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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 1 hour 42 min ago

Links 24/3/2018: GNOME 3.30 Schedule, LibreSSL 2.7.1

2 hours 29 min ago

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Sony May Owe You $65 for Your Old PS3

      If you own an old PlayStation 3, the original “fat” one before it slimmed down, then Sony could owe you up to $65. Unfortunately, there are a few hurdles to jump through, and you only have until April 15, 2018 to stake your claim for compensation.

  • Kernel Space
    • Super long-term kernel support

      In the longer-term, CIP is looking toward IEC-62443 security certification. That is an ambitious goal and CIP can’t get there by itself, but the project is working on documentation, test cases, and tools that will hopefully help with an eventual certification effort. Another issue that must be on the radar of any project like this is the year-2038 problem, which currently puts a hard limit on how long a Linux system can be supported. CIP is working with kernel and libc developers to push solutions forward in this area.

    • Atomic Replace / Cumulative Patches Being Worked On For Linux Kernel Livepatching

      It’s been a while since last having anything new to report with the mainline Linux kernel’s livepatching infrastructure, but some improvements are in the works.

      Petr Mladek of SUSE has been picking up the work started by Joe Lawrence at Red Hat for atomic replace functionality for the kernel livepatches in working towards cumulative patch support.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Nouveau Is On The Verge Of Having Basic Compute Support

        Karol Herbst, who is a long-time Nouveau contributor who joined Red Hat at the end of last year, along with other hat-wearing Linux developers continue working on Nouveau compute support for this open-source NVIDIA driver.

        Karol has been ironing out the Nouveau NIR support that is a critical element to get SPIR-V support going for the Nouveau driver, which is the common IR to Vulkan and OpenCL. Meanwhile there is also the work to get SPIR-V support for Gallium3D’s Clover state tracker.

    • Benchmarks
      • Intel OpenGL Driver Performance On Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu vs. Clear Linux

        When having the Microsoft Windows 10 Professional x64 installation on the Core i7 8700K “Coffee Lake” system this week I also took the opportunity to run some fresh OpenGL benchmarks on Windows compared to Linux.

        Due to the UHD Graphics 630 not being too practical for Linux gamers, for this quick round of benchmarking were just some standard OpenGL games and tests across all supported platforms. The latest drivers were used on each platform, including a secondary run on Ubuntu when switching to the Linux 4.16 Git kernel.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • Tilix – A New GTK 3 Tiling Terminal Emulator for Linux

      But sometimes, we find it difficult to choose which terminal emulator to work with, depending on our preferences. In this overview, we shall cover one exciting terminal emulator for Linux called Tilix.

      Tlix (previously called Terminix – name changed due to a trademark issue) is a tiling terminal emulator that uses GTK+ 3 widget called VTE (Virtual Terminal Emulator). It is developed using GTK 3 with aims of conforming to GNOME HIG (Human Interface Guidelines).

      Additionally, this application has been tested on GNOME and Unity desktops, although users have also tested it successfully on various other Linux desktops environments.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Choqok 1.6 Beta 1

        This will be the first release after the KDE frameworks port and many things have been fixed in those 16 months…

      • This week in Discover, part 11

        This week we landed a significant visual improvement for Discover: the app lists have been re-implemented using a new “cards” style in Kirigami. This was a lovely collaboration between Marco Martin, Aleix Pol, and myself. And best of all, this pretty “cards”-style list is also available to other Kirigami apps!

      • Krita Version 4.0 Released With Improved Vector Tools

        Brief: Popular open source digital painting application Krita has a new release with improvement on the vector tools. Have a look at the new features and installation procedure of Krita 4.0.

      • Certifiably Qt

        Expanding your team’s software development capacity is something that most managers will encounter at some point in their careers. There are several ways to do this – three of the most common options are hiring new employees, using a service company, or incorporating onsite contractors. Regardless of which route you choose to go, software certifications are an effective tool to help you identify the right resources. Qt certifications are a case in point.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GNOME 3.29.x Development Series

        GNOME 3.29.x is an unstable development series intended for testing and hacking purposes. GNOME uses odd minor version numbers to indicate development status, so this unstable 3.29.x series will become the official 3.30 stable release. There are many ways you can get involved.

      • GNOME 3.30 Scheduled For Release On 6 September

        Following this month’s successful launch of GNOME 3.28, the release team has now assembled the schedule for the GNOME 3.30.0 release and the 3.29 development milestones.

        GNOME 3.29.1 is the first step towards GNOME 3.30 and will be released on 19 April followed by GNOME 3.29.92 a month later on 24 May. For June is then GNOME 3.29.3 and GNOME 3.29.4 on 19 July.

      • GNOME 3.30 “Almeria” Desktop Environment Slated for Release on September 6, 2018

        The GNOME Project announced today the availability of the official release schedule for the next major release of their widely-used GNOME desktop environment for GNU/Linux distributions.

        While most of the Linux community hasn’t yet managed to install the recently released GNOME 3.28 desktop environment on their favorite GNU/Linux distributions, the GNOME developers are already focusing on the next major release, GNOME 3.30, which was slated for release this fall on September 6, 2018.

      • Statistics, Google Code-in, Gitlab, Bugzilla
  • Distributions
    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Using the switch on Turris Omnia with Debian

        After installing Debian on Turris Omnia there are a few more steps needed to make use of the network switch.

        The Armada 385 CPU provides three network interfaces. Two are connected to the switch (but only one of them is used to “talk” to the switch), and one is routed directly to the WAN port.

      • ClojureSYNC Talk Resources
      • Debconf 2018, MATE 1.2.0, libqalculate transition etc

        First up is news on Debconf 2018 which will be held in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Apparently, the CFP or Call for Proposals was made just a few days ago and I probably forgot to share about it. Registration has also been opened now.

        The only thing most people have to figure out is how to get a system-generated certificate, make sure to have an expiry date, I usually have a year, make it at least 6 months as you would need to put up your proposal for contention and let the content-team decide it on the proposal merit. This may at some point move from alioth to salsa as the alioth service is going away.

        The best advice I can give is to put your proposal in and keep reworking/polishing it till the end date for applications is near. At the same time do not over commit yourself. From a very Indian perspective and somebody who has been to one debconf, you can think of the debconf as a kind of ‘khumb‘ Mela or gathering as you will. You can definitely network with all the topics and people you care for, but the most rewarding are those talks which were totally unplanned for. Also it does get crazy sometime so it’s nice if you are able to have some sane time for yourself even if it just a 5-10 minute walk.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 18.04′s Automatic Suspend Shows Linux Suspend Can Still Be An Issue In 2018

            One of the subtle changes that seemed to have been made during the Ubuntu 18.04 development cycle is automatic suspend now being enabled by default on desktop systems.

            Automatic suspend is flipped on with Ubuntu 18.04 desktop after a twenty minute delay of being idle, at least on several systems I’ve been running the daily Bionic Beaver with this month.

          • Bid “bonjour” to our Bionic Beaver!

            Along with a sneak preview of our official Bionic mascot, it’s a short update this week as we’re all heads-down in bug fixing mode. There are a couple of links to check out if you’re interested in what sort of data we want to collect about hardware and setup, with links to the source.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • MintBox Mini 2

              Based on the Compulab Fitlet2, the new Mini is just as small as the original MintBox Mini and the MintBox Mini Pro but with much better specifications, better performance and a few more features.

  • Devices/Embedded
    • Wireless crazed Orange Pi boasts 4G LTE, WiFi, BT, FM, and GPS

      The “Orange Pi 4G-IOT” SBC that runs Android 6.0 on a quad -A53 MediaTek MT6737 SoC, and offers a 40-pin header, WiFi, Bluetooth, FM, GPS, a 4G LTE radio, and fingerprint sensor support.

      Shenzhen Xunlong open spec Orange Pi 4G-IOT SBC, which just launched for $45 on AliExpress, is the most wireless savvy Orange Pi to date. The open-spec SBC includes an unnamed, 4G LTE radio module with mini-SIM card slot, as well as a combo module that includes WiFi, Bluetooth, FM, and GPS. There is also support for a fingerprint sensor.

    • Raspberry Pi atmospheric sensor HAT can detect distant explosions

      OSOP’s $179 and up “Raspberry Boom” Raspberry Pi HAT add-on detects infrasound from volcanoes, explosions, and rockets. A $299 and up Shake and Boom HAT adds a seismograph.

      Panama-based OSOP, which found Kickstarter success with its Raspberry Shake seismograph add-on board for the Raspberry Pi, has now returned with a Raspberry Boom add-on board and infrasound sensor that detects inaudible sound. The same Kickstarter campaign is also selling a new Raspberry Shake and Boom product that combines the Boom with the seismograph capabilities of the Shake. Both products can tap into OSOPs large citizen science network to detect real-time events around the world.

    • Android
      • Android tips and tricks: 10 great ways to boost your phone experience
      • About the privacy of the unlocking procedure for Xiaomi’s Mi 5s plus

        First, you got to register on Xiaomi’s website, and request for the permission to unlock the device. That’s already bad enough: why should I ask for the permission to use the device I own as I am pleased to? Anyway, I did that. The procedure includes receiving an SMS. Again, more bad: why should I give-up such a privacy thing as my phone number? Anyway, I did it, and received the code to activate my website account. Then I started the unlock program in a virtualbox Windows XP VM (yeah right… I wasn’t expecting something better anyway…), and then, the program tells me that I need to add my Xiaomi’s account in the phone. Of course, it then sends a web request to Xiaomi’s server. I’m already not happy with all of this, but that’s not it. After all of these privacy breaches, the unlock APP tells me that I need to wait 72 hours to get my phone to account association to be activated. Since I wont be available in the middle of the week, for me, that means waiting until next week-end to do that. Silly…

      • You Can Now Try Android Games Without Downloading Them

        Tired of downloading games only to realize they suck? Google Play Instant might mean never doing that again.

      • Plex for Android Will Soon Let You Cast Your Own Videos to Chromecast
Free Software/Open Source
  • Bootlin Making Progress On Their Open-Source Allwinner VPU Support

    Bootlin (formerly Free Electrons) continues making progress on their goal to have working and upstream open-source video encode/decode support for the Allwinner VPU.

  • 8 Best Facebook Alternatives With Focus On Privacy For 2018

    Last year, Mastodon made splashes as an open source Twitter competitor but you can also use it as a Facebook alternative. Apart from all the differences in terms of privacy, character length, what really sets Mastodon apart is the “instance” feature. You can think of the service as a series of connected nodes (instances) and your account belongs to a particular instance.

    The whole interface is divided into 4 card-like columns. If you use this service as an alternative to Facebook, it might seem confusing but you might get a hang of it with time. is the most popular instance, so you can start with it.

  • Events
    • Upcoming March 2018 events: LibrePlanet, Reddit AMA

      We will also be manning a booth there, where you can try out our Librem laptops and see one of our i.MX 6 phone prototype development boards for the Librem 5. Come and say hi! We’ll be happy to meet old friends and new Free Software enthusiasts, veterans and newcomers, and to answer any questions attendees may have for us.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla stops Facebook advertising, demands privacy changes

        It’s probably not top of Mark Zuckerberg’s worry list this week but Mozilla Corporation, developer of the Firefox browser, is officially unhappy with Facebook.

      • Results of the MDN “Competitive Content Analysis” SEO experiment

        The next SEO experiment I’d like to discuss results for is the MDN “Competitive Content Analysis” experiment. In this experiment, performed through December into early January, involved selecting two of the top search terms that resulted in MDN being included in search results—one of them where MDN is highly-placed but not at #1, and one where MDN is listed far down in the search results despite having good content available.

        The result is a comparison of the quality of our content and our SEO against other sites that document these technology areas. With that information in hand, we can look at the competition’s content and make decisions as to what changes to make to MDN to help bring us up in the search rankings.

      • No More Notifications (If You Want)

        Online, your attention is priceless. That’s why every site in the universe wants permission to send you notifications about new stuff. It can be distracting at best and annoying at worst. The latest version of Firefox for desktop lets you block those requests and many others.

  • CMS
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Licensing/Legal
    • EUPL planned actions

      A revised set of guidelines and recommendations on the use of the open source licence EUPL v1.2 published by the Commission on 19 May 2017 will be developed, involving the DIGIT unit B.3 (Reusable Solutions) and the JRC 1.4 (Joint Research Centre – Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer). The existing licence wizard will be updated. New ways of promoting public administrations’ use of open source will be investigated and planned (such as hackathons or app challenges on open source software). The target date for the release of this set of guidelines on the use of the European Public Licence EUPL v1.2, including a modified Licence Wizard, is planned Q2 2018.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • 6-Axis Open-Source Robot Arm is Now on Kickstarter

        Just launched on Kickstarter is the AR2 6 axis robot aluminum parts kit operated by an Arduino microcontroller. The robot was created by Chris Annin, an automation engineer who has worked in the investment casting industry for more than 20 years.

        “I have a passion for robotics. I’ve always wondered why robots have to cost more than $30K and I wanted to bring a lower cost option to the table to afford the rest of us the opportunity to experience and play with 6 axis robots,” he explains.

  • Programming/Development
    • 1.5 Year Warning: Python2 will be End of Lifed

      The end of upstream Python 2.7 support will be January 1, 2020 (2020-01-01) and the Fedora Project is working out what to do with it. As Fedora 29 would be released in 2019-11 and would get 1.5 years of support, the last release which would be considered supportable would be the upcoming release of Fedora 28. This is why the current Python maintainers are looking to orphan python2. They have made a list of the packages that would be affected by this and have started a discussion on the Fedora development lists, but people who only see notes of this from blogs or LWN posts may not have seen it yet.

    • Why is functional programming seen as the opposite of OOP rather than an addition to it?

      So: both OOP and functional computation can be completely compatible (and should be!). There is no reason to munge state in objects, and there is no reason to invent “monads” in FP. We just have to realize that “computers are simulators” and figure out what to simulate.

    • Why we still can’t stop plagiarism in undergraduate computer science

      The most important goal is to keep the course fair for students who do honest work. Instructors must assign grades that accurately reflect performance. A student who grapples with a problem — becoming a stronger programmer in the process — should never receive a lower grade than one who copies and pastes.


      University administrators should communicate their support. Instructors should know that, not only will they suffer no retaliation, but that the university encourages them to enforce university policies. This might require administrators to acknowledge the inconvenient truth of widespread plagiarism.

    • FOSS Project Spotlight: Sawmill, the Data Processing Project

      If you’re into centralized logging, you are probably familiar with the ELK Stack: Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana. Just in case you’re not, ELK (or Elastic Stack, as it’s being renamed these days) is a package of three open-source components, each responsible for a different task or stage in a data pipeline.

      Logstash is responsible for aggregating the data from your different data sources and processing it before sending it off for indexing and storage in Elasticsearch. This is a key role. How you process your log data directly impacts your analysis work. If your logs are not structured correctly and you have not configured Logstash correctly, your logs will not be parsed in a way that enables you to query and visualize them in Kibana.

    • The programming languages you should learn now

      Learning a programming language is not hard. In fact, if you’re experienced, you can learn the basics in under 24 hours. So if you’re in the market for a new lingua franca, such as to bolster your hirability, what you choose next might be influenced by your current language of choice.

  • UK Court of Appeal settles reseller’s question: Is software a good?

    Software is not a good, the Court of Appeal in London, England, has ruled.

    More specifically, software is not a “good” as defined in the Commercial Agents EU Regulations, said the civil court in a ruling that overturns an earlier decision granting reseller The Software Incubator Ltd a cool £475,000.

    Back in 2016, a UK High Court tussle between TSI and software behemoth CA Technologies (the artists formerly known as Computer Associates) resulted in the court declaring that software is a good, as defined, and ordering the £475k payout.

    TSI had been contracted to CA to plug its release automation software in Blighty – until the latter scrapped the deal in 2013 when TSI inked a similar UK “consultancy” agreement with rival outfit Intigua.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • AP: Hurricane Harvey Toxic Releases Far Worse Than Previously Known

      In Texas, the Associated Press reports that Hurricane Harvey released far more toxins into the environment than initially reported, when it brought unprecedented flooding to the Texas Gulf Coast last summer. AP reporters catalogued more than 100 Harvey-related toxic releases, most of which were never made public, including spills of carcinogenic compounds like benzene and vinyl chloride, and the release of nearly half a billion gallons of industrial wastewater mixed with stormwater from one chemical plant in Baytown alone. The AP reports Texas investigators have looked into 89 incidents and have yet to announce any enforcement actions.

  • Security
    • A Look At The Relative Spectre/Meltdown Mitigation Costs On Windows vs. Linux

      The latest in our Windows versus Linux benchmarking is looking at the relative performance impact on both Linux and Windows of their Spectre and Meltdown mitigation techniques. This round of tests were done on Windows 10 Pro, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, and Clear Linux when having an up-to-date system on each OS where there is Spectre/Meltdown protection and then repeating the same benchmarks after reverting/disabling the security functionality.

    • Dropbox has some genuinely great security reporting guidelines, but reserves the right to jail you if you disagree

      Dropbox’s position, however reasonable in many of its aspects, is woefully deficient, because the company reserves the right to invoke DMCA 1201 and/or CFAA and other tools that give companies the power to choose who can say true things abour mistakes they’ve made.

      This is not normal. Before DRM in embedded software and cloud connectivity, became routine there were no restrictions on who could utter true words about defects in a product. [...]

    • Hackers Infect Linux Servers With Monero Miner via 5-Year-Old Vulnerability [Ed: A five-year-old vulnerability implies total neglect by sysadmins, not a GNU/Linux weakness]

      Attackers also modified the local cron jobs to trigger a “watchd0g” Bash script every three minutes, a script that checked to see if the Monero miner was still active and restarted XMRig’s process whenever it was down.

    • GitHub: Our dependency scan has found four million security flaws in public repos [Ed: No, GitHub just ran a scan for old versions being used and reused. It cannot do this for proprietary software, but the issues are there and the risks are no better.]

      GitHub says its security scan for old vulnerabilities in JavaScript and Ruby libraries has turned up over four million bugs and sparked a major clean-up by project owners.

      The massive bug-find total was reached within a month of the initiative’s launch in November, when GitHub began scanning for known vulnerabilities in certain popular open-source libraries and notifying project owners that they should be using an updated version.

    • Envoy CNCF Project Completes Security Audit, Delivers New Release

      The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) has begun a process of performing third-party security audits for its projects, with the first completed audit coming from the Envoy proxy project.

      The Envoy proxy project was created by ride-sharing company Lyft and officially joined the CNCF in September 2017. Envoy is a service mesh reverse proxy technology that is used to help scale micro-services data traffic.

    • Hybrid cloud security: Emerging lessons [Ed: 'Cloud' and security do not belong in the same headline because 'cloud' is a data breach, typically involving a company giving all its (and customers') data to some spying giant abroad]
    • LibreSSL 2.7.1 Released
    • Call for testing: OpenSSH 7.7

      OpenSSH 7.7p1 is almost ready for release, so we would appreciate testing on as many platforms and systems as possible. This is a bugfix release.

    • Cybercriminals Exploit PHP Weathermap Vulnerability to Install Cryptocurrency Miner on Linux Servers [Ed: Nothing to do with Linux; media never names Microsoft Windows when something bad happens on it.]
    • Is Application Security Dead?

      Spoiler alert: If application security isn’t dead yet, its days are numbered. OK, this is an over-exaggeration, but fear not, application security engineers — the work you do is actually becoming more important than ever, and your budget will soon reflect this. Application security will never die, but it will have to morph to succeed.

    • Sweden Is Becoming a Haven for Cryptojackers> [Ed: Microsoft Windows not named, but implied]

      The number of such attacks surged an estimated 10,100 percent in the biggest Nordic economy in the fourth quarter, about double the jump globally, according to Symantec Corp.’s 2018 Internet Security Threat Report.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

      March 20th marks the 15th anniversary of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq which plunged the country into a brutal occupation leading to sectarian civil war, terrorism and a death toll of hundreds of thousands.

      Yet in Britain the anniversary marks another year of impunity for the ministers who authorised the invasion. This lack of accountability for crimes committed abroad is a British disease with a very long history.

    • ‘Hardline Nationalist’ John Bolton an ‘Extremely Dangerous’ Pick for US NSA

      With the announcement that John Bolton will be the new White House national security adviser, Sputnik News reviewed how some experts and analysts have responded to the war hawk’s return to a high-profile US government post and what his history of belligerence might mean for the future of US foreign policy.

    • Light at the End of the Tunnel?

      As public support for the Vietnam War waned, and as all LBJ could do about it was send more troops, he would periodically announce, for the flimsiest of reasons, that victory was at last in sight; that “there was light at the end of the tunnel.” From that time on, it has been impossible to use that expression without irony.

      But for that still living memory, we might now be hearing a lot about light at the end of the tunnel from Democratic Party and liberal pundits intent on putting Donald Trump behind us – first, because the law is closing in on that temperamentally unsuited, defiantly ignorant, morally impaired, and recklessly dangerous Commander-in-Chief; and then because it is likely that, in the November midterm election, the more odious duopoly party, the GOP, will be swept away in a “blue wave.”


      If Trump goes, his Vice President, Mike Pence, takes over; and his administration, chock full of miscreants as pernicious and vile as the Donald himself stays intact – or no less intact than it currently is with Trump purging it of everyone he deems insufficiently servile, and with the rats who work for him, fearing what he has in store, deserting the sinking ship.

      Trump is an opportunist with noxious attitudes and base instincts, but no settled convictions. He has been pushing a reactionary line lately because he needs the Republican Party to govern, and that is what that wretched party’s leaders demand of him.

    • REVEALED: Britain’s ‘secret’ arms sales to Middle East human rights abusers

      The UK government has been accused of using secretive export rules to hide the true extent of arms exports to Middle East states with dire human rights records, Middle East Eye can reveal.

      Figures seen exclusively by MEE reveal a more than 20 percent increase in the use of opaque “open licences” to approve arms sales to states in the Middle East and North Africa, in a move that avoids public scrutiny and keeps the value of arms and their quantities secret.

      Arms exports are worth $8.3bn a year to the UK economy, and defence firms have used standard open licenses to approve more than $4.2bn in arms to the Middle East since senior ministers vowed to expand UK arms exports after the Brexit vote in June 2016.

      The new figures, compiled for MEE by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), show that the government has also overseen a 22 percent rise in the use of secretive open licences to boost arms export to the Middle East and North Africa, including assault rifles to Turkey in 2016 – as a rights crackdown intensified in the country – and acoustic riot control devices to Egypt in 2015.

      Figures for open arms export licences show the number of open arms export licences rose from 189 to 230 from 2013 to 2017, while the number of individual items approved under these licensees soared to 4,315 from 1,201.

    • Britain’s collusion with radical Islam: Interview with Mark Curtis

      UK governments – Conservative and Labour – have been colluding for decades with two sets of Islamist actors which have strong connections with each other.

      In the first group are the major state sponsors of Islamist terrorism, the two most important of which are key British allies with whom London has long-standing strategic partnerships – Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The second group includes extremist private movements and organisations whom Britain has worked alongside and sometimes trained and financed, in order to promote specific foreign policy objectives. The roots of this lie in divide and rule policies under colonialism but collusion of this type took off in Afghanistan in the 1980s, when Britain, along with the US, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, covertly supported the resistance to defeat the Soviet occupation of the country. After the jihad in Afghanistan, Britain had private dealings of one kind or another with militants in various organisations, including Pakistan’s Harkat ul-Ansar, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), all of which had strong links to Bin Laden’s al-Qaida. Covert actions have been undertaken with these and other forces in Central Asia, North Africa and Eastern Europe.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • ‘Lone DNC Hacker’ Guccifer 2.0 Slipped Up and Revealed He Was a Russian Intelligence Officer

      Guccifer 2.0, the “lone hacker” who took credit for providing WikiLeaks with stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee, was in fact an officer of Russia’s military intelligence directorate (GRU), The Daily Beast has learned. It’s an attribution that resulted from a fleeting but critical slip-up in GRU tradecraft.

    • That Joke On Assange And Zuckerberg!!

      There is both good as well bad things in humans and we are solely responsible which side we choose. It is a proven fact that people tend to choose bad over good for reasons better known to psychologists.

      Recently, a joke about Assange and Zuckerberg are making rounds over social media and it is definitely a hard-hitting message to our narrow thinking.

      The joke is all about how people declared Julian Assange as the criminal for exposing the inner workings of governments, military, and trade deals around the world and he claims himself as a political refugee and he did it for to expose the flaws in the government. But Mark Zuckerberg, who is the man behind Facebook, is said to be giving away all our information to corporations for money and people call him as Man of the year.

    • WikiLeaks lawyer talks corruption & more on ex-Ecuadorian President’s RT show

      Ex-Ecuadorian President and RT show host Rafael Correa sits down with prominent Spanish judge and WikiLeaks lawyer Baltasar Garzon. The two of them talk transnational, corporate “neocolonialism” and the fight against corruption.


      Correa stresses that fighting corruption has often been used in Latin America to target political opponents, and Garzon agrees. “Justice has become extremely prejudiced and biased against all those people who, in one form or another, were supporters of the previous government,” the lawyer says, recalling former Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner whose tenure was marred by several corruption scandals.

  • Finance
    • Inside the bizarre upside-down bankruptcy of Mt. Gox

      The number of creditors attending the meeting has dwindled over time: the first one reportedly drew more than 100 people, but the most recent one earlier this month drew fewer than 30, according to the estimates of one attendee.

      That does not mean the Mt. Gox case has gotten any less strange — just the opposite. By definition, bankruptcy occurs when an entity cannot pay its debts. But as of this writing, Mt. Gox has enough assets to pay off its claims with more than $1.4 billion worth of bitcoins left over. The trouble is figuring out what to do with them.

    • Journalism of, by and for the Elite

      American journalism has long maintained a sort of egalitarian myth about itself. While our country’s free press requires no formal training or licensing, an honest history of the profession shows very distinct hierarchies, from the vaunted Runyonesque blue-collar beat reporter to legendary insiders, like Washington uber-columnist Scotty Reston, who act as handmaidens to the powerful. And it is no coincidence that arguably the nation’s two preeminent newspapers—the New York Times and Wall Street Journal—stand apart as the most rarefied of perches in our nation’s news ecosystem. It’s at these outlets that these class distinctions are the most glaring—and most problematic.

      Just how elite these papers have become was the subject of a new study from Jonathan Wai and Kaja Perina, a researcher at Case Western Reserve University and the editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, respectively. The two have just published a survey in the Journal of Expertise (3/18) that looked at the educational backgrounds of hundreds of Times and Journal staffers, comparing them to the elite individuals these papers routinely cover. The survey reveals how the staffs of the Times and Journal are starkly different than typical journalists. The findings also tell us a lot about how reporters and editors from these two news organizations cover the powerful, as well as why their coverage often falls short of holding the powerful to account.

    • Brexit Deal: Lost Irish leverage, or UK ‘getting real’?

      The deal collapsed when the DUP saw a leaked version of it. The party was incensed that by aligning Northern Ireland to the single market and customs union, it would necessarily mean the North being treated differently to the rest of the UK, and that checks would be required along the Irish Sea.

    • Gazprom draws up lawsuit for international arbitration over Ukraine’s antimonopoly fine

      Gazprom does not recognize legitimacy of the fine imposed on the company by the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine, and prepares a lawsuit to appeal to the International arbitration, the Russian gas holding said in a statement.

      According to the company, Gazprom does not recognize the legitimacy of the fine and considers Ukraine’s actions a violation of its rights, including those guaranteed by the Russian-Ukrainian intergovernmental agreement on the encouragement and mutual protection of investments from November 27, 1998.

      Gazprom has already sent a notice to Ukraine about the Ukrainian side violating its obligations to protect investment and is currently preparing a lawsuit to appeal to International arbitration, the company said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • John Bolton — eyed for Trump post — leads super PAC that employed Cambridge Analytica
    • Major New Investigation into Trump Real Estate Deals in India Reveals Corruption, Lawsuits, Fraud

      A major new investigation has just been published into Trump’s business partnerships in India and the conflicts of interest these deals pose for the White House. The new cover story for The New Republic is titled “Political Corruption and the Art of the Deal.” In it, journalist Anjali Kamat notes the Trump Organization has entered into more deals in India than in any other foreign country. These deals, she writes, are worth an estimated $1.5 billion and produced royalties of up to $11 million between 2014 and 2017. During her year-long investigation, Kamat traced Trump’s India partners’ long history of facing lawsuits, police inquiries and government investigations that contain evidence of potential bribery, fraud, intimidation, illegal land acquisition, tax evasion and money laundering.

    • Whistleblower claims Theresa May aide ‘outed’ him as gay over Brexit referendum row

      Downing Street has been accused of ‘outing’ a gay Brexit campaigner in a row over referendum tactics.

      In an explosive statement last night, Shahmir Sanni said his family in Pakistan was unaware of his sexuality and instructed a law firm to take action.

      He said a statement made by Theresa May’s close aide Stephen Parkinson had put family members at risk.

      Mr Sanni was set to blow the whistle over claims Brexit eers breached electoral rules during the Vote Leave campaign.

      In response, Mr Parkinson, one of the Prime Minister’s closest advisers, gave a comment in which he said he had been in an 18-month relationship with Mr Sanni before splitting “amicably” in September 2017.

    • Everyone Knows How to Secure Elections. So Do It

      [...] The Senate Intelligence Committee released its long-awaited election infrastructure defense recommendations. Senate leaders got behind a revised version of the Secure Elections Act. And late Thursday night, the Senate passed the omnibus spending bill, which includes $380 million for securing digital election systems. [...]

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Tenth Circuit Issues A Troubling Ruling Limiting New Mexico’s Anti-SLAPP Statute In Federal Court

      Last week the Tenth Circuit refused to let New Mexico’s anti-SLAPP statute be used in federal court in diversity cases. The relatively good news about the decision is that it is premised heavily on the specific language of New Mexico’s statute and may not be easily extensible to other states’ anti-SLAPP laws. This focus on the specific language is also why, as the decision acknowledges, it is inconsistent with holdings in other circuits, such as the Ninth. But the bad news is that the decision still takes the teeth out of New Mexico’s statute and will invite those who would abuse judicial process in order to chill speech to bring actions that can get into the New Mexico federal courts.

      In this case, there had been litigation pending in New Mexico state court. That litigation was then removed to federal court on the basis of “diversity jurisdiction.” Diversity jurisdiction arises when the parties in the litigation are from separate states and the amount in controversy is more than $75,000 and the issue in dispute is solely a question of state law. Federal courts ordinarily can’t hear cases that only involve state law, but because of the concern that it could be unfair for an out-of-state litigant to have to be heard in a foreign state court, diversity jurisdiction can allow a case that would have been heard in state court to be heard by the federal one for the area instead.

      At the same time, we don’t want it to be unfair for the other party to now have to litigate in federal court if being there means it would lose some of the protection of local state law. We also don’t want litigants to be too eager to get into federal court if being there could confer an advantage they would not have had if the case were instead being heard in state court. These two policy goals underpin what is commonly known as the “Erie doctrine,” named after a 1938 US Supreme Court case that is still followed today.

      The Erie doctrine is why a case removed to federal court will still use state law to decide the matter. But sometimes it’s hard to figure out how much state law needs to be used. Federal courts have their own procedural rules, for instance, and so they are not likely to use procedural state rules to govern their proceedings. They only will use substantive state law. But it turns out that figuring out which a law is, procedural or substantive, is anything but straightforward, and that is the question at the heart of this Tenth Circuit case: was New Mexico’s anti-SLAPP law procedural, in which case the federal court did not have to follow it, or substantive, in which case it did? And unfortunately in this case, Los Lobos Renewable Power LLP v. Americulture, Inc., the Tenth Circuit decided it was “hardly a challenging endeavor” to decide that it was only procedural.

    • Next Month, I Will Be Banned From YouTube

      No kidding. Along with shady/dangerous/marginally illegal stuff they want to ban videos of making ammunition. I make ammunition, almost all the centre-fire ammunition I’ve ever fired I made. I teach others about it. YouTube wants to ban that.

    • Craigslist ends personal ads after US sex trafficking bill passes

      Craigslist said Friday (March 23) it shut down its personal ads section as concerns grew over unintended consequences of a law approved by Congress which could hold websites liable for promoting sex trafficking.

      The move by Craigslist suggested that websites may shutter or censor some content to avoid prosecution under the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) approved by Congress this week and awaiting President Donald Trump’s signature.

    • Craigslist Shuts Personal Ads for Fear of New Internet Law

      The tech industry was initially united against this legislative effort, but the Internet Association, a trade group representing major tech firms, reversed its position under pressure from Facebook, which was facing additional regulatory pressure from the Russia investigation, WIRED reported in December. Reddit is also a member of Internet Association, as is Google, which lobbied heavily against earlier versions of the legislation.

    • Craigslist, Reddit prep to face legal woes from FOSTA sex-trafficking bill

      Although the Personals section on Craigslist appears to be visually intact for now, clicking any associated link will reveal that the section is shut down due the FOSTA bill (HR 1865) just approved by the Senate. The bill holds websites accountable for the actions of its users, forcing sites to censor individuals else face criminal and civil liability. To avoid any legal and/or financial woes, Craigslist is merely shutting down the Personals section rather than dealing with censorship and possibly jeopardizing its other services.

    • 24th Annual Mediterranean Film Festival Takes on Censorship and Production in Tetouan

      Calling all cinema buffs: the 24th edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival of Tetouan will kickoff this Saturday, March 24 through Saturday, March 31, taking on questions of artistic freedom, power, and cinematic censorship in film production and distribution.

      Under the theme of “Cinema and Freedom,” the festival features free screenings and roundtable discussions with artists, scholars, and filmmakers to discuss film reading and analysis, directing, screenplay writing, which are open to the public. The festival also includes an acting workshop called “Studio,” and a scriptwriting and directing workshop called “Méditalents,” both aimed at young talent from 18 to 30 years old.

    • China’s ‘Great Firewall’ is taller than ever under ‘president-for-life’ Xi Jinping

      Based in Wuyi, in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang just south of Shanghai, she had just received a call from the police. They were asking questions about a post her son, a law student in Canada, had put up on Weibo — they said it wasn’t good and it would be better if Zhang deleted it.

      Just a day earlier, China’s legislature had voted — almost unanimously — to scrap presidential term limits, paving the way for President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely. After weeks of extensive censorship, where everything from Xi’s name to the words “immortality” and “lifelong” were banned, Zhang wanted to see if retweeting a picture would draw the ire of censors.

      So that afternoon he set up an anonymous account on Weibo, posted a cartoon of Xi encased in glass and draped in a communist flag, and then retweeted it from his own account.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Police chief said Uber victim “came from the shadows”—don’t believe it

      Moreover, interior dashcam footage shows the driver looking down for nearly five seconds just before the accident—so she likely would have missed Herzberg no matter how good the illumination on the road was.

    • Game developers look to unions to fix the industry’s exploitative workplace culture
    • IBM reportedly broke discrimination laws by laying off older employees

      Some of those workers, who had careers with IBM spanning decades, saw their jobs either given to “less-experienced and lower-paid workers” or sent overseas.

    • ‘Uber should be shut down’: friends of self-driving car crash victim seek justice

      Two days after an Uber SUV fatally struck the 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona, while traveling in autonomous mode, friends of the victim have argued that the ride-share company should face consequences and criticized government officials for encouraging car companies to test the vehicles on the state’s public roads.

    • Cursing at Your Congressman Off of School Grounds Shouldn’t Get You Suspended

      A Nevada high school student was suspended for using profanity in a passionate message to his Congressman on gun control.

      On March 14, students across the country joined a walkout to demand stricter gun laws following the Parkland shooting that claimed 17 lives. Among the protesters was Noah C., a high school junior who called the office of U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei with a passionate message.

      “Members of Congress who haven’t acted on gun control reforms,” Noah C. told a staffer in the congressman’s office, “need to get off their fucking asses and do something to keep us safe.”

      Noah was one of many students at the walkout who exercised their First Amendment right to use strong language in messages to their local representatives. But instead of seriously addressing the valid concerns of a young constituent, Amodei’s office decided to escalate the situation by reporting the call to Robert McQueen High School, where Noah is a junior. Within hours, Noah — who had never faced a detention or any academic issues — found himself suspended.

      The move sets a dangerous precedent, considering Noah’s impassioned plea for gun control legislation did not occur during school or at a school-sanctioned or -sponsored event. That’s why the ACLU of Nevada is stepping in to defend him. Noah’s suspension is an unconstitutional attack on his First Amendment rights, which could have a chilling effect on others who might want to contact their representative. We urge the school to reverse its suspension and Amodei to withdraw his complaint.

      Unfortunately, McQueen High School has a history of trying to tamp down on Noah’s speech.

    • LAPD Gang Injunctions Gave Cops a License to Harass and Control Black and Latino Residents

      The law enforcement “tool” unconstitutionally restricted people’s freedom without a shred of due process.

      Peter Arellano’s life changed when a Los Angeles Police Department officer handed him a piece of paper informing him that he was now subject to a “gang injunction.” He could no longer visit his neighbors in their homes, drive to church with his family, ride his bike through the local park, or even stand in his own front yard with his father or brother. If he violated these terms, he could be arrested and jailed. Arellano, who has never been convicted of any crime, had effectively been placed on house arrest.

      Gang injunctions are ineffective policing tools that primarily serve to criminalize young Black and Latino men. Nonetheless, Los Angeles has been operating a massive gang injunction program for decades. Like nearly 9,000 other Angelenos, Arellano was subjected to an injunction solely based on an LAPD officer’s opinion, a whim that was approved by a city attorney, that he was a gang member. He never got to challenge the allegation or even know what evidence was used against him. This decision to radically limit his freedom didn’t involve a court.

      Gang injunctions represent a radical departure from constitutional due process. To obtain a gang injunction, a prosecutor files a civil “nuisance abatement” lawsuit against a particular gang, claiming that its conduct harms the community. The gang, which is not a formal organization and has no legal representation, does not appear at trial. With no one to argue against the need for an injunction, it is granted by default.

    • Security Researcher At The Center Of Emoji-Gate Heading Home After Feds Drop Five Felony Charges

      What started out as normal security research soon became a nightmare for Shafer. His uncovering of poor security practices in the dental industry — particularly the lack of attention paid to keeping HIPAA information secured — led to his house being raided by FBI agents. The FBI raided his house again after he blogged about the first raid. The FBI justified its harassment of Shafer with vague theories about his connection to infamous black hat hacker TheDarkOverlord. To do this, the FBI had to gloss over — if not outright omit — the warnings Shafer had sent to victims of TheDarkOverlord, as well as the information on the hacker Shafer had sent to law enforcement agencies including the FBI.

      Blogging about his interactions with the FBI led to the judge presiding over his criminal trial to revoke his release and jail him for exercising his First Amendment rights. This was ultimately reversed by a federal judge who agreed Shafer was allowed to call FBI agents “stupid” and blog about his treatment by the federal agency. (He was not to reveal personal info about FBI agents, however.)

    • National Geographic Looks at Its Racism–but Not Too Closely

      National Geographic has long had a negative reputation for exoticizing people of color, and failing to challenge colonialism and its legacies. The magazine (now owned by Murdoch, but scheduled to be sold to Disney) addresses this history in its new issue (4/18); and most are crediting them with trying, anyway. Though, as sociologist Victor Ray assesses in a Washington Post op-ed (3/16/18), the magazine rather steps on its message with a cover story on mixed-race twins that traffics in the same sort of “curiosity and surprise” racial clichés the magazine says it’s interrogating, along with a lazy social science that presents racism as a matter of individual attitudes, and overstates progress toward equality.

    • New Orleans’ Secret Predictive Policing Software Challenged In Court

      Predictive policing software — developed by Palantir and deployed secretly by the New Orleans Police Department for nearly six years — is at the center of a criminal prosecution. The Verge first reported the NOPD’s secret use of Palantir’s software a few weeks ago, something only the department and the mayor knew anything about.

    • Fines: A Ticket Back to Jail

      Statistics show that many people who have been incarcerated return to prison, often because of an inability to pay fees and fines associated with criminal offenses. As Sarah van Gelder reported in a February 2018 YES! Magazine article, research from the Columbia University Justice Lab found a 50% increase in people on probation returning to jail due to financial non-compliance. The people caught up in the criminal justice system are likely to be low-income and cannot afford fines after being released, placing them in a vicious cycle of recidivism. As Alexes Harris reported in a 2016 study, the average fee for a felony conviction is $1,300. To pay these fees, individuals must find steady jobs from employers who are willing to employ them despite their criminal record. If unable to find satisfactory employment, ex-convicts may turn to illegal activities resulting in recidivism. In some states, the inability to pay a fine is a parole- or probation violation, which can result in an arrest warrant, again reinstating the cycle of imprisonment.

    • Palantir has secretly been using New Orleans to test its predictive policing technology

      In May and June 2013, when New Orleans’ murder rate was the sixth-highest in the United States, the Orleans Parish district attorney handed down two landmark racketeering indictments against dozens of men accused of membership in two violent Central City drug trafficking gangs, 3NG and the 110ers. Members of both gangs stood accused of committing 25 murders as well as several attempted killings and armed robberies.

      Subsequent investigations by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and local agencies produced further RICO indictments, including that of a 22-year-old man named Evans “Easy” Lewis, a member of a gang called the 39ers who was accused of participating in a drug distribution ring and several murders.

    • Widow of Wildlife Expert Not Allowed to Leave Iran

      Maryam Mombeini, age 55, was stopped by Iranian airport security and told that she could not leave the country with her two sons, Ashifa Kassam reported for the Guardian in March, 2018. Maryam’s entire family holds dual citizenship in Canada and Iran. Her husband, Kavous Seyed-Emami, who founded the Persian Heritage Wildlife Foundation, was arrested in January under the suspicion that he and several of his coworkers were spies for the CIA and Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel. Iranian government officials assert that Kavous, age 63, committed suicide in prison two weeks after his arrest. The day after Iran refused to allow Maryam Mobeini to leave the country, the Canadian government called on Iran to allow her to do so.

