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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 51 min 18 sec ago

What Patent Lawyers Aren’t Saying: Most Patent Litigation Has Become Too Risky to be Worth It

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 11:54:35 PM

These people rely on a constant flow of lawsuits (for them to bill and profit from both sides)

Summary: The lawyers’ key to the castle is lost or misplaced; they can’t quite find/obtain leverage in courts, but they don’t want their clients to know that

THE SUMMERTIME/summer season generally brings out or yields fewer decisions, hence less news. The EPO and SUEPO have been quiet this past week and the USPTO says just about nothing. Iancu seemingly vanished (his name hasn’t been brought up in nearly a month). Court proceedings, however, still go on.

“Iancu seemingly vanished (his name hasn’t been brought up in nearly a month).”The real (and growing) risk of getting oneself fined — at times pretty badly — for frivolous patent litigation is becoming more profound (under 35 U.S.C. § 285).

Some days ago we said that “Cellspin Soft Will Likely Need to Pay the Accused Party’s Lawyers Too After Frivolous Litigation With Patents Eliminated Under 35 U.S.C. § 101” and Donald Zuhn caught up with a similar case shortly afterward when he wrote:

Last month, in Akeso Health Sciences, LLC v. Designs for Health, Inc., District Judge S. James Otero of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California denied a Motion for Exceptional Case Determination and Award of Attorneys’ Fees filed by Defendant Designs for Health, Inc. (“DFH”). In its Motion, DFH argued that the case should be deemed “exceptional” within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 285, and that DFH should therefore be awarded attorneys’ fees.

Frivolous patent litigation going astray and punished again? We have seen not one but several such cases very recently. It’s becoming somewhat of a ‘trend’. 35 U.S.C. § 285 was also brought up in Eko Brands, LLC v Adrian Rivera Maynez Enterprises, Inc. et al, which Docket Navigator has just covered by saying that “[t]he court granted in part plaintiff’s requested fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 because defendant maintained its invalidity defense solely to extend the time of an ITC preclusion order.”

“Frivolous patent litigation going astray and punished again?”That’s about ITC rather than the Federal Circuit. We have been highly critical of the ITC’s refusal to accept Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) judgments on patents after inter partes reviews (IPRs) had been filed.

The signifiance of 35 U.S.C. § 285 here is that it can act as a deterrent — an additional one on top of 35 U.S.C. § 101 — against unnecessary/abusive litigation.

“The worthy conclusion here is that reasons to refrain from filing patent lawsuits have only grown in number.”The Docket Navigator has since moved on to Olivia Garden, Inc. v Stance Beauty Labs, LLC et al, which hours ago it said involved a “motion to dismiss for improper venue because plaintiff provided no authority for the court to exercise pendant venue over defendant to further judicial economy in a two-defendant action.”

Another case which cites TC Heartland (TC Heartland LLC v Kraft Foods Grp. Brands LLC) in order to deal with unjust patent litigation venue? This too is a deterrent these days.

The worthy conclusion here is that reasons to refrain from filing patent lawsuits have only grown in number. Patent law firms don’t want to say this as it’s “bad for business” (their ‘business’).

Software Patents Royalty (Tax) Campaign by IBM, a Serial Patent Bully, and the EPO’s Participation in All This

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 11:04:17 PM

The EPO continues to advocate software patents, even at the USPTO (post-Alice)

Summary: The agenda of US-based patent maximalists, including patent trolls and notorious bullies from the United States, is still being served by the ‘European’ Patent Office, which has already outsourced some of its work (e.g. translations, PR, surveillance) to the US

THE EPO has not changed under António Campinos. Only the face changed, not even the nationality. We generally try not to mix posts about the US with posts about Europe, but this one will be the exception because the EPO is going to the US again, as Battistelli used to do quite a lot (even hiring US-based PR firms, contracting US academics for preparation of his propaganda, setting up UPC propaganda events over there and so on).

“…the EPO is going to the US again, as Battistelli used to do quite a lot (even hiring US-based PR firms, contracting US academics for preparation of his propaganda, setting up UPC propaganda events over there and so on).”For those who don’t know, the patent maximalists in the US have been hyping up some case known as Berkheimer, which we have written over a dozen articles about. In a nutshell, it’s some old (almost half a year) Federal Circuit case that spoke about fact-finding or weight of evidence considered by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) when dealing with inter partes reviews (IPRs). As we explained right from the very start (publication of this decision), nothing but spin came out of it, courtesy of law firms with a selfish agenda. Yesterday even a European firm, Marks & Clerk (promoting software patents as usual) ‘pulled a Berkheimer‘ even though the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) pretty much said no to software patents. Remember that Marks & Clerk also supported policies of corrupt Battistelli and lobbied pretty hard for the UPC (it still does this). An article by Julian Asquith and Tobias Eriksson (Trainee Patent Attorney at Marks & Clerk) was published yesterday in Mondaq to say:

In summary, an examiner at the USPTO is now obliged to factually prove that any “additional features” of a claim are well-understood, routine, and conventional in order to support an “abstract idea” rejection. Hence, if a claim is novel and inventive, it should now be easier to show that it is also patent eligible (i.e. that it relates to patentable subject-matter).

It is widely acknowledged that the patenting of software-related inventions became more difficult in the US following the decision in 2014 of the US Supreme Court in decision known as “Alice” (Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International).

It is still very difficult and several months down the line we know that Berkheimer has not changed anything concrete. It’s barely even mentioned as a precedent; Berkheimer is just some “appeal to authority,” routinely used by law firms to lie to the public, urging firms to still pursue patent applications (or lawsuits) on software. Sadly, we’re seeing the ‘new’ EPO (of the new President) still doing what Battistelli used to do, basically aligning itself with the above liars. The EPO now works with software patents lobbyists like the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) on an event in the US — an event in which to promote software patents.

“…Berkheimer is just some “appeal to authority,” routinely used by law firms to lie to the public, urging firms to still pursue patent applications (or lawsuits) on software.”Hours ago the EPO wrote: “You can now register for the EPO’s Automotive and Mobility Seminar in Chicago, Illinois, on 26-27 September.”

Yes, the EPO goes to Chicago to speak about “automotive innovations on CII and AI,” two buzzwords that basically mean software patents. Here it is in the EPO’s own words: (warning: epo.org link)

In plenary sessions you will learn about the latest developments at the EPO in areas including quality, timeliness and search. Patentability issues will be a key focus, particularly those arising from the increasing reliance of mobility and automotive innovations on CII and AI, as well as common difficulties for US applicants. Expert advice and hands-on claim drafting exercises will enable you to save time and money and increase first-time drafting success.

This high-level event is organised in close co-operation with the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO).

Got that? IPO and EPO work together now. For those who don’t know or don’t remember, IBM uses IPO to lobby against Alice (i.e. against the highest US court) while engaging in patent blackmail against many companies. Now there’s this new example of IBM’s blackmail campaign:

IBM is seeking $167m in compensation from Groupon, the e-commerce marketplace, over the alleged use of patented technology without authorisation.

The case is being heard at a federal court in Delaware where the jury is being asked to consider whether they agree with IBM’s contention that Groupon had employed IBM’s e-commerce technology without paying a license fee.

IBM contends that firms such as Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet are all said to make use of the same software, paying between $20 and $50m each for the right to do so but Groupon has challenged this analysis, arguing that the computer manufacturer is overreaching the scope of its patents.

This was covered in many other news sites today, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. The real face of IBM isn’t what many are led to believe.

“The bottom line is, the EPO now works with a front group that works closely with IBM for software patenting. It is generally not a good sign and it’s happening weeks after Campinos took over the Office.”The reason PTAB receives many IPRs against IBM patents is that IBM does much of the blackmail behind closed doors, as does Microsoft. They rely mostly on software patents, which are bunk. PTAB almost always invalidates these. All software patents should be voided after Alice, but they can only do this one patent at a time, based on a detailed (re)assessment.

The bottom line is, the EPO now works with a front group that works closely with IBM for software patenting. It is generally not a good sign and it’s happening weeks after Campinos took over the Office.

The European Council Needs to Check Battistelli’s Back Room Deals/Back Door/Backchannel With Respect to Christian Archambeau

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 10:24:29 PM

Archambeau and Casado (Team Battistelli) next to Belgium’s Jérôme Debrulle, the alleged special bridge/link/shim between the two

Summary: Worries persist that Archambeau is about to become an unworthy beneficiary (nepotism) after a Battistelli setup that put Campinos in power, supported by the Belgian delegation which is connected to Archambeau, a national/citizen of Belgium

IT IS NO secret that Battistelli and António Campinos are close and have been close for many years, not just because they both speak French and are French nationals. Christian Archambeau too is rather close, having worked at the EPO, where he too could speak French (he’s Belgian).

“Practitioners in this domain don’t seem to know that Battistelli might have something to do with Christian Archambeau getting the seat of Battistelli’s successor of choice.”As we noted this morning, there are good reasons to investigate allegations that Archambeau will get his new (prospective) position as part of an elaborate exchange set up by Battistelli and maybe Campinos too. This isn’t how promotions and hirings are supposed to be done, certainly not in the EU. Practitioners in this domain don’t seem to know that Battistelli might have something to do with Christian Archambeau getting the seat of Battistelli’s successor of choice. Maybe they don’t care, either. World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR) has just published this article titled “Practitioners share hopes for Campinos’s replacement” and it talks about Brexit:

Christian Archambeau’s succession of António Campinos as executive director of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has been well received by practitioners, who hope he will be a “safe pair of hands” amid Brexit turmoil.

The Permanent Representatives Committee, which is responsible for preparing the work of the European Council, voted to recommend Archambeau as executive director on Friday, July 13. His appointment is expected to be formalised in an upcoming meeting of the Council.

What is the aspiration here? Maybe a longterm EPO-(EU)IPO merger? Something with UPC? Who knows, but UPC is almost for certain going nowhere. It’s not progressing. Nevertheless, the pro-UPC IP Kat has just advertised this event which it described as follows: “Seminar programme features talks and discussions on international patent litigation, IP in chemistry, pharma & biotech, EU trade marks and litigation, EU and international designs, IPR enforcement in Europe, computer-implemented inventions, and of course – Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court.”

“Seeing the EU-IPO getting a leader who is himself connected to the EPO and is believed to have been part of a Battistelli ‘setup’ may mean that EU-IPO will be compromised (like ILO-AT and anything else that touches today’s EPO).”The term “computer-implemented inventions” (or CII) just means software patents and the UPC is the fantasy of spreading these “computer-implemented inventions” to every nation in the EU, as we noted this morning.

Team UPC and the Unified Patent Court (UPC) in general have been plagued with abuses and mischief, just like Battistelli with his scandals that at times culminated in crimes (clear violations of the law) and corruption. Seeing the EU-IPO getting a leader who is himself connected to the EPO and is believed to have been part of a Battistelli ‘setup’ may mean that EU-IPO will be compromised (like ILO-AT and anything else that touches today’s EPO). Might Archambeau feel indebted to Battistelli for a promotion? Will he be submissive to his former boss, Campinos, who is now at the EPO owing to Battistelli’s lobbying? The whole thing is deeply problematic for many reasons. It’s like the “cancer” (as EPO insiders refer to it) from the EPO now spreads to another organisation.

PTAB and § 101 (Section 101) Have Locked the Patent Parasites Out of the Patent System

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 12:00:56 PM

They want to get back in, having put one of them (Iancu) inside the patent office

Summary: Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) have contributed a great deal to patent quality and have reduced the number of frivolous patent lawsuits; this means that firms which profit from patent applications and litigation hate it with a passion and still lobby to weaken if not scuttle PTAB

DO NOT be alarmed by self-serving lawyers who claim that the US has collapsed in terms of “innovation” or that the patent system is in trouble. The USPTO simply improved its processes somewhat. In whose favour? Not law firms’. Then there’s the even greater contribution of patent courts, which have become stricter in lieu with SCOTUS and the Federal Circuit (the primary appeals court for patents).

“U.S. court denies Jazz Pharma bid to revive narcolepsy drug patents,” says this new report from Reuters. “A U.S. appeals court on Friday ruled invalid patents owned by Jazz Pharmaceuticals PLC covering its narcolepsy drug Xyrem, giving Amneal Pharmaceuticals Inc a boost in its effort to launch a generic version of the medicine.”

Well done. More generics!

This case (Jazz Pharms., Inc. v Amneal Pharms., Inc.) was mentioned some days ago here and elsewhere. It happened on a Friday (decision handed down), so a lot of the media overlooked/missed it. Patent maximalists said:

The patented invention at issue in Jazz Pharms is not a drug or drug treatment, but rather to a “drug distribution system for tracking prescriptions” for drugs with a risk of abuse[1] The PTAB found claims from all six patents to be invalid as obvious.

The core issue on appeal was whether a pre-filing disclosure by Jazz counted as a prior art “printed publication.”

So PTAB discards another bunch of bogus patents which should never have been granted in the first place. It’s good for the public (access to medicine), but we’re still going to see some front groups bashing PTAB over it. A few days ago we mentioned an anti-PTAB article from Thomas A. Hemphill, who does “Strategy, Innovation and Public Policy” in the School of Management at the University of Michigan-Flint. This has just been reposted by The Heartland Institute (rightwing think tank connected to the Kochs, who also bankroll other anti-PTAB think tanks); that says quite a lot about whose interests are served by him.

Michael Risch, another US professor, has just published “What do Generic Drug Patent Settlements Say about Patent Quality?”

This links to a study on which Professor Risch remarked as follows:

An interesting study about Orange Book patents challenged both under Hatch-Waxman and Inter Partes Review caught my eye this week, but perhaps not for the ordinary reasons. One of the hot topics in drug patent challenges today is reverse payments: when the patentee pays the generic to stop a challenge. The Supreme Court has ruled that these payments can constitute antitrust violations. Though the drug companies give reasons, I’ll admit that I’ve always been skeptical of these types of payments.

One of the key questions is whether the patent was going to survive. Most seem to assume that if a company pays to settle, then the patent was likely going to be invalidated. That’s where the draft, Maintaining the Balance: An Empirical Study on Inter Partes Review Outcomes of Orange Book-Listed Drug Patents and its Effect on Hatch-Waxman Litigation, by Tulip Mahaseth (a recent Northwestern Law grad) comes in.

[...]

Additionally, a split among outcomes implies that the settlements were not necessarily because the patentee believed the patent was at risk. If anti-competitive settlements were ruling the day, I would have predicted that most of the (recent) non-settlements would have resulted in patent invalidation. Then again, it is possible that a 50% chance was risky enough to merit a reverse payment settlement in the past. Regardless of how one comes out on this issue, this study provides some helpful details for the argument.

The net effect is reduction in litigation; the patents still exist, but the payouts to law firms may be orders of magnitude lower. Any Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes review (IPR) has the potential to either prevent a lawsuit or end a lawsuit, so it basically harms the business [sic] model of lawyers.

Here’s a new IPR example. It’s about MONKEYmedia, which we mentioned here before [1, 2]. To quote Unified Patents:

On July 13, 2018 the Board granted MONKEYmedia, Inc.’s request for adverse judgment and cancellation of all instituted claims in IPR2018-00059 filed by Unified Patents. This request comes shortly after the PTAB’s decision to institute trial for US 9,247,226 directed to a method for storing and playing multimedia so a user can interactively choose to expand or contract displayed content.

As one might expect, attacks on PTAB carry on. Almost every single day now. Even after Oil States, which cemented PTAB’s role in the system.

“The Supreme Crusade to Weaken Patent Rights in America” is the title of the latest rant from Gene Quinn (Watchtroll), who is still attacking the courts. These patent maximalists are totally losing their minds. Judge-bashing is now very common among them. Mind the laughable picture too, showing crusaders as if a religion is being spread (talk about hypocrisy here). Other anti-PTAB ‘activists’ nowadays send input to the USPTO, basically complaining about PTAB and AIA. There are now “over 350 submissions,” according to this.

Claim construction continues to hold focus as the centerpiece of contested patent cases — both in court and in administrative AIA trials (primarily, Inter Partes Review proceedings) before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

[...]

One of PTO Director Iancu’s early initiatives has been to unify the standards. That process began with a notice of proposed rulemaking with finalized rules coming later this fall.

The USPTO has posted comments submitted on the proposed change — with over 350 submissions.

So the patent microcosm is telling someone from the patent microcosm (Iancu) what to do. It won’t change the courts’ position; it just has the potential to further erode the perceived legitimacy of newly-granted US patents. The above writer is a longtime PTAB basher who mostly celebrates the number of granted patents, not their quality. Going back to Watchtroll, yesterday it published not one but two anti-PTAB pieces, the latter being from the patent microcosm (“Jeremy Doerre is an associate at Tillman Wright, PLLC” and “David Boundy is a partner at Cambridge Technology Law”). They moan about Section 101 (trying to 'pull a Berkheimer') and make inane statements like this one:

We are hopeful that the PTO is using this forced stand-down on multiple appeals as a teachable moment. Will the PTO apply the lessons learned in a § 101 context to improve predictability and efficiency of the entire examination process? And maybe—not so coincidentally—will the PTO take this opportunity to enhance compliance with laws and failsafes that are designed to ensure agency predictability, efficiency, precision, and fairness, laws and failsafes that could have prevented this need to ask the Federal Circuit to vacate PTAB decisions?

They allude to “predictability and efficiency,” but for predictability the USPTO needs to reject all software patents (they’re predictably poor if not altogether bunk), in line with § 101. Notice how one sentence later they repeat “predictability, efficiency” (pointless repetition) and insinuate that the Federal Circuit is needed to “vacate PTAB decisions,” neglecting to say that in the vast majority of cases the Federal Circuit actually affirms PTAB decisions.

We don’t expect intellectual honesty from sites like Watchtroll; sadly, however, these people have connections at the patent office (revolving doors), they bully judges and officials whom they don’t like (e.g. Michelle Lee), and they have money for lobbying and/or think tanks with billionaires like the Kochs on their side. There’s a lot at stake for them, including their very occupation, which has become parasitic at best.

Patents on Computer Software and Plants in the United States Indicative of Systemic Error

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 10:30:01 AM

Even after Alice and Mayo?

Summary: The never-ending expansion of patent scope has meant that patent law firms generally got their way at the patent office; can the courts react fast enough (before confidence in patents and/or public support for patents is altogether shattered)?

THE endless greed of the patent microcosm has left the USPTO granting millions of questionable patents. The EPO is heading in a similar direction (if it survives at all). Thoughts and nature have begun being patented; until no rock is left unturned patent law firms seek patents on everything. Everything!

“Thoughts and nature have begun being patented; until no rock is left unturned patent law firms seek patents on everything.”Earlier this week an article was published under the title “Patents in the US: Definition, Types, Pros and Cons”. By “cons” they don’t mean convictions but downsides. “Plant patent,” it says, “probably the least obvious one, is a patent granted to new distinct species of plants created in a way mother nature never intended.”

“How low will they sink/stoop in pursuit of patent monopolies? How broad a scope?”Well, “mother nature” intended nothing; it’s a case of evolution by natural selection or breeding. Humans intervening in the process does not make it “innovation”.

How low will they sink/stoop in pursuit of patent monopolies? How broad a scope?

Yesterday and this morning we also stumbled upon several examples of US software patents, starting with this Typerium story from The Blockchain:

Decentralized content creation and IP protection platform, Typerium, has filed two patents for its technology in order to keep competition at bay.

There’s nothing some “blockchain” hype won’t accomplish. There are many bogus software patents these days which are 'dressed up' as "blockchain" and here’s another article published about that to say: “US financial services company American Express, also referred to as Amex, was granted a blockchain-related patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on July 12. Called “systems and methods for blockchain based proof of payment,” the patent application was initially filed on January 12, 2017. The invention was created by Amex’s travel unit – American Express Travel Related Services.”

Why did the USPTO grant this after Alice? These are utterly bogus software patents that should never have been granted in the first place and need to be rendered invalid, with or without Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs).

“These are utterly bogus software patents that should never have been granted in the first place and need to be rendered invalid, with or without Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs).”Another new example appeared at the end of last week at The Register, which spoke of a lawsuit “filed in a central California district court in May 2017, claimed the NFL was, without permission, borrowing on each of the patents when it developed a host of streaming services and websites that let football fans watch clips of beefy lycra-clad men inflicting violence on each other: NFL.com, Watch NFL Network/NFL Redzone, NFL Now, NFL Game Pass, NFL Mobile, the NFL App, and NFL Fantasy Football.”

Law 360 wrote about that also:

NFL Enterprises LLC has settled a multivenue infringement fight brought by software and systems developers over their patents for online video services only a few months after a judge invalidated one of the claims, according to filings in California federal court and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

So PTAB did get involved, but not to a sufficient extent; they settled, so there won’t be an appeal to the Federal Circuit (which is better at taking account of SCOTUS decisions such as Alice). Based on the above descriptions, those are software patents, which are a no-go zone after Alice.

Yesterday’s Misleading News From Team UPC and Its Aspiring Management of the Unified Patent Court (UPC)

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 06:58:48 AM


Rumours said that Battistelli intended to pursue the top position in the UPC (reserved for a French person)

Summary: The Unified Patent Court (UPC) enthusiasts — i.e. those looking to financially gain from it — continue to wrestle with logic, manipulate words and misrepresent the law; yesterday we saw many law firms trying to make it sound as though the UPC is coming to the UK even though this isn’t possible and UPC as a whole is likely already dead

Team UPC and EPO management (notably Battistelli and his chosen colleagues at the top) have long spread lies about the Unitary Patent or Unified Patent Court (UPC). This isn’t entirely surprising because lying has become the norm in those circles. We’d like to take a moment to remark on belated coverage from patent law firms, which continue to twist words for the “greater good” which is their profits.

“…there’s nothing in the paper that suggests ‘unitary’ patent participation, only aspiration to “explore” the possibility/prospect.”Some UPC spin was posted yesterday by Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review, a site which champions the "Life Science" agenda (calling life itself a science to facilitate patents on life/nature); the British government admits the issue with UPC and then issues a paper which is instantaneously distorted by Team UPC, as one might expect. Well, there’s nothing in the paper that suggests ‘unitary’ patent participation, only aspiration to “explore” the possibility/prospect. Now watch what this site made of it, citing a legal expert/firm:

Truscott noted that while it’s a relief to see IP specifically mentioned, there remains significant uncertainty around the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and the unitary patent. The life sciences section of the UPC’s central division is planned to be based in London.

“The UK has ratified the UPC Agreement and intends to explore staying in the court and unitary patent system after the UK leaves the EU,” said the White Paper.

Whether this is possible will depend on the ability for the participants to agree to modify the existing agreement, said Truscott.

He added: “This could ultimately be beneficial if it were to allow for other non-EU countries to join, so that the UPC could perhaps ultimately act as the court for all contracting states to the European Patent Convention and provide a true one-stop shop for litigants.”

For Bacon, the UPC system would represent the most important change ever seen in the European patent landscape, and the continued involvement of the UK would be welcomed by the life sciences industry.

The “life sciences industry”? That’s just a euphemism for an ‘industry’ that’s pursuing patents on life — something which is currently not legal in pertinent European nations. Speaking of this “life science/s” label, mind Patent Docs pushing this envelope again yesterday (by Bryan Helwig) and the same in Managing IP yesterday. “In-house counsel, private practice lawyers and scientists discussed life sciences advancements such as the move towards personalised medicines, at the Hogan Lovells Life Sciences Summit,” Patrick Wingrove wrote.

“The “life sciences industry”? That’s just a euphemism for an ‘industry’ that’s pursuing patents on life — something which is currently not legal in pertinent European nations.”Team UPC hopes that UPC can miraculously expand patent scope overnight, enabling for example software patents and patents on life/nature in member states where these are currently illegal. They try to bypass national courts and national patent offices. It’s pretty obvious.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s Mark Shillito, Laura Deacon and Peter FitzPatrick have also just written about the above. Quoting the relevant part:

Opinions vary on the likelihood of whether the UK could continue as part of the UPC and Unitary patent system post-Brexit. The Foreword to the White Paper by the Prime Minister states that the proposals in the White Paper would end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK. It is not clear whether the UK would nevertheless accept the role of the European Court of Justice in respect of references from the UPC on matters of European law.

They cannot. They said so just a couple of weeks back. Novagraaf (another legal firm) said this yesterday:

On the former, it announced plans to establish its own GI scheme after exit; on the latter, it simply states that it ‘intends to explore’ staying in the Unified Patent Court and UP system after the UK leaves the EU (click here for more on the unitary patent).

The key part is “explore” or “intends to explore”. This is not actually possible and the government knows it. But Bristows is now paying (we assume) that same site to push its lie that “UK confirms it will seek to remain in the unitary patent and Unified Patent Court after Brexit” (that word, “confirms” being the word of choice, has been common among UPC boosters).

“Team UPC hopes that UPC can miraculously expand patent scope overnight, enabling for example software patents and patents on life/nature in member states where these are currently illegal.”Here is another new analysis from yesterday (there were about half a dozen yesterday alone) and a new comment from IP Kat, citing Article 23 EPC:

I think that you are slightly missing the point that I was trying to make about possible actions of the President of the UPC (Court of Appeal). My point was not that legal mechanisms exist that a “malign” President could validly exploit. Rather, it was that the mechanisms to counter a “malign” President that has overstepped the mark (ie contravened the rules) are unreliable, toothless and/or non-existent.

Ten years ago, and based upon Article 23 EPC, one could have made the case that there was “legally no risk that a judge, how irksome he might be, be removed from office by the President of the EPO”. We all know how that worked out in practice.

It is meanwhile being reported that “UKIPO patent applications decline” (news headline) and this doesn’t sound like a negative thing if patents are more selectively applied for, e.g. based on better quality/higher bar. To quote:

Patent applications made directly to the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) have seen a decline between 1995 and 2017.

According to a report on trends from the UKIPO, there was a decline in patent applications at the office, but applications filed at the European Patent Office (EPO) are continuing to rise, especially those filed at the EPO designating the UK.

The report notes that Brexit is a possible reason why applicants are seeking alternate routes.

Also highlighted, is the increase of international applications filed using the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

Applicants of UK residency make up the greatest share of applications at UKIPO, although the share of applications from non-residents increased to 40 percent in 2017.

“UK trademark applications soar over 22-year period,” another new headline (WIPR) said yesterday, so it’s not as though UKIPO is running out of work. In fact, it claims to be hiring.

“It’s passing all the powers to patent maximalists in the same way copyright maximalists strive to take total, complete control over the EU.”Another article of interest was published yesterday by Allen & Overy LLP’s Marjan Noor and James Fox under the headline “English Court of Appeal rejects the EPO’s “serious contemplation” test for anticipation by prior disclosure overlapping with later patent. This makes one wonder what will happen to confidence in European Patents:

In the case of Jushi Group v OCV [2018] EWCA Civ 1416, the Court of Appeal has considered the question of the relevant test to apply when assessing whether a prior disclosure of numerical ranges will anticipate a later claim to overlapping numerical ranges.

The Patent at issue relates to the composition of a type of glass which is capable of being formed into fibres. Claim 1 of the Patent specifies a list of constituents for the claimed glass, along with a range of percentages by weight for each constituent as a proportion of the whole.

A prior art patent called “Neely”, referred to in the description of the Patent, disclosed a glass with the same constituents and similarly specified the percentage by weight as a proportion of the whole. It was common ground that the range of each of seven of the constituents in Neely fell entirely within the ranges specified in the Patent for that same constituent, and the ranges for a further six constituents overlapped with them.

UPC is all about taking low-quality European Patents to court, fast-tracking potential sanctions (like embargo, raids) without hearings in the accused party’s language, without proper chance of appeal in one’s national courts, without assurance of independence for judges and so on. It’s like DMCA takdowns. UPC is tarnishing the stated goals of the EU in the same sense that the “link tax” and “censorship machines” (copyright proposals) do. It’s passing all the powers to patent maximalists in the same way copyright maximalists strive to take total, complete control over the EU. The copyright maximalists have thus far failed (the first round at least); so will patent maximalists.

