting mugshots.

      Berkeley city communications director Matthai Chakko said tweeting mugshots of arrestees was an attempt to combat a narrative online that suggested Berkeley police’s failure to enforce the rule of law justified the use of violence by citizens.

    • Direct Action and the British State

      The draconian sentencing to jail of anti-fracking activists for non-violent direct action has received insufficient attention. It is a confident state that can undertake to bring back a level of repression not seen for decades – eight decades, in fact, since environmental activists received this kind of lengthy jail sentence, despite generations of tree climbing and road blocking.

      Non violent direct action has been an area of tacit complicity between state and protestors. I have over the years participated myself – the occupation of the building site of Torness nuclear power station was a defining moment for my generation in Scotland, and I will cheerfully admit I participated in criminal damage of plant and equipment. I have blocked the road at Faslane occasionally too. While a week or two of my life in jail always seemed a threat, the idea of 16 month jail sentences for such protest appeared a nightmare from a distant age.

      The judge in the fracking case, Robert Altham, is evidently a vicious old Tory, descended by his own account from the judge who conducted the infamous Pendle witch trials. His parents, John and Linda Altham, have the same name as the owners of Althams, a company supplying the offshore oil and gas industry. The company is also Lancashire based and it seems very probable they are the same family. Given that the judiciary allowed a judge to handle Julian Assange’s bail hearing, despite the fact that she was married to a former Tory chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, who had started a consultancy together with the former head of MI6, I am not in the least surprised that a corrupt Establishment allows such prejudiced judges to act so viciously – in both cases.

    • Lawsuit Settlement Looking To Kill Philadelphia’s Severely Abused Forfeiture Program

      The city’s program was infamous for things like seizing a house because one resident (not the owner) sold cops $40 worth of drugs. Another case featuring the IJ’s legal assistance sought the return of another home seized after a $140 drug purchase. In the first instance, prosecutors dropped the case and returned the property after the litigation received national attention. In the latter, the state’s Supreme Court found the seizure of the house unwarranted and unjustifiable — a harsh punishment that far outstripped the seriousness of the crime.

      The proposed settlement [PDF] would drastically alter Philly’s forfeiture laws and policies. Importantly, it would strip the financial incentive for seizures by redirecting forfeiture funds towards drug rehab programs and away from the law enforcement agencies that have directly profited from this program for years.

      It also would make tiny forfeitures — the ones least likely to be disputed — a historical relic. Seizures of less than $1,000 would either need to be tied to an arrest or used as evidence in criminal cases. Cash seizures of less than $250 would be completely forbidden. This is important because data shows the median cash seizure by Philly law enforcement is $178.

    • Travelers To New Zealand Now Face $3,000 Fines If They Don’t Give Their Device Passwords To Customs Agents

      There are plenty of ways to get digital “things” across the border without carrying them on your person in some sort of electronic “suitcase” you know customs officials are going to take from you as soon as you enter the country. This may help catch some dumb criminals, but it’s not going to have much of an effect on the “sophisticated” organized crime groups.

      What will happen is lots of people not connected to any criminal enterprise will have their devices seized and searched just because. The new fine will discourage visitors from refusing Customs’ advances, allowing officials to paw through their digital goods just like they do their clothing. And all the government can offer in response is that the ends justifies the means.

    • New Zealand to order tourists to hand over phone password at customs or risk a hefty fine

      New Zealand is introducing a controversial new law which will see tourists ordered to hand over their phone passwords when requested at customs.

      Those who refuse could risk a hefty fine of up to $5,000 (approximately £2500).

      The new Customs and Excise Law allows customs official to request passengers hand over their passwords so that they can search the device.

      And it’s not just passwords. The law states that “access information includes codes, passwords, and encryption keys, and any related information that enables access to an electronic device”.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Entire broadband industry sues California to stop net neutrality law

      The lawsuit was filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of California by mobile industry lobby CTIA, cable industry lobby NCTA, telco lobby USTelecom, and the American Cable Association, which represents small and mid-size cable companies. Together, these four lobby groups represent all the biggest mobile and home Internet providers in the US and hundreds of smaller ISPs. Comcast, Charter, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile US, Sprint, Cox, Frontier, and CenturyLink are among the groups’ members.

    • Internet providers sue California over net neutrality law

      Four industry groups representing internet providers such as AT&T and Comcast filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in federal court in California that accuses lawmakers there of “unconstitutional state regulation.”

    • Web creator works to liberate personal data

      He added: “It does a small fraction of what things like Dropbox or Nextcloud do, written in Javascript, and is overly complex. It will fail.”

      And identity and privacy researcher Steve Wilson asked: “Even if people could control their personal data, what does Solid do about all the data created about us behind our backs?

    • The Entire Broadband Industry Just Sued California For Daring To Protect Net Neutrality

      As expected, the broadband industry filed suit against the state of California today over the state’s shiny new net neutrality law. The lawsuit (pdf), filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of California, echoes many of the same arguments made in the DOJ’s own recent lawsuit against the state. For a moment, let’s just stop and pause to appreciate the fact that the federal government is now, with zero pretense, officially working hand in hand with some of the least-liked monopolies in America to ensure their right to be able to screw you over. It if it wasn’t so obnoxious, it could be deemed high art.

      Both lawsuits attempt to claim that language embedded in the FCC’s net neutrality repeal (at direct Comcast and Verizon lobbyist behest) prohibits states from stepping in and filling the consumer protection void.

    • African Countries Shooting Themselves In The Digital Foot By Imposing Taxes And Levies On Internet Use#

      The article explains that the last of these was rescinded within days because of public pressure, while Kenya’s tax is currently on hold thanks to a court order. Nonetheless, there is a clear tendency among some African governments to see the Internet as a handy new source of tax income. That’s clearly a very short-sighted move. At a time when the digital world in Africa is advancing rapidly, with innovation hubs and startups appearing all over the continent, making it more expensive and thus harder for ordinary people to access the Internet threatens to throttle this growth.

    • How some African governments are keeping millions of citizens offline

      A4AI’s recent mobile broadband pricing update shows that Africans face the highest cost to connect to the internet — just 1GB of mobile data costs the average user in Africa nearly 9% of their monthly income, while their counterparts in the Asia-Pacific region pay one-fifth of that price (around 1.5% of monthly income). Despite this already high cost to connect, we’re seeing a worrying trend of governments across Africa imposing a variety of taxes on some of the most popular internet applications and services.

    • Digital Justice: Internet Co-ops Resist Net Neutrality Rollbacks

      More than 300 electric cooperatives across the United States are building their own Internet with high-speed fiber networks. These locally-owned networks are poised to do what federal and state governments and the marketplace have not accomplished. First, they are protecting open Internet access from the Internet service providers (ISPs) that stand to pocket the profits from the rollbacks of net neutrality the Trump administration announced in November 2017. Second, they are making affordable and fast Internet accessible to anyone, narrowing the digital divide that otherwise deepens individual and regional socioeconomic inequalities.

      In Detroit, for example, 40 percent of the population has no access of any kind to the Internet. Because of Detroit’s economic woes, many big telecom companies have apparently decided that it is not worthwhile to invest in expanding their networks to these communities. Internet connectivity is a crucial economic leveler without which people can fall behind in school, health, and the job market.

  • DRM
    • Thank you for participating in International Day Against DRM 2018!

      Thank you everyone for helping to make September 18th another successful International Day Against DRM (IDAD)! Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) is an issue we have to face every day. In rallying together for a single day against DRM, we sent a powerful message: DRM is just wrong and we can live in a society without it.

      Hundreds of you around the world took action on IDAD: going out into your campuses, communities, and around the Web, and sharing your opposition to how DRM restricts your freedom as a user of software and media. The 17 participating organizations took their own actions, creating videos, releasing reports, and writing articles. Here in Boston, we visited the Apple Store and talked with shoppers about their digital rights and how Apple devices abuse those rights using DRM.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Qualcomm’s Mannheim Steamroller is stuttering: patents too young to defeat Apple in tech-savvy court

      When Qualcomm started filing patent infringement actions against Apple (and, by practical extension, Intel) in Mannheim and Munich last year, it hoped to gain leverage through injunctive relief over non-standard-essential patents in the largest EU economy. In February, Qualcomm’s German counsel exuded confidence and predicted an injunction by the summer. Summer is gone, and based on where things stand after all the hearings and trials held so far (up to yesterday’s Mannheim trial, which this post is mostly about), Qualcomm’s next chance to make serious headway against Apple in Germany may not even come until next summer (or, maybe, spring). In the meantime, Qualcomm’s FTC trial in San Jose and possibly also the Apple trial in San Diego (a pretrial conference will be held this year, but no firm trial dates are on PACER) will go forward.

      Each patent is different, though Qualcomm’s asserted patents do have some overlaps (several of them are asserted against an envelope tracker made by Qorvo), but there is a pattern here. The first Qualcomm v. Apple (and, by extension, Intel) Mannheim trial was already symptomatic: Qualcomm felt forced to stipulate to a stay over a huge validity issue. This was a first win for Apple, Intel, their attorneys at law, and especially their patent attorneys from Samson & Partner. At the second Mannheim trial, held the week before last, the court didn’t propose a stay, but took note of an independent opinion handed down by the Swedish patent office, according to which that patent should never have been granted in the first place. At yesterday’s trial over EP3036768 on a “layout construction for addressing electromigration”, Presiding Judge Dr. Holger Kircher again suggested a stipulated stay and reminded Quinn Emanuel’s Dr. Marcus Grosch that the rather strong presumption of validity that issued patents normally enjoy in German infringement proceedings does not apply to patent claims that the patent holder feels forced to modify substantively in response to prior art presented by a defendant. At that stage, it’s a new game and simply remains to be seen whether an examiner will or will not be persuaded of patentability.

    • Patenting Exception to Non-Disclosure Agreement

      This 7th Circuit decision stems a nondisclosure agreement – titled a “secrecy declaration — between Soarus and Bolson Materials. Soarus was a G-Polymer distributer (for Nippon Synthetic) and Bolson was looking to begin acquiring and using G-Polymer in connection with developing a new 3D printing process. Problems arose, though when Bolson filed for patent protection on a 3D printing process it developed using G-Polymer.

      [...]

      In reading the provision here, the district court construed the language of paragraph 10 as an exception that gave Bolston the right to “freely patent and protect new applications of GPolymer in the specified 3D printing process” without being confined to the confidentiality restrictions of the NDA.

      On appeal, the Seventh Circuit reviewed the contract interpretation de novo under Illinois law but arrived at the same result.

      [...]

      Since the language is clear, the standard contract interpretation process precludes the court from giving substantial or controlling weight to the commercial purposes of the agreement.

    • Copyrights
      • Music Group Cheers On Its Own Fake Antipiracy Victories

        There’s an old saying in statistics: figures don’t lie, but liars figure. Nowhere is this more the case than when you hear numbers streaming from the mouths of those in the anti-piracy business and copyright industries. Examples of this are legion, from the infamous practice of Hollywood accounting rendering hilariously successful films to red-ink status, to bogus piracy costs, to industry claims that rely on every download being a lost sale, to the overall prevalence of piracy statistics more generally speaking. While MUSO, the antipiracy outfit out of Europe, has made some recent noise about copyright holders tweaking their business models to reduce piracy instead of whining about, it has also participated in this liars-figuring practice.

        A great example of that can be found in MUSO’s recent partnership with the Association of Independent Music (AIM), where the latter has put out a press release about just how much great work MUSO has performed in taking down pirated content in the past four months.

      • MPAA Reports ‘Notorious’ Pirate Sites to The US Government

        The MPAA has submitted a new list of “notorious markets” to the US Government. The list features a wide variety of ‘pirate’ sites including The Pirate Bay, Openload and the Russian social network VK.com. Hosting companies and ad-networks are also highlighted, while pirate IPTV services are called out as an emerging threat.

      • ‘Bulletproof’ Hosting is An Emerging Piracy Threat, RIAA Warns

        The RIAA has noticed that pirate sites are increasingly turning to “bulletproof” hosting providers, which makes them harder to shut down. The music group lists Ecatel, Quasi Networks, and FlokiNET as examples in its yearly notorious markets report to the US Government.

      • MEPs vote for more European TV on our screens

        Before the rules come into force, however, the directive still needs to be approved by the Council. If adopted, member states will have a timeline of 21 months to transpose into national law the new requirements.

      • European Parliament approves 30% Euro content rules for VOD

        The updated rules include enhanced protection of minors from violence, hatred, terrorism and harmful advertising, meaning that video-sharing platforms will now be responsible for “reacting quickly” when content is reported or flagged by users as harmful.

      • New rules for audiovisual media services approved by Parliament

        The legislation does not include any automatic filtering of uploaded content, but, at the request of the Parliament, platforms need to create a transparent, easy-to-use and effective mechanism to allow users to report or flag content.

        [...]

        In order to support the cultural diversity of the European audiovisual sector, MEPs ensured that 30% of content in the video-on-demand platforms’ catalogues should be European.

Europe is Getting Flooded With Software Patents, Repeating the Mistakes Made by the United States

Thursday 4th of October 2018 01:13:59 PM

Summary: Today’s EPO is totally neglecting any perception or aspiration for patent quality; even abstract ideas are being enshrined as European Patents and examiners are compelled to play along, even in clear defiance of the European Patent Convention (EPC), also known as the Convention on the Grant of European Patents of 5 October 1973

THE EPO is not supposed to allow/award/grant software patents in Europe. António Campinos most certainly knows that, but he doesn’t care. Since his term had started the EPO relentlessly promoted software patents like no time before. Even the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is tougher on software patent applications, owing to 35 U.S.C. § 101. At the USPTO examiners don’t risk losing their job for rejecting these.

“At the USPTO examiners don’t risk losing their job for rejecting these.”The EPO’s management has learned the tricks; it instructs the applicants to use a bunch of mindless buzzwords like “AI” and then threatens examiners who see past the buzzwords (more or less every computer algorithm can be ‘spun’ or framed as “AI” because the concept is rather broad and vague).

The game of buzzwords isn’t limited to the West; China plays that game as well, Korea’s KIPO uses buzzwords made up/shored up by the EPO, and Singapore’s IPOS is among these corruptible patent offices that use buzzwords like “IoT and AI” to give teeth to abstract and likely bogus software patents. Here’s an example from yesterday, an “[i]nterview [with] Daren Tang of IPOS on office initiatives, AI and Belt and Road” (“AI” again, in the summary below as well). To quote:

The head of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore discusses IP trends in Singapore and ASEAN, including challenges spurred by IoT and AI, and innovations to capture Belt and Road Initiative opportunities

Nowadays patents get granted on all sorts of algorithms, including in the research domain I come from (computer vision). Here’s an example from last night.