    • Widow of jailed wildlife expert prevented from leaving Iran

      The widow of an Iranian-Canadian environmentalist who died in a Tehran prison under disputed circumstances has been barred from leaving the country, according to one of her sons.

      The family – all of whom are dual citizens of Iran and Canada – were boarding a Lufthansa flight for Canada on Wednesday when Maryam Mombeini, 55, was stopped by security forces and told she was forbidden from leaving the country.

      Soon after, her son posted a photo online showing himself and his brother seated in the plane without their mother. “Enough is enough,” Ramin Seyed-Emami wrote on Instagram, noting that both he and his brother would not “stay silent for one second until we are reunited with our mom”.

    • Why The Local’s assault case story could be a game changer for Sweden
    • Bahraini court sentences minor to six months in prison

      A Bahraini minor was sentenced to six months in prison on Sunday for allegedly taking part in an ‘illegal gathering’ – a charge commonly used to jail anti-regime protesters.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • What you need to know about the AT&T–Time Warner merger trial

      One of the most high-stakes antitrust battles in recent memory is about to unfold in court, as AT&T argues its case for buying Time Warner, despite objections from the Justice Department. If approved, the purchase will create an outsized media behemoth that combines AT&T’s 25 million paid TV subscribers with media giants like HBO, CNN, and Warner Bros. movie studios. This, the Justice Department argues, is a company so large that it could stifle competition. Meanwhile, AT&T insists that the merger is critical if it has any hope of competing in a marketplace increasingly driven by streaming media. Both sides are making their opening statements in a DC court today. Here’s what to watch for during the trial.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Release Windows of Digital Movie Downloads Are Shrinking

        An often heard motivation for people to illegally download or stream content is the long gap between a movie’s theatrical release and its debut through other channels. New research shows that for digital downloads this gap is shrinking rapidly. But is that enough?

      • Google Should Begin Delisting Pirate Sites, Aussie Rightsholders Say

        Search engines such as Google and Bing should be forced to de-list pirate sites from search results to enhance Australia’s site-blocking regime. That’s the call from entertainment companies including Village Roadshow and Foxtel, who have responded to a government consultation on the efficacy and future standing of the country’s leading anti-piracy mechanism.

      • Spotify Saved Music. Can It Save Itself?

        Investors are about to decide whether it matters that the most popular music streaming service doesn’t make any money.

      • Controversial Roku ‘Piracy’ Ban Stays in Place in Mexico

        Last year the Superior Court of Justice of the City of Mexico responded to a copyright complaint filed by a TV company by banning all imports and sales of Roku devices. After a temporary suspension of the decision, the ban soon returned and the company and various sales outlets have been fighting ever since. New rulings mean that the controversial restrictions will continue, at least for now.

The Patent Maximalists Already Pressure USPTO Director Andrei Iancu to Say the ‘Right’ Things

5 hours 18 min ago

Summary: The efforts to incite Iancu against the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) carry on unabated and his words are being distorted by patent maximalists to say what they want him to say

The patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) is still pressuring Andrei Iancu to hate PTAB and make the USPTO more open to abstract patents, such as software patents. The IAM interview even warped his words somewhat (in the headline especially), so it’s rather sickening that these people even call themselves “journalists” or “news”. it’s also frustrating to see the extent of coordinated pressure, not only that he accepted a speech invitation from IAM.

Richard Lloyd does it again, citing a newer appearance of Iancu and saying: “If you were looking for a sense of the industrial complex that has sprung up around the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in the five and a half years since it was created, then this week’s PTAB Bar Association annual conference was a good place to be. With around 500 delegates crammed into a ballroom in the Ritz Carlton in Washington DC – a stone’s throw from the lawyers and lobbyists of K street – the association, in just a couple of years, has quickly established itself in patent circles.”

“The patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) is still pressuring Andrei Iancu to hate PTAB and make the USPTO more open to abstract patents, such as software patents”The patent maximalists already project their own desires (business agenda) onto him. One patent maximalist said that “Dir. Iancu Calls for Paradigm Shift in USPTO Prior Art Searching and Forward Thinking wrt 101 Eligibility,” in effect distorting the actual headline he links to. “USPTO Head Stresses Need For Predictability In IP System” is the real headline and it’s an article behind paywall in which Matthew Bultman (Law 360) says nothing critical (there’s no lack of possible criticism) and instead summarises as follows outside the paywall:

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Andrei Iancu emphasized the need for predictability in the intellectual property system on Thursday, while suggesting various ways the agency might help to bolster certainty in patent rights.

Speaking at the PTAB Bar Association Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., Ianucu [sic], who was sworn in as director late last month, said innovation was important to the U.S. and its economy.

The rest is behind paywall/s. Benjamin Henrion quoted/said: “The patent office has issued some guidance on Section 101, typically in reaction to court rulings. Iancu suggested there may be room for more forward-thinking guidance from the agency about where it thinks the lines of patent eligibility should be drawn” (this is what was actually said).

“Once upon a time an “attack” was some patent troll blackmailing a lot of businesses with threats; but the narratives are being inverted by some — to the point where the attacker carrying on with blackmail/lawsuit is “survival” and the defendant found innocent of infringement is actually an “attack”. Now we see Iancu accused of “attacking patents” simply by maintaining the status quo. “Then came maximalists’ propaganda sites such as Watchtroll, which say that “USPTO to Clarify Guidance on Written Description of Antibodies” (different but related) and two days earlier carried on characterising concern for patent quality as an “attack”. They said (with our emphasis added): “But the first major ruling under the new Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu fell back to attacking patents. On February 23, three administrative patent judges of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a sweeping opinion that sovereign immunity does not apply to PTAB proceedings and that the agency can revoke a patent right without consent or participation of the patent owner. This is the latest and possibly most extreme example of agency overreach in the 7 year history of the PTAB under the American Invents Act.”

Why is it that such patent aggressors compare justice to "death squads" and attacks? Is justice itself an aggression? Is Iancu “attacking patents” by choosing to preserve improved patent quality? That “attack” narrative goes even further; we see it almost every day. Here’s a new tweet from a patent maximlaist: “US Pat 8311945, System and method for processing checks; Survived 101 Attack; Asserted Against US Bank; $3.3M Verdict for Infringing…”

“The patent extremists have already bullied Michelle Lee out of her job. Are they trying to threaten Iancu with the same fate unless he does their biddings?”And then again: “Checking Patent that Survived 101 Attack Was Successfully Asserted Against US Bank; $3.3M Verdict…”

Once upon a time an “attack” was some patent troll blackmailing a lot of businesses with threats; but the narratives are being inverted by some — to the point where the attacker carrying on with blackmail/lawsuit is “survival” and the defendant found innocent of infringement is actually an “attack”. Now we see Iancu accused of “attacking patents” simply by maintaining the status quo.

The patent extremists have already bullied Michelle Lee out of her job. Are they trying to threaten Iancu with the same fate unless he does their biddings?

Using Politics to Do the Patent Trolls’ Bidding With STRONGER Patents Act, Just Like the UPC in Europe

6 hours 9 min ago

Summary: Rep. Steve Stivers from Ohio is pushing a bill for the Koch family, law firms, patent trolls and other radical elements in the US (not actual companies — both large and small — that really produce something)

THE US patent system (courts, USPTO etc.) is moving further away from patent litigation; patent lawsuits have fallen sharply (based on several criteria). The same cannot be said about Europe, where patent trolls are on the rise; they hoped for the UPC to make things simpler for them, but thankfully the UPC is dead in the water.

But this post isn’t really about Europe. We prefer to focus on something which is happening in the US right now. Patent maximalists like Jones Day (a large law firm) are having another go at trying to crash patent quality with the STRONGER Patents Act, having published this piece titled “STRONGER Patents Act Being Introduced To The U.S. House Of Representatives” not just in one site but in several [1, 2] (possibly in exchange for a payment as it’s a self-serving placement). “On March 20, 2018,” it says, “Reps. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Bill Foster (D-Ill.) announced in an article that they would introduce the STRONGER Patents Act to the U.S. House of Representatives. More formally referred to as The Support Technology and Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience Act of 2017, the STRONGER Patents Act was introduced to the Senate in 2017 and almost immediately received a broad spectrum of commentary, including on the Jones Day PTAB Litigation Blog.”

We already know who’s behind it and we know that Stivers has no background in science, so that sort of makes sense. He doesn’t seem to realise the role of patents and why patent reform was pursued in the first place.

“Read why STRONGER Patents will harm IPR and benefit patent trolls,” United for Patent Reform wrote, linking to CCIA (an article we have already mentioned a few days ago).

Stivers does not let facts get in the way. A few days ago he published in the lobbyists’ favourite press a piece titled “Protecting American innovation” (conflating patents with innovation, as usual). “Our bill,” he argued, “the STRONGER Patents Act, reforms the PTAB to deliver the original promise of the AIA, giving our inventors a patent system that is truly cheaper, faster, and fairer for everyone.”

That’s exactly the opposite of what they’re after. They want to replace the affordable PTAB with pricey lawsuits and it’s not even a “reform”, it’s actually undoing reform. AIA itself was the reform; they just hijack the word “reform” now.

Some time later another site relayed the same lies, defending falsehoods using sentences like “according to a blog post from the Representatives posted on The Hill.”

This is nonsense however. Lobbying disguised as journalism is what The Hill habitually does.

Remember what they really promote here (patent extortion). It’s promoted by a fringe group of patent aggressors who compare justice to "death squads", as if judges who assess patents are the equivalent of ethnic cleansers or something equally repugnant. It’s crazy, it’s just insane, but that’s how desperate these people are to undermine PTAB.

Thankfully, groups which represent actual companies (not law firms) speak back and Engine, for example, wrote this blog post titled “Startups Strongly Oppose The STRONGER Patents Act,” in which it said:

This legislation would also overturn decades of Supreme Court decisions which form the foundation of our modern patent system. It would let patent trolls to obtain automatic injunctions at district courts to halt the sale or manufacture of complicated products using thousands of patented innovations based on allegations of infringement of one trivial feature. Liability for other sorts of alleged infringement, particularly induced infringement, would also balloon under this plan, including liability for end users who share products with their friends and families.

The only parties which will get stronger under this legislation are the patent trolls who are trying to roll-back protections Congress wisely adopted seven years ago. There are plenty of things that Congress can do to strengthen the patent system and fight the trolls which abuse it. This isn’t one of them.”

We highly doubt STRONGER Patents Act will get anywhere; but with deep pockets like the Kochs’ backing it, one can never be so sure and complacent. We’ll keep an eye on this terrible bill and highlight who is promoting it (other than Koch-funded think tanks).

China’s Equivalent of PTAB and BoA, the Patent Reexamination Board (PRB), Can Confirm Some Chinese Patents Are of Low Quality

8 hours 22 min ago

Need law quality, not low quality

A three-year-old presentation about PRB [PDF]

Summary: The Patent Reexamination Board (PRB) of China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) has just tackled SEP (standard-essential patent), but only after a lot of abuse from a CPC-connected patent parasite which targets foreign companies

THERE is plenty of discussion about patent quality these days. Earlier this month nearly a thousand patent examiners from the EPO complained that patent quality had declined. That’s a quarter of the total number of examiners; many of the rest were probably just too afraid to sign the petition (especially amid rumours of staff cuts). The EPO’s Boards of Appeal (BoA) are already under heavy attacks, so it will be hard for them to speak about quality without risk of rather ‘fatal’ retribution (they have already been sent to ‘exile’ and a colleague had his career destroyed).

“SEP has come under strong scrutiny in Japan lately (much to the concern of the patent trolls’ lobby) and if the patent office gets it wrong on SEP, then destruction of innovation is assured.”Longtime readers of ours know we’re not against the system but rather pro-patent quality (i.e. reform). The system lost sight of its original purpose, especially in recent decades. A few years back China went down the same trajectory, in essence granting a lot of patents only a minuscule proportion of which was actually worth a damn (that’s the portion which gets translated from Mandarin and ‘exported’ to other continents in the form of patent applications).

Earlier this year we wrote about how China had begun bullying Korean giants (notably Samsung and LG) using patents. This already repelled and drove out parts of LG. Samsung has stayed and fought back, even with some lawsuits (as we covered earlier this month).

According to the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM), which wrote this paywalled post yesterday, SIPO (China, not Croatia) has just found a patent it had granted — only to be used by some troll/opportunist (IAM calls it “state-affiliated entity”) to harass Samsung — to be invalid. How many Chinese patents aren’t worth the paper they’re written on (and bytes/magnets they’re stored on)?

In the words of the patent trolls’ lobby:

China’s patent office has dealt a blow to a local SEP developer that last year kicked off an assertion campaign against major television manufacturers in Chinese courts. On February 28th, the Patent Reexamination Board (PRB) of China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) invalidated all the claims to patent number CN 200710141661.6, entitled “Audio decoding”. The patent is one of a reported 25 grants owned by Digital Rise, a Guangzhou-based developer of audio standards. A local subsidiary of Samsung Electronics filed the invalidation request on August 17th, shortly after the company became the first foreign target in a litigation spree launched last summer…

It’s reassuring to know that China has PRB. SEP has come under strong scrutiny in Japan lately (much to the concern of the patent trolls’ lobby) and if the patent office gets it wrong on SEP, then destruction of innovation is assured. SEP is all about monopoly, not fair competition.

Team Battistelli and Team UPC Are Both Very Deep in Denial

Saturday 24th of March 2018 12:40:43 AM

They still have a very long way to go

Reference: Five Stages of Grief by Elisabeth Kubler Ross & David Kessler

Summary: The perpetrators of a terrible patent system that permits patents on abstract ideas (which sometimes aren’t novel, either) and litigation as a priority refuse to let go of their dream — a distant, runaway fantasy which may soon cost over a thousand examiners their careers

Team Battistelli and Team UPC have a lot in common and they mutually benefit at the expense of the EPO. We have stressed this repeatedly over the years and there are many aspects to this symbiotic relationship.

Earlier today Team Battistelli said that “[p]atent applications at the EPO from UK companies and inventors continued to climb in 2017 (+2.4%),” but I told them that prices were lowered to ‘cheat’ for this supposed increase, which is still a decrease in revenue. They don’t like talking about that. For a number of months they hoped nobody would notice and point this out. Finances of the EPO are pretty opaque, but one can imagine what’s going on.

“Fourth Industrial Revolution technology patents [i.e. software patents at the EPO] are flourishing…”
      –World Economic ForumNot only did the EPO lower the cost of applications (after observing decline in the number of applications); it also lowered the bar, welcoming for example software patents which are illegal in Europe. It just introduced some loopholes for that and wasted money promoting such loopholes in the media.

Earlier today the EPO retweeted this nonsense from WEF (World Economic Forum), which is based on something the EPO had paid the media for. “Fourth Industrial Revolution technology patents,” it said. “are flourishing…”

“Replace “patents in ICT” by “software patents”. And guess there are few software developers in the audience…”
      –Benjamin HenrionThis buzzword just means software patents, which are not legal in Europe. How do we know that this buzzword means software patents? IAM and Battistelli jointly said so earlier this year. “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (IR4) should just be read/interpreted as “software patents”; it’s a new (totally made up) term that’s being used in conjunction with older misleading terms like “CII”. Benjamin Henrion has also just taken note of “ICT” — a term that Grant Philpott likes to use alongside “Industry 4.0″ (they all mean the same thing). “Replace “patents in ICT” by “software patents”. And guess there are few software developers in the audience,” Henrion wrote today.

Then there are terms like “artificial intelligence”, which can be used for assessment of patents or for patents on software. We wrote about it many times so far this year (because the “AI” hype has been really strong in the past few months). Earlier today the EPO wrote: “We will discuss artificial intelligence and patent information searching at the East Meets West conference in Vienna…”

Carry on with buzzwords, EPO, but buzzwords won’t save you. The quality of patents is declining along with revenue (apparently). Courts aren’t easily fooled by buzzwords and don’t have 'production' pressures that compel them to decide within just hours.

“The quality of patents is declining along with revenue (apparently).”And on we move to Team UPC, which benefits from low-quality patents because these fuel more lawsuits (which is what they profit the most from). Thomas Adam (“UPCtracker”) wrote about CJEU in relation to UPC (4 days ago), foolishly believing (in spite lots of evidence to the contrary) that the Conservative Party will make exceptions just for UPC (which they never even speak about).

Then there’s “UPC blog” from Louise Amar, who went on about the selective data points from the likes of Bristows, choosing to create/embrace a sort of parallel reality wherein UPC is “almost there” and “inevitable”. In reality, or in this only universe, the UPC is dead. Team UPC (with blogs called “UPC blog” and accounts called “UPCtracker”) will sooner or later reach the “acceptance” phase. Deal with it and move on, Team UPC. Your Twitter accounts and blog names are now obsolete.

Amar wrote this:

Since the Brexit referendum the future of the UPC has been in jeopardy and, despite the optimistic schedules published by the UPC Preparatory Committee, its opening is still uncertain. Recently however, member states have taken encouraging steps. The UPC may thus soon become a reality.

No, it may not and the ‘evidence’ presented is delusional at best. As time goes by there is only growing evidence that the UPC will not happen. Nothing positive has happened since before Brexit. Nothing.

“As usual, especially when it comes to Team Battistelli and Team UPC, there’s an incredible difference between perception and reality. Maybe all of them — not just Battistelli — are perpetually drunk (not only on power).”Amar then proceeds to mumbling some incomprehensible mumbo-jumbo about SPC and Brexit. Brexit’s impact on patents is not profound because the UK remains in the EPO, but it will never participate in the UPC, which won’t materialise anyway.

As usual, especially when it comes to Team Battistelli and Team UPC, there’s an incredible difference between perception and reality. Maybe all of them — not just Battistelli — are perpetually drunk (not only on power).

Guest Post: Battistelli’s Former “Padrone” Facing Corruption Charges in France

Friday 23rd of March 2018 11:31:47 PM

Summary: Battistelli’s former “padrone” made the headlines this week when he was taken into police custody in France and charged with corruption and other breaches of law

Battistelli’s former “padrone” made the headlines this week when he was taken into police custody in France and charged with corruption and other breaches of law (“Nicolas Sarkozy charged with corruption”).

Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sárközy de Nagy-Bocsa, the former President of France and ex officio co-Prince of Andorra from 16 May 2007 until 15 May 2012 — who has also been known to operate under the false identity of “Paul Bismuth” — was placed under formal investigation on Wednesday on suspicion of corruption, the misuse of Libyan public money and breaking French election campaign funding law.

This is not the first time that Sarkozy has been taken into police custody.

Ever since his term of office as President of France ended and he was longer by immunity from prosecution he has been under investigation for various alleged irregularities relating to his Presidential election campaigns in 2007 and 2012.

“Ever since his term of office as President of France ended and he was longer by immunity from prosecution he has been under investigation for various alleged irregularities relating to his Presidential election campaigns in 2007 and 2012.”Already in July 2014 he was taken into custody following the arrest of his lawyer and two magistrates who were under investigation for allegedly using their influence to obtain information about legal cases against him.

Authorised wire-taps of his telephone indicated that he had been in contact with a magistrate, Gilbert Azibert, then a member of the Cour de Cassation, to ask for confidential information about another investigation into campaign donations from the L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt. In those conversations, it is alleged that Sarkozy promised Azibert promotion to a high-level position in Monaco in return for information on the case against him.

The charges which made headlines this week relate to suspicions that Sarkozy accepted up to €50 million from the Libyan despot Gaddafi to fund his successful 2007 Presidential campaign. Sarkozy is trying to portray himself as the victim of a Libyan smear campaign as he seeks to rebut allegations that Gaddafi bankrolled his rise to power.

“However the extreme opacity which shrouds the EPO’s financial affairs and the lack of an independent Audit Committee since 2011 make it difficult if not impossible to obtain any reliable information about such matters.”However, it should not be forgotten that criminal proceedings have also been launched against Sarkozy in another case of alleged illicit campaign financing relating to his unsuccessful Presidential election campaign in 2012.

In this case it is alleged that he engaged in fraud using sophisticated accounting mechanisms to cloak and mask the sources of funds and to circumvent the ceiling for campaign expenditure in 2012, which was €22.5m. Mr Sarkozy denies he was aware of the overspending. This affair is known as the Bygmalion scandal. See Nicolas Sarkozy: French ex-president under formal investigation and Nicolas Sarkozy to face trial over 2012 campaign financing.

The most recent developments in Sarkozy’s case may turn out to have implications for the EPO because they are likely to renew interest in the long-standing and persistent rumours that EPO funds were diverted to assist in the financing of Sarkozy's unsuccessful election campaign in 2012.

As confirmed by an article published in the French news paper Libération in June 2016 (English translation here), it is generally recognised that Battistelli was “propelled” into his position at the EPO in 2010 by Sarkozy.

The timing of Battistelli’s EPO appointment is interesting because he took up his duties in Munich in July 2010 about a year before the Presidential election campaign kicked-off in France in mid-2011.

One of Battistelli’s earliest actions at the EPO was to press for the disbanding of the independent Audit Committee which he managed to push past the Administrative Council in 2011.

At around the same time France was playing a key role in the 2011 international coalition that deposed and killed the Libyan leader Gaddafi.

Back then Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam claimed the Libyan regime had financed Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign. Qadaffi’s son is shown above with the person many hold responsible for the attack on Libya.

If these allegations are true, then it would be reasonable to assume that in 2011 Sarkozy who was busy trying to eliminate his one-time ally in Libya was also on the look-out for new sources to fund his upcoming Presidential election campaign.

Battistelli’s close connections to Sarkozy and his known affiliations with the UMP (subsequently renamed “Les Républicains”) have given rise to a lot of speculation at the EPO that he may have been involved in the funding efforts for the 2012 election campaign.

However the extreme opacity which shrouds the EPO’s financial affairs and the lack of an independent Audit Committee since 2011 make it difficult if not impossible to obtain any reliable information about such matters.

In this connection it should not be overlooked that one of the EPO’s auditors since 2014 is Mr. Frédéric Angermann who coincidentally used to be the secretary-general at the INPI from 2007 to 2012 when Battistelli was the Director of that institution.

Under these circumstances, it seems unlikely that any clarification will be forthcoming from official EPO sources.

Some cynical insiders at the EPO have suggested that before he leaves in June Battistelli should make an effort to put these scurrilous rumours to rest for once and for all by instructing his Investigative Unit to carry out a “whitewash” so that it can be officially established that he had no involvement with the Bygmalion affair and that like his former “padrone” he is the innocent victim of a “smear campaign”.

Links 23/3/2018: Fedora 28 Beta Delayed, Mintbox Mini 2 is Out

Friday 23rd of March 2018 10:21:13 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Los Alamos Releases File Index Product to Open Source

    Today Los Alamos National Laboratory released new open source software called the Grand Unified File Index. GUFI is designed using a new, heirarchical approach to storing file metada, allowing rapid parallel searches across many internal databases. Queries that would previously have taken hours or days can now be run in seconds.

  • Buzzwords: Open Source

    If the idea of transparency in software strikes fear in your heart, good luck trying to avoid it. The State of Open Source Security 2017 cited that 80-90 percent of all commercial software developers use open source components within their applications. Usi says that a lot of the products on the market today — such as ARRIS, a common cable modem — use open source modules within their programs to some degree, even those with products labeled as proprietary. Also consider the Equifax breach of 2017, which resulted in millions of sensitive records being exposed through the exploitation of a vulnerability in an open source component of the company’s database.

    “The bad mojo with open source comes from the thinking that ‘If it’s open, it must be dangerous,’” Usi says.

  • CoinMiner Campaigns Move to the Cloud via Docker, Kubernetes
  • Kubernetes Founder Craig McLuckie on Going Multi-Cloud and Open Source

    At Kubecon in Austin, TX attended by over 4000 engineers, Craig McLuckie delivered a keynote on the Kubernetes journey.

    InfoQ caught up with Craig McLuckie, one of the original founders of the Kubernetes project and CEO of Heptio.

  • SRT Open Source Project Reaches Milestone with Sencore as 100th Member of the SRT Alliance

    The SRT Open Source Project, the fastest growing open source video streaming movement, continues in its mission to make SRT the de facto standard for low latency video streaming

  • What do developers think of open source, AI, machine learning, and net neutrality?

    A few of the big trends in technology these last few years have been AI and machine learning. The software is getting smarter and developers have access to some awesome tools. That doesn’t mean all developers have embraced the trends. Digital Ocean, a U.S.-based cloud infrastructure provider, has released their quarterly report on developer trends. The report covers everything from AI to net neutrality to open source.

    AI and machine learning are popular but not widely used. The report found 74% of developers are not using AI or ML tools in their workflow, but 81% want to learn more about them. Google TensorFlow (17%) is the most popular choice among those who are using AI and machine learning. 46% of developers are most excited about advancements in automated machine learning.

  • Developers offer insight on AI, Open Source, and GDPR in new survey [Ed: This is just a publicity stunt from DigitalOcean]

    There is alot of new tech already in motion this year – most of which was birthed into the industry years ago, though it’s just now creeping into our daily thoughts as developers. So what do you think about, or should you be thinking about?

    Cloud provider DigitalOcean has released a new survey on software developer trends and technologies. The survey had almost 6,000 respondents, with over half self-identified as developers.

  • ZTE launches container networking solution for open source NFV

    ZTE has unveiled an end-to-end container networking solution for open-source NFV, which it hopes will promote the development of cloud native technology and the open source ecosystem. The vendor says operators need the ability to quickly adapt to changing network demands with low cost solutions while maintaining continuous innovation. As such, it believes that containers are the best carrier for NFV transformation.

    ZTE says that container-based cloud native applications will become the trend for communications technology applications. However, the native Kubernetes network model used in the IT industry is too simple to meet telco service requirements.

  • Inspur Unveils Open Source Software Adapted Server at OpenPOWER Summit 2018

    Inspur, a member of the OpenPOWER Foundation, showcased its FP5280G2 server based on OpenPOWER9 that has completed the adaptation of mainstream open source software for cloud computing, big data and AI. It was the first time that this product was introduced in North America. As the initiator of the OpenPOWER Foundation, IBM disclosed more details of POWER9 processors: designed for emerging applications such as AI, cloud computing, and big data, and has 50% to 200% performance improvement compared to POWER8.

  • New technology companies, open source may red card big IT in India

    New technology companies and open source platforms may emerge to provide competition to incumbent information technology (IT) companies, management consulting firm Bain & Co has said.

    This may not augur well for the $167-billion Indian IT-business process management (BPM) industry, which accounts for 55% of the global outsourcing market and has been a predominant supplier of software implementation and maintenance to global businesses at a time when the local players are gearing up to embrace digital faster owing to changing client demand.

    The Indian technology service sector includes companies such as TCS, Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro, IBM, Accenture and HCL Technologies.

  • A Better Way for Publishers to Think About Open Source

    There are benefits to open-source software. A company might want to take advantage of a certain innovation right away without a fee attached or not want to be locked into a contract with another technology company.

    When developers get comfortable with something new, such as blockchain, they’ll often start by using an open-source version. Many publishers flocked to’s open-source header bidder, for example, to have more control over programmatic demand.

  • Telefónica Starts Hunt for OSM Integrator Amid Open Source Doubts

    Telefónica has kicked off a process to select an integrator of the Open Source MANO (OSM) platform and says it will carry out a “request for quotation” (RFQ) to make a final decision on a supplier in the second half of 2018.

  • Redox OS 0.3.5 Released With New Network Stack & Better Security

    For all the fans out there of the Rust programming language and/or micro-kernels, a new version of Redox OS is now available, the Rust-written from-scratch OS.

    As the first release since last October’s Redox OS 0.3.4, the Redox OS 0.3.5 release is now available. This update is quite prominent for introducing a new network stack for the operating system as well as bettering the security, adding a new web browser, ACPI power improvements, and more.

  • Events
    • Submit a Proposal to Speak at Open Source Summit NA by April 29 [Ed: Two Microsoft staff on the Program Committee. LF is getting more compromised by the day. Companies that attack Linux stuff the committees.]

      Share your knowledge and expertise by speaking at Open Source Summit North America, August 29-31 in Vancouver BC. Proposals are being accepted through April 29th.

      As the leading technical conference for professional open source, Open Source Summit gathers developers, sysadmins, DevOps professionals, architects and community members from across the globe for education and collaboration across the ecosystem.

    • Introducing DevConf.US — call for participation closes soon is a popular annual conference held annually in Brno. This year, DevConf is expanding with the inaugural being held in Boston, USA this coming August. is an annual, free, Red Hat sponsored community conference. It is targeted at developers, system administrators, DevOps engineers, testers, documentation writers and other contributors to open source technologies.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Zero coverage report

        Using these reports, we have managed to remove a good amount of code from mozilla-central, so far around 60 files with thousands of lines of code. We are confident that there’s even more code that we could remove or conditionally compile only if needed.

        As any modern software, Firefox relies a lot on third party libraries. Currently, most (all?) the content of these libraries is built by default. For example,~400 files are untested in the gfx/skia/ directory).

      • Shipping a security update of Firefox in less than a day

        One of Mozilla’s top priorities is to keep our users safe; this commitment is written into our mission. As soon as we discover a critical issue in Firefox, we plan a rapid mitigation. This post will describe how we fixed a Pwn2Own exploit discovery in less than 22 hours, through the collaborative and well-coordinated efforts of a global cross-functional team of release and QA engineers, security experts, and other stakeholders.

        Pwn2Own is an annual computer hacking contest. The goal of this event is to find security vulnerabilities in major software such as browsers. Last week, this event took place in Vancouver. Without getting into technical details of the exploit here, this blog post will describe how Mozilla responded quickly to ship updated builds of Firefox once an exploit was found during Pwn2Own.

      • Firefox Performance Update #4
      • The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies (Startklar?! March 2018)

        I presented today in Berlin at the Goethe Institute’s Startklar?! event. I went after a keynote (in German) by Cathleen Berger, Mozilla’s Global Engagement Lead. My time at Mozilla didn’t overlap with hers, but the subjects covered in our presentations certainly did!

        It was good to see Cathleen reference the Web Literacy Map, work that I led from 2012 to 2015 at Mozilla. She also referenced the recent Cambridge Analytica revelations and the DQ Institute.

      • Mozilla Accepting Applications for Internet Fellowships, Node.js Now Available as a Snap, Krita 4.0.0 Released and More

        Mozilla is accepting applications for its 2018–2019 Internet Fellowships: “Mozilla Fellows are technologists, activists, and policy experts building a more humane digital world.” Apply here. Applications are due April 20, 2018 at 5pm EDT.

  • Databases
    • A side-by-side comparison of MongoDB and Cassandra databases

      They’re both databases, obviously. More importantly, they are both examples of NoSQL databases. NoSQL is a type of database architecture in which data is stored in a relatively unstructured fashion. Compared to more traditional SQL-style databases, NoSQL can be a more efficient way of storing the large quantities of unstructured data that organizations commonly use for big data operations.

      MongoDB and Cassandra are also both open source — although commercial implementations are available, too. But even in that respect, they are not identical. MongoDB is governed by GNU Affero General Public License 3.0, whereas Cassandra is subject to Apache License 2.0.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • Now You can download Kali Linux from Microsoft Store
    • Sonatype Nexus Named Best Open Source DevOps Tool [Ed: Sonatype is typically a parasite which badmouths FOSS in order to make sales. This headline is crafted for openwashing -- to make it seem as though the firm is "best of Open Source" and add a buzzword, "DevOps", to it.]
    • IoT fueling attacks on Linux devices [Ed: WatchGuard trying to make sales by badmouthing Linux even though it has nothing o do with badly-crafted devices that are not secured, maybe by intention]

      DDoS attacks aren’t the only threat the channel needs to worry about when it comes to securing the Internet of Things (IoT). According to WatchGuard Technologies, attacks on Linux devices are on the rise this year.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • Why so little love for the patent grant in the MIT License?

      Too often, I hear it said that the MIT License has no patent license, or that it has merely some possibility of an “implied” patent license. If the MIT License was sensitive, it might develop an inferiority complex in light of the constant praise heaped on its younger sibling, the Apache License, which conventional wisdom says has a “real” patent license.

  • Programming/Development
    • Coding and Gardening

      Reading through student proposals for Google Summer of Code yesterday, I took a break from sitting in front of a keyboard to get some gardening done. We’ve had a few windstorms since I last raked, and with spring beginning, a few weeds have been popping up as well.

      One of the issues I’ve been reminding almost every student about is unit testing. The other is documentation. These are practices which are seen as not fun, not creative.

      Raking isn’t seen as fun or creative either! Nor is hunting and digging the wily dandelion. But I rake away the dead branches and fir cones, and snag those dandelions because later in the season, my healthy vegetables and beautiful flowers not only flourish without weeds, but look better without litter around them. In addition, we chop up the branches and cones, and use that as mulch, which saves water and keeps down weeds. The dandelions go into the compost pile and rot into richer soil to help transplants be healthy. In other words, the work I do now pays off in the future.

  • Uber’s Video Shows The Arizona Crash Victim Probably Didn’t Cause Crash, Human Behind The Wheel Not Paying Attention

    In the wake of a Tempe, Arizona woman being struck and killed by an Uber autonomous vehicle, there has been a flurry of information coming out about the incident. Despite that death being one of eleven in the Phoenix area alone, and the only one involving an AV, the headlines were far closer to the “Killer Car Kills Woman” sort than they should have been. Shortly after the crash, the Tempe Police Chief went on the record suggesting that the victim had at least some culpability in the incident, having walked outside of the designated crosswalk and that the entire thing would have been difficult for either human or AI to avoid.

  • 7 steps to DevOps hiring success

    As many of us in the DevOps scene know, most companies are hiring, or, at least, trying to do so. The required skills and job descriptions can change entirely from company to company. As a broad overview, most teams are looking for a candidate from either an operations and infrastructure background or someone from a software engineering and development background, then combined with key skills relating to continuous integration, configuration management, continuous delivery/deployment, and cloud infrastructure. Currently in high-demand is knowledge of container orchestration.

  • How to tell when moving to blockchain is a bad idea

    You know that already, of course. I keep wondering whether we’ve hit “peak hype” for blockchain and related technologies yet, but so far there’s no sign of it. When I’m talking about blockchain here, I’m including distributed ledger technologies (DLTs), which are, by some tight definitions of the term, not really blockchains at all. I’m particularly interested, from a professional point of view, in permissioned blockchains. You can read more about how that’s defined in my article Is blockchain a security topic? The key point here is that I’m interested in business applications of blockchain beyond cryptocurrency.

  • Science
    • Gender Stereotyping Has No Place in My Classroom

      The workshop claimed that the way we structure our classrooms is in conflict with how boys are hard-wired to behave, therefore hampering boys’ success. By contrast, the trainers said, girls are innately programmed to do well in our classrooms.

      The instructors encouraged us to create gender-specific environments and lessons. Face-to-face seating is appropriate for girls but will promote conflict in boys; bright lights and strong teacher voices facilitate male learning but will elicit a stress response in females; boys learn best through competitive, dynamic games, but girls flourish in a more collaborative setting. They claimed our classroom structure was the primary cause of behavioral and scholastic problems among male students, and this could be remedied by adjusting our academic climate to be more beneficial to boys.

  • Security
    • Hackers are using a five-year-old security vulnerability to infect Linux servers with cryptocurrency-mining malware. [Ed: SHOCK HORROR: servers not patched are not secure]
    • Hackers exploit old flaw to turn Linux servers into cryptocurrency miners [Ed: Neglect it relies on means GNU/Linux is not at all the issue here]
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Security updates for Friday
    • Dealing with network hackers in 1995

      Going back to early 1995, I was working for Los Alamos National Labs as a contractor systems administrator. I didn’t have a security clearance so could not work ‘behind the fence’ as they said. Instead, I worked with a large number of similarly uncleared post-docs, graduate students, and college interns in a strip mall converted into offices. The offices ran from nearly one end of the strip mall to the other with a large selection of Unix, PC, and Mac systems spread through the building connected together with 10base2 (or thin-wire). To make things even more fun, most of the systems were disk-less SunOS Sparc ELC/SLC and IPC systems booting off a Sparc 10 which had 64 MB of RAM and I think 2 2 GB disk drives.

      The first problem I had to deal with was my most of the systems would crash at different times during the day. I got a Digital network book my Dad had given me, and learned about common problems with networking as this was not something I had dealt with before. I found that the local network was connected to a T1 which ran back to the main campus about 2 miles away. The T1 went to a hub which had 7 thin-wire lines running out of it. That seemed fine until I traced the thin-wire out. I was worried there were bad connectors (there were) or kinks in the line (there were) but the real problem was that out of the 7 thin-wire lines 3 were used. Most of the systems were on one line. 2 (my desktop and the Sparc 10) were on another one, and the Next and SGI’s were on the third. The other lines were just laying under the carpets not used. I met with my new boss Dale, and showed him what I had found. I learned a lot from Dale. He got me a copy of the Unix System Administrators Handbook and told me to start reading it on networks.

    • How “Hacker Search Engine” Shodan Caught Leakage of 750MB Worth Of Server Passwords

      Remember Memcached servers? Now, we have another case of servers exposed online and fulfilling evil intentions of the hackers. This time, thousands of etcd servers maintained by corporates and organizations are spitting sensitive passwords and encrypted keys, allowing anyone to get access to important data.

      Security researcher Giovanni Collazo was able to harvest 8781 passwords, 650 AWS access keys, 23 secret keys, and 8 private keys.

    • The security footgun in etcd

      From an application security perspective databases are the most valuable parts of our systems. They store the data that gives value to our apps and companies. This data which has been entrusted to us by our users should be kept safe and away of the hands of criminals.

    • Thousands of servers found leaking 750MB worth of passwords and keys

      Thousands of servers operated by businesses and other organizations are openly sharing credentials that may allow anyone on the Internet to log in and read or modify potentially sensitive data stored online.

      In a blog post published late last week, researcher Giovanni Collazo said a quick query on the Shodan search engine returned almost 2,300 Internet-exposed servers running etcd, a type of database that computing clusters and other types of networks use to store and distribute passwords and configuration settings needed by various servers and applications. etcd comes with a programming interface that responds to simple queries that by default return administrative login credentials without first requiring authentication. The passwords, encryption keys, and other forms of credentials are used to access MySQL and PostgreSQL databases, content management systems, and other types of production servers.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Exonerating the Empire in Venezuela

      The United States has for years undermined the Venezuelan economy with economic sanctions, but US media coverage of Venezuela’s financial crisis has gone out of its way to obscure this.

      The intent of the sanctions is clear: to inflict maximum pain on Venezuela so as to encourage the people of the country to overthrow the democratically elected government. SUNY professor Gabriel Hetland (The Nation, 8/17/16) pointed out in 2016 that the Obama government “prevented Venezuela from obtaining much-needed foreign financing and investment.” Such policies, Hetland notes,

    • Senate Votes to Continue Yemen Devastation

      Shireen Al-Adeimi is a doctoral candidate at Harvard University. But she is having a hard time focusing on her studies, when friends and family back home in Yemen are under violent attack by the heavily armed, US-backed Saudi forces, with many going hungry as a result of the Saudi blockade.

      Al-Adeimi said on Tuesday, March 20, “This month marks the third anniversary of the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war on Yemen. Despite the dire humanitarian crisis, however, the United States continues to sell arms to the Saudis and provide them with military support.”

    • Reformer or War Criminal? Saudi Crown Prince Welcomed in U.S. as Trump Touts Weapons Deals

      On Tuesday, President Trump met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House, where the two leaders finalized a $12.5 billion weapons deal. This comes less than a year after Trump announced a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis. During the meeting, Trump held up posters of recent Saudi weapon purchases from the United States and said, “We make the best equipment in the world.” Human rights groups warn the massive arms deal may make the United States complicit in war crimes committed in the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen. We speak with Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan and Medea Benjamin of CodePink.

    • Watch: Pussy Riot’s new song warns Vladimir Putin they’re going to keep fighting him

      On Sunday, to nobody’s surprise, Vladimir Putin won another six years of Russia’s presidency. Russian political punk group Pussy Riot, of course, were waiting for the predictable victory with a fierce response.

      They released a new song (video above) titled Elections to show their defiance to Putin’s 18 years of power. The grimy hop-hop song’s lyrics, translated from Russian, directly state, “Six years we’re gonna fight, we’re not gonna obey during his term.”

    • Boris Johnson A Categorical Liar

      Evidence submitted by the British government in court today proves, beyond any doubt, that Boris Johnson has been point blank lying about the degree of certainty Porton Down scientists have about the Skripals being poisoned with a Russian “novichok” agent.


      I knew and had published from my own whistleblowers that this is a lie. Until now I could not prove it. But today I can absolutely prove it, due to the judgement at the High Court case which gave permission for new blood samples to be taken from the Skripals for use by the OPCW. Justice Williams included in his judgement a summary of the evidence which tells us, directly for the first time, what Porton Down have actually said:

    • Rahul Mahajan on Fallujah, Omar Farah on DHS’s ‘Race Paper’

      Corporate media didn’t make too much of the 15th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, and perhaps it’s just as well, as they’d’ve likely used the occasion to reinforce their favored idea: that the spectacularly devastating invasion was due preeminently to popularly shared miscalculations, on which they reported, rather than a campaign of demonization and deceit in which they participated.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Seth Rich’s parents are taking their fight against Fox News to court

      Seth was shot to death about a block from where he lived in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, DC, on July 10, 2016. Police never found the killer. His parents, Joel and Mary Rich, have been besieged since his death by conspiracy theorists, alt-rightists, and Trump supporters — some representing the very heights of right-wing media — who were convinced that Seth’s murder was somehow orchestrated by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party in a byzantine scheme involving WikiLeaks and the Russia investigation.