Time for the European Commission to Investigate EPO Corruption Because It May be Partly or Indirectly Connected to EU-IPO, an EU Agency

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 06:01:12 AM

Background: Fresh Allegations That the Belgian EPO Delegation is Compromised or in Cahoots With Benoît Battistelli

Summary: The passage of the top role at the EU-IPO from António Campinos to Christian Archambeau would damage confidence in the moral integrity of the European Council; back room deals are alleged to have occurred, implicating corrupt Battistelli

IN THE UNITED STATES one office deals both with patents and trademarks. The USPTO also falls/rests under the wing of the government and isn’t enjoying diplomatic immunity. The EPO is an inherently different and rather bizarre creature. It’s the creation of an old treaty, which isn’t even being respected anymore (the EPC).

Then there’s the EU-IPO (or EUIPO), which deals with trademarks. It renamed itself a few years ago and it is now more apparent that it’s an EU body.

Based on yesterday’s sole tweet from the EPO (it’s very unusual for the EPO to post just one tweet in a whole day; the average is about 10), it looks like the EPO has begun doing ‘ads’ for the EU-IPO (where the new EPO President, António Campinos, came from just 2.5 weeks ago). To make matters even more awkward, patents and trademarks are advertised in tandem, for the first time in a very long time. We never saw this before. “Trade marks can add value to patents and extend protection beyond the life of the patent,” they wrote.

What a bizarre thing to say. Trademarks are very different from patents. Very different. The comparison is therefore rather bizarre, unless perhaps they allude to design patents alone.

“The EPO is an inherently different and rather bizarre creature. It’s the creation of an old treaty, which isn’t even being respected anymore (the EPC).”We are meanwhile trying to make sense of what Christian Archambeau at the EU-IPO would mean, knowing he used to work at the EPO and there seems to have been a rumour about him, which is only further substantiated by recent developments. Are people hired and appointed based on experience and merit or based on nepotism, connections and favours? It seems like a back room deal, not a proper appointment, and it therefore must be probed by EU officials. Do we want the culture of crooked appointments at the EPO to spread to the EU as well?

Archambeau’s appointment is not entirely confirmed yet (we relied on an automated translation from German initially), but it looks like it’s going that way. Yesterday one publication said that “EUIPO close to naming new executive director” (in the headline). “The Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) has voted to recommend that Christian Archambeau,” it said, “currently the acting general director of the EUIPO, be appointed on a permanent basis. While the recommendation needs to be formalised, this last step is expected to be a formality.”

“Do we want the culture of crooked appointments at the EPO to spread to the EU as well?”Does Battistelli play a role in it? How about Campinos? Rumours we heard last year suggested that they were making exchanges — a sort of “musical chairs”. That might be a form of corruption. As in, “you give you this position, I give this other position to your friend, your spouse, your colleague, then you give me this vote and I’ll give you one in return etc.”

Something isn’t right here. The news about Archambeau originally showed up in German media over the weekend. Yesterday the English media caught up (e.g. [1, 2] and said:

A European Council committee has proposed that the former deputy director of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), Christian Archambeau, should succeed António Campinos as head of the office.

On Friday, July 13, the Permanent Representatives Committee, which is responsible for preparing the work of the Council, voted to recommend Archambeau as executive director.

The appointment is expected to be formalised in an upcoming Council meeting.

One needs to ask what the Permanent Representatives Committee knows, what it was told by Campinos, and what Campinos was told by Battistelli while Battistelli was lobbying for Campinos to receive his seat. Things aren’t as simple as they seem.

“Investigative journalists ought to take a good look at the events leading up to that. The EU/EC could potentially be stained by this.”“Appointment [of Archambeau is] expected to be a formality after European Council permanent representatives committee votes for acting EUIPO executive director to take role permanently,” Michael Loney wrote last night.

So the European Council plays a role in this. Investigative journalists ought to take a good look at the events leading up to that. The EU/EC could potentially be stained by this. It would be a bad thing for Europe.

Links 17/7/2018: Catfish 1.4.6 Released, ReactOS 0.4.9, Red Hat’s GPL Compliance Group Grows

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 04:57:09 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Warehouse Clearance Sale! Librem laptops starting at $999

      We sometimes get asked whether we will sell previous Librem models at a discount. The fact is that we normally don’t have a lot of Librem laptops lying around–the current stock sells out quickly and we order new batches. However, we also sometimes offer more than one type of Librem 13 or 15 laptop so customers can pick which hardware appeals most to them. Most recently this happened when we offered you the choice of i5 vs. i7 CPU and the choice of adding on a TPM chip. The demand for the i7 CPU and TPM chips were overwhelming to the point that both the i7 and TPM chip are now standard on our entire product line.

  • Server
    • How The Update Framework Improves Software Distribution Security

      In recent years that there been multiple cyber-attacks that compromised a software developer’s network to enable the delivery of malware inside of software updates. That’s a situation that Justin Cappos, founder of The Update Framework (TUF) open-source project, has been working hard to help solve.

      Cappos, an assistant professor at New York University (NYU), started TUF nearly a decade ago. TUF is now implemented by multiple software projects, including the Docker Notary project for secure container application updates and has implementations that are being purpose-built to help secure automotive software as well.

    • IBM’s new Nabla containers are designed for security first

      Companies love containers because they enable them to run more jobs on servers. But businesses also hate containers, because they fear they’re less secure than virtual machines (VM)s. IBM thinks it has an answer to that: Nabla containers, which are more secure by design than rival container concepts.

      James Bottomley, an IBM Research distinguished engineer and top Linux kernel developer, first outlines that there are two kind of fundamental kinds of container and virtual machine (VM) security problems. These are described as Vertical Attack Profile (VAP) and Horizontal Attack Profile (HAP).

    • [Podcast] PodCTL #42 – Kubernetes 1.11 Released

      Like clockwork, the Kubernetes community continues to release quarterly updates to the rapidly expanding project. With the 1.11 release, we see a number of new capabilities being added across a number of different domains – infrastructure services, scheduling services, routing services, storage services, and broader CRD versioning capabilities that will improve the ability to not only deploy Operators for the platform and applications. Links for all these new features, as well as in-depth blog posts from Red Hat and the Kubernetes community are included in the show notes.

      As always, it’s important to remember that not every new feature being released is considered “General Availability”, so be sure to check the detailed release notes before considering the use of any feature in a production or high-availability environment.

    • Red Hat Looks Beyond Docker for Container Technology

      While Docker Inc and its eponymous container engine helped to create the modern container approach, Red Hat has multiple efforts of its own that it is now actively developing.

      The core component for containers is the runtime engine, which for Docker is the Docker Engine which is now based on the Docker-led containerd project that is hosted at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Red Hat has built its own container engine called CRI-O, which hit its 1.0 release back in October 2017.

      For building images, Red Hat has a project called Buildah, which reached its 1.0 milestone on June 6.

  • Kernel Space
    • PDS 0.98s release

      PDS 0.98s is released with the following changes

      1. Fix compilation issue on raspberry pi.
      2. Minor rework and optimization on balance code path.
      3. Fix wrong nr_max_tries in migrate_pending_tasks.

      This is mainly a bug fix and minor optimization release for 4.17. The rework of balance code doesn’t go well, it actually make more overhead than current implement. Another rework which based on current implement is still on going, hopefully be included in next release.

    • PDS-MQ CPU Scheduler Revised For The Linux 4.17 Kernel With Minor Optimizations

      Alfred Chen announced this week the release of PDS-mq 0.98s, his latest patch-set of this CPU scheduler against the Linux 4.17 upstream code-base and includes minor optimization work and bug fixes.

      The PDS scheduler stands for the “Priority and Deadline based Skiplist multiple queue scheduler” that is derived from Con Kolivas’ former BFS scheduler with Variable Run Queue (VRQ) support. PDS design principles are to be a simple CPU process scheduler yet efficient and scalable. PDS-mq differs from Con Kolivas’ current MuQSS scheduler.

    • Add infrastructure for Vblank and page flip events in vkms simulated by hrtimer

      Since the beginning of May 2018, I have been diving into the DRM subsystem. In the beginning, nothing made sense to me, and I had to fight hard to understand how things work. Fortunately, I was not alone, and I had great support from Gustavo Padovan, Daniel Vetter, Haneen Mohammed, and the entire community. Recently, I finally delivered a new feature for VKMS: the infrastructure for Vblank and page flip events.

      At this moment, VKMS have regular Vblank events simulated through hrtimers (see drm-misc-next), which is a feature required by VKMS to mimic real hardware [6]. The development approach was entirely driven by the tests provided by IGT, more specifically the kms_flip. I modified IGT to read a module name via command line and force the use of it, instead of using only the modules defined in the code (patch submitted to IGT, see [1]). With this modification in the IGT, my development process to add a Vblank infrastructure to VKMS had three main steps as Figure 1 describes.

    • The State Of The VKMS Driver, Preparations For vBlank & Page Flip Events

      One of the exciting additions to look forward to with the upcoming Linux 4.19 kernel cycle is the virtual “VKMS” kernel mode-setting driver. The driver is still a work-in-progress, but multiple developers are working on it.

    • Linux Foundation
    • Graphics Stack
      • NIR Continues To Be Prepped For OpenCL Support

        Longtime Nouveau contributor Karol Herbst who joined Red Hat several months ago has been working on Nouveau NIR support as stepping towards SPIR-V/compute support and this summer the work very much remains an active target.

      • Nouveau Gallium3D Moves Closer Towards OpenGL 4.5 Compliance

        While the RadeonSI and Intel i965 Mesa drivers have been at OpenGL 4.5 compliance for a while now, the Nouveau “NVC0″ Gallium3D driver has been bound to OpenGL 4.3 officially.

        This Nouveau Gallium3D driver for NVIDIA “Fermi” graphics hardware and newer has effectively supported all of the OpenGL 4.4/4.5 extensions, but not officially. Originally the NVC0 problem for OpenGL 4.4 and newer was the requirement of passing the OpenGL Conformance Test Suite (CTS), which at first wasn’t open-source. But now The Khronos Group has made it available to everyone as open-source. Additionally, the proper legal wrangling is in place so the Nouveau driver could become a conforming Khronos adopter under the X.Org Foundation without any associated costs/fees with Nouveau being purely open-source and primarily considered a community driver.

      • NVIDIA 390.77 Linux Driver Brings Updated Kernel Support, Fixes

        NVIDIA released today the 390.77 Linux driver, the latest in the 390 “long-lived” driver branch, for those not using the short-lived 396 bleeding-edge driver series.

        With the NVIDIA 390.77 Linux driver release it now works with up through the Linux 4.17 stable kernel series. Additionally, there are several pressing bug fixes.

      • Igalia Aligns Latest Patches For Giving Intel’s Mesa Driver OpenGL 4.6

        Igalia developers have been very involved with the Intel open-source developers on getting the long-awaited OpenGL 4.6 support into the “i965″ Mesa driver. As has been the case for a while, out-of-tree patches can allow this to happen but with the Mesa 18.2 branching soon, it doesn’t look like this will materialize ahead of this next release.

    • Benchmarks
      • Comparing Latencies and Power consumption with various CPU schedulers

        The low-latency kernel offering with Ubuntu provides a kernel tuned for low-latency environments using low-latency kernel configuration options. The x86 kernels by default run with the Intel-Pstate CPU scheduler set to run with the powersave scaling governor biased towards power efficiency.

        While power efficiency is fine for most use-cases, it can introduce latencies due to the fact that the CPU can be running at a low frequency to save power and also switching from a deep C state when idle to a higher C state when servicing an event can also increase on latencies.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • Catfish 1.4.6 Released, Now an Xfce Project

      It’s a great day for fans of the fast and powerful Catfish search utility. With the 1.4.6 release, Catfish now officially joins the Xfce family. Additionally, there’s been some nice improvements to the thumbnailer and a large number of bugs have been squashed.

    • Catfish Search Utility Joins The Xfce Project

      The Catfish search utility now officially lives under the Xfce umbrella.

      Catfish is a GTK3-based and Python 3.x written program for searching for files on the system. Catfish has long been common to Xfce desktop systems and complementary to the Thunar file manager. The Catfish 1.4.6 release was made this weekend and with this version has now officially become part of the Xfce project.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • KDE Applications 18.08 branches created

        Make sure you commit anything you want to end up in the KDE Applications 18.08 release to them

        We’re already past the dependency freeze.

        [...]

        August 16: KDE Applications 18.08 Release

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Petr Kovar: GUADEC 2018

        Back from GUADEC, held in the beautiful Andalusian city of Almería, Spain, from 6th July through 11th July, 2018, I wanted to share a few notes wrt documentation and localization activities at the conference and during the traditional post-conference hacking days.

      • GUADEC18 Developer Center BoF Part 1: The Developer Experience

        At this year’s GUADEC lightning talks I spontaneously announced and arranged a Developer Center BoF (Birds of a Feather) session. We were six attendants who met together Wednesday the 11th September. I think it is important that we communicate our doings to the rest of the community, so I will make a few short blog posts based on our meeting notes and my own thoughts on the subject.

      • GSoC 2018: Safe Shared Access to Cairo Image Surfaces

        I’m working on librsvg, a GNOME SVG rendering library, to port the SVG filter effects and related infrastructure from C to Rust. Librsvg uses Cairo, a 2D graphics library, for most of its drawing operations. Cairo can draw to a number of different surfaces like XCB and Xlib windows and pixmaps, PDF documents and PostScript files.

      • Have you ever commented while angry?

        Here’s my proposal (feature request for GitLab / irssi?

Links 16/7/2018: Linux 4.18 RC5, Latte Dock v0.8, Windows Back Doors Resurface

Monday 16th of July 2018 09:29:29 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Kernel Space
    • TxFS Linux File-System Supports ACID Transactions, Simple API

      Presented at this past week’s 2018 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (ATC18) was TxFS, the Texas Transactional File System for Linux.

      Texas Transactional File System (TxFS) has been in the works for a number of years and is a transactional file-system that offers a simple API, wide range of hardware support, high performance while supporting ACID transactions, and relatively low complexity.

      TxFS has been worked on by the University of Texas at Austin as well as VMware Research. Papers on TxFS have been published before but their ATC18 paper can be found here (PDF).

      One of the professors involved in this work has also tweeted some different remarks including the file-system is down to just five thousand lines of code by utilizing the file-system journal, how they provided isolation for TxFS transactions, and its very simple API of just three system calls.

    • Linux 4.18-rc5

      For some reason this week actually felt very busy, but the rc5 numbers
      show otherwise. It’s all small and calm, and things are progressing
      nicely.

      I think the “it felt busy” was partly due to me stressing out over a
      nasty VM bug that turned out to have a trivial two-liner fix. But
      there were also a fair amount of email threads for future stuff, so
      that probably also made me feel last week was busier than the actual
      rc5 tree shows.

      Anyway, of what little happened in rc5 (see appended shortlog for
      details), it’s just a fairly random collection of smallish fixes all
      over. About a third drivers (nothing in particular stands out – rdma,
      usb, ata, mmc, sound) with the rest being some tooling (mostly perf),
      some arch updates, some filesystem stuff (mostly reiserfs), some arch
      fixlets (mips, arm[64], x86) and some misc core kernel (tracing, VM
      fixes, timers, yadda yadda).

    • Linux 4.18-rc5 Kernel Released: Regressions Continue To Be Tackled
  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 27

        Get ready for a humongous week for KDE’s Usability and Productivity initiative! KDE developers and contributors squashed a truly impressive number of bugs this week, all the while adding features and polishing the user interface.

      • New client languages for Qt WebChannel

        At the company I’m working at, we’re employing Qt WebChannel for remote access to some of our software. Qt WebChannel was originally designed for interfacing with JavaScript clients, but it’s actually very well suited to interface with any kind of dynamic language.

        We’ve created client libraries for a few important languages with as few dependencies as possible: pywebchannel (Python, no dependencies), webchannel.net (.NET/C#, depends on JSON.NET) and webchannel++ (header-only C++14, depends on Niels Lohmann’s JSON library).

      • Latte Dock 0.8 Released For This KDE-Aligned Desktop Dock

        Latte Dock 0.8 is now available as the latest feature update for this open-source, KDE-aligned desktop dock.

        Latte Dock 0.8 adds multiple task separators, new layout settings, new appearance settings, panel/dock mode changing, various new community layouts, larger badges, new command-line options, a number of Wayland improvements, new global shortcuts, and various other enhancements.

      • Latte Dock v0.8, “…a friendly smile…”

        Latte Dock v.0.8 released!!! The third stable release has just landed!

      • Eighth & Ninth week of coding phase, GSoC’18

        The API to interact with browser user-scripts. This will enable the plugin to create, register, remove, and get all the user-scripts loaded in the browser. Also the scripts registered by it will automatically gets unregistered when the plugin unloads.

      • GSoC 2018 – Coding Period (June 26th to July 15th): RAID on Linux

        I’ve passed in the second evaluation of Google Summer of Code 2018. I am ready for the third phase, but before that I’ll give some updates about how my progress with RAID on kpmcore is going. This post will explain how RAID management works on Linux.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Description view

        Now, coming to the description view itself, along with displaying metadata objects like Developer, Publisher, Co-op, Release Date, Genre as GtkLabels, Cover is being displayed in a thumbnail view with the game’s title placed just below the thumbnail as a GtkLabel, additionally a game’s Rating is rounded off and shown as a Star Rating. Description is shown in a GtkScrolledWindow placed just adjacent to the thumbnail.

      • GUADEC 2018 Almeria – reflections

        Almeria was a grand time, as usual being able to connect with friends and acquaintances is a large part of what makes GUADEC special. I found all the evening events to be spectacular and full of surprises. The beach party was awesome, and the flamenco night was just spectacular. I was really moved by the music and the dancing. There was clearly a lot of different influences there.

      • Ruxandra Simion: GUADEC 2018

        I would like to begin this special blog post by congratulating everybody for contributing to a memorable GUADEC. This was my first time officially attending the GUADEC conference, after attending as a visitor some of the events held in Manchester during the GUADEC 20th edition last year, and this time it was truly an amazing experience.

        [...]

        I would like to thank through this blogpost the organising team for the effort and dedication put into holding the GUADEC conference in the beautiful city of Almeria. Without all of your hard work I would not be writing this post now.

        To the women of GNOME, thank you for kindly receiving me at the women’s dinner and sharing your experiences with me. I truly appreciate it, and I will try my best to keep in touch with you all and continue to share ideas and experiences with you.

        Thank you to everyone who interacted with me after delivering the lightning speech on modernising Five or More. It really means the world to me you came by to say hi, are willing to offer feedback, or even help with some aspects.

      • Nautilus and GTK+ 4
      • GNOME’s Nautilus Port To GTK4 Making Progress

        While GTK4 likely isn’t coming out until next spring, the Nautilus file manager port to this updated tool-kit is well underway.

        GNOME contributor Ernestas Kulik has provided an update on the porting effort of Nautilus to GTK+ 4. Nautilus is now building under GTK4 and can run, but a lot of work remains.

      • GUADEC 2018 Almería

        I recently attended the recent GNOME Users and Developers European Conference (GUADEC) in Almería, Spain. This was my fifth GUADEC and as always I was able to attend thanks to my employer Canonical paying for me to be there. This year we had seven members of the Ubuntu desktop team present. Almería was a beautiful location for the conference and a good trade for the winter weather I left on the opposite side of the world in New Zealand.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Review: Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4

        Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre is a curious project that takes a number of interesting approaches which set it apart from other distributions. The Hyperbola distribution is based on snapshots of Arch Linux. While Arch Linux is a rolling release distribution, Hyperbola maintains fixed releases taken from Arch snapshots and then, according to the project’s website, the Hyperbola developers mix in security updates from Debian. The idea is to create an Arch-like operating system with a fixed base and minor patch updates.

        The distribution is dedicated to free software ideals and ships only libre software as defined by the Free Software Foundation. Finally, Hyperbola makes a special edition called Hypertalking which is based on TalkingArch and provides accessibility software for visually impaired users.

        I downloaded the distribution’s main edition which is available as a 672MB ISO. The distribution media will boot on both 32-bit and 64-bit systems with the option to select which architecture we want from the ISO’s boot menu. When the disc boots we are presented with a text console where we are advised we can see documentation for getting on-line using the Lynx web browser by typing “lynx network.html”.

        The default, text-based interface on the disc is quite minimal, but it’s enough to partition our hard drive and set up a local copy of the operating system. I don’t think it’s intended to do much more than that.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • Major updated packages for Lx 3

        Good news for OpenMandriva Lx 3 users. While OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 in on the way, we keep taking care of OMLx 3.03. Developers crisb, itchka, and TPG have made available a long list of updated packages just released to our updates repositories after the normal testing.

        Updated packages include Firefox 61.0.1, Thunderbird 52.9.0, Plasma 5.12.6, Quassel 0.12.5, Qt5 5.9.6, Libre Office 6.0.5, Mesa 18.1.3 and number of other updated KDE packages.

      • While Waiting for OpenMandriva Lx 4, OpenMandriva Lx 3 Users Get Lots of Updates

        While waiting for the forthcoming OpenMandriva Lx 4 operating system series, users of the current OpenMandriva Lx 3 release have received numerous updated packages.

        The OpenMandriva development team announced over the weekend that a long list of updated packages await users of the OpenMandriva Lx 3 operating system series, which include the recently released KDE Plasma 5.12.6 LTS desktop environment and Mozilla Firefox 61.0.1 web browser.

        “Good news for OpenMandriva Lx 3 users. While OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 in on the way, we keep taking care of OMLx 3.03. Developers crisb, itchka, and TPG have made available a long list of updated packages just released to our updates repositories after the normal testing,” reads the announcement.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • openSUSE Tumbleweed Users Get LibreOffice 6.1, Mozilla Firefox 61, and FFmpeg 4

        The month of July 2018 was pretty busy for the openSUSE Tumbleweed development team, and the first two weeks of the month already delivered dozens of updates and security fixes.

        openSUSE developer Dominique Leuenberger reports that a total of nine snapshots have been released in July 2018 for the openSUSE Tumbleweed Linux operating system series, which follows a rolling release model where users install once and receive updates forever. As expected, these 9 snapshots bring numerous updates and bugfixes.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Google Summer of Code with a Debian Project

        Yes! My project proposal was selected.

        First of all I want to mention that I began my open source adventure with Debian.

        I started to participate in the open source events like Hackathons, BSP and Conferences and doing small contribution to different projects and this is how everything started.

      • Debian 9.5 Released: “Rock Solid” GNU/Linux Distro Arrives With Spectre v2 Fix

        Following the fourth point release of Debian 9 “stretch” in March, the developers of the popular GNU/Linux distro have shipped the latest update to its stable distribution. For those who don’t know, Debian 9 is an LTS version that’ll remain supported for 5 years.

        As one would expect, this point release doesn’t bring any set of new features and keeps focusing on improving an already stable experience by delivering security patches and bug fixes. In case you’re looking for an option that brings new features, you can check out the recently released Linux Mint 19.

      • Your Help Is Needed to Test VeraCrypt Support in the Tails Anonymous OS, GNOME

        The team behind the famous Tails operating system, also known as the Amnesic Incognito Live System or simply Anonymous OS, needs your help to test the integration of the VeraCrypt disk encryption software.

        In an attempt to provide Tails users with better security, the team is working hard these days on the integration of the VeraCrypt open-source and free disk encryption utility used for on-the-fly encryption of encrypted disk drives into the next-generation Tails OS as well as the GNOME desktop environment it uses by default.

        This will let Tails users easily unlock encrypted volumes on-the-fly when using the anonymous live system to stay hidden online while protecting their identity and privacy. To makes things even easier, they created the VeraCrypt Mounter utility for unlocking VeraCrypt encrypted drives.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu’s Snap Apps Website Gets Much Needed Improvements

            Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company, is pushing aggressively for the adoption of its universal packaging system Snap. And in the same bid, it has improved the user interface and user experience of its online Snap application store.

            Snap applications are a new kind of s self-contained, containerized applications. They contain most of the dependencies inside it and are confined from the operating system and other applications through security mechanisms. In other words, Snaps are more secure by design but they are bigger in size and take longer to load than the regular Linux applications.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Ubuntu MATE – Pimp your desktop to perfection

              Ubuntu MATE has made a quantum leap of innovation in the past several months, offering a wealth of visual and functional changes and a mindblowing level of flexibility when it comes to customization. You really have the ability to implement anything and everything, and all of it natively, from within the system’s interface. The list of options is so long that it can be overwhelming.

              Hopefully, this little pimping guide puts some order into this fine and rich chaos. Ubuntu Bionic isn’t the most refined distro, but it sure has the almost infinite possibilities to make it appear and behave how you want it. You can have a classic desktop one day and then a MAC-like thing the next and then Ubuntu Unity the day after that. It’s all there, very slick, very elegant. Well, it’s time for you to do some exploring. See you.

            • Want to Make Linux Mint Look Like a Mac? This Theme Can Help

              We’ve established how easy it is to make Ubuntu look like a Mac but theming Linux Mint, the popular Ubuntu-based offshoot, is a little trickier.

              But no more.

              It’s now possible to make Linux Mint look like a Mac too, and it’s all thanks to a customised version of the uncannily accurate macOS Mojave GTK theme we highlighted here, just a few weeks ago.

              If you’ve longed to add some Cupertino styling to the Cinnamon desktop, keep reading!

            • This Week in Lubuntu Development #7

              Here is the seventh issue of This Week in Lubuntu Development. You can read the last issue here.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • The car industry needs to embrace open source

    The race to develop software for the connected car market is heating up as consumers expect their vehicles to give them the same experience and ease of use that they have come to know with their smartphones.

    The 2017 Autotrader Car Impact Study found that 53 percent of consumers expect their vehicles to offer the same level of technology as their phones, keeping them connected on the move.

    Unfortunately, far too many of the automotive manufacturers and the other companies that are developing products for the connected car market are stuck in neutral, unable to produce software at a pace to stay competitive with smartphone level technology.

    While the eventual goal for many of the companies in this space is aimed at coming out with the first road-ready autonomous vehicle, most of the current attention is geared towards writing code for infotainment systems, the combination of interfaces that provide services like navigation and streaming music or video to make those long commutes a little bit more bearable.

  • Luxoft joins Daimler in software for next-gen cars

    The centre is looking for QA Automation Engineers with expertise in Python, Manual QA Engineers with DevOps principles knowledge, Software Developers with Linux Embedded Expertise, C++, Qt and Tools and Automation Engineer, with Jenkins, Git and Unix systems knowledge

  • Events
    • Linux Audio Conference Team: All videos now available

      The title says it all: We have finally finished up on the remaining videos.

      You can find them all either linked on the respective event pages in the schedule or in the collection of videos on media.ccc.de (linked to in the menu).

      Due to holidays and other things in life, releasing the few remaining videos (mainly concerts, a few workshops and the keynote) took longer than anticipated. We hope they’re worth the wait and are sure you will be able to enjoy them!

    • Linux Audio Conference 2018 Videos Available For Your Enjoyment

      Taking place last month at Berlin’s C-Base was the sixteenth Linux Audio Conference. The 2018 Linux Audio Conference focused on everything from different open-source sound projects to different multimedia tools and more.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Programming/Development
    • Confessions of a recovering Perl hacker

      My name’s MikeCamel, and I’m a Perl hacker.

      There, I’ve said it. That’s the first step.

      My handle on IRC, Twitter and pretty much everywhere else in the world is “MikeCamel.” This is because, back in the day, when there were no chat apps—no apps at all, in fact—I was in a technical “chatroom” and the name “Mike” had been taken. I looked around, and the first thing I noticed on my desk was the Camel Book, the O’Reilly Perl Bible.

      I have the second edition now, but this was the first edition. Yesterday, I happened to pick up the second edition, the really thick one, to show someone on a video conference call, and it had a thin layer of dust on it. I was a little bit ashamed, but a little bit relieved as well.