“Nowadays patents get granted on all sorts of algorithms, including the research domain I come from (computer vision).”The EPO goes even further than most patent offices in enabling software patents. As we explained earlier this week, the EPO has lost any sense of shame and nowadays it's just openly promoting software patents under the guise of "AI". Here’s a new report about it: [via]

The European Patent Office (EPO) has published a preliminary update of its guidelines for examination, including changes for provisions relating to the patentability of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
Under the new provisions, real-world technical applications of AI and machine learning are patentable, as are inventions relating to inventions specifically adapted computer hardware.

However, according to Alex Korenberg, partner at Kilburn & Strode, the provisions mean that fundamental advances in AI and machine learning that are not specific to any application or hardware remain unpatentable.

So they’re just granting more and more monopolies on algorithms in Europe. As Benjamin Henrion quotes, calling it the “EPO’s technical tautology” (citing what we cited earlier this week): “However, restriction of the claim to a specific technical purpose and/or a specific technical implementation may impart technical character onto the AI algorithm and thus the invention may be considered patentable by the EPO.”

That’s ridiculous. They’re just granting patents on algorithms because of buzzwords and actively advising applicants to take advantage of this loophole they’re created.

“In practical terms Campinos has changed nothing at all since Battistelli left his penthouse.”Over in the US, back on September 13th, a site called Visual Capitalist was calling software patents “AI” once again; it’s one among those many articles advising applicants to bypass the limitations imposed by the courts, even if the courts rather than examiners will reject such patents anyway.

IAM, a loud proponent of software patents and a partner of the EPO, has just advertised an event it hashtagged “Software IP Patent” (as in software patents by another name because US courts nowadays reject these).

It’s not hard to see whose agenda is served by all this. It’s also not hard to see the role of Campinos, even if he (characteristically) keeps quiet and keeps himself in the background. In practical terms Campinos has changed nothing at all since Battistelli left his penthouse.

Submissive, Bribed and EPO-Connected Media Organisations Help Perpetuate Corruption by Failing or Refusing to Cover It

Thursday 4th of October 2018 12:32:43 PM

Turning a blind eye isn’t helpful to Europe; it puts corrosive actions behind the curtain, allowing them to flourish and expand

Summary: The media is still full of puff pieces and intentionally misleading marketing pieces; it is meanwhile rather obvious that things aren’t rosy and EPO corruption has spread to more institutions across Europe

THE abusive management in Munich wishes to move past EPO scandals; it keeps talking about “SMEs” (at least once per day, distracting from facts like these) and this odd cliché was retweeted by the EPO earlier this week. Mixing culture with corporate monopolies seems to be a popular PR theme, so they went along with: “Pretzels Pints Patents Discover the hidden world of innovation behind Germany’s most iconic festival … #Oktoberfest” (they conflate foods with patents, never mind if in reality crops are being made a monopoly, artificially limiting access to food such as pastries and alcoholic beverages).

“The EPO is not an EU agency with a European agenda.”The EPO has also produced a greenwashing tweet almost every day over the past week (it definitely increased in frequency, even if it's not news). As noted on Monday, EMW currently speads shameless self-promotional pieces (new examples in reNEWS and Power Engineering International). EMW’s PR strategy appeared to have yielded something, even if it’s propaganda. For instance, monopolies are not “green”; in practice they typically deny access to environmentally-friendly technology and are therefore an impediment to efforts to combat climate change etc.

EMW’s marketing publicity stunts over the past week have been mentally exhausting. Noticee this latest nonsense about the UPC (titled “Business could be ‘racing’ to patent products in wake of Brexit uncertainty”). It doesn’t even make sense as the UPC is dead, ‘unitary’ patents aren’t being granted, and therefore there’s nothing to rush for. From this article:

Some business may be “racing to patent products” to avoid potential difficulties in obtaining patents in EU countries post-Brexit, according to James Geary, principal at UK law firm EMW.

In a blog post, Geary noted that the number of patents relating to renewable energy filed globally has risen by nearly half in just one year, which could be due, in part, to concerns surrounding the effect that Brexit may have on the proposed European Unitary Patent system…

The EPO is not an EU agency with a European agenda. The EU agency, EUIPO, deals with trademarks and such, not patents. As things stand at the moment, European Patents (EPs) are limited in their impact as one must take these to national courts to be judged based on local patent law. Will Team Battistelli ever manage to put EPs — now with vastly-decreased value — under an ‘EU’ umbrella? We doubt so. EPs have lost their legitimacy due to lowered examination standards (more on that in our next post) and corruption in the institution which grants these. This corruption appears to have already spread to EUIPO as well.

Mind Tim Lince’s shallow article on Archambeau, leaving out all the gory details (Archambeau was allegedly set up for the job or for succession following António Campinos) because corrupt Battistelli is a writer, contributor and sponsor of theirs. Lexology has just reposted World Trademark Review’s coverage; it’s a copy of the original (IAM does the same, same network).

SUEPO has just taken note of the Archambeau news, as did sites that cover SUEPO matters: [via]

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)’s new executive director, Christian Archambeau, has been confirmed by the European Council.

Archambeau was recommended to replace former executive director António Campinos following his move to become president of the European Patent Office (EPO).

“The administration of the EUIPO’s new leader – seen as a “safe pair of hands” – will be marked largely by its approach to a post-Brexit and the post-graphical representation Europe,” said another writer in very shallow coverage from PR-esque media, including this from Patrick Wingrove, an author from an EPO-friendly site (close to Battistelli, UPC advocate, proponent of patent maximalism).

Don’t expect to see any investigative reporting in sites like these; all they do is act like PR apparatuses of whoever pays the bill. It’s really bad because it helps mask rather major scandals until years later (e.g. Alexandre Benalla, see our coverage below).

  1. Alexandre Benalla, Macron’s Violent Bodyguard, Was Also Battistelli’s Bodyguard
  2. It Wasn’t Judges With Weapons in Their Office, It Was Benoît Battistelli Who Brought Firearms to the European Patent Office (EPO)
  3. Benoît Battistelli Refuses to Talk to the Media About Bringing Firearms to the EPO
  4. Guest Post on Ronan Le Gleut and Benalla at the French Senate (in Light of Battistelli’s Epic Abuses)
  5. The Man Whose Actions Could Potentially Land Team Battistelli in Jail
  6. French Media Confirms Alexandre Benalla Just One of Six Battistelli Bodyguards, Employed at the Cost of €8,000-€10,000 Per Month (for Benalla Alone!)

Microsoft’s Patent Trolls Are Alive and Well, Seeding Destruction Among Microsoft’s Competition

Thursday 4th of October 2018 10:48:29 AM

Summary: Richard Lloyd shows that Intellectual Ventures continues to distribute its patents, sometimes to patent trolls from Texas (e.g. Dominion Harbor) and sometimes to others; Finjan, another Microsoft-funded troll, is fighting to salvage its software patents while suing Microsoft’s rivals in the security space

THE ABUSES of the EPO are only outweighed in severity by the protection racket of Microsoft; the latest incarnation of this protection racket of Microsoft is known as "IP Advantage". To receive ‘protection’ from Microsoft and its trolls one needs to pay monthly rental fees to Microsoft (Azure), even if one is a GNU/Linux user. Microsoft did something similar a decade ago with Novell. Back then too the marketing term “Advantage” was (mis)used spuriously.

“Microsoft did something similar a decade ago with Novell. Back then too the marketing term “Advantage” was (mis)used spuriously.”The phenomenon known as patent trolls has waned in the US, but it is not gone. Trolls’ booster Richard Lloyd (IAM) won’t say it in these words, but the trolls he covers (and loves, as some pay his salary) are losing hope, money, and morale. The US is finally nailing them.

Based on the latest update from Dallas (Texas), the USPTO continues to grant fake patents or software patents by the bucketloads (and Iancu makes these things worse). Some of these patents get granted to trolls and Microsoft’s patent troll Intellectual Ventures is imploding, having already passed thousands of its patents to other trolls in Texas. As Lloyd has just put it:

Intellectual Ventures is in the process of selling its third Invention Investment Fund, in a further indication of how the giant NPE is scaling back its business. IAM understands that the buyer is Micron. The sale has been confirmed to IAM by three separate sources, with a fourth identifying the US-based semiconductor giant as the buyer. IV declined to comment for this story.

For the iconic [sic] NPE, the sale is another step in its disposal programme which has ramped up significantly in recent years as it looks to whittle down a portfolio that at one point totalled over 35,000 individual patents. It is also a reflection of how much the climate has changed for IV’s investors – which for the third fund included Microsoft and Sony – with suggestions that several have become increasingly uncomfortable with a monetisation strategy based around assertion.

[...]

For its part, as well as upping its rate of disposals, Intellectual Ventures has also seen a significant amount of flux among its senior leadership with Van Arsdale, a key player in many recent deals, announcing last month that he is leaving the business.

While many in the patent community will seize on this latest news as another sign of IV’s decline, with a portfolio that still makes it one of the largest patent owners in the US and many of the assets being sold to assertion entities, it remains a potent force for now.

They also still target, sometimes with lawsuits, Microsoft’s competition.

Meanwhile, the Microsoft-backed and Microsoft-financed patent troll Finjan (last covered here yesterday) is trying to salvage its fake patents and here’s a new press release that they’ve paid to distribute through expensive wires to investors (there are actually shareholders willing to invest in trolls still). It’s about a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes review (IPR):

Finjan Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FNJN), and its subsidiary, Finjan, Inc. (“Finjan”), today announced that the USPTO, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) entered a decision on appeal (Appeal 2018-007444) in favor of Finjan, and reversed Examiner’s rejection of certain challenged claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,015,182 (the “’182 Patent”) on reexamination.

Based on 35 U.S.C. § 101 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) many of Finjan’s patents are fake patents; Finjan is really afraid of them being tested. The Federal Circuit already squashed many of them (except one) and if Finjan is left with no patents it would be rendered worthless and maybe declare bankruptcy (at long last). Of course Finjan can always just ask other Microsoft trolls to sell it some new patents; Finjan got some dubious patents from IBM last year and Finjan has since then ramped its legal assault on Microsoft’s rivals.

Patent troll Uniloc was paid by Microsoft after long legal battles and nowadays it constantly goes after Apple, wishing for another pot of gold. Unified Patents fired back (files IPRs) and Apple continues to antagonise, resulting in another lawsuit as AppleInsider has just reported: (it happened yesterday)

Patent troll Uniloc returned to form on Wednesday after a months-long hiatus from lobbing allegations against Apple, this time challenging the company’s AirDrop file sharing technology with a 2006 Philips patent.

We pity the people who still believe or suddenly believe that Microsoft has changed. If anything, it has only changed for the worse; it’s more subtle in its attacks and is nowadays attacking less directly and infiltrating organisations it wishes to destroy. That’s what they must mean by the “new Microsoft”.

Links 3/10/2018: IBM Containers and Red Hat Announces Satellite 6.4

Wednesday 3rd of October 2018 08:48:55 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
  • Server
    • ​IBM mainframe containers grow more secure

      Of course, you can do a wee bit more with Secure Service Containers (SSC) on IBM LinuxONE and Z mainframes than you could on a 360 mainframe with a maximum of 1MB of memory. IBM Cloud Private is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) environment for developing and managing containerized applications. It’s built on top of the Kubernetes container orchestrator Kubernetes.

    • A New Method of Containment: IBM Nabla Containers

      In the previous post about Containers and Cloud Security, I noted that most of the tenants of a Cloud Service Provider (CSP) could safely not worry about the Horizontal Attack Profile (HAP) and leave the CSP to manage the risk. However, there is a small category of jobs (mostly in the financial and allied industries) where the damage done by a Horizontal Breach of the container cannot be adequately compensated by contractual remedies. For these cases, a team at IBM research has been looking at ways of reducing the HAP with a view to making containers more secure than hypervisors. For the impatient, the full open source release of the Nabla Containers technology is here and here, but for the more patient, let me explain what we did and why. We’ll have a follow on post about the measurement methodology for the HAP and how we proved better containment than even hypervisor solutions.

      The essence of the quest is a sandbox that emulates the interface between the runtime and the kernel (usually dubbed the syscall interface) with as little code as possible and a very narrow interface into the kernel itself.

    • Kubernetes 1.12 Arrives With TLS and Better Cloud Integrations

      The Kubernetes project has been hurtling at breakneck speed towards the boring. As the popular open source container orchestration platform has matured, it’s been the boring features which have come front and center, many of which focus on stability and reliability. For the Kubernetes 1.12 release on Thursday, those working on the project and on the various special interest groups (SIGs) initially laid out over 60 proposed features. A little over half of those made it to the final release, with many more being pushed back or delayed, as usual.

      Amongst the changes that made it into this release are such additions as the general availability of TLS bootstrapping, the ability to use the Kubernetes API to restore a volume from a volume snapshot data source, a newly beta version of the KubeletPluginsWatcher, and some groundwork which is being put in place to solve scheduling challenges that confront large clusters

    • Platform9 Open-Sources etcdadm, Enabling the Kubernetes Community to Easily Create and Manage Secure etcd Clusters, Anywhere

      Platform9, the leader in SaaS-managed hybrid clouds, today announced etcdadm – a new open source project available under the Apache v2.0 license…

    • Platform9 Open Sources Its Kubernetes Etcd Support Tool

      Platform9 pushed its etcdadm support tool out into the open source community via GitHub in an effort to generate momentum behind automating the configuration, deployment, and management of etcd clusters used by Kubernetes to store control plane information. Those tasks are currently either part of more broadly-focused efforts put on the shoulders of a Kubernetes user, or cobbled together by developers.

      Etcd is the primary storage location for Kubernetes and needs to be established before Kubernetes can be run on a system. Arun Sriraman, Kubernetes technical lead manager at Platform9, explained in a video that etcd is the “backbone for Kubernetes storage.”

    • Introduction to gVisor: Sandboxed Linux Container Runtime

      Emma Haruka Iwao introduces the architecture of gVisor and its benefits and discusses differences between other isolation mechanisms.

    • AT&T Details Open White Box Specs for Linux-Based 5G Routers

      This week AT&T will release detailed specs to the Open Compute Project for building white box cell site gateway routers for 5G. Over the next few years, more than 60,000 white box routers built by a variety of manufacturers will be deployed as 5G routers in AT&T’s network.

      In its Oct. 1 announcement, AT&T said it will load the routers with its Debian Linux based Vyatta Network Operating System (NOS) stack. Vyatta NOS forms the basis for AT&T’s open source dNOS platform, which in turn is the basis for a new Linux Foundation open source NOS project called DANOS, which similarly stands for Disaggregated Network Operating System (see below).

      AT&T’s white box blueprint “decouples hardware from software” so any organization can build its own compliant systems running other software. This will provide the cellular gateway industry with flexibility as well as the security of building on an interoperable, long-lifecycle platform. The white box spec appears to OS agnostic. However, routers typically run Linux-based NOS stacks, and that does not appear to be changing with 5G.