      The Riches aren’t just trying to stop the conspiracy theories about their family — they’re trying to prevent conspiracy theories from taking root in the first place, ever again. And by challenging the very process by which their son’s life became material for conspiracy theorists and bad-faith actors, they might be able to get some peace.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic

      Ocean plastic can persist in sea surface waters, eventually accumulating in remote areas of the world’s oceans. Here we characterise and quantify a major ocean plastic accumulation zone formed in subtropical waters between California and Hawaii: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). Our model, calibrated with data from multi-vessel and aircraft surveys, predicted at least 79 (45–129) thousand tonnes of ocean plastic are floating inside an area of 1.6 million km2; a figure four to sixteen times higher than previously reported. We explain this difference through the use of more robust methods to quantify larger debris. Over three-quarters of the GPGP mass was carried by debris larger than 5 cm and at least 46% was comprised of fishing nets. Microplastics accounted for 8% of the total mass but 94% of the estimated 1.8 (1.1–3.6) trillion pieces floating in the area. Plastic collected during our study has specific characteristics such as small surface-to-volume ratio, indicating that only certain types of debris have the capacity to persist and accumulate at the surface of the GPGP. Finally, our results suggest that ocean plastic pollution within the GPGP is increasing exponentially and at a faster rate than in surrounding waters.

    • More than 150 whales are found on Australian beach – most of them dead

      Rescuers faced a race against time to save dozens of short-finned pilot whales on Friday after more than 150 got stranded on an Australian beach.

      More than half of the beached whales had died, said Jeremy Chick, incident controller at Western Australia’s conservation department.

      Authorities and volunteers were trying to save about 50 still alive on the beach and a further 25 in shallow waters.

  • Finance
    • China plans to hit US with tariffs following Trump trade sanctions
    • Trump takes aim at China with trade tariffs
    • Trump Hits China With $50 Billion in Tariffs
    • China: We would fight a trade war ‘to the end’
    • Warren Buffett Recommends Investing in Index Funds — But Many of His Employees Don’t Have That Option

      Warren Buffett, the most successful investor of our time, is a huge fan of low-cost index funds — funds that replicate a market index rather than try to outperform it — as the way for the average investor to succeed in the stock market. “By periodically investing in an index fund … the know-nothing investor can actually outperform most investment professionals,” he wrote in his 1993 letter to shareholders of his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate. “Paradoxically, when ‘dumb’ money acknowledges its limitations, it ceases to be dumb.”

      He returned to the subject in this 2016 letter, writing, “Both large and small investors should stick with low-cost index funds.” And in his newest shareholder letter, Buffett said that one reason he made a widely publicized bet (which he has now won) that a low-cost Vanguard index fund would outperform a group of hedge funds over a 10-year period was “to publicize my conviction that my pick — a virtually cost-free investment in an unmanaged S&P 500 index fund — would, over time, deliver better results than those achieved by most investment professionals, however well regarded and incentivized those ‘helpers’ may be.”

      Given Buffett’s praise of index funds — specifically, those with low fees — you’d think that all the employees at Berkshire Hathaway companies would get to practice what the boss preaches by being able to invest their 401(k) money in such funds.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Trump Taps John Bolton for NSA Post as McMaster Departs
    • Donald Trump replaces NSA HR McMaster with former UN ambassador John Bolton
    • Trump replaces HR McMcmaster with hawk John Bolton as NSA
    • Another Head Rolls On Donald Trump’s Twitter Feed: This Time It’s NSA Chief HR McMaster
    • McMaster resigns as national security advisor
    • The World According To John Bolton, In 11 Remarkable Statements

      Perhaps surprisingly for a former UN ambassador and State Department official, John Bolton thinks more often than not that military action, not diplomacy, is the answer.

      President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he was replacing his national security adviser, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, with Bolton, who in recent years has been more known as a Fox News analyst,

      A prolific commentator, Bolton’s views on a broad range of issues have been well documented over the years. He has delivered a steady stream of commentary as a constant fixture on Fox News and in many newspapers’ op-ed pages.

      Many lawmakers and former officials have long expressed alarm about Bolton, who Trump spoke of appointing to a top post before he had even won the presidency.

      “No man is more out of touch with the situation in the Middle East or more dangerous to our national security than Bolton,” Sen. Rand Paul wrote in an op-ed days after Trump’s election.

      Here are some of his views.

    • House Staples Extraterritorial Search Permissions Onto 2,232-Page Budget Bill; Passes It

      Just as the Supreme Court is considering the legality of extraterritorial demands for communications held by US internet service providers in overseas data storage, Congress is doing all it can to short-circuit the debate. Tucked away towards the back of a 2,200-page spending bill is something called the “Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act” or (of course) “CLOUD Act.” (h/t Steve Vladeck)

      The CLOUD Act [PDF - starting at p. 2201] would make any decision by the Supreme Court extraneous. If it agrees with Microsoft — as lower courts have — that the US has no right to demand communications stored overseas with a normal warrant, the Act would immediately overturn the decision. If it decides against Microsoft, it will be aligned with the new law. As it stands now, the route most likely to be taken by the Supreme Court is a punt. Legislation on point is in play and the Court will probably be more than happy to let legislators make the final call.

      Beyond the obvious problem of giving US law enforcement permission to use regular warrants to bypass mutual assistance treaties, the law also allows for reciprocation. We can’t go around waving SCA (Stored Communications Act) warrants in foreign lands without expecting pushback from locals. So, we’ll have to give foreign countries the same privileges, even if the criminal charges being investigated wouldn’t be considered criminal acts in this country and the country enjoying this reciprocation doesn’t care much about its own citizens’ rights and privacy.

    • The Iraq War and the Crisis of a Disintegrating Global Order

      Democracy is dying. As we convene to remember the 15th year anniversary of the Iraq War, the fundamental lesson of that war is that our democratic norms are at grave risk when judges and courts fail to hold government leaders accountable for a patently illegal war.

    • How Many Millions of People Have Been Killed in America’s Post-9/11 Wars? – Part One: Iraq

      How many people have been killed in America’s post-9/11 wars? I have been researching and writing about that question since soon after the U.S. launched these wars, which it has tried to justify as a response to terrorist crimes that killed 2,996 people in the U.S. on September 11th 2001.

    • Seeing Journalism Make a Difference in Election Results

      I like chatting with the neighbors in line at my polling place, which is a hallway in the middle school both my sons attended. I’m excited to pick up my ballot from the same eye-patched man who has been handing it to me ever since I moved to Oak Park almost 20 years ago. And I never walk out without picking up an “I Voted” sticker and proudly affixing it to my jacket.

      Voting gives me a voice in the community I deeply care about, occasionally even allowing me to help elect people I know, a local camping-group mom or hockey-team dad running for office. Also, as a naturalized citizen, this small, fundamental act has come to embody for me the privilege and responsibility of living in our democracy.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Social Media Beats Censorship in Iran: New at Reason

      In the first days of January, a meme spread through Iran. The image featured Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Jahromi drop-kicking the logos of Tor, an encrypted proxy network, and several social media platforms—a reference to the Iranian government’s ban of the messaging service Telegram in response to protests in late December.

      On January 4, the meme ended up on the front page of Ghanoon, a newspaper aligned with the country’s liberal Reformist movement. The same day, Jahromi reposted it on his Instagram account along with the caption: “The National Security Council—which the Telecommunications Ministry is not part of—has decided, along with other security measures, to impose temporary restrictions on cyberspace in order to establish peace…instead of addressing the roots of the protests and unrest, some are trying to blame cyberspace.”

    • ACLU Files Lawsuit Against New Orleans over Censorship of Anti-Trump Mural

      The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the city of New Orleans over an anti-Donald Trump mural that artist Cashy-D painted on the property of real-estate developer Neal Morris in November 2017. The work features an excerpt from the infamous Access Hollywood tape, a recording of the President bragging to journalist Billy Bush in 2005 about grabbing women’s genitals.

      According to the Art Newspaper, the city notified Morris that the work was a zoning violation and that he had to remove it. If he failed to comply, Morris was told that he would face “a maximum fine or jail time for each and every day the violation continues plus court costs.”

    • YouTube Limits Firearms Videos; Gun Rights Group Cries Censorship

      YouTube has broadened its restrictions on gun-related videos, while thousands of Americans are mobilizing to demand stricter gun controls Saturday in a mass march spurred by young survivors of a deadly armed attack on a Florida high school last month.

      Google’s popular video-hosting site will bar videos that facilitate direct sales of firearms or accessories, and those that contain links to websites where such purchases can be made, YouTube’s revised policy states. Bump stocks and other add-ons that convert guns into automatic-fire weapons are among the accessories covered by the new rules.

    • Spanish Hate/Anti-Terrorism Speech Laws Doing Little But Locking Up Comedians, Artists, And Dissidents

      As Spain continues to expand its (anti-)speech laws, the rights of its citizens continue to contract. Not content with making it illegal to insult a cop or government officials, the Spanish government has decided to tackle hate speech and terrorism with the same ineptitude.

      There’s no punchline here. People are being arrested and charged with speech having nothing to with promoting hate or terrorism. And this is in addition to people who’ve found themselves targeted by vindictive public servants for daring to publicly criticize their words or actions.

      It’s gotten so bad Amnesty International — an entity that usually spends its time decrying the acts of dictators and brutal authoritarians — has felt compelled to speak up about Spain’s terrible speech laws. Mathew Ingram has more details at Columbia Journalism Review.

    • SESTA’s First Victim: Craigslist Shuts Down Personals Section

      This is interesting on multiple levels, since the moral panic against online sites that eventually resulted in SESTA actually did start with Craiglist nearly a decade ago, with various state Attorneys General ganging up on the company — despite no legal basis — even threatening criminal charges. Because of all that, Craigslist eventually shut down its “adult” section, which was really what pushed Backpage into the spotlight.

      And, as we noted last fall, a recent study showed that when Craigslist shut down its adult section, there was a dramatic increase in homicide, which many attributed to sex workers being unable to use the website to screen clients and protect themselves.

      But, either way, the site dropped its adult section entirely all the way back in 2010. And, yet, now it realized it must shut its entire personals section, or potentially face crippling criminal liability. Remember how all the SESTA supporters insisted that SESTA would only target those willfully supporting sex trafficking and wouldn’t do anything against other sites? That’s already been proven wrong.

    • American high school journalists fight school-ordered censorship

      But Saleh, a student journalist at The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria, an all-girls school in Queens, New York, would be frustrated four days later when the school’s principal noticed the story on the wall, and removed it.

      Students in high schools across the United States are having journalistic articles removed or suppressed by their schools, while school officials try to appease parents’ concerns and maintain order by limiting negative or inappropriate press.

    • Washington State’s New Anti-Censorship Law Gives Student Journalists More Rights Than Supreme Court

      After of lobbying from students and teachers, a bill to prevent school administrators from censoring the work of student journalists has became law.

      Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5064 Wednesday in front of a group of students, teachers and school administrators in Olympia. The new law, which goes into effect this June, makes Washington the last state on the West Coast to pass an “anti-Hazelwood law,” a reference to a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made it legal for school administrators to censor content in school newspapers and other student-run media.

    • China’s censorship body keeps ruining fun on the internet

      Chinese citizens, living under tight censorship control, don’t have too much freedom to crack jokes on the internet. Now, what tiny space they have left for having fun is increasingly being chipped away.

      In an “extra urgent” document (link in Chinese) issued yesterday (March 23), the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), China’s main media-censorship body, banned videos that re-edit content from other works such as classic TV shows and films. According to the body, such videos distort content and take the original videos out of context in order to attract viewers, creating “an extremely bad influence on society.” It also banned trailers and behind-the-scenes videos from unapproved content on all online platforms.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Responsibility Deflected, the CLOUD Act Passes

      Those are the words of Jim McGovern, representative for Massachusetts and member of the House of Representatives Committee on Rules, when, after 8:00 PM EST on Wednesday, he and his colleagues were handed a 2,232-page bill to review and approve for a floor vote by the next morning.

      In the final pages of the bill—meant only to appropriate future government spending—lawmakers snuck in a separate piece of legislation that made no mention of funds, salaries, or budget cuts. Instead, this final, tacked-on piece of legislation will erode privacy protections around the globe.

      This bill is the CLOUD Act. It was never reviewed or marked up by any committee in either the House or the Senate. It never received a hearing. It was robbed of a stand-alone floor vote because Congressional leadership decided, behind closed doors, to attach this un-vetted, unrelated data bill to the $1.3 trillion government spending bill. Congress has a professional responsibility to listen to the American people’s concerns, to represent their constituents, and to debate the merits and concerns of this proposal amongst themselves, and this week, they failed.

      On Thursday, the House approved the omnibus government spending bill, with the CLOUD Act attached, in a 256-167 vote. The Senate followed up late that night with a 65-32 vote in favor. All the bill requires now is the president’s signature.


      Because of this failure, U.S. and foreign police will have new mechanisms to seize data across the globe. Because of this failure, your private emails, your online chats, your Facebook, Google, Flickr photos, your Snapchat videos, your private lives online, your moments shared digitally between only those you trust, will be open to foreign law enforcement without a warrant and with few restrictions on using and sharing your information. Because of this failure, U.S. laws will be bypassed on U.S. soil.

    • Facebook Gave Data Dump Of 57 Billion Friendships To Cambridge Researcher

      After the much discussed Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has broken all its ties with the Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan. In his defense, Kogan has said that he is being scapegoated in the matter and he wasn’t aware that he broke Facebook’s privacy policies.

      A newer revelation made by The Guardian suggests that his ties with Facebook weren’t limited to the infamous CA scandal. For a research paper, titled “On wealth and the diversity of friendships: High social class people around the world have fewer international friends,” which was published in 2015, Kogan also received a huge chunk of data from Facebook.

    • Report: AT&T Lands Potential $3.3B NSA IT Infrastructure Services Contract

      AT&T submitted a $2.55 billion bid for the Regional Infrastructure Services I contract and was selected by NSA for exceeding the requirements in several areas such as technical services, enterprise management services and integration, according to redacted documents released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office.

    • AT&T’s Winning Bid for NSA Contract Was More Expensive

      The winning AT&T bid for a $3.3 billion classified NSA contract was more expensive, according to redacted legal documents published by GAO this week.

      AT&T bid $2.55 billion on a coveted contract to “technically evolve” the National Security Agency’s IT environment, which is an initiative to provide enterprise information technology (IT) services to NSA/CSS and affiliate locations worldwide. DXC Technology bid $1.79 billion.

    • The Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Said He Wanted To Create “The NSA’s Wet Dream”

      A few months before Christopher Wylie helped build Cambridge Analytica, and five years before he helped bring it down, the data scientist had already settled on an ambition: “I want to build the NSA’s wet dream,” he told an acquaintance.

      That was October 2013, and Wylie, in his early twenties, was gathering massive amounts of personal data as research director for SCL Group, a contractor that did military and political campaign work. He was also trying to raise money for his new startup concept — then called — that would ingest users’ social media activity and use it to build “psychographic” profiles that marketers could use to identify our personalities and, possibly, influence our behavior.

    • Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Wanted to Build ‘NSA’s Wet Dream’

      Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie reportedly wanted to build a startup that was the “NSA’s wet dream,” according to BuzzFeed News. In documents obtained by the site, Wylie expressed his desire to produce “psychographic” profiles and sell them to marketers so they could use them to “identify our personalities and, possibly, influence our behavior.” At the time he was working for SCL Group—a company that does “military and political campaign work.” When writing about his startup in 2013, Wylie said that the “goal is first to make it an extremely profitable company…Then we will cleanse our souls with other projects, like using the data for good rather than evil. But evil pays more.” Wylie also wrote that he had ambitions to “change the world in a positive way” by creating “one of the world’s largest population datasets that could massively revolutionize all kinds of scientific research.” One source told BuzzFeed that Wylie’s failed startup was a “precursor to Cambridge Analytica,” although Wylie’s lawyer said that they were “completely separate entities.”

    • The End for Facebook’s Security Evangelist

      Alex Stamos, the Facebook executive who plans to leave the company by August amid a backlash over disinformation, has not been one to hold back.

      Mr. Stamos, Facebook’s chief information security officer, was often known to push superiors on security matters beyond where they were comfortable, people who have worked with him have said. He once challenged the National Security Agency director to his face, sparred with the media on Twitter and took his former bosses at Yahoo — and more recently at Facebook — to task over security issues.

    • Meet Hillary Clinton’s Other, Much More Powerful and Shadowy Oppo Research Firm

      Fusion GPS has gotten all the headlines. But there was a second, even more powerful and mysterious opposition research and intelligence firm lurking about with significant political and financial links to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her 2016 campaign for president against Donald Trump.

      Meet London-based Hakluyt & Co., founded by three former British intelligence operatives in 1995 to provide the kind of otherwise inaccessible research for which select governments and Fortune 500 corporations pay huge sums.

    • SCL – a Very British Coup

      A Channel 4 news undercover investigation revealed that the company’s Eton-educated CEO Alexander Nix offered to use dirty tricks – including the use of bribery and sex workers – to entrap politicians and subvert elections.
      Much of the media spotlight is now on Cambridge Analytica and their shadowy antics in elections worldwide, including that of Donald Trump.
      However, Cambridge Analytica is a mere offshoot of Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL Group) – an organisation with its roots deeply embedded within the British political, military and royal establishment.
      Indeed, as the Observer article which broke the scandal said “For all intents and purposes, SCL/Cambridge Analytica are one and the same.”

    • Wherein Facebook Loses Recess For Everyone

      Hold on tight to those memories of all the good things the Internet has brought. SESTA has just passed the Senate, and at this point it’s a clear legislative path to undermining Section 230, the law that has enabled all those good things the Internet has offered.

      It is not entirely Facebook’s fault: opportunists from Hollywood saw it as a chance to weaken the innovation that weakens their antiquated grip over people’s creativity. Ill-informed celebrities, who understood absolutely nothing about the cause they professed to advocate for, pressed their bumper-sticker demands that something be done, even though that something is destructive to the very cause the bumper-stickers were for. Willfully ignorant members of Congress then bought into the bumper-sticker rhetoric, despite all the evidence they had about how destructive this law would be to those interests and online speech generally.

      Even frequent innovation ally Senator Wyden joined the chorus mounting against the tech industry, lending credence to the idea that when it came to a law that would undermine the Internet, the Internet had it coming.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Sheriff Caught Buying Property With Jail Food Funds, Has Tipster Who Turned Him In Arrested

      Another Alabama sheriff has been caught abusing a law that’s inexplicably still on the books. Over the course of three years, Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin took home at least $750,000 in funds meant to be used to feed inmates in his jail. Thanks to another bad law, there’s no telling how much more than $750,000 Entrekin has pocketed, but he certainly seems to have a lot of disposable income.

    • Alabama Sheriff Legally Took $750,000 Meant To Feed Inmates, Bought Beach House

      A sheriff in Alabama took home as personal profit more than $750,000 that was budgeted to feed jail inmates — and then purchased a $740,000 beach house, a reporter at The Birmingham News found.

      And it’s perfectly legal in Alabama, according to state law and local officials.

      Alabama has a Depression-era law that allows sheriffs to “keep and retain” unspent money from jail food-provision accounts. Sheriffs across the state take excess money as personal income — and, in the event of a shortfall, are personally liable for covering the gap.

    • Etowah sheriff pockets $750k in jail food funds, buys $740k beach house

      In September, Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin and his wife Karen purchased an orange four-bedroom house with an in-ground pool and canal access in an upscale section of Orange Beach for $740,000.

      To finance the purchase, Entrekin got a $592,000 mortgage from Peoples Bank of Alabama, according to public real estate records. The home is one of several properties with a total assessed value of more than $1.7 million that the couple own together or separately in Etowah and Baldwin counties.

    • The New Frontier of E-Carceration: Trading Physical for Virtual Prisons

      Monitors are commonly a condition of pre-trial release, or post-conviction supervision, like probation or parole. They are sometimes a strategy to reduce jail and prison populations. Recently, EM’s applications have widened to include juveniles, the elderly, individuals accused or convicted of DUIs or domestic violence, immigrants awaiting legal proceedings, and adults in drug programs.

      This increasingly wide use of EM by law enforcement remains relatively unchecked. That’s why EFF, along with over fifty other organizations, has endorsed a set of Guidelines for Respecting the Rights of Individuals on Electronic Monitoring. The Guidelines are a multi-stakeholder effort led by the Center for Media Justice’s Challenging E-carceration project to outline the legal and policy considerations that law enforcement’s use of EM raises for monitored individuals’ digital rights and civil liberties.

    • Locked Up as Punishment for Seeking Safety

      In another life, I was a teacher. I stood in front of young people, delivering lessons on ethics and morality, as well as math and physics. Now, I am a prisoner. For the past 16 months, I have been locked inside the Geauga County Safety Center in Chardon, Ohio.

      “Safety Center” is a strange name for a jail with no outdoor space, where immigrant detainees are kept in windowless rooms. I have not felt fresh air in my lungs or the sun on my face for more than a year. I have not felt safe for years.

      My troubles began on Sept. 15, 2014. I was leading a youth seminar in my hometown of Grand-Riviere-du-Nord, Haiti. I was mid-discussion on the problem of corruption in Haitian politics when I named a local government official — Benjamin Ocenjac — as an example of someone who works with gangs to terrorize the population.

      That very day, I was attacked by members of “La Meezorequin,” the Shark Bones Army, a well-armed gang that supports Mr. Ocenjac. Men dragged me off my motorcycle and savagely beat me — breaking several bones and leaving me with scars which I bear to this day. They set my motorcycle on fire and threatened to kill me.


      At Geauga, I have seen other asylum-seekers give up and return to countries where they fled danger because the price of seeking safety — imprisonment for months or years on end — was just too high. I am still fighting. The ACLU and partners filed a class action lawsuit on my behalf as well as for more than a thousand other asylum seekers who are currently locked up across the United States. We are suing the Department of Homeland Security for depriving us of due process.

    • ‘Those Who Committed the Crime of Torture Actually Get Promoted’

      Because this is the way things are now, the country’s secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was fired via Twitter this week. Tillerson is to be replaced by current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and Pompeo’s top spot may be taken by the current deputy director, Gina Haspel.

      Most people won’t recognize the name, but human rights advocates know Gina Haspel well as chief of base of a secret prison in Thailand, called Cat’s Eye, where a man suspected of being in Al Qaeda was brutally tortured, including being waterboarded 83 times and hung by hooks from the ceiling. Questions are being raised about Haspel’s precise role in the torture, about whether her views have changed. But from a president who has declared support for “a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” the nomination of someone deeply involved in the rendition, detention and interrogation programs that shocked the conscience as they violated the law is deeply worrying.

      Maha Hilal is the inaugural Michael Ratner fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and an organizer with Witness Against Torture. She also works with the DC Justice for Muslims Coalition, and is a co-principal Investigator with the Torture Treatment Initiative out of Tulane University’s Traumatology Institute.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Controlling the Web Is the Dream (and the Nightmare)

      Authoritarian governments regulate what their citizens can see online. The U.S. lets tech companies make similar decisions.

    • Senators Say The FCC’s Broadband Maps are a Bad Joke

      We’ve noted for some time how the broadband industry fights tooth and nail against more accurate broadband availability mapping, since having a better understanding of the broadband industry’s competition problem might just result in somebody actually doing something about it. This dysfunction and apathy was most recently illustrated with the FCC’s recent release of an “updated” broadband availability map, which all but hallucinates competition, speeds, and overall availability. This map (available here) also omits pricing data at industry behest, resulting in a $300 million pair of rose-colored glasses.

      But it’s not just the FCC’s broadband availability map that’s under fire. FCC maps that determine which area get wireless subsidies (more specifically Mobility Fund Phase II (MF II) funding) are also a bad joke for many of the same reasons.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • New Draft Text On Final Day Of WIPO Committee On Genetic Resources; Expert Group Proposed

      After the first suggested revision of potential treaty articles preventing the misappropriation of genetic resources was sent back to the drawing board this week, the second revision emerged today, for consideration by the World Intellectual Property Organization member states. Separately, a proposal by the committee chair to establish an expert group to meet prior to the next session of the committee meeting was positively received.

    • WIPO Names New Directors Of Global Challenges, Copyright Infrastructure

      Marion Dietterich is the new director of the Global Challenges Division, which includes activities related to broader issues such as health and environment. She comes from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, in the Health Department, where she was GAVI CSO Constituency Coordinator. She follows Anatole Krattiger, who retired from the position at the end of last year.

    • Trademarks
      • Billy Goat Chip Co. fires back against iconic Chicago bar in trademark case

        Billy Goat Chip Co. is countersuing the Billy Goat Tavern, the iconic Chicago bar that in December sued the St. Louis potato chip maker over alleged trademark infringement.

        In the original suit, Billy Goat IP LLC, the owners of the Billy Goat Tavern, accused Billy Goat Chip Co. of infringing on its trademarks and sought to stop the Billy Goat Chip Co. from using the “Billy Goat” phrase or logo.

        Attorneys representing the Billy Goat Chip Co. filed a counterclaim this month arguing the chip maker was actually the first to use the “Billy Goat” mark in connection with packaged retail food and beverage products.

      • Famous Billy Goat Tavern Initiates Risky Trademark Dispute With Billy Goat Chip Co.

        Missing from far too many of the stories we post on trademark bullies is anything amounting to blowback. While it happens on occasion, the reason that trademark bullying works is due to the costs for any sort of defense, nevermind the cost that would be required to actually go on the offense against a bully. Still, that isn’t to say that when a trademark bully picks a fight that it cannot sometimes lead to a backfire.

        That appears to be the risk Chicago’s famous Billy Goat Tavern now faces after it sued Billy Goat Chip Co., given the countersuit and factual response made by the chip company. Billy Goat Tavern filed suit in 2017, alleging that the St. Louis potato chip maker was infringing on its trademark with its name and logo, which uses the silhouette of a rearing billy goat. For what it’s worth, the tavern’s logo is completely different and features a fully detailed cartoon head of a goat, not a black outline like the chip company.

    • Copyrights
      • 9th Circuit Appeals Court Recognizes That DMCA Repeat Infringer Policies Must Be Flexible

        We were concerned, last month, by the appeals court ruling in the Cox v. BMG case regarding the DMCA’s repeat infringer policy rules, though the more I’ve reread that ruling, I’ve become less bothered by it. While I’m still concerned about how bad decisions by Cox created potentially bad law, there are enough specifics in the ruling that hopefully will limit the impact to specific circumstances. In particular, whereas Cox was found to not have implemented a “reasonable” termination policy for repeat infringers, the court does acknowledge that the law means that the platforms have wide leeway in determining what their termination policy should be. The real problem for Cox was that it appeared not to actually follow its own policy, and thus did not reasonably implement it.

        That was over in the 4th Circuit. Last week, the 9th Circuit ruled on a case where there were also questions about a repeat infringer policy, and the ruling is a clean ruling in defense of platforms determining their own rules for terminating repeat infringers. The case, Ventura Content v. Motherless, involves a porn producer suing a site that allowed user uploads of porn. From the description in the case, Motherless qualifies for the DMCA’s safe harbors as a site where the content is submitted by users, and the ruling goes into great detail about the steps that Motherless’s sole employee, Joshua Lange, goes through to review content uploaded to the site to make sure it doesn’t violate the site’s terms (which mostly seem aimed at blocking child porn). Motherless also appears to follow a pretty standard DMCA takedown process. Actually, the site appears to go beyond what is legally required in accepting notices that don’t even meet the DMCA notice standard, and removing much of the notified content.

The Enemies of the Patent System Are Patent Maximalists, Not Those Pursuing Saner Patent Policy

Friday 23rd of March 2018 07:28:37 AM

On Gene Quinn, who is unable to debate like an adult (and blocked me after he had lost the argument)

Reference: Gene Quinn (Watchtroll): Patent Twit of the Week

Summary: Taking stock of some recent news and remarking (yet again) on the danger the patent system faces if it allows patent lawyers rather than inventors to steer/influence policy (as seen in Europe with the failed UPC bid)

THE concept of patents is a controversial one, but only if one considers patents on things like thoughts, genetics (nature) and other stuff which doesn’t constitute an invention. There have been studies about cause and effect and they are quite critical of the status quo.

The USPTO didn’t always grant hundreds of thousands of patents per year. That’s not because back in the old days there was less innovation and barely any inventions. Now that the law ‘industry’ is large enough to have platoons of lobbyists there’s a push to make everything a patent. That’s a problem.

“Now that the law ‘industry’ is large enough to have platoons of lobbyists there’s a push to make everything a patent. That’s a problem.”We never opposed patents on physical things. “According to the terms of the agreement,” said Floor Daily, “the parties agreed that the CMC patents are valid and enforceable.”

We’re talking about floors here. That’s physical stuff.

And here’s another new example from a manufacturing company. It’s understandable that they’re pursuing more patents. This one from yesterday is about Siemens. “In 2017,” it says, “the university filed 106 U.S. patent applications, had 57 U.S. patents issued and saw a patent licensing income of nearly $4 million…”

“A system that loses sight of the importance of patent quality will simply render itself obsolete, over time (perishing in the public mind).”Siemens sells physical things for the most part. This is why Siemens is rarely mentioned here, except when it promotes software patents (that happened a very long time ago and never since).

How about this bunch of reports from last week regarding patents on drones? To quote: “An earlier patent application was for drones to monitor growing conditions of crops and send data to stores about when, and from where, the produce might arrive, Reuters said. So far, Walmart has applied for 46 drone technology patents, most of them for delivery and logistics, and for use within warehouses to track inventory.”

Replacing some farmers with drones so that billionaires like the Waltons can get richer even faster may be an ethical/moral issue (see this response to ‘Innovation Kills Jobs’), but not the patents themselves are an issue. It’s too easy to conflate these two things.

The California Institute of Technology v Broadcom Limited et al, a case which was noted a few days ago in Docket Navigator, speaks of physical things and primarily pertains to collection of evidence right now, notably:

The court denied plaintiff’s motion to compel the production of a clawed back deposition exhibit and found the document was privileged.

There’s also FieldTurf USA, Inc. et al v Astroturf, LLC, which Docket Navigator highlighted last week when it said:

Following a $30 million jury verdict and defendant’s filing for bankruptcy, the court granted plaintiff’s motion to amend its complaint to add defendant’s co-owners as defendants along with alter ego and veil-piercing claims.

Docket Navigator also focused on a damages case:

The court overruled plaintiff’s objections to the magistrate judge’s order partially striking the report of plaintiff’s damages expert.

As longtime readers already know, we prefer to concentrate on patent scope rather than matters like damages and privilege. We occasionally see patent maximalists attempting to portray us as “anti-patents” even though we value patent quality, unlike those patent maximalists. A system that loses sight of the importance of patent quality will simply render itself obsolete, over time (perishing in the public mind). So one might think of us as guardians of the system’s integrity rather than its foe. The same goes for copyrights. There’s nothing wrong with copyrights per se, but the way copyright law has evolved is totally detached from the realities of the Internet, public interest, preservation, folklore/culture and distribution.

This coming weekend we’ll write a lot about § 101 and PTAB, which helps enforce § 101 at scale. § 101 deals with elimination of patents on abstract things, such as algorithms.

The European Patent Office’s (EPO) Declining Patent Quality ‘Tackled’ by Making Appeals/Oppositions Harder and More Expensive

Friday 23rd of March 2018 06:34:00 AM

Hiding the effect rather than actually dealing with it

Battistelli hoped that offering ‘discounts’ to applicants would be a boon to the number of applications (as applications are running out, rendering staff redundant), but it lowers both quality and revenue (source: “The Power of Pricing”)

Summary: The so-called ‘System Battistelli’ is proving to be a disaster which makes both examiners and patents obsolete; Making applications cheaper while making appeals/oppositions harder and more expensive is a recipe for disaster, assuring nothing but more litigation and more workloads for courts, where fees rise to extraordinary levels (in effect externalising the costs/toll of EPO to the public, primarily for gains of patent law firms)

THE USPTO has made oppositions easier and more common (e.g. via PTAB IPRs). We are thankful for this because if patent justice is the goal, then elimination of wrongful patent grants is a desirable thing. At the EPO, by contrast, appeals or oppositions are being made harder just when they’re needed more/most (because of declining quality of grants, as a thousand courageous and moral examiners attest/confess to).

“This is bad for everyone in Europe, except perhaps law firms and patent trolls.”So far this month we have composed about four articles about increase in appeal fees (effective in 9 days), having already shown a soaring number of oppositions (possibly more than examiners can ever deal with given the unreasonable work demands/quotas). SUEPO has repeatedly complained about it, noticing that significant upsurge and noting that the new structure of groups lowers/dilutes skills level inside each. It’s a system which is designed to fail; it’s supposed to fail on justice, i.e. it’ll wind up failing to annul erroneous grants. This is bad for everyone in Europe, except perhaps law firms and patent trolls.

A site which advocates patents on life has just advertised its so-called ‘webinar’ (lobbying setup) and spoke of “late-filed EPO documents” in relation to oppositions. To quote:

Late-filed documents will come under greater scrutiny in light of changes to the European Patent Office’s (EPO) opposition procedure.

That was one of the key points discussed during a joint webinar between LSIPR and HGF yesterday, March 21.

That’s two days ago. It’s like a think tank stuffed/stacked with law firms, trying to basically ensure patent maximalism while noting that “granted patents increased from 64,619 to 105,635 at the EPO.”

The number of applications barely grew in the same period. This ratio is therefore alarming.

To quote further:

This will mainly be achieved by a significant shortening of the written proceedings phase of opposition practice. According to Moore, the streamlined opposition procedure could result in opposition divisions being stricter in allowing late-filed documents and late-filed requests into the proceedings.

“I think it’s certainly the case that late-filed documents will come under greater and greater scrutiny,” explained Moore.

“I’ve had six or seven oral proceedings in the past couple of months, some of which have required late-filed documents and the analysis on their prima facie usefulness seems to be taken at a very early stage by the Opposition Division.”

The Opposition Division is already overworked and overwhelmed. Patent maximalists prefer it that way because it helps ensure low patent quality.

The terrible assumption they (along with Team Battistelli/Team UPC) make is that patent courts will be able to better deal with patent assessment. But at what cost? Well, patent law firms profit a lot from litigation, so why would they oppose the status quo? They profit both from plaintiffs and defendants. They want the UPC because it means passage of patent assessment tasks from examiners to courts. As Benjamin Henrion put it yesterday: “UPC rules of procedure will be ratified in express mode by national parliaments? right or wrong? Can anyone confirm?”

Nothing is being ratified. Neither in the UK nor Germany. It’s not even on the agenda anymore. Without both of them ratifying — a deadlock-type process — the UPC is going nowhere. This is where we are today.

EPO revenue from applications seems to be declining. This is in spite of the goose being killed, i.e. the main ‘asset’ (experienced examiners) leaving and the backlog running out.

Yesterday the EPO wrote: “With nearly 500 more applications filed by German inventors and firms in 2017, Europe’s largest patent filing country again showed growth (+1.9%).”

“After EPO gave discounts,” I corrected them, “so overall applications revenue [was] down again…”

We wrote about this before.

The EPO also wrote (yet again): “Are you familiar with our Case Law of the Boards of Appeal publication? Tell us your opinion on it…”

This Boards of Appeal (BoA) spin continues unabated. The EPO posts this every couple of days and yesterday it was Boult Wade Tennant which joined the spin by publishing “EPO Launches a Consultation on the Revision of the Rules of Procedure of The Boards of Appeal” (EPO stenography).

But the EPO only pretends that BoA, which remains under attack from Battistelli all the time, is under public control. Battistelli wants them replaced by UPC.

The law firm wrote:

The EPO provides Applicants, Patentees, and Opponents with the opportunity to appeal decisions of the Examining Division or the Opposition Division following adverse decisions.

In recent years, the Case Law of the Boards of Appeal has developed in relation to the ability of an Appellant to present new arguments, objections, evidence, and amendments during appeal proceedings. Whilst the practice of the Boards can vary significantly in this regard, recently there has been a general trend towards a more restrictive procedure.


As a result, the need for Applicants, Patentees, and Opponents to present a full and exhaustive case before the Examining Division or Opposition Division is likely to become even more important.

The whole process is currently under attack. Examiners cannot issue patents correctly (too pressured to work in a rush), the Opposition Division sees oppositions soaring (but isn’t adequately staffed to deal with this workload), and the Boards are also grossly understaffed and lacking independence. The above is merely a face-saving and/or revisionism exercise. The EPO isn’t functioning properly. Insiders know that, but mainstream media remains (with very few exceptions) silent on the matter.

Ericsson, Acting Directly Rather Than Via the Patent Trolls It Habitually Uses, in a Patent War Against Linux/Android

Friday 23rd of March 2018 05:25:22 AM

Last year: Ericsson Hired From the World’s Largest Patent Troll and Became a Massive Troll in Europe

Summary: LG is the latest company to be sued by Ericsson, which doesn’t just harass the competition (which actually sells something) through patent trolls but also directly, having won a case in the notorious Eastern District of Texas (EDTX/TXED)

TECHRIGHTS has been watching Ericsson closely for a number of years. Like Nokia, another former giant from Scandinavia, Ericsson is nowadays feeding patent trolls and suing companies that distribute Linux in various forms (including but not limited to Android). There are other connections to patent trolls which make Nokia and Ericsson two of the biggest culprits in Europe. Nokia’s gleeful and shameless promotion of software patents (about one decade ago) grabbed our attention and its lobbying on patent policy always disturbed us, more so after Microsoft/Elop got involved, accelerating Nokia’s patent aggression, including aggression against Linux.

IAM, which habitually grooms Ericsson and its patent trolls (as recently as a couple of days ago), says that Ericsson is still going after South Korea-based companies that distribute Linux, citing the TCL case. Yesterday it wrote:

Ericsson filed a lawsuit against LG Electronics in US district court earlier this week in what could be the first courtroom test of the its patent portfolio since it was on the receiving end of a damaging verdict late last year in an SEP FRAND dispute with Chinese handset manufacturer TCL. The Swedish telecoms giant has asked the court for a declaration that its actions in pursuing a licence with LG comply with FRAND and an additional ruling that the Korean company has breached its own FRAND obligations. Ericsson has also accused the handset manufacturer of infringing one patent (no. 6,633,550).

The above TCL lawsuit was also mentioned yesterday by the Docket Navigator, showing that Ericsson had been suing in Texas (TXED) with dodgy patents while relying on dodgy “experts”. To quote:

Following a jury verdict of $75 million, the court granted defendant’s motion for new damages trial because the application of plaintiff’s survey expert’s results by plaintiff’s damages expert was unreliable.

The above is a pretty big deal because it impacts SEP and FRAND caselaw, it shows the sort of thing that caused LG to exit the Chinese market, and it generally emboldens patent trolls and their lobby (like IAM) to initiate more lawsuits. This kind of litigation culture is seen as a safety net or insurance/welfare for companies which became irrelevant. The end result isn’t innovation but overpriced (artificially-inflated prices) devices and those who suffer the most are customers. What’s also noteworthy is that many of the said patents are software patents, but they’re bundled together (as per, e.g., SEP thickets) in order to discourage legal challenge of pertinent patents.

The Federation of International Civil Servants’ Association: Frenchman “Campinos is Known for Having Close Ties to Mr. Battistelli Who Strongly Supported His Candidacy.”

Thursday 22nd of March 2018 07:48:11 PM

Campinos and Battistelli in 2011

Summary: Readers find little or no room for optimism as Battistelli’s final day at the Office approaches; FICSA is not optimistic either and the general consensus is that Battistelli’s so-called ‘reforms’ will soon yield layoffs

MR. Campinos, a Frenchman, will become the EPO‘s President in little more than 3 months. This politically-connected former banker* got the job thanks to a lot of help from his old friend, whom he can speak French with (Campinos will be the third Frenchman in this position out of 4 in succession, Brimelow being the only exception). It’s also rumoured that Nicolas Sarkozy, who is making the news right now for his alleged crimes, put Battistelli in this position, so there’s a chain of lobbying here (for succession). These people are nothing like Alain Pompidou, who was a Frenchman that’s actually a scientist and sometimes reasonable with staff (except when portraying them as lazy).

“We expect Battistelli to still hang around the Office as a visitor.”The meeting of the Administrative Council of the EPO is ending right about now and we have heard virtually nothing about it, which probably means that nothing is changing (same old horrible mess). The Federation of International Civil Servants’ Association (FICSA) too has just noted that nothing is changing for the better, only for the worse. As SUEPO put it some hours ago:

FICSA, the Federation of International Civil Servants’ Association is a federated group of 29 staff associations/unions from organizations belonging to the United Nations common system. Eighteen staff associations/unions outside the common system have associate status. Fifteen staff associations/unions are consultative members and 22 Federations of United Nations Staff Associations (FUNSA) are observers.

The Federation of International Civil Servants’ Association (FICSA) mentions anew the worrisome situation at the European Patent Office.

Here’s the relevant part from the PDF:

European Patent Office (EPO)

56. Unfortunately, nothing changed at the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2017. It has been in the news for over four years now and FICSA has been following developments closely as there are still unresolved, worrisome issues, namely: continuous threats to union and staff representatives by the EPO President, Mr. Battistelli, and violation of workers’ rights. This is now coupled with setting unreachable production objectives which are endangering the health of EPO staff.

57. After having halved the time spent on Staff Representation activities over the past three years, the EPO has in 2017 further curtailed the resources of the Staff Committee. In its extra- ordinary session of 6 December 2017, the ILO Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) delivered several important judgements, Nos. 3958 and 3960, in which it ordered the immediate reinstatement of a Judge of the Boards of Appeal to his former post, after he had been suspended for three years. The Tribunal further ordered the EPO to pay the Judge costs as well as damages for material and moral injury. No. 3972 concerns the case of a sick EPO staff whose sickness was deliberately ignored by the EPO prior to being dismissed after a disciplinary committee in absentia.

58. The judgements concerning the three dismissed SUEPO officials are likely to be issued by the ILOAT next June/July and end 2018/beginning 2019. Mr. Campinos (PT), current head of EU-IPO in Alicante, will become the next President of the EPO as from 1 July 2018 with the mandate to reinstate social dialogue. It is however too early to have a clear idea of his intentions. Mr. Campinos is known for having close ties to Mr. Battistelli who strongly supported his candidacy.

59. FICSA hopes that the years of chaos will soon be over with the arrival of a new President at EPO respecting the rule of law, the social partners and EPO staff.