    • RcppClassic 0.9.11

      A new maintenance release, now at version 0.9.11, of the RcppClassic package arrived earlier today on CRAN. This package provides a maintained version of the otherwise deprecated initial Rcpp API which no new projects should use as the normal Rcpp API is so much better.

    • Mike Hommey: Announcing git-cinnabar 0.5.0 beta 4

      Git-cinnabar is a git remote helper to interact with mercurial repositories. It allows to clone, pull and push from/to mercurial remote repositories, using git.

    • Russ Allbery: Review: Effective Python
Leftovers
  • Health/Nutrition
    • UK-India trade review calls for flexibility on food standards and chemical rules

      The official joint trade review – obtained by Unearthed despite the UK government’s refusal to release it – spotlights a range of non-tariff barriers to trade identified by Indian businesses, including limits on fungicides in basmati rice, the enforcement of food hygiene standards for milk and dairy products such as paneer and the use of hormone-disrupting chemicals across a range of non-food products.

      The list – drafted by the Indian ministry of commerce – stops short of demanding the rules be removed after Brexit, instead suggesting flexibility in how and when they are applied to meet the needs of exporters.

    • Monsanto ‘bullied scientists’ and hid weedkiller cancer risk, lawyer tells court

      “Monsanto has specifically gone out of its way to bully … and to fight independent researchers,” said the attorney Brent Wisner, who presented internal Monsanto emails that he said showed how the agrochemical company rejected critical research and expert warnings over the years while pursuing and helping to write favorable analyses of their products. “They fought science.”

      [...]

      Wisner also read documents that he said showed how Monsanto strategized plans to “ghostwrite” favorable research.

    • Does Roundup cause cancer? Patient’s case against Monsanto goes to trial in SF

      The case of a Benicia groundskeeper who claims he developed terminal cancer as a result of using the herbicide Roundup went to trial Monday in San Francisco Superior Court, the first of what could be a flood of cases accusing the agricultural giant Monsanto of distributing deadly poison and trying to cover it up.

    • We Have No Idea How Bad the US Tick Problem Is

      Ostfeld and his wife and research partner Felicia Keesing are in the middle of a four-year study to evaluate the efficacy of two tick-control methods in their home territory of Dutchess County, an area with one of the country’s highest rates of Lyme disease. It’s a private-public partnership between their academic institutions, the CDC, and the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation, which provided a $5 million grant.

    • A Virginia teen suffered third-degree burns after touching an invasive weed that can cause severe burns, blisters, scars, and blindness — here’s what you should know about giant hogweed

      The plant’s sap, which people can encounter when they break the stem or leaves or brush against its bristles, can make skin extremely sensitive to the sun, leading to third-degree burns in a short period. Scars from the burns can last for years, and the reaction can cause blindness if sap gets in a person’s eye.

    • ‘His Face Was Peeling Off’: US Teen Hospitalized After Touching Giant Hogweed

      A Virginia teenager was hospitalized earlier this week with second and third-degree burns after touching a giant hogweed plant, an invasive species whose sap causes one to become allergic to sunlight.

    • This Giant Invasive Flower Can Give You Third-Degree Burns

      But whatever you do, don’t touch it. The giant hogweed’s toxic sap could give you third-degree burns if you don’t get out of the sun and wash it off immediately. Like an anti-sunblock, chemicals in its juices disrupt your skin’s ability to filter out harmful UV rays. Get it in your eyes and you could go blind.

      [...]

      “We’ve been getting calls and emails with parents afraid to let their children outside,” says Elaine Lidholm, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Agriculture. And rightly so. Hogweed sap contains a class of chemicals called furocoumarins that absorb specific wavelengths of light. Those excited molecules bounce around in skin cells causing DNA damage and cell death, starting with blisters and a raised rash. The more time you spend in the sun, the more energy they absorb, damaging tissues even further down, which can result in second- and third-degree burns.

    • ‘These Kids Are Watching Their Parents Die’

      For children growing up in the shadow of the opioid crisis, public schools have become the safety net of last resort.

    • First death linked to air pollution as government asthma advisor finds ‘striking association’ with girl’s fatality

      A government health advisor said there was a “striking association” between the times young Ella Kissi-Debrah was admitted to hospital in an emergency, and spikes of nitrogen dioxide and PM10s, the most noxious pollutants, near her home.

    • Illegal levels of air pollution linked to child’s death

      According to a report by one of the UK’s leading experts on asthma and air pollution, Prof Stephen Holgate, there was a “striking association” between Ella’s emergency hospital admissions and recorded spikes in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and PM10s, the most noxious pollutants.

    • How Flawed Drug Testing Can Ruin Your Life

      We talked to “Ross,” who works out of a government lab in a major American city. He gave us his insider perspective on exactly what drug testing is like, and how deeply the worst parts of the system might screw you.

    • How Nestle Makes Billions Bottling Free Water

      Nestle, the world’s largest food and beverage company, bottles Michigan’s water for next to nothing and sells it at great profit. And the state has just approved its request to pump even more, despite the failed promise of jobs and 80,000 public comments against Nestle. Meanwhile, just two hours away, Flint still doesn’t have clean water. AJ+’s Dena Takruri meets those who have a stake in this fight, including local environmentalists, a tribal citizen, ordinary residents and a Nestle spokeswoman.

    • Elon Musk says he will fund fixing Flint’s foul water

      As is usually the case with plans that are barely an hour old, the details are thin as of now. But Musk—tweeting from China—told people in Flint to reply to his tweet with test results showing contamination above the recommended limits, at which point he would arrange having a water filter fitted for them. (We should note that it’s actually the EPA, not the FDA, that sets limits on environmental pollution exposure, and that the state of Michigan has already been supplying water filters to affected residents.)

    • MDEQ official who told Flint residents to ‘relax’ will lead media training for Michigan
    • He told Flint to ‘relax.’ Now, Michigan is paying him to lead media training.

      The estimated $49,000 contract lasts through 2021 and lists Brad Wurfel as one of two “key personnel” for the project, along with firm partner Deborah Muchmore. Wurfel joined the firm in 2016, about a year after resigning as DEQ communications director amid controversy from Flint’s water crisis.

    • The Flint Water Crisis Is Bigger Than Elon Musk
    • Elon Musk Calls Thai Cave Rescuer A “Pedophile” In Bizarre Twitter Outburst

      Elon Musk is known to have his meltdown moments on Twitter from time to time. Just last week, in an interview with Bloomberg, he promised to tone down his tweets and become better at the social network.

      Well, he doesn’t seem to catch a break. This time, he ended up attacking Vernon Unsworth, one of the Thai cave rescue divers who played an important role in the mission. In a now-deleted tweet, Musk called him a “pedo guy.”

    • British cave diver considering legal action after ‘pedo’ attack by Elon Musk

      British caver Vernon Unsworth, centre, gets out of pick up truck
      British caver Vernon Unsworth, centre, became the target of Elon Musk’s ire after he criticised the billionaire’s plan to use a submarine to rescue 12 trapped boys Photograph: STAFF/Reuters

      A British cave diver who was instrumental in the rescue of 12 children trapped in a northern Thailand cave says he is considering legal action after the inventor Elon Musk called him a “pedo” on Twitter.

      Vernon Unsworth, 63, told the Guardian on Monday he was “astonished and very angry” at the attack, for which Musk offered no evidence or basis. The billionaire initially doubled down on the comments made on social media, but has since deleted them.

    • Water Is a Human Right – in Flint, in Michigan, and the US

      While US standards allow for small levels of lead, from a public health perspective there is no safe level of lead.

    • ‘Nothing to worry about. The water is fine’: how Flint poisoned its people

      This is the story of how the city of Flint was poisoned by its own water. It was not because of a natural disaster, or simple negligence, or even because some corner-cutting company was blinded by profit. Instead, a disastrous choice to break a crucial environmental law, followed by 18 months of delay and cover-up by the city, state and federal governments, put a staggering number of citizens in peril.

      [...]

      What happened in Flint reveals a new hydra of dangers in civic life: environmental injustice, the limits of austerity, and urban disinvestment. Neglect, it turns out, is not a passive force in American cities, but an aggressive one.

    • Michigan DHHS director makes final push to avoid Flint water jury trial

      Attorneys for Lyon and special Flint water prosecutor Todd Flood are scheduled to argue whether the director should be bound over on charges of involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office on Wednesday, July 10, more than a year after he was arraigned on the charges.

    • The Next Flint Water Nightmare Could Be Closer Than You Think

      Clark’s new book, The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy, out this week, retells the story of Flint in a compelling, nuanced fashion that’s sure to make readers angry all over again. It’s a story of failure and misconduct that seems all the more urgent at a time when the people in charge of the government are trying to dismantle federal agencies.

      I recently talked to Clark why citizen complaints about Flint’s water were ignored, how media pressure turned the crisis into a national conversation, and whether other cities could be at risk for a Flint-like crisis.

    • Task force set up to combat marine pollution, judicial commission told

      Officials of the PN, KPT, Port Qasim Authority, Karachi and Korangi fish harbour authorities, Karachi Sewerage and Water Board, Sindh Environmental Protection Agency, TDAP, secretary for environment and alternative energy, secretary for livestock and fisheries and others were in attendance during a meeting held by the commission at the Sindh High Court on Saturday.

      The participants discussed the issue of marine pollution and related concerns such as discharge of municipal and industrial waste across West Wharf and Karachi and Korangi fish harbours.

    • No Fish In ­Water Vapour: In Gujarat, Fishermen Are Suffering Due To Narmada Waters
    • Over 80pc water supplied through private tankers unfit for consumption: Wasa

      More than 80pc of water supplied by private tanker services in the garrison city is unfit for human consumption, a laboratory report from the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) has found.

      The report was presented to Commissioner retired Capt Saif Anjum during a meeting at his offices on Saturday.

    • Nevada to become first state to execute inmate with fentanyl

      The state intends to use a synthetic opioid – involved in more than 20,000 overdose deaths in 2016 alone – to kill Scott Dozier, a double murderer, after finding it difficult to obtain other drugs for Nevada’s first execution in 12 years because of opposition from pharmaceutical manufacturers.

      But questions have been raised about whether Nevada’s department of corrections broke the law to obtain the fentanyl, and whether the multibillion dollar distribution company that provided the drug ignored evidence it was to be used in an execution.

  • Security
    • Data breaches show we’re only three clicks away from anarchy

      An IT glitch afflicting BP petrol stations for three hours last Sunday evening might not sound like headline news. A ten-hour meltdown of Visa card payment systems in June was a bigger story — as was the notorious TSB computer upgrade cock-up that started on 20 April, which was still afflicting customers a month later and was reported this week to be causing ruptures between TSB and its Spanish parent Sabadell.

      Meanwhile, what do Fortnum & Mason, Dixons Carphone, Costa Coffee and its sister company Premier Inn have in common with various parts of the NHS? The answer is that they have all suffered recent large-scale ‘data breaches’ that may have put private individuals’ information at risk. IT Governance, a blog that monitors international news stories in this sphere, came up with a global figure of 145 million ‘records leaked’ last month alone. Such leaks are daily events everywhere — and a lesson of the TSB story was that cyber fraudsters are waiting to attack wherever private data becomes accessible, whether because of computer breakdown or lax data protection.

    • UK security researcher Hutchins makes renewed bid for freedom

      British security researcher Marcus Hutchins, who was arrested by the FBI last August over alleged charges of creating and distributing a banking trojan, has made a fresh bid to go free, claiming that the US has no territorial jurisdiction to file charges against him for alleged crimes committed elsewhere.

    • Common Ground: For Secure Elections and True National Security

      An open letter by Gloria Steinem, Noam Chomsky, John Dean, Governor Bill Richardson, Walter Mosley, Michael Moore, Valerie Plame, and others.

    • Containers or virtual machines: ​Which is more secure? The answer will surprise you

      Are virtual machines (VM) more secure than containers? You may think you know the answer, but IBM Research has found containers can be as secure, or more secure, than VMs.

      James Bottomley, an IBM Research Distinguished Engineer and top Linux kernel developer, writes: “One of the biggest problems with the current debate about Container vs Hypervisor security is that no-one has actually developed a way of measuring security, so the debate is all in qualitative terms (hypervisors ‘feel’ more secure than containers because of the interface breadth) but no-one actually has done a quantitative comparison.” To meet this need, Bottomley created Horizontal Attack Profile (HAP), designed to describe system security in a way that it can be objectively measured. Bottomley has discovered that “a Docker container with a well crafted seccomp profile (which blocks unexpected system calls) provides roughly equivalent security to a hypervisor.”

    • 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.

      [...]

      Like most sandbox models, the Nabla containers approach is an alternative to namespacing for containment, but it still requires cgroups for resource management. The figures show that the containment HAP is actually better than that achieved with a hypervisor and the performance, while being marginally less than a namespaced container, is greater than that obtained by running a container inside a hypervisor. Thus we conclude that for tenants who have a real need for HAP reduction, this is a viable technology.

    • Measuring the Horizontal Attack Profile of Nabla Containers
    • Tron (TRX) Gives $25,000 to 5 Developers Who Spotted Bugs in Open-Source Code

      Just a couple of days ago, Binance – a very popular digital currency trading platform – credited the Binance account of thirty-one selected Tron (TRX) traders with five million TRX tokens. Recently, the Tron Foundation has also announced it gave away $25k to five developers that are actively working to redefine the community of Tron.

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 105 – More backdoors in open source
    • GandCrab v4.1 Ransomware and the Speculated SMB Exploit Spreader [Ed: Microsoft’s collaboration with the NSA on back doors is a gift to keeps giving…. to crackers.]
    • Rewritten GandCrab Ransomware Targets SMB Vulnerabilities To Attack Faster

      GandCrab ransomware, which has created a hullabaloo in the cybersecurity industry by constantly evolving, has yet again caused a commotion. The latest version of the ransomware attacks system using SMB exploit spreader via compromised websites. The ransomware is adding new features every day to target different countries.

      The attackers behind the ransomware are scanning the whole internet to find the vulnerable websites to unleash the attack. The latest version features a long hard-coded list of websites that were compromised and were used to connect with it.

    • France’s cyber command marched in Paris’s Bastille Day Parade for the first time

      For the first time, France’s military cyber command marched in this year’s Bastille Day parade on the Champs Elysees in Paris, alongside other units in the nation’s armed forces. The military noted that it’s a recognition of the advances that the unit has made since its formation last year, and reinforces that “cyber defense remains a national priority.”

      French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced the formation of COMCYBER in December 2016, noting that the emergence of state actors operating in cyberspace was a new way to approach warfare. The command brought all of the nation’s soldiers focused on cyber defense under one command, with three main tasks: cyber intelligence, protection, and offense.

    • Should I let my staff choose their own kit and, if so, how?
  • Defence/Aggression
    • The lethal Obama’s big SA welcome

      Next week, South Africans will welcome former US president Barack Obama to the country. He will be celebrated because he is one of us – he is black, an African, a son of the soil…

      Obama will deliver the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture. However, the significance of the connection between Obama, as the first black president of the US, and our own first black president is overstated. Mandela did not side with the rich and powerful. He was also opposed to the deathly military adventurism that is so intrinsic to US foreign policy.

      Obama refined this policy and included targeted assassinations of “brown” people. Remember how apartheid’s defence force targeted and assassinated exiled South Africans? As a journalist in the 1980s, I witnessed this destruction of families. And those people Obama’s fighters assassinated? Well, they were “terrorists”. The same as the people the apartheid regime assassinated.

      That we will accept Obama uncritically says more about our own duplicities, expediencies, blindness, gullibility and, of course, our racial biases and prejudices. We like him because he is one of us – he is black.

    • 2 Killed in Gaza, 4 Wounded in Israel, in Most Intense Fighting Since 2014 War

      Two Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike and four Israelis were wounded by mortar fire from Gaza on Saturday as fighting in and around the Gaza Strip escalated to what the Israeli prime minister called the most intense level since the 2014 war.

      Hamas and allied Islamic militant groups fired nearly 100 projectiles at Israeli territory throughout the day, most of them mortar rounds, though rockets were fired at the city of Ashkelon.

      Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense batteries intercepted more than 20 of those that had the potential to do damage, the military said, but some got through. A mortar struck the courtyard of a Sderot synagogue, according to the Israeli military, and local news media reported that a house in Sderot was also hit, wounding four members of a family.

    • CAL THOMAS: Is Europe awakening to the threat?

      Much of Europe was asleep, or in denial, when the Nazis took power and began rebuilding their military in violation of the Versailles Treaty that brought World War I to

    • Turkey Attempted to Stop Broadcast of Assyrian Genocide Documentary

      The Turkish Embassy in Sweden officially asked the Swedish television channel TV4 last week not to air a documentary on the Assyrian Genocide. The documentary Seyfo 1915 — The Assyrian Genocide by the director Aziz Said and produced by the Assyrian Federation of Sweden was scheduled to be aired on Sunday 24 April, the day Assyrians and Armenians commemorate the victims of the genocide perpetrated by the ruling Young Turks during the late phase of the Ottoman Empire.

    • Anti-terrorism: Hate Speech

      To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in pursuit of their anti-terrorism strategy, they will require preaching in mosques and teaching in madrassas in England and Wales to be monitored for hate speech against non-Muslims.

    • Six killed, Baptist church burnt in fresh Plateau attack

      According to an eyewitness, the fresh attack lasted for almost an hour before the intervention of the military.

    • Indonesian forces to blame for Papua killings: Amnesty

      Indonesian security forces are behind the unlawful killing of at least 95 people in Papua since 2010, with most perpetrators never held to account, Amnesty International said in a new report on Monday.

      Papua, on the western half of New Guinea island, has been the scene of a simmering independence insurgency since it was annexed by Indonesia in the late 1960s.

    • Indonesia: Falling to Radicals

      If the repatriated foreign fighters are able to radicalize Indonesia’s Muslims, all of the country may eventually resemble Aceh Province, where, after a lengthy reign of terror by Islamic militias, most Christians have been driven out.

    • Regional Election; Playing the Religion Card in North Sumatra
    • Rape of hill girls triggers protest at Shahbagh

      Three women’s rights platforms formed a human chain in front of Bangladesh National Museum in Dhaka’s Shahbagh this morning demanding immediate arrests and exemplary punishment of all the perpetrators who raped two indigenous girls in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) this month.

    • Victims of rape in South Asia face further violation from the courts

      The so-called “two-finger test”, in which a doctor examines the vagina to decide if a woman is sexually active, was banned in India in 2014, after the Supreme Court ruled that it was an invasion of privacy (as well as irrelevant). In 2016 Pakistan prohibited the test from being used in rape trials. This year Bangladesh followed suit. Yet in all three countries the test is still widely used.

      Last year Human Rights Watch, an internationtional pressure group, found that the test is still routine in Rajasthani hospitals. And this year an Indian human-rights organisation, Jan Sahas, looked at the records of 200 group-rape trials and concluded that the test was a deciding factor in 80% of them.

    • Finland has second thoughts about its women soldiers

      “We have to have a universal military service, so that we are able to train for war a military of 280,000 people,” he told Finnish public TV.

    • Taliban’s best fighters being trained by Iran

      Hundreds of Taliban fighters are receiving advanced training from special forces at military academies in Iran as part of a significant escalation of support for the insurgents, Taliban and Afghan officials have told The Times.

      [...]

      A political adviser to the Taliban at its Quetta Shura headquarters in Pakistan said: “The Iranian offer of training came with two demands: that we should put more focus on attacking American and Nato interests in Afghanistan, and devote more forces to attacking the Daesh [Isis].”

    • Telangana student shot dead in US eatery; police release suspect video
    • Wimbledon ‘ring of steel’ goes up as police chief warns vehicle terror attacks are continuing threat

      The waist-high posts are a new feature of the ‘ring of steel’ thrown around the All England Lawn Tennis Club to guard against the nightmare scenario of a vehicle being used to mount pavements and ram innocent tennis fans.

    • Salafist Scare in Sweden as Report Points to Avalanche Growth of Radical Islam

      According to the report, named “Between Salafism and Salafic Jihadism,” the number of Islamist extremists has grown tenfold over the past decade.

    • South Koreans resist arrival of Yemeni asylum seekers

      “And local people here are worried,” Kim added. “We have all read about the problems that immigrants have caused in Europe — in Germany and France in particular — and we do not want that to happen here.

      “And we are also worried because of their religion,” he admitted. “We have had no contact with Muslim people before, but we know that they all have big families and they bring their own culture instead of trying to adapt to the place where they live, so people here think that they should have gone as refugees to other Muslim countries.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Britain is reportedly in high level talks with Ecuador to evict Julian Assange from the London embassy

      JULIAN Assange is reportedly set to be evicted from Ecuador’s London embassy after six years of asylum, with Britain in high-level talks with the South American country.

      Ministers and senior Foreign Office officials are said to be in discussions over the future of the Australian WikiLeaks founder, who has been confined to the Ecuador embassy in Knightsbridge for more than six years.

      His refuge in the building has cost taxpayers millions of dollars since he fled there 2012.

    • New bid to kick Assange out of embassy

      BRITAIN is in high-level talks with Ecuador to evict Julian Assange from the country’s London embassy, it was reported yesterday.

    • Ecuador’s new president might be ready to kick Julian Assange out of London embassy

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy for six years, but the country’s new president is ready to evict.

      According to The Sunday Express, Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan is “said to be involved in a diplomatic effort” just weeks ahead of President Lenin Moreno’s visit.

    • Britain, Ecuador in ‘High-Level’ Talks to Evict Julian Assange from Embassy

      Speaking to reporters from the balcony’s Ecuador London embassy in 2012, Assange called on U.S. authorities to halt its investigation into WikiLeaks. “I ask President Obama to do the right thing. The United States must renounce its witch hunt against WikiLeaks,” said Assange. “The United States must dissolve its FBI investigation. The United States must vow that it will not seek to prosecute our staff or our supporters.”

      Embassy staffers in March cut off Assange’s internet access and revoked permission to receive visitors.

    • Britain ‘is in secret talks with Ecuador in bid to evict Julian Assange from South American country’s London embassy’

      Britain is in secret talks with Ecuador to evict Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from its embassy in London.

      Senior foreign officials, believed to include the Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan, are in talks to try and decide Mr Assange’s future.

      He has been living at the embassy in Knightsbridge, in London, since June 2012 and is fearful he will be extradited to the United States if he leaves.

      The top-level discussions come just weeks before a UK visit by new Ecuador President Lenin Moreno who has previously called Assange a ‘hacker’ and a ‘stone in the shoe’, according to The Sunday Times.

    • Julian Assange WikiLeaks founder could be EVICTED from Ecuador embassy

      As Julian Assange awaits possible eviction, we take a look back.

    • Report: Julian Assange Soon May Be Kicked Out of Embassy
    • New bid to kick Assange out of embassy

      But since then, Mr Assange has fallen out with the Moreno administration, which has cut off his internet access, installed jammers and banned visitors apart from his lawyers.

      Ecuador has even considered appointing Mr Assange to the United Nations in a desperate bid to get him out, according to documents from Ecuador’s intelligence agency Senain obtained by The Guardian.

      Officials believed the move would give him diplomatic immunity and enable him to escape without arrest. Last month two officials from the Australian High Commission paid a first visit in six years to the embassy in a signal that there may be a breakthrough in the stalemate.

    • Britain is reportedly in high level talks with Ecuador to evict Julian Assange from the London embassy
    • Ecuador in talks to evict Julian Assange, its ‘stone in the shoe’

      The South American state and UK ministers are trying to find a way to evict the WikiLeaks founder from its London embassy

    • Assange could soon be evicted from London embassy

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may soon be evicted from the London embassy that has sheltered him for the last six years.

      Ecuador, which has played host to the political provocateur since 2012, and Britain are in high-level discussions over Assange’s fate, the Sunday Times of London reported.

      New Ecuadorean president Lenin Moreno – who has called Assange a “stone in the shoe” – dismisses him as a problem he inherited from his predecessor.

      The South American nation’s former president granted Assange political asylum shortly after the Australian was accused of sexual assault and rape in Sweden.

      Assange claimed the charges were part of a U.S. plot to discredit him for WikiLeaks disclosures that embarrassed the Obama administration.

      Bur Ecuador’s new government, which has cut off his Internet access and banned most visitors, isn’t buying the story.

    • Assange on line over DNC email origins

      At the beginning of 2017, one of Julian Assange’s biggest media boosters travelled to the WikiLeaks founder’s refuge inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London and asked him where he got the leaks that shook up the US presidential election only months earlier.

      Fox News host Sean Hannity pointed straight to the purloined emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

      “Can you say to the American people, unequivocally, that you did not get this information about the DNC, John Podesta’s emails, can you tell the American people 1000 per cent you did not get it from Russia or anybody associated with Russia?”

      “Yes,” Assange said. “We can say – we have said repeatedly – over the last two months that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party.”

    • US Kept Tabs on Mexico’s President-Elect for Years, WikiLeaks Shows

      The two-cable series has revealed confidential exchanges between Washington and US outposts in Mexico since 2006, bearing testimony to attempts by the previous administration to profile the nation’s leftist leaders and parties.

      A 2009 memo written in the name of then State Secretary Hillary Clinton inquired about ties between Lopez Obrador, also known as AMLO, and his political allies, and the extent to which they were likely to work together in the run-up to 2010 and 2012 elections.

    • Julian Assange Scores Major Legal Victory as Court Orders Safe Passage of Wikileaks Founder Out of Embassy

      The Inter-American Court of Human Rights based in Costa Rica is a multinational independent judicial body which handles court cases relating to the human rights of individuals in or effected by the laws of the members states of the Organization of American States (OAS). At present the OAS is comprised of every North American, Central American and South American nation, although Venezuela has expressed a desire to withdraw from the body.

      Today, the Court ruled that it is the duty of nations to allow for the passage of successful asylum seekers from embassies to the mainland territory of the state that has granted an individual asylum. For Julian Assange, this would mean that according to the Court’s decision, Britain has a legal obligation to allow Julian Assange to exit the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in peace and allow for his safe transit to an airport from which he would be able to fly to Ecuador, the country that has granted Assange asylum and where he now also holds formal citizenship.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • As Electricity Returns to Puerto Rico, Its People Want More Power

      A nine-month, $3.8-billion effort to end the longest blackout in U.S. history has restored power to much of Puerto Rico.

    • Puerto Rico’s New Electric Utility Chief to Get $750,000 Salary

      Former General Electric executive Rafael Diaz-Granados will replace Walter Higgins as chief executive officer of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, according to a statement from the utility. His salary, up from the controversial $450,000 base pay that Higgins garnered during his short tenure.

    • Pope Francis warns against turning Earth into vast pile of ‘rubble, deserts and refuse’

      “There is a real danger that we will leave future generations only rubble, deserts and refuse,” he warned.

    • Mumbai beach turns garbage dump after Arabian Sea vomits trash: Horrifying photos

      Despite multiple clean-up drives undertaken by concerned citizens, Mumbai’s waste problem continues to afflict its beaches. It has been exacerbated by the flow of untreated sewage into the Arabian Sea. Dumping of plastic trash in the sea has become a killer for aquatic life and is also affecting the marine food chain.

    • Delhi Air Pollution: Introducing A Fleet Of 1,000 Electric Buses Likely To Improve Air Quality
    • How the people of Delhi saved 16,000 trees from the axe

      Delhi is one of the world’s most polluted cities, with air quality frequently reaching hazardous levels. The one mitigating factor is that large parts of the city still have substantial green cover, although this has also been depleting due to development [sic] projects.

    • Orcas of the Pacific Northwest Are Starving and Disappearing

      Normally four or five calves would be born each year among this fairly unique urban population of whales — pods named J, K and L. But most recently, the number of orcas here has dwindled to just 75, a 30-year-low in what seems to be an inexorable, perplexing decline.