    • ANZ slashes mainframe bill with CPU monitoring [Ed: IBM still all about proprietary at the core]
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux Is Fine, Nothing to See Here

      Recently, Linux kernel developers were prompted to revoke licenses to their pieces of code to protest against the new Code of Conduct. Over the last week a whole lot of outlets shed light on this event and mused about the morality and potential ramifications of the whole controversy.

      However, ethical and political aspects aside, there are at least two important things to understand: what are the developers opposing and whether they are really able to revoke the licenses for their code. We will try to figure out both as simply and briefly as possible.

      [...]

      The main question here is whether or not “contributors can, at any time, rescind the license grant regarding their property via written notice to those whom they are rescinding the grant from,” as it is put in the original email, urging kernel developers to protest against the Code of Conduct.

      Let’s start with something simple. General Public License is a framework license created by Free Software Foundation for open source software developers. Whenever someone creates a piece of software, they can add certain lines in the end of the code text saying that it is licensed under the GPL. And so, the GPL will apply to anyone who uses this code. Licensees will also be forced to apply the same licensing rules if distributing the code afterwards.

      Note, that GPL is a license in its essence. Hence, it is a legal construction that allows anyone to use a software developed by someone on a legitimate legal basis. It is also important that GPL license was iterated. In this case all the attention goes to GPL version 2.0 and version 3.0.

      The difference in question between GPL v.2.0 and v.3.0 is the inclusion of the non-rescission clause.

    • Learn More About The Zinc Crypto API, Which Hopes To Get Into Linux 5.0 With WireGuard

      Last week at Kernel Recipes 2018 in Paris, WireGuard lead developer Jason Donenfeld presented on the Zinc crypto API that he has been developing for the Linux kernel to suit his in-kernel secure VPN tunnel needs but also to potentially replace the existing Linux crypto code in the future.

      If you are curious about Linux crypto support, Jason has shared his Kernel Recipes presentation on Zinc and it’s embedded below.

    • Linux Australia says no ban on Ts’o attending annual conference [Ed: Sharp carries on harassing Linux developers]

      Claims that Linux Australia has a ban in place on well-known kernel developer Ted Ts’o attending the organisation’s annual national conference — which is known as LCA — have been denied by LA president Kathy Reid.

      The claims were made by ex-kernel developer Sage (formerly Sarah) Sharp in a blog post a few days after Linux creator Linus Torvalds announced he was taking a break from leading the kernel development project in order to obtain professional advice about his behaviour issues.

      In the wake of Torvalds’ decision — claimed to have been prompted by an article in The New Yorker — the project announced that its existing code of conflict would be replaced by a code of conduct.

    • Kernel Developers Discuss Defaulting To BFQ For Some Storage Devices

      There’s a new discussion taking place over the default I/O scheduler of the Linux kernel.

      Since going mainline in Linux 4.12, the BFQ I/O scheduler has continued improving. For those not familiar with the Budget Fair Queueing I/O scheduler, it’s designed for low-latency in interactive applications and soft real-time workloads, higher speed and throughput than CFQ/Deadline for many workloads on SSDs, and strong fairness/bandwidth guarantees. BFQ has been used by the default within the Linux kernel “Zen” downstream flavor along in select distributions, but now there’s talk again about trying to make it the default I/O scheduler.

    • Static Analysis Trends on Linux Next

      As one can see from above, CoverityScan has found a considerable amount of defects and these are being steadily fixed by the Linux developer community. The encouraging fact is that the outstanding issues are reducing over time. Some of the spikes in the data are because of changes in the analysis that I’m running (e.g. getting more coverage), but even so, one can see a definite trend downwards in the total defects in the Kernel.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Open source communities unite around Cloud-native Network Functions

        Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), chiefly responsible for Kubernetes, and the recently established Linux Foundation Networking (LF Networking) group are collaborating on a new class of software tools called Cloud-native Network Functions (CNFs).

        CNFs are the next generation Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) designed specifically for private, public and hybrid cloud environments, packaged inside application containers based on Kubernetes.

        VNFs are primarily used by telecommunications providers; CNFs are aimed at telecommunications providers that have shifted to cloud architectures, and will be especially useful in the deployment of 5G networks.

        Some of the first working examples of CNFs will be seen in the third release of the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), codenamed Casablanca and expected later this year.

      • Top Five Reasons to Attend Hyperledger Global Forum

        In just over two months, the global Hyperledger community will gather in Basel, Switzerland, for the inaugural Hyperledger Global Forum.

        [...]

        At its core, Hyperledger is a global community built on the belief you can do more to advance blockchain technologies by working together than by working in isolation.

        Hyperledger Global Forum is the first worldwide meeting of those invested in or intrigued by this community-based approach, so making connections, getting involved and sharing resources will be top of mind for everyone there. There’s no better way place to become part of the global team.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Intel Linux Graphics Driver Working Towards 5K+ Display Support With VESA DSC

        While 4K displays are great for now, 5K displays are on the horizon and Intel is hard at work preparing their open-source Linux graphics driver for supporting 5K displays and beyond.

        Critical to supporting next-generation monitors at least with DisplayPort interfaces is being able to accommodate DSC or Display Stream Compression. This display compression spec is said to be good enough for handling up to 8K laptop displays. VESA announced it a few years back while it won’t be until Icelake CPUs with Gen 11 graphics before Intel is supporting the tech. Icelake is likely to be out either in late 2019 or early 2020, but the open-source driver crew is already working on the support.

      • Google Still Doesn’t Trust Linux GPU Drivers Enough To Enable Chrome Video Acceleration

        It’s 2018 and while Linux GPU drivers have improved a lot in recent years, Google engineers still don’t find them reliable enough to ship the Chrome web-browser with GPU video decoding enabled.

        There was a discussion once again about shipping Chrome with Linux GPU video acceleration enabled. But once again Chrome developers feel that the cons and increased maintenance burden of having to deal with Linux GPU video acceleration problems outweigh the benefits of a better Linux video playback experience and possible power-savings. Of course, that’s unless talking about Chrome OS where they do have GPU video acceleration within their Linux-based OS.

      • RADV In Mesa 18.2.2 Gets Steam Play + GTA V Fixes, SteamVR Hang Fix

        It’s time for another two-week Mesa 18.2 point release, which is v18.2.2 and preparing for release on Friday.

        Mesa 18.2.2 is a much smaller update than Mesa 18.2.1 with just under two dozen fixes queued at this point, but there are some notable changes.

      • Freedreno Enables Hardware Binning For Adreno A6xx GPUs – Yields Better Performance

        The open-source 3D driver support for Qualcomm Adreno A6xx series hardware has taken another step forward with the latest Mesa 18.3-devel Git.

        The reverse-engineered Freedreno Gallium3D driver has enabled support for hardware binning on the A6xx series hardware, the latest generation of GPUs found in Qualcomm SoCs. It was just back in August that the initial A6xx support landed inside this Gallium3D driver.

      • Proposed Changes To Intel GPU Top Would Make It A More Useful Utility

        Among the developer/enthusiast tool-set of the Intel open-source Linux graphics driver developers has been Intel GPU Top (the command intel_gpu_top) that is distributed with the Intel-GPU-Tools collection. This GPU information utility inspired by Linux’s well known top command reports for Intel HD/UHD/Iris Graphics hardware the usage information, but does require root privileges to operate. Intel GPU Top is about to get a major overhaul.

        Intel GPU Top hasn’t been the most useful utility particularly among non-developers, but Intel’s Tvrtko Ursulin is proposing a set of changes he entitled the “21st century intel_gpu_top.” These 13 patches add a lot of useful reporting to the command-line based utility.

    • Benchmarks
      • The Ubuntu Linux Performance Over The Past Six Years On An Intel Xeon Server

        In needing to make some room in the racks for some new hardware and some other interesting platforms on the way, I’ve retired the last of the Intel Nehalem era hardware at Phoronix that was still used for occasional historical Linux performance tests… I decided to take this Sun Microsystems SunFire X4170 server with dual Intel Xeon E5540 (Nehalem EP) processors for a final spin before pulling it from the racks. Here is a look at how the near-final Ubuntu 18.10 Linux performance compares to that of Ubuntu 12.10.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • New xfce4-settings release

      After quite a bit of development time I’m happy to announce the next development point release of xfce4-settings in the 4.13 series.

      There are many fixes in this release – most visibly also UI improvements. This includes consistent padding/margin etc across all dialogs as well as a restored hover-effect in the Settings Manager. Finally both the advanced (fake panel as indicator for primary displays, re-arranged settings and distinct advanced tab) and the minimal display dialog (new icons, improved strings) received a facelift.

    • Xfce Picks Up Support For Monitor Profiles

      A new release of xfce4-settings is out as another component update in the long road to Xfce 4.14.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Kontact loves Flatpak

        Flatpak is a new way of distributing applications. Each application runs in its own isolated environment called sandbox with all its dependencies being provided as part of the Flatpak and with no access to other programs. This way every user runs the exact same application in the exact same environment no matter what Linux distribution they use. The applications inside the sandbox are also limited to what system resources they can access, which provides greater security.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Antergos Softens Arch Learning Curve

        If you are already familiar with the Arch Linux family but want a quicker installation method, you will appreciate what Antergos brings to the Linux table. Those who are less familiar with the Arch Linux methodologies are sure to be much less enthusiastic about using the OS.

        This distro gives you some of the most popular desktop environments all in one download. If you are clueless about a preferred desktop, though, you will be stuck staring at the default GNOME option. Antergos does not provide users with an easy switching tool to change the desktop option. The live session ISO does not let you try out any other option either.

    • Red Hat Family
      • Middle East to reach new heights of innovation with open source tech

        OPEN source solutions are accelerating the innovation and adoption for cloud, big data and analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain. An agile, cost-effective and flexible alternative to proprietary software – there is no better way to achieve connectivity on a massive scale without relying on open source frameworks and platforms within digital infrastructures.

        As most countries in the Middle East activate national digital transformation initiatives to drive economic diversification, open source solutions will continue to gain momentum across the region.

        Open source technologies support rapid innovation through several beneficial characteristics, allowing for a more natural adoption approach within the enterprise. It›s free and generally easy to download, install, and launch. This allows easy exploration of and experimentation with new technologies and enables enterprises to get comfortable with the software on smaller, non-mission-critical projects before any financial commitment is required. Open source is becoming increasingly omnipresent across the IT stack, particularly as organizations look to drive innovation while maintaining operational and cost efficiencies.

      • Red Hat Extends Confidence and Reliability Through Automation with Ansible Certified Content Program
      • Red Hat Ansible Automation Certification Program offers tested solutions for automating across environments at scale
      • Red Hat Drives Security Orchestration and Automation with New Ansible Capabilities
      • Itential Announces Integration with Red Hat Ansible Network Automation
      • DNF 3.5 Test Day 2018-10-03

        Wednusday, 2018-10-03, is the DNF 3.5 Test Day!
        DNF 3.5 has a support for modularity and this test day is vital to test and catch bugs and any performance issues.

      • Red Hat announces Satellite 6.4

        As many IT environments continue to grow and become increasingly complex, the ability to automate and greater simplify ongoing infrastructure management can be critical to those organizations. Today at AnsibleFest Austin, we announced Red Hat Satellite 6.4, the latest version of Red Hat’s infrastructure management solution designed to keep Red Hat infrastructure running more efficiently and with the proper security provisions in place, will be available later in October. For the first time, Red Hat Satellite will be enhanced with a deeper integration with Red Hat Ansible Automation technology for an automation-centric approach to IT management.

      • …Fedora 29 Achieves “Flicker-Free” Boot Experience, Red Hat’s Satellite 6.4 Now Available and Stratis 1.0 Is Out

        Fedora 29 has achieved a “flicker-free” boot experience. According to Phoronix, this was accomplished by “preserving the EFI frame-buffer and any initial system PC/motherboard logo all the way until fading to the GDM log-in screen for the desktop. This has required changes so the EFI frame-buffer wouldn’t be messed up when the kernel starts, changes to the Plymouth boot handling, hiding the GRUB boot menu, and also making use of the Intel driver’s ‘fastboot’ option that eliminates unnecessary mode-set operations.”

        Red Hat yesterday announced Satellite 6.4, “the latest version of Red Hat’s infrastructure management solution”, at AnsibleFest Austin. With this version, Red Hat Satellite will now “be enhanced with a deeper integration with Red Hat Ansible Automation technology for an automation-centric approach to IT management”.

      • The Many Paths to “Hello, World!”

        Finally, as mentioned in my last post, we’re setting up shop at a number of events (see the full list below) to continue our mission of discovery. When each episode of this season of Command Line Heroes drops, we’ll bring you updates (like this one) on what we’re learning. If you have plans to attend any of these events, stop by! We’d love to chat with you.

      • Red Hat continues to lead the Linux server market

        As the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, Red Hat, through our flagship Linux operating system Red Hat Enterprise Linux, has long maintained a strong presence in the enterprise operating system market. This leadership continues, as a new report from IDC positions Red Hat as a driving Linux force in the worldwide server operating environment market and a powerful player in server operating systems at-large.

        According to “Worldwide Server Operating Environments Market Shares, 2017,” a global server operating system market sizing report from research firm IDC, Red Hat maintained a 32.7 percent share of worldwide server operating environments in 2017. This encompassed all operating systems, with Red Hat coming in behind only Microsoft in terms of market share. Within the Linux segment, IDC found that Red Hat Enterprise Linux adoption grew by nearly 20 percent in 2017.

      • Singlepoint attains Red Hat advanced business partner status

        This recognition highlights Singlepoint’s DevOps expertise and the technical enablement completed as part of the advanced level partner accreditation on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, an application development platform to deliver digital innovation for its enterprise clients.

        “Singlepoint is continually investing in technologies to stay ahead of the curve, allowing our customers to easily transform their businesses through the cloud,” explains Rob Curley, managing director, Singlepoint. “Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform allows us to help our clients drive deeper customer engagement while benefiting from the efficiency and flexibility offered by the OpenStack cloud.”

      • Are App Servers Dead in the Age of Kubernetes? (Part 2)

        Kubernetes is not the death knell for application servers as we know them today. Application servers have always evolved—and will continue to evolve—as hardware and software improve. Continual improvements are being made in developer productivity. Kubernetes, Docker and, now, service mesh are another step in the evolution that necessitates a shift in application servers. It doesn’t make them irrelevant.

      • How one student’s open source journey lead her to help create ChRIS

        Parul Singh, master’s candidate at Northeastern University, has been interning with Red Hat for the past few months and is specifically working on the ChRIS Research Integration System platform. She recently shared her story with us, with the hopes of inspiring more students to take the jump and contribute to open source projects.