Don’t develop any major hopes; readers have generally told us that they expect Battistelli-Campinos synergy, i.e. nothing substantial will change. We expect Battistelli to still hang around the Office as a visitor. Control freaks do not retire peacefully.
* Campinos and his professional background was the subject of much coverage last year, e.g.:

Links 22/3/2018: Mesa 17.3.7, Mesa 18.0.0 RC5, RawTherapee 5.4, Krita 4

Thursday 22nd of March 2018 06:11:48 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Developer survey shows Linux as more popular than Windows

      Every year since 2010, Stack Overflow conducts a developer survey where they ask the developer community about everything from their favorite technologies to their job preferences. The results of the eighth annual survey, held in January 2018, are out and not surprisingly, this year marks the largest number of respondents ever. Over 100,000 developers took the 30-minute survey revealing how they learn new technologies, which tools they use to get their work done, and what they look for while hunting some job.

  • Server
    • Docker Turns 5: A Look at How the Technology Popularized Containers [Ed: Slideshow by Sean Michael Kerner]
    • Enhanced

      LFTP is an alternative to the FTP command set, which supports many protocols and offers countless parameters.

      Although pretty much outdated, the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) still plays a significant role. For 20 years, LFTP has offered a greatly expanded command set for the command line that handles secure transmissions, without being excessively difficult to handle.

    • Google Skaffold Automates Kubernetes Orchestration

      Google is throwing an automation tool to developers looking to use Kubernetes to orchestrate enterprise applications. That assistance is coming from a command line tool dubbed Skaffold that can help continuous development for Kubernetes applications.

      Vic Iglesias, a solutions architect at Google, noted in a blog post that Skaffold allows developers to more closely mirror production methods within an enterprise. It does this by allowing developers to work on application source code in their local environment. That code can then be updated and ready for validation and testing in the developer’s local or remote Kubernetes clusters.

  • Kernel Space
    • Steam Controller Linux Kernel Driver Updated To Work Happily With The Steam Client

      Last month we reported on a kernel driver being worked on for Valve’s Steam Controller but it wasn’t coming from Valve developers but rather an independent member of the community. That hid-steam driver continues to be hacked on.

      To date Valve has just been supporting the Steam Controller on Linux via the Steam client with handling the controller’s behavior in user-space. There have also been some independent user-space programs to come about too for manipulating the Steam Controller, but this has been the first time a proper Linux kernel driver has been worked on for this popular gaming controller.

    • Time-based packet transmission

      Normally, when an application sends data over the network, it wants that data to be transmitted as quickly as possible; the kernel’s network stack tries to oblige. But there are applications that need their packets to be transmitted within specific time windows. This behavior can be approximated in user space now, but a better solution is in the works in the form of the time-based packet transmission patch set.

      There are a number of situations where outgoing data should not necessarily be transmitted immediately. One example would be any sort of isochronous data stream — an audio or video stream, maybe — where each packet of data is relevant at a specific point in time. For such streams, transmitting ahead of time and buffering at the receiving side generally works well enough. But realtime control applications can be less flexible. Commands for factory-floor or automotive systems, for example, should be transmitted within a narrow period of time. Realtime applications can wait until the window opens before queuing data for transmission, of course, but any sort of latency that creeps in (due to high network activity, for example) may then cause the data to be transmitted too late.

    • Designing ELF modules

      The bpfilter proposal posted in February included a new type of kernel module that would run as a user-space program; its purpose is to parse and translate iptables rules under the kernel’s control but in a contained, non-kernel setting. These “ELF modules” were reposted for review as a standalone patch set in early March. That review has happened; it is a good example of how community involvement can improve a special-purpose patch and turn it into a more generally useful feature.

      ELF modules look like ordinary kernel modules in a number of ways. They are built from source that is (probably) shipped with the kernel itself, they are compiled to a file ending in .ko, and they can be loaded into the kernel with modprobe. Rather than containing a real kernel module, though, that .ko file holds an ordinary ELF binary, as a user-space program would. When the module is “loaded”, a special process resembling a kernel thread is created to run that program in user mode. The program will then provide some sort of service to the kernel that is best not run within the kernel itself.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Brings Improvements to Kubernetes Networking with Sixth Release

        An open source project within The Linux Foundation – relentlessly focused on data speed and efficiency supporting the creation of high-performance, flexible, and scalable cloud native infrastructures, today announced the availability of its 18.01 software release. Focused on enhancements to improve Kubernetes Networking, Istio, and cloud native network functions virtualization (NFV), 18.01 is’s sixth software release.

      • Kubernetes: the “distributed” Linux of the cloud

        The CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) voted for Kubernetes to become CNCF’s first project to graduate as it has proven to be mature and resilient enough to manage containers at scale across any industry in companies of all sizes. The CNCF graduation criteria established by the TOC define what is a sustainable, production ready, mature open source project with open governance that you can bet your business on. Just because a project is open source, doesn’t mean that it is high quality and sustainable.

      • LF Networking, OCP collaborate on creating open source SDN, NFV software stacks
      • OCP and Linux Foundation Bring Hardware Together with Software

        Disaggregation of hardware and software has created interest in open source at both layers of networks. But in an acknowledgement that these layers still need to work together, yesterday, the Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) group and the Open Compute Project (OCP) announced they plan to collaborate to harmonize hardware and software.

    • Graphics Stack
      • mesa 17.3.7

        Mesa 17.3.7 is now available.

      • Mesa 17.3.7 Released With A Bunch Of Fixes

        While Mesa 18.0 should finally be out on Friday as the major quarterly update to the Mesa 3D drivers, Mesa 17.3.7 is out today and it’s a rather big update for being just another point release to last month’s 17.3 series.

        Last week marked the release candidate of Mesa 17.3.7 with 50+ changes and then on Monday came a second release candidate given all the extra patches.

      • mesa 18.0.0-rc5

        The fifth and final release candidate for Mesa 18.0.0 is now available.

      • Mesa 18.0-RC5 Released, Mesa 18.0 Should Finally Be Out On Friday

        Nearly one and a half months since Mesa 18.0-RC4 and nearly one month since last seeing any Git activity on the “18.0″ Mesa Git branch, it’s finally been updated today with the availability of Mesa 18.0-RC5.

        Mesa release manager Emil Velikov announced this long-awaited release candidate today. He says this is the fifth and final release candidate. Given the month plus since the last RC, there are many fixes/changes in this release: In fact, more than 80 changes in total for Mesa 18.0-RC5.

      • Improved VGA_Switcheroo Going Into Linux 4.17

        Google’s Sean Paul has sent in the final drm-misc-next pull request to DRM-Next of new feature material for the upcoming Linux 4.17 kernel cycle.

        Most notable with this final drm-misc-next update is the recent VGA_Switcheroo improvements by Lukas Wunner. This is the device link

      • AMD Posts Open-Source Driver Patches For Vega 12

        It’s been a while since last hearing anything about the rumored “Vega 12″ GPU but coming out this morning are a set of 42 patches providing support for this unreleased GPU within the mainline Linux kernel.

        Alex Deucher of AMD’s Linux driver team sent out the 42 patches this morning providing initial support for Vega 12 within the AMDGPU DRM kernel driver.

      • DXVK Now Has An On-Disk Shader Cache

        DXVK, the exciting project implementing the Direct3D 11 API over Vulkan for Wine gamers, now has an on-disk shader cache.

      • Freedreno’s MSM DRM Driver Continues Prepping For Adreno 600 Series Support

        Rob Clark has submitted the MSM DRM driver changes to DRM-Next for the Linux 4.17 kernel for benefiting Qualcomm SoC owners.

        Changes this cycle for the open-source MSM DRM driver include DSI updates, fixing some race conditions, DebugFS enhancements, MDP5 fixes, and refactoring/prep work for the Adreno 600 series support.

      • NVIDIA’s Jetson TK1 Is Being EOL’ed Next Month

        Easily one of our favorite ARM single-board computers ever, the Jetson TK1 from NVIDIA, will be facing retirement next month.

        A Phoronix reader has tipped us off that NVIDIA has sent out their EOL notice that shipments of the Jetson TK1 developer kits will be ending by the end of April. Following that, it will just live on until distributors run out of their inventory.

      • [Mesa-dev] 2018 Election voting OPEN

        The X.Org Foundation’s annual election is now open and will remain open until 23:59 UTC on 5 April 2018.

        Four of the eight director seats are open during this election, with the four nominees receiving the highest vote totals serving as directors for two year terms.

      • Mesa Gets Plumbed For Conservative Rasterization Support

        An independent contributor to Mesa has posted a set of patches for implementing NVIDIA’s OpenGL conservative rasterization extensions.

        Nearly one thousand lines of code is now available for getting GL_NV_conservative_raster and friends wired into core Mesa and Gallium3D while getting it working for the Nouveau NVC0 driver on Maxwell GPUs and newer. Besides GL_NV_conservative_raster is the NV_conservative_raster_dilate and NV_conservative_raster_pre_snap_triangles extensions too.

      • It’s Time For X.Org Members To Cast Their 2018 Ballots

        If you are a member of the X.Org Foundation, it’s important to get out to vote now.

        This year’s elections for the X.Org Foundation Board of Directors are now underway and the voting period is open until 5 April.

      • Wayfire Is A New Wayland Compositor That Supports Desktop Cube, Expo & Other Plugins

        Wayfire is a new independent Wayland compositor project built atop libweston. Wayfire supports compositor plug-ins to offer a desktop cube and more, so you can relive the old days when having a spinning desktop cube was all the rage in the early days of Compiz/Beryl.

    • Benchmarks
      • Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux With Radeon / GeForce GPUs On The Latest 2018 Drivers

        Given how fiercely the latest open-source AMD Linux driver code is running now up against NVIDIA’s long-standing flagship Linux GPU driver, you might be curious how well that driver stacks up against the Radeon Software driver on Windows? Well, you are in luck as here are some fresh benchmarks of the Radeon RX 580 and RX Vega 64 as well as the GeForce GTX 1060 and GTX 1080 Ti while being tested both under Microsoft Windows 10 Pro x64 and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS while using the latest AMD/NVIDIA drivers on each platform.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Krita 4.0.0 Released!

        Today we’re releasing Krita 4.0! A major release with major new features and improvements: improved vector tools, SVG support, a new text tool, Python scripting and much, much, much more!

      • Krita 4.0 Open-Source Digital Painting App Is One of the Biggest Releases Ever
      • Krita 4.0 Now Available For Open-Source Digital Painting

        Krita 4.0 is now available as the latest major release for this KDE-aligned, open-source digital painting program.

        Krita 4.0 has been working on performance improvements and many other improvements including the usage of SVG for vector tools, a new text tool, Python scripting support, new brushes, a colorize mask tool, and other enhancements. Over on is a nice overview of the changes to be found in Krita 4.0.

      • 5 Things to Look Forward to in Krita 4.0

        That Krita has become one of the most popular applications for painting among digital artists is an understatement. The great thing is that, with every new version, Krita just gets better and better. The latest release is a perfect example of that. Check out what you can look forward to in the new 4.0 version:

      • Guest post: The Importance of QA

        Today we have a guest post from Buovjaga, our friendly local QA evangelist for LibreOffice, KDE, Inkscape, Firefox and Thunderbird. Without further ado, I’d like to present…

      • KDSoap 1.7.0 is released

        KDSoap is a tool for creating client applications for web services without the need for any further component such as a dedicated web server.

      • Qt Champions 2017

        It’s time to share who the Qt Champions for 2017 are!

        As always, all the nominees were incredible people. It is hard to decide who is most worthy of the Qt Champion title. I asked for help from our lifetime Qt Champion Samuel Gaist, and together we faced the tough decision.

      • Dan Bielefeld, Keynote Speaker Akademy 2018: Exposing Injustice Through the Use of Technology

        Dan will be delivering the opening keynote at this year’s Akademy and he kindly agreed to talk to us about activism, Free Software, and the sobering things he deals with every day.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Ubuntu’s Bionic Beaver brings GNOME 3.28, minimal installation, and faster booting (in theory)

        Bionic Beaver. That’s right. Canonical has chosen what might well be the greatest name for a desktop release in the history of technology. And, of course, with a name like Bionic Beaver, you’d expect great things to come from this borg-ian, nocturnal, semi-aquatic rodent. With a release date of April 21, 2018, there isn’t much time remaining to anticipate what’s to come.

        Good thing you don’t have to wait to find out what new and improved features are on their way. However, is the wait worth it? For the longest time, Ubuntu releases were rather boring, offering next to nothing in the way of improvements. It wasn’t until Canonical made the switch from Unity to GNOME that releases were, once again, interesting. Nomenclature aside, Bionic Beaver should not disappoint users. The developers have done a masterful job of creating a release that brings a bit of excitement along for the ride.

        Let’s take a look at what Bionic Beaver has in store.

      • Umm, GNOME Shell Has a Rather Big Memory Leak

        There’s a rather annoying memory leak in GNOME Shell, and it’s unlikely to be fixed in time for the release of Ubuntu 18.04 next month.

      • Big Memory Leak Bug Found In GNOME Shell; Might Remain Unpatched In Ubuntu 18.04

        For now, the users who couldn’t benefit from the patch can restart Gnome Shell after a couple of hours to free up memory. To do this, press Alt + F2. Then type r and press Enter.

      • Continues Integration in Librsvg, Part 1

        Rust makes it trivial to write any kind of tests for your project. But what good are they if you do not run them? In this blog series I am gonna explore the capabilities of Gitlab-CI and document how it is used in Librsvg.

      • Continues Integration in Librsvg, Part 2
      • Continues Integration in Librsvg, Part 3

        Generally 5min/job does not seem like a terribly long time to wait, but it can add up really quickly when you add couple of jobs to the pipeline. First let’s take a look where most of the time is spent. First of jobs currently are spawned in a clean environment, which means each time we want to build the Rust part of librsvg, we download the whole cargo registry and all of the cargo dependencies each time. That’s our first low hanging fruit! Apart from that another side-effect of the clean environment is that we build librsvg from scratch each time, meaning we don’t make use of the incremental compilation that modern compilers offer. So let’s get started.

      • [GNOME] Builder Nightly

        One of the great aspects of the Flatpak model, apart from separating apps from the OS, is that you can have multiple versions of the same app installed concurrently. You can rely on the stable release while trying things out in the development or nightly built version. This creates a need to easily identify the two versions apart when launching it with the shell.

      • SVG Rendering and GSVGtk

        For SVG rendering, we have few options: librsvg, as the most popular one,,and Lasem, maybe others. Both take an SVG file, parse it and render it over specified Cairo.Context.

      • GTask and Threaded Workers

        GTask is super handy, but it’s important you’re very careful with it when threading is involved.

      • gksu is dead. Long live PolicyKit

        Today, gksu was removed from Debian unstable. It was already removed 2 months ago from Debian Testing (which will eventually be released as Debian 10 “Buster”).

  • Distributions
    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Slax Linux Distribution Begins Planning For Its First 2018 Release

          Arriving last Christmas was a rejuvenated release of Slax, the long-running, lightweight Linux distribution with its development restarting last year and having shifted from being a Slackware derivative to Debian and moving from KDE to Fluxbox+Compton. Those involved are working on a new Slax release for 2018.

          Slax lead developer Tomas Matejicek has announced work is underway on the next version of this modern Slax OS with Debian+Fluxbox.

        • Work in progress on next version

          I’ve started working on next version of Slax. You can track the roadmap here, and you can suggest changes for the next version here.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Tiny Apollo Lake based mini-PCs run Ubuntu

            Logic Supply unveiled two 116 x 83 x 34mm mini-PCs built around a Celeron N3350: a CL200 with 3x USB ports and a CL210 that doubles memory to 2GB LPDDR4 and 32GB eMMC, and adds a second mini-DP and GbE port.

            Logic Supply announced its smallest mini-PCs to date with CL200 and CL210 models that measure just 116 x 83 x 34mm. The CL200 ships with Ubuntu 16.04 while the more advanced CL210 also offers Windows 10 IoT. Both of these “IoT Edge Device” mini-PCs tap Intel’s dual-core, 1.1GHz Celeron N3350 with 6W TDP from the Apollo Lake generation, and support digital media, data acquisition, automation, and network gateway applications.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Continues Prepping With The Linux 4.15 Kernel

            There were various calls by independent end-users voicing their two cents that Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic Beaver” should ship with Linux 4.16 instead of Linux 4.15, but that isn’t going to happen.

            In several different places the past few weeks I’ve seen various remarks made of how “Ubuntu 18.04 should ship with Linux 4.16″ on the basis of either better Spectre/Meltdown support, Linux 4.16 will be out in time and neither 4.15 or 4.16 are even LTS releases, better hardware support, or users simply wanting all the goodies in Linux 4.16. But that’s simply foolish given Ubuntu 18.04 is being a Long Term Support release and how close the timing ends up being as is.

          • Kernel Team summary: March 21, 2018

            On the road to 18.04 we have a 4.15 based kernel in the Bionic repository.

          • Ubuntu Preps to Remove Qt 4 Support from the Archives, Target Ubuntu 19.04

            With Qt 5 being largely adopted by Qt application developers and other major projects, such as the KDE Plasma desktop environment, the Qt 4 technologies are becoming obsolete, so more and more GNU/Linux distributions plan its complete removal from the software repositories.

            Debian Project’s Qt/KDE teams are already preparing to remove Qt 4 support from the repositories of the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series mainly because it’s getting harder and harder to maintain it now that it is no longer supported upstream, and may cause lots of problems system-wide.

          • Which Linux Distribution to Use After Ubuntu?

            Ubuntu is one of the best Linux distributions for beginners. It’s an excellent platform for people new to Linux. It is easy to install, has tons of free resources available along with a massive list of applications available for it.

            I am not saying Ubuntu is strictly for new Linux users. I have been using Ubuntu as my primary operating system for more than eight years and I just love it.

  • Devices/Embedded
    • Debian-driven DragonBoard expands to 96Boards Extended spec

      Arrow has launched its $199 DragonBoard 820c, an open-spec, Snapdragon 820E based 96Boards CE Extended SBC with an audio header and a second 60-pin connector in addition to the usual 40- and 60-pin headers.

      Arrow’s Qualcomm-backed DragonBoard 820c was teased over a year ago and then announced by Qualcomm last month in conjunction with the release of the Snapdragon 820E SoC. We briefly covered the SBC earlier this week as part of Linaro’s multi-board roll-out — Linaro said that it would soon qualify the 820c as compliant with its new AI-focused spec. There was no shopping link at the time, but now you can purchase this successor to the DragonBoard 410C for $199. The open-spec SBC runs Debian Linux, with planned support for OpenEmbedded.

    • Mysterious ‘Ataribox’ console finally gets a name and pre-order window

      Atari’s new entry into the console market now has an official name: The Atari VCS. The device was originally teased as the “Ataribox” last year during the E3 gaming convention: A new Linux-based system providing all your favorite Atari classics along with games from independent developers. Visually, it’s a throwback to the Atari 2600 console, only with a sleeker, modern look and updated hardware. Atari calls it a “gaming and entertainment platform.”

    • GDC 2018 | The Ataribox is real, and it’s more computer than gaming console

      Atari COO Michael Arzt told Tom’s Hardware that the machine will indeed run Linux (or, at least, a derivative of Linux) with its own Atari-themed UI. The device can be controlled through either a classically-styled joystick or a more modern gamepad. Users can also connect a keyboard and mouse through either USB or Bluetooth.

    • The Ataribox is here at GDC, but it’s also kind of not (hands-on)

      In fact, Atari execs told us there’s no longer a set price or a promised release date for the console — because many of its key pieces, like its AMD processor and customized Linux operating system, are still coming together.

    • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Benchmarks

      Last week on Pi Day marked the release of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ with a slightly higher clocked Cortex-A53 processors, dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, faster Ethernet, and other minor enhancements over its predecessor. I’ve been spending the past few days putting the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ through its paces the past few days with an array of benchmarks while comparing the performance to other ARM SBCs as well as a few lower-end Intel x86 systems too. Here is all you need to know about the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ performance.

    • Porting L4Re and Fiasco.OC to the Ben NanoNote (Part 2)

      Having undertaken some initial investigations into running L4Re and Fiasco.OC on the MIPS Creator CI20, I envisaged attempting to get this software running on the Ben NanoNote, too. For a while, I put this off, feeling confident that when I finally got round to it, it would probably be a matter of just choosing the right compiler options and then merely fixing all the mistakes I had made in my own driver code. Little did I know that even the most trivial activities would prove more complicated than anticipated.

      As you may recall, I had noted that a potentially viable approach to porting the software would merely involve setting the appropriate compiler switches for “soft-float” code, thus avoiding the generation of floating point instructions that the JZ4720 – the SoC on the Ben NanoNote – would not be able to execute. A quick check of the GCC documentation indicated the availability of the -msoft-float switch. And since I have a working cross-compiler for MIPS as provided by Debian, there didn’t seem to be much more to it than that. Until I discovered that the compiler doesn’t seem to support soft-float output at all.

      I had hoped to avoid building my own cross-compiler, and apart from enthusiastic (and occasionally successful) attempts to build the Debian ones before they became more generally available, the last time I really had anything to do with this was when I first developed software for the Ben. As part of the general support for the device an OpenWrt distribution had been made available. Part of that was the recipe for building the cross-compiler and other tools, needed for building a kernel and all the software one would deploy on a device. I am sure that this would still be a good place to look for a solution, but I had heard things about Buildroot and so set off to investigate that instead.

    • Artila Releases New Linux-ready Cortex-A7 System on Module M-X6ULL

      Artila’s new SODIMM module based on NXP i.MX6ULL ARM Cortex A7 CPU core operating up to 800MHz speed with Linux OS. The new M-X6ULL is designed to meet the needs of many general embedded applications that require power efficient, high performance and cost optimized solution, as well as embedded systems that require high-end multimedia applications in a small form factor, this cost effective M-X6ULL is ultra-compact in size with the form factor of 68 x 43 mm. In addition, M-X6ULL has 200-pins connectors to allow extension of more I/Os for peripheral signals like two 10/100 Mbps Ethernet, LCD, CAN, UART, USB, SD and I2C.

    • Want to support eelo more? Become my Patron!

      Yes, I need to eat and pay my bills. And until eelo becomes a success, with a working business model, the only way for me to finance my living doing some consulting. I’ve reduced this activity at the max but this currently takes me one day per week, or a little more.

      eelo is gaining some momentum, it’s super-promising. Its potential is HUGE. And it’s the most exciting professionnal project I’ve started in my life.

    • A new strategic investor joins the Sailfish family

      Sailfish OS has come a long way, starting with the MeeGo times, then carried by Jolla ever since 2011. The journey has had its ups and downs, as these kind of things typically have, but we never gave up. I recommend to check out e.g. this recent article about the journey. The most important thing that has kept us going together with our community and partners all the time is simply that we have the ability to create and offer together an alternative mobile operating system for the world.

      Next chapter in this story is about to begin as we’re getting Rostelecom, a publicly listed company and the leading telecommunications company in Russia, to officially join our wide international group of Sailfish partners.

    • Tizen
    • Android
Free Software/Open Source
  • U-Boot 2018.03 Released, Now Supports iSCSI For Network Booting

    As a win for ARM single board computers and other systems relying upon U-Boot as the bootloader, iSCSI support is now available.

  • New Security Features for Google Cloud Platform, U-Boot Now Includes iSCSI Support and More

    U-Boot 2018.03 has been released, and it now includes iSCSI support, which allows you to “share complete disks or partitions via the network”. See the Phoronix article and Xypron’s “iSCSI booting with U-Boot and iPXE” for more details.

  • Locking down Data with Open Source Code

    The single most noteworthy quality of Linux is that it is one of the few open source working frameworks, and among the most broadly created. Confining open source programming as secure justifiably befuddles individuals, however, a closer look discloses why that is valid. At the point when source code is distributed on the web, it could enable an aggressor to find shortcomings. In any case, by and by it enables numerous more eyewitnesses to distinguish and uncover bugs to the engineers for fixing. Since Linux is an entirely open source OS, for all intents and purposes each scrap of code running on your equipment is subjected to this crowdsourced examination.

  • Best open source network monitoring tools
  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla Presses Pause on Facebook Advertising

        Mozilla is pressing pause on our Facebook advertising. Facebook knows a great deal about their two billion users — perhaps more intimate information than any other company does. They know everything we click and like on their site, and know who our closest friends and relationships are. Because of its scale, Facebook has become one of the most convenient platforms to reach an audience for all companies and developers, whether a multibillion corporation or a not-for-profit.

      • Results of the MDN “Duplicate Pages” SEO experiment

        Following in the footsteps of MDN’s “Thin Pages” SEO experiment done in the autumn of 2017, we completed a study to test the effectiveness and process behind making changes to correct cases in which pages are perceived as “duplicates” by search engines. In SEO parlance, “duplicate” is a fuzzy thing. It doesn’t mean the pages are identical—this is actually pretty rare on MDN in particular—but that the pages are similar enough that they are not easily differentiated by the search engine’s crawling technology.

      • Send, getting better

        Send continues to improve incrementally. Since our last post we’ve added a few requested features and fixed a bunch of bugs. You can now choose to allow multiple downloads and change the password on a file if you need to.

        Send is also more stable and should work more reliably across a wider set of browsers. We’ve brought back support for Microsoft Edge and some older versions of Safari.

  • Databases
    • PostgreSQL Begins Landing LLVM JIT Support For Faster Performance

      The widely-used PostgreSQL database software may soon become much faster thanks to a work-in-progress LLVM JIT back-end that has begun to land.

      A long-running project has been JIT-compiling SQL queries in PostgreSQL by making use of LLVM’s just-in-time compilation support, rather than passing SQL queries through Postgres’ interpreter. With the LLVM JIT’ed queries, more efficient code is generated by being able to make more use of run-time information and can especially help in increasing the performance of complex SQL queries.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • Microsoft Promises Not to Sue Over GPLv2 Compliance Issues [Ed: Weird (almost white-washing) headline given that Microsoft has been caught in violation of the GPL many times before]
    • New partners join open source ship design platform
    • Management alone can’t drive open culture change

      It would seem that targeted learning around how a non-hierarchical governance model practically works in a global organisation is required. This, in and of itself, is a learning expedition that needs to be highly personal. We have to be retrained to fail forward and without fear. We have to learn to criticize constructively, even our bosses. We also have to rethink things like typical management activities, job security and career pathways. Above all, we have to feel safe inside our organizations and that requires trust.

    • GNU Parallel 20180322 (‘Hawking’) released

      GNU Parallel 20180322 (‘Hawking’) has been released.

    • LibrePlanet 2018: Last update!

      Advance registration is now closed, but you can register on-site at LibrePlanet 2018, starting at 09:00 on the ground floor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Stata Center, 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA. Admission is gratis for FSF Associate Members and students, and for all others costs $60 for one day or $90 for both days.

      If you are unable to attend, or know people who cannot attend LibrePlanet 2018 but want to participate, watch the livestream, which you can do using exclusively free software (an unfortunate rarity!)

      We want to alert you to a schedule change: unfortunately, keynote speaker Gabriella Coleman had to cancel her LibrePlanet talk. She will be sorely missed, but we are glad to announce that free software technologist, social scientist, and FSF board member Benjamin Mako Hill will fill in. Check out the full schedule here — to read full descriptions of each talk, click “Expand all” at the top of the page.

  • Public Services/Government
    • Open-Source Platform Speeds Development, Requirements Process

      IT development in the federal government has earned its reputation for being a painfully slow process but, the government’s cloud application platform, is helping to change that by standardizing the application lifecycle and helping to document it every step of the way.

      The need to document the entire stack of an IT solution in the federal government can run up to 1,000 pages, and that process requires in depth knowledge of thousands of pages of regulations, laws and risk management policies.

      Typically, federal agencies have compliance experts who must review this documentation and grant approval or request changes. This can take six to 14 months to get authority to operate (ATO), and then you still need to deploy the application.

    • Hortonworks’ Shaun Bierweiler: Open Source Software to Help Advance Federal IT Modernization

      Shaun Bierweiler, vice president of Hortonworks‘ (Nasdaq: HDP) U.S. public sector business, has said enterprise open source software will help build on federal agencies’ efforts to update their information technology infrastructure due to key benefits, ExecutiveBiz reported.

      He wrote in a GCN guest piece that open source software brings interoperability, more choices in technology and providers, cost savings as well as a collaborative community of technology contributors.

      “The vast and growing network of enterprise open source solutions can play a key role in modernizing government’s IT infrastructures to be fast, functional and future-oriented,” Bierweiler concluded.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • Good Compliance Practices Are Good Engineering Practices

      Companies across all industries use, participate in, and contribute to open source projects, and open source compliance is an integral part of the use and development of any open source software. It’s particularly important to get compliance right when your company is considering a merger or acquisition. The key, according to Ibrahim Haddad, is knowing what’s in your code, right down to the exact versions of the open source components.

    • Do I Have to Use a Free/Open Source License?

      That, as we all probably already know, is not the case. The only licenses that can be called “open source” are those that are reviewed and approved as such by the Open Source Initiative (aka OSI). Its list of OSI-Approved licenses allows developers to choose and apply a license without having to hire a lawyer. It also means that companies no longer need to have their own lawyers review every single license in every piece of software they use. Can you imagine how expensive it would be if every company needed to do this? Aside from the legal costs, the duplication of effort alone would lead to millions of dollars in lost productivity. While the OSI’s other outreach and advocacy efforts are important, there’s no doubt that its license approval process is a service that provides an outsized amount of value for developers and companies alike.

  • Programming/Development
    • JDK 10: General Availability

      JDK 10, the first release produced under the six-month rapid-cadence release model [1][2], is now Generally Available. We’ve identified no P1 bugs since we promoted build 46 almost two weeks ago, so that is the official GA release, ready for production use.

    • Java JDK 10 Reaches General Availability With Experimental Java-Based JIT Compiler

      JDK 10 has reached general availability as the first Java release under Oracle’s new six-month release model.

      Mark Reinhold of Oracle has announced the availability now of JDK 10 with its official GA release now that no more high priority bugs are present.

    • Java 10 Released With New Features: Download Here

      Ever since its inception, Java has continued to rule the hearts of programmers as one of the most loved and used programming languages around. In 2017, Oracle and Java community decided to move to a new six-month cycle.

      The recently released JDK 10 is the first Oracle release in the new cycle. So, in a way, this implementation of Java Standard Edition (SE) 10 is the beginning of a new era. It follows Java 9, which arrived just six months ago.

    • JupyterLab: ready for users

      In the recent article about Jupyter and its notebooks, we mentioned that a new interface, called JupyterLab, existed in what its developers described as an “early preview” stage. About two weeks after that article appeared, Project Jupyter made a significant announcement: JupyterLab is “ready for users”. Users will find a more integrated environment for scientific computation that is also more easily extended. JupyterLab takes the Jupyter Notebook to a level of functionality that will propel it well into the next decade—and beyond.

      While JupyterLab is still in beta, it is stable and functional enough to be used in daily work, and steadily approaching a 1.0 release. From the point of view of developers working on extensions or other projects that use the JupyterLab API, however, the beta status serves as a caution that its developer interfaces are still in flux; they should plan for the possibility of breaking changes.

      JupyterLab arose in 2015 from the desire to incorporate the “classic” (as it is known now) Jupyter Notebook into something more like an integrated development environment running in the browser. In addition, the user was to have the ability to extend the environment by creating new components that could interact with each other and with the existing ones. The 2011 web technology that the Jupyter Notebook was built upon was not quite up to this task. Although existing JavaScript libraries, such as React, suggested a way forward, none of them had the power and flexibility, particularly in the area of interprocess communication, that was required. The JupyterLab team addressed this problem by developing a new JavaScript framework called PhosphorJS. JupyterLab and PhosphorJS are co-developed, with capabilities added to the JavaScript framework as they are needed for JupyterLab.


      The Jupyter Notebook has already won over many scientists and educators because of the ease with which it allows one to explore, experiment, and share. JupyterLab makes the Notebook part of a more complete, powerful, and extensible environment for pursuing computational science and disseminating the results, leaving little doubt that this free-software project will win over an even larger portion of the scientific community. I’ve tried to give some idea of the power and convenience of the JupyterLab interface, but to really appreciate this technology, you need to try it out yourself. Fortunately, this is easy to do, as it’s simple to install and intuitive enough to get started without reading documentation—and it happens to be a great deal of fun.

    • Variable-length arrays and the max() mess

      Variable-length arrays (VLAs) have a non-constant size that is determined (and which can vary) at run time; they are supported by the ISO C99 standard. Use of VLAs in the kernel has long been discouraged but not prohibited, so there are naturally numerous VLA instances to be found. A recent push to remove VLAs from the kernel entirely has gained momentum, but it ran into an interesting snag on the way.

    • Discussing PEP 572

      As is often the case, the python-ideas mailing list hosted a discussion about a Python Enhancement Proposal (PEP) recently. In some sense, this particular PEP was created to try to gather together the pros and cons of a feature idea that regularly crops up: statement-local bindings for variable names. But the discussion of the PEP went in enough different directions that it led to calls for an entirely different type of medium in which to have those kinds of discussions.

    • This Week in Rust 226

      Always wanted to contribute to open-source projects but didn’t know where to start? Every week we highlight some tasks from the Rust community for you to pick and get started!

    • Python 3.7 now available in Fedora

      On February 28th 2018, the second beta of Python 3.7 was released. This new version contains lots of fixes and, notably, several new features available for everyone to test. The pre-release of Python 3.7 is available not only in Fedora Rawhide but also all other Fedora versions. Read more about it below.

    • Programming languages can be hard to grasp for non-English speakers. Step forward, Bato: A Ruby port for Filipinos

      A Filipino developer is hoping his handmade Ruby port will help bring coding skills to some of the Philippines’s poorest communities.

      Joel Bryan Juliano says he built Bato as a way for speakers of Tagalog – the most widely-spoken language in the nation – to be able to learn the basics of programming without also having to be fluent in English. Today’s coding languages tend to be built around English grammar, which is a problem for people without a grasp on English.

      A software engineer with Altus Digital Capital by day, Juliano told The Register he developed Bato as an educational tool for skilling up family members, and quickly saw how it could be used to show the basics of programming without language barriers.

  • Conundrum

    I want to do pathfinding through a Doom map. The ultimate goal is to be able to automatically determine the path the player needs to take to reach the exit — what switches to hit in what order, what keys to get, etc.

  • Science
    • Pre-publication Peer Review Subtracts Value

      Pre-publication peer review is intended to perform two functions; to prevent bad science being published (gatekeeping), and to improve the science that is published (enhancement). Over the years I’ve written quite often about how the system is no longer “fit for purpose”. Its time for another episode draw attention to two not-so recent contributions:

  • Health/Nutrition
    • New Process, Mandatory Disclosure Stir Reactions In WIPO Committee On Genetic Resources

      A proposed revision of articles that could become a World Intellectual Property Organization instrument protecting against the misappropriation of genetic resources met with strong resistance from some developing countries, asking that the committee revert to the previous version of the text. Their concern is what they see as new issues and concepts introduced this week, mainly by the United States. The committee chair decided to start a new process.

    • Chicago Says It Loud and Clear: Legalize It!

      In Cook County, the second-most-populous county in the United States, Chicago and suburban voters were asked: “Shall the State of Illinois legalize the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?”

      The referendum was nonbinding, but the results from a county that has a bigger population than 27 American states, was resounding. With more people casting ballots on the marijuana referendum than the combined total that participated in the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial primaries, 63 percent said “yes” to legalization, while just 37 percent voted “no.”

    • Drug Costs Continue to Rise

      Increased drug costs have been a political and economic target for more than the past generation, being one of the motivations for the Hatch-Waxman Act in 1984. Drug costs were a big part of Ross Perot’s campaign in 1992, Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated healthcare plans when she was First Lady, and President George W. Bush’s changes to Medicare/Medicaid during his second term. Negotiating drug prices was also a lynchpin of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and the high cost of biologic drugs created the political climate for the Biologic Price Competition and Innovation Act in 2011.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Julian Assange plans to discuss Cambridge Analytica with lawmakers

      WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange said Tuesday that he plans to speak with members of the British Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee about Cambridge Analytica, the embattled London-based data firm linked to President Trump’s 2016 campaign.

    • What WikiLeaks reveals about Cyril

      Shortly after Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as President of South Africa, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange tweeted: “172 documents from WikiLeaks’s archives referencing South Africa’s new president”.

      What these documents revealed was predictable: Ramaphosa is liked by business, Western governments and Israel, while it is widely accepted that he remains a socialist at heart.

  • Finance
    • Europe proposes strict new rules for tax-dodging tech firms

      This measure will affect companies with global annual revenues of above €750m and taxable EU revenue above €50m, and will ensure the likes of Apple, Facebook and Google pay “their fair share”, the EC said.

    • Dems offering bill aimed at curbing stock buybacks

      The bill would repeal a Securities and Exchange Commission rule that makes it easier for companies to do stock buybacks, and it would also end corporations’ ability to repurchase stocks on the open market. Companies would still be able to buy back shares through tender offers, which are subject to more disclosure requirements than open-market purchases, according to the release from Baldwin’s office.

    • Exclusive: Democrats plan crackdown on booming stock buybacks

      Buybacks, which boost stock prices by making shares scarcer, have exploded in 2018 thanks to the huge windfall created by President Trump’s new tax law. American companies like Pepsi (PEP) and Cisco (CSCO) have announced a total of $229 billion of buybacks so far this year, according to research firm TrimTabs. Companies are on track to buy back the largest number of shares in at least a decade.

    • Why I Don’t Sign Non-Competes

      [...] Over the course of the next fifteen years, I would be asked to sign non-competes several more times, always prior to employment. I’ve always refused, and until recently, I’ve never been denied a position because of that refusal.

      A non-compete is a type of contract issued by an employer, typically part of the standard work agreement, job offer or non-disclosure agreement, which states that the employee agrees not to start a business that competes with their current company or to work for their company’s competitors, for a set length of time (typically one year) after leaving or being terminated. If that sounds like an illegal contract, in the state of California, it is.

    • The EU’s digital tax bill would burden COUNTLESS tiny app developers around the globe

      I couldn’t google a single article or statement higlighting the two ways in which even small mobile app developers will be affected by the digital tax the European Commission proposed on Wednesday (see yesterday’s post and an October 2017 piece), so I’ll just explain the problem here.

    • Resisting the gig economy: the emergence of cooperative food delivery platforms

      In the UK seven million people from working households are in poverty, and real wages have seen a 10.4% drop in the last decade (more than anywhere else in Europe). At the same time the 1,000 wealthiest people in the country got richer by billions after Brexit.

      Platform companies are helping to widen the gap between rich and poor by paying poverty wages while producing bubbles with unjustifiably high asset prices and low productivity. Alisher Usmanov, the fifth richest man in Britain, initially made his money from mining steel and iron ore but has now grown his fortune by investing in companies such as Spotify and Airbnb. Deliveroo doesn’t own its restaurants or employ its riders, but is worth more than the UK’s second biggest food chain Wetherspoons.

      Deliveroo saw its losses increase by over 300% in 2017. But that didn’t stop its founder giving out £4.5 million in share bonuses to directors and treating himself to a generous 22.5% pay rise, all while Deliveroo’s riders are denied a minimum wage, sick leave and holiday pay. With profits from share ownership going to a small minority, coupled with stagnating wages, the wealth gap between labour and the owners of capital in the economy is ever diverging. It’s time to think not just about a fair share of income but also fair distribution of ownership, something cooperative food delivery platforms could be a leading example of.

    • Better Bitcoin Relay? Crypto VCs Back BloXroute Funding

      At least that’s according to the team at BloXroute Labs, which just brought its network for relaying information between blockchain nodes out of stealth with an impressive group of investors including AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant, Metastable, 1confirmation and Flybridge Capital. Through these investors, the company raised $1.6 million in an equity round.

      But the new network is more ambitious than the capital suggests. Called BloXroute, the project aims to make relay networks censorship-resistant against any number of powers by blinding the system from knowing how nodes connect with each other. And that, they say, is an improvement on the current infrastructure, largely built over the years by volunteers.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Illinois: Fmr. Nazi Party Member Wins Republican Primary for Congressional Race

      In Illinois, a Holocaust denier and a former American Nazi Party member has won the Republican primary in the 3rd Congressional District Tuesday. Republican candidate Arthur Jones is not expected to win the general election this November, as he’s competing in a heavily Democratic district that includes parts of Chicago. His Democratic challenger for the district will be the anti-abortion incumbent Dan Lipinski, who narrowly beat out his progressive challenger Marie Newman. Lipinski also opposes the Affordable Care Act and refused to endorse President Obama in 2012. Before he won the congressional seat in 2004, his father, Bill Lipinski, held the seat for 11 terms.

    • American Public Troubled by ‘Deep State’

      “Public Troubled by Deep State” is the headline that the Monmouth University Polling Institute tags to its recent poll. Acknowledging that polling about the term “Deep State” is problematic because “few Americans (13%) are very familiar with the term ‘Deep State,’” the pollsters at Monmouth defined the term as follows for their interviewees: “The term Deep State refers to the possible existence of a group of unelected government and military officials who secretly manipulate or direct national policy.”

    • Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios’ Defeat Opens the Door to Reform

      The ouster of Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios in the Democratic primary Tuesday paves the way for reform at a government agency that has operated for decades with little oversight or transparency, even though it has significant influence over the pocketbooks of millions of people.

      It also upends — for now, at least — an arrangement that one insider referred to as a political ecosystem. There, faulty assessments led to a high volume of appeals that benefited a cottage industry of tax attorneys and appraisers. They, in turn, poured contributions into the campaign coffers of the assessor and members of the Cook County Board of Review, which handles property tax appeals.

      But like any entrenched bureaucracy, the forces at work in Cook County’s convoluted and opaque property tax system won’t easily give way to change. As the recent independent study from the nonprofit Civic Consulting Alliance, or CCA, stated: “Bringing the system into compliance with industry standards will require fundamental changes.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Congress OKs sex-trafficking bill that critics say will “censor the Internet”

      The bill changes Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which provides website operators with broad immunity for hosting third-party content. The bill declares that Section 230 “was never intended to provide legal protection to websites that unlawfully promote and facilitate prostitution and websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts with sex-trafficking victims.”