      [...]

      iNot only are there fewer calves in recent years, but signs of inbreeding also point to a weakening population. In the 1970s and 80s, theme parks like Sea World captured nearly 4 dozen orcas from the region, possibly shrinking the pods’ gene pool. In the last three decades, just two males fathered half the calves in the last three decades, and only a third of the females are breeding, just once every decade instead of every five years. Researchers worry that reproducing females are aging out of the population, and won’t be replaced.

    • Scott Pruitt’s grubby tenure at the EPA is over

      Indeed, under Andrew Wheeler, its new acting administrator, the agency could be more effective at ravaging it. A former coal lobbyist, Mr Wheeler is also a climate change sceptic and considered an effective bureaucratic operator. He promises a less scandal-plagued and more quietly efficient Trumpian EPA. Mr Pruitt’s departure would in that case be good for accountability but more bad news for the environment.

    • Pruitt grants loophole to ‘super polluting’ diesel truck manufacturers on last day at EPA

      Glider trucks combine older engines–that do not meet modern emissions requirements–with newer truck bodies. The Times reported that small fleet owners have sought out glider trucks in order to evade emissions regulations, as they are cheaper to run.

    • ‘Super Polluting’ Trucks Receive Loophole on Pruitt’s Last Day

      In the final hours of Scott Pruitt’s tenure as administrator, the Environmental Protection Agency moved on Friday to effectively grant a loophole that will allow a major increase in the manufacturing of a diesel freight truck that produces as much as 55 times the air pollution as trucks that have modern emissions controls.

    • 5 Things to Know About Acting EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler

      According to Trump’s announcement via Twitter, Andrew Wheeler, Pruitt’s recently-Senate confirmed deputy, will “assume duties as the acting Administrator of the EPA” on Monday, July 9. Wheeler will hold the position until until the president formally announces a new agency head, as noted by the New York Times, which could keep Wheeler in the job for several months. Given that information, here is everything you should know about the new leader of the EPA…

    • Air pollution is triggering diabetes in 3.2 million people each year

      The new estimate, reported in July in The Lancet Planetary Health, holds air pollution responsible for about 14 percent of new cases of diabetes worldwide. Factors such as genetics, weight, activity level and diet also influence the risk of the disease, which is on the rise globally. (The World Health Organization estimates that 422 million people now live with type 2 diabetes — up from 108 million in 1980.)

    • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – April 2017 to March 2018, Annual Report, Experimental Statistics Report

      There were 6,195 individual women and girls who had an attendance where FGM was identified or a procedure related to FGM was undertaken in the period April 2017 to March 2018. These accounted for 9,490 attendances reported at NHS trusts and GP practices where FGM was identified or a procedure related to FGM was undertaken.

      There were 4,495 newly recorded women and girls in the period April 2017 to March 2018. Newly recorded means this is the first time they have appeared in this dataset. It does not indicate how recently the FGM was undertaken, nor does it mean that this is the woman or girl’s first attendance for FGM.

    • Viral Test: Does Congress support female genital mutilation?

      Just recently, the Congress encountered backlash on social media because its spokesman Abhishek Singhvi, a top-notch lawyer himself, represented a Muslim group that defends the practice of female circumcision.

    • Network of survivors demands ban on female genital mutilation

      On the day the Supreme Court came out strongly against female genital mutilation (FGM) and circumcision, a network of survivors, ‘WeSpeakOut’, reiterated the demand for a ban on the practice prevalent among Dawoodi Bohra Muslims.

    • Supreme Court questions practice of female genital mutilation

      The plea has sought a direction to make FGM an offence on which the law enforcement agencies can take cognisance on their own. It has also sought to make the offence “non-compoundable and non-bailable” with provision for harsh punishment.

    • 6,000 Girls & Women Reported FGM in Britain Over the Past Year

      More than 6,000 women and girls who visited a doctor, midwife, obstetrician, or another public health service in England between April 2017 and March 2018 had undergone FGM at some point in their lives, official figures showed.

  • Finance
    • How Tipping Shortchanges Workers

      Tipping also perpetuates discrimination. Studies show that customers of all races tip black waiters less than white ones, no matter the level of service; conversely, white servers make more in tips than any other racial group. Customers also tip beautiful women more than those thought unattractive.

      The size of a gratuity has little to do with rewarding good service, accounting for less than a 3 percent difference in how much people tip. Instead, people’s biases are in the driver’s seat.

    • Why the world should adopt a basic income

      Contrary to conventional wisdom, the case for BI does not rest on the assumption that robots and artificial intelligence will cause mass unemployment or that it would be a more efficient way of relieving poverty than present welfare systems (although it would). The main arguments are ethical and relate to social justice, individual freedom and the need for basic security.

    • Trump driver sues over unpaid overtime

      Donald Trump’s former driver claims he was not paid for thousands of hours of overtime and is now suing the Trump Organisation.

      One of Noel Cintron’s lawyers, Larry Hutcher, told NBC News he is allegedly owed US$350,000 (AU$470,000).

      The suit reportedly lists the Trump Organisation as a defendant but not the president himself.

    • Trump’s visit marks the start of shock doctrine Brexit

      The term “Shock Doctrine” was first used by Naomi Klein in her 2007 book of the same name. With the subheader “The rise of disaster capitalism”, she outlined her thesis: while advocates of neoliberal capitalism said it would dance hand in hand with democracy as these ideologies encircled the world, in fact neoliberalism marches in step with violence and disaster.

      In Chile, the dictator Augusto Pinochet delivered the radical right plans concocted by economist Milton Friedman on the back of his 1973 military coup and aided by the torture and murder of thousands, often using electronic batons to literally shock people into acquiescence. Throughout the late 20th century, the International Monetary Fund came into former colonies when they faced crises and used the leverage of much-needed loans to force mass privatisations, tax cuts for the rich and public spending cuts for the rest.

      After the tsunami swept across the Indian Ocean in 2004, beaches were privatised by hotels. After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Klein has since written, “I watched hordes of private military contractors descend on the flooded city to find ways to profit from the disaster, even as thousands of the city’s residents, abandoned by their government, were treated like dangerous criminals just for trying to survive.”

      From the privatisation of war in Iraq and Afghanistan to the divvying up of oil contracts afterwards, the rich and powerful and their pet governments have become expert in using crises to ensure that they continue to profit as ordinary people lose everything.

    • The right to join a union is a right that is needed now

      For millions of America’s more than 153 million workers, there is still far too little “equality in the pursuit of happiness.” In fact, 90 percent of the country’s workers have wages that are stagnated since 1967, and income inequality remains at an unprecedented level. And in real terms more than 12 million American workers are still today either unemployed or underemployed.

    • Amazon will sell more online than everyone else In the U.S. combined next year

      Amazon’s market share will increase 15 percentage points from 2016 to 2019.

    • Exploited Amazon workers need a union. When will they get one?

      Amazon has suppressed all efforts since its founding, but with widespread employee abuse, only unions can hold the company accountable

    • Union: Activation model hitting Finland’s senior unemployed hardest

      Union data showed that just 13 percent of long-term unemployed or jobless persons close to retirement age were able to avoid having their benefits cut.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • 32 arrested after India mob lynches man over WhatsApp child abduction rumour

      Indian police said on Sunday they have arrested 32 people after a man was killed by a mob in the country’s latest lynching over suspicion of child kidnapping sparked by rumours on WhatsApp.

      [...]

      The spate of lynchings started last May in eastern Jharkhand state after rumours on WhatsApp about child kidnappers led to the killing of seven men.

      The rumours have since resurfaced, with 21 deaths reported in dozens of attacks across the country mostly targeting non-locals.

    • WhatsApp group admin held in Bidar

      The Bidar police have arrested 28 persons, including the administrator of a WhatsApp group and one of its members, on charges of killing a Hyderabad-based engineer and injuring three others on suspicion of child-lifting.

    • Techie Beaten To Death By Mob In Karnataka After WhatsApp Rumours

      More than 20 people have been killed across India over fake WhatsApp rumours. The last such incident took place in Maharashtra’s Dhule, where five people were killed. The WhatsApp videos that had triggered the attack were fake – one of them was a five-year-old video from Syria that had photographs of children who died in a nerve gas attack.

    • First Earth Battalion: Bombshell book reveals classified ‘psychic warfare’ military unit

      A BOMBSHELL new book is set to reveal the secrets of a CIA unit designed to train psychic soldiers.

      The book – “Project Stargate” – unearths thousands of declassified US government on the top secret “First Earth Battalion”.

      Author Axel Balthazar claims his findings could “require us to rethink everything we think we know about physics, the human mind, and the nature of reality”.

      He told Daily Star Online: “The official story is that these things didn’t work, that they were a joke, and a waste of taxpayer money.

    • US indictments may queer pitch for ex-NSA hackers [sic]

      The US Justice Department’s indictment of 12 Russians for alleged hacking offences connected to the 2016 US presidential election on Friday has got at least one ex-NSA hacker [sic] fearing a reprisal.

    • Finns rally against Trump, Putin ahead of Helsinki summit

      About 2,500 protesters demonstrated in support of human rights, democracy and the environment in Helsinki on Sunday, a day before U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a summit in the Finnish capital.

    • 12 Russian intel officers indicted for hacking the DNC and Clinton campaign

      The indictments were filed by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the presidential campaign of President Donald Trump and the Russian spies US intelligence agencies say interfered with the 2016 election. So far, Mueller’s team has indicted 32 people, including members of a Russian company that blanketed social media with fake news stories and senior members of the Trump campaign. Friday’s indictments were disclosed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at a press conference in Washington, DC.

    • UK’s Theresa May: Trump told me to ‘sue the EU’ over Brexit

      Donald Trump advised British Prime Minister Theresa May to “sue” the European Union in the tense negotiations over Britain’s exit from the bloc, May said Sunday.

      The American president told reporters Friday at a joint press conference with May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.” Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May said with an amused expression: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.”

      She added: “What the president also said at that press conference was ‘Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.’”

    • Memo to the President Ahead of Monday’s Summit

      If you are wondering why so little is heard these days of accusations that Russia hacked into the U.S. election in 2016, it could be because those charges could not withstand close scrutiny. It could also be because special counsel Robert Mueller appears to have never bothered to investigate what was once the central alleged crime in Russia-gate as no one associated with WikiLeaks has ever been questioned by his team.

      Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity — including two “alumni” who were former National Security Agency technical directors — have long since concluded that Julian Assange did not acquire what he called the “emails related to Hillary Clinton” via a “hack” by the Russians or anyone else. They found, rather, that he got them from someone with physical access to Democratic National Committee computers who copied the material onto an external storage device — probably a thumb drive. In December 2016 VIPS explained this in some detail in an open Memorandum to President Barack Obama.

      On January 18, 2017 President Obama admitted that the “conclusions” of U.S. intelligence regarding how the alleged Russian hacking got to WikiLeaks were “inconclusive.” Even the vapid FBI/CIA/NSA “Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections” of January 6, 2017, which tried to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for election interference, contained no direct evidence of Russian involvement. That did not prevent the “handpicked” authors of that poor excuse for intelligence analysis from expressing “high confidence” that Russian intelligence “relayed material it acquired from the Democratic National Committee … to WikiLeaks.” Handpicked analysts, of course, say what they are handpicked to say.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Swedish Farmers Slammed as ‘Racist’ for Flag Image in Support of Football Squad

      To support their national football team during the ongoing World Cup in Russia, Torpshammar natives Per Johan Andersson and his wife Katrine created a vibrant image of a national flag made of hay sacks and posted it on Facebook. While welcomed by thousands of buoyant Swedish fans, the image also inspired “anti-racists” to fill the comments section with hatred against the farmer and his wife.

    • Alex Jones Claims The White House Asked Him For A Report On Internet Censorship

      Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist who called the Sandy Hook shooting a hoax, claimed that the White House asked him to prepare a report about the supposed censorship of conservative voices online when he recently spoke with President Trump.

      Yesterday, on his daily Infowars show, Jones claimed that tech industries are working to censor websites like his own but they aren’t willing to “implement the censorship fully because they’re afraid [that] Congress and Trump might call them out.” A recent Pew Research Center poll found that a majority of Americans believe that social media companies censor specific political viewpoints, despite a lack of concrete evidence illustrating any such systemic discrimination; rather, it seems the opposite is true.

    • Real danger not fake news – it’s censorship

      Social media giants like Twitter and Facebook that used to brag about promoting free speech now say they’re taking on a new role — the speech police.

      Twitter is suspending as many as a million accounts a day, with 70 million silenced in May and June, according to data disclosed recently. The massive purge is to prevent the spread of fake news, Twitter says. The problem is this: Who decides what’s fake?

    • House Lawmakers To Question Facebook, Alphabet, Twitter Over Political Bias And Censorship

      The House Judiciary Committee is set to question the biggest social media companies Tuesday on their social media filtering practices, which will likely lead to accusations of political bias from Republican lawmakers

      Top executives for Google, Facebook, and YouTube will be present to testify.

      “The advent of social media has made it possible for people to connect across continents, explore vast amounts of information, and share meaningful dialogue with friends and strangers,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said in a statement. “However, this same technology can be used to suppress a particular viewpoint and manipulate public opinion.”

    • Social Media Giants To Testify On Alleged Censorship Of Conservative Views

      Facebook, Twitter and YouTube officials are set to testify about censorship practices on social media and whether conservative viewpoints are being suppressed.

    • House Judiciary Committee to Hold Hearing on Social Media Censorship
    • Representatives from the three social media giants will answer questions on whether they promote liberal viewpoints over conservative ones Tuesday.

    • Big tech’s censorship of conservative users is alive and well

      A study released by the Pew Research Center in late June has once again brought to the surface a key issue of the Obama-era Title II net neutrality regulations: America’s concern about big tech’s approach to privacy, censorship and political bias and how Obama ignored it.

      The study found that “seven-in-ten Americans think it likely that social media companies intentionally censor political views they find objectionable.”

    • The powers that be love censorship

      Recently, General Ghafoor fielded questions from journalists, where one asked him why Imran Khan should be spared if Sharif and Zardari were under fire. The question may be wrong, but we cannot discourage the culture of asking for answers from people in power.

      The one time that I felt this was most important was during the time that Kulbhushan Jadhav’s issue was the talk of the town. From the very start, when General Asim Bajwa, along with former information minister Pervez Rashid, introduced the Indian agent, there were many questions that should have been asked.

      The same reporter was present during this event as well, but he remained silent along with the many other journalists who chose to censor themselves. However, during this time another journalist raised another question — unrelated to Jadhav — but was asked to leave the room.

    • Bilawal terms ‘press censorship’ as pre-poll rigging

      The PPP has warned of pre-poll rigging ahead of a general election on July 25, a day after tensions were ratcheted higher by the dramatic arrest of former premier Nawaz Sharif.

      Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, chairman of the Pakistan PPP, said the caretaker government installed ahead of the vote was not giving his party a “level playing field” in the campaign.

      “The press is facing censorship, political activists are being detained, and this is not only a violation of human rights but also pre-poll rigging,” he told a press conference in Peshawar on Saturday.

    • ECP comes under fire in Senate

      The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) came under severe criticism in Senate on Thursday as majority of the parties accused the top electoral watchdog of dancing to the tune of ‘establishment’ in order to bring a particular political party into power.

      They said that crackdown on politicians particularly those belonging to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) under some pretext is a clear indication that forthcoming general elections have already been managed to pave the way for a specific party.

    • On the right to publish and self-censorship

      One can observe that in the 21st century and more so in the preceding months, journalism in Pakistan has not only become more professional but has also innovated new ways to resist control. An antagonistic relationship between the state and media is the hallmark of any progressive liberal democracy. Pakistan, which has seen rare and brief spells of democracy, has witnessed a continuous attack on journalists, media outlets and the press.

      However, what warrants attention is the dilemma of self-censorship within the industry. Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan states that “there shall be freedom of the press”. On the other hand, ever since the colonial era, vindictive attacks have plagued the field of journalism.

    • On Censorship Resistance: a Chat with Mainframe CEO Mick Hagen

      The Mainframe team recently donated 1,000 ETH to the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Privacy technology skeptics in the mainstream often say of the tech, “Well I have nothing to hide, why should I personally care?” In the context of the donation to the Freedom of the Press Foundation, what’s your rebuttal to that skeptical position?

    • UncensorPat.ch Fights Censorship In Steam’s Adult Games

      Video games are, by far, the largest entertainment industry on the planet. As with most entertainment industries, a subset of these games are focused on adult themes, many of which have a subtle or downright overt sexual tone to them. Whether you play them in secret or don’t mind letting your freak flag fly, a particular problem exists with this medium of entertainment: the largest digital games distributors universally have policies in place against explicit sexual content on their platforms. Enter UncensorPat.ch [NSFW], a website dedicated to hosting uncensor patches for these games. We spoke with the site’s operator “Pat” about their site and the industry in general.

    • Censorship killed the video star

      Mihir Joshi woke up on the morning of 1 February 2015 to the news that the music video for his song Sorry was finally being telecast on Pepsi MTV Indies, a now defunct television channel dedicated to Indian independent music. It was a personal milestone for the musician, TV anchor and former radio jockey, fulfilling his childhood dream of watching one of his own music videos on MTV. But his excitement was undercut by a minor annoyance. When his label Times Music sent the video to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which must certify any music videos before it can go on air, the review committee insisted that he mute the word “Bombay”—used only once early on—from the song and video. Joshi says he accepted the change because he just wanted to get the song’s message, a response to the infamous 2012 gang rape case in Delhi, out to as many people as possible.

    • 100 years of film censorship in India

      Film censorship was born of fire. Early film stock had a compound called nitrocellulose, which was used in explosives as guncotton. Mixed with camphor, it became nitrate film—not explosive, but still violently flammable. In 1897, a year and a half after the first ever film screening, a nitrate fire at the Bazar de la Charité in Paris killed 126 people. A spate of similar incidents over the next decade resulted in the world’s first cinematograph legislation being passed in Britain in 1909, to improve safety standards by controlling the issue of cinema licences.

      One kind of control led to another. Since the 1909 Act made licences necessary for public screenings, local authorities used this to regulate not just the conditions in which the film would be screened but also the contents of the film itself. After a few confusing years with everyone making up their own rules, the British Board of Film Censors was formed in 1912.

    • Dibakar Banerjee: ‘All of us turn into hustlers when we go and present our films to the censor board’

      My own experiences with censorship have led me to believe that the censor board is more the symptom than the problem, because I think everyone has had incidents where you’re trying to express something and there is a gatekeeper who doesn’t let you. When you and I speak, I say something to you, you hear me out and that’s it. But imagine if there was a third person whom I have to tell beforehand what I’m planning to tell you, and he says that you aren’t ready to hear this and I think you should tell this to him instead. At the core, it’s a lot of us making films and somebody’s sitting across the table saying, “I don’t think this is appropriate.”

      The reasons (for censorship), according to the Cinematograph Act, are national security, national integrity, moral decency—terms open to wide interpretation. And I must speak to the third person before I speak to you. So I’m always trying to figure out in my head how to speak to the person between us and get it past him to you. So I start trying to be smart, slipping things under the carpet, using code that you’ll understand. Already I’m subverted. I’m already being a bit of a hustler.

    • Sacred Games row: Rahul Gandhi disapproves of censorship

      Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday appeared to disapprove demands to censor uncharitable references to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the web series Sacred Games. Sacred Games, the critically-acclaimed web series by Netflix, has run into trouble with a Congress supporter filing a police complaint against its makers for insulting late Rajiv Gandhi. Mr Rahul Gandhi in a tweet said, “BJP/RSS believe the freedom of expression must be policed & controlled. I believe this freedom is a fundamental democratic right. My father lived and died in the service of India. The views of a character in a fictional web series can never change that.” With his tweet the Congress president made it clear that Congress believes in freedom of speech and they don’t condone the complaints against it, without explicitly referring to the cases.

    • Let’s Ponder: Will Netflix’s Sacred Games throw open the floodgate of net censorship?
    • Netflix India Petitioned To Delete Content From ‘Sacred Games’ Series
    • Researchers find that filters don’t prevent porn

      This research follows the controversial news that the UK government was exploring a country-wide porn filter, a product that will most likely fail. The UK would join countries around the world who filter the public Internet for religious or political reasons.

      The bottom line? Filters are expensive and they don’t work.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Facebook loophole exposed personal info of people in ‘closed’ groups

      The loophole was investigated by security researcher Fred Trotter, who had been contacted by Andrea Downing, a moderator of a members-only Facebook group for women with a high genetic risk of developing breast cancer. The Facebook group’s members frequently shared highly personal information about their conditions, including surgical details.

    • Dark Patterns: How Tech Companies Use Interface Design to Undermine Online Privacy

      However, even though users theoretically can change their privacy settings to optimize protection for their personal data, they may not do so. In part, that’s because it requires effort, and people often simply accept the defaults. Moreover, it turns out there are other issues because of the use of “dark patterns” in screens supposedly helping the user control their privacy settings. The term was coined back in 2011 by Harry Brignull, an expert in user interface design. Here’s his definition:

    • To monitor social media like creating a ‘Surveillance State’: SC

      Frowning upon its move to monitor social media platforms, the Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre on TMC legislator MohuaMoitra’s petition challenging it.

      A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India DipakMisra asked the Centre to file its response in two weeks after senior advocate AM Singhvi, representing Moitra, alleged that monitoring of social media was akin to personal surveillance of citizens by the State.

    • Aadhaar in Ayushman Bharat desirable but not mandatory clarifies Govt

      The Government today clarified that Aadhaar is “desirable” but not mandatory to avail benefits under the Centre’s ambitious Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM).

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • ‘As Long As Solitary Exists, They Will Find a Way to Use It’

      Villa is not the only person with difficulty readjusting to human contact. In the spring of 2017, members of Stanford University’s Human Rights in Trauma Mental Health Laboratory interviewed 29 men who had spent more than 10 years in the SHU and were now in general population. The study, which is the first of its kind to study the aftereffects of prolonged isolation, found that people in long-term solitary confinement experienced a number of psychological problems, such as irritability, intense anger, anhedonia (an inability to feel joy), hopelessness, depression, anxiety, and emotional numbing. Many of these emotions did not dissipate upon release from the SHU; instead, they persisted or even worsened after the men were in general population.

    • 20-year sentence for Iranian woman who protested headscarf
    • Found: Rosa Parks’s Arrest Warrant, and More Traces of Civil Rights History

      The fragile papers, filled in with sharp signatures and characters stamped out on manual typewriters, are part of what officials believe is the largest surviving trove of legal records from the boycott. Quietly discovered by a courthouse intern during a housecleaning project and now on loan to Alabama State University, the records will be made public online this summer.

      Although historians do not believe these documents contain anything to alter the well-established story of the bus boycott, the new collection appears to hold some leads and fine-grained details for researchers studying what happened in Alabama’s capital.

    • Hyderabad man stabbed 16 times for adopting muslim girl

      “People were running all around. In the middle of the chaos I found the seven-year-old girl crying and took her to the Sultan Bazaar police station. With little response, I took her to the Shahinyathgunj police station where the police asked me to take care of her until someone comes,” he said. When no one came to claim her, he adopted her.

    • Genocide of Sikhs is taking place in Islamic Pakistan: Baba Gurpal Singh Peshawari.

      Afraid of targeted killings, Sikh families from Peshawar city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province of Pakistan are fleeing to safety days after killing of members of Sikh community including a local Sikh religious leader in recent time . As matter of fact, Pakistan’s minority Sikh community is dispersing to other parts of the country from Peshawar after repeated attacks by Islamic fundamentalists.

      Peshawar has a population of about 30,000 Sikhs, out of which, 60 per cent has left for other parts of Pakistan to avoid living under a constant threat.

    • Neighbors who call police on 12-year-old mowing lawn increase his business, customer says
    • Why female suicide in Afghanistan is so prevalent

      About 3,000 Afghans attempt to take their own lives every year, according to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). Herat province accounts for more than half of all cases nationwide.

      According to health officials in Herat, 1,800 people tried to kill themselves in 2017 alone, of whom 1,400 were women – and 35 succeeded in taking their own lives.

      The figure is almost twice as high as the year before, when some 1,000 suicide attempts were recorded.

    • A women-only private island is not empowering – it is elitist
    • Outrage after Malaysian man marries 11-year-old Thai girl

      Muslim men are allowed to have up to four wives in Malaysia.

    • Fifth standard girl expelled from a Kerala Madrasa for sporting sandalwood paste on her forehead.

      A fifth standard school girl from Kerala has been expelled from a Madrasa after she wore sandalwood paste bindi on her forehead as a part of a short film acting assignment.

      Ummer Malayil, the girl’s father, has lashed out at the Madrasa on his Facebook post, making it clear that her daughter is lucky enough to have escaped from the stone pelting punishment.

    • George Hotz is on a hacker crusade against the ‘scam’ of self-driving cars
    • Former CIA Subcontractor Deports Immigrants for ICE

      Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)

      Less than a year after the 9/11 attacks, a Long Island plane broker began helping the CIA transport terrorism suspects to black sites around the world. Now, the owner of that company is helping to ferry a new population for the federal government: immigrants.

      Classic Air Charter Inc. was awarded a contract worth up to $635 million to help facilitate deportations. The federal government has allotted about $5.5 million for the contract so far. These contracts were originally reported in a database created by Sludge.

      In the early 2000s, the owner of Classic Air Charter had a company called Sportsflight. That company was involved in the same business – facilitating private air travel – but with a different client at the time: the Central Intelligence Agency.

    • On Toxic Femininity

      Calling good men toxic does everyone a deep disservice. Everyone except those who seek empowerment through victim narratives.

      For the record: I am not suggesting that actual victims do not exist, nor that they do not deserve full emotional, physical, legal, medical, and other support. I also do not want to minimize the fact that most women, perhaps even all, have experienced unpleasantness from a subset of men. But not all women are victims. And even among those women who have truly suffered at the hands of men, many—most, I would hazard to guess—do not want their status in the world to be ‘victim.’

      All of which leads us directly to a topic not much discussed: toxic femininity.

      [...]

      Toxic masculinity, and toxic femininity, are inherently selfish modes, and those not employing them should be interested in seeing them eradicated.

    • Two amputations a week: the cost of working in a US meat plant

      Records compiled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reveal that, on average, there are at least 17 “severe” incidents a month in US meat plants. These injuries are classified as those involving “hospitalisations, amputations or loss of an eye”.

      Amputations happen on average twice a week, according to the data. There were 270 incidents in a 31-month period spanning 2015 to 2017, according to the OSHA figures. Most of the incidents involved the amputation of fingers or fingertips, but there were recordings of lost hands, arms or toes. During the period there were a total of 550 serious injuries which cover 22 of the 50 states so the true total for the USA would be substantially higher.

    • Can the Saudis Break Up With Wahhabism?

      Prince Mohammed is unlikely to pull off a break with the Wahhabi religious establishment because the clerics have proved to be resilient and have displayed a great capacity to adapt to transitions and vagaries of power. Attempts to marginalize the clerics date back to the early 20th century.

    • UP: Woman accuses husband of ‘love jihad’

      “10 years back I married my husband knowing that he was a Hindu, but after I moved to my in-laws’ house in Meerut, I found out that my husband was a Muslim. He also tried to convert me to Islam,” she told ANI.

      Furthermore, she alleged that her in-laws were forcing her to convert to Islam.

    • Sex after #MeToo

      Sex is now so complicated that many young adults seem to have given up on it entirely. Recent research suggests that one in eight British 26-year-olds has never had sex, up from one in 20 a generation ago. Last year’s National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles confirmed this trend, showing that 23 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds had not had sex in the past year. Clearly, sex was in decline prior to #MeToo, #TimesUp and all the recent publicity surrounding allegations of rape, sexual assault, unwanted kisses, hugs that linger and, of course, knee-touching. But the interminable coverage of #MeToo has certainly ramped up the anxiety, the fear of getting it wrong, of being abused or falsely accused.