      • A new model for the cloud enables ChRIS: An open, scalable, and sharable platform for medical image processing

        Red Hat announced its collaboration with Boston Children’s hospital on the ChRIS Research Integration System and how it is deployed into the Mass Open Cloud (MOC) backed by Red Hat OpenShifton Red Hat OpenStack this year at Red Hat Summit. This collaboration provides ChRIS with a great mix of containerized application deployments along with the infrastructure essentials of elastic compute, dynamically provisioned storage backed by Cinder/Ceph, and object storage provided by Swift (also backed by Red Hat Ceph).

      • 13 tools to measure DevOps success

        In today’s enterprise, business disruption is all about agility with quality. Traditional processes and methods of developing software are challenged to keep up with the complexities that come with these new environments. Modern DevOps initiatives aim to help organizations use collaborations among different IT teams to increase agility and accelerate software application deployment.

      • Treading New Waters

        Today, we are not talking about Nautilus, but rather it’s just me bragging!

        After a month of waiting, talking, waiting, writing and waiting some more, I’m officially a month away from starting at Red Hat (and moving to Brno, so some of you I’ll get to meet as well), working on all things ABRT. Since my GNOME work really helped me sell myself, maybe I’ll manage to help bridge whatever gap there exists between the two.

      • [Podcast] PodCTL #51 – Reviewing Kubernetes 1.12

        As another calendar quarter passes, so too does another release of Kubernetes arrive. This time it’s version 1.12, the 13th release of Kubernetes. As we always do, we looked at the new GA features, as well as a review of some of the newly introduced features (e.g. in beta) that might be interesting to start watching or potentially playing with in a non-production environment. As usual, this release includes new capabilities that are relevant to security, scalability, multi-cloud deployments, and additional capabilities that will help more complex production deployments.

        The show will always be available on this blog (search: #PodCTL), as well as RSS Feeds, iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn and all your favorite podcast players.

      • Learning to lead by giving up control

        The truth is that the world is just too full of uncertainty—too fast-moving, and too unpredictable for anyone to be able to anticipate and control everything. Leaders today need to realize this, and recognize that leadership is no longer about control, compliance and clairvoyance.

        People working in today’s information-rich, dynamic contexts don’t need leaders who think they know everything about prescribing the “best” paths forward. They need leaders who help them sit more comfortably (and sleep more soundly) in a more ambiguous world. Today, people don’t need to be “controlled.” They actually need to be agitated—coaxed into productive, difficult conversations about the unknown so they can collaborate on possible solutions.

      • Finance
      • Fedora
    • Debian Family
      • Skype’s Debian Package Could Allow Attackers To Completely Takeover Machines

        Security researcher Enrico Weigelt uncovered a critical security issue in the way Skype installs itself on Debian Linux machines, adding its Microsoft’s APT repository in the system’s sources.list file.

        Skype’s Debian package uses an APT configuration profile which automatically inserts Microsoft’s apt repository to the default system package sources which would allow anyone with access to it to hypothetically use malicious tools to compromise the machine.

        In layman’s terms, APT repositories are collections of .deb packages used as the central storage, management and delivery platform for all Debian-based Linux machines.

        The APT repositories can be used to install, remove, or update applications on a Debian machine with the help of the apt-get command.

      • Android Security Patch for October, Google Pixel Slate, Skype on Debian Vulnerability, PyTorch Beta 1.0 Released and XCOM 2: War of the Chosen – Tactical Legacy Pack Coming Soon to Linux

        Skype on Debian is vulnerable to attack. On installation, the package automatically inserts Microsoft’s apt repository, which means “after obtaining control of Microsoft’s Debian apt repository, an attacker would be able to inject malicious content in various distro packages using the update system, as well as replace legitimate packages with maliciously crafted ones”. See the Softpedia News post for more details and steps you can take to protect your computer after installing Skype.

      • Apt Repositories: Goodbye Aptly, Welcome RepRepro

        I have been using aptly for several years publishing all kinds of repositories for different developments. The other day, when I wanted to update my calibre repository (see previous post) I realized that aptly cannot sign anything anymore. Huuu…

      • Debian KDE for Fun Computing Part 1: Intro

        Hello, please introduce Debian Live KDE Edition. It is a free, beautiful desktop operating system with LiveCD capability, available in 50+ of world languages, with tens of thousands free software packages are available, and amazingly vast user community. This article is the first part of introducing fun living with Debian KDE as desktop computer operating system. Here, you will see basic things about Debian, Debian Live, and Debian KDE, including where to download and how to make a bootable installation media. I hope you will like Debian KDE and find it user friendly. Enjoy Debian KDE!

        [...]

        That’s all for now. You got a basic knowledge about Debian KDE. The next part will talk about basic orientation of Debian KDE internals such as built-in applications, doing basic tasks, how to get new applications, and so on. See you next time. Have fun with Debian KDE!

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu Server development summary – 2 Oct 2018

            The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team. If you would like to reach the server team, you can find us at the #ubuntu-server channel on Freenode. Alternatively, you can sign up and use the Ubuntu Server

          • How to build and deploy your first AI/ML model on Ubuntu

            Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) have stolen the hearts and minds of the public, the press and businesses.

            The technological advances in the field have helped to transport AI from the world of fiction, into something more tangible, and within touching distance.

            However, despite the hype, AI in the ‘real world’ isn’t quite yet a reality.

            AI is yet to take over, or see mass adoption, and there are still lengthy debates to be had as to what exactly can be considered AI and what is not.

            Still, AI promises much, and there seems to be no stopping its forward march. For better or for worse, AI is here to stay.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Mauritius: IT Workshop Focuses On Use of Open Source Software

    The use of OSS (Open Source Software) is increasing in Mauritius as citizens become more and more dependent on the Internet, on appliances and the cloud. However, challenges are also increasing and one of them is knowledge of Open Source Solutions, their features, usage and availability.

    The Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Yogida Sawmynaden, made this statement yesterday at Cyber Tower 1 in Ebène Cyber-city. He was speaking at the launching of a two-day workshop on Open Licensing for Open Source Software, Open Content and Open Data. It is organised by the National Computer Board with a view to enlightening software developers on the legal aspects of Open Components.

  • Sourcegraph pulls back the curtain, becomes open source project

    Self-hosted code search, navigation and intelligence engine Sourcegraph is now available as an open source project under the Apache 2 License.

    Sourcegraph can, for example, be used within a browser, to add IDE-like qualities such as syntax highlighting or symbol type information during mouse overs to sites like GitLab, Phabricator, or GitHub. Code intelligence is offered via the language server protocol. Sourcegraph includes fast global code search and can also be integrated with third-party tools by using an extension API.

  • Open Xchange: Rafael Laguna on open source cars and the generosity of open source

    INQ spent two days in the hotter-than-London splendour of Rome last week as the guest of Open Xchange, one of those companies that you may well use every day and not even know.

    Open Xchange offers an open source alternative to the likes of G Suite and Microsoft Exchange, as well as a range of security products. All are available free of charge to companies and businesses alike and are used by some of the world’s biggest telcos for their customer email offerings.

    How does OX make money? Like many open source players, customers use the service gratis, but the big ones pay for support in making it work for them.

    CEO of OX is Rafael Laguna, who will be familiar to regular readers as a man we regularly pester for his opinion on matters related to this sort of thing.

  • Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences

    National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences; Space Studies Board; Committee on Best Practices for a Future Open Code Policy for NASA Space Science
    Description

    Modern science is ever more driven by computations and simulations. In particular, the state of the art in space and Earth science often arises from complex simulations of climate, space weather, and astronomical phenomena. At the same time, scientific work requires data processing, presentation, and analysis through broadly available proprietary and community software.1 Implicitly or explicitly, software is central to science. Scientific discovery, understanding, validation, and interpretation are all enhanced by access to the source code of the software used by scientists.

  • Cardano [ADA]’s Charles Hoskinson discusses Rust as the first open-source project

    Charles Hoskinson, the Co-Founder of the science and engineering firm InputOutput talked about the Cardano Rust Project and the anniversary of Cardano earlier this week. He stated that Cardano’s Rust is the first open-source project aimed at widening the reach of the technology to a broader range of third-party developers.

    Furthermore, Hoskinson explained that the project is significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, it opens up Cardano to the large community of Rust developers who might not have the ability to code or have much knowledge of Haskell.

  • IOHK launches opensource blockchain project

    IOHK, the blockchain research and development company behind the top 10 cryptocurrency Cardano, has launched its first open source project, opening up the technology to a wide range of third-party developers.

  • Cardano First Year Review and What’s Next

    The blockchain world has seen plenty of projects begin with bold claims that end up severely short of investors’ hopes when the project eventually launches. Charles Hoskinson, former CEO of Ethereum, noticed this disappointing trend in the blockchain sphere and decided to do something about it.

  • Events
    • 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference is almost completely full

      Due to overwhelming demand for tickets to the Linux Plumbers Conference, there are no additional registrations available at this time. As we finalize the makeup of microconferences, refereed talks, and so on, there will be some spots available. We will be making them available to those who have expressed interest as fairly as we can and as soon as we can. We plan to contact the recipients of the first batch of released slots by October 8. There may be another, likely smaller, batch notified thereafter. Those interested in attending the conference, should send a request to contact@linuxplumbersconf.org to get on the waiting list. In the unlikely event that the waiting list has been exhausted, we will release any remaining registrations on a first-come-first-served basis by mid-late October.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • happy bmo push day – mojolicious edition

        As previously announced at FOSDEM 2018 and then re-announced at MojoConf, bugzilla.mozilla.org is now running on Mojolicious “A next generation web framework for the Perl programming language”

        This release incorporates 28 changes and the Mojolicious migration is the least interesting to the end-user, but it is pretty important in terms of being able to deliver rich experiences moving forward.

      • Supporting Referrer Policy for CSS in Firefox 64

        Navigating from one webpage to another or requesting a sub-resource within a webpage causes a web browser to send the top-level URL in the HTTP referrer field. Inspecting that HTTP header field on the receiving end allows sites to identify where the request originated which enables sites to log referrer data for operational and statistical purposes. As one can imagine, the top-level URL quite often includes user sensitive information which then might leak through the referrer value impacting an end users privacy.

      • Hack on MDN: Better accessibility for MDN Web Docs

        Hack on MDN events evolved from the documentation sprints for MDN that were held from 2010 to 2013, which brought together staff members and volunteers to write and localize content on MDN over a weekend. As implied by the name, “Hack on MDN” events expand the range of participants to include those with programming and design skills. In its current incarnation, each Hack on MDN event has a thematic focus. One in March of this year focused on browser compatibility data.

        The Hack on MDN format is a combination of hackathon and unconference; participants pitch projects and commit to working on concrete tasks (rather than meetings or long discussions) that can be completed in three days or less. People self-organize to work on projects in which a group can make significant progress over a long weekend. Lightning talks provide an unconference break from projects.

      • New Firefox Focus comes with search suggestions, revamped visual design and an under-the-hood surprise for Android users

        When we first launched Firefox Focus, we wanted to quickly deliver a streamlined private browsing experience for your mobile device. Since then, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many people use Focus for more than just private browsing and we’ve made Focus better with a thoughtful set of features based on what our users are telling us. Custom tabs, tracker counter, full screen mode and so much more have been the result. Today, we’re pleased to announce another big update with another much-requested feature, a design refresh, and an exciting change to the underlying technology behind Focus for Android.

      • Working on Firefox desktop developer efficiency

        Mozilla is an engineering company. Its interface to—and impact on—the world is through its primary product, the Firefox web browser. Firefox is of course created, maintained, and improved by Mozilla’s developers (both employees and community members). Thus, when one increases Firefox developer efficiency and velocity the velocity of the Firefox product increases. Because Firefox is Mozilla’s primary product, an increase in Firefox product velocity transitively increases the velocity of the company and the mission overall.

      • What’s next for ESLint on Firefox Source Code?

        Around 2015 a couple of projects had started using ESLint in mozilla-central. In the last quarter of 2015, there was a big push to enable ESLint for browser/ and toolkit/ – the two main directories containing the javascript source behind Firefox.

        Since then, we have come a long way. We have commands and hooks for developers to use, checks during the review phase, and automatic tests that run against our review tools and our continuous integration branches. Not only that, but we’ve also expanded our coverage to more directories, and expanded the amount of rules that are enabled.

        As we’ve done this work, we’ve caught lots of bugs in the code or in our tests (there’s much more than just those links). Some of those have been small, some have been user facing issues. There are also now the countless potential bugs that we don’t get to see where ESLint catches issues for us before they even hit the core source trees. All this helps to save developer time and leaves more for fixing bugs and implementing new features.

      • The Things Gateway – A Pythonic Rule System

        In my last post, I talked about the features and limitations of the Rules System within the Things Gateway by Mozilla graphical user interface. Today, I’m going to show an alternate rule system that interacts with the Things Gateway entirely externally using the Web Thing API. The Web Thing API enables anyone armed with a computer language that can use Web Sockets to create entirely novel applications or rules systems that can control the Things Gateway.

        In the past few months, I’ve blogged several times about controlling the Things Gateway with the Web Thing API using Python 3.6. In each one was a stand alone project, opening and managing Web Sockets in an asynchronous programming environment. By writing these projects, I’ve explored both functional and object oriented idioms to see how they compare. Now with some experience, I feel free to abstract some of the underlying common aspects to create a rule engine of my own.

      • Distributed Teams: Regional Holidays

        Today is German Unity Day, Germany’s National Day. Half of my team live in Berlin, so I vaguely knew they wouldn’t be around… but I’d likely have forgotten if not for a lovely tradition of “Holiday Inbound” emails at Mozilla.

        Mozilla is a broadly-distributed organization with employees in dozens of countries worldwide. Each of these countries have multiple days off to rest or celebrate. It’s tough to know across so many nations and religions and cultures exactly who will be unable to respond to emails on exactly which days.

      • Uplift forms get a refresh

        Firefox is shipped using a train model. Without going into too much details, this means that we maintain several channel in parallel (Nightly, Beta, Release and ESR). Normal changes happen in Nightly. When a change needs to be cherry-picked from Nightly to another branch, the process is called “Uplift”.

        Uplifting is a key tool in the Firefox release management world. When developers want to apply a patch from Nightly to another branch, they will use Bugzilla, answering some questions in a textarea.

      • A New Way to Support MDN

        Starting this week, some visitors may notice something new on the MDN Web Docs site, the comprehensive resource for information about developing on the open web.

        We are launching an experiment on MDN Web Docs, seeking direct support from our users in order to accelerate growth of our content and platform. Not only has our user base grown exponentially in the last few years (with corresponding platform maintenance costs), we also have a large list of cool new content, features, and programs we’d like to create that our current funding doesn’t fully cover.

        In 2015, on our tenth anniversary (read about MDN’s evolution in the 10-year anniversary post), MDN had four million active monthly users. Now, just three years later, we have 12 million. Our last big platform update was in 2013. By asking for, and hopefully receiving, financial assistance from our users – which will be reinvested directly into MDN – we aim to speed up the modernization of MDN’s platform and offer more of what you love: content, features, and integration with the tools you use every day (like VS Code, Dev Tools, and others), plus better support for the 1,000+ volunteers contributing content, edits, tooling, and coding to MDN each month.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • Running FreeBSD on OSX using xhyve, a port of bhyve

      xhyve is port of bhyve to OS X. It is built on top of Hypervisor.framework in OS X 10.10 Yosemite and higher, runs entirely in userspace, and has no other dependencies.