    • Senate passes controversial online sex trafficking bill

      The bill was approved overwhelmingly in a 97-2 vote. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) were the only votes against the bill.


      Most [I]nternet giants have gone quiet in the fight over the controversial bill. Facebook endorsed SESTA as the company faces scrutiny on other fronts, in particular alleged Russian efforts to use their platform to conduct a disinformation campaign targeting U.S. voters during the 2016 election season.

    • When censorship wins, everybody loses

      When students walked out of Garnet Valley High School in Glen Mills last week, they demonstrated the value of free speech. But when sophomore Clayton Bromley refused to participate, his classmates made it clear that his own speech wasn’t valued at all.

      “They started yelling at me,” Bromley told Philadelphia Magazine. “They singled me out. They made me look like a bad person.”

      It’s easy to celebrate freedom of speech when it’s speech that you like, of course. But if we fail to protect speakers whose ideas we don’t share, free speech becomes a dead letter. And that leaves us all less informed, less aware, and less alive to the world around us.

    • ACLU files art censorship lawsuit against the city of New Orleans

      A citizen is facing potential jail time over a mural referencing Trump’s 2005 Access Hollywood tape

    • Goodbye, SAPPRFT (but not Chinese censorship)

      Last Tuesday, during the National People’s Congress, China announced that it was dismantling its top media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT). According to the notice, the five-year-old institution would be succeeded by a television and radio administration that would be directly attached to the State Council, or Cabinet, giving the Communist Party further control of China’s media and entertainment.

      This week, a more detailed proposal stated that the sectors overseeing China’s film and press industries would not be part of the new radio and television administration. Instead, the bodies governing film, press, and publication would be folded directly into the publicity department of the Communist Party of China.

    • China tightens grip on media with regulator reshuffle

      China is consolidating film, news and publishing regulation under the powerful Communist Party publicity department, strengthening Beijing’s grip over content as the country looks to bolster its “soft power” domestically and overseas.

    • China Film Industry To Be Regulated By Communist Party Propaganda Department

      When China abolished the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television last week, state media said a proposed new body overseeing radio and TV management would fall directly under the State Council, i.e., more firmly under the thumb of the Communist Party. But a question mark was left over what was to become of film oversight. The situation is now gaining some clarity. A statement from China Film Group on Tuesday said film management will be assigned to the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party’s Central Committee.

    • Internet censorship bill looms large over Egypt

      Egyptian parliamentarians will soon review a draft anti-cybercrime law that could codify internet censorship practices into national law.

      While the Egyptian government is notorious for censoring websites and platforms on national security grounds, there are no laws in force that explicitly dictate what is and is not permissible in the realm of online censorship. But if the draft law is approved, that will soon change.

      Article 7 of the anti-cybercrime law would give investigative authorities the right to “order the censorship of websites” whenever “evidence arises that a website broadcasting from inside or outside the state has published any phrases, photos or films, or any promotional material or the like which constitute a crime, as set forth in this law, and poses a threat to national security or compromises national security or the national economy.” Orders issued under Article 7 would need to be approved by a judge within 72 hours of being filed.

    • Washington New Voices bill officially signed into law, becoming 14th state to protect rights of student journalists

      A room full of student journalists and supporters — many of whom have waited more than a decade for this moment — watched on as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed the state’s New Voices bill, Substitute Senate Bill 5064, into law on March 21.

    • Washington’s governor signs anti-censorship bill for student journalists into law
    • Cuban reggaeton rebels face censorship, prison

      A passion for Cuban underground music gave DJ Unic a career as a music producer and landed Henry Laso in prison. They both love reggaeton, a Puerto Rican fusion of electronic beats and African and Caribbean rhythms that has taken hold in nightclubs worldwide.

      The genre celebrates sensuality, as did Jamaican reggae from the late ’60s, and adopts the free rhythmic speech of hip-hop from the Bronx in the ’70s. The sensual grinding and the explicit lyrics that come with the beat offended Cuban officials, who control recording studios, radio and television.


      After the Cuban Music Institute announced the genre ran against the country’s revolutionary culture and censored it in 2012, DJ Unic started his YouTube channel. On the Communist-ruled island of about 11.4 million, the music producer has about 14.7 million views on YouTube and some 38,000 subscribers. He puts the spotlight on other artists.

    • Senate Passes Bill on Sex-trafficking That May Result to Online Censorship
    • Congress OKs sex trafficking bill that critics say will “censor the Internet”
    • Senate passes sex-trafficking bill that may lead to online censorship
    • How Congress Censored the Internet
    • US Takes Step Closer to State Censorship With New Measures – Analysts

      The US government has taken another step toward state censorship and management of news with new measures introduced by lawmakers targeting foreign media outlets, analysts told Sputnik.

      In particular, congressmen want to have the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) engaged in preparing regular detailed reports on the work of the foreign media in the United States, and to compel the outlets to include a conspicuous statement in their broadcasts that the programming is produced on behalf of foreign principals.

    • As Expected Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Unconstitutional SESTA Bill, Putting Lives In Danger
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • How 802.11mc Wi-Fi Will Be Used to Track Your Location Indoors
    • Wonder How Much Facebook Knows About You? Here’s How to See
    • Russian Court Says Telegram Must Hand Over Encryption Keys To State Intelligence Service

      Clever. The keys are not restricted info. Everything accessible with the keys is. This isn’t completely unlike judicial assertions that passwords are not evidence, even if relinquishing them then gives the government access to plenty of evidence. In this case, the FSB is collecting the keys to everyone’s houses and promising not to open them up and take a look around whenever it feels the urge. The best way to protect users’ privacy is to not hold the keys. The second best way is to take your business elsewhere (but in reverse, I guess) when local governments claim the only way you can do business locally is by placing users’ communications directly in the government’s hands.

      If Telegram is forced to hand the keys over, it will be the last communications company in Russia to do so. All others have “registered” with the state communications agency, putting their users’ communications directly in the Russian government’s hands. If Telegram decides to pull out of the market, it will leave behind nearly 10 million users. Many of those will probably end up utilizing services the FSB has already tapped. Others may go overseas for uncompromised messaging services. But in the end, the FSB will get what it wants.

      As for Telegram, it’s facing a tough choice. With an initial coin offering in the works, it may not be willing to shed 10 million users and risk lowering its value. On the other hand, it may find standing up for 10 million users isn’t something that matters to investors. Unfortunately, pushing back against the FSB on behalf of its users still may result in the loss of several million users once the Russian high court reaches its expected decision several months down the road. It still has the option of moving its operations out of the reach of the Russian government while still offering its services to Russian citizens. This may be the choice it has to make if it wants its millions of Russian users to avoid being stuck with compromised accounts.

    • The Deep State Breaks Surface

      I confess I found it difficult to get worked up about the Cambridge Analytica affair. My reactions was “What awful people. But surely everybody realises that is what Facebook does?”. It seemed to me hardly news, on top of which the most likely outcome is that it will be used as yet another excuse to introduce government controls on the internet and clamp down on dissenting views like those on this website, where 85% of all traffic comes through Facebook or Twitter.

      But two nights ago my interest was piqued when, at the height of Cambridge Analytica’s domination of the news cycle, the BBC gave it considerably less airtime than the alcohol abuse problems of someone named Ant. The evening before, the BBC had on Newsnight given the CEO of Cambridge Analytica the most softball interview imaginable. If the BBC is obviously downplaying something, it is usually defending a deep British Establishment interest.

      It took me a minute to find out that Cambridge Analytica is owned by a British company, SCL Ltd, which in effect does exactly the same activities in the UK that Cambridge Analytica was undertaking in the US. I then looked up SCL on Bloomberg.

    • NSA Helped Track Down Bitcoin Users, Snowden Papers Allege
    • Snowden Releases NSA Documents Showing Bitcoin Was “#1 Priority”
    • The NSA Tried Tracking Bitcoin Users In 2013

      Paranoiacs in the Bitcoin community have long speculated that the US government may have cracked the virtual currency’s privacy model, that once made it popular with the online drug trade. For example, over the years various people have suggested or wondered (sometimes as a joke) if the NSA actually created Bitcoin in an effort to trap criminals.

      Unbelievably, these people were on to something. Sort of. According to a cache of documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden published by The Intercept on Monday, the NSA has actually been attempting to track Bitcoin users since 2013.

    • NSA has been tracking bitcoin users since 2013

      The National Security Agency has been spying on bitcoin users around the world beginning as early as March 2013, according to a story published by The Intercept.

    • Snowden Revealed a Secret Document Showing How NSA Tracked Bitcoin Users

      Edward Snowden, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, has put National Security Agency (NSA) documentation at the disposal of online news organization The Intercept displaying a secret program that was set to spy on Bitcoin trading on the cryptocurrency market.

    • Tracking bitcoin was NSA’s ‘#1 priority’ reveals a secret document provided by Snowden
    • Snowden Papers Reveals Bitcoin Users Have Been Tracked By The NSA
    • Is this what your Facebook feed looks like?
    • Mark Zuckerberg Answers ‘Hard Questions’ On Cambridge Analytica Scandal
    • 6 Upcoming Changes In Facebook To Regain Your Trust — Are They Enough?
    • Indian IT Minister Warns Facebook Against Election Tampering; Zuckerberg Vows To Ensure Integrity

      Amidst the ongoing controversy over data breach which involves Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, Indian IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has declared that the government will take “strong actions” against Facebook if the need arises.

    • Zuckerberg: Maybe tech should face some regulations

      “Actually, I’m not sure we shouldn’t be regulated,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with CNN that represented some of his first public remarks since the Cambridge Analytica controversy plunged his company into crisis and led to calls for his testimony to Congress.

    • Zuckerberg breaks silence on Cambridge Analytica crisis
    • Zuckerberg to discuss Cambridge Analytica scandal in CNN interview

      The social media company plans to tighten restriction in developer’s access to data, improve its transparency concerning data collection and investigate apps with similar access to user data.

    • Zuckerberg addresses ‘data breach’ but offers no apology

      Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has issued a long statement in response to the recent claims about data exfiltration from the platform to research firm Cambridge Analytica, promising to “work through this and build a better service over the long term”.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Finally Speaks About Cambridge Analytica; It Won’t Be Enough
    • Mark Zuckerberg Talks to WIRED About Facebook’s Privacy Problem

      He then gave an interview to WIRED in which he discussed the recent crisis, the mistakes Facebook made, and different models for how the company could be regulated. He also discussed the possibility that another—Russian—shoe could drop. Here is a transcript of that conversation: [...]

    • Canadian whistleblower Christopher Wylie blocked from Facebook, Instagram

      The Canadian whistleblower who claimed that information of more than 50 million Facebook users was inappropriately used during the U.S. election has been blocked by the social media giant.

    • How ‘Regulating Facebook’ Could Make Everyone’s Concerns Worse, Not Better

      In my last post, I described why it was wrong to focus on claims of Facebook “selling” your data as the “problem” that came out over the weekend concerning Cambridge Analytica and the data it had on 50 million Facebook users. As we described in detail in that post, that’s not the problem at all. Instead, much of the problem has to do with Facebook’s utter failure to be transparent in a way that matters — specifically in a way that its users actually understand what’s happening (or what may happen) to their data. Facebook would likely respond that it has tried to make that information clear (or, alternatively, it may say that it can’t force users to understand what they don’t take the time to understand). But I don’t think that’s a good answer. As we’ve learned, there’s a lot more at stake here than I think even Facebook recognized, and providing much more real transparency (rather than superficial transparency) is what’s necessary.

    • Alphabet Launches ‘Outline’: Open Source Software To Run Self-Hosted VPN

      Alphabet-owned Jigsaw has launched Outline, an open source Virtual Private Network (VPN) that can be hosted on your own server for free of cost.


      He launched an open-source VPN tool, AlgoVPN, back in the year 2016 and it seems that both of them are relatively similar.

    • AT&T Won Secret $3.3 Billion NSA Contract Despite More Expensive Bid

      AT&T was awarded one of the National Security Agency’s most coveted classified tech contracts despite a bid that was $750 million higher than the other competitor’s bid.

      According to redacted legal documents released March 20, the telecommunications giant bid $2.55 billion on a contract to “technically evolve” the NSA’s IT environment, significantly more than a $1.79 billion bid from DXC Technology. The subsequent bid protest resolved in AT&T’s favor in January.

      Called Regional Infrastructure Services I, the contract is the second of three massive tech contracts called Greenway that follow-up the agency’s classified Groundbreaker program. The infrastructure services contract is worth up to $3.3 billion over 10 years if all options are exercised, according to the protest documents.

    • Where’s Zuck? Facebook CEO silent as data harvesting scandal unfolds

      The chief executive of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has remained silent over the more than 48 hours since the Observer revealed the harvesting of 50 million users’ personal data, even as his company is buffeted by mounting calls for investigation and regulation, falling stock prices and a social media campaign to #DeleteFacebook.

    • Mark Zuckerberg is ‘working around the clock’ on the Cambridge Analytica controversy, Facebook says

      The company’s statement is notable for three reasons. One, it escalates the emotional tone of Facebook’s response — on Friday, it called Cambridge Analytica’s actions “unacceptable”; today they are an outrage. Two, the statement frames the story as a deception in which Facebook was not the bad actor but the victim. Three, it buys the company time amid growing demands to hear from Zuckerberg himself.

    • “Can We Trust Facebook?” Mark Zuckerberg’s Non-Answer Says It All

      CNN’s soft-ball-pitching, always-smiling, but-trying-ever-so-hard-to-seem-serious Laurie Segall sat across from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tonight as he broke his silence aboy just WTF happened with regard to the security of ‘our’ data, Cambridge Analytics’ data-mining, Russia, bad-actors, some more Russia, some more meddling, and, oh yeah, data breaches.

    • Cambridge Analytica Boasted of Disappearing Emails in Campaigns

      The executive also acknowledged his company used a self-destructing email server to communicate with clients in order to eliminate evidence of their contact.

    • Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, explained [Updated]

      Update: Cambridge Analytica has suspended CEO Alexander Nix. In addition to controversy over unauthorized access to private Facebook data, Nix is also facing a scandal over comments captured by hidden cameras. In those videos, Nix boasts about using dirty tricks—including staged bribery attempts and sending prostitutes to seduce political opponents—to win elections.

    • Watch Cambridge Analytica Executives Say They Masterminded Trump’s Election Win

      A second documentary from Channel 4 News reveals Cambridge Analytica sharing the tactics it used to allegedly win the presidential election for Donald Trump.

    • WhatsApp co-founder tells everyone to delete Facebook

      In 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp for $16 billion, making its co-founders — Jan Koum and Brian Acton — very wealthy men. Koum continues to lead the company, but Acton quit earlier this year to start his own foundation. And he isn’t done merely with WhatsApp — in a post on Twitter today, Acton told his followers to delete Facebook.

    • WhatsApp Co-founder Tells Everyone To Delete Facebook: “It Is Time”

      The voices calling the people to delete Facebook are gaining traction. In a tweet on Tuesday, even WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton told everyone to delete their social networking account from their digital life. It’s worth noting that Acton sold his company for $19 billion to Facebook in 2014.

      For those who don’t know, this #deletefacebook movement is a result of a massive data breach scandal that involved a voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica, which gathered the information of 50 million Facebook users inappropriately. In case you’re wondering, here’s how you can get rid of your Facebook account permanently.

    • Facebooks ability to sell your personal information is the real Cambridge Analytica scandal

      So, Cambridge Analytica is getting some well deserved criticism for (mis)using information it got from Facebook about 50 million people, mostly in the USA. What I find a bit surprising, is how little criticism Facebook is getting for handing the information over to Cambridge Analytica and others in the first place. And what about the people handing their private and personal information to Facebook? And last, but not least, what about the government offices who are handing information about the visitors of their web pages to Facebook? No-one who looked at the terms of use of Facebook should be surprised that information about peoples interests, political views, personal lifes and whereabouts would be sold by Facebook.

      What I find to be the real scandal is the fact that Facebook is selling your personal information, not that one of the buyers used it in a way Facebook did not approve when exposed. It is well known that Facebook is selling out their users privacy, but a scandal nevertheless. Of course the information provided to them by Facebook would be misused by one of the parties given access to personal information about the millions of Facebook users. Collected information will be misused sooner or later. The only way to avoid such misuse, is to not collect the information in the first place. If you do not want Facebook to hand out information about yourself for the use and misuse of its customers, do not give Facebook the information.

    • Facebook Has Many Sins To Atone For, But ‘Selling Data’ To Cambridge Analytica Is Not One Of Them

      Obviously, over the past few days there’s been plenty of talk about the big mess concerning Cambridge Analytica using data on 50 million Facebook users. And, with that talk has come all sorts of hot takes and ideas and demands — not all of which make sense. Indeed, it appears that there’s such a rush to condemn bad behavior that many are not taking the time to figure out exactly what bad behavior is worth condemning. And that’s a problem. Because if you don’t understand the actual bad behavior, then your “solutions” will be misplaced. Indeed, they could make problems worse. And… because I know that some are going to read this post as a defense of Facebook, let me be clear (as the title of this post notes): Facebook has many problems, and has done a lot of bad things (some of which we’ll discuss below). But if you mischaracterize those “bad” things, then your “solutions” will not actually solve them.

    • Facebook ‘Made Mistakes,’ says Mark Zuckerberg in first words on Cambridge Analytica crisis
    • Mark Zuckerberg Breaks Silence on Facebook User-Data Controversy

      What’s next: Facebook is facing an inquiry from the Federal Trade Commission, which is looking into whether the social-media company violated a 2011 agreement with the agency requiring user consent over disclosures of personal data.

      At this point, it’s unclear whether the uproar over Cambridge Analytica will lead to new legislation or government regulations (or any significant user exodus). Several Wall Street analysts believe Facebook will weather the storm, and they expect minimal long-term impact on the internet powerhouse’s overall ad business.

    • Woman sues Facebook, Cambridge Analytica for misuse of personal data
    • Want to Fix Facebook? That’ll Cost You About $75 a Year

      In a February SEC filing, which includes an obligatory meditation on every conceivable risk to future profits, Facebook warned that “unfavorable publicity regarding, for example, our privacy practices … [or] the actions of our developers whose products are integrated with our products” could imperil “the size, engagement, and loyalty of our user base.”

    • Meet the Psychologist at the Center of Facebook’s Data Scandal

      [...] Spectre boasted that his company — Philometrics — would revolutionize the way online surveys were done, making it easier for companies to design questionnaires that people would actually respond to on Facebook, Twitter or other sites. Crucially, he said, the surveys could predict the responses for large groups from a small number of respondents and micro-target ads better.

    • California privacy advocates ask Facebook to stop opposing their proposed ballot measure following Cambridge Analytica debacle

      In a letter to Zuckerberg, emailed to the social media company and posted on Zuckerberg’s Facebook page, Alastair Mactaggart, chairman of Californians for Consumer Privacy, says he was disappointed to learn Facebook has chosen not to support the privacy ballot campaign — and is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into an attempt to sink privacy advocates’ efforts.

    • The Cambridge Analytica-Facebook Debacle: A Legal Primer

      Kogan’s access to the data (if not his later use) was known to Facebook and seemingly consistent with Facebook’s developer application programming interface (API) at the time. This is how Kogan was able to access 50 million user profiles through only a few hundred thousand quiz-takers. You take Kogan’s quiz, and a thousand of your closest friends are also scooped up.

    • Cambridge Analytica boasts of dirty tricks to swing elections

      In one exchange, the company chief executive, Alexander Nix, is recorded telling reporters: “It sounds a dreadful thing to say, but these are things that don’t necessarily need to be true as long as they’re believed.”

    • We were warned about Cambridge Analytica. Why didn’t we listen?

      “If Cambridge Analytica can sway elections and referenda with a relatively small subset of Facebook’s data, imagine what Facebook can and does do with the full set”

    • New Orleans ends its relationship with tech firm Palantir, Landrieu’s office says

      “There’s a potential risk for abuse, particularly with no independent verification of how these tools are used,” Ursula Price, deputy monitor in the Independent Police Monitor’s office, previously told

    • If You’re Pissed About Facebook’s Privacy Abuses, You Should Be Four Times As Angry At The Broadband Industry

      To be very clear, Facebook is well deserving of the mammoth backlash the company is experiencing in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations. Especially since Facebook’s most substantive reaction to date has been to threaten lawsuits against news outlets for telling the truth. And, like most of these stories, it’s guaranteed that the core story is only destined to get worse as more and more is revealed about the way such casual handling of private consumer data is pretty much routine not only at Facebook, but everywhere.

      Despite the fact that consumer privacy apathy is now bone-grafted to the DNA of global corporate culture (usually only bubbling up after a scandal breaks), the outrage over Facebook’s lack of transparency has been monumental.

    • Zuckerberg Facing Heat After Multiple Investigations Into Facebook Data Breach

      Dark clouds are hovering over Facebook, and their stocks are falling. Now, various American and European federal bodies have started asking how a voter-profiling company managed to get hold of the data of 50 million users.

      Per a press release on Tuesday, the state of New York has followed the footsteps of Massachusetts that announced an investigation last weekend. As a part of a joint investigation, they have sent a demand letter to Facebook “to get to the bottom of what happened.”

    • Why have we given up our privacy to Facebook and other sites so willingly?

      Facebook is on the ropes. A week of revelations about Cambridge Analytica’s use of data gleaned from the social network has left the world demanding answers. The company can’t seem to decide: is it outraged that it was taken advantage of by an unscrupulous actor, or relieved that this is just normal use of tools that it made widely available for almost five years? Should Mark Zuckerberg come out front and centre leading the response, or should he hide in a cupboard until it all blows over?

      Faced with its first true crisis, the company is paralysed with fear. And that paralysis is, remarkably quickly, leading people to reassess their relationship with the site as a whole. The teens got there first, really. Facebook usage among younger people has been declining for years, in the face of competition from upstart rivals such as Snapchat, internal disruption from Facebook-owned Instagram, and a general sense that Facebook is full of old people and parents. But the backlash isn’t a generational thing any more. We’re all losing control of our data, both online and off, and we’re starting to kick back.

    • How to delete, disable, or limit your Facebook account

      There was a time when deleting your Facebook account was a pie-in-the-sky fantasy, but this week’s news might have you thinking twice. In a series of reports, we learned that an employee at Facebook erroneously handed a trove of data to a company called Cambridge Analytics, which in turn used that information to target voters and spread influence ahead of the 2016 election. So we totally understand if you’re having second thoughts about your account.

    • Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, explained [Updated]

      Trump operatives got private data from 50 million Facebook users.

    • WhatsApp co-founder joins call to #DeleteFacebook as fallout intensifies

      Momentum gathered behind the #DeleteFacebook campaign, with several media outlets publishing guides to permanently deleting your Facebook account. One surprising voice to emerge was that of Brian Acton, the co-founder of WhatsApp, which was bought by Facebook for $19bn in 2014.

    • Facebook Working With Comcast To Scuttle California Broadband Privacy Protections

      Last year you might recall that the GOP and Trump administration rushed to not only kill net neutrality at ISP lobbyist behest, but also some pretty basic but important consumer privacy rules. The protections, which would have taken effect in March of 2017, simply required that ISPs be transparent about what personal data is collected and sold, while mandating that ISPs provide consumers with the ability to opt of said collection. But because informed and empowered consumers damper ad revenues, ISPs moved quickly to have the rules scuttled with the help of cash-compromised lawmakers.

    • What Would Regulating Facebook Look Like?

      US politicians have called for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear in person before Congress. Some tech-focused legislation is currently wending its way through the Capitol’s corridors. And regulators in other countries have already clamped down on tech.

      In an interview with WIRED editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckberg seemed if not outright welcoming toward regulation, at least accepting of it. [...]

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Twitter’s chief information security officer is leaving the company

      News of Coates’ departure comes on the same day that Michael Zalewski, director of information security engineering at Google, announced his departure from that company after 11 years. (Zalewski was a high-ranking security executive at Google but not its chief security officer; that role belongs to Gerhard Eschelbeck, vice president of security engineering.) not And it comes two days after reports that Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, plans to leave the company in August. The departures come at a time when tech companies are under mounting pressure to prevent their platforms from being misused by foreign governments and other bad actors ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

    • Twitter not protecting women from abuse, says Amnesty

      A survey of 1,100 British women carried out for the report found that just 9% thought Twitter was doing enough to stop violence and abuse against women, while 78% did not feel it was a place where they could share their opinion without receiving such vitriol.

    • Uber’s Self-Driving Car Just Killed Somebody. Now What?

      The Tempe Police Department reports the Volvo XC90 SUV was in autonomous mode when the crash occurred, though the car had a human safety driver behind the wheel to monitor the technology and retake control in the case of an emergency or imminent crash. The woman, Elaine Herzberg, was transported to a local hospital, where she died from her injuries. The police department will complete its full report later today.

    • ProPublica’s Reporting Error Shows Why The Government Must Declassify Details Of Gina Haspel’s Role In CIA Torture

      Last week, we wrote a bit about Donald Trump’s nominee to head the CIA, Gina Haspel. That post highlighted a bunch of reporting about Haspel’s role in running a CIA blacksite in Thailand that was a key spot in the CIA’s torture program. Soon after we published it, ProPublica retracted and corrected an earlier piece — on which much of the reporting about Haspel’s connection to torture relied on. Apparently, ProPublica was wrong on the date at which Haspel started at the site, meaning that she took over soon after the most famous torture victim, Abu Zaubaydah, was no longer being tortured. Thus earlier claims that she oversaw his inhumane, brutal, and war crimes-violating torture were incorrect. To some, this error, has been used to toss out all of the concerns and complaints about Haspel, even though reporters now agree that she did oversee the torture of at least one other prisoner at a time when other CIA employees were seeking to transfer out of the site out of disgust for what the CIA was doing.

    • Reuniting a Mother and Child Torn Apart by ICE

      An ACLU lawsuit helped one family, but ICE’s practice of separating children from their parents continues.

      Last week I visited our client Ms. L, a Congolese mother whose 7-year-old daughter was taken away from her by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials shortly after she entered the United States last year.

      She was now at a shelter for formerly detained immigrants in Chicago, awaiting reunification with her daughter, whom she had not seen in over four months.

      Ms. L, whose name we are withholding to preserve her privacy, showed me several photographs of her beautiful little girl. In one, the little girl was sitting on a staircase next to a woman, both of them grinning into the camera. I asked who the woman was, and Ms. L looked at me with surprise.

    • The New CIA Director Nominee and the Massacre at My Lai

      On March 16, 2018, the same day I was with a delegation from Veterans for Peace at the 50th annual ceremonies commemorating the deaths of 504 civilians who were murdered by U.S. Army soldiers over a period of four hours on March 16, 1968, in the hamlet of My Lai, Viet Nam and surrounding villages, President Donald Trump nominated Gina Haspel to be the new CIA Director.

    • Cutting ‘Old Heads’ at IBM

      IBM declined requests for the numbers or age breakdown of its job cuts. ProPublica provided the company with a 10-page summary of its findings and the evidence on which they were based. IBM spokesman Edward Barbini said that to respond the company needed to see copies of all documents cited in the story, a request ProPublica could not fulfill without breaking faith with its sources. Instead, ProPublica provided IBM with detailed descriptions of the paperwork. Barbini declined to address the documents or answer specific questions about the firm’s policies and practices, and instead issued the following statement:

      “We are proud of our company and our employees’ ability to reinvent themselves era after era, while always complying with the law. Our ability to do this is why we are the only tech company that has not only survived but thrived for more than 100 years.”

      With nearly 400,000 people worldwide, and tens of thousands still in the U.S., IBM remains a corporate giant. How it handles the shift from its veteran baby-boom workforce to younger generations will likely influence what other employers do. And the way it treats its experienced workers will eventually affect younger IBM employees as they too age.

      Fifty years ago, Congress made it illegal with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or ADEA, to treat older workers differently than younger ones with only a few exceptions, such as jobs that require special physical qualifications. And for years, judges and policymakers treated the law as essentially on a par with prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation and other categories.

    • How the Crowd Led Us to Investigate IBM

      Ariana suggested that Peter write up a short essay on his own experiences of being laid off at 63 and searching for a job in the aftermath. We attached a short questionnaire to the bottom and headlined it: “Over 50 and looking for a job? We’d like to hear from you.”

      Dozens of people responded within the first couple of weeks. As we looked through this first round of questionnaires, we noticed a theme: a whole lot of information and technology workers told us they were struggling to stay employed. And those who had lost their jobs? They were having a really hard time finding new work.

      Of those IT workers, several mentioned IBM right off the bat. One woman wrote that she and her coworkers were working together to find new jobs in order to “ward off the dreaded old person layoff from IBM.”

    • Eroding Protection Under the Law

      Older Americans who face discrimination on the job can’t rely on the courts as much as earlier generations did.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
    • Copyrights
      • Dotcom’s Bid to Compel Obama to Give Evidence Rejected By High Court

        Kim Dotcom’s bid to compel Barack Obama to give evidence in his damages lawsuit against the New Zealand government has failed. Chief High Court Judge, Justice Geoffrey Venning described Dotcom’s application as premature but also noted that even if Obama had relevant information to offer, he would need time to prepare. Dotcom said that Obama’s time will come.

      • KeepVid Site No Longer Allows Users to ‘Keep’ Videos

        The popular video download service KeepVid no longer allows users to download videos. Instead, the site has transformed into an educational page warning people about copyright issues and urging visitors to use legal options, if available.

      • Dotcom Affidavit Calls For Obama to Give Evidence in Megaupload Case

        Former US president Barack Obama will jet into New Zealand later today with an extensive ban on media and publicity in place. One person who won’t be shying away is Kim Dotcom, who has seized the opportunity to file an affidavit with the High Court. Dotcom suggests that the political motivations behind the Megaupload case mean that Obama should give evidence while he’s in New Zealand.

      • Country singers ditch fear of being ‘Dixie Chicked’

        Indeed, getting “Dixie Chicked” has become a verb in the country music lexicon in the years since the multiplatinum-selling country trio by that name spoke out against President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. Consequences were swift and lasting. Country music’s conservative fan base revolted. Radio stations stopped playing their songs and they were thrust into exile.

        The episode had a lasting effect on the industry.

      • EFF Helps SEACC Stand Up To Mining Company, Protects Fair Use Rights

        When a mining company sent a cease and desist letter aimed at a critical documentary, the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) worked with the Electronic Frontier Foundation to help them respond. Hecla Mining Company claimed [PDF] that SEACC had infringed Hecla’s copyright by using short clips from a Hecla promotional video. We worked with SEACC to draft and send a letter [PDF] explaining that this was a classic fair use of Hecla’s material. In response, Hecla withdrew its demand. While this case resolved the right way, it shows that even elementary fair use sometimes requires the counsel of a lawyer.

        “Irreparable Harm” is a short film sponsored by SEACC. The movie is about Alaska’s Admiralty Island, a National Monument which has been inhabited by the Tlingit people for thousands of years. In addition to several hundred people living in the Tlingit village of Angoon, the huge island near Juneau is also home to an estimated 2,500 bald eagles, more than 1,000 bears, and one silver mine—Hecla’s Greens Creek Mine.

        The documentary explores the mine’s relationship with its Tlingit neighbors, highlighting pollution levels in traditional Tlingit food sources. SEACC says contamination has increased since Greens Creek, the only mine operating within a U.S. National Monument, began production in 1989.

      • Ninth Circuit says ‘Blurred Lines’ Infringed Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got To Give It Up’
      • Blurred Lines Verdict Affirmed – How Bad is It?
      • Appeals Court Says It’s Okay To Copyright An Entire Style Of Music

        Oh boy. We had hoped that the 9th Circuit might bring some sanity back to the music copyright world by overturning the awful “Blurred Lines” ruling that has already created a massive chilling effect among musicians… but no such luck. In a ruling released earlier this morning, the 9th Circuit largely affirmed the lower court ruling that said that Pharrell and Robin Thicke infringed on Marvin Gaye’s copyright by writing a song, “Blurred Lines,” that was clearly inspired by Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.”

        No one has denied that the songs had similar “feels” but “feeling” is not copyrightable subject matter. The compositions of the two songs were clearly different, and the similarity in feel was, quite obviously, paying homage to the earlier work, rather than “copying” it. For what it’s worth, there appears to be at least some hesitation on the part of the majority ruling, recognizing that this ruling could create a huge mess in the music world, so it tries (and mostly fails) to insist that this ruling is on narrow grounds, specific to this case (and much of it on procedural reasons, which is a kind way of suggesting that the lawyers for Pharrell and Thicke fucked up royally). A

      • World’s Biggest Pirate Movie Site ‘123Movies’ Is Officially Shutting Down

        The popular movie streaming website 123Movies, which also operated as GoMovies has officially announced its plan to shut down.

        A message posted on the website reads that it will go offline after three days. The operators of the pirate site are now encouraging users to respect filmmakers by paying for movies and TV shows.

Japan is Becoming Firmer on Patents, Whereas China Goes in the Opposite Direction

Thursday 22nd of March 2018 11:17:21 AM

That is why Battistelli loves talking about China, which is still far behind Japan in terms of its relevance to the EPO

Summary: Japan has become less tolerant of patent aggressors and more conscious/concerned about patent quality, which is why the patent microcosm would rather hail China as a role model (even when China’s overall share of patents in Europe, for example, is about the same as tiny South Korea and a lot smaller than Japan’s)

TAKING a little break from the EPO and USPTO, let’s look eastwards again. IAM, with its new format and with more paywalls (now digests as well), wrote about JPO a little while ago. It’s about Japan’s patent office, which has been getting stricter lately (more restrictive in terms of patent scope and harsher towards trolls).

Jacob Schindler, who works for the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM), now rushes to pressure/lobby Japan and JPO over changes that are bad/risky for trolls and aggressors. It’s hard to say what’s behind the paywall, but it’s clear that Schindler just gives a platform to (or amplifies) what he calls “patent owners” (IAM calls aggressors and trolls “owners”, as if having monopolies is ownership to be protected by private ownership rights). He calls a smart proposal “controversial proposals” and then amplifies parasites. From the summary:

A new draft SEP document released by the JPO last week is not likely to upend licensing practices – but key stakeholders including Ericsson CIPO Gustav Brismark have welcomed key provisions in the new policy. The JPO said it would issue guidelines on SEP negotiation last September, and asked for industry input. The announcement came shortly after it shelved earlier plans to introduce a mandatory ADR system for resolving disputes over Japanese patents declared standard essential. The controversy generated by that idea, which was branded a form of compulsory licensing, ensured a great deal of focus on these subsequent guidelines.

We can imagine that IAM then quotes bullies/trolls such as Ericsson, but we cannot tell for sure. They’re hiding that from scrutiny.

Meanwhile, the Japan-based Asics found itself relieved in a lawsuit that was initiated/started a year ago by Adidas, which is notoriously aggressive with patents and trademarks. To quote:

Sports brand Adidas has dropped a patent infringement claim against Asics America, the US subsidiary of Japan-based Asics.

Adidas filed a stipulation for dismissal of the patent case, which involved fitness-tracking patents, on Wednesday, March 14 at the US District Court for the District of Delaware. The court dismissed the suit with prejudice the following day.

Adidas filed the original complaint in March 2017, claiming that Asics America had infringed ten fitness-tracking patents. It also brought the lawsuit against Asics-owned FitnessKeeper, the operator of fitness-tracking app Runkeeper, alleging that FitnessKeeper had used the patents in its My Asics mobile app.

Those are likely software patents, which are pretty worthless once an actual court looks into them. Japan ought to watch these developments and adopt laws accordingly. It’s not being well served by patent maximalism and it apparently recognises this, based on the initiative to tackle SEP.

It should be noted that at the EPO they like to speak about China. All the time China, China, China… Team Battistelli is overplaying the role of China* (which still lags behind tiny Japan in terms of applications).

Why is patent maximalists’ media still obsessing over China? Because SIPO is patent maximalism gone chronic? Here is what IP Watch wrote yesterday (helping the patent maximalists from WIPO) and what Managing IP published some hours ago, saying that “China is on course to overtake the US in three years as the largest source of applications filed under WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty.”

So what? It says nothing about the actual quality of patents. WIPO counts SIPO patents as equal. WIPO staff cannot even read these.
* “Registration deadline for the East Meets West conference has been extended to 5 April,” the EPO wrote yesterday. But Asian patents do not count for much at the EPO. Battistelli et al love to shout about “China!” while it only accounts for 5% of applications. Japan is at 13%.

Aggressive New Activities of Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls: Finjan, Intellectual Ventures, and Dominion Harbor

Thursday 22nd of March 2018 10:12:30 AM

Summary: The extensive group of Microsoft-connected patent trolls is still very much active; Microsoft funds them, arms them, and gives them instructions while offering people ‘protection’ from them (if and only if they choose Azure)

THE paid-for lie that “Microsoft loves Linux” is pretty pervasive. The Linux Foundation too helps promote/relay/disseminate this lie, more so (or more frequently) after Microsoft paid the Foundation half a million dollars with possibility/likelihood of annual renewal (provided the Foundation does what Microsoft wants). It should be noted that the Foundation pays roughly that same amount/sum of money to Linus Torvalds every year and his ‘boss’, Jim Zemlin, earns even more money than him (and he keeps repeating Microsoft’s lies, for his job is not technical; it’s just to keep this money coming). If Microsoft was to leave the Foundation, that would cost the Foundation more than Zemlin’s salary (north of $600,000 per annum). The Foundation is pretty tight when it comes to money as its expenses (as of 2015) account for about 90% of the money which comes in. This is all in the public domain.

“It’s a form of entryism or what’s better/epically known as “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” (EEE).”The Foundation will never mention Microsoft’s patent aggression and Microsoft is nowadays clever enough to not attack Linux directly but via patent trolls, from which Microsoft offers ‘protection’ (provided you pay Microsoft monthly ‘protection’ fees, in the form of Azure subscriptions, accompanied by Microsoft’s “Azure IP Advantage”, as we explained in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15]). As grotesque as that may be, that’s where we are today. It’s a form of entryism or what’s better/epically known as “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” (EEE).

The USPTO is not granting software patents as often as before (because of Alice); but those which it granted over the past couple of decades are still around and trolls rarely need to have these tested in a court of law. They engage in extortion rather than legal battles (settlement with the bully is often a lot cheaper than a legal challenge).

Techrights has spent the past 12 years tracking trolls that are connected to Microsoft; they’re connected in the sense that Microsoft funds them, arms them, and gives them instructions. We wrote about many hundreds of examples to that effect.

Techrights has spent the past 12 years tracking trolls that are connected to Microsoft; they’re connected in the sense that Microsoft funds them, arms them, and gives them instructions.”Trolls would find it hard if they actually had to assert patents in courts, first of all because of Alice and secondly because of TC Heartland. So a lot of their activity we never hear about; it’s done behind closed doors and secrecy is part of the deal. The press will never cover that (it cannot) and it’s estimated that approximately two-thirds of patent aggression never becomes public knowledge. At all. Citing TC Heartland LLC v Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, another patent case is forced to move out of a hostile court. “The court granted counterclaim defendants’ motion to dismiss for improper venue because defendants lacked a regular and established place of business in the district and ancillary venue did not apply,” the Docket Navigator wrote yesterday.

This may be good in cases where actual lawsuits get filed, but it’s of no solace to those who are victims of extortion. Microsoft still engages in extortion, but it’s rarely done directly; Microsoft relies on publicly-traded trolls like Finjan, which engages in patent extortion against almost every Microsoft rival in the security space. If they don’t pay, Finjan will then sue (using software patents). Microsoft is very much complicit in this extortion because for a very long time Microsoft has been a backer (over a decade).

“Trolls would find it hard if they actually had to assert patents in courts, first of all because of Alice and secondly because of TC Heartland.”The patent trolls’ lobby (IAM), which is also close to Microsoft (they still use Windows to run their site and regularly speak to Microsoft veterans), is cheering for this patent troll. IAM euphemistically calls it “NPE” and yesterday it wrote: “Finjan shares jumped yesterday on the news that the company had received the $65 million settlement payout from Symantec following the truce between the two businesses announced at the end of February. That sum, which is one of the largest received in settlement by an NPE in years, might increase in the coming years by a further $45 million. The settlement was announced after what can only be described as an epic litigation tussle between Finjan and Symantec business Blue Coat with two court cases, including a visit to the Federal Circuit, and a deluge of IPRs.”

Using this payment from Symantec Finjan will now go bullying yet more companies that compete against Microsoft. This troll is emboldened.

There are other Microsoft-connected patent trolls that are active. IAM has just written two articles about Dropbox [1, 2], noting that it takes patents from Microsoft’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures. “Since 2012,” it says, “Dropbox has not only kick-started its own patent generation programme, USPTO records show, but has also been on something of a buying spree, featuring transfers from the likes of IBM, Sony and Intellectual Ventures.”

“Microsoft is very much complicit in this extortion because for a very long time Microsoft has been a backer (over a decade).”Finjan too got patents from IBM last year. As for Intellectual Ventures, it had passed literally thousands of patents to a patent troll called Dominion Harbor. Intellectual Ventures is known to have several thousands of satellites/proxies, as reported more than half a decade ago in corporate media. They even go 'hunting' for victims in China. Recently (just earlier this month) this troll received yet more patents from Intellectual Ventures, which had received additional financial support from Microsoft even a couple of years back (the connection there is still very strong and after some resignations it became even stronger).

Yesterday we saw David Pridham from Dominion Harbor (now run by this man-child, who is a chronic liar that not only defames me but has also defamed others) saying that “Google [...] publicly criticizes patents (especially software patents)” (no, it’s not against software patents in general).

“Using this payment from Symantec Finjan will now go bullying yet more companies that compete against Microsoft.”His hatred of firms such as Google is quite a giveaway; the same goes for other staff of this patent troll (whom we observe online).