    • Illegal migrants in Paris suburb soar to 400,000 as hundreds of migrant children sleep on streets

      Illegal immigrants, now estimated to make up a fifth of the population of Seine-Saint-Denis, north-east of Paris, are severely straining public services and creating social tensions, according to a parliamentary report.

      Seine-Saint-Denis has long been the French department with the highest proportion of immigrants, but the report warns that the number of illegal migrants may have risen as high as 400,000.

    • Sharia Courts: To be or not to be

      Zakia Soman of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, who was a petitioner in the Triple Talaq case said, “Of course Sharia courts or Darul Qazas have been around for quite some time. But this special push to set up such courts all over the country is a move by the AIMPLB to remain relevant.”

      The Sharia courts are only used by men, she said. “They are supposed to function like family courts. Women do not approach these courts as decisions are usually given against women,” she explained.

    • Cleric wants separate country for Indian Muslims if Sharia courts are not allowed

      AIMPLB is planning to move the proposal for establishing Shariat courts for discussion at a meeting in Delhi on July 15. BJP lawmakers have criticised this demand and have called it unconstitutional.

    • J&K Dy Grand Mufti’s shocking demand: ‘Give us a separate nation if you can’t let us set up Shariat courts’

      Hours after All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s (AIMPLB) proposal for opening Shariat courts in all districts of India was rejected by the BJP, Nasir ul Islam, the deputy grand mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, triggered a major row with his remarks by demanding a separate nation for Muslims. “Any resistance to this effort by the BJP means it doesn’t want Muslims to stay in India. In that case, we urge them to give us a separate nation,” he said.

    • Muslim Law Board Plans To Open Sharia Courts In All Districts Of India

      The All India Muslim Personal Law Board or AIMPLB, the highest decision making body on Muslim affairs, plans to open Darul-Qaza (Sharia courts) in all districts of the country to resolve issues in line with Islamic laws.

      The proposal will come up for discussion at a meeting of the Muslim Law Board in Delhi on July 15.

    • ‘80% were grown-ups’: Swedish dentist fired for exposing migrant ‘kids’ as adults talks to RT

      The dental hygienist then sued his employers and won damages. But the Region of Gotland appealed to the highest labor court in Stockholm and hired one of Sweden’s top-ranking lawyers “to crush” him, as he says on his website. On July 4 he learned that he lost his case and also admitted “economically bankrupted him and his family.” The dentist, who had worked in the sector for 10 years, was fined some 475,000 kroner ($54,000).

    • Sikh Cop Alleges Turban Removed, Dragged By Hair From Home In Lahore

      In a video widely circulated on social media on Tuesday, Pakistan’s first-ever Sikh police officer Gulab Singh alleged that his turban was removed and he was dragged by hair out of his home along with his family by the officials of the Evacuee Trust Property Board. By releasing the video, he underscored that “everyone should be aware of the atrocities committed on the Sikh community in Pakistan.”

      He claimed that the government wants to forcefully evict the Sikh community from the country.

    • Uproar over Chinese women seen doing handstands in Malaysian tourist street, mosque

      Both the photo and video have drawn criticism on social media for inappropriate dressing in a short sleeveless top and hot pants, while the woman in the photo was criticised for “performing stunts” in front of a religious building.

    • Iran: Women Arrested for Dancing

      Iranian state television on July 9, 2018, broadcasted apologies by several women who were briefly detained in May for posting videos of themselves dancing on their popular Instagram accounts, Human Rights Watch said today. On the same day, Shaparak Shajarizadeh, who took her headscarf off in public in January to protest compulsory hijab laws, announced on her Instagram page that a court sentenced her to 20 years in prison for this act, although it suspended 18 years of the sentence, meaning she has to serve 2 years in prison.

    • Uncle, cousins ‘kill girl for honour’

      An 18-year-old girl, who claimed to be a rape victim, was allegedly killed on Wednesday by her uncle and cousins in Sharifabad village in Mirpurkhas district. The victim’s father, Muhammad Younus Bhatti, told police that his brother Allah Dito Bhatti and his sons Attaullah Bhatti and Sanaullah Bhatti strangled his daughter to death.

    • Atheists in Indonesia, Afraid For Their Lives, Fake Being Muslims

      Living a double life isn’t all that uncommon in Indonesia, where atheists live in fear of being sent to jail (or worse) thanks to fundamentalist religious groups. AFP profiled one of these atheists, identified only as “Luna Atmowijoyo,” about her de-conversion from Islam years ago.

    • Violence on the rise in Sweden’s nearly-full prisons

      With the nation’s prisons at around 95 percent capacity, attacks on prison staff are increasing. There were 91 reported incidents in which staff members were targeted by violence in 2017, a 65 percent increase from 2015 figures.

      Violence amongst inmates is also on the rise, with the 327 cases in 2017 representing a 39 percent increase.

    • The vicious circle of Islamist terrorism and far-right extremism

      Far-right groups and Muslim extremists don’t just use the same language of exclusion to divide the population essentially between Muslims and everyone else – they also depend on one another for legitimacy. That’s the conclusion of a new report that looked at both sides of extremism in Germany and how groups rely on one another to reinforce their own views.

      [...]

      “There need to be more opportunities for people to air their grievances, to feel [sic] listened to,” he says. “If there are concerns about migration or foreign policy, instead of making them into taboo topics, create opportunities to allow people to feel listened to so they don’t get channeled into extremist ideology.”

    • Valley Of No Return: Kashmiri Pandits Have Little To Hope For

      There is bitterness, despair, even resignation. From the looks of how things are going, Kashmiri Pandits have little to hope for. It has been twenty-eight years since 4,00,000 Hindus—most of them Pandits—were forced to flee the Kashmir Valley. Most of them ­believe they have lost their birthland forever.

    • Ventura County denies pulling off woman’s head-covering in response to civil rights suit

      U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson has ordered all attorneys involved in the litigation to prepare a joint status report over the next few months addressing several items related to the case. The report will be discussed when attorneys meet before Anderson at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 13.

    • Denmark confronts Islamism and integration

      The chatter about mass “Christianization” or mass loss of citizenship or similar radical measures only obscures the real debate here: whether these measures can be effective in introducing peaceability and a degree of prosperity to mainly Muslim immigrant communities. Many Europeans, not least in the continent’s Jewish communities, will be hoping that Denmark’s government succeeds.

    • “No ghettos in 2030”: Denmark’s controversial plan to get rid of immigrant neighborhoods

      The law, which was passed on May 28, is part of a broader government initiative titled “One Denmark without Parallel Societies: No Ghettos in 2030.” The plan aims to eradicate what the Danish government says are “parallel communities” in Denmark that are rife with crime and populated by poor, uneducated immigrants from “non-Western countries” who are not being properly integrated into Danish society.

    • Kano: Muslim Boy Must Not Die For Blasphemy

      Urgent steps must be taken to save the life of a muslim boy who has been accused of blasphemy in Kano state in Northern Nigeria. Local sources said that the sharia enforcement agency in the state known as the Hisbah arrested the boy after he allegedly sang a song saying that a saint that belonged to one of the Islamic traditions was greater than Allah.

    • Skewed focus in study of German anti-Semitism

      However, right wing anti-Semitic prejudice does not explain the fact that some Jewish schoolchildren are severely harassed by Muslim children. The threats of a Muslim classmate against a Jewish girl in a second grade Berlin elementary school class is a case in point. He said that she should be killed because she does not believe in Allah.

    • Teens in Germany fire anti-Semitic insults at local rabbi

      The incident took place on Friday afternoon, when Gurevitch, 39, was on his way to pray. He said he does not hide his Jewish identity, despite increasingly frequent anti-Semitic attacks in Europe.

    • Qadianis shouldn’t be allowed to vote as Muslims: Ulema

      The central leaders of the “Aalmi Majlis-e-Tahaffuz-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat” have termed demand of the Human Rights Commission that Qadianis should be given chance to cast vote in the general elections like Muslims, as against the Constitution of the country and facts.

    • Man cleared of murder refuses community service because of Ramadan

      Just before and after midnight at Warrender Park Road and Bruntsfield Links, the pair assaulted a number of people. Zakariyah pled guilty to two assaults and a breach of the peace.

      Then both accused and friends travelled to the Leith area where Ibnomer killed Shaun with a punch.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Rare books and when the copyright public domain might fail in its essential purpose

        or, to enact suitable legislation to ensure that ownership of the tangible right in the book does not prevent access to the contents, indeed even exercising something like the power of expropriation/eminent domain to take the tangible property from its owner in the name of the public. Either option challenges basic notions of property ownership, and with respect to expropriation, there is arguably something distasteful about relying on such a measure in order to make the contents publicly accessible.

      • Suffocating Financial Power Means Mismatches in Copyright Cases

        Being an entrepreneur in the digital age comes with risks, particularly when a business model is connected in any way with the music and movie industries. Kim Dotcom says he’s spent $40 million in legal bills fighting his corner while TVAddons founder Adam Lackman is already facing potential bankruptcy. Neither defendant is anywhere close to a full trial on the merits of their respective cases.

      • ‘Copyright’s True Purpose Is Dead, It Never Existed’

        According to the US Constitution, copyrights exist to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” It’s meant to facilitate and encourage artists to create content, which the public can enjoy. But is this how copyright still functions today? Texan A&M law professor Glynn Lunney Jr doesn’t think so.

      • Rightscorp Prompted The RIAA to Sue Internet Provider

        With help from the RIAA, several companies are waging a legal battle against Grande Communications, accusing the company of not taking proper action against pirating subscribers. It turns out that this idea didn’t originate at the music group. Instead, it was anti-piracy group Rightscorp that prompted the lawsuit.

      • Anti-Piracy Portal Blocked Due to Alleged Phishing & Malware

        A government-backed portal set up to convince pirates that going straight is the best philosophy is being flagged as dangerous by security software. People who receive piracy notices are directed to GetitRightFromaGenuineSite.org but according to anti-virus vendors and even third-parties like Twitter, the domain should be avoided due to a potential malware and phishing threat.

Alliance for US Startups and Inventors for Jobs (USIJ) Misleads the US Government, Pretending to Speak for Startups While Spreading Lies for the Patent Microcosm

Monday 16th of July 2018 05:12:19 AM

Summary: In the United States, which nowadays strives to raise the patent bar, the House Small Business Committee heard from technology firms but it also heard from some questionable front groups which claim to support “startups” and “jobs” (but in reality support just patents on the face of it)

More than a decade ago we wrote quite a lot about front groups like ACT and Computing Technology Industry Association pretending to speak for small businesses whilst actually speaking for Microsoft (in exchange for money).

Days ago there was a hearing/debate similar to those infiltrated by ACT (they have renamed since). Watchtroll called it an “Anti-Patent Panel” and obsessed over talking points from Chris Israel, Executive Director of Alliance for US Startups & Inventors for Jobs. It’s just preaching to patent maximalists, who are a tiny minority (less than one in a thousand US citizens). CCIA has already responded to Chris Israel’s claims, labeling them misleading and worse. For example:

Israel complains that there’s been an increase in investment in social networks, platforms, software apps, B2C technologies, and financial services. He claims that “these are not sectors that are investing heavily to push the outer boundaries of science and technology to remain competitive in a global market.”

But that’s simply false.

For example, social network and platform companies have invested billions of dollars in developing new software improving the efficiency of high-performance databases and new technologies that enable more efficient data centers for large-scale computing. Without that kind of technology, data centers like the ones that are enabling current advances in AI and drug discovery aren’t feasible. In fact, next week the National Institutes of Health are holding a workshop—participants will “hear from leading industry experts and scientists who are employing AI/ML in biomedical research settings.”

That’s not the only connection to AI, either. Social networking and platform companies have invested in (and released for public use) basic AI research, producing tools like TensorFlow (Google) and PyTorch (Facebook). These direct products also have follow-on impacts, enabling others to push the outer boundaries of science and technology.

There’s a ton of amazing work going on out there in AI right now. A lot of small companies are creating new ideas built on a machine learning substrate.

But that machine learning substrate probably utilizes one of those AI tools produced by a social network or platform company, and many of them run on ubiquitous compute platforms like Amazon Web Services provided by B2C service companies. Those “platform” and B2C VC investments that Israel is complaining about are why AI is now within the reach of any company, not just companies with the capital to build their own compute farm.

And once a small company has built their AI-driven product? That small company can begin selling to anyone, anywhere, using a service like Amazon or eBay’s B2C platforms.

Why have there been so many lies?

Thomas A. Hemphill meanwhile promotes the ‘STRONGER’ (actually weaker, low quality) Patents Act. This misguided anti-PTAB bill died last summer and will die again this summer, more so in light of Oil States. Here is what Hemphill wrote:

In March, Reps. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, and Bill Foster, D-Illinois, introduced the Support Technology & Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience (STRONGER) Patents Act of 2018.

This bill has a companion piece of the same name in the Senate, co-sponsored by Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii.

[...]

Heard before the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB), an inter partes review (IPR) is a trial proceeding where a non-patent owner may challenge (after either nine months’ post-grant patent-grant, or after the termination of a post-grant review, whichever occurs later) the validity of a patent based on prior art patents and publications.

[...]

Not surprisingly, this list of organizations does not include the biggest Silicon Valley companies — Apple, Google, Intel and Cisco, whose business models involve products with “patent thickets” of hundreds or even thousands of patents, in contrast to life sciences or small software and hardware companies who may have three to five patents protecting their product investment. For these tech giants, the status quo is working just fine.

[...]

Creative legislative and executive branch solutions, based on industry characteristics, can go a long way in ameliorating the patent validity issue.

This is being framed as a fight between technology giants and pharmaceutical giants, but as we explained in past years it’s a totally bogus framing that seeks to mislead readers. What we really have here is a fight between patent maximalists (e.g. law firms) and everybody else, including a lot of pharmaceutical companies (maybe not the very big ones) and especially generics. On the technology side both large and small companies support PTAB; we can think of no exception to that. Patent trolls with software patents aren’t technology companies but litigation operations. Like we said last week, groups which claim to support the bill led by Thomas Massie and Marcy Kaptur (and advertised by patent trolls, as one might expect) don’t help small businesses but merely harm them, just like the Alliance for US Startups and Inventors for Jobs (USIJ) does. It makes one wonders what members they have and what motivations are there; grossroots or AstroTurfing?

‘Blockchain’, ‘Cloud’ and Whatever Else Gets Exploited to Work Around 35 U.S.C. § 101 (or the EPC) and Patent Algorithms/Software

Monday 16th of July 2018 04:39:06 AM

Hype waves that technical people can’t quite make sense of (so they issue a patent anyway)

Summary: Looking for a quick buck or some low-quality patents (which courts would almost certainly reject), opportunists carry on with their gold rush, aided by buzzwords and hype over pretty meaningless things

Dallas, Houston and other large Texan cities have been trying to attract patent trolls with their software patents that courts in Texas would blindly accept after the USPTO granted them (instituted a monopoly). It was a short-sighted strategy because it’s a deterrence for practising companies, more so after TC Heartland (a decision issued by SCOTUS just over a year ago).

A patent boosters’ site, “Dallas Invents” (or “Dallas Innovates”) being its name, took note of some recent patents. From the summary:

Patents granted include Toyota’s steering wheel that illuminates via touch; AT&T’s electrical switch that generates signals through acoustic inputs; Frito-Lay’s method for removing part of a food product through an “abrasive stream”; and Conduent Business Services’ method to create a classifier that predicts a user’s personality type.

A lot of these are software patents, including the “method to create a classifier that predicts a user’s personality type.” These are, once again, just software patents disguised as something else — something that a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes review (IPR) would likely characterise (to reject) as abstract under Section 101 (35 U.S.C. § 101). Is the USPTO asleep at the wheel? Has it not been paying attention to SCOTUS and CAFC (Federal Circuit) decisions? Even District Court cases are nowadays mostly rejecting such patents. Towards the end of the week, for instance, Donald Zuhn covered a District Court case in which one party was “arguing that the claims of the ’831 patent are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 as being directed to patent-ineligible subject matter and for being void of any inventive concept.”

It’s about DNA, not software. From Patent Docs‘s concluding part:

The District Court therefore determined that the ’831 patent is directed to patent-ineligible subject matter.

With respect to the second step of the patent eligibility analysis, Natera argued that the ’831 patent does not contain an inventive concept because the selective enrichment of DNA in the patent involves well-known, routine, and conventional amplification techniques. Illumina responded by arguing that the ’831 patent improves upon prior art techniques by addressing a need for selective enrichment of DNA sequencing for aneuploidy analysis to avoid producing non-target amplification products.

In denying Natera’s motion, however, Judge Illston determined that “at this stage in litigation the factual record is not sufficient for the Court to conclude whether there is an inventive concept.” In particular, the District Court noted that it “cannot determine whether the amplification of ‘at least 100 different non-random polynucleotide sequences’ and the performance of ‘successive rounds of amplification using primers that are directed to sequences within the products of prior amplification reactions’ are routine or conventional” (emphasis in order). In addition, the District Court noted that it “cannot determine whether the claimed selective enrichment leads to a technological improvement.”

Watchtroll has just found an opposite example — one which involves drugs rather than DNA:

AstraZeneca owns the ‘237 and ‘767 Patents, which are directed to pharmaceutical formulations, intranasal administration devices, or aqueous solutions of zolmitriptan, a selective serotonin receptor agonist. The ‘237 and ‘767 Patents are embodied in Zomig® (zolmitriptan), a nasal spray AstraZeneca developed for the treatment of migraines. In 2012, AstraZeneca and Impax entered into an exclusive agreement for the distribution, license, development, and supply of Zomig®. In June 2014, Lannett filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA), seeking approval for a generic version of Zomig® Nasal Spray, alleging non-infringement and/or invalidity of the ‘237 and ‘767 Patents.

Obviousness could not be established in this case and it’s considered patent-eligible subject matter. But what about software?

What we’ve been finding more and more of (over the past year or two) is the use or misuse of buzzwords. Richard Kemp from Kemp IT Law, for instance, has just perpetuated this lunacy of calling software patents "cloud" in order to bypass the rules (using a buzzword that typically means server/s). From the article:

The migration to the cloud and transformation to digital now so visibly under way are moving intellectual property (IP) centre stage as all businesses become software companies.

[...]

Waiving LOT membership fees suggests expectations are defensive rather offensive. In this use case, access to a large defensive portfolio like Microsoft’s Azure IP Advantage should also be considered.

He’s promoting Microsoft’s protection racket, “Azure IP Advantage” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20] as well as LOT Network.

Elsewhere in the news, e.g. these two pages [1, 2] (“IBM Receives Six Blockchain Related Patents In One Week”) we’re seeing patent thug IBM. It is still harvesting bogus software patents by calling them “blockchain”, “AI”, and “cloud”. In this particular example:

IBM is actively working on innovations in the distributed ledger technology (DLT). In the span of a week, the US tech giant was awarded six blockchain-related patents by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Two of the patents were awarded on Thursday, while four patent applications were approved last week.

“Blockchain” has become a catch-all phrase for “database” in some contexts (or simply storage). Servers are “cloud”. Algorithms are “AI”. Watch what Typerium is doing [1, 2]; it’s pursuing bogus software patents that PTAB would likely reject as abstract under Section 101, but with words like “Innovative” and “Blockchain” maybe these applications will be successful. Blockchain has become the hype/buzzword of choice these days [1, 2], especially in the financial sector when one seeks patents on software/business methods.

Software patents on DRM, for example, are something to be condemned, not hailed/celebrated. But what happens when the term “blockchain” is thrown in [1
2]? CoinGeek and other cryptocurrency-centric sites were absolutely giddy about it [1, 2, 3]. nChain pretends that it is “Open Source”, but actually it’s a force for bogus software patents (even in Europe or the EPO). No such thing can ever help Free/Open Source software and because the patents pertain to digital rights management (DRM) it couldn’t get any worse. “nChain,” one item says, “the global leader in research and development of blockchain technologies, is pleased to announce issuance of another three patents by the European Patent Office. These three patents, issued on July 11, 2018, are all methods to enforce digital rights through the use of blockchain technology.”

Watch the EPO falling for buzzwords:

European Patent (EP) No. 3295349, entitled “A method and system for verifying integrity of a digital asset using a distributed hash table and a peer-to-peer distributed ledger,” describes a system that uses a standard BCH transaction, with additional metadata, to reference an entry within an external distributed hash table (DHT). To show the integrity of a digital asset, its signatures must align with the signatures on the DHT as well as the signature on the blockchain transaction itself.

The second patent, EP3295362, is for “A method and system for verifying ownership of a digital asset using a distributed hash table and a peer-to-peer distributed ledger.” Just as its name suggests, this invention adds another set of cryptographic operations based on the first patent’s technique to validate a digital asset’s current owner.

Finally, there’s EP 3295350. This invention, titled “A method and system for verifying ownership of a digital asset using a distributed hash table and a peer-to-peer distributed ledger,” is described as a logical extension of the technique in EP 3295362, which allows a computer software to check the user’s right to execute it before the software is launched.

Why are these patents being granted? That’s software! Here’s more from Bitcoin News:

The blockchain technologies research and development firm, Nchain, has acquired three new patents that have been issued by the European Patent Office. The company’s latest intellectual property invented by Nchain’s chief scientist, Dr. Craig Wright, cover “digital rights management using blockchain.”

nChain, as we noted here before, seems to be doing nothing but harvesting software patents (even at the EPO where it’s not allowed). It’s even buying patents. Lawsuits to come? It these patents ever get tested in courts (in Europe or elsewhere), expect them to perish. But at what cost to innocent defendants?

PTAB Defended by the EFF, the R Street Institute and CCIA as the Number of Petitions (IPRs) Continues to Grow

Monday 16th of July 2018 02:52:02 AM

Things one can accomplish with pen and paper just aren’t patent-eligible anymore

Summary: Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) come to the rescue when patently-bogus patents are used, covering totally abstract concepts (like software patents do); IPRs continue to increase in number and opponents of PTAB, who conveniently cherry-pick Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decisions, can’t quite stop that

THE encouraging developments at the USPTO mostly revolve around invalidations. And why? Because many patents had been granted in error over the decades, all this (or most of this) prior to AIA, whereupon many of these were taken away. It’s no secret that the EFF speaks out in support of PTAB, for instance, which is why the anti-PTAB lobby hates the EFF so viscerally. PTAB basically helps raise patent quality in the US. PTAB is being regularly defended by the EFF and also by the R Street Institute and CCIA, as the EFF noted a few days ago. To quote:

It’s already much too difficult to invalidate bad patents—the kind that never should have been issued in the first place. Now, unfortunately, the Patent Office has proposed regulation changes that will make it even harder. That’s the wrong path to take. This week, EFF submitted comments [PDF] opposing the Patent Office’s proposal.

Congress created some new kinds of Patent Office proceedings as part of the America Invents Act (AIA) of 2011. That was done with the goal of improving patent quality by giving third parties the opportunity to challenge patents at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, or PTAB. EFF used one of these proceedings, known as inter partes review, to successfully challenge a patent that had been used to sue podcasters.

Congress didn’t explicitly say how these judges should interpret patent claims in AIA proceedings. But the Patent Office, until recently, read the statute as EFF still does: it requires the office to interpret patent claims in PTAB challenges the same way it does in all other proceedings. That approach requires giving the words of a patent claim their broadest reasonable interpretation (BRI). That’s different than the approach used in federal courts, which apply a standard that can produce a claim of narrower scope.

Using the BRI approach in AIA proceedings makes sense. Critically, it ensures the Patent Office reviews a wide pool of prior art (publications and products that pre-date the patent application). If the patent owner thinks this pool is too broad, it can amend claims to narrow their scope and avoid invalidating prior art. Requiring patent owners to amend their claims to avoid invalidating prior art encourages innovation and deters baseless litigation by giving the public clearer notice about what the patent does and does not claim.

[...]

We hope the Patent Office will reconsider its proposal, after considering our comments, as well as those submitted by the R Street Institute and CCIA, a technology trade group. Administrative judges must remain empowered to weed out those patents that should never have issued in the first place.

We regularly take note of the good work of the EFF (recent examples [1, 2]). It wasn’t always the case because the strategy/policy of the EFF used to be a tad different when it comes to software patents. One reader sent us the pointer to an article titled “No, you can’t patent the ability to pause a lesson recording, EFF says” (relating to the original from the EFF, which we mentioned before). Here’s their latest target:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has stepped up to represent a small, independent online language teacher who has been threatened with a lawsuit by a British publisher that claims the teacher is infringing an American patent issued back in 2000 for a particular audio-based teaching technique.

What’s the secret sauce? Amazingly, the use of a pause button to temporarily stop the lesson.

Well, software patents are a stain on the patent system. The Office ought to stop granting these, as per Alice. But will it? At the moment many rely on courts (or PTAB) to do this. This is why courts have been coming under many attacks from patent maximalists. It’s pretty ugly to watch.

With borderline abuse, patent maximalists still try (almost every day) to discourage me from writing about patents. Little do they know that they only embolden me; if it upsets them, it means there’s impact. They just don’t like to see the “other side” expressing its views, hence the attacks on the EFF as well.

Dealing with two SCOTUS decisions regarding PTAB, this upcoming webinar has been titled “Protecting and Licensing University Patents in a Post-Oil States and SAS World” (they allude to immunity universities typically enjoy).

Michael Loney has meanwhile written about the latter decision, under a headline which later extended from “SAS appeal – how the Federal Circuit has interpreted PTAB cases” to “SAS appeal – how the Federal Circuit has interpreted PTAB cases since Supreme Court ruling” (why this revision? Clarity?).

We recently mentioned how they obsess over SAS rather than Oil States, the far more important decision.

All this cherry-picking of SCOTUS cases is quite revealing, as was yesterday’s promotion of a Practising Law Institute (PLI) webcast on WesternGeco. Loney’s colleague, Sanjana Kapila, is trying to figure out what Trump’s SCOTUS ‘coup’ means for patents, especially knowing what Gorsuch said about SAS and Oil States. Well, initially an "unknown" on the subject of patents, Gorsuch has thus far been a total disaster. As many feared, he now parrots talking points from think tanks funded by the Koch Brothers. To quote Kapila’s article:

The US Supreme Court ruled on three intellectual property cases this term, all concerning patents. This was far fewer than the eight IP cases in the previous term.

Loney is meanwhile taking note of key PTAB decisions, remarking that “PTAB designates five informative decisions” and to quote:

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board has designated five decisions as informative, two ex parte review and three inter partes review decisions

Dennis Crouch also listed these cases. He wrote: “The USPTO has recently designated five PTAB decisions as “informative.” (I have also included the recent Western Digital decision as well).”

On the 12th of July Loney revealed that filings/petitions (IPRs) were on the “up”, still. That means more patents being scrutinised. Here are the numbers:

June included an increase in Patent Trial and Appeal Board petition filing, two PTAB-related bills being introduced in Congress and the first reversal of a PGR final written decision

The first half of 2018 ended with 817 petitions filed at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, up from 766 in the second half of 2017.

The Federal Circuit weighs in occasionally. Here’s a new example of “CBM Decision Vacated: the patent does not qualify as a covered business method.”

To quote Crouch:

Apple and Google both challenged ContentGuard’s U.S. Patent 7,774,280 under the Covered Business Method Post Grant Review proceedings. The challenges raised eligibility, novelty, and obviousness challenges to several of the claims, but the Director (acting via the PTAB) only partially instituted: instituting only on novelty and obviousness, and only to three of the claims. In the end, the PTAB found those claims obvious, but also allowed the patentee to add Claim 37 as a substitute for Claim 1 and found the new claim valid (not proven invalid).