      I usually use MacPorts, but ran into trouble with xhyve, so this morning I tried Homebrew instead.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Supersizing superresolution microscopy: Open-source approaches to accelerate your microscopy research

      Three high-performance, open-source approaches—NanoJ-SRRF, NanoJ-SQUIRREL, and NanoJ-Fluidics—have recently been developed to enable and enhance optical superresolution microscopy in most modern microscopes. NanoJ-superresolution radical fluctuations (SRRF) is a new superresolution method enabling live-cell nanoscopy with illumination intensities orders of magnitude lower than techniques such as single-molecule localization microscopy (SMLM) or stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy can deliver. SRRF’s low phototoxicity allows unprecedented imaging for long acquisition times at resolutions equivalent to or better than those possible with structured illumination microscopy (SIM). NanoJ-SQUIRREL (superresolution quantitative image rating and reporting of error locations), an analytical approach that provides quantitative assessment of superresolution image quality, can guide researchers in optimizing imaging parameters. By comparing diffraction-limited images and superresolution equivalents of the same acquisition volume, this method generates a quality score and quantitative map of superresolution defects. NanoJ-Fluidics is a novel fluidics technique for automating complex sequences of treatment, labeling, and imaging of live and fixed cells with high reproducibility.

    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • The beauty of open source hardware

        Alicia Gibb is the face of open hardware right now. She went to library school where they taught her that freedom of information and access to it is the most important thing.

        She’s been in love with “open source” ever since and eventually got into open hardware through hackerspace meetups. Her favorite thing is when an LED lights up. “It’s the ‘Hello World’ of hardware. You know something is working.”

        Open hardware is schematics, patterns, etc. and publishing those publicly. She loves watching the community build on top of that, remixing and remaking it.

      • Aleph Objects Launches Open Source Hardware Material PETg by IC3D

        For anyone looking for an open source filament for mechanical and robotics applications, you may want to try the new offering from Aleph Objects, the company founded in 2011 and “built on the philosophy of freedom”.

        The company is mainly known for manufacturing LulzBot 3D printers (which we found to be the “Best Workhorse Printer”) has now added a PETg filament by IC3D to its range of over 30 filament types.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • The Big Lie: how polygraph companies convinced the US government to use pseudoscience on job applicants

      Lie detectors don’t work: that’s why they’re not admissible as legal evidence and why it’s illegal to subject private sector job-applicants to polygraph tests.

      But public employees aren’t so lucky: the polygraph industry intensively lobbies people with hiring power in public sector to institute lie-detector screening; since the targets of this lobbying have all passed polygraphs themselves, they’re inclined to think of them as useful tools for sorting the trustworthy from the untrustworthy.

    • Smuggling a CRISPR gene editor into staph bacteria can kill the pathogen

      Bits of DNA that make bacteria dangerous can be co-opted to bring the microbes down instead.

      Stretches of DNA called pathogenicity islands can jump between bacteria strains, introducing new toxin-producing genes that usually make a strain more harmful. Scientists have now modified pathogenicity islands by replacing the toxin-producing genes with genes that, in mice, disabled or killed Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. If the approach works for humans, it could offer an alternative to traditional antibiotics that could one day be used against deadly drug-resistant Staphylococcus strains, researchers report September 24 in Nature Biotechnology.

      Pathogenicity islands are already primed for such inside jobs: The stretches of DNA naturally get bundled into small parcels that can easily enter bacteria to deliver new genes. Researchers turned those parcels into Trojan horses of sorts, replacing the toxin-producing genes with sequences of the gene-editing tool CRISPR/Cas9, which snips DNA in specific places.

    • Enhanced Mutagenesis Methods

      Ulrich (Uli) Laemmli, an illustrious professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, developer of SDS (sodium dodecyl sulfate)-polyacrylamide electrophoresis (PAGE) for separating proteins, and responsible for identifying the “scaffold” structure of human chromosomes, was fond of saying (when he was a professor at Princeton) that in biological research it was helpful (if not essential) to “look for the mutant.” Difficulties in following this advice productively include the (low) frequency with which mutants arise, the fact that most such mutants lose or compromise the function(s) of the encoded proteins, and that conventional methods for producing mutants are as likely as not to be lethal to cells (either due to mutants of the protein of interest or other proteins that are mutated in passing). So-called “targeted” mutations produced, in its most au courant version, by CRISPR-Cas9 (wherein CRISPR is an acronym for Clustered Regularly lnterspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) require knowledge of the site to be mutagenized and hence comprise only a limited subset of targets for productive mutagenesis.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Chief Executive Resigns From Merck’s Board of Directors

      Dr. Craig B. Thompson, the chief executive of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said Tuesday that he would resign his seats on the boards of drugmaker Merck and another public company, the latest fallout from a widening institutional reckoning over relationships between cancer center leaders and for-profit health care companies.

      Thompson has served on the board of Merck, the maker of the blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda, since 2008. He has been on the board of Charles River Laboratories, a publicly traded company that assists research in early drug development, since 2013.

      [...]

      The resignations are effective immediately. A spokesman for the hospital said the compensation he received from both companies this year would be deferred until he is 72.

      “I believe this is the right decision for Memorial Sloan Kettering and will allow me to redouble my focus on MSK priorities: quality patient care, faculty, scientists and staff,” Thompson said in a memo sent to the hospital staff. He has been the chief executive of the hospital since 2010.

      The move followed two tense meetings at the hospital on Monday, spurred by articles by The New York Times and ProPublica, about insider deals among hospital officials and undisclosed industry relationships.

      At one meeting with hospital staff, Thompson apologized for his handling of staff reaction to the issues outlined in the articles, and acknowledged that he had not adequately reined in the industry relationships of the hospital’s former chief medical officer, Dr. José Baselga, who has since resigned.

    • Regenerative Agriculture as “Next Stage” of Civilization

      The array of techniques that comprise regenerative agriculture rebuilds soils and sequesters carbon. Regenerative farming, Cummins wrote, could potentially draw a critical mass of 200–250 billion tons of carbon from the earth’s atmosphere over the next 25 years, mitigating or even reversing key aspects of global warming. Regenerative agricultural techniques allow carbon to be stored in soils and living plants, where it can increase food production and quality while reducing soil erosion and the damaging runoff of pesticides and fertilizers.

    • Big Pharma’s Biostitutes: Corporate Media Ignore Root Cause of Opioid Crisis

      At least 64,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2016, with more than 80 percent of those deaths attributed to opioid drugs, according to an August 2017 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Government officials say that the crisis is finally getting Washington’s attention, as the Wall Street Journal reported in March 2018, but debates over bigger budgets for law enforcement or drug addiction programs continue to feature most prominently in the corporate press. As Abby Martin of The Empire Files reported in November 2017, this focus potentially distracts from the root of the problem, which is gross misconduct by drug manufacturing giants and their distributors.

      Martin’s report featured an interview with Mike Papantonio, a partner in the law firm representing four Ohio counties that are suing pharmaceutical companies for their role in manufacturing the opioid crisis. As Papantonio told Martin, “Big Pharma has operated without any oversight or regulations.”

    • Extravagant Hospital Waste of Unused Medical Supplies

      Hospitals in the United States are wasting millions of dollars’ worth of sterile and unused medical supplies, practices that impact the cost of healthcare, as Marshall Allen reported for ProPublica in March 2017. The type of equipment that gets thrown away ranges from simple items like surgical masks that cost just over a dollar each, to more expensive equipment such as $4,000 infant warmers or even $25,000 ultrasound machines. These wasted supplies add up, accounting for a significant amount of a hospital’s operating costs which Americans pay for through higher healthcare costs.

      Marshall Allen’s report cited a University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) study focused on UCSF’s own medical center. In its neurosurgery department, the study found almost $1,000 in wasted resources per patient, accounting for nearly $3 million in estimated annual costs. Notably, many doctors in the UCSF study were unaware of the costs of discarded medical supplies. In response to the study’s finding, UCSF established incentives to reduce unnecessary waste, resulting in savings of more than $800,000 per year.

      [...]

      Topical and industry-focused news websites, including Healthcare Finance and FierceHealthcare, covered the story, but these outlets target healthcare professionals instead of the majority of the healthcare-purchasing American public. The Washington Post published an article, written by the original author of the ProPublica report, Marshall Allen, in its “PostEverything” section. It’s important to note how the Post presented Allen’s article. PostEverything is an online-only opinion section that hosts content from contributors who are not regular Post reporters. The Post chose not to publish Allen’s article in print form, and the outlet framed it as “opinion,” despite the factually-based hard-hitting ProPublica report on which his article was based. Although the Post version still communicated the scope of the issue, it did not have the impact of the original ProPublica report. In March 2017, U.S. News & World Report also published an article based on the ProPublica report.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • How Serious Is the New Facebook Breach?

      As public frustration has grown, the mood inside Facebook has been, on the whole, sanguine. Executives and rank-and-file employees often say they understand the complaints but also believe that the company is unfairly scapegoated by those (especially journalists) who are troubled by technology or by the outcome of the 2016 election. Executives are confident that they are taking the steps that will solve the company’s problems, as they have over its fourteen-year history. But a Facebook breach today means more than a Facebook breach five or ten years ago, not only because the company has grown so dramatically but also because of the cumulative effect. Isolated problems that might be dismissed as inevitable acquire greater meaning and consequence in the context of a pattern of missteps.

    • What to Do if You Lose a U2F Key

      First off, we should take a closer look at what U2F is. While we have a much more in-depth explanation of what U2F is, we’ll cover the quick and dirty version here.

      In a nutshell, U2F is the standard for physical two-factor authentication tokens. Instead of using something like Authy, Google Authenticator, or SMS to receive a 2FA code, U2F uses a physical key to protect your accounts.

    • Three Critical Resources You Should Use to Harden Your Linux Server

      If you have ever maintained a Linux server with ports accessible to the Internet, you have no doubt had attacks on your server. With so many tools to scan servers, as well as insecure programs and vulnerabilities, no server administrator can take the risk of being complacent. Routine security checks and maintenance are essential to server safety.

      There are numerous blogs, books, and websites that offer guidance on server security as well as resources known for their extensiveness and effectiveness. Though these are robust and detailed, take care to not apply these guidelines blindly, ensure you have a backup, and assert that you have a plan for rollback.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Android Security Bulletin—October 2018
    • Google Fixes 26 Vulnerabilities in the Android Security Patch for October 2018
  • Defence/Aggression
    • More Than 80,000 Stolen Guns Worsen Crime in Florida

      Over the past ten years, more than 82,000 guns stolen in Florida remain missing, Laura Morel reported in November 2017 in joint reports for the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Journalism’s website, Reveal. The study, based on a ten-month investigation of “thousands of law enforcement records,” found that in Tampa Bay alone at least 9,000 stolen guns have not been recovered. In 2016, on average, at least one gun was reported stolen every hour.

      Those guns turn up in the hands of drug dealers and felons, Morel wrote, and some wind up killing people.

      Experts say the figures likely underestimate the actual number of missing guns, in part because Florida law does not require gun owners to report gun thefts, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement does not keep track of recovered guns. The Tampa Bay Times/Reveal study found that five law enforcement agencies in the state documented the theft of nearly 11,000 guns between 2014 and 2016. Based on this data, only about one in five guns has been recovered.

    • Regime Change 2.0: Is Venezuela Next?

      On September 8, The New York Times carried a story with a provocative headline: “Trump Administration Discussed Coup Plans With Rebel Venezuelan Officers”. The journalists Ernesto Londoño and Nicholas Casey spoke to 11 current and former United States officials and Venezuelan commanders. These people told the journalists that they had been involved in conversations with the Donald Trump administration about regime change in Venezuela. In August 2017, Trump had bragged that the U.S. had a “military option” for Venezuela. This statement, these men told the reporters, “encouraged rebellious Venezuelan military officers to reach out to Washington”.

      In February this year, then U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people.” This was an invitation for a military coup in Venezuela.

      The language Tillerson used has a long history inside the U.S. State Department. It is the logic used since 1954, when the U.S. government overthrew the democratically elected Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz. The theory was known as “military modernisation”, the idea being that in a former colonial country the only modern and efficient institution is the military. The U.S. government used this theory of military modernisation to defend its support of countries littered with military rulers—Ayub Khan in Pakistan (1958), Castelo Branco in Brazil (1964) and René Barrientos in Bolivia (1964).

    • Catalonia and postfascism

      There is a lack of understanding about what has really been happening in Catalonia over the past year. Some left commentators have been quick to label this the ‘return of Franco.’ Others have dismissed the police violence, the political prisoners and the shutting down of a democratically elected government as a reasonable reaction by a vulnerable state trying to prevent a damaging split.

      In reality neither are true. And at the same time both are true. It is the deep-lying institutional legacy of the dictatorship – a legacy that never went away – that has risen to the surface in Catalonia. And the reaction has been particularly extreme because this is the most vulnerable the Spanish state has been since Franco’s time.

    • AIN Blog: Hyper Focus on New Risk Detracts from Other Risks

      Aircraft vulnerabilities to theft, hijacking, and sabotage at airports large and small have been a security concern for years, heightened, of course, after 9/11.

    • Iran fires ballistic missiles at Syria militants over attackIran fires ballistic missiles at Syria militants over attack
    • Iran fires missiles with anti-Israel, -US slogans into Syria over parade attack

      Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched six ballistic missiles as well as drone bombers early Monday toward eastern Syria, targeting terrorists it blamed for an attack on a military parade last month while also threatening Israel and other regional adversaries as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers unravels.

    • To Preserve Our Humanity, We Must Ban Killer Robots

      A dystopian nightmare, in which machines make life-and-death decisions on the battlefield or in policing scenarios is not far away. It’s not Skynet or Cylons—at least, not yet—but the development of weapons with decreasing amounts of human control is already underway.

      More than 380 partly autonomous weapon systems have been deployed or are being developed in at least 12 countries, including China, France, Israel, South Korea, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. South Korea deploys mechanized sentries in the demilitarized zone, while Israel’s Iron Dome detects and destroys short-range rockets. US missile-defense systems like the Patriot and Aegis are semi-autonomous, and the US military has completed testing of an autonomous anti-submarine vessel, which is able to sink other submarines and ships without anyone on board. The United Kingdom is developing Taranis, a drone that can avoid radar detection and fly in autonomous mode. Russia has built a robot tank that can be fitted with a machine gun or grenade launcher, and has manufactured a fully automated gun that uses artificial neural networks to choose targets. China is developing weapon “swarms”—small drones that could be fitted with heat sensors and programmed to attack anything that emits a body temperature.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
  • Finance
    • How governments around the world are using blockchain

      A number of administrations are already trialling blockchain in a range of public services, including health records, voting and taxation.