According to this new press release [1, 2] from RPX, Dominion Harbor — known to be connected to Microsoft patent trolls like Intellectual Ventures — is suing again. Here are the details:

Monument Peak Ventures, LLC (MPV) has filed its first US lawsuits over patents acquired from Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV) as part of the former Kodak portfolio transferred to the Dominion Harbor Enterprises, LLC (DHE) affiliate in February 2017. The new complaints accuse Victor Hasselblad of infringing four of those patents and GoPro and SZ DJI Technology of infringing different sets of five, with two patents asserted across all three suits. The patents generally relate to various aspects of photography, with the post-processing software of GoPro (GoPro Studio Software), Hasselblad (Phocus) and SZ DJI (CineLight), as well as certain GoPro cameras and certain features of SZ DJI’s drone products, accused of infringement. In May 2017, MPV issued a press release announcing a licensing partnership with Swedish IP brokerage and consulting firm Parallel North IP AB as part of a “comprehensive global plan to commercialize” the Kodak portfolio.

So these are the patents that Dominion Harbor got from Intellectual Ventures.

“So these are the patents that Dominion Harbor got from Intellectual Ventures.”We don’t expect the Linux Foundation to ever (again) speak against software patents because many of the sponsors are in favour of them. We certainly don’t expect the Foundation to berate Microsoft for arming and funding the above patent trolls (there are more of them). But at the end of the day, should we really care about what this foundation says? It’s not a GNU/Linux advocacy group but a trade group which just happens to be the steward of Torvalds’ trademark.

Battistelli’s Ongoing Attacks on the Boards Are Helping Unitary Patent (UPC), Which in Turn Helps French Patent Trolls

Thursday 22nd of March 2018 08:02:12 AM

Patent trolls that are politically connected, too

Summary: Battistelli will likely be remembered not only as the man who attacked justice (and judges) but also rendered staff redundant, issued a lot of highly controversial patents, and by doing so helped the insurgence of patent trolls in Europe

THE European Patent Office’s (EPO) Boards of Appeal cannot do their job properly. Judges complained because their independence had been compromised. Moreover, reposted again yesterday was this self-promotional piece of Sanam Habib from Finnegan (Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP) on how the EPO makes appeals a lot more expensive whilst applications get cheaper. To quote the relevant part (about what happens in 10 days):

As of 1 April 2018, the EPO’s appeal fee will increase from €1,880 to €2,255 for larger companies. However, the current, lower fee amount will still apply if the appeal is filed by an individual, small or medium sized enterprise, university, public research organisation, or non-profit organisation.

This fee increase helps hide the decline in patent quality which examiners speak about. We mentioned this before.

“This fee increase helps hide the decline in patent quality which examiners speak about.”This is not the first such fee hike. It also happened a couple of years ago. Battistelli not only understaffed the Boards but also artificially demoted them and lowered ‘demand’ for their services.

Why does the media not cover this obvious assault on the Boards?

An IAM advert was posted yesterday for Carpmaels & Ransford LLP, discussing an old ruling of the Enlarged Board of Appeal. To quote:

In its recent G 1/16 decision, the European Patent Office (EPO) Enlarged Board of Appeal clarified how disclaimers should be examined. While undisclosed disclaimers must meet the four-step test set out in G 1/03, disclosed disclaimers must comply with the ‘gold standard’ of G 2/10. Despite this clarification, disclaimers still present significant risks in Europe and should be used cautiously.

How about an actual article about the assault on the Boards? No law firm wants to talk about it. IP Kat used to write a lot about this, but that controversy at the EPO doesn’t exist anymore; IP Kat just ignores it. There’s no controversy except when advertising EPO stuff, as it did yesterday (after steering of the blog had changed).

“Why does the media not cover this obvious assault on the Boards?”“Given the subject-matter and format of the exam,” it said, “it is perhaps not surprising that the pre-EQE has already been beset by controversy. In 2015, following successful appeal by a candidate to the disciplinary board of appeal (DBA), the EPO published an Addendum to the 2015 pre-EQE, in which it was decided to a award marks for either True or False for 2 statements in Question 15 and 17 respectively. After some initial uncertainty, the marks of candidates who did not file an appeal, but who would have passed in light of the changes, were upgraded (IPKat here and here).”

If this is what IP Kat deems to be most controversial right now, then IP Kat is no longer interested in the full picture. It was run jointly with CIPA until not so long ago (CIPA is close to Battistelli, whom it helps with UPC advocacy).

“How about an actual article about the assault on the Boards? No law firm wants to talk about it.”Speaking of the UPC, not so surprisingly we hardly hear about it anymore. The UPC may never be ready, not even after renames and other stuff (which can take many more years). People are resisting the UPC and Team UPC can’t hide the fact that it’s in shambles. Yesterday, for example, Benjamin Henrion said: “Whenever the Unitary [sic] Patent Court (UPC) will be ready, Europe will become a paradise for patent trolls and the likes of Nokia and Ericsson.”

Thankfully, the UPC won’t ever happen. It’s very unlikely. Henrion cited this new rant about the European Union’s strategy and added: “In my observation, the one-vote-per-member-state system is a typical characteristic of many corrupt organizations, including major international sports bodies or the European Patent Office…”

“Not too long ago InterDigital bought a lot of patents from Technicolor, which is French.”It’s like cross-national gerrymandering which helped Battistelli simply ‘buy’ votes from small countries (like bribes at the EPO’s own expense). And speaking of trolls, we previously showed that many patent trolls exist in France other than France Brevets, so there must be some motivation among Battistelli and his political party to push something like the UPC. No wonder France was so quick to ratify the UPCA. Look at who benefits in France [1, 2, 3].

In an IAM event, IAM has just quoted one of the patent trolls that Battistelli and the EPO (by extension) have been supporting. It said: “15 years ago licensors were very reluctant to sell, but today’s business environment makes purchasing a much more viable option: Malcolm T Meeks, patent director, France Brevets”

Not too long ago InterDigital bought a lot of patents from Technicolor, which is French.

Links 21/3/2018: Cutelyst 2, More on webOS

Wednesday 21st of March 2018 05:21:54 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
  • Server
    • What is Docker and why is it so darn popular?

      Five years ago, Solomon Hykes helped found a business, Docker, which sought to make containers easy to use. With the release of Docker 1.0 in June 2014, the buzz became a roar. And, over the years, it’s only got louder.

      All the noise is happening because companies are adopting Docker at a remarkable rate. In July 2014 at OSCon, I ran into numerous businesses that had already moved their server applications from virtual machines (VM) to containers.

    • Understanding the SMACK stack for big data

      Just as the LAMP stack revolutionized servers and web hosting, the SMACK stack has made big data applications viable and easier to develop. Want to come up to speed? Here are the basics.

    • OpenPower Foundation Aims to Power Server Acceleration Beyond Moore’s Law

      When IBM first created the OpenPower Foundation in 2013, there were vendors that thought they would get into the silicon business and build their own chips, but as it turns out, that’s not quite what happened.

      At the OpenPower Summit 2018 event, Brad McCredie, IBM fellow and VP, outlined how OpenPower has progressed over the last five years and what members are actually building.


      An offshoot of the OpenPower Foundation is OpenCAPI, which is an effort to build an Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface that is supported by AMD, Google, Mellanox and Micron among the group’s founding members.

  • Audiocasts/Shows
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.15.12
    • Linux 4.14.29
    • Linux Foundation
    • Graphics Stack
      • A new era for Linux’s low-level graphics – Part 1

        Over the past couple of years, Linux’s low-level graphics infrastructure has undergone a quiet revolution. Since experimental core support for the atomic modesetting framework landed a couple of years ago, the DRM subsystem in the kernel has seen roughly 300,000 lines of code changed and 300,000 new lines added, when the new AMD driver (~2.5m lines) is excluded. Lately Weston has undergone the same revolution, albeit on a much smaller scale.

        Daniel Vetter’s excellent two-part series on LWN covers the details quite well, but in short atomic has two headline features. The first is better display control: by grouping all configuration changes together, it is possible to change display modes more quickly and more reliably, especially if you have multiple monitors. The second is that it allows userspace to finally use overlay planes in the display controller for composition, bypassing the GPU.

        A third, less heralded, feature is that the atomic core standardises user-visible behaviour. Before atomic, drivers had very wide latitude to implement whatever user-facing behaviour they liked. As a result, each chipset had its own kernel driver and its own X11 driver as well. With the rewrite of the core, backed up by a comprehensive test suite, we no longer need hardware-specific drivers to take full advantage of hardware features. With the substantial rework of Weston’s DRM backend, we can now take full advantage of these. Using atomic gives us a smoother user experience, with better performance and using less power, whilst still being completely hardware-agnostic.

      • Radeon Pro 18.Q1.1 Enterprise Edition Released For Linux Workstations

        AMD on Monday quietly released their quarterly update to the Radeon Pro Software Enterprise Edition Linux driver that is derived from their AMDGPU-PRO stack for FirePro / Radeon Pro class hardware.

        Like with AMDGPU-PRO, Radeon Pro Software Enterprise Edition 18.Q1.1 remains focused on supporting the enterprise Linux distributions including Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS and RHEL/CentOS 6 (6.9) and 7 (7.4).

      • AMDGPU DC’s Latest 34 Patches Provide More Fixes

        Another week, another code drop derived from AMD’s internal driver code-base providing an updated DC display code stack.

        This week’s collection of 34 AMDGPU DC patches are mostly comprised of general fixes. Surprisingly no mentions of Raven Ridge (and only one patch mentioning DCN), so it’s looking like at least from the display side things are calming down for those Vega+Zen APUs — I’ve been running tests the past day and will have an update later today or tomorrow on the situation.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Cutelyst 2 released with HTTP/2 support

        Cutelyst the Qt/C++ web framework just got a major release update, around one and half year ago Cutelyst v1 got the first release with a stable API/ABI, many improvements where made during this period but now it was time to clean up the mistakes and give room for new features.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GStreamer Major Release, OpenBMC Project, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Free Mobile Version and More

        GStreamer, the cross-platform multimedia framework, announced a new major stable release yesterday. The new version 1.14.0 has lots of new features and bug fixes, including WebRTC support, “experimental support for the next-gen royalty-free AV1 video codec”, Video4Linux encoding support and more. See the release notes for more info.

      • GStreamer 1.14 released
      • GStreamer 1.14.0 new major stable release

        The GStreamer team is proud to announce a new major feature release of your favourite cross-platform multimedia framework!

        The 1.14 release series adds new features on top of the previous 1.12 series and is part of the API and ABI-stable 1.x release series of the GStreamer multimedia framework.

      • IMPORTANT: GitLab mass migration plan

        I know some fellows doesn’t read desktop-devel-list, so let me share here an email that it’s important for all to read: We have put in place the plan for the mass migration to GitLab and the steps maintainers needs to do.

      • ED Update – week 11
      • Reflections on Distractions in Work, Productivity and Time Usage

        For the past year or so I have mostly worked at home or remote in my daily life. Currently I’m engaged in my master thesis and need to manage my daily time and energy to work on it. It is no surprise to many of us that working using your internet-connected personal computer at home can make you prone to many distractions. However, managing your own time is not just about whipping and self-discipline. It is about setting yourself up in a structure which rewards you for hard work and gives your mind the breaks it needs. Based on reflections and experimentation with many scheduling systems and tools I finally felt I have achieved a set of principles I really like and that’s what I’ll be sharing with you today.


        Minimizing shell notifications: While I don’t have the same big hammer to “block access to my e-mail” here, I decided to change the order of my e-mail inboxes in Geary so my more relevant (and far less activity prone) student e-mail inbox appears first. I also turned off the background e-mail daemon and turned off notification banners in GNOME Shell.


        Lastly, I want to give two additional tips. If you like listening to music while working, consider whether it might affect your productivity. For example, I found music with vocals to be distracting me if I try to immerse myself in reading difficult litterature. I can really recommend Doctor Turtle’s acoustic instrumental music while working though (all free). Secondly, I find that different types of tasks requires different postures. For abstract, high-level or vaguely formulated tasks (fx formulating goals, reviewing something or reflecting), I find interacting with the computer whilst standing up and walking around to really help gather my thoughts. On the other hand with practical tasks or tasks which require immersion (fx programming tasks), I find sitting down to be much more comfortable.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • MX Linux Review – Version 17 – An Excellent All Around Linux Distribution

        MX Linux is a popular and fast Linux distribution based on Debian stable that is currently in version 17.1. Today, I’m going to take you through my MX Linux Review to see why this distribution is so popular.

        One of the best things about MX Linux is the variety of custom tools that have been built to make the life of the user easier. The team of devs at MX Linux have really outdone themselves making every single possible need as easy as possible with their MX apps.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Debian CEF packages

        I’ve created some Debian CEF packages—CEF isn’t the easiest thing to package (and it takes an hour to build even on my 20-core server, since it needs to build basically all of Chromium), but it’s fairly rewarding to see everything fall into place. It should benefit not only Nageru, but also OBS and potentially CasparCG if anyone wants to package that.

      • Reproducible builds folks: Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #151
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Mir 0.31 Officially Released

            Mir 0.31 is now available as the latest version of the Canonical-developed display stack that continues implementing support for Wayland’s protocols.

            Mir 0.31 has been in development for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with several new features and today the release surfaced as v0.31.0.1, as an apparent brown paper bag release hours after v0.31.0 was tagged.

          • Server development summary – 20 March 2018

            If you have a server that you are using for Bionic testing, please look in /etc/netplan and give netplan a run through. Note that only new installs of Artful+ will be enabled for netplan.

          • LXD weekly status #39

            The focus for this week was on CEPH and LXD clustering, trying to get the last few remaining pieces to work together properly. We’ve tagged a couple more betas as we went through that.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS NEW FEATURES

            With the first beta release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS available and the stable released planned on 26 April 2018, now is a great time to take a closer look at what you can expect to see in the latest version of Canonical’s Linux distribution.

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS has been codenamed Bionic Beaver by the founder of Canonical, Mark Shuttleworth, who provided the following explanation for the curious name on his personal blog: “It’s builders that we celebrate – the people that build our upstream applications and packages, the people who build Ubuntu, and the people who build on Ubuntu. In honor of that tireless toil, our mascot this cycle is a mammal known for its energetic attitude, industrious nature and engineering prowess. We give it a neatly nerdy 21st-century twist in honor of the relentless robots running Ubuntu Core. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you 18.04 LTS, the Bionic Beaver.”

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Events
    • FSF Blogs: Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup time: March 23rd starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC
    • LibrePlanet free software conference celebrates 10th anniversary, this weekend at MIT, March 24-25

      This weekend, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Student Information Processing Board (SIPB) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) present the tenth annual LibrePlanet free software conference in Cambridge, March 24-25, 2018, at MIT. LibrePlanet is an annual conference for people who care about their digital freedoms, bringing together software developers, policy experts, activists, and computer users to learn skills, share accomplishments, and tackle challenges facing the free software movement. LibrePlanet 2018 will feature sessions for all ages and experience levels.

      LibrePlanet’s tenth anniversary theme is “Freedom Embedded.” Embedded systems are everywhere, in cars, digital watches, traffic lights, and even within our bodies. We’ve come to expect that proprietary software’s sinister aspects are embedded in software, digital devices, and our lives, too: we expect that our phones monitor our activity and share that data with big companies, that governments enforce digital restrictions management (DRM), and that even our activity on social Web sites is out of our control. This year’s talks and workshops will explore how to defend user freedom in a society reliant on embedded systems.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla’s opt-out Firefox DNS privacy test sparks, er, privacy outcry

        Mozilla’s plan to test a more secure method for resolving internet domain names – known as Trusted Recursive Resolver (TRR) via DNS over HTTPs (DoH) – in Firefox Nightly builds has met with objections from its user community due to privacy concerns.

        The browser maker’s intentions appear to be beneficial for Firefox users. As Patrick McManus, one of the Mozilla software engineers conducting the test, explains in a note posted this week to one of the company’s developer forums, DoH can make DNS communication more secure.

      • Mozilla Statement, Petition: Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

        The headlines speak for themselves: Up to 50 million Facebook users had their information used by Cambridge Analytica, a private company, without their knowledge or consent. That’s not okay.

      • Enough is enough. Let’s tell Facebook what we want fixed.

        I had one big loud thought pounding in my head as I read the Cambridge Analytica headlines this past weekend: it’s time for Facebook users to say ‘enough is enough‘.

      • Crash-Stop, an extension to help handle crashes on Bugzilla

        Crash-stop is a webextension I wrote for Bugzilla to display crash stats by builds and patch information.

        The goal is to have enough information to be able to decide if a patch helped (hence its name) and, if needed, uplift it to the Beta/ESR/Release trains as appropriate.

        This project was initially meant to assist release-managers but it’s been useful for developers who fix/monitor crashes or for folks doing bug triage.

      • New features in Notes v3

        Today we are updating TestPilot Notes to v3.1! We have several new user-facing features and behind the scenes changes in this v3 release. The focus of this release was discoverability, speed and a bit of codebase cleanup.

        We heard your feedback about “Exporting notes…” and with this release we have added the first export related feature. You can now export the notepad as HTML using the menu. We are still playing around with Markdown and other exporting features.

      • compare-locales 3.0 – GSOC

        There’s something magic about compare-locales 3.0. It comes with Python 3 support.

        It took me quite a while to get to it, but the writing is on the wall that I had to add support for Python 3. That’s just been out for 10 years, too. Well, more like 9ish.

        We’re testing against Python 2.7, 3.5, and 3.6 now.

      • Multilingual Gecko Status Update 2018.1

        As promised in my previous post, I’d like to do a better job at delivering status updates on Internationalization and Localization technologies at Gecko at shorter intervals than once per year.

        In the previous post we covered recent history up to Firefox 58 which got released in January 2018. Since then we finished and shipped Firefox 59 and also finished all major work on Firefox 60, so this post will cover the two.

      • Bringing interactive examples to MDN
      • March Add(on)ness: Ghostery (2) Vs Decentraleyes (3)
  • Databases
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
    • [Eben Moglen] Additional Companies Join Red Hat’s GPLv3 Termination Policy for GPLv2 Programs

      The software developers and distributors who have backed the “first-time cure period” approach of GPLv3 for use with GPLv2 programs are, as they have stated, improving certainty for users and redistriubutors everywhere. So far as our experience shows, this occurs at no expense to the legitimate interest of free software programmers who want their license terms respected by redistributors downstream. Everyone wins, except trolls. We hope more developers and companies will climb aboard this bandwagon.

    • Microsoft, Cisco, HPE and others sign on to open-source licensing initiative [Ed: Like all other such articles, fails to mention that Microsoft is a serial GPL violator]

      “The large ecosystems of projects using the GPLv2 and LGPLv2.x licenses will benefit from adoption of this more balanced approach to termination derived from GPLv3,” Red Hat explained in a press release announcing the new license-compliance partners.

  • Public Services/Government
    • CAVO Promotes Open Source Voting in Documentary and Legislation

      “The Real Activist” slated for release this summer will include an interview with Brent Turner of OSI Affiliate Member CAVO, as well as coverage of the groups work to promote open source software within US elections’ voting systems. The documentary highlights Turner’s efforts and CAVO’s mission to secure the United States election systems through GPL licensed open source software. Famed narrator Peter Coyote also stars in the film along with former CIA Director R. James Woolsey and many political notables.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • GitHub’s tool reduces open source software license violations

      GitHub has open-sourced its Licensed tool, a Ruby gem that caches and verifies the status of license dependencies in Git repos.

      Licensed has helped GitHub engineers who use open source software find potential problems with license dependencies early in the development cycle. The tool reports any dependencies needing review.

    • Open Source Compliance [Ed: Obsessing over risks of FOSS compliance while ignoring vastly worse risks associated with proprietary software]

      For some time, the open source community has discussed how to put a stop to the copyright troll game. Approaches such as the “Principles of Community Enforcement” and the Linux Kernel developers “Kernel Enforcement Statement” were created to regain lost trust. Large companies such as Facebook, Googleand IBM are already committed to these principles.

      In view of the millions that can be generated by aggressively pursuing license violations, copyright trolls are likely to continue to their activities despite these measures.

      In addition, many issues regarding open source law are still unclear. The wording of license terms is often so imprecise that even the scope of the rights being granted is not clear. This “construction error” can be exploited by anyone seeking to enforce claims for profit. Cases have become known in which even over-the-air distribution of open source software was criticised for license violations. The licenses do not contain a clear provision for this form of use, which can be exploited by a holder of rights seeking profits.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
  • Security
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • With Much of the Data Center Stack Open Source, Security is a Special Challenge [Ed: Black attacking FOSS again in order to sell its proprietary products; does proprietary software have no security issues? Which cannot be fixed, either?]
    • Synopsys reveals its open-source rookies of the year [Ed: Anti-FOSS company Black Duck, which markets its proprietary software by attacking FOSS (it admitted being anti-GPL since inception, created by Microsoft employee), wants the public to think of it as a FOSS authority]
    • Software security over convenience

      Recently I got inspired (paranoid ?) by my boss who cares a lot about software security. Previously, I had almost the same password on all the websites I used, I had them synced to google servers (Chrome user previously), but once I started taking software security seriously, I knew the biggest mistake I was making was to have a single password everywhere, so I went one step forward and set randomly generated passwords on all online accounts and stored them in a keystore.

    • 7 Questions to Ask About Your DevSecOps Program
    • Developers Are Ethical But Not Responsible?

      Ask a person if he or she is a racist and the answer is almost always no. Ask a developer if they consider ethical considerations when writing code and only six percent say no. If everyone acted the way they self-report, then there would be peace and love throughout the world.

      Based on over a hundred thousand respondents, StackOverflow’s Developer Survey 2018 presents a more complicated reality. If they were asked to write code for an unethical purpose, 59 percent would say no, but another 37 percent of developers were non-committal about whether they would comply. In another question, only about 5 percent said they definitely not report unethical problems with code. But sounding the alarm is about as far as most people will go.

    • Cloud Security: 10 Top Tips
    • Group Policy Objects (GPOs) for Linux®
  • Defence/Aggression
    • In Run-Up to Vote to End Yemen War, MSNBC Remains Totally Silent

      In the run-up to a vote this week on a bill co-sponsored by senators Bernie Sanders, Mike Lee and Chris Murphy to withdraw US support for the Saudi air campaign—a move that, according to at least one insider, would end the war itself—the US’s major “liberal” cable network has continued its radio silence. MSNBC continued to ignore the story this week as activists and a broad coalition of anti-war groups tried to put pressure on the Senate to finally end the US-sustained siege of Yemen.

      MSNBC’s three major stars—Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell—haven’t used their sizable social media followings to highlight the issue either. None of the well-paid pundits has tweeted about the topic of Yemen in 2018. While Hayes has handwrung about the topic on Twitter in the past, he hasn’t covered it on his show since summer 2016. O’Donnell has tweeted about Yemen once in 20,000 tweets since joining the social media platform in June 2010; Maddow has mentioned it in four out of 7,000 tweets, two of those mentions in 2010.

      Even as frequent MSNBC guests Bernie Sanders and Chris Murphy, as well as celebrities like Mark Ruffalo and Susan Sarandon, lobby directly for the bill, MSNBC has not dedicated a single segment to the war, or to the recent high-profile efforts to end it.

      MSNBC ceding anti-war sentiment is notable in its own right, and as part of a broader trend of liberal institutions abandoning anti-war voices in favor of short-term liberal jingoism (, 8/24/16). Despite not having a single segment on Yemen thus far in 2018, MSNBC did manage 143 segments on Stormy Daniels, the woman President Trump paid off and harassed to hide an affair. A story to be sure, but perhaps not one worth 143 more reports than thousands being bombed with the help of US weapons sales and military support.

    • Trump Supports ‘Space Force’ For War-Making And Dominance in Space

      In the few dreamy moments between his various personal dramas and dramas of State, Trump has been floating the idea of creating a ‘Space Force’ to fight wars in space.” Bruce Gagnon is concerned. Last Thursday, March 15, Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space said, “The aerospace industry sees an opportunity to expand their profit capability by the creation of a new ‘Space Force’ that would direct the expanding U.S. war-making program in space.

    • New York University: A center of militarism, mass surveillance and censorship

      NYU’s Center for Data Science (CDS), which is affiliated with the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, was founded by Yann LeCun in 2013. LeCun is a professor at the Courant Institute and one of the best-known experts in the field of Artificial Intelligence. Just after he founded the center, in 2014, he was personally recruited by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg to head the company’s new AI research division, a position he held until January 2018. While working at Facebook, LeCun continued to teach and do research at NYU.

      The idea behind the center was, as LeCun himself put it in an interview, to create a “partnership between NYU and Facebook … they [Facebook] would be right next door―770 Broadway, just up the street.” This cooperation, LeCun argued, would allow him “to do academic-style research here at Courant, and at the same time, lead research projects that are better done in an industry environment” at Facebook.

      Artificial Intelligence (AI) is currently the most important branch in IT and is rapidly transforming the economy. It designates various areas of machine learning. As such, AI has become increasingly significant for major corporations and banks, as well as the military. AI is central to the functioning of internal data systems and for the development of social media platforms like Facebook and search engines such as Google.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • DOJ Readying Warrants In Carter Page Investigation For Public Release

      For the first time since the FISA court opened for national security business, the DOJ is considering declassifying FISA warrant applications. The documents are linked to the FBI’s surveillance of former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page. Both sides of the political aisle have asked for these documents, which is something you’d think they’d have wanted to see before issuing their takes on perceived surveillance improprieties.

      Devin Nunes — following the release of his memo — sent a letter to the FISA court asking it to clear the warrants for public release. The court’s reply, penned by Judge Rosemary Collyer, pointed out two things. First, the FISA court had never released these documents publicly, nor was it in the best position to do so. It is only tasked with determining whether or not surveillance is warranted and to what restrictions it must adhere. It does not have the innate power to declassify documents, nor can it arbitrarily decide what documents have gathered enough public interest to outweigh the government’s perpetual demands for secrecy.

    • No, the President Can’t Legally Gag White House Staffers

      It’s no surprise that the Trump administration would like to find a way to stop the flood of leaks coming from the White House. But avoiding embarrassment is no grounds for government censorship, and the latest leak-plugging effort we’ve heard of violates the First Amendment.

      The Washington Post has reported that senior White House staff members were pressured to sign nondisclosure agreements prohibiting them from revealing any non-public information they learn of at work. The draft NDA supposedly requires them to stay silent, not just while they are employed at the White House, but even after they leave — and to pay damages into the federal treasury if they speak out. In other words, it aims to muzzle them forever.

      Such a broad agreement is unenforceable because the First Amendment protects federal employees’ right to speak in a private capacity about matters of public concern — and certainly the functioning of a presidential administration raises many issues that are of public concern.

      Indeed, countless former White House officials have talked and written books about their time working for presidents, covering everything from decision-making processes and substantive policy debates to interagency turf battles and personal vendettas. Putting a gag order on these officials would leave the public in the dark about how the government works, preventing the kind of informed debate that is critical to democratic accountability.

    • Assange Says to Evidence on Cambridge Analytica Issue to UK Lawmakers

      The UK House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee is probing the Cambridge Analytica firm after reports that the company had collected the personal information of about 50 million Facebook users in order to target them with ads favoring Brexit.

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Tuesday he accepted the request by the UK House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee to give evidence via video link on the Cambridge Analytica issue.

      Earlier in the day, Damian Collins, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the UK House of Commons, said Tuesday that he was requesting that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appear to give oral evidence in the case of the Cambridge Analytica firm, accused of data harvesting.

    • MPs hit back at Julian Assange’s claims that he’s been invited to testify on Cambridge Analytica and say he OFFERED to appear on videolink

      Julian Assange claimed earlier today that he had accepted an invitation to testify on Cambridge Analytica – but now the MPs involved have said he actually offered to appear.

    • Cambridge Analytica: Assange offers testimony to committee, without being invited

      This past week the attention of the technology world has been consumed by Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has graciously said that he’ll testify in front of the UK’s ‘fake news committee’.

      There’s just one problem though, and that’s that the committee — or to use its full name, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee — never actually invited Assange to attend.

    • WikiLeaks Cable reveals massive corruption in then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s Government

      A cable from the American embassy in New Delhi to the Secretary of State of the USA in 1976 published on WikiLeaks is expected to send shock-waves across the country as it reveals the extent of corruption prevailing in the country during the Congress regime. The cable reveals that the corruption files were kept in the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s office and no major figure could be charged without her approval. It also says that bribery that involved contributions to the Congress party were considered acceptable.

      The cable also reveals that Sanjay Gandhi, a scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, offered his assistance to the British Aircraft Corporation through the Maruti company, which is addressed as a firm “controlled” by Sanjay Gandhi. The cable also mentions one Civil Aviation Minister who was paid a bribe by an Indian manufacturer for a particular contract.

  • Finance
    • Capitalism’s Process of Universal Commodification

      Unless regulated, capitalism operates as a wide-open market system. If a demand exists or can be created and a profit made, that demand will be met. As a consequence, capitalism has the capacity to commercialize almost anything, including its detractors and even its enemies.

    • Arrest of Pilatus Bank chairman ‘the beginning of the end’ – Jonathan Ferris

      The arrest of Pilatus Bank chairman Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad in the US on Tuesday may be the beginning of the end of a dark period that has engulfed Malta, according to former anti-money laundering investigator Jonathan Ferris.

      Ferris spoke to The Shift News after Sadr, 38, was charged in a six-count indictment filed in a Manhattan court accusing him of participating in a scheme to evade US sanctions against Iran.

      He is charged with funnelling more than $115 million paid under a Venezuelan construction contract through the US financial system. If convicted, Ali Sadr could face a sentence of up to 125 years in prison, AP said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Donald Trump Jr. Pushed ‘Blatantly Illegal’ Project In India, Former Official Says — ‘Trump, Inc.’ Podcast

      Last month, Donald Trump Jr. visited India to tout new Trump properties. Full page ads in India’s top papers announced, “Trump has arrived. Have you?”

      It wasn’t Trump Jr.’s first trip to India. “I’ve been coming to India for over a decade,” he said during his visit last month. “There’s an entrepreneurial spirit here … it needs no further explanation.”

      This week on “Trump, Inc.,” we’re looking at the Trumps’ yearslong work in India, where corruption in the real estate industry is endemic.

      We worked with Investigative Fund reporter Anjali Kamat, whose reporting on the Trumps’ business in India appears in the new issue of The New Republic.

    • A Political Boss Goes Down

      Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios, one of the last leaders of the old Democratic machine, loses the Democratic primary to a wealthy political newcomer.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Did Facebook Violate SESTA By Promoting Child Abuse Videos?

      After this became public and people called it out, Facebook also claimed that this was “an error,” but it seems like it wouldn’t take a genius lawyer or prosecutor to argue that the company choosing to send out just such a survey shows it facilitating sex trafficking. I mean, it was directly asking if it should allow for the sort of activity directly involved in grooming victims for sex trafficking.

      Oh, and remember, that even while this is blatantly unconstitutional, SESTA says the law applies retroactively — meaning that even though all of this happened prior to SESTA becoming law, Facebook is potentially still quite guilty of violating the poorly drafted criminal law it is loudly supporting.

    • A comedian balked at censorship on Loyola’s campus; they cut his mic

      Loyola University Chicago, a Catholic school, invited popular comedian Hannibal Buress to perform for students last Saturday. Administrators asked him to comply with restrictive content guidelines. Buress agreed.

      You can probably guess what happened next.

      Buress began by displaying what appeared to be an email outlining the school’s content restrictions on a projector screen. After flagrantly violating those restrictions with an explicit quip about priest molestation, the school cut Buress’ microphone. Students booed the decision, and Buress eventually left the stage before returning to finish his set after 15 minutes, according to the student newspaper, which also reported that his return was greeted with a standing ovation.

      The paper further reported that Buress told students “he was originally going to follow Loyola’s content restriction until he saw that he’d already been paid for his performance ahead of time.” Given his style of comedy, I can’t even imagine what a Hannibal Buress set that complied with the school’s restrictions would look like. But he was apparently willing to lie, take their money, and then try.

    • YouTuber Who Trained His Girlfriend’s Dog To Be A Nazi Facing Hate Crime Charges In Scotland

      Across the sea in the UK, offensive speech is still getting people jailed. An obnoxious person who trained his girlfriend’s dog to perform the Nazi salute and respond excitedly to the phrase “gas the Jews” is looking at possible jail time after posting these exploits to YouTube under the name Count Dankula. According to Scotland resident Markus Meechan, it was the “least cute” thing he could train his girlfriend’s dog to do, apparently in response to her constant gushing about the dog’s cuteness.

      Meechan’s video racked up 3 million views on YouTube, but it really didn’t start making news until local police started paying attention.

    • Index on Censorship organisation slams Nazi dog conviction

      FREE speech organisation Index on Censorship has condemnded the decision by a Scottish court to convict a Scot who trained his dog to be a Nazi and raise its paw every time he said “gas the Jews”.

      Mark Meechan, known as Count Dankula, was found guilty of being “grossly offensive” under the UK’s Communications Act 2003 on Tuesday.

      No sentence has yet been set, but the conviction could result in a sentence of six months and a fine.


      The organisation notes that in 1976 the European Court of Human Rights found that “Freedom of expression…is applicable not only to ‘information’ or ‘ideas’ that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population”.

      Sentencing has been deferred till April 23.

    • TRON (TRX) Plans to Combat Internet Censorship

      Many people are well-familiar with internet censorship imposed by nations like Russia, China, and the Middle East. However, there is a more familiar and understandable form of censorship that has seen its emergence on social media platforms. For instance, people of stringent and conservative political views have put the accusation on YouTube that it has been demonetizing their videos. This means that these videos are unable to mint advertising revenue.

    • NSA hacking internet backbone to monitor Bitcoin?

      The conspiracy theorists have been saying it for years and a great piece of journalism, from Brookyn-based security and technology journalist Sam Biddle in the Intercept, has proved it.

      The United States’ National Security Agency (NSA), says Biddle, has not just been identifying Bitcoin users for many years but has also been supplying the browser software that allows the users to believe they are remaining anonymous.

    • Censorship in China Turns Social Media Into Tool of Repression

      To the surprise of none, a new report says that the Chinese regime continues to tighten its grip on the internet and imposes ever-more aggressive censorship on Chinese social media, while putting in jail those who those dare to express dissent.

      The report, “Forbidden Feeds: Government Controls on Social Media in China” was compiled by PEN America and released on March 13, documenting the escalating censorship of information and online speech on China’s internet, particularly on social media where China has seen an explosive growth in users in the last decade. PEN America advocates for free expression for writers and artists.

      “China’s Great Firewall is getting taller,” the report says, a reference to the Chinese regime’s multi-billion dollar investment over the past two decades in building the world’s largest and most sophisticated internet censorship system, which combines the regime’s regulatory power with new advancements in censorship technology in order to repress dissident voices and shape online conversation.

    • Israel officially admits striking ‘Syrian nuclear reactor’ in 2007
    • Israel Acknowledges Bombing Syrian Nuclear Reactor in 2007
    • Former IDF chief of staff: Israel was ready for war following Syria strike
    • Israel Lifts Censorship, Confirms 2007 Attack on Syrian Nuclear Reactor
    • Israel ends censorship on air strike

      The Israeli military released newly declassified operational footage, photographs and intelligence documents about the bombing, showing the moment that the suspected reactor was hit, an detailing the intelligence operation that led up to it.

      Israeli intelligence reports concluded that the reactor had been under construction with North Korean help and was months away from activation. Reuters has been unable to immediately verify the Israeli material.

      Israel’s decision to go public comes after repeated calls in recent months by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the United States and international community to take tougher action on Syria’s ally, Iran.

    • Has IDF Intelligence learned the lessons from the Syrian reactor strike?
    • Things We Saw Today: Dorkly Gives a Fascinating Look at How Censorship Crafted Batman: The Animated Series
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Facebook Has the Most Depressing Stock in Tech Right Now — Buy or Sell It?

      Facebook’s investors have had a terrible start to the week as the Cambridge Analytica situation spirals out of control.

    • Cambridge Analytica and its many scandals, explained

      Before there was Cambridge Analytica, there was the Strategic Communication Laboratories Group — SCL Group, for short. Founded in 1993 by a British ad man named Nigel Oakes, it is, basically, a messaging and PR firm that’s done work for governments, politicians, and militaries around the world. Its clients included governments and politicians in Indonesia, Thailand, Kenya, the UK, and elsewhere.

      SCL tends to describe its capabilities in grandiose and somewhat unsettling language — the company has touted its expertise at ”psychological warfare” and “influence operations.” It’s long claimed that its sophisticated understanding of human psychology helps it target and persuade people of its clients’ preferred message. Lately, its preferred buzzwords have focused on “big data” and “psychographic profiling.”

    • Dear Companies: Stop Putting Voice Control In Everything
    • Censorship, surveillance, and harassment: China cracks down on critics

      Hours after the Chinese Communist Party proposed a constitutional change last month to lift presidential term limits, any words or phrases that remotely suggested President Xi Jingping was seeking a life term were blocked from social media. Censors targeted everything from “Emperor Xi,” “The Emperor’s Dream,” and “Dream of Returning to the Great Qing,” to “Winnie the Pooh,” a reference to Xi’s apparent resemblance to the cartoon character, the China Digital Times reported.

      Such censorship is not new in China, but in recent months the country has increased its grip, regulating tools such as virtual private networks (VPNs) that can bypass the country’s infamous firewall, issuing lists “of “approved” news outlets, and disbarring lawyers who represent jailed journalists.

      On January 30, the Cyberspace Administration of China announced a list of 462 websites and social media handles granted permission to provide online news services. Outlets that create a news website without permission face a fine of up to 30,000 Chinese yuan (US$4,700). The following month, the administration announced regulations for social media users that will legally require users to disclose their name, personal ID, organization code, and phone number before being allowed to post content online. The new regulations come in effect March 20.

      The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology also announced that from March 31 it will regulate unlicensed VPNs to “maintain a fair, organized market order.” The move means that individuals and foreign companies whose operations require the use of VPNs will only have access to state-approved VPNs.

    • Secret Documents Reveal NSA Surveillance Program to Monitor ‎Bitcoin Users
    • Edward Snowden Reveals Bitcoin Inquiries By NSA
    • The NSA Has Been Tracking Bitcoin Users, Snowden Papers Reveals
    • US National Security Agency (NSA) has been tracking bitcoin users
    • ‘Bitcoin is #1 priority’: NSA targeted cryptocurrency users globally, Snowden leaks show
    • Snowden Document Reveals NSA Program to Track Bitcoin Users
    • Snowden Leak Suggests NSA Is Extensively Tracking Bitcoin Users
    • The NSA Worked to “Track Down” Bitcoin Users, Snowden Documents Reveal

      Internet paranoiacs drawn to bitcoin have long indulged fantasies of American spies subverting the booming, controversial digital currency. Increasingly popular among get-rich-quick speculators, bitcoin started out as a high-minded project to make financial transactions public and mathematically verifiable — while also offering discretion. Governments, with a vested interest in controlling how money moves, would, some of bitcoin’s fierce advocates believed, naturally try and thwart the coming techno-libertarian financial order.

    • Google Sibling Jigsaw Launches Outline, an Open Source and Self-Hosted VPN
    • Alphabet’s Outline lets you run your own self-hosted VPN for free
    • Alphabet’s ‘Outline’ Software Lets Anyone Run a Homebrew VPN [Ed: Only a fool would pursue privacy through VPN software which isn't just proprietary but is also owned by companies like Google and Facebook]

      A virtual private network, that core privacy tool that encrypts your internet traffic and bounces it through a faraway server, has always presented a paradox: Sure, it helps you hide from some forms of surveillance, like your internet service provider’s snooping and eavesdroppers on your local network. But it leaves you vulnerable to a different, equally powerful spy: Whoever controls the VPN server you’re routing all your traffic through.

      To help solve that quagmire, Jigsaw, the Alphabet-owned Google sibling that serves as a human rights-focused tech incubator, will now offer VPN software that you can easily set up on your own server—or at least, one you set up yourself, and control in the cloud. And unlike older homebrew VPN code, Jigsaw says it’s focused on making the setup and hosting of that server simple enough that even small, less savvy organizations or even individual users can do it in minutes.

    • How to delete your Facebook account?

      I was planning to delete my Facebook account for some time, but, never took the actual steps to do it. The recent news on how the companies are using data from Facebook made me take that next step. And I know Snowden is talking about these issues for a long time (feel free to read a recent interview), I should have done that before. I was just lazy.

    • How To Delete Your Facebook Account Permanently?

      Sometimes you want to get out of your Facebook life and enjoy the real world. You do this by deactivating your Facebook account. But you can also delete your Facebook account permanently if you want to leave Facebook for the rest of your life.

    • #DeleteFacebook trends in response to Cambridge Analytica

      This was a typical message found on Twitter in the wake of accusations over Cambridge Analytica using personal data from 50 million Facebook users to influence the US presidential election in 2016.

      After reports of Cambridge Analytica using Facebook’s user information came to light, people began to urge others to either #DeleteFacebook or #BoycottFacebook in response.

    • Yet Another Lesson from the Cambridge Analytica Fiasco: Remove the Barriers to User Privacy Control

      Last weekend’s Cambridge Analytica news—that the company was able to access tens of millions of users’ data by paying low-wage workers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to take a Facebook survey, which gave Cambridge Analytica access to Facebook’s dossier on each of those turkers’ Facebook friends—has hammered home two problems: first, that Facebook’s default privacy settings are woefully inadequate to the task of really protecting user privacy; and second, that ticking the right boxes to make Facebook less creepy is far too complicated. Unfortunately for Facebook, regulators in the U.S. and around the world are looking for solutions, and fast.

      But there’s a third problem, one that platforms and regulators themselves helped create: the plethora of legal and technical barriers that make it hard for third parties—companies, individual programmers, free software collectives—to give users tools that would help them take control of the technologies they use.

      Think of an ad-blocker: you view the web through your browser, and so you get to tell your web-browser which parts of a website you want to see and which parts you want to ignore. You can install plugins to do trivial things, like replace the word “millennials” with “snake people”—and profound things, like making the web readable by people with visual impairments.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Democracy Just Got Stronger in Washington State

      The state’s Voting Rights Act will help ensure minority representation in a system of majority rule.

      After years of work by activists, stakeholders, community groups, and lawmakers, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the Washington Voting Rights Act into law. This historic legislation paves the way for communities across Washington state to find local solutions for an issue that has existed since the founding of our democracy — how to ensure minority representation in a system of majority rule.