On appeal, the Federal Circuit ruled the entire event a nullity — finding that the patent does not qualify as a covered business method. See Versata Dev. Grp., Inc. v. SAP Am., Inc., 793 F.3d 1306, 1323 (Fed. Cir. 2015) and Unwired Planet, LLC v. Google Inc., 841 F.3d 1376, 1379 (Fed. Cir. 2016). A key case on point is also Secure Axcess, LLC v. PNC Bank National Ass’n, 848 F.3d 1370, 1381 (Fed. Cir. 2017). However, that case was vacated as moot by the Supreme Court in PNC Bank Nat. Ass’n v. Secure Axcess, LLC, 138 S. Ct. 1982 (2018).

The “Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents” is not codified within the United States Code (35 U.S.C. ___) because it is only a temporary program that sunsets in September 2020. Thus, the CBM program is generally cited as Section 18 of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.

Factual errors in Patently-O (not for the first time, either) were later noted by Patently-O itself. “On July 11,” Crouch said, “I wrote about the recent Federal Circuit decision in Apple v. ContentGuard. My post erroneously stated that the court found that the patent does not qualify as a “covered business method” patent. The court did not take that bold of a step of a reversal. Rather, the court vacated the PTAB’s finding that was based upon an improper legal standard and remanded for a reconsideration.”

This was mentioned some hours ago by Watchtroll.

Google too is involved in this fight because it is also affected. And after all, Google too has challenged ContentGuard’s patent number 7,774,280. Google is just harvesting patents nowadays (new example from the news); it is patenting software, relying on patents that restrict Public Domain material/knowledge and occasionally Google sues as well. One day PTAB will turn against Google itself, rendering its own patents invalid as well.

IAM/Joff Wild May Have Become a de Facto Media Partner of the Patent Troll iPEL

Monday 16th of July 2018 01:53:08 AM

Now producing a puff piece every week

Summary: Invitation to trolls in China, courtesy of the patent trolls’ lobby called “IAM”; this shows no signs of stopping and has become rather blatant

THE legal terrain in the US has become trolls-hostile, as we last noted yesterday. Having run short of opportunities in the gradually-reformed US (especially the courts, not the USPTO), some patent trolls now look at China for litigation opportunities. That includes iPEL, an unethical troll which calls itself “ethical” and even trademarked this term (“ethical NPE”).

“That includes iPEL, an unethical troll which calls itself “ethical” and even trademarked this term (“ethical NPE”).”Joff Wild and his colleagues/writers/lobbying team have been doing puff pieces for iPEL, e.g. [1, 2]; the matter of fact is that almost nobody else writes about it and they speak directly to the troll, issuing puff pieces (and threats) every week or so. Yesterday’s latest puff piece was about “game-changing patent case” and by “game” they mean “trolling”. To quote:

After all, $100 million of damages from one company indicates that there is considerable further upside in the wider industry or sector the patents cover. To hand over the ability to tap that amount of revenue for anything other than a huge sum of money would be extremely careless – to say the least. From what I know of the likes of Huawei, ZTE and others that iPEL has bought from, such as Panasonic, it’s hard to see them doing such a thing.

Although Yates has been a long-time player in the US monetisation [trolling] market – and filed over 500 suits during 2015 and 2016, before falling foul of Judge Gilstrap in the Eastern District of Texas last year – he does not seem to have done much work in China up to now. It is likely, though, that he has done plenty of research and spoken to a lot of people. They would surely have told him that discretion is the better part of valour in a jurisdiction that, although it generally treats plaintiffs well, is increasingly complex and political.

Yeah, trolls are “increasingly complex and political.” So are extortion rackets.

We suppose many of our readers already know what IAM stands for (e.g. lies for Battistelli and EPO revisionism). But one must understand that these people are shown in “news” feeds and apparently pay other sites to reprint this tosh.

“We cannot stress strongly enough that media covering patent issues is in an appalling state. It’s almost entirely PR; there’s barely any investigative, critical journalism in this domain.”Patent Docs is another mouthpiece of patent maximalists’ agenda. Webinars from the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) and other proponents of software patents are still being advertised there this weekend (coming soon). It’s quite fitting that patent lawyers nowadays use the term “unclean hands” (brought up a lot recently). Webinars like this upcoming one deal with questions such as: “How will Supplemental Examination effect both unclean hands and inequitiable conduct?”

We cannot stress strongly enough that media covering patent issues is in an appalling state. It’s almost entirely PR; there’s barely any investigative, critical journalism in this domain. In the case of IAM, it’s borderline lobbying, pure and simple.

Cautionary Tale: ILO Administrative Tribunal Cases (Appeals) ‘Intercepted’ Under António Campinos

Sunday 15th of July 2018 04:03:24 PM

Summary: The ILO Administrative Tribunal (ILO-AT) is advertised by the EPO‘s management as access to justice, but it’s still being undermined quite severely to the detriment of aggrieved staff

THE NEW President of the EPO, António Campinos, is still not complying with ILO-AT judgments. It’s problematic for a lot of reasons and sources of ours already give up on him (or concede hope that he will fix things that matter). Actions are needed; it has already been half a month.

Earlier this year we saw links to some tweets of somebody called Anette Koch, who came out in Twitter, revealing grievances she had experienced at the EPO. Just before the weekend we saw more links (or retweets) from EPO-connected accounts to documents that we decided to publish yesterday. These documents, or rather a two-page letter (E-mail/s), confirmed our suspicions that when it comes to justice Campinos and Battistelli might be indistinguishable.

“These documents, or rather a two-page letter (E-mail/s), confirmed our suspicions that when it comes to justice Campinos and Battistelli might be indistinguishable.”So we attempted to contact the person in question. It wasn’t hard because the E-mail appeared in the above documents. We now have a better understanding of what’s going on and would like to share what the EPO under Campinos is doing.

“The EPO attempts to jeopardize three of my cases with the Tribunal by arbitrarily re-starting them in internal appeal and inviting me for comments,” Koch responded to my E-mail, “[so] of course I will comment to the Tribunal only. Please note that the Tribunal did not refer them back to the EPO, i.e. the EPO acts on its own initiative.”

Remittance before judgments can even be reached? That’s odd. How many more people might this be done to? It wouldn’t be so shocking if the EPO, under instructions from high-level management (maybe Campinos himself or HR itself), is just mass-mailing this to a lot of complainants.

“I am sick and tired of this type of bullying,” Koch told me, “I have pain in my stomach and in my right wrist currently, so I have to be short.”

“Remittance before judgments can even be reached?”It doesn’t look as though the EPO changes in any concrete way under Campinos. I gave him a chance, I really did; I wanted to think that things were going to improve at least in the sense that the social climate might change. But they’re still panicking. Staff still suffers. SUEPO representatives, victims of union-busting efforts, are still in limbo.

It’s worth noting that the document (or documents, a few E-mails) was produced well after Campinos had taken over and, if so and considering the circumstances, who is most culpable (or to blame) here? The legal department, HR, or someone else?

Campinos has been President since the first of July. The documents (E-mails) are dated 9th of July and 10th of July, respectively. While the decision mentioned could still have been taken by Mr. Battistelli, the new President should normally have been informed. He is welcome to stop this.

“While the decision mentioned could still have been taken by Mr Battistelli, the new President should normally have been informed. He is welcome to stop this.”The crucial legal points are: (i) a lower judicial instance cannot re-start a case under appeal on its own initiative (notwithstanding the non-judicial character of the EPO which is a party to these cases), (ii) in the E-mails the IAC clearly threatens to adopt the current procedural rules (it points to them), i.e. all its members can be nominated by the President only or determined by lots. To adopt the current rules contravenes the principle of non-retroactivity, obliging the EPO to follow the Service Regulations at the time of filing internal appeals at which part of IAC members were still to be nominated by the CSC (where’s the IAC’s “independence” otherwise?).

“The effect of such E-mails on my health is significant,” Koch told me, “i.e. pain in my stomach, neck, wrist and elbow.”

It’s bad enough that the EPO’s poor facilities have already caused many disabilities at the EPO (we wrote about it before). It’s even worse that those people get ‘discarded’ once the EPO ‘breaks’ them and these people are then denied access to justice. What kind of employer is this? Persistent rumours suggest that the EPO isn’t even hiring anymore; it only pretends to, i.e. it’s wasting people’s time and making them nervous without any prospects of a job.

“This further reaffirms SUEPO’s allegation (from a couple of weeks back) that ILO-AT “remains very much an employer’s court” (not employees’) because it’s often doing whatever EPO management wants it to do.”Remarking on the above, Koch replied to our query by asserting that “the main aim of all this is of course to prevent treatment of my cases in substance by the Tribunal, by having them referred back to the IAC, i.e by delay. This would be another catastrophe, and I have to do everything I still can to prevent this [...] it’s about the EPO’s and partly the ILOAT’s way of proceeding, not about me in person [...] Yet it is new (in my cases) and utterly absurd that the IAC simply restarts cases in internal appeal on its own motion, even without the Tribunal referring them back to the IAC (at least SUEPO did not report such cases yet).”

This further reaffirms SUEPO’s allegation (from a couple of weeks back) that ILO-AT “remains very much an employer’s court” (not employees’) because it’s often doing whatever EPO management wants it to do. It doesn’t really feel impartial and decisions get delayed at the request of the EPO.

Asking the USPTO to Comply With 35 U.S.C. § 101 is Like Asking Pentagon Officials to Pursue Real, Persistent Peace

Sunday 15th of July 2018 06:15:46 AM

Related: Michael Frakes and Melissa Wasserman Complain About Low Patent Quality While Watchtroll Lobbies to Lower It Further


These cost $132,000 each about 60 years ago (more than $3 million by today’s money)

Summary: Some profit from selling weapons, whereas others profit from patent grants and litigation; what’s really needed right now is patent sanity and adherence to the public interest as well as the law itself, e.g. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decisions

THE SCOTUS ruling on Alice more than 4 years ago ought to have sufficed. It ought to have stopped software patent grants in the US. Sadly, however, parties often need to appeal to the Federal Circuit (very expensive) in order for such patents to be intercepted; sometimes a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes review (IPR) would suffice, but not always. Then there are overzealous courts like the tribunal of ITC, which impose sanctions even in defiance of PTAB. For small businesses in particular, PTAB is all they can afford. Embargoes to them may mean life or death. They may declare bankruptcy overnight.

“Then there are overzealous courts like the tribunal of ITC, which impose sanctions even in defiance of PTAB.”In spite of Mayo, another SCOTUS decision that shaped 35 U.S.C. § 101, the USPTO is still granting patents on life itself (the EPO increasingly does this too, in arrogant defiance of the EPC). Here is a press release that is only a few days old:

Inscripta Granted Patents for CRISPR Gene-Editing Systems

Inscripta, a leading gene-editing technology company, today announced two significant milestones. First, the USPTO granted Inscripta its first patent covering systems using MAD7, the company’s first free CRISPR enzyme, as well as patent coverage for systems using another MADzyme, MAD2. Second, Inscripta released new data run by external partners showing MAD7 can edit mammalian cells.

“Today marks a major step forward in the gene-editing revolution we started seven months ago when we released our own, unique CRISPR enzyme (MAD7),” said Kevin Ness, CEO of Inscripta. “We and our partners have shown that MAD7 is an effective tool in editing microbial and mammalian cells. All researchers, both academics and industrial scientists alike, can use MAD7 confidently, and Inscripta is committed to providing a license to its related patents for customers to perform free research and development using the enzyme.”

Why was this granted? Need someone petition PTAB now (IPR)? Does someone have the financial incentive to do so? We sure hope so. Otherwise we need to wait for some court battle, knowing that Inscripta might prey on small companies that simply cannot afford court battles (and would rather shell out ‘protection money’). This kind of patent would do no good; if facilitates nothing except shakedown (a form of extortion) or patently frivolous litigation. The US does not, in principle, allow CRISPR monopolies. There are SCOTUS precedents to that effect.

“This kind of patent would do no good; if facilitates nothing except shakedown (a form of extortion) or patently frivolous litigation.”Cellspin Soft, Inc. v Fitbit, a case that we mentioned days ago in this post, is now being covered by Michael Borella (McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP) in Patent Docs (reposted here, maybe for a fee so as to appear more widely). Here’s the part relevant to 35 U.S.C. § 101 although the more interesting angle is the possibility that the plaintiff will get punished for frivolous litigation. Quoting Borella:

Cellspin sued Fitbit and thirteen other defendants in the Northern District of California alleging infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,738,794, 8,892,752, 9,749,847, and 9,258,698. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, alleging invalidity of the patents under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

As we said some days ago (for the second time), we hope this case can become a deterrent against frivolous litigation in the US, but we can’t quite count on it. Many courts, especially the lower ones, don’t pursue fact-finding. Instead they let juries decide. It’s pretty silly to do patent trials by jury, for reasons we’ve explained many times before (many in the jury are incapable of understanding the technical details inside patent claims), yet here we are in Mass Engineered Design, Inc. v Planar Systems, Inc. — the case which now potentially deals with treble ‘damages’ over alleged infringement. As Docket Navigator put it yesterday:

The court granted plaintiff’s motion in limine under FRE 403 to preclude defendant from telling the jury that damages could be enhanced or trebled at a willfulness retrial and rejected defendant’s argument that its supplier’s indemnification agreement should similarly be excluded.

What does the jury know? These aren’t professionals in the said field? It’s understandable that juries can decide cases like homicide or drug sale/use, but patents? Seriously?

“If the ultimate goal is justice rather than profit, then the status quo is “unfit for purpose” (i.e. not good enough) and always favours deep-pocketed corporations as well as law firms.”In another new development, in Shire LLC et al v Abhai LLC, “[t]The court granted in part plaintiffs’ motion for discovery sanctions and sanctioned defendant $1.5 million after defendant disclosed corrected stability dissolution testing data during a bench trial,” according to this new Docket Report.

The way things stand at the moment — and we shall elaborate on that later in the week — patent justice isn’t easy to find in the US. The law is still dominated by law firms (they write the law by lobbying/lobbyists) and patent examiners are better rewarded for granting a lot of patents rather than rejecting most. If the ultimate goal is justice rather than profit, then the status quo is “unfit for purpose” (i.e. not good enough) and always favours deep-pocketed corporations as well as law firms. The latter want eternal war.

BT and Sonos Are Still Patent Bullies, Seeing Patents as a Backup Plan

Sunday 15th of July 2018 05:12:46 AM

They have their media cheerleaders, too

Summary: The companies seeking to complement their business (or make up for their demise) using patents are still suing rivals while calling that litigation “research and development” (the same old euphemism)

BOLSTERED by patents from the EPO and USPTO (BT had also lobbied India to allow its dubious patents on software about a decade ago), BT continued with its patent aggression some days ago. It’s a regrettable strategy which isn’t entirely new at all [1, 2] (we have been covering examples for half a decade).

As WIPR put it last week, BT nowadays chooses the popular District of Delaware for litigation:

Telecommunications company BT has accused cybersecurity software developer Fortinet of infringing five patents relating to network security.

BT filed its complaint at the US District Court for the District of Delaware on Tuesday, July 10.

According to the lawsuit, BT is the oldest telecommunications company in the world. It annually spends more than £500 million ($660.7 million) on research and development, which BT said has led to “numerous patents” being granted.

They drop the talking point about “research and development” whenever they seek to euphemise “patent monopolies”. BT has a long and colourful history of monopoly abuse, not only in the UK but also abroad (colonialism contributed to that).

Then comes IAM’s Richard Lloyd. Being a lobbyist for patent trolls and aggressors, his headline says this act of aggression “shows how cyber security is becoming big patent business” (extortion, more so than “business”).

“They drop the talking point about “research and development” whenever they seek to euphemise “patent monopolies”.”BT, according to him “has launched a lawsuit in US district court accusing a Silicon Valley based cyber security company of infringing five of its patents. According to the complaint, which was filed earlier this week in Delaware, BT contacted Fortinet in late 2014 and claimed that it infringed on two of the patents-in-suit. Despite writing to the company on three separate occasions through 2015 and again in early 2016, Fortinet did not respond to any communication until February 2016 via its outside counsel. According the court filing, it did not provide any meaningful explanation for why its products did not infringe the pair of patents.”

So this goes back almost half a decade ago (2014), i.e. the time we first covered BT’s patent assaults on companies which do Free/libre software, including SIP, Android and so on. Will we see BT reduced to drone strikes (assassinations) and ‘trolling’ (e.g. passing patents to patent trolls) as means of “doing business”? Hopefully not. But it seems to be gravitating in that direction.

“Will we see BT reduced to drone strikes (assassinations) and ‘trolling’ (e.g. passing patents to patent trolls) as means of “doing business”?”We have meanwhile learned that Sonos, a patent aggressor which hired former senior IBM and Microsoft patents executive Tanya Moore (she left earlier this year), is boasting about patent aggression again, claiming revenue derived from lawsuits. It says that “Sonos owns 630 issued patents, and 570 applications. It invests heavily in R&D.” R&D (“research and development”, as above) is just a euphemism for patents; further down it says “Innovative Business Model With Patents”. Sonos sued rivals, e.g. in 2014.

When your business is patents more than actual products (example from last week’s news) maybe you’re not really producing a compelling product and instead preying on other people’s work/sales.

Jim Skippen, a Longtime Patent Troll, Admits That the Trolling Sector is Collapsing

Sunday 15th of July 2018 04:27:06 AM

Summary: Canada’s biggest patent troll (WiLAN) bar BlackBerry doesn’t seem to be doing too well as its CEO leaves the domain altogether

IAM, which is sponsored by MOSAID, writes about patent troll Jim Skippen (as it habitually does), who came from there to another troll, WiLAN, last mentioned here a few days ago in relation to its latest shakedown. According to him, says IAM, “the licensing [trolling] market” should get “used to the new normal,” in which even the father of patent trolling and his firm are both dead (literally). From the outline:

Last month Quaterhill announced that Jim Skippen, CEO of its WiLAN subsidiary [proxy], was retiring after more than a decade leading the business [sic]. Skippen was instrumental in turning the Ottawa-based NPE [troll] into a patent licensing [trolling] business [sic] which today has a portfolio [arsenal] of thousands of assets [USPTO-granted patents] and one of the leading players in the monetisation [trolling] market [sic]. Having joined from MOSAID, now Conversant [sponsor of IAM], where he served as general counsel and senior vice president of patent licensing [trolling], Skippen has had as good a view as anyone of how things have evolved over the last 20 years.

The terrain for trolling has changed. Skippen recognised it and stepped down (maybe got demoted/fired). He has clearly too young to have willfully retired. “My undergraduate courses were focused on computer science, and after law school in the mid-1980s I went to work as an associate in a technology transfer practice under Fraser Mann,” he told IAM 3 years ago (they keep promoting him, not mentioning the financial relations). So he’s probably in his fifties.

“His accomplishment was basically the massive handover of patents from practicing firms to parasites.”“WiLAN controls approximately 15,000 patents,” according to Wikipedia. His accomplishment was basically the massive handover of patents from practicing firms to parasites. Well done, Jim! He used to be connected with Nokia (about a decade ago), where Microsoft arranged to pass a lot of patents to MOSAID (more than half a decade ago). Having been renamed “Conversant”, this classic patent troll habitually attacks companies that distribute Linux. So Jim’s legacy is just a big stain.

From East Asia to the Eastern District of Texas: XYZ Printing, Maxell, and X2Y Attenuators

Sunday 15th of July 2018 03:31:32 AM


Permanent/archived copy

Summary: The patent aggression, which relies on improper litigation venues, harms innocent parties a great deal; only their lawyers benefit from all this mess

THIS WEEKEND we shall focus on USPTO news, then release some new material about the EPO. But before we get around to it all, we’d like to highlight the above post, which someone brought to our attention yesterday. It’s an attack on Open Source and it’s happening in China, courtesy of XYZ Printing, an entity we’ve never mentioned before. What is it exactly? Is XYZ Printing just another patent troll as alleged above?

“As it turns out, it’s yet another patent lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas. And against Chinese companies!”Speaking of which, Bing Zhao, who typically writes about China for the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM), wrote about Maxell a few days ago (it’s a Japanese company that manufactures consumer electronics). As it turns out, it’s yet another patent lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas. And against Chinese companies! It shows that for companies to operate anywhere near there is a major liability/risk. More so after TC Heartland (although the applicability to foreign companies is limited, as per recent Federal Circuit decisions). It has become very unwise for any company — US-based or foreign — to have any sorts of operations in Texas, whose patent agenda has clearly backfired.

“Yes, the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) is always eager to give publicity to, i.e. amplify, the aggressors, not the defendants. This is what IAM exists for.”“Earlier this month,” Zhao wrote, “Maxell won a $43.3 million damages award against ZTE in the Eastern District of Texas. It was the first jury decision for the Japanese electronics company, formerly a unit of Hitachi, since it began a US patent enforcement campaign back in 2016, with Huawei and ZTE as its initial targets. The company still has pending US patent suits against companies including Huawei, Asus and BlackBerry. IAM had an exclusive sit-down interview in Tokyo with Tatsuya Yamamoto, senior manager, IP licensing and legal at Maxell, to hear his insights into the company’s current enforcement campaign and its overall patent strategy.”

Yes, the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) is always eager to give publicity to, i.e. amplify, the aggressors, not the defendants. This is what IAM exists for. See who’s funding it.

“These sorts of issues need to be tackled because when entities simply wrestle with (or twist) patent law justice itself is the principal casualty.”It has meanwhile been noted that patent thugs try to find artistic new ways for venue shifting (after TC Heartland). Citing X2Y Attenuators, LLC v Intel Corporation as a new example, Docket Navigator writes: “The court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss for improper venue because defendant did not have a regular and established place of business by placing four employees at a university lab in the district.”

In spite of the “LLC” and a similar mame to “XYZ Printing” at the top, X2Y Attenuators is not a troll. It’s also not about software patents. But it seemingly looks for the big bucks from Intel, even in an improper venue.

These sorts of issues need to be tackled because when entities simply wrestle with (or twist) patent law justice itself is the principal casualty.

Links 14/7/2018: Mesa 18.1.4, Elisa 0.2.1, More on Python’s Guido van Rossum

Sunday 15th of July 2018 02:31:54 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Nintendo Found a Way to Patch an Unpatchable Coldboot Exploit in Nintendo Switch

    If you plan on buying a Nintendo Switch gaming console to run Linux on it using the “unpatchable” exploit publicly disclosed a few months ago, think again because Nintendo reportedly fixed the security hole.

    Not long ago, a team of hackers calling themselves ReSwitched publicly disclosed a security vulnerability in the Nvidia Tegra X1 chip, which they called Fusée Gelée and could allow anyone to hack a Nintendo Switch gaming console to install a Linux-based operating system and run homebrew code and apps using a simple trick.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux Foundation
      • Linux Foundation Brings Power of Open Source to Energy Sector

        The Linux Foundation launched on July 12 its latest effort—LF Energy, an open-source coalition for the energy and power management sector.

        The LF Energy coalition is being backed by French transmission system operation RTE, Vanderbilt University and the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E). With LF Energy, the Linux Foundation is aiming to replicate the success it has seen in other sectors, including networking, automotive, financial services and cloud computing.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Libinput Gets Reworked Trackpoint Acceleration

        Peter Hutterer at Red Hat is trying again to get trackpoint acceleration performing nicely under the libinput library so trackpoints behave nicely across Wayland, X.Org, and Mir systems.

        Hutterer believes now that libinput’s previous trackpoint acceleration code was “simply broken”, but he believes this new code is on the right track and supports a wider configuration range.

      • libinput has a new trackpoint acceleration

        Just a heads-up, I just merged a branch that fixes trackpoint acceleration
        in libinput. The previous approach was simply broken, the new one is quite
        similar to what we had before anyway – calculating speed from the deltas and
        applying the acceleration curve from that. The curve is adjusted for
        trackpoints with a relatively wide configurable range.

      • Mir 0.32.1 Released With Launcher For Internal Wayland Clients, Fixes

        Canonical developers working on Mir have prepared the release of Mir 0.32.1 with a few fixes and improvements off the recent release of Mir 0.32.

        The Mir abstraction library (libmiral) now has a launcher for internal Wayland clients and the MirAL shell has reinstated the “spinner” in Wayland for when starting the shell. There are also several bug fixes pertaining to Mir’s Wayland and Mesa support in this point release.

      • Wayland 1.16 & Weston 5.0 Reach Alpha

        Samsung’s Derek Foreman has announced the alpha release of Wayland 1.16 as well as the Weston 5.0 reference compositor.

        As is often the case with recent Wayland releases, they are not all that large. Wayland 1.16 Alpha does away with the deprecated wl_global definition, fixes various oddities, the Wayland code generator now supports foreign enums, and updated contribution documentation.

      • mesa 18.1.4

        Hi list,

        Mesa 18.1.4 is now available for download.

        In this release we have:
        – Several fixes for i965
        – Several fixes for anv
        – A few fixes each for radeonsi, glx, the glsl compiler, the autotools build,
        nir, st/dri, and r600

        Dylan

      • Mesa 18.1.4 Released With Fixes For Intel & Radeon Drivers

        For those abiding by Mesa stable releases, Mesa 18.1.4 is now available — in time for updating prior to any weekend Linux gaming or other activities — for these open-source OpenGL/Vulkan driver components.

        Mesa 18.1.4 truth be told isn’t all that of an exciting release, unless you happened to be affected by any of the just over two dozen fixes incorporated into this timed point release.

      • Raven Ridge Support Posted For AMDKFD Compute Driver

        Felix Kuehling of AMD sent out the remaining six patches for getting the AMD Raven Ridge (Ryzen APUs) working with the AMDKFD kernel compute driver so that the ROCm/OpenCL user-space compute stack can be run on these new APUs.

      • Radeon RX Vega Display Regression Fix Heading To Linux 4.18 Git

        If you have been part of the group of Radeon RX Vega Linux users trying out Linux 4.18 and finding your display no longer lights up, heading to Linux 4.18 Git should be a fix for at least some of the users.

        Sent out on Friday was a batch of AMDGPU DRM-Fixes-4.18. It’s just three fixes, but two of them are pertaining to display problems and the other a segmentation fault if the GPU does not power up properly when resuming the system.

      • Marek Squeezes More Performance Out Of RadeonSI In CPU-Bound Scenarios

        AMD’s leading open-source RadeonSI Gallium3D developer, Marek Olšák, sent out a new patch series this week aiming to benefit this Radeon OpenGL driver’s performance in CPU-bound scenarios.

        The patch series is a set of command submission optimizations aimed to help trivial CPU-bound benchmarks to varying extents. In the very trivial glxgears, the patch series is able to improve the maximum frame-rates by around 10%.

      • Intel Sends In A Final Batch Of DRM Feature Updates Targeting Linux 4.19

        After several big feature pull requests of new “i915″ Intel DRM driver features landing in DRM-Next for Linux 4.19, the Intel open-source developers have sent in what they believe to be their last batch of feature changes for queuing this next kernel cycle.

    • Benchmarks
      • Vulkan vs. OpenGL Performance For Linux Games

        It has been a while since last publishing some Linux GPU driver benchmarks focused explicitly on the OpenGL vs. Vulkan performance, but that changed today with a fresh look at the performance between these two Khronos graphics APIs when tested with AMD and NVIDIA hardware on the latest RadeonSI/RADV and NVIDIA Linux graphics drivers.

  • Applications
    • The Best Linux VPNs of 2018

      If the 20th century was defined by an explosive growth in technology, then the 21st century is beginning to be defined by personal security, or more pointedly, a lack thereof. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), once mainly a site-to-site connection tool for IT professionals, have evolved to become personal services that let individual users connect to the internet by using encrypted traffic that prevents third parties from snooping on their web activities.

      This VPN evolution occurred because it has become increasingly easy for hackers to exploit constantly changing operating systems (OSes), applications, and networks. This means sophisticated tactics, such as man-in-the-middle attacks, aren’t just being aimed at businesses anymore. It’s happening to everyday folks who are frequenting their favorite coffee shop. This means these folks need to upgrade their security arsenal.