      We look at some of the governments that have launched blockchain projects.

    • China’s Leaders Confront an Unlikely Foe: Ardent Young Communists

      Then, after graduation, they attempted to put the party’s stated ideals into action, converging from across China last month on Huizhou, a city in the south, to organize labor unions at nearby factories and stage protests demanding greater protections for workers.

      That’s when the party realized it had a problem.

      The authorities moved quickly to crush the efforts of the young activists, detaining several dozen of them and scrubbing the internet of their calls for justice — but not before their example became a rallying cry for young people across the country unhappy with growing inequality, corruption and materialism in Chinese society.

    • Privatization, the EU and a Bridge

      Why did this happen? Italy’s highway company was privatized in 1999, and concessions were then granted to operate the roads. The largest concession-holder (with about 50% of the network) is currently Autostrade per l’Italia S.p.A., controlled by the Benetton family, founders of the eponymous fashion brand. They make a handsome profit off of highway tolls – among the highest in Europe – and they are responsible for maintenance and investments, which have stagnated even as tolls have more than doubled in the past 25 years.

    • A Mix Of Good And Bad Ideas In NAFTA Replacement

      Let’s start with the simple concept that it’s not at all clear why intellectual property and intermediary liability issues should even be in various free trade agreements, other than to acknowledge that the legacy copyright industry has spent decades demanding that they be included in those agreements. I’ve mentioned it many times in the past, but the book Information Feudalism should be required reading on this subject, showing how copyright interests effectively hijacked the international trade agreement process to force through domestic policies they wished to have. The internet community mostly ignored the trade agreement process for years, allowing the RIAAs and MPAAs of the world to run rampant and get more or less whatever they wanted in smokey backrooms, before running home to Congress demanding that we pass new laws to “live up to our international obligations.”

      When NAFTA was originally passed, this practice wasn’t as common. Nowadays, it’s more or less considered mandatory to include these issues in trade agreements. This is unfortunate for a large number of reasons, but it does mean that if these issues are going to show up in trade agreements, at least they ought to come out in a way that isn’t harmful.

      And that takes us to NAFTA, which our current president demanded be renegotiated for no clear reason other than he was sure it was bad and we were being ripped off. And, voila, we now have a new agreement called the USMCA agreement designed to replace NAFTA (though I agree that we really missed a huge opportunity in not calling it the CAMUS agreement (or at least *something* that is pronounceable). And, because the RIAA and MPAAs of the world forced these issues into trade agreements, this new USMCA has a bunch of issues that have literally zero to do with “trade” but could have pretty widespread impacts on innovation and the internet.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Reporter’s Notebook: When Media Obsessions Fuel Reactionary Agendas

      From time to time, Shadowproof will invite our contributors to share their perspectives on working in media. This first installment comes from Siobhan O’Leary.

      A lot of time is spent making sure I can corroborate allegations of misconduct on a small scale, but something I don’t always get the opportunity to do as a journalist is provide a bigger picture analysis.

      While I’ve been writing for the better part of six years, I’m relatively new to investigative journalism. I don’t have a lengthy career where I can compare the way people used to respond to my work. I have no frame of reference for whether things have gotten better or worse. All I know is that there are broadly speaking two groups of people I haven’t been able to reach in the past two years: the busy and the hatedrunk.

      The latter group has been busy hermetically sealing themselves for the better part of 50 years, consuming media that ironically tells them the media can never be trusted. I think it is an effective indoctrination tactic because there is a kernel of truth to it, in the sense that editorial discretion has a staggering degree of influence over people. The decisions that go into which stories are newsworthy and which aren’t shape people’s perception of current events.

    • Russiagate: Two-Headed Monster of Propaganda and Censorship

      Russiagate, which began as a scandal over Russian efforts to sway the 2016 US election, has since proliferated into a drama of dossiers, investigative councils, Russian adoption cover-ups, and an ever-changing list of alleged scandals. As journalists from the Intercept, Truthdig, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, Rolling Stone, and other independent outlets documented, corporate media coverage of Russiagate has created a two-headed monster of propaganda and censorship. By saturating news coverage with a sensationalized narrative, Russiagate has superseded other important, newsworthy stories. Furthermore, corporate news coverage that has been reflexively hostile toward Russia also serves to link political protest in the United States with Russian operatives and interests in ways that discredit legitimate domestic activism.

      In April 2017, Aaron Maté reported on a quantitative study conducted by the Intercept of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, the second most popular weekday show on cable news. The Intercept’s analysis of every episode broadcast between February 20 and March 31, 2017 found that “Russia-focused segments accounted for 53 percent of these broadcasts.” As Maté noted, Maddow’s Russia coverage “dwarfed the time devoted to other top issues,” including Trump’s escalating crackdown on undocumented immigrants, the legal battle over Trump’s Muslim ban, and other administration scandals and stumbles.

    • US-group plans dossiers on cardinals to prevent repeat of conclave that elected Francis

      A US-based Catholic think tank is seeking more than a million dollars to compile dossiers on individual cardinals in a bid to prevent a repeat of the 2013 conclave which elected Pope Francis.

      The group “Better Church Governance” has hired ex-FBI investigators and academics to give each cardinal-elector a “classification” on how they have handled “abuse and corruption” in what they argue is an attempt by ordinary faithful to hold the hierarchy to account.

      But the organisers of “The Red Hat Report” initiative are also planning to delve into cardinals’ sexual orientation and edit Wikipedia entries to link them to scandals, in the hope of tarnishing their reputations in advance of a future conclave.

    • Conservative Catholics Are Digging for Dirt on American Cardinals
    • Supreme Court censorship on Lula a threat on freedom of speech?

      In jail since April for corruption and money laundering, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has yet to give a single interview to the press since beginning his sentence. This is not for lack of trying on behalf of Lula or the Brazilian media. Last week, an interview request by Brazil’s largest newspaper was turned down by a federal court, which led to a series of Supreme Court appeals and injunctions, sparking a heated debate about press freedoms in the country.

    • The Business of Silence — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast

      President Donald Trump has had many roles in his life: Real estate scion, reality show star, Oval Office holder. But through it all, one thing has remained consistent. He works to keep people silent.

      In the latest episode of “Trump, Inc.,” our podcast with WNYC, we’re looking at the ways Trump has tried to buy and enforce silence — and how it matters more than ever now that he’s president. We talk to The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow about just one of the tactics used by those helping the president: the “catch and kill.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Protecting the media

      Media freedom is at its lowest point when journalists are forced to operate in an increasingly hostile environment.

      While in Pakistan, there are no official curbs at the moment, as they were in the days of Gen Ziaul Haq, there is increasing pressure on media houses to conform to the narrative spun by various state institutions.

    • Journalists plan protest on Oct 9 against curbs on press freedom

      The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (Afzal Butt group) has given a nationwide call for protest on Oct 9 against mass-scale retrenchments in the media, non-payment of salaries, unannounced censorship by state institutions, intimidation of journalists by state actors and registration of treason cases against journalists.

    • 5 Washington Post Bans Employees from Using Social Media to Criticize Sponsors

      In June 2017, Andrew Beaujon reported in the Washingtonian on a new policy at the Washington Post that prohibits the Post’s employees from conduct on social media that “adversely affects The Post’s customers, advertisers, subscribers, vendors, suppliers or partners.” In such cases, according to the policy, Post management reserved the right to take disciplinary action “up to and including termination of employment.” According to the report, the Post’s policy went into effect on May 1 and applies to the entire company.

      In addition to restricting criticism, the Post’s new policy encourages employees to snitch on one another: “If you have any reason to believe that an employee may be in violation of The Post’s Social Media Policy . . . you should contact the Post’s Human Resources Department.” The Post declined to comment on the policy to the Washingtonian.

      At the time of the news report, the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, which represents newsroom and commercial employees at the Post, was protesting the company-wide action and was seeking to have the controversial parts of the policy removed in a new labor agreement.

    • Confused Swedish Ad Board Says ‘Distracted Boyfriend Meme’ Is Sexist

      It’s unclear from the reporting if there’s any actual punishment for Banhof, or if it just can’t keep using that advertisement (though, given that this has now received a ton of press attention, it probably has given the company a lot more attention). Either way, Sweden’s Advertising Ombudsman needs to lighten up a bit and maybe enjoy a meme.

    • More Censorship: Facebook Unpublishes Jihad Watch Page [Ed: The censorship bemoaned by Robert Spencer (a-hole) in this case, but will Zuckberberg protect religion from atheism too?]

      It has long been obvious that Facebook is no friend of the freedom of speech, and is especially tough on foes of jihad terror and the massive Muslim migrant influx into the West, and so it was perhaps inevitable that this would happen. The Facebook fascists, of course, do their best to conceal what they’re about. This time they have shut down the Jihad Watch page on a technicality that is in reality a catch-22.

      Facebook has been giving me notices on the Jihad Watch page saying that the page is unpublished, and will remain unpublished until I confirm what country I’m in. They want to guard against all those Russian bots, doncha know.

      Confirming what country I’m in involves entering in a code they send to my phone, and the code never arrives. The Facebook page after they say they sent the code to me tells me to update the Facebook app. It doesn’t say anything more specific, but I’ve repeatedly downloaded the latest Facebook app, so it should be fully updated.

    • Pat Shingleton: “Indian Summer and Censorship…”

      A repeat of a previous column noting some wishful thinking. Indian summer occurs in mid to late autumn, usually after the first killing frost. It’s difficult to experience this in our sub-tropical, south Louisiana climate but is greatly appreciated through other sections of the country. Its usage has been traced to 1778 as Native Americans utilized these days to increase their winter food stores. In Europe a similar weather pattern has been called Old Wives’ summer, Halcyon days, and St. Martin’s summer. Years ago, I referenced Indian summer on one of our broadcasts and received an e-mail from Marsha Reichle. She wrote, “Dear Pat: It’s called Indian summer when we have Apache fog.” As we slide into October we also move closer to the end of baseball season. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Office of Censorship advised radio stations in the Code of Wartime Practices to omit all mention of weather. Even though the “code” was voluntary, radio station managers feared that their licenses could be compromised. Newspapers were cautioned as to what with limitations to the previous day’s highs and lows for no more than 20 cities and could print briefly worded weather bureau forecasts. Any mention of a weather forecast from the Lower 48 could have helped Germany’s meteorologists with weather conditions affecting ships and submarines in the Atlantic. Surprisingly, the daily mention of field conditions for a baseball game was acceptable but constraints were placed on games that were rained-out. Announcers were instructed to broadcast a cancelled event due to “weather”, “wet grounds” or “muddy fields.”

    • Suppressing activism through censorship
    • CIA internal history blamed interagency conflicts on the National Security Act being “purposefully vague”

      As part of MuckRock’s ongoing project to declassify and collect internal Central Intelligence Agency histories, the Agency recently released a copy of the history on the Foreign Intelligence Staff’s coordination under National Security Council Intelligence Directive No. 5, from 1951 – 1967. The history outlines various “turf wars,” some which predate the Agency itself, which were the result of disagreements about what the law said and who had what responsibilities. According to the history, many of these disagreements and differing interpretations stemmed directly or indirectly from the language of the National Security Act of 1947, which both established and empowered the CIA, being “purposefully vague.”

    • Six Months Later, People Are Finally Realizing That FOSTA Actually Is Putting Lives At Risk

      Before FOSTA became law, plenty of experts in the space tried to warn everyone that a bill that was frequently promoted as being necessary to help “save the lives” of vulnerable women involved in sex trafficking, would actually put more lives at risk. And we’ve already had some evidence to support that this prediction was entirely accurate. Various law enforcement officials have been complaining that it’s now more difficult to catch sex traffickers.

      And, now the Associated Press has a big article looking at the impact of FOSTA and it’s not pretty.

    • Chinese ‘Rage Comic’ Site First Victim Of Government’s History-Rewriting ‘Heroes And Martyrs’ Law

      The Chinese government is rewriting history in its own distorted self-image. It wants to distance itself from its unseemly past, so it’s retconning history through selectively-edited educational material and blatant censorship. Sure, the Chinese government has never been shy about its desire to shut up those that don’t agree with it, but a recent “heroes and martyrs” law forbids disparaging long dead political and military figures.

      The government alone will decide how much praise must be slathered on designated “heroes and martyrs.” Criticism has been banned, so citizens are at least clear on that aspect. The law went into effect on May 1st, immediately leading to the ban of a Chinese “rage comic” site. This site is the first to be successfully sued under the new law.

    • Following Alleged Censorship of Mapplethorpe Show, Collector Seeks Termination of 700-Work Loan to Serralves Museum

      At the Vienna Contemporary art fair this past weekend, collector Luiz Augusto Teixeira de Freitas said he is seeking the termination of his loan of 700 drawings to the Serralves Foundation Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto, Portugal. The Portuguese newspaper Publico reported the news on Saturday after collector Alain Servais tweeted about Teixeira de Freitas’s talk at the fair. According to the Publico report, Teixeira de Freitas has loaned works by Gabriel Orozco, Mark Lombardi, Julião Sarmento, and others to the museum.

    • China is weaponizing online distraction
    • Art Industry News: Collector Pulls Loans From Museum Amid Mapplethorpe Censorship Battle + Others Stories
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Feds Finally Get Around To Using Someone’s Face To Unlock Their Cellphone

      First, Michalski apparently consented to the search by using his face to unlock the phone. If this was as voluntary as it appears, it pretty much eliminates a Constitutional challenge.

      Beyond that, it’s unlikely a court would find someone’s face testimonial. For the most part, courts haven’t found fingerprints to be testimonial, even if the application of a fingerprint leads directly to the production of evidence to be used against the phone’s owner.

      The “foregone conclusion” argument would only require law enforcement prove the phone belongs to the person they’re asking to unlock it — information easily acquired with a subpoena from the service provider.

      Even if all these hurdles could be jumped, actions taken by the investigating agent pretty much eliminated any evidence the defendant might have challenged, as Forbes’ Thomas Brewster reports.

    • DOJ Loses Another Attempt To Obtain Encryption-Breaking Precedent In Federal Court

      The DOJ is now 0-for-2 in encryption-breaking cases. The DOJ tried to get a judge to turn an All Writs Order into a blank check for broken encryption in the San Bernardino shooting case. Apple pushed back. Hard. So hard the FBI finally turned to an outside vendor to crack the shooter’s iPhone — a vendor the FBI likely knew all along could provide this assistance. But the DOJ wanted the precedent more than it wanted the evidence it thought it would find on the phone. It bet it all on the Writ and lost.