      The WVRA improves voting rights by expanding on the protections of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. Almost all local elections in Washington currently use an at-large system where the entire community chooses who represents them on multi-member bodies such as city councils, school boards, and port districts. In areas where polarized voting occurs, at-large elections may prevent a minority group from electing any candidates that represent their community. Because the votes of the minority group become diluted in the at-large system, the makeup of the elected body does not truly reflect the community it is supposed to represent. This has had damaging effects for minority groups in Washington and around the country.

    • Internal Email Reveals Racism in Madison County Sheriff’s Department

      These are the words that have been pre-filled on a cover sheet to the Madison County Sheriff’s Department Narcotics Unit’s case files. All other fields have been left blank. These words tell the story of racially biased policing in the county that begins before officers even go into the community.

      The internal racism of the department represented in this form is just one piece of a larger body of compelling evidence that the sheriff’s department has a culture of racism that threatens Madison County’s Black community. .

    • Tempe Police Chief Indicates The Uber Self-Driving Car Probably Isn’t At Fault In Pedestrian Death

      The internet ink has barely dried on Karl’s post about an Uber self-driving vehicle striking and killing a pedestrian in Arizona, and we already have an indication from the authorities that the vehicle probably isn’t to blame for the fatality. Because public relations waits for nobody, Uber suspended its autonomous vehicles in the wake of the death of a woman in Tempe, but that didn’t keep fairly breathless headlines being painted all across the mainstream media. The stories that accompanied those headlines were more careful to mention that an investigation is required before anyone knows what actually happened, but the buzz created by the headlines wasn’t so nuanced. I actually saw this in my own office, where several people could be heard mentioning that autonomous vehicles were now done.

      But that was always silly. It’s an awkward thing to say, but the fact that it took this long for AVs to strike and kill a pedestrian is a triumph of technology, given just how many people we humans kill with our cars. Hell, the Phoenix area itself had 11 pedestrian deaths by car in the last week, with only one of them being this Uber car incident. And now all of that hand-wringing is set to really look silly, as the Tempe police chief is indicating that no driver, human or AI, would likely have been able to prevent this death.

    • YouTube as Conspiracy Conduit

      The murder of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14 has sparked protests and marches for gun control, led by many of the Parkland teenagers who experienced the horror of the massacre. The students have taken an outspoken stance against the National Rifle Association and the politicians it funds.

      In response, some gun advocates pulled out a familiar rhetorical tool: accusing shooting victims of being paid “crisis actors,” pretend victims supposedly employed by left-wing boogeymen like George Soros to drum up support for gun control and other progressive policies. Victims of past mass shootings, including Newtown, Sutherland Springs and Las Vegas, had earlier been accused of participating in “false flag” attacks designed to justify federal gun control. These preposterous claims have subjected the families of the victims of those tragedies to death threats and harassment from hoaxers and conspiracy theorists.


      YouTube took down the “mike m” video—after it received over 200,000 views and appeared on the website’s “trending” page. However, right-wing and conspiracy-oriented news sources and activists had already picked up the story and run with it. A former congressmember and a Pennsylvania state representative fanned the flames. Even Donald Trump Jr. liked tweets connecting the massacre to the FBI, which is currently investigating his father. While some sources didn’t come out and endorse false flag/crisis actor conspiracies outright, they used the typical rhetorical devices used to drum up paranoia, claiming they were “just asking questions” or “connecting the dots.”


      These far-right conspiracy videos insulate viewers in reactionary content bubbles through YouTube’s “suggested content” algorithm. The algorithm is centered on bundling viewers into neat “identity” groups that the platform can then market to advertisers. Since 2012, YouTube’s algorithm has done this by focusing on the amount of time watched per video, rather than number of clicks, on both channels and videos, thereby rewarding videos that attract dedicated viewers rather than quick samplers. Additionally, keywords, tags, descriptions and titles help videos get noticed and suggested by the algorithm, so having a set of buzzwords like “social justice warriors” helps get related videos into viewers’ suggested video queue.


      Conspiracy theories and challenges against the “official narrative” have long been fixtures in the paranoid style of American politics. InfoWars continues to release conspiracy theory videos on YouTube that receive millions of views. One of Jones’ latest videos, “The Florida Shooting Happened! ‘Crisis Actors’ Are a MSM Hoax to Censor the Web,” now denies that the shooting was a false flag, but maintains that the mainstream media is using the massacre as a tool to promote gun control and censor right-wing internet “truth tellers.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Trade mark trolls arrive in Canada

        IP practitioners describe a “Wild West” trade mark situation in Canada ahead of the elimination of the use requirement. The number of “all-class” applications is soaring

    • Copyrights
      • ISPs In US Face New Copyright Challenge

        Online firms don’t do enough to combat copyright infringement. That, at least, is what US copyright owners have been saying for years. They recently received some good news from the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The decision in BMG Rights Management v. Cox Communications puts new teeth in the legal requirements for internet service providers (ISPs) to act against infringing customers. The ruling, however, is worrying ISPs and many legal experts, because it empowers copyright trolls, increases costs for ISPs, and puts many of their customers in an untenable situation.

      • Fstoppers Uploaded a Brilliant Hoax ‘Anti-Piracy’ Tutorial to The Pirate Bay

        Photography-focused site Fstoppers has revealed it poured considerable resources into ‘pirating’ one of its own video tutorials in order to send an anti-piracy message. Instead of a $300 instructional, the 25GB torrent uploaded to The Pirate Bay contains a somewhat hilarious tutorial which is clearly not what people have come to expect from the site.

      • Photographer Tutorial Company Reacts To Pirates By Screwing With Them Hilariously

        When it comes to content producers reacting to the pirating of their works, we’ve seen just about every reaction possible. From costly lawsuits and copyright trolling, to attempts to engage with this untapped market, up to and including creatively messing with those that would commit copyright infringement. The last of those options doesn’t do a great deal to generate sales revenue, but it can often be seen by the public as both a funny way to jerk around pirates and as a method for educating them on the needs of creators.

        But Fstoppers, a site that produces high-end tutorials for photographers and sells them for hundreds of dollars each, may have taken the creativity to the next level to mess with those downloading illegitimate copies of their latest work. They decided to release a version of Photographing the World 3 on several torrent sites a few days before it went to retail, but the version they released was much different than the actual product. It was close enough to the real thing that many people were left wondering just what the hell was going on, but ridiculous enough that it’s downright funny.

      • EU’s Mandatory Copyright Content Filter Is The Zombie That Just Never Dies

        For the past few years, there’s been a dedicated effort by some to get mandatory filters into EU copyright rules, despite the fact that this would destroy smaller websites, wouldn’t work very well, and would create all sorts of other consequences the EU doesn’t want, including suppression of free speech. Each time it pops up again, a few people who actually understand these things have to waste a ridiculous amount of time lobbying folks in Brussels to explain to them how disastrous the plan will be, and they back down. And then, magically, it comes back again.

SUEPO: “Today May Be Your Last Chance to Demonstrate Against the Seriously Flawed Reforms That Mr Battistelli Has Imposed” on EPO Staff

Wednesday 21st of March 2018 10:31:32 AM

Exactly a month ago: Rumour: European Patent Office to Lay Off a Significant Proportion of Its Workforce

Be sure that Battistelli will be back at the EPO routinely; he didn’t just blow money intended for a Dutch contractor in another country (for a different project) because a private pub is a priority for the Office (Battistelli appears to have developed an 'addiction' to wine)

Summary: Benoît Battistelli will likely remain involved in EPO affairs for a long time to come (even through a fellow Frenchman, Campinos, whom he swaps two chairs with at the Office and CEIPI), but today is the last opportunity for EPO staff to march in protest against the Battistelli regime, which for the first time ever will result in major staff cuts and growing irrelevance for the Office

“The next meeting of the Administrative Council will take place on 27 and 28 June in The Hague,” the staff union of the EPO (SUEPO) reminded staff this morning. “So unless you want to travel to The Hague, today may be your last chance to demonstrate against the seriously flawed reforms that Mr Battistelli has imposed and continues to impose (CA/3/18 – contracts instead of permanent employment for all new recruits) on the EPO.”

“They try to sort of ‘borrow’ from the future.”What has happened at the EPO under Battistelli is rather horrific, with a sharp decline in human decency around 2014. If one looks at the underlying numbers, that is also around the time the Office lost technical edge and lost control. About an hour ago the EPO’s PR people were alluding to something we wrote about several days ago. It’s just another way for EPO management to stuff the numbers as revenue is down probably for (at least) the second year in a row. They try to sort of ‘borrow’ from the future. We already wrote a great deal about the so-called ‘results’, even as recently as yesterday.

Dr. Thorsten Bausch, bearing in mind that the EPO’s Administrative Council is meeting in the west, wrote about judicial independence yesterday. The EPO has no such thing anymore. It’s out of control. Since 2014 judges have been attacked by Battistelli even more directly and more bluntly. “I know that this is a patent blog,” Bausch wrote. “But something – I don’t know what, maybe it’s the upcoming meeting of the EPO’s Administrative Council – drives me to refer very briefly to a new CJEU ruling. Here is what the Court of Justice had to say about judicial independence in Case C-64/16.”

The one notable outcome of Battistelli’s attacks on jurors is the death of the UPC. The Boards will remain relevant because the UPC won’t happen (probably never). Whether the Boards can function independently again may partly depend on Campinos (who is himself dependent on Battistelli, for he gave him the job). Yesterday we saw this new press release about “Issuance of European Patent” and nowadays when we see grants of European Patents we generally assume that they’re of questionable legitimacy; even EPO examiners complain about a sharp decline in the quality of European Patents.

Funnily enough, the EPO wrote yesterday that Battistelli spoke of “growth, [in what?] which is set to be boosted by the Unitary Patent.”

Well, first of all, the UPC (Unitary Patent) is dead. And it was a threat of destruction to Europe, a growth opportunity mainly for the lawsuits ‘industry’.

Benoît Battistelli has only about 3 months left at the job and he is just as delusional as always. Here’s an outline of this nonsense of his: (warning: link) [via]

EPO President Benoît Battistelli outlined recent developments in the European patent system and the importance of patents in supporting innovation and economic growth, which is set to be boosted by the Unitary Patent.

Whether Battistelli leaves the EPO only to mutter ‘Unitary Patent’ all day long in his cellar or basement we can’t tell for sure; but we are pretty certain he will still be involved in EPO affairs, whether directly or indirectly (maybe he’ll come to visit Campinos at that pub of his, which he secretly built in Munich using money which was intended for a Dutch contractor). Rumours say that Battistelli still dreams of being ‘king’ of UPC (i.e. courts), hence he got himself a position at CEIPI (swapping a chair with Campinos). Context below.

Links 20/3/2018: GStreamer 1.14.0, Freespire 3.0, Endless OS 3.3.13

Tuesday 20th of March 2018 05:25:39 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Purchased a PlayStation 3 Between 2006 and 2010? You May Be Entitled to $65

      PS3 owners first qualified to receive compensation from Sony following the settlement of a lawsuit in 2016. That case dealt with the “OtherOS” feature that came with the console when it debuted. With OtherOS, Sony promised a new PlayStation that would operate like a computer, allowing users to partition their hard drive and install third-party operating systems like the open-source Linux software.

  • Server
    • Inspur Unveils Open Source Software Adapted Server at OpenPOWER Summit 2018

      Inspur, a member of the OpenPOWER Foundation, showcased its FP5280G2 server based on OpenPOWER9 that has completed the adaptation of mainstream open source software for cloud computing, big data and AI. It was the first time that this product was introduced in North America. As the initiator of the OpenPOWER Foundation, IBM disclosed more details of POWER9 processors: designed for emerging applications such as AI, cloud computing, and big data, and has 50% to 200% performance improvement compared to POWER8.

    • Updated Oracle Linux 7 update 4 ARM64/aarch64 with uek5 4.14.26-2

      We refreshed the installation media for OL7/ARM64 with the latest uek5 preview build based on upstream stable 4.14.26 and added perf and tuned.

      You can download it from the OTN OL ARM webpage. Ignore the 4.14-14 in the text, that will get updated. We’re also working on updating the Raspberry Pi 3 image to match the same version. Hopefully using grub2 there as well to make it easier to have a single image repo.

    • Oracle Linux 7 For ARM64 Updated, Using Linux 4.14 Kernel

      Oracle has made available updated installation media for Oracle Linux 7 for ARM64.

      With Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 5 they are using the Linux 4.14 LTS base and that includes for this 64-bit ARM support too. Oracle has made available Oracle Linux 7 for 64-bit ARM with an “Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 5″ based on the upstream Linux 4.14.26 kernel.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux Gets Ported To China’s 32-bit “C-SKY” CPU Architecture

      While the Linux kernel maintainers are currently working on dropping support for some old CPU architectures, a new CPU architecture is looking to receive the mainline treatment.

      Hangzhou C-SKY Microsystems is a Chinese producer of CPU IP licenses and a SoC platform. The company has developed their own 32-bit embedded CPU cores for use within cameras, set-top boxes, digital video recorders, printers, and other appliances / industrial devices. C-SKY is a member of the RISC-V Foundation but their current offerings do not appear based on this ISA.

    • Which Linux Distribution Does Linus Torvalds Use in 2018?

      We know a sizeable amount of his views on Linux distros, thanks to an interview he took long ago in 2007, but who knows – could he have changed his mind?

      In a 2007 interview, Linus professed that he didn’t use Debian because he found it hard to install, a statement I find interesting because he’s the guy who wrote GIT in C.

      Anyway, he buttressed his reason for not using Debian in a later interview from 2014, when he explained that because he is responsible for maintaining his computer and all the computers used by his household, he likes to use an OS with virtually no installation hassle.


      As far as I know, he uses Fedora on most of his computers because of its fairly good support for PowerPC. He mentioned that he used OpenSuse at one point in time and complimented Ubuntu for making Debian accessible to the mass. So most of the flak on the internet about Linus disliking Ubuntu isn’t factual.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Linux Foundation announces open source reference hypervisor project designed for IoT device development

        The Linux Foundation today announced a new embedded reference hypervisor project called ACRN (pronounced “acorn”). With engineering and code contributions from Intel Corporation, the hypervisor was built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind, and optimized to streamline embedded development. This project will provide a framework for industry leaders to build an open source embedded hypervisor specifically for the Internet of Things (IoT).

      • Linux Foundation Announces OpenBMC Project To Create Open-Source BMC Firmware

        Last week Intel announced their open-source sound firmware project while the latest project in the open-source realm comes via the Linux Foundation with the launch of OpenBMC.

        The Linux Foundation is backing the OpenBMC project community with a goal of creating an open-source baseboard management controller (BMC) firmware stack that can be used across motherboards and computing environments.

      • Linux Foundation, Intel launch open source IoT hypervisor

        The Linux Foundation has unveiled plans for a new open source project to provide streamlined embedded hypervisors for IoT devices.

        Called Acrn, the project has been assisted by Intel, which contributed code and engineering. The main thrust of the project is to create small, flexible virtual machines.

        ACRN comprises two main components: the hypervisor and its device model, complete with I/O mediators. The Linux-based hypervisor can run many ‘guest’ operating systems at the same time.

    • Graphics Stack
      • Reverse-Engineering of ARM Mali “Midgard” Now Has A Working NIR Shader Compiler

        Earlier this year work on the “Chai” open-source Mali T700 GPU driver resumed with an aim to get a working Mesa driver for this “Midgard” graphics architecture. There’s still a long battle ahead, but their NIR shader compiler is beginning to work.

        Alyssa Rosenzweig remains the main developer working on this Chai driver effort but with using some remnants done by Luc and Connor during the Lima driver days. Her focus lately has been on assembler and shader support for this reverse-engineered driver for ARM Mali graphics.

      • Wayland 1.15 Beta Released With Weston 4.0 Beta

        The beta releases are available today of Wayland 1.15 and the Weston 4.0 reference compositor.

        Wayland 1.15 is another relatively modest cycle. Wayland 1.15 pulls in libwayland-egl where as before that library was part of Mesa, making some semantics of Wayland more clear in the documentation, improvements to wayland-scanner, and some minor API additions.

      • Mesa 17.3.7 RC2 Issued With Even More Patches

        Last week the release candidate of Mesa 17.3.7 was issued with more than 50 patches queued. That count grew more over the weekend resulting in an additional release candidate.

        Mesa point releases tend to get just one RC and a few days of testing before going gold, but on top of the 50 patches last week another handful of patches were since proposed and queued up for this increasingly large point release. The very latest patches include a RADV Vulkan driver fix by Feral Interactive, and several other RADV and Intel Vulkan fixes.

      • Nouveau NIR Support Appears Almost Baked, NV50 Support Added

        Karol Herbst at Red Hat started off this week by publishing his latest patches around Nouveau NIR support as part of the company’s effort for getting SPIR-V/compute support up and running on this open-source NVIDIA driver.

        Red Hat’s grand vision around open-source GPGPU compute still isn’t entirely clear especially with Nouveau re-clocking not being suitable for delivering high performance at this point, but it must be grand given the number of developers they have working on improving the Linux GPU compute stack at the moment.

      • xf86-input-libinput 0.27.0 Released

        Aside from a few touchpad issues and other minor random issues with select hardware, libinput these days is mostly in great shape for being a generic input handling library that is working out well for both X.Org and Wayland users.

    • Benchmarks
      • Radeon GPUs Are Increasingly Competing With NVIDIA GPUs On Latest RadeonSI/RADV Drivers

        As it’s been a few weeks since last delivering a modest Linux GPU comparison and given the continuously evolving state of the Linux kernel Git tree as well as the Mesa project that houses the RadeonSI OpenGL and RADV Vulkan drivers, here are our latest benchmarks showing the current state of the AMD Radeon open-source Linux graphics driver performance relative to NVIDIA’s long-standing and high-performance but proprietary driver using several different graphics cards.

      • Fresh Benchmarks Of CentOS 7 On Xeon & EPYC With/Without KPTI/Retpolines

        While every few weeks or so we have ended up running benchmarks of the latest Linux Git kernel to see the evolving performance impact of KPTI (Kernel Page Table Isolation) and Retpolines for Meltdown and Spectre V2 mitigation, respectively, a request came in last week from a premium supporter to see some new comparison test runs on CentOS 7 with its older 3.10-evolved kernel.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • KDE Applications 18.04 branches created

        Make sure you commit anything you want to end up in the KDE Applications 18.04 release to them

      • KDE Connect – State of the union

        We haven’t blogged about KDE Connect in a long time, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve been lazy. Some new people have joined the project and together we have implemented some exciting features. Our last post was about version 1.0, but recently we released version 1.8 of the Android app and 1.2.1 of the desktop component some time ago, which we did not blog about yet. Until now!

      • KMyMoney 5.0.1 released

        The KMyMoney development team is proud to present the first maintenance version 5.0.1 of its open source Personal Finance Manager. Although several members of the development team had been using the new version 5.0.0 in production for some time, a number of bugs and regressions slipped through testing, mainly in areas and features not used by them.

      • Qt Quick without a GPU: i.MX6 ULL

        With the introduction of the Qt Quick software renderer it became possible to use Qt Quick on devices without a GPU. We investigated how viable this option is on a lower end device, particularly the NXP i.MX6 ULL. It turns out that with some (partially not yet integrated) patches developed by KDAB and The Qt Company, the performance is very competitive. Even smooth video playback (with at least half-size VGA resolution) can be done by using the PXP engine on the i.MX6 ULL.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GitLab + Flatpak – GNOME’s full flow

        In this post I will explain how GitLab, CI, Flatpak and GNOME apps come together into a (imho) dream-come-true full flow for GNOME, a proposal to be implemented by all GNOME apps.

      • GNOME 3.28 released & coming to Fedora 28

        Last week, The GNOME project announced the release of GNOME 3.28. This major release of the GNOME desktop is the default desktop environment in the upcoming release of Fedora 28 Workstation. 3.28 includes a wide range of enhancements, including updates to Files (nautilus), Contacts, Calendar, Clocks and the on-screen keyboard. Additionally, the new application Usage is added to “make it easy to diagnose and resolve performance and capacity issues”

      • Shotwell Photo Manager Just Got a Big Performance Boost

        A new version of the Shotwell photo manager and editor is available to download. Shotwell 0.28 “Braunschweig” arrives half a year later than originally planned but hasn’t shirked on improvements or bug fixes during the wait. In all some 60 bugs have been closed since the Shotwell 0.27 release last year…

      • GStreamer Rust bindings 0.11 / plugin writing infrastructure 0.2 release

        Following the GStreamer 1.14 release and the new round of gtk-rs releases, there are also new releases for the GStreamer Rust bindings (0.11) and the plugin writing infrastructure (0.2).

      • GStreamer 1.14.0 Released With WebRTC Support, AV1 Video & Better Rust Bindings

        GStreamer 1.14.0 is now available as the first big feature release of 2018 for this widely-used, open-source multimedia framework.

        GStreamer 1.14 packs in many new features including experimental AV1 video codec support for that royalty-free specification, IPC pipeline improvements, RTSP 2.0 client/server support (Real Time Streaming Protocol 2.0), LAME/mpg123/twolame being promoted to the “good” plugin repository now that the related patents have expired for MP3, improved OpenGL integration, initial WebRTC support for real-time communication, and many other improvements.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Manjaro 17.1.6 Hakoila Plasma – A rollercoaster of Tux

        Wow, there could not be a more bi-polar distro than Manjaro Hakoila. On one hand, it’s the state-of-art, bleeding-edge tech demonstrator with some rather brilliant and unique features, belying its Archy roots. On the other, it’s rife with bugs and problems that are typical of small distros and badly integrated products. The network and smartphone side of things are particularly bad. You cannot excuse pale fonts or the menu error either, and then, if you’ve actually read a review, there were a dozen different issues through my test session.

        That said, Manjaro 17.1.6 is pretty, inviting, elegant, largely robust and stable, fast enough on ancient hardware, it gives you Nvidia support out of the box, it gives you media goodies, it gives you the Microsoft Office access right there on your desktop, and it’s got charm and character that goes beyond the bland copypasta you get elsewhere in the Linux world.

        And then, I got meself thinking. I tried a few small but reasonably brilliant distros recently – Manjaro, MX Linux, Antergos. They all have unique, powerful features, all covering different angles. Imagine if they combined their efforts – MX Linux live session data import and its tools, Antergos software wizard, Manjaro office stuff. What a killer distro we could have then! But that’s an article for a different time.

        Back to Manjaro – I am actually liking this particular edition quite a lot. It’s far from perfect, but then, with some hard work and attention to details, this could be an excellent choice for a desktop system. Perhaps more than any other distro did in recent times. Of course, there’s still a huge amount of effort needed to make this a fully integrated, offline-online Windows competitor, but it’s making steady progress, and I like that. A sure sign of greatness to come. Grade wise, about 7.5/10, just watch out for the buggy parts. And I will extend the testing onto my UEFI-powered Lenovo G50 laptop.

    • New Releases
      • Freespire 3.0.8 Released

        Today we are pleased to announce the release of Freespire 3.0.8, the open source equivalent to Linspire OS, freely available to download and redistribute. Freespire OS 3.0.8 includes several bug fixes, application updates and usability changes requested by our users.

        One important change : KDE fans have requested it and now we have released an ISO featuring the KDE Plasma 5 desktop

        Freespire OS 3.0.8 contains all previous bug fixes and system updates along with the following changes.

      • Endless OS Version 3.3.13

        Improved Chromium behaviour with low memory. The Chromium browser now frees up the memory used by other tabs much more effectively when you’re running very low on memory. This means you have to wait a little longer after you switch to one of these tabs, but keeps the system running more smoothly and helps to prevent crashes.

    • Arch Family
      • What’s New in ArchLabs 2018.03

        ArchLabs 2018.03 is the latest release of Linux distribution based on Arch Linux featuring the Openbox window manager as the primary desktop interface. The project’s latest release ArchLabs 2018.03 brings a few fixes and improvements and improve the user.

        Powered by Linux kernel 4.15 series and based-on latest version of Arch Linux. LUKS and encryption is now working, for those security concious users out there you should be all go on the encryption side. There have been a few installer updates, base-devel is included at install time. Also the mirrorlist is optimised at the same time.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • [Older] openSUSE.Asia Summit 2018: Call for Host

        The openSUSE.Asia organization committee is accepting proposals to host the openSUSE.Asia Summit during the second half of 2018. The openSUSE.Asia Summit is the largest annual openSUSE conference in Asia, attended by contributors and enthusiasts from all over Asia.

      • TidalScale Software-Defined Servers Now Support SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

        TidalScale, the leader in Software-Defined Servers, announced today that working in partnership with SUSE, the world’s first provider of Enterprise Linux, TidalScale has achieved SUSE Ready certification to ensure full compatibility with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. TidalScale’s breakthrough scaling platform allows multiple industry standard servers to be combined into a single Software-Defined Server running a single instance of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • RcppSMC 0.2.1: A few new tricks

        A new release, now at 0.2.1, of the RcppSMC package arrived on CRAN earlier this afternoon (and once again as a very quick pretest-publish within minutes of submission).

      • sbuild-debian-developer-setup(1) (2018-03-19)

        I have heard a number of times that sbuild is too hard to get started with, and hence people don’t use it.

        To reduce hurdles from using/contributing to Debian, I wanted to make sbuild easier to set up.

        sbuild ≥ 0.74.0 provides a Debian package called sbuild-debian-developer-setup. Once installed, run the sbuild-debian-developer-setup(1) command to create a chroot suitable for building packages for Debian unstable.

      • control-archive 1.8.0

        This is the software that maintains the archive of control messages and the newsgroups and active files on I update things in place, but it’s been a while since I made a formal release, and one seemed overdue (particularly since it needed some compatibility tweaks for GnuPG v1).

      • The problem with the Code of Conduct
      • Some problems with Code of Conducts
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Canonical Officially Announces Mozilla’s Firefox as a Snap App for Ubuntu Linux

            The Firefox Snap package appears to be maintained by Mozilla, which allows Linux users to test drive the latest features of their Quantum browser on multiple GNU/Linux distributions that support Canonical’s Snappy universal binary format.

            Developed by Canonical, the Snap universal application packaging format for Linux lets Linux users enjoy the most recent release of a software product as soon as it’s released upstream. It’s secure by design and works natively on multiple popular Linux OSes.

          • Mozilla Firefox Quantum available as Snap for Linux

            If you use Linux on the desktop, there is no shortage of great web browsers from which to choose. For instance, popular options like Firefox, Chrome, and Opera are all available. Thankfully, Microsoft Edge is nowhere to be found!

          • Firefox Quantum snap now available on Linux-based devices

            Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, today announced that Mozilla has launched a Firefox snap bringing their latest Quantum browser to multiple Linux distributions, including Ubuntu. Developed by Canonical, snaps are a universal application packaging format for Linux, allowing them to work natively on hundreds of different platforms and multiple distributions.

          • uNav 0.75: A libre GPS navigator for your libre pocket device!

            A new release for your Ubuntu Phone powered by UBports!

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Looking At LZ4-Compressed Initramfs Image By Default

            With Ubuntu 18.10 being the release after an LTS cycle, it’s shaping up to be another big feature period. They have already been discussing Zstd-compressed Debian packages for Ubuntu 18.10 while the latest proposal for this next cycle is on switching from Gzip to LZ4 for the default kernel initramfs image.

            Canonical’s Balint Reczey is going to be adding support for LZ4 compression to initramfs-tools, which should be done in time for the 18.04 release, but for the Ubuntu 18.10 release is where they are looking at making the LZ4-compressed image the default rather than Gzip.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Will Boot Faster, Thanks to LZ4 Initramfs Compression

            Canonical’s Balint Reczey recently proposed the implementation of LZ4 compression to Ubuntu’s initramfs (initial ramdisk) instead of the older gzip compression used in previous releases of the wildly used operating system. LZ4 is a lossless data compression algorithm that offers extremely fast compression and decompression speed.

            During some initial tests on an old laptop, the developer reports that the initramfs extraction time decreased from approximately 1.2 seconds to about 0.24 seconds. The creation of the initramfs also received a speed boost of 2-3 seconds, decreasing from roughly 24 seconds to about 21 seconds, despite of slightly bigger initramfs files.

          • The Top 10 Advantages Ubuntu Has Over Windows

            Microsoft’s Windows OS currently owns 90% of the market share for desktop computers so the question of what advantages a Linux distro, specifically, Ubuntu, has over Windows might come as a surprise.

            But don’t be fooled, my friends – there are a number of features that make Ubuntu a better OS for your workstation than Windows is.

            Here is my list of the Top 10 Advantages Ubuntu has Over Windows.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • DigitalBits launches open-source blockchain-based marketplace for loyalty points

    Their value — or at least their versatility — could get a boost if The DigitalBits Project is successful. This community endeavor, soon to become a nonprofit foundation based out of the tiny European country of Lichtenstein, is today launching an open-source blockchain-based infrastructure that supports trading loyalty points or rewards or transferring them to other individuals.

  • Aventus Announces Development of Open-Source Protocol Foundation

    Aventus, the blockchain ticketing startup that raised 60,000 Ether via a crowdsale in 2017, has announced the next stage of development for its non-profit foundation. The Aventus Protocol Foundation will serve as an entity tasked with supporting open-source projects built using the Aventus protocol. This encourages the growth of the Aventus ticketing ecosystem while protecting the rights of holders of AVT, the native Aventus token.

  • An Overview of Cryptocurrency Consensus Algorithms

    One of the most important aspects of a decentralized cryptocurrency project is the consensus algorithm it employs. A consensus algorithm is crucial to the implementation of a digital currency because it prevents the double spending problem, a challenge that has historically limited the development of digital currencies until the recent development and adoption of the blockchain ledger method. Because cryptocurrencies are implemented as public, decentralized ledgers that are append-only, they must employ a consensus algorithm to verify that there “is one version of the truth” and that the network cannot be overwhelmed by bad actors.

  • LG Creates Open Source Branch Of webOS
  • LG Releases webOS Open Source Edition To Drive Platform Adoption
  • LG takes webOS open source
  • LG takes its webOS platform open source to step up Samsung rivalry
  • LG looks to broaden webOS more with ‘Open Source Edition’
  • LG open-sources webOS Making It A Global Platform
  • LG makes WebOS open source in effort to expand the operating system’s market presence
  • webOS Goes Open Source
  • LG announces webOS Open Source Edition to bring the platform to more devices
  • LG is taking webOS beyond TVs with ‘Open Source Edition’
  • LG releases webOS Open Source Edition
  • LG webOS Open Source Edition Made Available
  • LG wants to take webOS beyond TVs with ‘Open Source Edition’
  • LG is making its open source webOS operating system er, open source

    Those of you with long memories may recall that webOS is already open source, having originally been designed for tablet computers under the auspices of HP Inc (or Hewlett Packard as it was at the time). Even the unfinished overhaul at the time that LG took it underground is open source.

  • LG launches open source version of webOS

    LG Electronics is moving webOS beyond TVs with the release of webOS Open Source Edition. WebOS is a multitasking operating system that was designed for smart devices and smart TVs.

    Before coming to LG, webOS was launched as Palm OS in 2009. It was acquired by HP in 2010, and then licensed to LG in 2013. Since then, the company has been using the technology for its smart TVs and refrigerators.

    “WebOS has come a long way since then and is now a mature and stable platform ready to move beyond TVs to join the very exclusive group of operating systems that have been successfully commercialization at such a mass level. As we move from an app-based environment to a web-based one, we believe the true potential of webOS has yet to be seen,” said I.P. Park, chief technology officer at LG Electronics.

  • How 11 open source projects got their names

    “So, two open source developers walk into a bar…” Arduino derives its name from one of co-founder Massimo Banzi’s favorite bars in Ivrea, Italy, where the founders of this “hardware and software ecosystem” used to meet. The bar was named for Arduin of Ivrea, who was king of Italy a bit more than 1,000 years ago.

  • Feed the dog and close the door with an open source home automation system

    As voice assistants, smart bulbs, and other devices increasingly become household staples, more people than ever are bringing smart technology into their homes. But the bewildering assortment of products on the market can present challenges: Remembering which app to use and trying to link things together with automation can get complicated quickly. In this article, I’ll show you a few ways I used an open source home automation platform, Home Assistant, to bring all my devices together.

  • Can we build a social network that serves users rather than advertisers?

    Today, open source software is far-reaching and has played a key role driving innovation in our digital economy. The world is undergoing radical change at a rapid pace. People in all parts of the world need a purpose-built, neutral, and transparent online platform to meet the challenges of our time.

    And open principles might just be the way to get us there. What would happen if we married digital innovation with social innovation using open-focused thinking?

  • Digital asset management for an open movie project

    A DAMS will typically provide something like a search interface combined with automatically collected metadata and user-assisted tagging. So, instead of having to remember where you put the file you need, you can find it by remembering things about it, such as when you created it, what part of the project it connects to, what’s included in it, and so forth.

    A good DAMS for 3D assets generally will also support associations between assets, including dependencies. For example, a 3D model asset may incorporate linked 3D models, textures, or other components. A really good system can discover these automatically by examining the links inside the asset file.

  • LG Releases ‘Open Source Edition’ Of webOS Operating System
  • Private Internet Access VPN opens code-y kimono, starting with Chrome extension

    VPN tunneller Private Internet Access (PIA) has begun open sourcing its software.

    Over the next six months, the service promises that all its client-side software will make its way into the hands of the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) community, starting with PIA’s Chrome extension.

    The extension turns off mics, cameras, Adobe’s delightful Flash plug-in, and prevents IP discovery. It also blocks ads and tracking.

    Christel Dahlskjaer, director of outreach at PIA, warned that “our code may not be perfect, and we hope that the wider FOSS community will get involved.”

  • Open sourcing FOSSA’s build analysis in fossa-cli

    Today, FOSSA is open sourcing our dependency analysis infrastructure on GitHub. Now, everyone can participate and have access to the best tools to get dependency data out of any codebase, no matter how complex it is.

  • Events
    • syslog-ng at SCALE 2018

      It is the fourth year that syslog-ng has participated at Southern California Linux Expo or, as better known to many, SCALE ‒ the largest Linux event in the USA. In many ways, it is similar to FOSDEM in Europe, however, SCALE also focuses on users and administrators, not just developers. It was a pretty busy four days for me.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • What we learned about gender identity in Open Source

        To learn more, we launched a Diversity & Inclusion in Open Source survey earlier this year, which sought to better understand how people identify, including gender-identity.

        Our gender spectrum question, was purposely long — to experiment with the value people found in seeing their identity represented in a question. People from over 200 open projects participated. Amazingly, of 17 choices, each was uniquely selected, by a survey participant at least once.

      • Why we participate in support

        Users will not use Firefox if they don’t know how to use it, or if it is not working as expected. Support exists to retain users. If their experience of using Firefox is a bad, we’re here to make it good, so they continue to use Firefox.

      • WebRender newsletter #16
      • A good question, from Twitter

        Why do I pay attention to Internet advertising? Why not just block it and forget about it? By now, web ad revenue per user is so small that it only makes sense if you’re running a platform with billions of users, so sites are busy figuring out other ways to get paid anyway.

      • This Week In Servo 108

        We have been working on adding automated performance tests for the Alexa top pages, and thanks to contributions from the Servo community we are now regularly tracking the performance of the top 10 websites.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • LLVM-MCA Will Analyze Your Machine Code, Help Analyze Potential Performance Issues

      One of the tools merged to LLVM SVN/Git earlier this month for the LLVM 7.0 cycle is LLVM-MCA. The LLVM-MCA tool is a machine code analyzer that estimates how the given machine code would perform on a specific CPU and attempt to report possible bottlenecks.

      The LLVM-MCA analysis tool uses information already used within LLVM about a given CPU family’s scheduler model and other information to try to statically measure how the machine code would carry out on a particular CPU, even going as far as estimating the instructions per cycle and possible resource pressure.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Data
      • Taking Data Further with Standards

        Imagine reading a book, written by many different authors, each working apart from the others, without guidelines, and published without edits. That book is a difficult read — it’s in 23 different languages, there’s no consistency in character names, and the story gets lost. As a reader, you have an uphill battle to get the information to tell you one cohesive story. Data is a lot like that, and that’s why data standards matter. By establishing common standards for the collection, storage, and control of data and information, data can go farther, be integrated with other data, and make “big data” research and development possible.

        For example, NOAA collects around 20 terabytes of data every day.Through the National Ocean Service, instruments are at work daily gathering physical data in the ocean, from current speed to the movement of schools of fish and much more. Hundreds of government agencies and programs generate this information to fulfill their missions and mandates, but without consistency from agency to agency, the benefits of that data are limited. In addition to federal agencies, there are hundreds more non-federal and academic researchers gathering data every day. Having open, available, comprehensive data standards that are widely implemented facilitates data sharing, and when data is shared, it maximizes the benefits of “big data”— integrated, multi-source data that yields a whole greater than its parts.

  • Snapchat’s UK ad revenue set to overtake Twitter’s next year

    Snapchat’s UK ad revenue growth is forecast to soar from just £21.9m in 2016 to £181.7m next year. Twitter UK will make about £171m in revenues, according to eMarketer, a market research company. The UK currently accounts for about 10% of Snapchat’s global ad revenues.

  • Apple Is Using a Secret Facility to Do Something It’s Never Done Before

    The technology giant is making a significant investment in the development of next-generation MicroLED screens, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. MicroLED screens use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer, brighter and less power-hungry.

  • Hardware
    • The Last Barrier To Ultra-Miniaturized Electronics Is Broken, Thanks To A New Type Of Inductor

      In the race for ever-improving technology, there are two related technical capabilities that drive our world forward: speed and size. These are related, as the smaller a device is, the less distance the electrical signal driving your device has to travel. As we’ve been able to cut silicon thinner, print circuit elements smaller, and develop increasingly miniaturized transistors, gains in computing speed-and-power and decreases in device size have gone hand-in-hand. But at the same time these advances have comes in leaps and bounds, one fundamental circuit element — the inductor — has had its design remain exactly the same. Found in everything from televisions to laptops to smartphones to wireless chargers, radios, and transformers, it’s one of the most indispensable electronic components in existence.

  • Security
    • AMD And CTS Labs: A Story Of Failed Stock Manipulation

      We have attempted to contact Jessica Schaefer from Bevel PR, the listed PR firm on the vulnerability disclosure website, only to be greeted by a full voicemail inbox. We attempted to contact both Bevel PR and CTS Labs by email and inquire about the relationship between CTS and Viceroy, and provided them with ample time to respond. They did not respond to our inquiry.

      So, let’s look at Viceroy Research. According to MoneyWeb, Viceroy Research is headed by a 44-year-old British citizen and ex-social worker, John Fraser Perring, in conjunction with two 23-year-old Australian citizens, Gabriel Bernarde and Aidan Lau. I wonder which of these guys is so fast at typing. Viceroy Research was the group responsible for the uncovering of the Steinhoff accounting scandal, about which you can read more here.

      After successfully taking down Steinhoff, it tried to manufacture controversy around Capitec Bank, a fast-growing South African bank. This time it didn’t work out so well. The Capitec stock price dropped shortly and quickly recovered when the South African reserve bank made a statement that Capitec’s business is sound. Just a week ago Viceroy attempted to do the same thing with a German company called ProSieben, also with mixed success, and in alleged breach of German securities laws, according to BaFin (similar to the SEC).

      Now, it appears it is going after AMD, though it looks to be another unsuccessful attack.

      Investor Takeaway

      After the announcement of this news, AMD stock generally traded sideways with slight downward movement, not uncommon for AMD in general. Hopefully this article showed you that CTS’s report is largely nonsense and a fabrication with perhaps a small kernel of truth hidden somewhere in the middle. If the vulnerabilities are confirmed by AMD, they are likely to be easily fixed by software patches. If you are long AMD, stay long. If you are looking for an entry point, this might be a good opportunity to use this fake news to your advantage. AMD is a company with a bright future if it continues to execute well, and we see it hitting $20 per share by the end of 2018.

    • Endgame Launches Open-Source Initiative to Drive Adoption of MITRE ATT&CK™, the Best Model of Attacker Behavior

      Endgame, the leader in unified endpoint protection against targeted attacks, today announced it released a set of open-source tools that allow enterprises to test defenses against modern attacker behaviors. These tools, called red team automation (RTA), directly map to MITRE’s ATT&CK™ matrix, the most comprehensive framework for attacker techniques and tactics. Security teams that lack sufficient time and resources will now have the ability to measure protection capabilities beyond malware-based attacks.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Security updates for Friday
    • Debian-Based antiX Linux OS Receives New Kernel Patches for Meltdown and Spectre

      The first point release of the Debian-based antiX 17 “Heather Heyer” operating system series arrived this past weekend with a new kernel patched against the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws, as well as the latest software versions.

      antiX 17.1 (Heather Heyer) is now available, powered by the Linux 4.9.87 LTS kernel patched against the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities unearthed in January 2018 and discovered to put billions of devices at risk of attacks. This protects new antiX installations against these type of attacks.

      Based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 9.4 “Stretch” operating system, antiX 17.1 comes with up-to-date packages from its software repositories, including the LibreOffice 5.2.7 office suite and Mozilla Firefox 52.7.1 ESR web browser. Additionally, this release comes with eudev 3.5 and latest xf86-video-sisimedia-antix release.

    • Update on the Meltdown & Spectre vulnerabilities

      January saw the annoucement of a series of critical vulnerabilities called Spectre and Meltdown. The nature of these issues meant the solutions were complex and required fixing delicate code. The initial fix for Meltdown on x86 was KPTI, which was available almost immediately. Developing mitigations for Spectre was more complex. Other architectures had to look at their vulnerability status as well, and get mitigation in where it was needed. As a bit of time has passed, what is the exposure on Fedora now?

    • SELinux should and does BLOCK access to Docker socket
    • diff -u: Intel Design Flaw Fallout

      Linux patches for these issues are in a state of ongoing development. Security is always the first priority, at the expense of any other feature. Next would probably be the general speed of a running system for the average user. After that, the developers might begin piecing together any features that had been pulled as part of the initial security fix.