    • Winds – RSS and Podcast software created using React / Redux / Node

      Winds is billed as a beautiful, modern, open-source RSS Reader and Podcast app. It’s certainly garnishing attention among open source enthusiasts. It’s picked up over 5,000 stars on GitHub, so I’ve been putting this JavaScript software through its paces.

      Winds is cross-platform software. There are desktop apps available for Linux, macOS and Windows. There’s also a web version. The software is released under an open source license (BSD-3-Clause). It’s developed by GetStream.io (Stream), a Venture Capital backed company based in the US and the Netherlands.

    • Alacritty – A Fastest Terminal Emulator for Linux

      Alacritty is a free open-source, fast, cross-platform terminal emulator, that uses GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) for rendering, which implements certain optimizations that are not available in many other terminal emulators in Linux.

      Alacritty is focused on two goals simplicity and performance. The performance goal means, it should be speedy than any other terminal emulator available. The simplicity goal means, it doesn’t supports features such as tabs or splits (which can be easily provided by other terminal multiplexer – tmux) in Linux.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Wine or Emulation
    • Games
      • Don’t miss the GOG weekend sale which has some rather nice Linux games

        GOG are doing weekend sale celebrating French game studios and there’s quite a few really good Linux games worth picking up.

      • Third-person shooter with Battle Royale modes ‘Crazy Justice’ to launch towards the end of this month

        It’s seen a number of delays, along with repeated silence from the developer but it looks like Crazy Justice [Official Site] may finally arrive this month.

        After promising daily updates almost two weeks ago and then going silent, the developer Black Riddles Studio today put out an update on Twitter which gave an estimated release date of “anywhere between 20th-30th of July”.

      • What are you playing this weekend and what do you think about it?

        It’s the weekend and the sun is out, so naturally many of us will be staring at a bright screen playing the latest and greatest Linux games.

        I tend to go through phases of being attached to specific games for a few weeks before utterly burning myself out on them, currently Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has managed to hook me back in. It’s not exactly the newest game, but it still has such fluid and fun gameplay that there’s still really nothing else like it in the shooter scene.

      • ‘Hacknet’ Is Free on Steam Right Now
      • Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for PC+Rocket League+Ubuntu=Awesome

        I’m a gamer. I’ve been playing PC games since DOS, and have no plan to ever stop, thankfully there are an increasing number of wicked games available on GNU/Linux systems, like Rocket League for example.

        If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, and have no idea what Rocket League is, it’s basically Soccer/Football (other game modes have other sports, etc, but the primary focus is as mentioned) in super high powered, jet propulsed cars; it’s awesome. However, Rocket League is not very easily played via keyboard, and having some kind of controller is essential.

        I use an Xbox 360 Wireless Controller as my primary controller when playing games that support one on Linux.

      • Egosoft have confirmed that X4: Foundations will be on Linux

        Fantastic news for fans of Egosoft space simulation games, as they have now actually confirmed that X4: Foundations [Official Site] will be on Linux.

      • We Happy Few has a brand new trailer out

        We Happy Few, the action adventure from Compulsion Games and Gearbox Publishing looks rather promising in the brand new trailer.

      • Get your game on, in the browser

        The web is a gamer’s dream. It works on any device, can connect players across the globe, and can run a ton of games—from classic arcade games to old-school computer games. The web could be the best platform for gaming, and Firefox is the the best browser for gaming. Here’s why.

        [...]

        Firefox is the fastest and most efficient browser for gaming. Don’t believe us? Try out some of these games and see for yourself:

        The Internet Archive Mac Software Library – Do you miss those black-and-white games you used to play on your old Macintosh? The Internet Archive has worked to preserve many older, classic computer games so now you can play them in your browser.

        http://slither.io/ – This is a fun, MMO Snake-like game with good graphics, is in-browser, and also happens to have a really good Privacy Policy (we’re into stuff like that).

        Battlestar Galactica Online – Who’s a Cylon? Are you a Cylon? Find out.

        LEGO Online – Playing with LEGO IRL is awesome, but the toy maker has made some of the best console and computer games in the past decade. Now you can play some of them online.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • 0.2.1 Release of Elisa

        The Elisa team is happy to announce our new bugfix release, version 0.2.1.

        Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

        We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

        We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

      • More Konsole Updates: Tabs

        One of the things that every old application suffers is from old code. It’s easier to keep something that works than to move to something new, even if the final result is better. Take a look at the current Tabbar + Buttons of Konsole.

      • [Okular] GSoC 2018 – Second month status

        I am working on the GSoC project Verifying signatures of pdf files and since the last blog post I have made number of improvements. They are listed below.

        [...]

        This is a dialog similar to print preview dialog but instead of previewing what is about to be printed it loads the data covered by a signature in a read-only KPart. In its current state this dialog is pdf specific. This is problematic since okular is a universal document viewer. So I plan to make it a bit more generic.

      • Going to Akademy 2018
      • Chrome Browser Launching Mitigation for Spectre Attacks, The Linux Foundation Announces LF Energy Coalition, Kube 0.7.0 Now Available, New Android Apps for Nativ Vita Hi-Res Music Server and More

        Version 0.7.0 of Kube, the “modern communication and collaboration client”, is now available. Improvements include “a conversation view that allows you to read through conversations in chronological order”; “a conversation list that bundles all messages of a conversation (thread) together”; “automatic attachment of own public key”; “the account setup can be fully scripted through the sinksh commandline interface”; and more. See kube.kde.org for more info.

      • Release of KDE Frameworks 5.48.0

        July 14, 2018. KDE today announces the release of KDE Frameworks 5.48.0.

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

      • KDE Frameworks 5.48 Brings KWayland Fixes & Many Other Improvements

        KDE Frameworks 5.48 is now the latest monthly update to this collection of add-on libraries complementing Qt5.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Carlos Soriano: Gtk4 Flatpak example

        As part of Ernestas Kulik work on porting Nautilus to gtk4 he has created a tagged entry widget to replace libgd tagged entry and eventually upstream to gtk proper. To give easy testing he created a Flatpak file for building a simple app with this widget, which serves as an example of how to create a simple app with gtk4 too.

      • Philip Withnall: GUADEC 2018 thoughts

        GUADEC this year was another good one; thank you to the organisers for putting on a great and welcoming conference, and to Endless for sending me.

        Unfortunately I couldn’t make the first two days due to a prior commitment, but I arrived on the Sunday in time to give my talks. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do with the talks on Friday and Saturday — looking forward to seeing the recordings online!

        The slides for my talk on the state of GLib are here and the notes are here (source for them is here). I think the talk went fairly well, although I imagine it was quite boring for most involved — I’m not sure how to make new APIs particularly interesting to listen to!

      • Georges Basile Stavracas Neto: My Perspective on This Year’s GUADEC

        This year, I had the pleasure to attend GUADEC at Almeria, Spain. Lots of things happened, and I believe some of them are important to be shared with the greater community.

        [...]

        A big cleanup was merged during GUADEC. This probably will mean small adaptations in extensions, but I don’t particularly think it’s groundbreaking.

        At the second BoF day, me and Jonas Ådahl dived into the Remote Desktop on Wayland work to figure out a few bugs we were having. Fortunately, Pipewire devs were present and we figured out some deadlocks into the code. Jonas also gave a small lecture on how the KMS-based renderer of Wayland’s code path works (thanks!), and I feel I’m more educated in that somewhat complex part of the code.

        As of today, Carlos Garnacho’s paint volume rework was merged too, after extensive months of testing. It was a high-impact work, and certainly reduces Mutter’s CPU usage on certain situations.

        At the very last day, we talked about various ideas for further performance improvements and cleanups on Mutter and GNOME Shell. I myself am on the last steps of working on one of these ideas, and will write about it later.

        [...]

        Even though I was reluctant to go, this GUADEC turned out to be an excellent and productive event.

      • Daniel García Moreno: GUADEC 2018

        GUADEC is the GNOME Users And Developers European Conference, is an annual conference that take place in Europe, and this year was in Spain, so I should go. I’ve became a foundation member this year and I’ve two Google Summer of Code students from GNOME organization working on Fractal, so this year GUADEC was an important one for me.

      • Harish Fulara: [GSoC 2018] Welcome Window Integration in Pitivi – Part 4

        The next and the last task under “Welcome Window Integration in Pitivi” as per my GSoC project is to integrate project thumbnails in recent projects list. I am currently working on this task and hope to finish it by next week.

      • Application screenshots with Gitlab CI

        The fresh new tooling used for development in the GNOME project (gitlab, meson, docker, flatpak) has a lots of potential

      • Matthias Clasen: The Flatpak BoF at Guadec

        Here is a quick summary of the Flatpak BoF that happened last week at Guadec.

      • Flatpak 1.0 Is En Route For Linux App Sandboxing & Easy Program Distribution

        At the recent GUADEC 2018 conference in Spain, GNOME developers plotted the imminent Flatpak 1.0 release as well as what’s coming after the big 1.0 milestone.

      • More Mutter Performance Tuning Work Landing For GNOME 3.30

        GNOME 3.30 is looking like Mutter will be quite fit with the ability to remove its dependence on X11 code and various performance tuning optimizations. On top of already landed performance work in recent months, more optimizations have just landed and it looks like more could still be on the way.

        Most recently, as of this morning, this two month old GitLab request was merged about re-using paint volumes. From the last commit it explains, “Cuts down approximately all paint volume calculations when there’s windows that redraw frequently, but don’t move.”

  • Distributions
  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Best open source business intelligence and analytics tools

    So what are some open source alternatives to these proprietary tools? And aside from cost what benefits can they bring? Here’s our pick of the market.

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: GraphQL Engine from Hasura

    With its open source release this week, GraphQL-as-a-Service company Hasura’s GraphQL Engine is looking to lift the burden on front-end and enterprise application developers who want to begin incorporating GraphQL’s data querying and manipulation capabilities in their preexisting Postgres-based applications without having to dig through the back-end of GraphQL’s code to implement it.

    ”GraphQL and the tooling around it dramatically increases the feature velocity for developer teams by reducing the communication required between them while developing new features,” the company wrote in this week’s announcement. “As a result, GraphQL servers are like self-documenting APIs that enable full API discoverability for the developers. This enables the front-end developers to make API requests, in order to introduce new features or change existing ones, in GraphQL without having to wait for back-end developer teams to deliver APIs and document the changes.”

  • FOSS Project Spotlight: Pydio Cells, an Enterprise-Focused File-Sharing Solution

    Pydio Cells is a brand-new product focused on the needs of enterprises and large organizations, brought to you from the people who launched the concept of the open-source file sharing and synchronization solution in 2008. The concept behind Pydio Cells is challenging: to be to file sharing what Slack has been to chats—that is, a revolution in terms of the number of features, power and ease of use.

    In order to reach this objective, Pydio’s development team has switched from the old-school development stack (Apache and PHP) to Google’s Go language to overcome the bottleneck represented by legacy technologies. Today, Pydio Cells offers a faster, more scalable microservice architecture that is in tune with dynamic modern enterprise environments.

    In fact, Pydio’s new “Cells” concept delivers file sharing as a modern collaborative app. Users are free to create flexible group spaces for sharing based on their own ways of working with dedicated in-app messaging for improved collaboration.

    In addition, the enterprise data management functionality gives both companies and administrators reassurance, with controls and reporting that directly answer corporate requirements around the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other tightening data protection regulations.

  • Open Cars Kick-Off Conference

    Autonomous cars are coming. But how are we going to deal with keeping both the software and hardware up-to-date? Odds are, a three-year computer and software a few months old are going to be too old to drive autonomously, at least while the technology is in its infancy. And how do we train the guys in your local garage to maintain an AI?

    The automobile industry thinks they have a solution: lease rather than sell autonomous cars, lock the hood shut, and maintain them exclusively through their dealers.

    That works great for the 1%. But what about the rest of us? The folks who drive a dented, 10-year-old car? We should have the option to drive autonomous cars, and to participate in the same world as the more wealthy folks.

  • Web Browsers
    • Browsh – A Modern Text Browser That Supports Graphics And Video

      Browsh is a modern, text-based browser that supports graphics including video. Yes, you read that right! It supports HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, photos, WebGL content and of course video as well. Technically speaking, it is not much of a browser, but some kind of terminal front-end of browser. It uses headless Firefox to render the web page and then converts it to ASCII art. According to the developer, Browsh significantly reduces the bandwidth and increases the browsing speed. Another cool feature of browsh is you can ssh from, for example an old laptop, to a regular computer where you have Browsh installed, and browse HTML5 webpages without much lag. Browsh is free, open source and cross-platform.

    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla B-Team: happy bmo push day!
      • Mozilla VR Blog: This week in Mixed Reality: Issue 12

        This week we landed a bunch of core features: in the browsers space, we landed WebVR support and immersive controllers; in the social area, added media tools to Hubs; and in the content ecosystem, we now have WebGL2 support on the WebGLRenderer in three.js.

      • Robert Kaiser: VR Map – A-Frame Demo using OpenStreetMap Data

        The prime driver for writing my first such demo was that I wanted to do something meaningful with A-Frame. Previously, I had only played around with the Hello WebVR example and some small alterations around the basic elements seen in that one, which is also pretty much what I taught to others in the WebVR workshops I held in Vienna last year. Now, it was time to go beyond that, and as I had recently bought a HTC Vive, I wanted something where the controllers could be used – but still something that would fall back nicely and be usable in 2D mode on a desktop browser or even mobile screens.

      • Firefox Test Pilot: The Evolution of Side View

        Side View is a new Firefox Test Pilot experiment which allows you to send any webpage to the Firefox sidebar, giving you an easy way to view two webpages side-by-side. It was released June 5 through the Test Pilot program, and we thought we would share with you some of the different approaches we tried while implementing this idea.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • DragonFly BSD Lead Developer Preaches The Blessing Of SSDs

      DragonFlyBSD lead developer Matthew Dillon has provided an update on the open-source operating system project’s infrastructure and acknowledging the SSD upgrades that are noticeably beneficial over HDDs.

      DragonFlyBSD has recently been replacing various HDDs with SSDs in their build machines and other systems having an important presence in their infrastructure. Following these storage upgrades, things have been running great and ultimately should deliver a snappier experience for users and developers.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • Revealing unknown DWG classes

      I implemented three major buzzwords today in some trivial ways.

      massive parallel processing
      asynchronous processing
      machine-learning: a self-improving program

      The problem is mostly trivial, and the solutions also. I need to
      reverse-engineer a binary closed file-format, but got some hints from
      a related ASCII file-format, DWG vs DXF.

    • Binutils 2.31 Offers Faster DLL Linking For Cygwin/Mingw, Freescale S12Z Support

      A new release of the Binutils collection of important tools is now available with a number of new features and improvements.

      Binutils 2.31 contains work like direct linking with DLLs for Cygwin/Mingw targets now being faster, AArch64 disassembler improvements, MIPS GINV and CRC extension support, Freescale S12Z architecture support, the x86 assembler now supports new command line options to enable alternative shorter instruction encodings, and the Gold linker now supports Intel Indirect Branch Tracking and Shadow Stack instructions.

    • GCC 8/9 Land Fix For “-march=native” Tuning On Modern Intel CPUs

      The other day we reported on a GCC 8 regression where Skylake and newer CPUs with “-march=native” haven’t been performance as optimally as they should be. Fortunately, that patch was quickly landed into the GCC SVN/Git code for GCC 9 as well as back-ported to GCC 8.

      In the GCC 8.1 release and mainline code since April, as the previous article outlined, when using “-march=native” as part of the compiler flags with GCC the full capabilities of the CPU haven’t been leveraged. This affects Intel Skylake CPUs and newer generations, including yet to be released hardware like Cannonlake and Icelake.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • ARM Kills Its RISC-V FUD Website After Staff Revolt

        ARM is under fire for the way it attempted to kneecap a fledgling open-source hardware project, and has retreated from its own line of attack after several days. ARM had launched a website, riscv-basics.com, which purported to offer “real” information on the rival ISA. As one might expect, the “information” on display was a bit less neutral than a visitor might hope for. Taking this kind of shot against an open-source hardware project also struck many in the OSS community as being in exceptionally poor taste, given how critical open source software has been to ARM’s overall success and visibility.

        First, a bit of background: RISC-V is an open-source ISA based on RISC principles and is intended to eventually provide flexible CPU cores for a wide variety of use-cases. By using the BSD license, the RISC-V teams hope to allow for a greater range of projects that support both open and proprietary CPU designs. RISC-V CPUs are already available today in a range of roles and capabilities. Despite some modest initial success, RISC-V, today, isn’t even a rounding error in CPU marketshare measurements. It’s certainly no threat to ARM, which enjoys the mother of all vendor lock-ins measured in per-device terms.

  • Programming/Development
    • Becoming a senior developer: 9 experiences you’ll encounter

      Being a developer—a good one—isn’t just about writing code. To be successful, you do a lot of planning, you deal with catastrophes, and you prevent catastrophes. Not to mention you spend plenty of time working with other humans about what your code should do.

    • Python and Its Community Enter a New Phase

      Python is an amazing programming language, there’s no doubt about it. >From humble beginnings in 1991, it’s now just about everywhere. Whether you’re doing web development, system administration, test automation, devops or data science, odds are good that Python is playing a role in your work.

      Even if you’re not using Python directly, odds are good that it is being used behind the scenes. Using OpenStack? Python plays an integral role in its development and configuration. Using Dropbox on your computer? Then you’ve got a copy of Python running on your computer. Using Linux? When I purchased Red Hat Linux back in 1995, the configuration was a breeze—thanks to visual tools developed in Python.

      And, of course, there are numerous schools and educational programs that are now teaching Python. MIT’s intro computer science course switched several years ago from Scheme to Python, and thousands of universities all over the world made a similar switch in its wake. My 15-year-old daughter participates in a program for technology and entrepreneurship—and she’s learning Python.

      There currently is an almost insatiable demand for Python developers. Indeed, Stack Overflow reported last year that Python is not only the most popular language on its site, but it’s also the fastest-growing language. I can attest to this popularity in my own job as a freelance Python trainer. Some of the largest computer companies in the world are now using Python on a regular basis, and their use of the language is growing, not shrinking.

    • Python boss Guido van Rossum steps down after 30 years

      He lays out a list of things that the users will need to consider going forwards like who has banning rights and who inducts noobs to the core developer team, but its laid out in a context of ‘do what you want but keep me out of it’.

      “I’ll still be here, but I’m trying to let you all figure something out for yourselves. I’m tired, and need a very long break.”

Leftovers
  • Science
    • Open offices are as bad as they seem—they reduce face-to-face time by 70%

      Before the study it was clear from employee surveys and media reports that workers are not fans of the open architecture trend. Employees complain of noise, distractions, lowered productivity, a loss of privacy, and a feeling of being “watched.” On top of that, studies have suggested that open offices can be bad for workers’ health.

      Still, Bernstein and Turban write that, up until now, there has been a dearth of data on how employee behaviors change in these boundless, despised work spaces. To come up with that data, they enlisted employees in two big companies as their employers embarked on remodeling office areas from traditional closed offices and cubicles to open, boundary-less space.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • HHS Plans to Delete 20 Years of Critical Medical Guidelines Next Week

      The Trump Administration is planning to eliminate a vast trove of medical guidelines that for nearly 20 years has been a critical resource for doctors, researchers and others in the medical community.

      Maintained by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [AHRQ], part of the Department of Health and Human Services, the database is known as the National Guideline Clearinghouse [NGC], and it’s scheduled to “go dark,” in the words of an official there, on July 16.

      Medical guidelines like those compiled by AHRQ aren’t something laypeople spend much time thinking about, but experts like Valerie King, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Director of Research at the Center for Evidence-based Policy at Oregon Health & Science University, said the NGC is perhaps the most important repository of evidence-based research available.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Fish Out of Water: How the Military Is an Impossible Place for Hackers [sic], and What to Do About It

      For most hackers [sic], an ADCON job means one to two years away from mission doing a non-technical job they’ll probably detest. So, the military’s most talented hackers [sic] are caught squarely in an identity crisis: Buck the promotion system and continue being a contributor who is “50 to 100 times better than their peers” fighting adversaries in cyberspace or take a year or two off mission to collate push-up scores in Excel spreadsheets.

      It might seem that putting technical talent in ADCON command positions would help fix the problem, but it doesn’t for three reasons:

    • Should Your Company Help ICE? “Know Your Customer” Standards for Evaluating Domestic Sales of Surveillance Equipment

      Employees at Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have raised public concerns about those companies assisting U.S. military, law enforcement, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) in deploying various kinds of surveillance technologies.

      These public calls from employees raise important questions: what steps should a company take to ensure that government entities who purchase or license their technologies don’t misuse them? When should they refuse to sell to a governmental entity?

      Tech companies must step up and ensure that they aren’t assisting governments in committing human rights abuses.

      While the specific context of U.S. law enforcement using new surveillance technologies is more recent, the underlying questions aren’t. In 2011, EFF proposed a basic Know Your Customer framework for these questions. The context then was foreign repressive governments’ use of the technology from U.S. and European companies to facilitate human rights abuses. EFF’s framework was cited favorably by the United Nations in its implementation guide for technology companies for its own Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

      Now, those same basic ideas about investigation, auditing, and accountability can be, and should be, deployed domestically.

      Put simply, tech companies, especially those selling surveillance equipment, must step up and ensure that they aren’t assisting governments in committing human rights, civil rights and civil liberties abuses. This obligation applies whether those governments are foreign or domestic, federal or local.

      One way tech companies can navigate this difficult issue is by adopting a robust Know Your Customer program, modeled on requirements that companies already have to follow in the export control and anti-bribery context. Below, we outline our proposal for sales to foreign governments from 2011, with a few updates to reflect shifting from an international to domestic focus. Employees at companies that sell to government agencies, especially agencies with a record as troubling as ICE, may want to advocate for this as a process to protect against future corporate complicity.

    • The Media’s Brazen Dishonesty About North Korean Nuclear Violations

      In late June and early July, NBC News, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal published stories that appeared at first glance to shed a lurid light on Donald Trump’s flirtation with Kim Jong-un. They contained satellite imagery showing that North Korea was making rapid upgrades to its nuclear weapons complex at Yongbyon and expanding its missile production program just as Trump and Kim were getting chummy at their Singapore summit.

      In fact, those media outlets were selling journalistic snake oil. By misrepresenting the diplomatic context of the images they were hyping, the press launched a false narrative around the Trump-Kim summit and the negotiations therein.

      The headline of the June 27 NBC News story revealed the network’s political agenda on the Trump-Kim negotiations. “If North Korea is denuclearizing,” it asked, “why is it expanding a nuclear research center?” The piece warned that North Korea “continues to make improvements to a major nuclear facility, raising questions about President Donald Trump’s claim that Kim Jong Un has agreed to disarm, independent experts tell NBC News.”

      CNN’s coverage of the same story was even more sensationalist, declaring that there were “troubling signs” that North Korea was making “improvements” to its nuclear facilities, some of which it said had been carried out after the Trump-Kim summit. It pointed to a facility that had produced plutonium in the past and recently undergone an upgrade, despite Kim’s alleged promise to Trump to draw down his nuclear arsenal. CNN commentator Max Boot cleverly spelled out the supposed implication: “If you were about to demolish your house, would you be remodeling the kitchen?”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Inter-American Court Ruling Benefits Julian Assange

      The ruling was deemed a huge victory for the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
      The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled on Friday the right to seek asylum in embassies and other diplomatic compounds. The ruling includes a mandatory safe process, and the obligation of states to provide safe passage to those granted asylum. Without naming Julian Assange, the ruling was deemed a huge victory for the WikiLeaks founder who has been held up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • New Dutch study recommends optimal EVSE rollout strategy

      As the worldwide fleet of EVs expands, it’s becoming clear that governments around the world need to make significant investments in public charging infrastructure. However, there are few examples to follow in developing an effective rollout strategy.

      A new study, published in the journal Energy Policy, aims to guide policy makers in the deployment of future charging infrastructure. The study analyzes the use of 1,700 public charging points in the Netherlands over the first 4 years of EV adoption, representing more than 1.3 million charging sessions.

  • Finance
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Social media platforms must police their sites better, says Ofcom

      White highlighted Ofcom research that demonstrated how little trust user have in what they read on social media. “Only 39% consider social media to be a trustworthy news source, compared with 63% for newspapers, and 70% for TV,” she wrote.

      “Many people admit they simply don’t have the time or inclination to think critically when engaging with news, which has important implications for our democracy.”

    • Ray McGovern: Strzok Hoisted on His Own Petard

      If FBI agent Peter Strzok were not so glib, it would have been easier to feel some sympathy for him during his tough grilling at the House oversight hearing on Thursday, even though his wounds are self-inflicted. The wounds, of course, ooze from the content of his own text message exchange with his lover and alleged co-conspirator, Lisa Page.

      Strzok was a top FBI counterintelligence official and Page an attorney working for then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The Attorney General fired McCabe in March and DOJ has criminally referred McCabe to federal prosecutors for lying to Justice Department investigators.

      On Thursday members of the House Judiciary and Oversight/Government Reform Committees questioned Strzok for eight hours on how he led the investigations of Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized emails and Donald Trump’s campaign’s ties with Russia, if any.

      [...]

      There were moments of high irony at Thursday’s hearing. For example, under questioning by Darrell Issa (R-CA), Strzok appealed, in essence, for the same kid-gloves treatment that his FBI and DOJ associates afforded Mrs. Clinton during the Strzok-led investigation of her emails.

    • Mueller indicts 12 Russians for DNC hacking
    • Russian Influence Campaign Sought To Exploit Americans’ Trust In Local News

      Russia’s information attack against the United States during the 2016 election cycle sought to take advantage of the greater trust that Americans tend to place in local news.

      The information operatives who worked out of the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg did not stop at posing as American social media users or spreading false information from purported news sources, according to new details.

      They also created a number of Twitter accounts that posed as sources for Americans’ hometown headlines.

    • Russian Dressing On Everything

      Reporting on the Russia investigation is not for the faint of heart. This week, a look at how a journalist became entangled in the investigation when she turned her source over to the FBI. Plus, how another reporter avoided common journalistic mistakes during the Iraq War and a conversation with the director of the new documentary The Other Side of Everything about the end of Yugoslavia.

    • Evidence Will Probably Never Be Produced in Indictments of ‘Russian Agents’

      The indictment of 12 Russian ‘agents,’ which included no collusion with Trump’s team, is essentially a political and not legal document because it is almost certain the U.S. government will never have to present any evidence in court, reports Joe Lauria.

    • 2016 US Elections: 12 Russian Spies Charged For Hacking
  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • EFF to Japan: Reject Website Blocking

      Website blocking to deal with alleged copyright infringement is like cutting off your hand to deal with a papercut. Sure, you don’t have a papercut anymore, but you’ve also lost a lot more than you’ve gained. The latest country to consider a website blocking proposal is Japan, and EFF has responded to the call for comment by sharing all the reasons that cutting off websites is a terrible solution for copyright violations.

      In response to infringement of copyrighted material, specifically citing a concern for manga, the government of Japan began work on a proposal that would make certain websites inaccessible in Japan. We’ve seen proposals like this before, most recently in the European Union’s Article 13.

      In response to Japan’s proposal, EFF explained that website blocking is not effective at the stated goal of protecting artists and their work. First, it can be easily circumvented. Second, it ends up capturing a lot of lawful expression. Blocking an entire website does not distinguish between legal and illegal content, punishing both equally. Blocking and filtering by governments has frequently been found to violate national and international principles of free expression [pdf].

      EFF also shared the research leading Internet engineers did in response to a potential U.S. law that would have enabled website blocking. They said that website blocking would lead to network errors and security problems.

    • Slipping past the censors

      During a panel discussion at the Odisha Literary Festival last year, actor Tillotama Shome remarked that a strict or even unreasonable censorship regime can, paradoxically, aid the cause of creativity—by forcing a film-maker to find more inventive ways of saying what he needs to say.