      Other opportunities have arisen, though. A case involving wiretapping MS-13 gang members resulted in the government seeking more compelled decryption, this time from Facebook. The FBI could intercept text messages sent through Messenger but was unable to eavesdrop on calls made through the application. Facebook claimed it didn’t matter what the government wanted. It could not wiretap these calls for the government without significantly redesigning the program. The government thought making Messenger less secure for everyone was an acceptable solution, as long as it gave investigators access to calls involving suspected gang members.

      The case has proceeded under seal, for the most part, so it’s been difficult to determine exactly what solution the government was demanding, but it appears removal of encryption was the preferred solution, which would provide it with future wiretap access if needed. If this request was granted, the government could take its paperwork to other encrypted messaging programs to force them to weaken or destroy protections they offered to users.

    • McSweeney’s and EFF Team Up for “The End of Trust”

      We also recruited some of our favorite thinkers on digital rights to contribute to the collection: anthropologist Gabriella Coleman contemplates anonymity; Edward Snowden explains blockchain; journalist Julia Angwin and Pioneer Award-winning artist Trevor Paglen discuss the intersections of their work; Pioneer Award winner Malkia Cyril discusses the historical surveillance of black bodies; and Ken Montenegro and Hamid Khan of Stop LAPD Spying debate author and intelligence contractor Myke Cole on the question of whether there’s a way law enforcement can use surveillance responsibly.

      We’ve read and reviewed every piece, and without spoiling anything, we can say that it’s smart, thought-provoking, entertaining, and altogether freakin’ awesome. What’s even better is that McSweeney’s has agreed that the content should be available to be freely shared under a Creative Commons license. You’ll be able to download that from us when the quarterly launches on Nov. 20, but we highly recommend getting your hands on a print copy to keep as an analog artifact of the strange and changing times we live in.

    • Rohingya refugees to be identified by biometrics

      The Centre would send the biometric report collected by states to the Myanmar government through a diplomatic channel, he said.
      Singh chaired a meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council here to discuss issues related to inter-state relations and security matters, including the Maoist menace.

    • Andersson puzzled by other parties’ readiness to push through intelligence laws

      “Security is a powerful argument in politics and public debate,” Andersson acknowledges in her blog. “It is nevertheless frightening how the fact that there is a desire to amend the constitution under the urgency procedure has been subjected to so little scrutiny.”

      [...]

      “Although it is tempting to bundle these issues into one, each of them is a separate decision warranting its own consideration,” stresses Andersson.

    • Unlikely alliance calls for scrapping encryption bill
    • Kim Dotcom Loses Privacy Battle Following High Court Appeal

      In March, Kim Dotcom was awarded damages after his requests for the government to hand over information held on him were denied. That ruling was immediately appealed by the Crown. The New Zealand High Court has now overturned the earlier decision by the Human Rights Review Tribunal that concluded that Dotcom’s privacy rights had been breached.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • No One Should Be Detained Without a Hearing While Fighting Deportation

      The government’s sweeping interpretation of a 1996 law has expanded mandatory detention far beyond what Congress intended.

      In May of 2013, Astrid Morataya, a legal permanent resident, woke up to a knock on the door. Looking outside the window, she saw law enforcement agents with bulletproof vests encircling her home in Illinois.

      “They must have the wrong house,” she thought. But they were, in fact, there for her. The government waited 15 years to attempt to deport Astrid for a low-level drug conviction that she received in the late ‘90s, during a period in her life when she was the victim of ongoing sexual abuse. Astrid spent the next two-and-a-half years fighting her deportation case behind bars, separated from her three U.S. citizen children. Held in county jails in Illinois and Wisconsin, she was twice placed in solitary confinement. The first time was for having a sugar packet in her uniform that she forgot to dispose of at mealtime, and the other was for not being ready to leave her cell because she had begun menstruating and was trying to obtain menstrual pads.

      At no point did Astrid receive a hearing on whether her imprisonment was justified, even though she presented no threat to public safety or to flee. Eventually, she learned that she could apply for a “U visa,” a type of visa for victims of crimes who assist law enforcement, because she had previously testified against her abuser in court.

      In November 2015, Astrid was released from detention, after spending more than two years unnecessarily imprisoned. She isn’t alone. Every day the government subjects thousands of immigrants to mandatory detention without the due process of a hearing, based on offenses they committed and served sentences for years ago.

      On Oct. 10, the American Civil Liberties Union will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case which could change that. Nielsen v. Preap challenges the government’s sweeping interpretation of a 1996 mandatory detention law, which requires that certain people are detained for the duration of their deportation proceedings — without a hearing — because they have past criminal records.

      Here’s what you need to know.

    • Four Men Arrested Over Unrest During 2017 “Unite the Right” Rally

      Federal prosecutors on Tuesday announced they had arrested four members or associates of the Rise Above Movement, a white supremacist group, over their alleged role in the infamous 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

      The four men were charged with having traveled to Charlottesville with the aim of inciting a riot and conspiracy to incite a riot, and prosecutors submitted an array of photographs and videos capturing the men pummeling and choking protesters over two days.

      If convicted, the men — Benjamin Drake Daley, 25, of Redondo Beach, California; Thomas Walter Gillen, 34, of Redondo Beach; Michael Paul Miselis, 29, of Lawndale, California; and Cole Evan White, 24, of Clayton, California — could face five years in prison for each of two federal riot charges. White has been described as an associate of the group, not a member.

      Most of the men charged on Tuesday have been the subject of reporting by ProPublica and Frontline over the last year. RAM, based in Southern California, claimed more than 50 members in 2017 and an overriding purpose: physically attacking its ideological foes. Its members spend weekends training in boxing and other martial arts, and they have boasted publicly of their violence during rallies — not just in Charlottesville, but in the California cities of Huntington Beach, San Bernardino and Berkeley, as well. Many of the altercations have been captured on video.

    • Former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke Testifies In His Own Murder Trial

      Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke testified in a trial, where he is accused of first-degree murder and other offenses. He shot Laquan McDonald 16 times and killed him.

      His defense team called him to the witness stand in an effort to show the jury that Van Dyke never had any intent to murder McDonald. They claim the shooting was justified because Van Dyke perceived a threat, since McDonald had a knife and was closing in on him.

      But Assistant Special Prosecutor Jody Gleason confronted Van Dyke with his testimony about the shooting and showed how his recollection of the shooting was different from what appears in dashcam video and even in a reconstructed animation that was commissioned by the defense to supposedly show Van Dyke’s perspective.

      Gleason recalled how Van Dyke maintained right after the shooting that McDonald brought a knife up over his chest and pointed it at him. Van Dyke confirmed while testifying that this was the story he told about the shooting.

    • Kavanaugh “Was Often Belligerent and Aggressive” When He Was Drunk, According to a Former Yale Classmate

      “In recent days I have become deeply troubled by what has been a blatant mischaracterization by Brett himself of his drinking at Yale.”

    • Brett Kavanaugh: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Watch Out Facebook, Google, Amazon, and the NSA. Solid Is Coming.
    • The powerhouses of the Internet are turning hostile to websites

      In the last five years, there has not been a single major website or dominant web property that has embraced, rewarded, or significantly grown their outlinking. We’ve reached an era of a less-connected web, a web focused on retaining users rather than sharing content. The blogosphere still holds on, clinging to its noble practices of sharing what’s share-worthy. And a few sites like Hacker News, Techmeme, Memeorandum, and SparkToro Trending, still prioritize and benefit from aggregation and sharing. But with the rise of voice answers and branded devices (Google Home, Alexa, etc), the future of referral traffic looks grim.

      Below is a visual I created based on Jumpshot’s February 2018 data. [...]

    • Bots and Volunteers Replaced 9 Million Broken Wikipedia References with Wayback Machine Links

      You click a reference on Wikipedia, only to find the URL is broken. It’s frustrating, but it should happen less often now thanks to The Internet Archive.

      Websites die, and even if they don’t they sometimes take down articles and pages. That’s a problem for Wikipedia, which builds credibility in part by citing other websites. A three year effort by The Internet Archive means 9 million previously broken Wikipedia citations point to the Archive’s Wayback Machine, providing access to source materials that would otherwise be hard for users to track down.

    • Report Finds U.S. Wireless Video Streaming Utterly Mediocre Thanks To Arbitrary Carrier Throttling

      With net neutrality on the ropes, major U.S. carriers continue to experiment with new ways to nickel-and-dime their subscribers. One of the cornerstones of this new effort involves erecting arbitrary restrictions, then charging mobile consumers extra money to overcome them. Case in point: Sprint’s attempt to charge users more money if they want to avoid arbitrary throttling of games, video, and music. Another example: Verizon’s decision to throttle all video on its network to 480p unless you pay the company for a more expensive, not really “unlimited” data plan.

      While carriers like to insist that they only throttle user wireless connections in cases of network congestion, a recent study explored how that wasn’t remotely true.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • KOL252 | Death to Tyrants Podcast: Human Rights, Property Rights and Copyrights

      We get into rights, property, self ownership and the philosophy behind these things. We then move into “intellectual property” and the case against copyright and patents.

    • The IP implications of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit [Ed: Says "UK intends to explore whether it would be possible to remain," but no, one cannot "remain" in UPC as no such thing exists! UPC is dead already.]

      The four notices look at trademark and designs; patents; exhaustion of IP rights; and copyright. As with all such guidance released to date, the solutions they contain are not certain or complete until the Withdrawal Agreement is (or isn’t) signed on ‘Brexit day’ (by 11pm on 29 March 2019, or later if an extension period is agreed). However, the content they propose is broadly in line with what has previously been discussed or proposed as part of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement.

      [...]

      The UK intends to explore whether it would be possible to remain within the Unified Patent Court and unitary patent systems in a ‘no deal’ scenario.

    • Re-Calibrating Willfulness and Enhanced Damages

      The Patent Act is remarkably unhelpful in terms of spelling out the doctrine of willfulness and enhanced damages. The statute simply states that “the court may increase the damages up to three times the amount found or assessed” without providing further guidance or limitation. 35 U.S.C. 284. The Federal Circuit has taken this simple statutory text and layered over a multi-step analysis and multi-prong doctrine that must be met prior to increasing the damage award. In Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., 136 S. Ct. 1923 (2016), the Supreme Court cut through a portion of the complexity — holding that an infringer’s “objective reasonableness” in its infringement decision does not bar an enhanced damages award. Still, the doctrine continues to have muti-layers, including a first decision as to whether the infringer’s behavior was “willful, wanton, malicious, bad-faith, deliberate, consciously wrongful, flagrant, or—indeed—characteristic of a pirate.” Halo. That factual inquiry (willfulness finding) is then followed by a judicial decision as to whether to actually enhance damages.

      [...]

      Here, I’ll note that the Corning’s objective evidence is pretty good — the US Court of International Trade (CIT) ruled that an ITC General Exclusion Order didn’t apply to the same products at issue here — since they weren’t covered by the patent at issue. U.S. Patent No. 6,558,194. (Note that in that case the patent owner was not permitted to participate, even as an amicus).

    • 5th Global Congress On IP And The Public Interest: Successes, Strategies Highlighted

      More than 400 activists, academics and practitioners from over 50 countries gathered at this year’s Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest, according to organisers. At the Congress, participants shared success stories, developed strategies, and engaged in critical dialogue to re-think and re-invent intellectual property systems that serve the public interest.

    • Trademarks
      • Fashion Designer Balenciaga Opposes Parody Pet-Wear Maker’s Trademark Application For ‘Pawlenciaga’

        Everyone who knows me knows I love two things more than anything in this world: animals… and puns. And, to my delight, much of the pet industry considers using puns as something of a religion. You’ve all seen this, with groan-worthy names of pet stores, doggie daycares, and treat makers. And because the world simply can’t be a fun place in which to exist, sometimes these punny names cause intellectual property disputes, such as when the Prosecco people managed to oppose a trademark for a pet treat named “Pawsecco”, or when a real-life human being hotel called the Chateau Marmont sent a cease and desist notice to the Cateau Marmont, a hotel for, I don’t know… raccoons?

      • What may be the main (potential) events in the life of an EU/national trade mark? Here’s a new map

        I have now revisited my old Life of a national/EU trade Mark map and worked towards updating and improving it.

        The new map concerning EU/national trade marks: Main life events is available below and can be downloaded here. I would like to thank fellow Kat Rosie for her feedback. There is no need to say that I am responsible for any errors/inaccuracies.

    • Copyrights
      • BitTorrent Popularity And Online Piracy Is Increasing Again: Here’s Why

        A report from Sandvine’s Global Internet Phenomena suggests that internet users are again shifting their focus on BitTorrent owing to a plethora of Netflix competitors available in the market.

        Video content constitutes 58% of the total downstream volume of traffic on the internet, and just 15% of it comes from Netflix. On the other hand, BitTorrent has grabbed 22% of the upstream volume.

        BitTorrent platform is legal. However, the files shared on it are mostly copyrighted content.

      • Latvian 4.0 and Basque 4.0 and CC0 translations now available

        Creative Commons is proud to announce the release of the official translations of the Latvian 4.0 licenses and Basque 4.0 licenses, as well as the Basque CC0 translation.

        After one and a half years and many rounds of consultation, the Latvian 4.0 translation is now published on the Creative Commons site and will benefit almost 2 million native speakers. We would like to thank Toms Ceļmillers and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia for their dedicated efforts in coordinating this translation.

      • Play 1,785 Classic Arcade Games Right Now on The Internet Archive (No Quarters Necessary)

        Arcades, in most cities, are a distant memory, but you can relive over a thousand classic games right now thanks to The Internet Archive.

        The site, which aims to preserve our digital past, offers a massive collection of emulated arcade titles, which you can play here (via OpenCulture.com). The collection currently includes 1,785 games, all emulated right in your browser.

      • Valuing Wikimedia Commons Images

        Several years ago, both Lisa and I wrote about Heald, et al.’s study that attempted to value public domain photographs as used on Wikipedia. While I liked the study a lot, two of my chief critiques were small sample size and unclear value of hits on Wikipedia pages.

        A new paper extends their study, and provides even more evidence of the extensive use of Wikimedia Commons photos. In What is the Commons Worth? Estimating the Value of Wikimedia Imagery by Observing Downstream Use, Kris Erickson (University of Leeds), Felix Rodriguez Perez (Independent), and Jesus Rodriguez Perez (University of Glasgow), have attempted to generalize the findings from the prior study.

        [...]

        That said, I do not think the assumption detracts from the value of the Wikimedia Commons for two reasons. First, they report Getty having revenues of nearly $1 billion per year, so finding $28 billion value over the lifetime of the WC is perhaps not far-fetched. Second, even if people would not pay the full amount, they might have been willing to pay less than the Getty fee (which also includes some public domain items). In the absence of WC, the differences between what they would have paid and what they get (either nothing or homegrown or search costs) is deadweight loss.

        I frankly had no idea that Wikimedia Commons was used so much, but I’m glad that there’s competition in the stock photo market. I’ll finally note that the discussion about which images get used is an interesting one. It turns out-just like Netflix, Facebook, and Twitter-the stuff that gets curated for you is the stuff you wind up seeing and using.