      But while this effort goes on, the kernel developers seem fairly angry at Intel, especially when they feel that Intel is not doing enough to fix the problems in future processors.

      In response to one set of patches, for example, Linus Torvalds burst out with, “All of this is pure garbage. Is Intel really planning on making this shit architectural? Has anybody talked to them and told them they are f*cking insane?” He went on, “the IBRS garbage implies that Intel is _not_ planning on doing the right thing for the indirect branch speculation. Honestly, that’s completely unacceptable.”

    • Hackers Can Abuse Plugins for Popular Unix Text Editors to Escalate Privileges

      Advanced Unix Text Editors offers extensibility by allowing users to install third-party plugins for ease of use and to enhance the Text Editors functionalities.

      Server administrators often run text editors with elevated privileges “sudo gedit” to edit root-owned configuration files. If the text editor contains vulnerable third-party plugin it enlarges attack surface.

    • House approves legislation to authorize Homeland Security cyber teams

      House lawmakers on Monday passed legislation that would codify into law the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber incident response teams that help protect federal networks and critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • It isn’t Russia that destroyed British sovereignty
    • Why We Need to Remember the Iraq War—As Well as the Global Resistance to It

      Fifteen years ago, on February 15, 2003, the world said “No to War”: Some 10 million to 15 million people, in hundreds of cities and dozens of countries all over the world, embraced the same slogan, made the same demand, in scores of different languages. A war against Iraq was looming, with Washington and London standing virtually alone in their false claims that Baghdad had amassed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

    • D’un Type Développé par des Menteurs

      While Boris Johnson may spout off the cuff lies while giving TV interviews, when it comes to any formal document or statement – in parliament, the Security Council, NATO and now the EU – the British government always reverts to this precise formulation “of a type developed by Russia” which attempts to disguise the fact that they have no evidence the material is made in Russia. Many laboratories can produce “novichoks”.

    • As Video Games Are In Presidential Crosshairs, New Study Again Shows They Don’t Effect Behavior

      Violent video games have once again found themselves in the role of scapegoat after a recent spate of gun violence in America. After the Florida school shooting, and in the extended wake of the massacre in Las Vegas, several government representatives at various levels have leveled their ire at violent games, including Trump, who commissioned an insane sit-down to act as moderator between game company executives and those that blame them for all the world’s ills. Amid this deluge of distraction, it would be easy to forget that study after study after study have detailed how bunk the notion is that you can tie real-world violence and violent games is. Not to mention, of course, that there has never been more people playing more violent video games in the history of the world than at this moment right now, and at the same time research shows a declining trend for deviant behavior in teens rather than any sort of upswing.

    • On Being a Dissenting Voice in 2018

      Now it is true that, when I was sacked as Ambassador by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for blowing the whistle on extraordinary rendition and the Blair government’s misuse of intelligence from torture, I went into a terrible depression and voluntarily spent ten days or so in St Thomas Hospital (not a mental illness facility) for treatment. I have never tried to keep this secret, indeed it is a major part of my memoir “Murder in Samarkand”. It is also true, as I have always acknowledged, that I have had other less serious depressive episodes treated at home and been diagnosed as bipolar since I was 20.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Advocating for Change: How Lucy Parsons Labs Defends Transparency in Chicago

      Here at the Electronic Frontier Alliance, we’re lucky to have incredible member organizations engaging in advocacy on our issues across the U.S. One of those groups in Chicago, Lucy Parsons Labs (LPL), has done incredible work taking on a range of civil liberties issues. They’re a dedicated group of advocates volunteering to make their world (and the Windy City) a better, more equitable place.

      We sat down with one of the founders of LPL, Freddy Martinez, to gain a better understanding of the Lab and how they use their collective powers for good.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • New NOAA Report Looks at National Coastal Flood Vulnerability

      A report, spearheaded by sea level experts from NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, looked at existing flood thresholds established by the National Weather Service and found patterns in the thresholds based upon tide range. They were then able to apply that pattern nationwide and find a statistical and consistent way to measure and monitor minor high tide flooding, as well as moderate and major flooding in locations where no threshold exists.

      The report finds that, on average, U.S. coastal infrastructure is vulnerable to minor, moderate, and major flooding at heights of about 0.5, 0.8, and 1.2 meters above the average daily highest tide (Mean Higher High Water). Trends in annual high tide flood frequencies are increasing or accelerating at two-thirds of the roughly 100 locations examined.

    • Climate Legal Paradox: Judges Issue Dueling Rulings for Cities Suing Fossil Fuel Companies

      Five cities and counties in California that are suing fossil fuel companies for damages triggered by climate change are now at the center of a legal paradox created by conflicting decisions from two federal court judges reviewing nearly identical claims.

      The judicial collision course was set Friday when a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that climate change lawsuits by two counties and one city were best adjudicated in California state courts. The ruling came less than a month after another federal court judge ruled that a similar climate case, brought by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, should be tried in federal court.

      The contradictory rulings by the judges—both Democratic appointees who serve in the same San Francisco courthouse just two floors apart—were handed down in lawsuits targeting oil and gas companies, including Exxon, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhilips and Shell, for damages associated with climate change.

  • Finance
    • Weinstein Co. has filed for bankruptcy and will pursue a sale

      Harvey Weinstein’s embattled movie studio — once a premier maker of award-winning films — has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy more than five months after sexual misconduct allegations against its co-founder sent the company spiraling out of control, the company’s board said late Monday night.

      The filing, submitted in Delaware, is the culmination of a long struggle to spare the formerly highflying studio from bankruptcy court. The move to seek protection from creditors owed hundreds of millions of dollars comes after the company tried and failed to sell assets to a group of investors led by billionaire Ron Burkle and former Obama administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet.

    • For WaPo, It’s Never a Bad Time to Slash Programs for Elderly

      It’s hard not to have a certain attachment to the Washington Post‘s longstanding crusade against Social Security and Medicare. After all, it has been pushing for cuts to these programs at least since I came to town in 1992. They did in the high-deficit years of the early 1990s, the boom times of the late 1990s, the housing bubble years of the 2000s and through the Great Recession. The Post calling for cuts to these programs is pretty much as predictable as the sun coming up. So this morning’s call for “reform” (3/19/18) is a bit like the morning coffee, although somewhat less pleasant.

      At the most basic level, you sort of have to love the Post criticizing politicians for not wanting to go on record for cuts to these programs, even when the editorial writers, who don’t have to run for office, are scared to say what they actually want, and instead use the euphemism “reform” when they mean cuts. But the substance is also a bit hard to take.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Trump Attacks Mueller for First Time by Name

      President Trump attacked special counsel Robert Mueller for the first time by name on Twitter over the weekend. On Saturday, he wrote, “The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime.” On Sunday, he wrote, “Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!” Mueller is a longtime Republican and a former FBI director who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush.

    • Revealed: Trump’s election consultants filmed saying they use bribes and sex workers to entrap politicians

      Mr Turnbull described how, having obtained damaging material on opponents, Cambridge Analytica can discreetly push it onto social media and the internet.

      He said: “… we just put information into the bloodstream of the [I]nternet, and then, and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again… like a remote control. It has to happen without anyone thinking, ‘that’s propaganda’, because the moment you think ‘that’s propaganda’, the next question is, ‘who’s put that out?’.”

      Mr Nix also said: “…Many of our clients don’t want to be seen to be working with a foreign company… so often we set up, if we are working then we can set up fake IDs and websites, we can be students doing research projects attached to a university, we can be tourists, there’s so many options we can look at. I have lots of experience in this.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Cybercrime bill repressive, designed to steer self-censorship among citizens

      The Cybercrime and Cyber-security Bill which seeks to regulate internet conduct in Zimbabwe is very repressive and is being crafted with authoritarian intentions to instil self-censorship among citizens, a study has revealed.

      According to a study done by Zimbabwe Democracy Institute and Media Centre, “the political context of the Cybercrime and Cyber-Security Bill dictates that, in crafting this Bill, the government was driven more by its fear of the citizen power and its desire to protect itself from citizen and civic pressure unveiled by unsuppressed internet freedom than amplifying citizens’ security when exercising their freedoms online.”

      The study found that the bill is repressive because it came about after government the internet has liberated the masses in terms of freedom of expression.

    • SESTA’s Sponsors Falsely Claim That Fixing SESTA’s Worst Problem Harms Hollywood

      Here’s the problem with that. Almost everything stated above is 100% factually wrong. And not just a little bit wrong. It’s so wrong that it raises serious questions about whether Blumenthal understands some fairly fundamental issues in the bill he’s backing. Professor Eric Goldman has a pretty concise explanation of everything that’s wrong with the statement, noting that it — somewhat incredibly — shows that SESTA’s main sponsors don’t even understand the very basic aspects of CDA 230, as they insist on changing the law.

    • Hollywood’s Behind-The-Scenes Support For SESTA Is All About Filtering The Internet

      There’s a lot more in Mullin’s post, but it actually goes much beyond that. Every rock you lift up in looking at where SESTA’s support has come from, you magically find Hollywood people scurrying quietly around. We’ve already noted that much of the initial support for SESTA came from a group whose then board chair was a top lobbyist for News Corp.. And, as we reported last month, after a whole bunch of people we spoke to suggested that much of the support for SESTA was being driven by former top News Corp. lobbyist, Rick Lane, we noticed that a group of people who went around Capitol Hill telling Congress to support SESTA publicly thanked their “partner” Rick Lane for showing them around.

      In other words, it’s not just Hollywood seeing a bill that gets them what it wants and suddenly speaking up in favor of it… this is Hollywood helping to make this bill happen in the first place as part of its ongoing effort to remake the internet away from being a communications medium for everyone, and into a broadcast/gatekeeper dominated medium where it gets to act as the gatekeeper.

      And if you think that Hollywood big shots are above pumping up a bogus moral panic to get their way, you haven’t been paying attention. Remember, for years Hollywood has also pushed the idea that the internet requires filters and censorship for basically any possible reason. Back during the SOPA days, it focused on “counterfeit pharmaceuticals.” Again, not an issue that Hollywood is actually concerned with, but if it helped force filters and stopped user-generated content online, Hollywood was quick to embrace it.

    • A lesson in censorship

      The headline should have read “Citrus County students denied their voice — school officials quell free speech.”

      It is unacceptable that Citrus County school officials prohibited, and even penalized, those students trying to exercise their rights to peacefully assemble and voice their opinions about a situation that directly impacts their daily lives: Guns and schools.

    • Egyptian director cancels play over state censorship

      Egypt’s state censors prohibited the performance of a play just hours before its Sunday premiere in Cairo, the latest episode in authorities’ unrelenting crackdown on free speech. Director Ahmed El Attar cancelled the Sunday and Monday showings of Before The Revolution, a two-actor piece that depicts feelings of oppression and stagnation in Egypt before its 2011 popular uprising, saying that to remove five scenes as required by the censors heavily distorted the piece.

      The play, which had been set to show in a 100-seat theater for six nights, is part of the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival, the biggest arts event in Cairo’s city center, supported mostly by foreign cultural institutes and embassies as well as UNESCO.

      “The director and playwright El Attar saw that removing five scenes has a negative and strong impact on the dramatic construction and the work of art, draining its artistic and literary content,” the organizers said.

    • Ceremony canceled after Israeli mayor refuses to censor speech
    • Poles fail to censor Israeli speaker, cancel Holocaust memorial ceremony
    • Israeli mayor refuses to deliver remarks in Poland censored under new Holocaust law
    • Poland censors Israeli mayor who sought to cite Polish Holocaust crimes at event
    • Israeli Mayor Cancels Speech In Poland After Being Censored Under Holocaust Law
    • Holocaust memorial ceremony canceled after Poland censors Israeli speech
    • Holocaust Ceremony in Poland Cancelled After Israeli Mayor Refuses Censorship
    • Sentenced to Prison For His Political Views, Sadegh Zibakalam Decries Censorship in Iran
    • Social Media = Social Right? Professor Talks Censorship, Election Influence

      The whistleblower at the center of the ‘Cambridge Analytica’ scandal has had his account suspended by Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. We spoke to mc schraefel, Professor of Computer Science and Human Performance at the University of Southampton about the scandal.

    • Facebook and Sri Lankan government collaborate on social media censorship

      While Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena last Thursday officially removed its bans placed on Facebook on March 7, his government is working closely with the giant corporation to restrict access to the social media platform.

      In a tweet message Sirisena noted that his secretary, Austin Fernando, discussed “with officials of Facebook, who have agreed that its platform will not be used for spreading hate speech and inciting violence [in Sri Lanka].”

      The government imposed the ban on Facebook, and other social media outlets, including Viber and WhatsApp, as part of its national state of emergency on March 6. The draconian measure was in response to anti-Muslim violence unleashed by Sinhala-Buddhist extremist groups in some areas of central Kandy district.

    • Censorship is patronizing. Always has been, always will be: Neil Macdonald

      In the early ’90s, long before the very nature of the internet had mooted the question, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre was pushing the Canadian government to regulate Holocaust denial online.

      Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Centre’s public voice in Los Angeles, laid out a compelling case, at least on the face of it:

      Holocaust denial is meant to encourage hatred of Jews. Canada had already made hate speech a crime. Ernst Zundel, perhaps the world’s best known Holocaust denier at the time, had in fact been charged in Canada with hate speech for publishing a tract titled “Did Six Million Really Die?”

      Why then, asked Cooper, should Holocaust deniers be allowed to preach into Canada via the internet? Holocaust denial, he argued, works. It constitutes a clear threat to Jews.


      This is ridiculous; Richard Spencer, like those who preach humans coexisted with dinosaurs, talks utter drivel. If he belongs in a marketplace, it’s the one that caters to cretins, not students pursuing higher education.

      The antifa response to the free-speechers was just as woolly.

      One woman wrote in demanding to know why the “cognitive safety of white males” trumps the emotional distress that Spencer’s very presence causes people of colour. As though the U.S. Constitution guarantees, along with freedom of expression, the right not to be offended.

      There was the old words-are-weapons logic, leavened with rhetoric about patriarchal hegemony.

    • Overdubbing movies for TV is the only funny type of censorship

      When you have the family in your living room, sometimes you can’t just pop-in a Scorsese movie. I’ve found that most times, movie violence (like Kung-Fu) might be OK in a mixed crowd, but lots of swear words usually won’t (I can’t watch Tarantino with Grandma). I don’t particularly know why it’s language almost universally, but everyone’s got their preferences and a right to not be put on edge by my movie choices.

      When a film gets edited to be broadcast on TV, often times the coarse language is the first to go in an edit, as an overdubbing. Although I dislike censorship in all forms, the practice has led to something I’ve come to find humorous when watching a watered down “R” rated film with my family on TV; the only funny kind of censorship I’ve ever encountered.


      Ultimately, these changes are probably a happy medium for people wanting to still watch “Robocop” while their kids are in the room, but after watching watered-down versions of films like “Bad Boys II,” I think these misfit cuts of favorite films should have their own awards category. After all, watching (Marky) Mark Wahlberg turn all of his fierce, angry expletives into monotone, phoned in adjectives changes the entire tone of his scenes in the best picture winning “The Departed,” and it really becomes a work of art of a different kind. The next time you see a movie edited for TV, you might try to see if it has any noticeable changes. You might have a laugh.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Cops Wanting To Track Movements Of Hundreds Of People Are Turning To Google For Location Records

      Cellphones — and any other devices using Google products that serve up location info — are steady generators of third party records. Conceivably, this puts a wealth of location info only a subpoena’s-length away from the government. It appears Google is pushing back, but that tactic isn’t going to work in every case. The Raleigh PD may have been willing to oblige Google to avoid a fight in court (and the risk of handing over information about how often it approaches third parties for records and what it demands from them), but not every PD making use of Google’s location info stash is going to back down this easily.

      Other warrants obtained by WRAL show local law enforcement has collected phone info and location data on thousands of people while investigating such crimes as arson and sexual battery. Despite having no evidence showing the perpetrators of these crimes even had a cellphone in their possession at the time the incidents occurred, agencies approached Google with judge-approved warrants to collect data on people living in nearby apartment units or visiting local businesses near the crime scene.

    • Matt Hancock has no right to complain about the internet being a “Wild West”

      In recent years, many have warned about the dangers of Facebook knowing so much about everyone’s beliefs, preferences, and attitudes. Clearly Cambridge Analytica, the advertising firm accused of harvesting 50 million Facebook users’ data without their consent, thought they were a match made in – let’s say – purgatory. But let us focus on a particular claim made today by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, Matt Hancock: that the companies are operating in an internet “Wild West” in which the UK government is straining to impose law and order.

    • The Future The FBI Wants: Secure Phones For Criminals, Broken Encryption For Everyone Else

      The old truism is in play again with the FBI’s renewed CryptoWar: if X is outlawed, only criminals will have X. In this case, it’s secure encryption. The FBI may not be trying to get encryption banned, but it does want it weakened. No backdoors, claims FBI director Chris Wray, just holes for the government to use at its pleasure. So, if the FBI gets it way, the only truly secure encryption will be in the hands of criminals… exactly the sort of people the FBI claims it needs weakened encryption to catch.

    • Can a GSoC project beat Cambridge Analytica at their own game?

      A few weeks ago, I proposed a GSoC project on the topic of Firefox and Thunderbird plugins for Free Software Habits.

      At first glance, this topic may seem innocent and mundane. After all, we all know what habits are, don’t we? There are already plugins that help people avoid visiting Facebook too many times in one day, what difference will another one make?

      Yet the success of companies like Facebook and those that prey on their users, like Cambridge Analytica (who are facing the prospect of a search warrant today), is down to habits: in other words, the things that users do over and over again without consciously thinking about it. That is exactly why this plugin is relevant.

    • How Personal Data of 50 Million Facebook Users Was Turned Into A Political Tool?
    • Crowdfunded OpenSCHUFA Project Wants To Reverse-Engineer Germany’s Main Credit-Scoring Algorithm

      We’ve just written about calls for a key legal communications system to be open-sourced as a way of re-building confidence in a project that has been plagued by problems. In many ways, it’s surprising that these moves aren’t more common. Without transparency, there can be little trust that a system is working as claimed. In the past this was just about software, but today there’s another aspect to the problem. As well as the code itself, there are the increasingly-complex algorithms, which the software implements. There is a growing realization that algorithms are ruling important parts of our lives without any public knowledge of how they work or make decisions about us. In Germany, for example, one of the most important algorithms determines a person’s SCHUFA credit rating: the name comes from an abbreviation of its German “Schutzorganisation für Allgemeine Kreditsicherung”, which means “Protection Agency for General Credit Security”.

    • Both Facebook And Cambridge Analytica Threatened To Sue Journalists Over Stories On CA’s Use Of Facebook Data

      I’m going to assume that you weren’t living in an internet-proof cave this weekend, and caught at least some of the stories about Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. The news first kicked off with the announcement of a data protection lawsuit filed against Cambridge Analytica in the UK on Friday evening (we’ll likely have more on that lawsuit soon), followed quickly by an attempt by Facebook to get out ahead of the coming tidal wave by announcing that it was suspending Cambridge Analytica and some associated parties from its platforms, claiming terms of service violations. This was quickly followed on Saturday with two explosive stories. The first, from Carole Cadwalladr at The Guardian, revealing a “whistleblower” from the very early days of Cambridge Analytica (who more or less set up how it works with data profiles) named Christopher Wylie. This was quickly followed up by another story at the NY Times, which was a bit more newsy, providing more details on how Cambridge Analytica got data on about 50 million people out of Facebook.

      Admittedly — much of this isn’t actually new. The Intercept had reported something similar a year ago, though it only said it was 30 million Facebook users, rather than 50 million. And that story built on the work of a 2015 (yes, 2015) story in the Guardian discussing how Cambridge Analytica was using data from “tens of millions” of Facebook users “harvested without permission” in support of Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign.

    • Is Facebook NASDAQ:FB an NSA Agent?

      Edward Snowden tweeted Saturday that Facebook is a “surveillance company” that sells its users’ personal details, weighing in on a scandal involving a private firm that harvested data from the social media giant.

      “Businesses that make money by collecting and selling detailed records of private lives were once plainly described as ‘surveillance companies,’” wrote the former National Security Agency contractor. “Their rebranding as ‘social media’ is the most successful deception since the Department of War became the Department of Defense.”

    • Snowden: Facebook Is a ‘Surveillance Company’ That Exploits User Data

      Facebook’s data policies are exploitative and resemble the work of a “surveillance company,” according to exiled National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden who spoke out in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

      Snowden criticized the social media network in a series of tweets on Saturday after revelations that Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from 50 million Facebook users back in 2014. Cambridge Analytica has been contracted to work on high-profile projects, including the 2016 election campaign of Donald Trump.

    • Facebook suspends account of Cambridge Analytica whistleblower

      Chris Wylie, the whistleblower who has alleged the knowingly improper use of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica, says The Social Network™ has suspended his account.

    • New biometric system to boost accuracy of border identity checking

      A new enterprise biometric identification service to be deployed by Australia’s Department of Home Affairs in July will vastly improve Australia’s biometric storage and processing capability, consolidating biometrics collected through visa and detention programs, according to the Federal Government.

    • UK warrant sought to raid controversial data firm’s servers

      Britain’s information commissioner Elizabeth Denham will seek a warrant to examine the databases and servers used by data analytics company Cambridge Analytica, the firm that is alleged to have used data of more than 50 million Facebook subscribers for targeting voters in the US presidential election.

    • Europe’s New Privacy Law Will Change the Web, and More

      On May 25, however, the power balance will shift towards consumers, thanks to a European privacy law that restricts how personal data is collected and handled. The rule, called General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, focuses on ensuring that users know, understand, and consent to the data collected about them. Under GDPR, pages of fine print won’t suffice. Neither will forcing users to click yes in order to sign up.

      Instead, companies must be clear and concise about their collection and use of personal data like full name, home address, location data, IP address, or the identifier that tracks web and app use on smartphones. Companies have to spell out why the data is being collected and whether it will be used to create profiles of people’s actions and habits. Moreover, consumers will gain the right to access data companies store about them, the right to correct inaccurate information, and the right to limit the use of decisions made by algorithms, among others.

    • This Call May Be Monitored for Tone and Emotion
    • Cambridge Analytica CEO filmed talking about using bribes, sex workers in political work

      Channel 4 reports that over a four-month undercover investigation, it discovered that Cambridge Analytica has secretly worked to influence more than 200 elections all over the world, sometimes using sub-contractors or a web of secretive front companies.

    • Cambridge Analytica: Five things to watch
    • Facebook will hold an emergency meeting to let employees ask questions about Cambridge Analytica

      Facebook has scheduled an open meeting for all employees Tuesday to let them ask questions about the unfolding Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal.

    • Breach leaves Facebook users wondering: how safe is my data?

      In what appeared to be a damage limitation exercise, the social network preempted the stories that appeared in the Observer and the New York Times over the weekend by banning the political strategy company from its platform while it investigated the claims.

    • Why We’re Not Calling the Cambridge Analytica Story a ‘Data Breach’

      Facebook insists that Cambridge Analytica didn’t get information on 50 million Americans because of a ‘data breach.’ It’s right. What really happened is much worse.


      And while the process that Kogan exploited is no longer allowed, Facebook still collects—and then sells—massive amounts of data on its users.

    • Facebook Executive Planning to Leave Company Amid Disinformation Backlash

      Mr. Stamos, who plans to leave Facebook by August, had advocated more disclosure around Russian interference of the platform and some restructuring to better address the issues, but was met with resistance by colleagues, said the current and former employees. In December, Mr. Stamos’s day-to-day responsibilities were reassigned to others, they said.

      Mr. Stamos said he would leave Facebook but was persuaded to stay through August to oversee the transition of his responsibilities and because executives thought his departure would look bad, the people said. He has been overseeing the transfer of his security team to Facebook’s product and infrastructure divisions. His group, which once had 120 people, now has three, the current and former employees said.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • The Trump Administration’s Multi-Pronged Assault on Immigrants’ Rights

      Right now, President Trump and Congress seek to pass a federal budget that would put the deportation machinery into even higher gear. The administration’s budget request asks taxpayers for $21.5 billion for its immigration and border enforcement agenda, an amount greater than the budgets of all other law enforcement agencies combined. This would mean more agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and border patrol agents, more detention beds in private immigration prisons, and the further militarization of border communities. In light of what we are witnessing across America, we should be ending, not enabling, the Trump deportation agenda.

    • Kobach Exposed at Trial

      Kobach utterly failed to present convincing evidence for his claim of rampant voter fraud.

      The federal trial over a law that disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters in Kansas is expected to end tomorrow. For the past two weeks, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has attempted to defend not just his signature legislation, which requires people to show documentary proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate or passport when registering to vote, but to support his claim of rampant voter fraud.

    • Copspeak: When Black Children Suddenly Become ‘Juveniles’

      As FAIR has noted many times before (7/10/16, 1/30/18), one of the primary goals of “Copspeak”—broadly defined as the media internalizing police verbiage to sound Cool and Official—is to dehumanize those officers have detained, harassed or killed.

      One popular iteration of Copspeak is when reporters refer to children or teenagers as “juveniles.” This works to criminalize and dehumanize a distinction—being a child—we would otherwise view in a sympathetic light, by using the dry, scientistic language of an anthropological study. “Police shoot fleeing juvenile” impacts us far less than “police shoot fleeing child” or “police shoot fleeing teenager,” which is why it’s the preferred term of the police, and thus police-aligned local reporters doing their best Copspeak impression.

      Here are a few recent examples, children are referred to as “juveniles” before they’ve been indicted much less found guilty of any crimes…

    • Black Mirror’s Scary “Social Credit Score” Is Becoming A Reality In China

      We have been hearing about a similar system being developed by China, with its first limited run starting in May 2018. If the big data-fueled system becomes full-fledged, the social credit of Chinese citizens would be a significant factor when they would want to avail services and benefits. According to the reports, the initial implementation would impose a ban on train and air travel. And this banning period could go up to a year.

    • Self-driving Uber Car Hits And Kills A Woman Crossing The Street

      On Sunday evening, a self-driving Uber car hit and killed a woman pedestrian who was crossing a road. The incident took place in Tempe, Arizona, which has become a hub for testing self-driving technology.

    • Pedestrian Deaths By Car In Phoenix Area Last Week: 11. But One Was By A Self-Driving Uber

      Despite worries about the reliability and safety of self-driving vehicles, the millions of test miles driven so far have repeatedly shown self-driving cars to be significantly more safe than their human-piloted counterparts. Yet whenever accidents (or near accidents) occur, they tend to be blown completely out of proportion by those terrified of (or financially disrupted by) an automated future.

    • Uber self-driving car kills Arizona woman, realizing worst fears of the new tech

      In a tweet, National Transportation Safety Board officials said they were sending a team to Arizona to investigate the accident.

    • Uber Self-Driving Car Kills Arizona Woman, the First Pedestrian Death By Autonomous Car

      Unlike other testing grounds, such as California, Arizona does not require autonomous car companies to submit disengagement reports, or instances of a vehicle’s operator taking control of the car.

    • Self-Driving Uber Car Kills Arizona Pedestrian

      The Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode with a human safety driver at the wheel when it struck the woman, who was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, the Tempe police said in a statement. The episode happened on Sunday around 10 p.m. The woman was not publicly identified.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • The Cable Industry Is Quietly Securing A Massive Monopoly Over American Broadband

      Cable providers like Comcast and Charter continue to quietly secure a growing monopoly over American broadband. A new report by Leichtman Research notes that the nation’s biggest cable companies added a whopping 83% of all net broadband subscribers last quarter. All told, the nation’s top cable companies (predominately Charter Spectrum and Comcast) added 2.7 million broadband subscribers in 2017, while the nation’s telcos (AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Frontier) saw a net loss of 625,000 subscribers last year, slightly worse than the 600,000 subscriber net loss they witness in 2016.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Evidence on Polarization in IP

      The abstract doesn’t do justice to the results – the paper is worth a read, with some interesting graphs as well. One of the more interesting findings is that political party has almost no correlation with views on copyright, but relatively strong correlation with views on patenting. This latter result makes me an odd duck, as I lean more (way, in some cases) liberal but have also leaned more pro-patent than many of my colleagues. I think there are reasons for that, but we don’t need to debate them here.

    • Drug-Patent Abuse and the High Cost of Healthcare: Case of the Double-Half Dose-Time Injection

      Fortunately, in May and July 2017, three different panels of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) (with five different Administrative Patent Judges between them), saw through this charade. Armed with the benefit of evidence from experts on both sides of the issue through trial, they agreed with the petitioners that the prior art already knew how to correlate IV dosing regimens to the more convenient arm-shot method, routinely; that a 20 mg dose per week was “nearly equally efficacious when given weekly via arm-injection (subcutaneously); and that the half-life for Humira is between 11.6 and 13.7 days; or at least that it would have been on any skilled doctor’s very-short list of obvious things to try a double-dose, half-as-often regimen, with a reasonable expectation that it would succeed at treating arthritis. The patent was held to be invalid as obvious over the prior art.

    • Texas jury awards $706m in trade secret and breach of contract case

      HouseCanary has been awarded $235.4 million in damages for misappropriation of the trade secrets and fraud claims, and an additional $471.4 million in punitive damages, in a case involving real estate analytics

    • Trademarks
      • Will trade mark law stop Marine Le Pen’s new campaign?

        Last week, Marine Le Pen, leader of the political party National Front (‘Front National’), announced the re-branding of her party, following a defeat in the latest presidential elections in France. A new name, a new team, and a new programme, are all on the cards. The National Front is now to be called ‘Rassemblement national’ (read: National Rally). The objective is to ‘soften’ the image of the National Front, and thereby to distance the party from its tumultuous past (hereand here).

        Ironically, perhaps, this is not the first time that the name ‘National Rally’ has featured as the name of a national party. Indeed, it had already been used by a collaborationist party known as ‘National Popular Rally’ (‘Rassemblement National Populaire’), founded in 1941 by Marcel Déatduring the period of Vichy France (through 1945) (here).

    • Copyrights
      • Pirate Streaming Giant 123Movies Announces Shutdown

        Popular pirate streaming site 123movies, also known as 123movieshub and GoMovies, has announced its shutdown. According to a message posted on the site, it will close its doors at the end of the week. At the same time, the operators are now urging their users to respect filmmakers by paying for movies and TV-shows.

      • How The Pirate Bay Helped Spotify Become a Success

        Without The Pirate Bay, Spotify may have never turned into the success it is today. Ten years ago record labels were so desperate to find an answer to the ever-growing piracy problem that they agreed to take a gamble. Now, more than a decade later, Spotify has turned into a billion-dollar company, with pirate roots.

      • Swedish Supreme Court says that painting based on photograph is new and independent creation and hence … non-infringing

        Exhausted after several days of intense work, I (finally) afforded the luxury of watching some TV. Zapping my way through the channels, I stumbled upon something called “Domstolen” (ENG: “The Court”), a reality TV-show in the form of a reportage, based on somewhat recent court cases and judicial developments in Sweden. Just as I was about to zap away to the next channel there appeared a case concerning copyright infringement.

        The case reported is colloquially known as Swedish scapegoats – a case from 2017 that made all the way up to the Swedish Supreme Court, and concerned a copyright dispute between the author of a close-up photograph and the author of a painting that was based on that photograph.

BIO, MDMA and PhRMA Are Pushing the PTAB-Hostile STRONGER Patents Act While IAM and Patently-O Continue to Bash PTAB

Tuesday 20th of March 2018 01:41:54 PM

The only “death squad” (their term) is the patent extremists trying to ‘shoot down’ PTAB and its judges

Summary: The patent microcosm, which compares the Board to the above (crude analogy from Judge Rader and other patent extremists), is still trying to kill inter partes reviews (IPRs), in effect overlooking its own hypocrisy on the matter (they don’t want patent justice, they just want to metaphorically ‘shoot down’ the judges)

THE USPTO is improving things with inter partes reviews (IPRs), so it’s rather hard to imagine that anyone other than patent maximalists would wish to interfere.

We were a little stunned to see the STRONGER Patents Act mentioned again yesterday. We have hardly heard anything about it for nearly a year. What the CCIA’s Josh Landau is saying here, along with that corny zombie silhouette, is that “Like A Horror Movie Villain, The STRONGER Patents Act Returns,” but as far as we can see/tell, it is still pretty much dead and not mentioned anywhere except Koch-funded think tanks (they mention it on occasions, usually in tweets). Landau wrote:

Since the STRONGER Patents Act was introduced last year, it’s basically been a dead topic. Maybe that’s because the bill would gut the extremely successful inter partes review procedure and overturn more than a decade of Supreme Court precedent, crippling the ability of small and medium enterprises to develop products without fear. It would even make it legally beneficial to develop products anywhere other than the United States – a sort of R&D inversion scheme, enshrined in statute.

So, given that the STRONGER Patents Act will harm innovators and drive R&D overseas, why are Reps. Stivers (R-OH) and Foster (D-IL) planning to bring the STRONGER Patents Act back and introduce it in the House on Tuesday?


Who Greenlighted This Sequel, Anyway?

So who’s supporting this bill, despite the harm to American innovation?

PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry lobby. BIO, the biotech version of PhRMA. MDMA, the medical device version of PhRMA. I can’t imagine why they want to make it harder to invalidate the patents they use to keep generic companies off the market.

The Qualcomm-funded Innovation Alliance? InterDigital? Companies that make their money by licensing patents under threat of litigation? I’m sure Qualcomm and InterDigital would be unhappy if they could bar sales of iPhones entirely based on a patent related to a small part of a component that costs $20.

And there’s one other party lurking in the background—litigation finance. Third-party financial companies that underwrite patent litigation on spec, hoping to share in any damages awarded. Stivers and Foster aren’t on the Judiciary Committee, the House committee with jurisdiction over patent issues. They’re on House Financial Services.

And litigation finance companies making money by betting on patent litigation would like to make their business a less risky bet by making it harder to challenge patents and easier to extract royalties that exceed the value of the patent using the threat of injunctions.

A bill that will keep drug prices high by sending research overseas and increase everyone’s prices to reward financial speculators?

That’s a real-life horror story.

At least we know who’s behind it.

Landau is now being cited by Joff Wild (IAM). This new guest post cites CCIA/Patent Progress and starts by saying that “one thing everyone can agree on, surely, is that IPRs have saved companies billions of dollars…”

As Landau points out (above), he “can’t imagine why they want to make it harder to invalidate the patents they use to keep generic companies off the market.”

If justice is what one cares for, PTAB is great. It makes access to justice better.

“Well, maybe not.”

So says IAM’s guest post. It suits IAM’s PTAB-hostile narrative.

“IP Edge managing director Gautham Bodepudi,” Wild continues, “has been doing some calculaitons and, he claims, while some parties do indeed make big savings, overall the results are not particularly impressive. This is Gau’s view, not necessarily ours, so we’d be very keen to hear from anyone who thinks he may have missed something. Anyway, here is what he has to say.”

It’s hardly surprising that a patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) would relay things like that. It also uses the “death squad” canard, in essence equating/comparing a court to a firing line and judges to people who execute. It’s also unsurprising that Patently-O, as of yesterday, cherry-picked a PTAB case because it’s one of those rare cases where CAFC does not fully agree with PTAB. In short, Dell uses an IPR to tackle dubious patents that the USPTO probably oughtn’t have granted. This is what happened next:

In its original decision, the PTAB cancelled claim 3 of Acceleron’s U.S. Patent No. 6,948,021 (inter alia). That holding was based upon an argument first presented by Dell at Oral Arguments (over Acceleron’s procedural objections). The Federal Circuit in 2016 vacated that first PTAB decision — “the Board denied Acceleron its procedural rights by relying in its decision on a factual assertion introduced into the proceeding only at oral argument, after Acceleron could meaningfully respond.”


On appeal again, the Federal Circuit has now affirmed the validity finding — holding that the Board properly ignored Dell’s argument – even though the result is that we confirm the validity of a patent claim that is thought to be invalid. The problem for Dell is that the procedural rules are clear – “No new evidence or arguments may be presented at the Oral Arguments.” (Office Patent Trial Practice Guide, 77 Fed. Reg. 48,756 (Aug. 14, 2012)).

The primary holding here is that the PTAB was not required to allow for any re-briefing of the arguments and evidence.

This is that same old propaganda pattern from Crouch. He likes to pretend that PTAB is some very unfair, biased court. He only covers cases that support such a narrative while discarding the rest. He has done so over a hundred times in the past year alone, probably in an effort to sway the opinion of Justices who are about to conclude Oil States.

35 U.S.C. § 101 is Still Effectively Tackling Software Patents in the US, But Patent Law Firms Lie/Distort to ‘Sell’ These Anyway

Tuesday 20th of March 2018 12:55:59 PM

The arts of being a “good” lawyer

Reference: Lying by omission

Summary: The assertion that software patents are still worth pursuing in 2018 is based on carefully-constructed spin which mis-frames several court decisions and underplays/downplays/ignores pretty much everything that does not suit the narrative

YESTERDAY morning we wrote about how spin had evolved to convince people to pursue software patents (which even the USPTO — let alone courts — makes harder to attain/obtain).

Facts and marketing blend like water and sand. So it’s hardly surprising that little substance exists in these falsehoods-ridden infomercials.

We habitually cover cases that the patent microcosm prefers not to mention (or never to elaborate on). Such cases aren’t good for ‘business’ (patenting and litigation) as they can discourage ‘sales’ of ‘services’. The other day we took note/stock of several such cases.

Yesterday, Immersion Corp. v Fitbit, Inc. was brought up by a site of the patent microcosm, alluding to this latest outcome in a case initiated by Immersion, a notorious patent aggressor if not troll [1, 2] (it’s not exactly a troll, but it has no concrete products, just licensing).

Judge Koh is once again emerging as a somewhat technical judge who is hard to fool. Seeing what kind of patents Immersion is ‘sporting’, she sided with the defendant, Fitbit, whereupon the maximalists said that “it appears as though the lack of detailed physical components and detailed algorithms is what doomed the ’301 patent.”

Goodbye abstract patents.

Here’s more from that post:

Last week, Judge Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California deemed claims relating to transmission of haptic messages to be directed to an abstract idea and therefore invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

The Plaintiff, Immersion Corp., alleged that Fitbit’s wearable health and fitness devices infringe three of Immersion’s patents, each of which involve “haptic” feedback technology — namely, technology that provides forces, vibrations, or other motion feedback that recreates a sense of touch for a user. Fitbit filed a motion to dismiss contending that the asserted claims of each patent are patent ineligible under § 101. The District Court denied Fitbit’s motion on two of the three patents, but granted the motion with respect to U.S. Patent No. 8,638,301 (the ’301 patent).


The District Court then addressed the patent ineligibility of the ’301 patent, whose claimed invention involves a mobile device transmitting a “haptic message” to another mobile device. The patent describes haptic messages as a useful form of non-linguistic communication that tie physical effects to a message, contrasting with more conventional messaging systems that may provide less or no contextual information associated with received and sent messages. For example, the patent describes a scenario in which one user appends a haptic signal simulating a heartbeat to a message, sends the message to the other user along with the haptic signal, which causes the other user’s phone to vibrate in a manner that simulates the heartbeat pattern.


Given the state of the asserted claims — especially that of claim 27, compared with the other two patents — the District Court’s finding here is relatively unsurprising. Again, it appears as though the lack of detailed physical components and detailed algorithms is what doomed the ’301 patent.

This is a classic example of abstract things that do not merit a patent.

The maximalists have since then turned to other cases, such as this one in which “Zmodo moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim under 35 U.S.C. § 101.”

§ 101 is a recurring theme, but the patent microcosm only really cares when a § 101 challenge is denied (even if it was unsuitably invoked, in cases where the claims are not abstract).

We saw two new examples of that yesterday. Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP came up with that familiar spin pattern that’s intended to help them sell worthless services:

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank in 2014, there has been an increasing trend in district courts granting pretrial dispositive motions to effect early dismissal of patent infringement cases under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Last month, however, the Federal Circuit issued two patent-friendly decisions that preclude such early dismissal when there are factual disputes that underlie the ultimate legal conclusion of patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

We already wrote about a dozen rebuttals to that; but it doesn’t matter, the patent microcosm knows that prospective clients won’t fact-check and might even get the false impression that something substantial has happened and changed. Knobbe Martens was next to exploit these widely-distorted (by the patent microcosm) decisions in order to help itself sell worthless services. It wrote this yesterday:

In two recent cases, the Federal Circuit addressed the role of factual questions in resolving patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The first case was Berkheimer v. HP Inc. and the second was Aatrix Software v. Green Shades Software.[1] These cases possibly undercut the holdings of previous cases in which the Federal Circuit routinely affirmed judgments invalidating patent claims under § 101 in the early stages of litigation, when factual questions are typically unresolved.[2]

They keep mentioning Aatrix and Berkheimer (which we read), but we doubt they even understand these. They just live in a little echo chamber where name-dropping Aatrix and Berkheimer is like showering pixie dust.

Yesterday Watchtroll wrote: “While the value of patents has been under attack (e.g., with the Supreme Court Alice and Mayo decisions limiting what can be patented and the establishment of IPRs), trade secrets have become a bigger risk with the current rapid changing of jobs by engineers and programmers.”

Those patents are not “under attack”, they should never have been granted in the first place and courts belatedly rectify their ways, especially after Judge Rader left the Federal Circuit (he was pretty much forced to leave after he had been caught doing corrupt things).

More in Tux Machines

Software: Corebird, RawTherapee, LVFS and More

Red Hat and Fedora: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Alpha, Results Imminent, Fedora Atomic Workstation and More

Ubuntu and Mint Leftovers

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  • Bid “bonjour” to our Bionic Beaver!
    Along with a sneak preview of our official Bionic mascot, it’s a short update this week as we’re all heads-down in bug fixing mode. There are a couple of links to check out if you’re interested in what sort of data we want to collect about hardware and setup, with links to the source.
  • MintBox Mini 2
    Based on the Compulab Fitlet2, the new Mini is just as small as the original MintBox Mini and the MintBox Mini Pro but with much better specifications, better performance and a few more features.

Android Leftovers

  • Android tips and tricks: 10 great ways to boost your phone experience
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