      Shome’s words were an echo of Orson Welles’ famous observation, “The absence of limitations is the enemy of art”, and had a similar subtext, which went something like: Yes, we all know these aren’t optimum conditions for creative work, but let’s make the best of a tough situation.

    • GOP candidates for KS governor don’t hold back in final debate before primary

      During the last debate before the August primary, the candidates for the Republican gubernatorial nominee were not pulling punches.

      One issue taking center stage — an American flag art project at the University of Kansas.

      “When somebody wants to use taxpayer funds and tax-payer institutions to desecrate our flag, I say not in Kansas and not on my watch,” said Governor Jeff Colyer.

    • The Flag and Free Expression

      An art piece at the University of Kansas featuring a U.S. flag with illustrations on it is stirring up a decades-old debate: Should the flag get special protection under the First Amendment? The Supreme Court says no and has affirmed the right to burn the flag, but the Kansas dispute is one of many in which colleges have been questioned for uses of the flag to make art and/or political points.

      “Untitled (Flag 2)” by German artist Josephine Meckseper was intended to serve as commentary on the deep divisions in the United States, according to a statement by the artist. Meckseper drip painted a rough illustration of the U.S. on the flag and a striped sock in the left-hand corner to symbolize children imprisoned on the border. Some are viewing the work as an affront to active military and veterans. Among them is Kansas governor Jeff Colyer, who called for the flag’s removal in a statement Wednesday.

    • Pledges of Allegiance
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • ‘Data is a fingerprint’: why you aren’t as anonymous as you think online

      Names and other identifying features were removed from the records in an effort to protect individuals’ privacy, but a research team from the University of Melbourne soon discovered that it was simple to re-identify people, and learn about their entire medical history without their consent, by comparing the dataset to other publicly available information, such as reports of celebrities having babies or athletes having surgeries.

      The government pulled the data from its website, but not before it had been downloaded 1,500 times.

    • US: Government Has Planted Spy Phones With Suspects

      Human Rights Watch has identified two forms of this technique that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has used or, evidence suggests, has contemplated using. One involved the undercover sale of BlackBerry devices whose individual encryption keys the DEA possessed, enabling the agency to decode messages sent and received by suspects. The second, as described in a previously unreported internal email belonging to the surveillance software company Hacking Team, may have entailed installing monitoring software on a significant number of phones before attempting to put them into suspects’ hands.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Videos that incited lynchings in Maharashtra were manipulated: Police

      The videos were widely circulated on social media across the state following which seven offences were registered by the Malegaon Police in Nashik district.

      “During our investigation, we found these videos were manipulated and the clippings were also not of places as claimed by people on social media,” Malegon’s Additional Superintendent of Police Harsh Poddar told PTI.

    • Sex Jehad: The Religious Undertones In Viral Video Clips

      Social scientists feel this new brand of porn promotes “hate sex”, with revenge as the motive. Since the beginning of recorded history, men have been using sex as a weapon to demean rival men, showing them as weak and inferior by “having sex” with ‘their’ women. These vanquished men are stigmatised as cuckolds, and ridiculed. Porn, which can seriously distort male perspectives on women and intimate relationships, becomes a platform to broadcast such hatred and tag an intended target as a cuckold with videos running under titles such as “Desi Hindu girl f***s her Muslim cab driver” and such like. The tacitly offered subtext is that Hindu women have to be protected, and vice versa, Batabyal says.

    • Woman with biscuits thrashed in Tamil Nadu on suspicion of being child lifter

      The attack comes in the backdrop a spate of similar such incidents in several parts of the country when people were either beaten up or lynched on suspicion that they were child abductors, which prompted the government to ask social media operators such as WhatsApp to clamp down on rumours.

    • The Shadow of Torture Behind Trump’s Britain Visit

      The U.K. Was Complicit in America’s Torture. Neither Country Should Let It Happen Again.

      As President Trump visits the United Kingdom, the focus has been on strained trans-Atlantic relations, his intervention in domestic politics, and massive public protests.

      A different, diplomatically-couched protest has received less attention but sends a consequential signal about the so-called “special relationship” between the two countries: U.K. parliamentarians are concerned that under Trump, America could return to a policy of torture — and they are warning British intelligence agencies to guard against it.

      Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee released a pair of reports at the end of June providing extensive detail about U.K. complicity in torture, rendition, and other abuses of detainees by the U.S. military and the CIA during the George W. Bush administration. The reports by the committee, which oversees the U.K.’s intelligence agencies, also focus on policy changes needed to avoid a repeat of such abuses.

      The committee uncovered at least 166 instances in which British officials either directly witnessed or had credible information suggesting that torture and abuse were carried out by Americans. It also found 232 cases in which U.K. personnel continued to interrogate or provide intelligence about a U.S.-held detainee even after they knew or suspected that the detainee had been abused. And there were 192 cases in which the U.K. accepted intelligence information obtained by the U.S. from detainees the U.K. knew or should have suspected had been tortured or abused.

      The committee found dozens of instances in which the U.K. provided intelligence or financial support to illegal U.S. “renditions” — in which the U.S. essentially kidnapping people and transferring them to third countries where they were subjected to torture and degrading treatment.

    • Dear Brett Kavanaugh, Justices Do Make Law

      The Supreme Court nominee says judges ‘must interpret the law, not make’ it. He’s wrong. Here’s why.

      Judges “must interpret the law, not make the law,” observed Judge Brett Kavanaugh in accepting Donald Trump’s designation to fill Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court. This oft-repeated assertion is an invention of conservatives who seek to criticize and curtail rights-enhancing decisions of the Supreme Court. But the assertion that judges should not make law rests upon a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of judges within our common law tradition.

      It is a hallmark of our common law system that judges not only resolve the controversies before them but, in doing so, write opinions that explain their decisions and identify the legal principles and factual conclusions upon which the decisions rest. These opinions are designed to persuade the litigants and the public that the case was decided fairly and in accordance with law. But the written opinions also serve as a source of law for future controversies. In this way, common law courts resolve individual disputes and, at the same time, issue opinions that create legal precedent which guides future behavior and informs subsequent adjudications.

      In writing opinions that will serve as precedent and in relying on precedent as a source of law, the Supreme Court functions as a common law court. The justices of the court who write these opinions are unquestionably engaged in making law, not merely in applying law.

      By way of example, the entire body of law regarding freedom of expression has been created by the Supreme Court. The First Amendment provision pertaining to freedom of speech and press reads: “Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech or of the press ….” The text seems clear. But reading the text alone fails to capture the scope of the provision. We know, because the Supreme Court has told us, that “no law” does not really mean “no law.” And the proscriptions of the First Amendment are not limited to “Congress.” They apply, as well, to the executive branch and to state and local governments. Moreover, the First Amendment extends its protective reach beyond “speech” and “press” as it also guards against government censorship of movies, artwork, the internet, and other forms of expression.

    • How Black Lives Matter Changed the Way Americans Fight for Freedom

      Five years after the founding of Black Lives Matter, the movement has transformed the nation’s approach to social justice.

      Freedom fighters around the globe commemorate July 13 as the day that three Black women gave birth to a movement. In the five short years since #Black LivesMatter arrived on the scene — thanks to the creative genius of Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometti — the push for Black liberation from state-inflicted violence has evolved into one of the most influential social movements of the post-civil rights era.

      Black Lives Matter has always been more of a human rights movement rather than a civil rights movement. BLM’s focus has been less about changing specific laws and more about fighting for a fundamental reordering of society wherein Black lives are free from systematic dehumanization. Still, the movement’s measurable impact on the political and legal landscape is undeniable.

      Since 2013, the organizing labor of BLM has led to the ousting of high-profile corrupt prosecutors. In Chicago, BLM pressure led Anita Alvarez — who had inexplicably failed to charge police officers who shot at least 68 people to death — to lose her re-election bid for Cook County prosecutor. And in Florida, BLM helped end Angela Corey’s reign as a state attorney. Corey remains infamous for failing to convict Trayvon Martin’s killer George Zimmerman while prosecuting Marissa Alexander, a Black woman who didn’t hurt anyone when firing a warning shot at her abusive ex-husband.

    • Jacinta Gonzalez on Immigration Rights, Jocelyn McCalla on Haiti Uprising

      Americans, many of them anyway, have been filled with outrage—and anger, and sadness—at the fact that immigrants escaping violence and deprivation (some of it visited on them by US policy and practice) are being treated as criminals at the US border. Children being literally pulled from their parents’ arms and locked up in pens—and it’s all in aid of, what, exactly? The truth is US “policy” on immigration has long veiled, thinly, an abject cruelty and racism. And so while outrage at family separation at the Mexican border is a fine starting point for a movement for change, it cannot be its end. We’ll talk about bigger, positive visions on immigration with Jacinta Gonzalez, senior campaign organizer at mijente, the national political hub for Latinx organizing.

    • ‘It Is Really Crucial That People Stand Up for What They Believe In’

      A Washington Post poll from July 2017 found that one out of every three Washington, DC, residents said they’d taken part in a protest against Donald Trump since his inauguration. That number included half of the district’s white residents, half of people making more than $100,000 a year, and a fifth of the respondents over the age of 65.

      As more and more people go out in the street, states are rushing to criminalize that resistance. This time last year, we talked about the right to protest and the role of law in a time of widespread dissent with activist attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive of director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. I started by asking about the J20, the group of people—including journalists—arrested for protesting at Trump’s January 20 inauguration. CounterSpin listeners got an update on the state of that case just a few weeks back on the show. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard explained the nature of the J20 case.

    • Stop-and-Frisk Settlement in Milwaukee Lawsuit Is a Wakeup Call for Police Nationwide

      Police must institute reforms to end biased policing and unlawful stops and frisks.

      In a banner day for police reform, the city of Milwaukee has entered into a settlement agreement to end practices amounting to a decade-long stop-and-frisk program that resulted in hundreds of thousands of baseless stops as well as racial and ethnic profiling of Black and Latino people citywide. The agreement provides a roadmap for how the Milwaukee Police Department and Fire and Police Commission must reform to protect the constitutional rights of the people they serve.

      The reforms are local, but the implications are national. This settlement sends a signal to police departments across the country about how to remedy stop-and-frisk practices that wrongfully criminalize people of color.

      The reforms in Milwaukee are the result of the settlement of Collins v. City of Milwaukee, a 2017 lawsuit brought by the ACLU and the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP on behalf of Black and Latino people, including a military veteran, a grandmother, students, and a state legislator. Each of the plaintiffs was stopped or stopped and frisked by Milwaukee police when doing nothing wrong.

      Our plaintiffs were not alone.

    • The Supreme Court’s Disingenuous Funeral Ceremony for Korematsu

      Instead of truly putting Korematsu to rest, the Muslim ban decision revived that shameful decision under another name.

      Over Independence Day weekend, I joined hundreds of fellow Japanese-Americans at the Tule Lake Pilgrimage. Held on the site of the Tule Lake Segregation Center, this pilgrimage offers a chance to remember how the U.S. government imprisoned our families without trial during World War II.

      President Franklin D. Roosevelt provided the legal authority for this incarceration by signing Executive Order 9066, which directed military officials to “prescribe military areas . . . from which any or all persons may be excluded.” The language of the order was facially neutral, in that it named no particular ethnic groups. However, everyone involved in its drafting and implementation knew it would target people of Japanese ancestry, both U.S.-born citizens and noncitizen immigrants.

      In the ensuing weeks and months, Lt. General John L. DeWitt — an avowed racist who famously declared that “a Jap’s a Jap” regardless of citizenship — designated large swaths of Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington as “military areas” from which Japanese-Americans would be “excluded” by force. As a result, my grandmother Bette — a 23-year-old aspiring fashion designer from a small California town — was forced to interrupt her junior college education to be imprisoned with her parents and siblings at the Tule Lake prison camp. They were assigned to tarpaper barracks to live behind barbed wire under the watch of armed guards. Meanwhile, my grandfather Kuichi — who had actually been drafted into the U.S. Army before Pearl Harbor — was left in an uncomfortable limbo while military authorities decided what to do with this newly enlisted soldier who happened to be of an “enemy alien” race. Eventually, they ordered him to join the fight in Europe.

    • Watch the 6-Year-Old Salvadoran Girl Heard on a Secret Recording Out of a Border Patrol Detention Facility Finally Being Reunited With Her Mom

      Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid walked out of a Houston airport early this morning to cheers, holding her mother’s hand, one month after they were separated at a Border Patrol detention facility and the 6-year-old’s voice was captured in an audio recording, begging for a phone call. A van pulled up, and Jimena sat on her mother’s lap in the backseat. She looked out through a window and waved at a handful of reporters, beaming.

      It was a whirlwind government handoff as improvised and clandestine as their separation. Jimena was bundled out of a shelter in Phoenix on Thursday evening, loaded onto an airplane at supper time and flown three hours to Houston, where she kept herself awake all night in a passenger lounge in Terminal A with crayons and coloring books. Meanwhile her mother, Cindy Madrid, fresh out of a detention facility in south Texas, got word about the government’s plans too late to catch a flight, and barreled with her lawyer six hours down the highway to reach the little girl.

      Both were too exhausted to answer questions upon leaving the airport at 3 a.m. Madrid’s lawyer said that Jimena had a bit of an emotional meltdown at the first sight of her mother. When asked in an earlier interview what she’d feel once she had her daughter back in her arms, Madrid said, “I’ll be the happiest woman in the world. It’s been very painful to be apart.”

    • Congressman Introduces Legislation To Criminalize Protesting In A Mask

      Antifa, of course, being the favored bogeyman target from the political interests of those supporting the President, at least at the moment. And, sure, some protests where Antifa has participated in have gotten out of hand and criminal activities have taken place. We have laws for that. Using them as an excuse to specifically outlaw wearing a mask or face-covering while protesting is just plain stupid.

      And pretty plainly unconstitutional. I would guess Donovan knows that, too, and is actually using this bill purely as a, shall we say… “virtue signal” to his constituents without having any expectations that it will both pass into law and defeat the immediate First Amendment challenges that will surely be thrown at it from many places. And, in case it isn’t clear, playing those sorts of political games with free speech is about as scummy as it gets for a politician.

    • Guy Gets Tossed In Jail For Contempt Charges Because Cops Say They Need To Unlock His Phones To Get Evidence Of Drug Possession

      There’s a Fifth Amendment case developing in Tampa, Florida revolving around cellphones, passcodes, and contempt charges. (h/t Dissent Doe)

      William Montanez has just been jailed for 180 by a Florida judge for refusing to unlock two phones seized from him by police. This happened in an extremely unorthodox fashion. In court, the judge said “Unlock them,” and Montanez was handed both phones. He claimed he couldn’t remember the passcodes, saying they both had been recently purchased. No passcode, no freedom, the judge instantly ruled.

      The police have a warrant and claim that’s all they need to demand access to the phones’ contents. But that’s predicated on a string of events that seem constitutionally-dubious, to say the least.

      An emergency petition [PDF] (via Florida You Judge) to challenge the judge’s contempt ruling (and the warrant itself) has been filed by Montanez’s attorney, Patrick Leduc. The petition details the traffic stop and arrest of Montanez, which appears to contain a handful of constitutional violations.

      Montanez was pulled over for failure to yield. During this stop, a K-9 unit was brought to the scene to sniff Montanez’s car after he refused to consent to a search. This is already questionable. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Rodriguez makes it clear regular traffic stops aren’t supposed to be fishing expeditions. If no reasonable suspicion presents itself (and refusing consent isn’t suspicious activity), officers aren’t allowed to extend stops to further badger drivers into relinquishing consent or bring a dog to scene to ask its permission for a search.

    • Rogue CBP Agent Decided To ‘Drain The Swamp’ By Tracking Down A Journalist To Sniff Out Her Sources

      The DOJ has decided it can safely threaten First Amendment protections, so long as it’s done in the pursuit of leakers. The Trump Administration has leaked like no other, prompting AG Jeff Sessions to triple-up on former president Obama’s war on whistleblowers. Omelets/eggs broken, I suppose, if the end goal is dialing back leaks to only the ones the administration approves of.

      It’s cool to target journalists’ communications again. That’s the general mood of the DOJ, which slapped itself on the wrist during Eric Holder’s tenure for hoovering up AP journalists’ communications, only to reverse course when the desire to prosecute leakers surpassed its desire to not look like a thuggish force of government oppression.

      The indictment of Senate Intelligence Committee advisor James Wolfe contained a lot of journalists’ communications and metadata obtained from several sources, including service providers these journalists used. This was disturbing enough, suggesting the new normal for leak investigations is targeting members of the press to work backwards to their anonymous sources.

    • Islamic scholar detained in Saudi Arabia

      delete

      Sheikh Safar al-Hawali is known for his anti-American sentiments and wish for Islamic rule.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • After AT&T Jacks Up Prices Post Merger, DOJ Decides To Appeal Court Loss

      AT&T recently defeated the DOJ’s challenge to their $86 billion merger with Time Warner thanks to a comically narrow reading of the markets by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon. At no point in his 172-page ruling (which approved the deal without a single condition) did Leon show the faintest understanding that AT&T intends to use vertical integration synergistically with the death of net neutrality to dominate smaller competitors. In fact, net neutrality was never even mentioned at the multi-week trial.

      The trial did a wonderful job showing how modern antitrust law does a dismal job policing companies that dominate both the conduit to the home (wireless, wired connection) and the content running over it. And shortly after Leon signed off on the deal, AT&T got right work… being AT&T.

      The company had made repeated promises before, during and after the trial that the merger would only result in price reductions and other wonderful things for consumers. But with the ink barely dry on the deal, AT&T quickly began raising rates on its streaming video services, eliminating promo offers providing free HBO to its wireless customers, jacking up the price of the company’s unlimited data wireless plans, and imposing bogus new fees on those same subscribers. Most of these moves were expected as AT&T tries to recoup some of the monumental debt incurred by its endless quest to grow ever larger.

      Initially, the DOJ stated it wouldn’t appeal its court loss, even though Leon’s myopic ruling opened the door to the idea. But the DOJ clearly sees something in AT&T’s recent moves that gives it additional ammunition for another shot at the merger, so it’s appealing the judge’s ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit according to a DOJ filing (pdf).

    • The Cable TV & Broadband Sector Has A Nasty Billing Fraud Problem

      As we’ve well discussed, the broadband and TV sector not only has some of the worst satisfaction scores in modern history. A lack of real competition has long allowed the industry to double down on all manner of bad behavior, whether that’s net neutrality and privacy violations, or just unprecedentedly-awful customer service. But in recent years the industry has developed another nasty habit: billing fraud involving everything from falsely signing customers up for services they never ordered to entirely bogus fees designed to let companies falsely advertise lower rates.

      T-Mobile was accused last year of signing users up for services they neither wanted nor ordered. Centurylink has similarly found itself in hot water for the same thing on a larger scale, the company now facing lawsuits in more than a dozen states for the practice. Washington State also recently sued Comcast, noting that the company not only routinely signs its customers up for a “Service Protection Plan” they never ordered, but consistently misrepresents what the plan actually does. You may or may not notice a pattern here.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • What to expect when JPO improves its machine translation system [Ed: When it comes to patents, automated translations are worse than useless. The patent extremists just try to cheapen the process while broadening their power.]

      When the JPO successfully improves accuracy of machine translation, I would suggest to the JPO to further consider not requiring overseas patent applicants to submit the Japanese translation of patent application documents. Because several people from overseas firms have told me that their clients hesitate or give up patent application filing in Japan, considering the cost of Japanese translation which they feel expensive. Alternatively, allowing the submission of English translation may work. Because the English translation can be used for patent application filing in other English-speaking countries and it would not bother so much. Anyway, I expect the JPO to create an environment where overseas clients who want to obtain patent rights in Japan don’t have to give up due to just translation cost.

    • Trademarks
      • Leaving Apple and Google: /e/ is the symbol for “my data is MY data”

        The “eelo” trademark we have been using so far has been filed by myself in the EU and in the USA. However, some companies have filed opposition to its registration, because they claim that there exists a likelihood of confusion between their prio similar marks and “eelo”.

        In some cases, we could arrange a coexistence agreement, by reducing the scope of our goods and services, that was somewhat too broad. For instance, it’s clear that our project is not about producing energy or developing human-resource management software.

        But one company that opposed our registration in the EU has refused to even discuss a peaceful coexistence agreement.

        This company is Meurs HRM B.V. and owns prior rights on the “eelloo” trademark, in several identical classes as the eelo trademark was filed for.

    • Copyrights
      • Anti-Piracy Group BREIN Plans to Target ‘Frequent’ Seeders

        Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN stresses that its plan to go after frequent seeders of pirated material is still on. The outfit will use its own tracking software to detect persistent infringers and hold them accountable. Movie distribution Dutch FilmWorks is working on a similar scheme, which is also yet to launch.

      • Russia Adopts Draft to Prohibit ‘Piracy-Enabling’ Software

        Russia’s State Duma has adopted a draft law that aims to tackle software applications through which pirated content is distributed. The proposals foresee the owner or operator of an application being warned that infringement is taking place while giving them time to remove the offending content. Failure to do so will result in the software application being blocked by ISPs.

      • Digimarc Fighting Piracy By Submitting Incomplete DMCA Notices Targeting Tons Of Non-Infringing URLs (Including Techdirt’s)

        There are bogus DMCA takedown requests — something we’ve covered frequently here — that try to use a copyright tool to make unflattering content disappear. Then there’s this form of bogus, the kind being engaged in by Digimarc. It appears to be the result of inadequate automation handling everything terribly.

        A July 3rd DMCA notice issued by Digimarc on behalf of AVID Center makes five copyright claims. For whatever reason, only two of the claims have allegedly infringing URLs appended. Where bare minimum competence should be, there’s only white space.

        [...]

        That’s not the only time Techdirt is targeted by Digimarc’s sudden burst of stupid DMCA takedowns. This one, sent on behalf of the American Psychological Association, demands the takedown of a completely unrelated webpage and every post Techdirt has published about Sci-Hub.

        Digimarc has dumped hundreds of DMCA notices into Google’s lap over the last few weeks, many of which are loaded with unvetted garbage.

      • Misleading Subscription Practices At The Financial Times

        We’ve spent years highlighting how ISPs especially tend to really screw customers over with things like hidden fees or (a personal least favorite) “low introductory prices” that hide the price jump you’ll face at the end of the term. Broadband providers can often get away with those practices thanks to absentee overseers at the FCC/FTC and importantly, the lack of competition. But it’s absolutely insane to see those in competitive or struggling organizations pulling the same kinds of stunts. Right now there’s all this concern out there about media business models, and lots of publications are pushing people to sign up for their subscription plans. There are lots to choose from, and playing stupid games is not a good idea. That’s why I was a bit flabbergasted by the following story, which comes from Hersh Reddy, who co-hosts the Techdirt Podcast. He shared with me this following chat he had with the Financial Times.

        You can read the whole insane thing below, in which it appears that FT’s policies are designed to trick people (i.e., it’s not at all the fault of the poor woman he’s speaking to). Specifically, it appears that FT has two “cheap” offers to try to get people: one that is $1 for the first 4 weeks, and another that says a full subscription is $144/year.

        [...]

        This is the kind of shady bait-and-switch practices that broadband companies try to get away with. It’s pretty shameful to see FT trying it as well. Especially in a time where newspapers are desperate for subscribers. It certainly seems like a damn good reason not to give any money to the FT. Their reporting may be good, but these practices are sketchy.

      • All the news that’s fit to share: Melody Kramer on CC and the power of media

        Melody Kramer is a media expert with a special gift for uplifting open knowledge and demonstrating the power of the Commons. Previously, she held roles in public media and government and currently works as the Senior Audience Development Manager at Wikimedia. A prolific content producer and media mover and shaker, Kramer is also the Reese News Lab Fellow at the UNC School of Media and Journalism, where she’s completing research to better understand the needs of journalists across North Carolina. She writes a weekly column on the future of news for the Poynter Institute and devoted that column to CC and its necessary role in journalism in 2016.

Number of Oppositions to Grants/Awards of European Patents at the EPO Has Skyrocketed, Based on Internal Data

Saturday 14th of July 2018 08:14:39 AM

Related: The Patent ‘Printing Machine’ of the EPO Will Spawn Many Lawsuits and Extortions (Threats of Lawsuits), in Effect Taxing Europe


Reference: Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Summary: The number of challenged patents continues to soar and staff of the EPO (examiners already over-encumbered by far too much work, due to unrealistic targets) would struggle to cope or simply be compelled to not properly deal with oppositions

A FEW days ago a Battistelli-friendly law firm aired concerns that EPO management prevents proper and efficient appeals and oppositions process because it’s only focusing on speed (like the USPTO). Examiners and stakeholders (a silent majority) both complain that patent quality is declining and it’s hard for anyone to keep abreast of all this (in order to issue effective ‘vetoes’ and reduce risk).

An article by David Lewin, Magnus Johnston, James Ward, James Sunderland and David Brown (Haseltine Lake LLP) was published yesterday, based on July’s newsletter from the firm (direct link [PDF]). Here are some numbers:

A total of over 3100 opposition proceedings were finally settled in 2017 – either as the outcome after appeal or, if no appeal was entered, when the first-instance decision became legally binding. There were 6 cases in which oppositions were deemed not filed, two in which oppositions were found to be inadmissible and 234 cases in which opposition proceedings were terminated without a decision (e.g. oppositions withdrawn).

Haseltine Lake LLP did some analysis of the number of oppositions before (soon to be cited quite a lot by SUEPO), so they probably know where to get this data and how to analyse it. The graphs from Haseltine Lake LLP are also quite revealing, but we won’t reproduce them here because Haseltine Lake LLP sent us an angry E-mail even though we had attributed the source of a graph reproduced here. They seem like copyright maximalists, maybe they’re patent maximalists too (overzealous about rejection of Fair Use doctrine).

The point worth making here is that there are yardsticks available for the decline in patent quality. Will António Campinos and Dr. Ernst heed the warning? Probably not. They typically just reject the obvious observation about decline in patent quality, just like Battistelli did.

We doubt readers have noticed, but in our daily links earlier this week we included some links about new European Patents on cancer (we lacked the time to properly cover that, but we previously mentioned why such patents are generally controversial [1, 2]). How far will patent scope extend at the EPO? The EPO has no qualm about granting software patents and Campinos, who has just completed a fortnight at the Office, expressed no intention to change that. Then there’s yesterday’s press release about this new grant:

Precision Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: AIPT) is pleased to announce that on July 11, 2018 the European Patent Office (“EPO”) granted European Patent No. 2948200 covering the Company’s STREAMWAY® System for automated, direct-to-drain medical fluid disposal, which is sold through the Company’s Skyline Medical division.

The Company is seeking national validation of its European patent in 11 European countries, including Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. As a result of the granting of the European patent, the Company has confidence that its intellectual property is protected as it executes on its sales strategy for its revolutionary, CE-marked, STREAMWAY System in Europe.

Such “national validation” is often (but not always) followed by litigation. What if the patent application wasn’t properly examined or assessed in a rush? What if it turns out there was overlooked prior art? There’s a true danger here that low quality of European Patents (EPs) would greatly harm the European economy. It’s no secret that patents granted in error can cause enormous damage; just look what happened in the US.

“The English High Court invalidated a standard essential patent (SEP) owned by electronics company Philips this week,” Managing IP reported last night. It’s behind a paywall, but the following ought to suffice:

The High Court has invalidated one of Philips’s SEPs, making it “one all with one more patent to go” in its litigation with Asus and HTC

The English High Court invalidated a standard essential patent (SEP) owned by electronics company Philips this week, shortly after it declared another SEP valid and with a ruling on a third due shortly.

Imagine how much worse it would be if the patent was ‘unitary’; that would mean that some court proceedings in a foreign language (thus more expensive) would be potentially imposed on British companies; how many would rather just settle, surrendering to false patents for fear of attorney fees? (attorneys in another country, whose mother tongue is also foreign)

The fact that this is an SEP makes it even worse because it means that for many it would be impossible to work around.

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