      • How the Music Modernization Act changes US copyright law

        Sanjana Kapila examines the Act’s provisions, its most controversial aspects, and the difference between the House and Senate versions

        The Hatch-Goodlatte Music Modernization Act has been passed by Congress and is now awaiting the signature of President Trump. Its provisions herald a significant change to US copyright law.

      • File-sharing Site Openload Generates More Traffic Than Hulu or HBO Go

        Netflix is the number one bandwidth ‘hog’ on the Internet, with video streaming sites dominating Internet traffic in general, Sandvine’s new Global Internet Phenomena report reveals. Perhaps unexpectedly, file-sharing site Openload makes an appearance among the top ten video sources, which is bound to upset Hollywood.

Today’s IBM is Acting Like a Patent Troll and Arming Active Patent Trolls, Just Like Microsoft Does

Wednesday 3rd of October 2018 10:51:15 AM

Finjan is suing again

Summary: IBM and entities that are connected to it (and to Microsoft) are suing the whole industry using dubious software patents; they rely on out-of-court settlements to prevent the patents from actually being tested (as tests typically invalidate these)

ARMED to the teeth with dubious software patents in large quantities (the USPTO granted these with minimal scrutiny), IBM mimics the model of Microsoft, having employed Marshall Phelps, the man who turned both companies into patent bullies and took pride in it. Forbes gave Phelps a whole blog; it also gave whole blogs to literal patent trolls.

“…IBM mimics the model of Microsoft, having employed Marshall Phelps, the man who turned both companies into patent bullies and took pride in it.”IBM’s patent bullying is counter-productive; there have been calls for boycott over it (even from Free/Open Source software people), whereas lawyers rejoiced because all they want is litigation. The more, the merrier.

As it turned out earlier this week, based on press releases and press coverage [1, 2, 3], Groupon basically surrendered and agreed to pay IBM loads of money without an actual trial that tests the patents at hand:

Groupon has managed to secure a money-off deal in its court battle with IBM over e-commerce patents.

The pair have agreed to settle the dispute, with the e-voucher biz set to pay $57m to IBM, knocking almost a third off the price tag granted by a court this summer.

In July, a jury ruled that Groupon had wilfully infringed four of IBM’s e-commerce patents and awarded the firm some $83m – about half the $167m Big Blue had initially sought.

However, Groupon indicated at the time that it would consider seeking a reduction, or appealing the decision, and today’s agreement suggests it did so with some success.

The lawsuit, filed in 2016, alleged that Groupon had infringed four of IBM’s e-commerce patents, some of which date back to the 1980s for the firm’s pre-internet Prodigy online communication service.

Yes, IBM uses old software patents for blackmail. Acting like Microsoft (more or less), IBM quit pretending to be a legitimate technology company. Groupon is only one among many companies that IBM is shaking down; we found out about Groupon only because there was a refusal and subsequently a lawsuit. Yesterday we saw nothing but shallow coverage about it [1, 2]; no doubt patent maximalists are going to celebrate this in days/weeks to come.

“It might be interesting to see to what degree — if any — Finjan relies on the patents it got from IBM.”IBM wishes to be thought of as “science” and “wisdom” (Watson is pure PR/marketing), but in reality today’s IBM applies for truly ridiculous patents while lobbying for software patents and engaging in blackmail rather than sales.

To make matters even worse, IBM extends its patents to notorious patent trolls like Finjan; sponsored/backed by Microsoft and armed by IBM last year, Finjan has just announced another lawsuit, this time in Delaware for a change because it's displacing Texas according to fairly recent data.

Finjan Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:FNJN), a cybersecurity company, today announced that — after more than two years of good faith efforts to resolve a patent dispute with Rapid7, Inc. and Rapid7 LLC (collectively, “Rapid7″) — its subsidiary Finjan, Inc. (“Finjan”) has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Rapid7, a Delaware corporation with headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware (“Delaware”).

So this Microsoft patent troll does the only thing it ever does; it’s suing (trolling) Microsoft rivals again. It might be interesting to see to what degree — if any — Finjan relies on the patents it got from IBM. They’re a leveraging/bargaining card at the very least.

Eric Swildens Squashes Bogus US Patent, Corporate Media’s Response Gives Room for Thought

Wednesday 3rd of October 2018 09:44:47 AM

“Vigilante engineer” is what corporate media has chosen to call him


Reference: Vigilante in Wikipedia

Summary: A technical person who followed the legal process to have a patent invalidated (at personal cost of $6,000) is being belittled by corporate media as “random” and maligned as “vigilante” (knowing the very negative connotations; see above)

THE QUALITY of patents should be celebrated, not condemned, but today’s USPTO measures its performance in terms of quantity (e.g. number of grants), not quality. We have just explained who benefits from such abundance of legally-toothless patents.

“Ars Technica’s coverage went with a headline that called him “Vigilante engineer” (negative connotation, as though he’s armed or something).”Earlier this week there were many news articles like “Engineer spends $6,000 invalidating Waymo’s lidar patents” and “Random engineer spends six grand to block Waymo’s lidar patents” (he is not “random”). To quote the latter:

The 936 patent was key in Waymo’s battle against Uber in a legal battle running since 2016 in which Waymo accused Uber of using allegedly stolen intellectual property. Waymo, owned by Alphabet, ended up prevailing, partly thanks to its 936 patent. In the end, Uber had to pay Waymo $245 million worth of equity to settle the lawsuit.

But now it turns out Uber could have saved a huge chunk of cash since the lone engineer’s actions have resulted in most of the 936 patent being ruled invalid. “As I investigated the 936 patent, it became clear it was invalid due to prior art for multiple reasons,” Swildens said. “I only filed the reexamination because I was absolutely sure the patent was invalid.”

Ars Technica’s coverage went with a headline that called him “Vigilante engineer” (negative connotation, as though he’s armed or something). Sounds like an insult, no? This is from Wall Street-connected media (the parent company), albeit the publisher in this case is technology-centric. CBS was the second (at least) publisher to call him “random” (like “simpleton” or “nobody”); the headline called him that. “Waymo has one of its lidar patents gutted, thanks to a random engineer” (some headlines said patents rather than patent, i.e. plural, meaning that there was no fact-checking by the authors).

A British technology tabloid said in its headline that “Waymo loses shedloads of patents to a lone engineer” (but actually it’s about one single patent and calling him “lone engineer” sounds like “lone wold shooter”). To quote:

A lone engineer has overturned most of a foundational patent covering Waymo’s lidar laser ranging devices.

Eric Swildens managed to get the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to reject all but three of 56 claims in Waymo’s 936 patent.

The USPTO found that some claims replicated technology described in an earlier patent from lidar vendor Velodyne, while another claim was simply “impossible” and “magic.”

What makes this surprising is that Uber spent a fortune losing a court case against Waymo over this patent after a Waymo engineer was inadvertently copied on an email from one of its suppliers to Uber, showing a lidar circuit design that looked almost identical to one shown in the 936 patent.

We decided to take note of this one story primarily to show just how awful press coverage about patents can be. It’s truly inaccurate and it is sometimes an attack on people who dare disrupt multi-billion-dollar corporations and their monopolisation aspirations. Our next post will be a follow-up on this, albeit one that pertains to IBM and Microsoft.

More in Tux Machines

OSS Leftovers

  • cairo release 1.16.0 now available
    After four years of development since 1.14.0, version 1.16.0 of the cairo 2D graphics library has been released.
  • Cairo 1.16 Released With OpenGL ES 3.0 Support, Colored Emojis
    It's been four years since the debut of the Cairo 1.14 stable series and today that has been succeeded by Cairo 1.16. Cairo, as a reminder, is the vector graphics library for 2D drawing and supports back-ends ranging from OpenGL to PDF, PostScript, DirectFB, and SVG outputs. Cairo is used by the likes of the GTK+ tool-kit, Mozilla's Gecko engine, Gnuplot, Poppler, and many other open-source projects.
  • Open source MDM offers flexibility, with challenges
    Open source platforms may require more effort from IT than commercial products do, but they can also address an organization's specific requirements -- if the company is willing to invest in the necessary resources. The open source mobile device management (MDM) market is very limited, but there are a few options. If organizations determine that an open source platform is worth the effort, then they can weigh a few different options for open source MDM tools.
  • Three-Year Moziversary
    Another year at Mozilla. They certainly don’t slow down the more you have of them. For once a year of stability, organization-wise. The two biggest team changes were the addition of Jan-Erik back on March 1, and the loss of our traditional team name “Browser Measurement II” for a more punchy and descriptive “Firefox Telemetry Team.”
  • Citus Data donates 1% equity to non-profit PostgreSQL orgs
    There’s open source and there’s open source. There’s genuine free and open source software (FOSS) and then there’s largely locked down proprietary non-dynamic library open source that is generally supplied as a commercially supported version of an open source kernel base that doesn’t see whole lot of real world code commits — and, no, there’s no acronym for that. Then, there’s other ways of evidencing real open openness such as non-technical contributions (could be language translation/localisation etc.) and then there’s plain old contributions. Scale-out Postgres database technologies ​​​​Citus Data is donating 1 percent of its equity to non-profit PostgreSQL organisations in the US and Europe.
  • Pagely NorthStack Makes WordPress Serverless
    WordPress is getting the serverless treatment, thanks to a new effort from managed WordPress hosting provider Pagely. The new NorthStack platform disaggregates the usual stack that WordPress requires into a series of services that largely run on serverless infrastructure at Amazon Web Services (AWS). The NorthStack effort is an attempt to lower the fixed costs and infrastructure needed to deploy and run WordPress. "WordPress itself is based on 12-year-old code. It does not want to be in a serverless environment," Joshua Strebel, CEO of Pagely, told eWEEK. "WordPress wants to live on one AWS EC2 node up next to its database with everything all contained in it."
  • Why Open Source Healthcare is Vital for Innovation
    Dana Lewis’ story is far from being a rarity. The diabetes industry is one of the worst offenders for overcharging or price gouging medication and equipment for patients. This is leading many individuals to take the same path as Dana Lewis. Open source platforms like OpenAPS, GitHub pages, and social media offer DIYers step-by-step instructions on how to build their own artificial pancreas tools. Kate Farnsworth built a DIY monitor device that keeps blood sugar levels of her diabetic daughter in constant check This tool, that has dramatically improved the life of a 15-year-old Sydney, cost her mom just $250.
  • The EU has approved Microsoft’s $7.5 billion GitHub acquisition
     

    Microsoft’s upcoming $7.5 billion acquisition of GitHub has cleared another major hurdle: the EU has approved the deal after determining that there are no antitrust concerns in Microsoft buying the popular open-source software repository, via the Financial Times.  

  • EU watchdog waves through Microsoft's GitHub takeover
     

    The EC noted that, in making its decision, it probed whether Microsoft would leverage the popularity of GitHut to boost sales of its own DevOps tools and cloud services, and looked into whether Microsoft would have the ability and incentive to further integrate its own DevOps tools and cloud services with GitHub while limiting integration with third parties' DevOps tools and cloud services.

  • Microsoft’s $7.5BN GitHub buy gets green-lit by EU regulators
     

    The Commission decided Microsoft would have no incentive to undermine the GitHub’s openness — saying any attempt to do so would reduce its value for developers, who the Commission judged as willing and able to switch to other platforms.

  • EU clears Microsoft acquisition of GitHub
  • Doing your civic duty one line of code at a time
    When it comes to doing our civic duty in today's technologically driven world, there is a perception that we don't care like older generations did. History teaches us that in the early 20th century's New Deal, Americans stepped up to the nation's challenges on a wide range of government-financed public works projects. Airport construction. Infrastructure improvements. Building dams, bridges, hospitals. This was more than just individuals "pulling themselves up by their bootstraps" but, by design, performing incredible civic duties. Quite an amazing feat when you think about it.

Security: U.S. CMS Breach and New Security Woes for Popular 'IoT' Protocols

  • U.S. CMS says 75,000 individuals' files accessed in data breach
  • CMS Responding to Suspicious Activity in Agent and Broker Exchanges Portal

    At this time, we believe that approximately 75,000 individuals’ files were accessed. While this is a small fraction of consumer records present on the FFE, any breach of our system is unacceptable.

  • New Security Woes for Popular IoT Protocols
    Researchers at Black Hat Europe will detail denial-of-service and other flaws in MQTT, CoAP machine-to-machine communications protocols that imperil industrial and other IoT networks online. Security researcher Federico Maggi had been collecting data – some of it sensitive in nature – from hundreds of thousands of Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) servers he found sitting wide open on the public Internet via Shodan. "I would probe them and listen for 10 seconds or so, and just collect data from them," he says. He found data on sensors and other devices sitting in manufacturing and automotive networks, for instance, as well as typical consumer Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets. The majority of data, Maggi says, came from consumer devices and sensors or was data he couldn’t identify. "There was a good amount of data from factories, and I was able to find data coming from pretty expensive industrial machines, including a robot," he says.

BSD: FreeBSD 12.0 Beta and Upgrading OpenBSD with Ansible

Graphics: XRGEARS and Arcan's Latest

  • XRGEARS: Infamous "Gears" Now On VR Headsets With OpenHMD, Vulkan
    Well, the virtual reality (VR) demo scene is now complete with having glxgears-inspired gears and Utah teapot rendering on VR head mounted displays with the new XRGEARS. Kidding aside about the gears and teapot, XRGEARS is a nifty new open-source project with real value by Collabora developer Lubosz Sarnecki. XRGEARS is a standalone VR demo application built using the OpenHMD initiative for tracking and Vulkan for rendering. XRGEARS supports both Wayland and X11 environments or even running off KMS itself. This code also makes use of VK_EXT_direct_mode_display with DRM leasing.
  • Arcan versus Xorg – Approaching Feature Parity
    This is the first article out of three in a series where I will go through what I consider to be the relevant Xorg feature set, and compare it, point by point, to how the corresponding solution or category works in Arcan. This article will solely focus on the Display Server set of features and how they relate to Xorg features, The second article will cover the features that are currently missing (e.g. network transparency) when they have been accounted for. The third article will cover the features that are already present in Arcan (and there are quite a few of those) but does not exist in Xorg.
  • Arcan Display Server Is Nearing Feature Parity With The X.Org Server
    The Arcan display server, which started off years ago sounding like a novelty with being a display server built off a game engine in part and other interesting features, is nearing feature parity with the X.Org Server. While most hobbyist display server projects have failed, Arcan has continued advancing and with an interesting feature set. Recently they have even been working on a virtual reality desktop and an interesting desktop in general. Arcan is getting close to being able to offering the same functionality as a traditional X.Org Server. If you are interested in a lengthy technical read about the differences between Arcan and X.Org, the Arcan developers themselves did some comparing and contrasting when it comes to the display support, windowing, input, font management, synchronization, and other areas.